© Матвеев С.А., адаптация текста, комментарии, словарь и упражнения
© ООО «Издательство АСТ», 2022
1801. I have just returned from a visit to my landlord. This is certainly a beautiful country! And Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair. A capital fellow! We met yesterday.
'Mr. Heathcliff? I'm Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I hope that I don't bother you by my perseverance occupating Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts – '
'Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir,' he interrupted, wincing. 'I won't allow anyone to bother me, but walk in!'
The 'walk in' was uttered with closed teeth, and in fact he seemed to say 'Go to Hell'. But eventually he opened the gate and invited me to enter. As we entered the court, he called,
'Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood's horse; and bring up some wine.'
Joseph was an old man. 'The Lord help us!' he said and helped me from my horse.
Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's house. The word 'Wuthering' is connected with the stormy weather in this region. Above the door, I detected the date '1500,' and the name 'Hareton Earnshaw.'
We came into the family sitting-room, without any lobby or passage: they call it here 'the house'. Above the chimney there were some old guns, and a couple of horse-pistols. The floor was of smooth, white stone; the chairs were high-backed, primitive structures.
Mr. Heathcliff is a dark-skinned gipsy in appearance, in dress and manners a gentleman. He has an erect and handsome figure; and is rather morose. Possibly, some people suspect under-bred pride; but I think it is nothing of the sort. I know, by instinct, he is so reserved because of an aversion to show his feeling.
When he left me to go to the cellar with Joseph and bring some wine, however, I was attacked by several large dogs, they ran into the kitchen. Happily, a woman came in to save me. She had bare arms and red cheeks, and she rushed into the midst of us with a frying-pan, and used that weapon, and her tongue, to such purpose, that the storm subsided magically.
'What the devil is the matter?' asked Heathcliff.
I did not like this inhospitable treatment.
'What the devil, indeed!' I muttered. 'Those animals of yours, sir. You will leave a stranger with tigers soon!'
'They won't touch the persons who touch nothing,' he remarked, putting the bottle before me. 'The dogs must be vigilant. A glass of wine?'
'No, thank you.'
'Come, come,' he said, 'you are uneasy, Mr. Lockwood. Here, take a little wine. Guests are so rare in this house that I and my dogs hardly know how to receive them. Your health, sir?'
Yesterday I went to see Heathcliff again, but nobody answered when I knocked for admittance.
Only the dogs howled inside. It was snowing hard. Suddenly, when a young man without coat, but with a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me to follow him, and at length we arrived in the huge, warm, cheerful apartment. I was formerly received there. The fire was burning; and near the table, laid for an evening meal, I observed a lady whose existence I had never previously suspected. I bowed and waited. Will she ask me to take a seat? She looked at me, leant back in her chair, and remained motionless and silent.
'Rough weather!' I remarked.
She did not open her mouth. I stared – she stared also. She looked at me in a cool, regardless manner, exceedingly embarrassing and disagreeable.
'Sit down,' said the young man, gruffly. 'He'll be in soon.'
She was not very amiable with me – in fact, quite the opposite. But I noticed that she was slender and beautiful, with curly blond hair. I could not remember when I had last seen such a beauty. But our conversation did not go far. Meanwhile, the shabby young man was standing
in front of the fireplace. He looked down on me from the corner of his eyes. Was there some mortal feud between us? No. Is he a servant here? His dress and speech were both rude; his thick brown curls and whiskers were rough and uncultivated, and his hands were brown like those of a common worker. Five minutes afterwards the entrance of Heathcliff relieved me from my uncomfortable thoughts.
'You see, sir, I have come, according to promise!' I exclaimed; 'and I fear I shall stay here for half an hour, if you afford me shelter.'
'Half an hour?' he said. He shook the white flakes from his clothes; 'I wonder you selected the snow-storm to go out. Do you know that you risk? You may be lost in the marshes.'
'Perhaps I can get a guide among your lads. He might stay at the Grange till morning – could you spare me one?'
'No, I can't.'
'Oh, indeed! Well, then, I must trust to my own luck.'
'Umph! Are you going to drink tea?' demanded he of the shabby coat, which was shifting his ferocious gaze from me to the young lady.
'Will he drink too?' she asked Heathcliff.
'Get it ready, will you?' was the answer.
