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no benefit, rather an aggravation of the constant torment I
suffer--and it partly contributes to render me regardless how he
and his cousin go on together. I can give them no attention, any
“But what do you mean by a change, Mr. Heathcliff?” I said,
alarmed at his manner, though he was neither in danger of losing
his senses, nor dying, according to my judgment, he was quite
strong and healthy; and, as to his reason, from childhood he had a
delight in dwelling on dark things, and entertaining odd fancies.
He might have had a monomania on the subject of his departed
idol; but on every other point his wits were as sound as mine.
“I shall not know that till it comes,” he said; “I’m only half
conscious of it now.”
“You have no feeling of illness, have you?” I asked.
“No, Nelly, I have not,” he answered.
“Then you are not afraid of death?” I pursued.
“Afraid? No!” he replied. “I have neither a fear, nor a
presentiment, nor a hope of death. Why should I? With my hard
constitution and temperate mode of living, and unperilous
occupations, I ought to, and probably shall, remain above ground
till there is scarcely a black hair on my head. And yet I cannot
continue in this condition! I have to remind myself to breathe--
almost to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending back a
stiff spring: it is by compulsion that I do the slightest act not
prompted by one thought; and by compulsion that I notice
anything alive or dead, which is not associated with one universal
idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being and faculties are
yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so
unwaveringly, that I’m convinced it will be reached--and soon--