Welcome to Wuthering Heights Wednesday! Softdrink is hosting a read-along of this classic novel, and we’re reading (and posting about) 3 chapters a week.
Chapters 10 through 12
What a tangled web they weave…
The chapter opens with Lockwood sick in bed. Remember that jaunt he took through the frozen woods? Well, it has caught up with him. From his sick-bed, he asks Mrs. Dean to continue the tale of Heathcliff and company…and so she does.
As we mentioned in last week’s reading, Cathy has married Edgar and moved to Thrushcross Grange. Mrs. Dean is surprised at how agreeable Cathy is, but after thinking about it a bit, she realizes that it’s easy to be agreeable when there is no conflict to speak of. Edgar and his sister, Isabella bend to her every whim and in so doing, reap the rewards of a happy Cathy.
After being away for three years, Heathcliff returns which pretty much rocks Cathy’s world. Cathy is so ecstatic to see him that it grates on Edgar’s last nerve. Cathy tries to persuade Edgar to accept Heathcliff as a friend so that all may be well at Thrushcross Grange. Edgar doesn’t accept him per se, but sort of turns a blind eye to him for a bit, which of course is a huge mistake.
In the meantime, it comes to Cathy’s attention that Isabella is smitten with Heathcliff. She finds this laughable at best and says so in front of Heathcliff and Isabella. Of course, Isabella is humiliated that Cathy shared her feelings in that way and attempts to grab Cathy. Cathy turns it around and makes Isabella out to be a monster in disguise. Heathcliff finds it all very amusing. Men.
I’ve forgotten why, but Mrs. Dean visits Wuthering Heights and manages to get hit in the head with a rock (she’s okay though). Who do you think threw it? Hareton! The kid that she practically raised. He has no recollection of her and curses her existence. Turns out, that our dear Heathcliff has been coaching the young lad in an attempt to turn him against his own father. I suppose he IS exacting his revenge upon Hindley but not in an obvious way because even Hindley has allowed him to stay at Wuthering Heights. When Heathcliff sees Mrs. Dean lurking about the premises, he comes out to talk to her but she runs back to Thrushcross Grange.
This is where it gets good so stay with me.
Heathcliff visits Thrushcross Grange and kisses Isabella! Cathy becomes aware of it and flies into a terrible fit. Edgar stumbles upon the two of them in the kitchen and Cathy locks the door and throws the key into the fire so the two of them can go at it. Edgar sort of collapses into a chair and Heathcliff realizes what a wimp he is and tells Cathy that he will never understand how she could have chosen Edgar over him. Surprise! Edgar jumps up and pops Heathcliff right in the throat and then runs out the back door.
When Edgar returns, he demands that Cathy choose between him and Heathcliff. Cathy feigns illness by collapsing and rolling her eyes into the back of her head which frightens Edgar but Mrs. Dean tells him that she is play acting. Cathy, upon hearing that the jig is up, jumps up and runs off to her room where she decides to starve herself. Take that! (insert foot stomping here).
After this bit of theatrics, Edgar tells Isabella that if she chooses to spend her life with Heathcliff, then she can consider their familial relationship over. Blood is thicker than water and all that. Right?
So what does Isabella do? She runs away with Heathcliff and Cathy loses her mind.
When I tell people that I am reading Wuthering Heights, there is an audible groan. This, I cannot understand. I am loving it but I have to tell you, half the fun is writing about it. These people are not right.
I am loving the tension between Cathy and Heathcliff. He knows how to push all of her buttons and running off with Isabella has sent Cathy into a tizzy that she may never recover from. It was implied that he is interested in Isabella for her money as she is her brother’s heir, but Heathcliff has his own money now and no one seems to know how he came upon it.
Heathcliff was gone for three years. A lot could have happened in three years. Wonder how long it will take for him to return this time.