It uttered so savagely that I started. The tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine bad nature. I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a good fellow. When the preparations were finished, he invited me with – 'Now, sir, bring forward your chair.' And we all, including the rustic youth, drew round the table in silence.
I decided to begin a conversation in order to dispel cloud. They cannot sit so grim every day!
I learnt soon that Mrs. Heathcliff wasn't Heathcliff's wife, but his daughter-in-law, and this clown next to me wasn't his son – or, indeed, her husband, either.
'My name is Hareton Earnshaw,' the youth growled; 'and I advise you to respect it!'
'I've shown no disrespect,' was my reply.
I laughed internally at the dignity with which he announced himself. I began to feel out of place in that pleasant family circle.
'I don't think it possible for me to get home now without a guide,' I exclaimed. 'The roads will be buried. I can scarcely distinguish a foot in advance.'
'Hareton, drive those dozen sheep into the barn porch,' said Heathcliff.
'And what about me? What to do?' I continued, with irritation.
There was no reply to my question. I looked round and saw that Joseph was bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs. and Mrs. Heathcliff was leaning over the fire.
'Oh, wicked, wicked!' gasped he; 'may the Lord deliver us from evil!'
'Go away, or I'll hurt you seriously! I know some black magic. I'll have you all modelled in wax and clay! and the first who passes the limits I fix, will… I won't say what he will do – but you'll see! Go, I'm looking at you!'
The little witch put a mock malignity into her beautiful eyes, and Joseph, trembling with sincere horror, hurried out, praying, and ejaculating 'wicked' as he went. I thought her conduct was dreary fun. As we were alone, I tried to talk to her.
'Mrs. Heathcliff,' I said earnestly, 'you must excuse me for troubling you. I presume, because, with that face, I'm sure you are very good-hearted. Please, point out some landmarks by which I may know my way home. I have no idea how to get there!'
'Take the road you came,' she answered. 'It is brief advice, but rather wise.'
'Then, if I am dead in a bog or a pit full of snow, your conscience won't whisper that it is partly your fault?'
'How so? I cannot escort you. They won't let me go to the end of the garden wall.'
'You! I'll be sorry to ask you to cross the threshold on such a night. I want you to tell me my way, not to show it: or else to persuade Mr. Heathcliff to give me a guide.'
'Who? Himself, Earnshaw, Zillah, Joseph and I. Which will you have?'
'Are there no boys at the farm?'
'No; those are all.'
'Then, it means that I am compelled to stay.'
'That you must talk to your host. I have nothing to do with it.'
'I hope it will be a lesson to you to make no more rash journeys on these hills,' cried Heathcliff's stern voice from the kitchen entrance. 'Are you going to stay here? I don't keep accommodations for visitors. You must share a bed with Hareton or Joseph, if you want.'
'I can sleep on a chair in this room,' I replied.
'No, no! A stranger is a stranger. I don't care whether you are rich or poor. It will not suit me to permit anyone to stay here while I am off!' said the unmannerly wretch.
It was an end. I uttered an expression of disgust, and pushed past him into the yard. And I ran against Earnshaw in my haste. It was so dark that I could not see the means of exit. As I wandered round, I heard another specimen of their civil behaviour amongst each other. At first the young man appeared about to befriend me.
'I'll go with him to the park,' he said.
'You'll go with him to hell!' exclaimed his master. 'And who will look after the horses, eh?'
'A man's life is of more importance: somebody must go,' murmured Mrs. Heathcliff, more kindly than I expected.
'Not at your command!' retorted Hareton.
'Then I hope his ghost will haunt you. And I hope Mr. Heathcliff will never get another tenant till the Grange is a ruin,' she answered, sharply.
'Hearken, hearken, she's cursing them!' muttered Joseph.
The old man was sitting nearby. He was milking the cows by the light of a lantern, which I seized unceremoniously. I promised to send it back in the morning, and rushed to the nearest postern.
'Master, master, he has stolen my lantern!' shouted the old man. 'Hey, Gnasher! Hey, dog! Hey Wolf, hold him, hold him!'
I opened the little door, and two hairy monsters flew at my throat, bearing me down, and extinguishing the light. A mingled guffaw from Heathcliff and Hareton made me furious. I was angry and humiliated. Fortunately, the beasts were stretching their paws, and yawning, and flourishing their tails. They were not going to devour me alive. But I was forced to lie till their malignant masters delivered me. Then, hatless and trembling with wrath, I ordered the miscreants to let me out – with several incoherent threats of retaliation.
