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«Just get it ready,» was all he said, in a voice so savage I drew back in shock. Was this the man I wanted to have as my friend?

As soon as the tea was ready, the four of us sat down to eat. I decided it was up to me to put everyone in a better mood[5].

«It’s strange,» I began, «how different people are. Some folks would feel very lonely up here, cut off from the rest of the world. But I’m sure, Mr. Heathcliff, you are perfectly happy, with your charming lady by your side…»

«My charming lady!» he interrupted, with a sneer on his face. «Where is she – my charming lady?»

«Mrs. Heathcliff, your wife, I mean.»

«Oh – my wife! So you reckon she’s become an angel and hovers around us here, even though she’s dead and buried? Is that what you mean, sir?»

I realized I had made a terrible mistake. But then a new thought struck me – the rough young man who was sitting beside me must be Heathcliff’s son and the lady’s husband.

«Mrs. Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law,» said Heathcliff, confirming my guess.

«Ah, now I see,» I said, turning to the lad who was busy slurping his tea, «so you, sir, are the fortunate husband of this good fairy.»

But this was worse than before. The young man turned crimson and clenched his fist, as though he wanted to punch me in the face.

«Wrong again, sir,» said Heathcliff. «We neither of us have the privilege of owning this ‘good fairy’ as you call her. Her husband is dead. I said she was my daughter-in-law, so she must have married my son.»

«And this young man is —»

«Certainly not my son!»

«My name is Hareton Earnshaw,» he growled angrily, «and you’d better make sure you respect it.»

After that, no one said another word and we finished our meal in dismal silence.

The moment supper was over, I went straight to the window to check the weather. While we had been eating, the storm had grown much worse and now the sky was almost black. Thick snowflakes were whirling outside the window and I couldn’t even see as far as the gate. There was no way I could find my way back to the Grange that night. I would have to spend the night at Wuthering Heights.

No one in that wretched house tried to make me welcome or even offered to find me a place to sleep, but eventually the housemaid, Zillah, took pity on me. She found me a candle and some blankets and led me upstairs, showing me into a small, cold room that was almost completely empty of furniture.

I was just about to thank her, when she whispered to me, «Make as little noise as possible, sir. The master doesn’t like anyone staying in this room.»

Too tired to be curious about this warning, I slumped down on a window-seat and stared out at the snow. The ledge where I had placed my candle had a few tattered books piled up in one corner and seemed to be covered with writing scratched into the paint. At first, I took no notice of the scratches, but then I realized that they spelled out a name, repeated many times in all kinds of letters, large and small – Catherine Earnshaw, again and again, and then Catherine Linton, and sometimes Catherine Heathcliff. I puzzled over the names until my eyes began to close, but five minutes later I was jolted awake by the smell of burning leather – one of the books had fallen on top of the candle flame.

Drowsily, I opened the book and saw a name written in the front – Catherine Earnshaw, and underneath a date from over twenty years before. I soon discovered that all the books belonged to the same girl. They were a collection of schoolbooks, histories and sermons, most of them very dull. I was just dropping off to sleep again when I noticed a note scribbled in a margin[6]

«I wish my father was still alive. Hindley is so cruel to us. He makes H. work in the fields all day and never allows us to play together. H. and I are going to rebel. We will take our first steps tomorrow…»

But then the writing ended and I dozed off again, dreaming of a swarm of Catherines – Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, Catherine Heathcliff – all jumbled up together, until my head was spinning.

Finally, I managed to drag myself into bed. But just as I was drifting off to sleep I became aware of a loud, insistent noise. Somewhere outside, a branch was knocking against the window, scratching and thumping in time to the wailing of the wind.

Eventually, I could bear it no longer. I climbed out of bed, determined to break off the branch and put an end to the noise. But when I tried to open the window, I found that it had been sealed tightly shut[7]. By this time, I was so desperate to stop the knocking that I pushed my knuckles right through the glass. Then I stretched out my hand, ready to grasp the branch… but instead my fingers closed on a small, ice-cold hand!

I tried to pull back, but the icy fingers tightened their grip[8], and I heard a melancholy voice moaning,

«Let me in – let me in!»

«Who are you?» I shouted, struggling to be free[9].

«Catherine Linton,» the shivery voice replied. «I’ve come home. I lost my way on the moor, but now I’ve come home.»

Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights - _024_2.jpg

I peered out into the snow and saw, very faintly, the outline of a young girl’s face, staring back at me!

Terror made me cruel, and finding it impossible to shake off the creature’s hand, I rubbed the delicate wrist across the broken glass, until the ledge was covered in blood. But still the hand kept its grip, driving me mad with fear, while the voice continued to wail, «Let me in!»

«How can I let you in,» I said grimly, «if you hold my hand so tightly? You’ll have to let me go if you want to come in.»

As soon as the fingers relaxed, I snatched back my hand and blocked up the hole with a pile of books. Then I covered my ears to keep out the sound of the terrible wailing.

I kept my ears covered for more than quarter of an hour, but the moment I listened again, I heard the mournful cry once more.

«Go away!» I shouted, «I’ll never let you in – not if you beg for twenty years!»

«But it is twenty years,» moaned the voice. «I’ve been wandering the moors for twenty years!»

Then the scratching began again and the books on the ledge started to shake. I tried to jump up, but found I couldn’t move, so I opened my mouth and yelled as loudly as I could.

Almost immediately, the door was wrenched open and Heathcliff burst into the room[10]. His face was as white as the walls around him and he was trembling from head to foot.

«Is anybody there?» he said in a half-whisper.

«It’s only your guest,» I announced, pulling myself together[11], «I was having a bad dream.»

«God damn you, sir!» he replied, shaking so hard that he had to put down his candle. «Who showed you into this room? I’ve a good mind to turn them out into the snow this minute![12]»

«It was your housemaid, Zillah,» I replied, dressing myself quickly, «and you can turn her out if you like, sir. I’m sure she deserves it, for letting me sleep in a room that’s swarming with ghosts and goblins!»

«What do you mean?» roared Heathcliff. «And what do you think you’re doing here? Lie down and finish the night, but for heaven’s sake don’t make that noise again. It sounded as though you were having your throat cut!»

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5

to put everyone in a better mood – приподнять всем настроение

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6

scribbled in a margin – нацарапанное на полях

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7

sealed tightly shut – плотно закрыто

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8

tightened their grip – вцепились еще сильнее

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9

struggling to be free – пытаясь освободиться

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10

burst into the room – ворвался в комнату

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11

pulling myself together – взяв себя в руки

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12

I’ve a good mind to turn them out into the snow this minute! – я готов его тотчас же отправить под снегопад!

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