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thousand pounds, could not show a blanker countenance than he
did on beholding the figure of Mr. Earnshaw above. It expressed,
plainer than words could do, the intensest anguish at having made
himself the instrument of thwarting his own revenge. Had it been
dark, I daresay, he would have tried to remedy the mistake by
smashing Hareton’s skull on the steps; but, we witnessed his
salvation; and I was presently below with my precious charge
pressed to my heart.
Hindley descended more leisurely, sobered and abashed.
“It is your fault, Ellen,” he said; “you should have kept him out
of sight: you should have taken him from me! Is he injured
“Injured!” I cried angrily; “if he’s not killed, he’ll be an idiot!
Oh! I wonder his mother does not rise from her grave to see how
you use him. You’re worse than a heathen--treating your own
flesh and blood in that manner!”
He attempted to touch the child, who, on finding himself with
me, sobbed off his terror directly. At the first finger his father laid
on him, however, he shrieked again louder than before, and
struggled as if he would go into convulsions.
“You shall not meddle with him!” I continued. “He hates you--
they all hate you--that’s the truth! A happy family you have; and a
pretty state you’re come to!”
“I shall come to a prettier, yet, Nelly,” laughed the misguided
man, recovering his hardness. “At present, convey yourself and
him away. And, hark you, Heathcliff! clear you too, quite from my
reach and hearing. I wouldn’t murder you tonight, unless,
perhaps, I set the house on fire; but that’s as my fancy goes.”
While saying this he took a pint bottle of brandy from the