Wuthering Heights Chapter 21
Cathy was very sad to learn her cousin was gone. After some time she stopped asking about him, and he faded in her mind. Nelly met the Height's housekeeper, and asked about Linton. Heathcliff hated him but treated him well, and Linton was constantly in bed with colds. He is very delicate, and careful of his health; the maid thinks he is selfish and complains too much.
Catherine was now sixteen, and on her birthday she asked Nelly to accompany her for a walk to look for some nesting birds. Cathy ran ahead, and was soon out of sight. She went to see the birds, and was grabbed by Heathcliff, for she was on his property. After realizing who the girl was, Heathcliff insisted they come back to Wuthering Heights to rest and see his son. Nelly told Catherine they should not, but Heathcliff would not take no for an answer. He plans on having the cousins fall in love and marry, so that her property will fall to him when Linton dies.
Catherine barely remembered her cousin, who was now almost sixteen. She greeted him warmly, then turned to her uncle, who shied away from her kisses. Catherine promised to talk to her father about the family rift, and to make her own repairs by visiting often. Heathcliff became annoyed when his son was not attentive enough to Catherine, and when Catherine wanted a walk, it was Hareton who wanted to escort her. Heathcliff told Nelly that he actually liked Hareton, and compared him to his son: "But there's this difference: one is gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver." Chapter 21, pg. 201 Hareton barely knows his letters and can be vulgar, and Catherine and Linton tease him.
They stay all afternoon, and Nelly cannot convince Catherine that future visits to Wuthering Heights are a bad idea. When she tells her father, he is forced to give her the history of Heathcliff's indiscretions. He tells her he fears what this evil man could do to her, which is why he kept her from her cousin. Catherine agreed to obey her father, but she is still upset; Linton expected to see her tomorrow. She asks if she can send him a note, but Nelly firmly answers no. Days later, Nelly learned that the two had started a secret correspondence, and Catherine was hiding his letters in the study. They were childish love letters, and Nelly threatened to show them to Mr. Linton if she did not stop. Catherine, who did not want to hurt her father, sadly agreed, and the letters were burned. Nelly sent a note to Wuthering Heights, saying that no more letters would be exchanged or accepted.