Wuthering Heights Chapter 7
Catherine stayed at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks, until her ankle was healed. She returned around Christmas, a very changed young woman. She was dressed in nice clothes, she exhibited good manners, and carried herself in a more reserved, polished manner. Hindley and Frances both remarked on how beautiful she looked, with her new dress and manners. Heathcliff had grown more coarse and dirty in Catherine's absence, and he was reluctant to greet his old friend. She was amazed at how dirty he was, and he caught her looking down at her own spotless clothes. He moved away from her angrily.
The Lintons were invited to visit Wuthering Heights the next morning. They came under the condition that Heathcliff would be kept away from them and their children, which Hindley was happy to oblige. During the preparations for their visit, Nelly thought about Mr. Earnshaw, and his fondness for Heathcliff. In his honor, she decided to help the young boy, offering to help him clean himself before the guests arrived tomorrow. But Heathcliff ignored her, avoided Catherine's company, and spent the next morning wandering the moors while the others were at church. But he returned, and asked for Nelly's help in getting cleaned. She scolded him for having hurt Catherine's feelings, and he told her that his were hurt even more. Nelly tried to make the jealous Heathcliff feel better, praising him for his strength. But even the ability to knock little Edgar to the floor did not excite Heathcliff, who knew he was inferior to Edgar in face, manners, and wealth. Nelly told Heathcliff that he only had to adopt a better expression, and he would be handsome too. But Heathcliff did not understand her, and thought it impossible either for a good heart to make a good face, or for him to have a good heart. They were interrupted by the sound of the Lintons' carriage arriving.
Nelly sent Heathcliff out to join the party, but Hindley, perhaps angry at Heathcliff's clean appearance, sent him back to the kitchen. Edgar Linton saw Heathcliff, and made a joke about his hair. Angrily, Heathcliff grabbed a pan of hot apple sauce, and threw it in Edgar's face. Edgar began to cry, and Hindley shut Heathcliff upstairs. Catherine tried to put on a good face, but she missed her companion, and looked for an opportunity to include him. But he was not allowed, even when they were short a dance partner. There was a band, and they sung carols, which gave Catherine the opportunity to sneak upstairs and visit with Heathcliff. She made Nelly bring Heathcliff down and give him something to eat. When asked what he was thinking, Heathcliff told Nelly: "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!" Chapter 7, pg. 54 Shocked, Nelly told him that God punishes the wicked, to which Heathcliff replied that God would not have his satisfaction in punishing Hindley.
Mrs. Dean stops her story here, for fear she is boring Mr. Lockwood. But he is not, and he wants to hear more, without her skipping anything. He has fallen into the mood of this country, whose people, "do live more in earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface change, and frivolous external things." Chapter 8, pg. 56 After a brief discussion about how Nelly fits into this group, she continues with her story in the summer of 1778, almost twenty-three years ago.