The vehemence of my agitation brought on a copious bleeding at the nose, and still Heathcliff laughed, and still I scolded. I don't know what could happen next. But there appeared one person rather more rational than myself, and more benevolent than my entertainer. This was Zillah, the stout housewife; who at length issued forth to inquire into the nature of the uproar. She did not dare to attack her master, and turned her vocal artillery against the younger scoundrel.
'Well, Mr. Earnshaw,' she cried, 'I wonder what you'll start next? Are we going to murder people on our doors? I see this house will never be good – look at the poor lad! Sir, you must not go on so. Come in, and I'll cure that: there now.'
With these words she suddenly splashed a pint of icy water down my neck, and pulled me into the kitchen. Mr. Heathcliff followed. His accidental merriment expired quickly in his habitual moroseness.
I was sick exceedingly, and dizzy, and faint. So I was compelled to accept lodgings under his roof. He told Zillah to give me a glass of brandy, and then passed on to the inner room. She condoled with me on my sorry predicament, and ushered me to bed.
She led me upstairs and recommended to hide the candle and not make noise. Her master has odd ideas about the room she will put me in. I asked the reason. She did not know, she answered: she had only lived there a year or two; and they had many strange things here.
So I fastened my door and glanced round for the bed. The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case, with squares windows near the top. I put my candle on the shelf and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and everyone else.
The shelf had books on it; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small – Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.
Catherine's library was select, though not altogether for a legitimate purpose: scarcely one chapter had escaped a pen-and-ink commentary. Some were detached sentences; other parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in an unformed, childish hand. At the top of an extra page I was greatly amused to behold an excellent caricature of my friend Joseph, – rudely, yet powerfully sketched. An immediate interest aroused in me, and I began to decipher her faded hieroglyphics.
'An awful Sunday. I wish my father were back again. Hindley is a detestable creature – his conduct to Heathcliff is horrible – H. and I are going to rebel – we took our initiatory step this evening.
'All day was flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so we prayed in the barn! On Sunday evenings we played, and did not make much noise; now a mere titter is sufficient to send us into corners.
'“You forget you have a master here,” says the tyrant. “I'll crash the first who puts me out of temper! I insist on perfect sobriety and silence. Oh, boy! was that you? Frances darling, pull his hair as you go by: I heard him snap his fingers.”
Frances pulled his hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on her husband's knee, and there they were, like two babies, kissing and talking nonsense – foolish behaviour. But they did not like the way we behaved, so soon we both were thrown into the back kitchen, where we awaited our punishment.
My companion suggested using the dairywoman's cloak, and have a scamper on the moors, under its shelter. A pleasant suggestion – we cannot be damper, or colder, in the rain than we are here.'
I suppose Catherine fulfilled her project, for the next sentence took up another subject: she waxed lachrymose.
'Poor Heathcliff!' she wrote. 'Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit with us, nor eat with us any more. He says, he and I must not play together, and threatens to turn him out of the house if we break his orders. He is blaming our father (how dares he?) for treating H. too liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place,'
I began to nod drowsily over the dim page, so I sank in bed, and fell asleep. I began to dream, I thought it was morning; and I had set out on my way home, with Joseph for a guide. The snow lay yards deep in our road; and somehow we got to the church, then to the forest. I touched a three-branch – and cold little fingers clutched my hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed,
'Let me in – let me in!'
'Who are you?'
'Catherine Linton. I've come home: I lost my way on the moor!'
As it spoke, I saw a child's face looking through the window.
'Begone!' I shouted. 'I'll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.'
'It is twenty years,' mourned the voice: 'twenty years. I have been a waif for twenty years!'
A feeble scratching outside – and the pile of books moved. I tried to jump up; but could not stir; and so cried aloud, out of fright. Suddenly, hasty footsteps approached my door; somebody pushed it open, and a light glimmered through: the intruder appeared to hesitate, and muttered to himself. At last, he said, in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer,
'Is anyone here?'
I considered it best to confess my presence.
Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers; with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white as the wall behind him. The first creak of the oak startled him like an electric shock: the light leaped from his hold to a distance of some feet. His agitation was so extreme, that he could hardly pick it up.
