Wuthering Heights Chapter 9
Hindley came in drunk and stumbling. Hareton hid from his father, who was either savagely affectionate or violently angry. He saw the child, and threatened to stab Nelly. He had the knife in her mouth when he changed moods; confused at first, he wanted to cut Hareton's hair, then to get a kiss from his son. His father carried him up the stairs, and at the sound of footsteps approaching, Hareton squirmed out of his father's arms. Heathcliff, who had been waiting for an opportunity to exact revenge on Hindley, lost his chance when his reflexes and sudden impulse made him grab the boy. Heathcliff was angry, Hindley was angry, but Hareton seemed unhurt. Hindley tried to approach the child again, but Nelly said everyone hates him, and he should not touch the child again. He threatened Heathcliff, and drank some more, to Nelly's dismay.
Nelly was singing to Hareton when Catherine came in, hoping to speak with her. Heathcliff was in the room, but when Nelly told Catherine he was outside, he said nothing. Catherine wanted to tell Nelly a secret--Edgar had asked her to marry him, and she had said yes. She loves Edgar, but was not confident in her decision to marry him. He was the responsible choice, but her heart said no:
"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." Chapter 9, pg. 73
Heathcliff heard her say it would degrade her to marry him, then left the room before she said the rest. Nelly heard him go, but said nothing. Catherine was anxious that Heathcliff not hear, because she doesn't know how he feels about her.
Catherine was determined that as Mrs. Linton, she would be able to better help her impoverished friend. When Nelly told her this is a terrible reason for marriage, Catherine replied that it is the best, because it is unselfish--she would be helping the most important person in her life:
"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it...Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being." Chapter 8, pg. 74
At dinner, Heathcliff could not be found. Nelly told Catherine that he heard some of what she said, and Catherine started looking for him in a panic. He was gone, and Catherine stayed outside looking for him despite a violent thunderstorm. She stayed up in her wet clothes, and caught cold. Catherine was very ill, but she recovered. Nelly blamed Heathcliff's departure on her, and Catherine refused to speak to her. Everyone indulged Catherine, fearful she will fall ill again. And then, three years after her father's death, Catherine married Edgar. They moved to the Grange, and Nelly sadly left Hareton at the Heights, to care for his ill father.
At this point in the story Mrs. Dean sees how late it is, and postpones the storytelling until tomorrow.