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«If the little fiend had got in, she probably would have strangled me to death!» I replied crossly.» I won’t put up with your horrible ghosts a moment longer. And as for that vixen, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or whatever she’s called – she must have been a wicked little fiend. She told me she’d been walking the earth for twenty years – I expect she was being punished for her sins!»

«How dare you talk like that under my roof!» thundered Heathcliff.

«Don’t worry, sir,» I replied, pulling on the rest of my clothes as fast as I could. «I don’t intend to spend another moment in this house!»

Heathcliff took no more notice of me. In seconds, he was at the window, forcing it wide open[13] with incredible strength.

«Come in! Come in!» he sobbed, leaning out into the snow. «Oh, my heart’s darling, hear me this time. Cathy, my darling, come in at last!»

But the ghost behaved as ghosts usually do, and showed no sign of ever having being there at all. Now there was nothing outside the window except the snow and wind, whirling around wildly in the dark. And, as I watched, the snowflakes blew into the room, and danced around madly, filling it with icy cold and blowing out the candle.

Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights - _026_2.jpg

Heathcliff arrives

I spent the rest of the night trying to get some sleep on a hard kitchen bench, but as soon as it was light, I seized the chance to escape from Wuthering Heights. The moors were covered in billows of snow, and I lost count of the number of times I blundered off the path[14], sinking up to my waist in snow. When I finally reached the Grange, the clock was chiming twelve and I was too numb even to think. Nelly Dean, the housekeeper, made a great fuss of me, and I was soon sitting in my study, as feeble as a kitten, and almost too weak to enjoy the cheerful fire.

Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights - _028_2.jpg

I stayed by the fire all afternoon, too exhausted to work, going over my strange adventures at Wuthering Heights[15]. Every time I closed my eyes I saw the faces of the people I had met… mysterious, brooding Heathcliff, young, sulky Catherine and clumsy, silent Hareton. Why did they hate each other so much, and why were they all living up at the Heights together? But most of all I wondered about the wild, dark-haired girl at the window. Was she a ghost or a fiend? And what was she doing wandering over the moors?

Eventually, I decided to give up all thoughts of studying for the day, and when Nelly arrived with my supper, I asked her to sit with me for a while, hoping she would tell me more about the Heights.

«I understand you’ve lived at the Grange for a long time,» I began. «Did you say it was eighteen years?

«Yes, sir – I came to look after my mistress when she married.»

«And who was your mistress, Nelly?» I asked.

«Her name was Catherine Earnshaw.»

(«Catherine Earnshaw!» I thought to myself. «Could this be the ghostly girl I’d seen at the window?»)

«And what happened to Catherine Earnshaw?» «She died, sir, soon after her marriage to Mr. Linton, but she had a daughter and I stayed on to look after her until she married and went to live at the Heights.»

«So is that the young lady I saw last night?»

«Yes, sir, she’s my young Miss Catherine, who I cared for all her life. But tell me, how is the poor girl now?»

«Mrs. Heathcliff? Well, I thought she looked healthy enough, and very beautiful, but she didn’t seem happy.»

Nelly sighed, «And what do you think of Heathcliff, Mr. Lockwood?»

«A rather rough fellow, I thought. Don’t you agree?

«Oh, he’s as rough as a saw-edge and as hard as the rocks on the moor[16]! But he’s rich too.»

«Whatever can have happened to make him like he is?»

«Well that’s a long story, sir. His life is like a cuckoo’s… I know all about it, except where he was born and who his parents were, and how he grew so rich that he pushed all the other birds out of the nest.»

I was sure I wouldn’t sleep that night until I knew more. My head felt hot, but the rest of my body was icy cold, and I felt strangely excited by everything that had happened up at the Heights. I asked Nelly to stay with me and tell me more, so she settled herself comfortably and started her story…

Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights - _029_2.jpg

Before I came to live at the Grange, she began, I lived at Wuthering Heights. My mother was housekeeper to old Mr. Earnshaw and his wife, and I ran errands[17] for the family and hung around the farm, doing any jobs they wanted me to do. We were so much part of the family, that I was even allowed to play with the children – young Master Hindley and Miss Cathy.

One summer morning, we were all playing together when Mr. Earnshaw came downstairs, ready for a journey,

«I’m going to Liverpool today. So what shall I bring you? You can choose anything you like, but it must be small because I’m walking there and back – sixty miles each way – and that’s a long hike!»

Hindley asked for a violin, and Cathy, who was only six years old but could ride any horse in the stable, chose a riding whip. The master didn’t forget me either, and promised to bring me a pocketful of apples. Then he kissed his children goodbye and set off across the moors.

The three days that Mr. Earnshaw was away seemed a terribly long time – and little Cathy asked again and again when her father would be home. We expected him back at tea time, but in the end it was just after eleven when the sitting room door opened and he burst into the room. He threw himself into a chair, laughing and groaning, and told us all to leave him alone because he was half dead.

«And on top of all the walking, I’ve been nearly punched to death!» he said, opening up his overcoat, which he held bundled up in his arms.

«Take a look at this,» he said to his wife, «I’ve never been so beaten by anything in my life!»

We all crowded around, and saw a dirty, ragged, black-haired boy! He was big enough to walk and talk, but he only stared around and muttered some nonsense at us that no one could understand. I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw wanted to fling the creature straight out of doors.

«Are you insane?» she asked her husband angrily. «What made you bring this gypsy brat into our house, when we have children of our own to feed and care for?»

Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights - _032_2.jpg

The master tried to explain what had happened, but he was half dead from exhaustion. All I could understand, in between his wife’s scolding and shouting, was that he had found the child starving and homeless in the streets of Liverpool, where he had picked it up and asked around for its owner. No one knew who the boy belonged to, and he was much too kindhearted to leave the child alone to its fate, so he decided to bring it home with him.

Eventually, my mistress grumbled herself calm and Mr. Earnshaw told me I must wash the creature and give it clean clothes to wear. Hindley and Cathy had been silent up until then, but now they both began searching in their father’s pockets for the presents he’d promised them. When Hindley pulled out what was left of his violin, he burst into tears like a baby, even though he was fourteen years old. And when Cathy learned that her whip had been lost, she took her revenge by making faces[18] at the creature, until her father told her to stop. Both the children refused to have the boy in their room, so when I had washed and dressed him I put him out on the landing, hoping he might be gone by the morning. But somehow he managed to creep into the master’s room and the next morning I was punished for my cruelty.

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13

forcing it wide open – широко распахнув его (окно)

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14

blundered off the path – сбивался с тропы

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15

going over my strange adventures at Wuthering Heights – вспоминая мои странные приключения в «Грозовом Перевале»

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16

he’s as rough as a saw-edge and as hard as the rocks on the moor – он жесток, как лезвие пилы и тверд, как скалы на вересковой пустоши

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17

I ran errands – я выполняла поручения

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18

she took her revenge by making faces – в попытке отомстить она начала корчить рожи

4
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