'It is only your guest, sir,' I called out. 'I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep. It was a frightful nightmare. I'm sorry I disturbed you.'
'Oh, God confound you, Mr. Lockwood! Go to…' commenced my host, setting the candle on a chair, because he found it impossible to hold it steady. 'And who showed you up into this room?' he continued, crushing his nails into his palms, and grinding his teeth. 'Who was it? I'll turn them out of the house this moment!'
'It was your servant Zillah,' I replied, rapidly resuming my garments. 'I don't care if you do it, Mr. Heathcliff; she richly deserves it. I suppose that she wanted to get another proof that the place was haunted. Well, it is – swarming with ghosts and goblins! You have reason to shut it up, I assure you. No one will thank you for a sleep in such a den!'
'What do you mean?' asked Heathcliff, 'and what are you doing? Lie down and finish out
the night, since you are here; but, for heaven's sake! don't repeat that horrid noise!'
'If the little fiend gets in at the window, she probably will strangle me!' I returned. 'Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or however she was called – she is a wicked little soul! She tells me she has been walking the earth these twenty years: a just punishment for her mortal sins!'
Then I realized Catherine did actually mention Heathcliff in her diaries and blushed at my inconsideration.
'What do you mean by that?' thundered Heathcliff, 'How – how dare you, under my roof?' Heathcliff reacted very emotionally.
'Sir, I mean it,' I said.
'We go to bed at nine in winter, and rise at four,' said my host, suppressing a groan: and dashing a tear from his eyes. 'Mr. Lockwood,' he added, 'you may go into my room. Your childish outcry has sent sleep to the devil for me.'
'And for me, too,' I replied. 'I'll walk in the yard till daylight, and then I'll be off. I'm now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society. A sensible man must find sufficient company in himself.'
'Delightful company!' muttered Heathcliff. 'Take the candle, and go where you please. I shall join you directly. Keep out of the yard, though, the dogs are unchained; and the house – Juno mounts sentinel there, and – nay, you can only ramble about the steps and passages. But go away! I'll come in two minutes!'
I obeyed, so far as to quit the chamber; when, ignorant where the narrow lobbies led, I stood still, and was witness, involuntarily, to a piece of superstition on the part of my landlord which belied, oddly, his apparent sense. He got on to the bed, and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable passion of tears.
'Come in! come in!' he sobbed. 'Cathy, come! Oh, do – once more! Oh! my heart's darling! hear me this time, Catherine, at last!'
The spectre showed a spectre's ordinary caprice: it gave no sign of existense; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even reaching my station, and blowing out the light.
There was such anguish in the gush of grief that accompanied this raving, that my compassion
made me overlook its folly. I drew off, angry to listen at all, and vexed. Why did I relate my ridiculous nightmare? It produced that agony that was beyond my comprehension. I descended cautiously to the lower regions, and landed in the back-kitchen, where a gleam of fire, enabled me to rekindle my candle. Nothing was stirring except a brindled, grey cat, which crept from the ashes, and saluted me with a querulous mew.
In the morning, I had no desire to enjoy a combat between Heathcliff and his daughter-in law, so I declined joining their breakfast, and, at the first gleam of dawn, escaped into the free air, now clear, and still, and cold.
That evening, at Thrushcross Grange, I desired Mrs. Dean, when she brought in supper, to sit down while I ate it.
'You have lived here a considerable time,' I said; 'did you say sixteen years?'
'Eighteen, sir: I came when the mistress was married, to wait on her; after she died, the master retained me for his housekeeper. Ah, times are greatly changed since then!'
'Yes,' I remarked, 'you've seen a good many changes, I suppose?'
'I have: and troubles too,' she said.
Then I asked Mrs. Dean why Heathcliff had left Thrushcross Grange, and preferred to live in a situation and residence so much inferior.
'Is he not rich enough to keep the estate in good order?' I inquired.
'Rich, sir!' she returned. 'He has a lot of money, and every year it increases. Yes, yes, he's rich enough to live in a finer house than this: but he's very mean. And if he hears of a good tenant he won't miss the chance of getting a few hundreds more. It is strange that people can be so greedy, when they are alone in the world!'
'He had a son, it seems?'
'Yes, he had one – he is dead.'
'And that young lady, Mrs. Heathcliff, is his widow?'
'Where did she come from originally?'
