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Wuthering Heights Novel CHAPTER I
1801. – I have just returned from visiting my landlord – the solitary neighbor who will trouble me.This is certainly a beautiful country! In all of England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.
A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.
‘Mr. Heathcliff?’ I said.
A nod was the answer.
‘Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts – ‘
‘Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir,’ he interrupted, wincing. ‘I should not allow any one to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it – walk in!’
The ‘walk in’ was spoken through clenched teeth, conveying the sentiment, ‘Go to the Deuce.’ Even the gate against which he leaned showed no sympathetic response to the words. I believe that circumstance convinced me to accept the invitation. I felt intrigued by a man who appeared even more reserved than I was.
When he saw my horse’s breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did put out his hand to unchain it, and then sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court, – ‘Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’
“I suppose we have the entire domestic staff here,” this compound order suggested, leading to the thought, “It’s no wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and only cattle are the hedge-cutters.”
Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy. ‘The Lord help us!’ he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.
Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.
Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date ‘1500,’ and the name ‘Hareton Earnshaw.’ I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.
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