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“Where should good news come from, to me?” he said. “I’m
animated with hunger; and, seemingly, I must not eat.”
“Your dinner is here,” I returned; “why won’t you get it?”
“I don’t want it now,” he muttered hastily; “I’ll wait till supper.
And, Nelly, once for all, let me beg you to warn Hareton and the
other away from me. I wish to be troubled by nobody--I wish to
have this place to myself.”
“Is there some new reason for this banishment?” I inquired.
“Tell me why you are so queer, Mr. Heathcliff? Where were you
last night? I’m not putting the question through idle curiosity,
“You are putting the question through very idle curiosity,” he
interrupted, with a laugh. “Yet, I’ll answer it. Last night, I was on
the threshold of hell. Today, I am within sight of my heaven. I have
my eyes on it--hardly three feet to sever me! And now you’d
better go. You’ll neither see nor hear anything to frighten you, if
you refrain from prying.”
Having swept the hearth and wiped the table, I departed more
perplexed than ever.
He did not quit the house again that afternoon, and no one
intruded on his solitude, till, at eight o’clock, I deemed it proper,
though unsummoned, to carry a candle and his supper to him.
He was leaning against the ledge of an open lattice, but not
looking out; his face was turned to the interior gloom. The fire had
smouldered to ashes; the room was filled with the damp, mild air
of the cloudy evening; and so still, that not only the murmur of the
beck down Gimmerton was distinguishable, but its ripples and its
gurgling over the pebbles, or through the large stones which it
could not cover.