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confess, that if I had been in the young lady’s place, I would, at
least, have swept the hearth, and wiped the tables with a duster.
But she already partook of the pervading spirit of neglect which
encompassed her. Her pretty face was wan and listless; her hair
uncurled, some locks hanging lankly down, and some carelessly
twisted round her head. Probably she had not touched her dress
since yester evening.

Hindley was not there. Mr. Heathcliff sat at a table, turning
over some papers in his pocket-book; but he rose when I
appeared, asked me how I did, quite friendly, and offered me a

He was the only thing there that seemed decent, and I thought
he never looked better. So much had circumstances altered their
positions, that he would certainly have struck a stranger as a born
and bred gentleman, and his wife as a thorough little slattern!

She came forward eagerly to greet me; and held out one hand
to take the expected letter.

I shook my head. She wouldn’t understand the hint, but
followed me to a sideboard, where I went to lay my bonnet, and
importuned me in a whisper to give her directly what I had

Heathcliff guessed the meaning of her manoeuvres, and said--
“If you have got anything for Isabella (as no doubt you have,
Nelly), give it to her. You needn’t make a secret of it; we have no
secrets between us.”

“Oh, I have nothing,” I replied, thinking it best to speak the
truth at once. “My master bid me tell his sister that she must not
expect either a letter or a visit from him at present. He sends his
love, ma’am, and his wishes for your happiness, and his pardon for

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