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This was Heathcliff’s first introduction to the family. On coming
back a few days afterwards (for I did not consider my banishment
perpetual) I found they had christened him ‘Heathcliff’: it was the
name of a son who died in childhood, and it has served him ever
since, both for Christian and surname.
Miss Cathy and he were now very thick; but Hindley hated him,
and to say the truth I did the same; and we plagued and went on
with him shamefully; for I wasn’t reasonable enough to feel my
injustice, and the mistress never put in a word on his behalf when
she saw him wronged.
He seemed a sullen, patient child, hardened, perhaps, to ill-
treatment; he would stand Hindley’s blows without winking or
shedding a tear, and my pinches moved him only to draw in a
breath and open his eyes, as if he had hurt himself by accident and
nobody was to blame.
This endurance made old Earnshaw furious, when he
discovered his son persecuting the poor, fatherless child, as he
called him. He took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said
(for that matter, he said precious little, and generally the truth),
and petting him up far above Cathy, who was too mischievous and
wayward for a favourite.
So, from the very beginning, he bred bad feeling in the house;
and at Mrs. Earnshaw’s death, which happened in less than two
years after, the young master had learned to regard his father as
an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of
his parent’s affections and his privileges, and he grew bitter with
brooding over these injuries.
I sympathised a while; but when the children fell ill of the
measles, and I had to tend them, and take on me the cares of a