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She had some reason to put the question, for shame and pride
threw double gloom over his countenance, and kept him
“Shake hands, Heathcliff,” said Mr. Earnshaw,
condescendingly; “once in a way, that is permitted.”
“I shall not,” replied the boy, finding his tongue at last; “I shall
not stand to be laughed at. I shall not bear it!”
And he would have broken from the circle, but Miss Cathy
seized him again.
“I did not mean to laugh at you,” she said. “I could not hinder
myself. Heathcliff, shake hands, at least! Why are you sulky for? It
was only that you looked odd. If you wash your face and brush
your hair, it will be all right; but you are so dirty!”
She gazed concernedly at the dusky fingers she held in her
own, and also at her dress, which she feared had gained no
embellishment from its contact with his.
“You needn’t have touched me!” he answered, following her
eye and snatching away his hand. “I shall be as dirty as I please:
and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty.”
With that he dashed head foremost out of the room, amid the
merriment of the master and mistress, and to the serious
disturbance of Catherine, who could not comprehend how her
remarks should have produced such an exhibition of bad temper.
After playing lady’s-maid to the newcomer, and putting my
cakes in the oven, and making the house and kitchen cheerful with
great fires, befitting Christmas eve, I prepared to sit down and
amuse myself by singing carols, all alone, regardless of Joseph’s
affirmations that he considered the merry tunes I chose as next
door to songs.