Wuthering Heights Chapter 8
That June, Frances gave birth to Hareton, the last of the Earnshaw line. The doctor, Mr. Kenneth, does not think Frances will survive. She has been sick, and is not expected to last beyond winter. Hindley did not believe the doctor; his wife was his most important person, other than himself, and he could not imagine life without her. Frances was happy and talkative, right up until the week she died. Hindley, who always persisted that his wife would get better, was broken at her loss. He ignored his son, while he sulked and cursed the loss of his wife. His behavior became so bad that all the servants, with the exception of Joseph and Nelly, left the Heights. He treated Heathcliff worse of all, and Nelly thought she could see evil in the boy.
The house took on a fiendish reputation, and guests stopped calling. Only Edgar Linton came to visit Catherine. At fifteen and stubborn, Nelly admits she did not like the girl, and thought her arrogant. Catherine did remain loyal to Heathcliff, despite her association with Linton. Mrs. Dean showed Mr. Lockwood the painting of Edgar, her former master. Edgar looked delicate and thoughtful, and Mr. Lockwood can see his advantages over Heathcliff. Catherine's portrait had been removed.
Mrs. Dean continues, telling Mr. Lockwood that Catherine was friendly with the Lintons. With them, she displayed perfect manners, gaining their admiration. But at home, where there was no reward, she abandoned these manners, splitting herself in two. When Edgar visited, Catherine tried to keep him and Heathcliff apart, because she found much of Heathcliff's criticism of Edgar justified. She did not overtly try to attract Edgar, but he was still falling in love with her.
One day when Hindley was gone, Heathcliff took this opportunity to have a relaxing day.
His education was long forgotten, as was the self-confidence he gained from being father's favorite. Shabbily dressed, he was so reserved he appeared mute or dumb. Though he and Catherine were still friends, "he had ceased to express his fondness for her in words, and recoiled with angry suspicion from her girlish caresses, as if conscious there could be no gratification in lavishing such marks of affection on him." Chapter 8, pg. 61 Still, with Hindley gone that day, his first thought was that he and Catherine could play together. But she had invited Edgar over, thinking Heathcliff would be out of the house. He complained that she was spending more time with the Lintons than himself, but Catherine argued back that his company was terrible, because he had nothing to say. She never complained about his company before, but having new friends changed her opinions. Edgar entered as Heathcliff left.
There was some trouble because Nelly would not leave the room. Hindley asked her to supervise any visits Edgar made alone, and she invented excuses to remain. Angry at this lack of privacy, Catherine ordered her out, but she refused. Catherine pinched her, and Nelly was quick to show it's mark to Edgar. In a fury, Catherine shook little Hareton, who wandered into the quarrel. Shocked, Edgar pulled the child from her, and Catherine yanked his ear in retribution. Edgar started to leave, and Catherine started weeping. Unable to leave his love, he tried to console her. And when Nelly came in later to tell them Hindley was home, the two had moved past friendship and admitted themselves as lovers. Edgar left to avoid Hindley, and Nelly removed the bullets from Hindley's gun, to keep him from doing harm in his drunken state.