'Why, sir, she is my late master's daughter: Catherine Linton was her maiden name. I nursed her, poor thing!'
'What! Catherine Linton?' I exclaimed, astonished.
But a minute's reflection convinced me it was not my ghostly Catherine.
'Then,' I continued, 'my predecessor's name was Linton?'
'And who is that Earnshaw: Hareton Earnshaw, who lives with Mr. Heathcliff? Are they relations?'
'No; he is the late Mrs. Linton's nephew.'
'The young lady's cousin, then?'
'Yes; and her husband was her cousin also: one on the mother's, the other on the father's side: Heathcliff married Mr. Linton's sister.'
'I see the house at Wuthering Heights has “Earnshaw” carved over the front door. Are they an old family?'
'Very old, sir; and Hareton is the last of them, as our Miss Cathy is of us – I mean, of the Lintons. Have you been to Wuthering Heights? I beg pardon for asking; but I want to hear how she is.'
'Mrs. Heathcliff? She looked very well, and very handsome; yet, I think, not very happy.'
'Oh dear, I don't wonder! And how did you like the master?'
'A rough fellow, rather, Mrs. Dean. Is not that his character?'
'Indeed! The less you meddle with him the better. I know all about it: except where he was born, and who were his parents, and how he got his money at first. And Hareton was cast out like a dog! The unfortunate lad is the only one in all this parish that does not guess how he was cheated.'
'Well, Mrs. Dean, it will be a charitable deed to tell me something of my neighbours: I feel I shall not rest if I go to bed; so be good enough to sit and talk.'
And so she told me the whole story.
Before I came to live here, she said, I was almost always at Wuthering Heights; because my mother had nursed Mr. Hindley Earnshaw, that was Hareton's father. I used to play with the children, I helped a little, too. One fine summer morning – it was the beginning of harvest, I remember – Mr. Earnshaw, the old master, went to Liverpool for a short time. But it seemed a long time to us all – the three days of his absence. Mrs. Earnshaw expected him by supper-time on the third evening, but only about eleven o'clock, the door opened, and the master stepped in. He threw himself into a chair, laughing and groaning, as he was exhausted.
'But see here, wife!' he said, opening his great-coat, which he held bundled up in his arms. 'You must take it as a gift of God; though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil.'
We crowded round, and there was a dirty, ragged, black-haired child; big enough both to walk and talk. Indeed, its face looked older than Catherine's; yet when it was set on its feet, it only stared round, and repeated over and over again some gibberish that nobody could understand. I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors. She was angry, asking how he could bring that gipsy into the house, when they had their own children to feed. The master, apparently, saw the child, starving and houseless, in the streets of Liverpool, where he picked it up and inquired for its owner. Nobody knew to whom it belonged. Well, the conclusion was, that my mistress got calm; and Mr. Earnshaw told me to wash it, and give it clean things, and let it sleep with the children. He promised some presents for them, but they all got lost or broken while he was attending to the stranger. Hindley and Cathy were not happy about it, of course. They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room. I had no more sense, so I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it might go in the morbibg. By chance, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it. Inquiries were made; I was obliged to confess. Because of my cowardice and inhumanity, I was sent out of the house.
On coming back a few days afterwards, I found they had christened him 'Heathcliff': it was the name of a son who died in childhood. Miss Cathy and he were now very close; but Hindley hated him. To say the truth, I did the same. We plagued and treated him shamefully: for I wasn't reasonable enough to feel my injustice, and the mistress never protected him, too.
He seemed a sullen, patient child; hardened, perhaps, to ill-treatment. He was standing Hindley's blows without winking. This endurance made old Earnshaw furious; he believed all the boy said (and he said precious little, and generally the truth), and loved him more than Cathy, who was too mischievous and wayward.
So, from the very beginning, he was an apple of discord in the house. At Mrs. Earnshaw's death, which happened in less than two years after, the young master, Hindley, saw his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent's affections and his privileges. I sympathised a while; but when the children fell ill with the measles, and I had to tend them, I changed my mind. Heathcliff was as uncomplaining as a lamb; though hardness, not gentleness, made him give little trouble. Thus Hindley lost me, his last ally. Heathcliff complained so seldom, indeed, even when he got seriously beaten by his brother, that I really thought him not vindictive. I was deceived completely, as you will hear.