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Six months later, Lockwood is traveling north and decides to spend the night at Thrushcross Grange, the house for which he is still paying rent. While there, he plans to meet his landlord and finish all his business with him. Upon his arrival at the Grange, an old woman informs him that Mrs. Dean now lives at the Heights.
Lockwood proceeds to the Heights, where he finds Cathy teaching Hareton to read. He observes that the two cousins look radiant in each other's company. Not wishing to disturb them, he goes into the kitchen and finds Nelly. He is told that Heathcliff died three months ago. Nelly then begins her narration of the events which have occurred during the period of Lockwood's absence from the Grange.
Heathcliff permitted Nelly to return as a housekeeper to the Heights. He wanted her to attend to Cathy, whom Heathcliff was "tired of seeing." Nelly watched as Cathy and Hareton developed an intimate relationship; she now hopes the two will marry.
Lockwood returns to Thrushcross Grange and then to Wuthering Heights, where he learns much new information. Nelly was permitted to come to the Heights to attend to Cathy. More importantly, Heathcliff has died three months previously, and Cathy is now mistress of the Heights, giving it a changed atmosphere.
The most important plot development in this chapter is that Cathy and Hareton have buried their previous hostilities and are now deeply fond of each other. The relationship between them has developed to the point where Nelly anticipates their marriage. She admits that "the crown of all my wishes will be the union of these two." In contrast to the happy Nelly, Joseph continues to be as irritable and bad-tempered as ever before. It gives him no pleasure to see the young couple becoming so close.