Hindley was not there. Mr. Heathcliff sat at a table, turning over some papers in his pocket-book; but he rosewhen I appeared, asked me how I did, quite friendly, and offered me a chair. He was the only thing there thatseemed decent; and I thought he never looked better. So much had circumstances altered their positions, thathe would certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman; and his wife as a thorough littleslattern! She came forward eagerly to greet me, and held out one hand to take the expected letter. I shook myhead. She wouldn't understand the hint, but followed me to a sideboard, where I went to lay my bonnet, andimportuned me in a whisper to give her directly what I had brought. Heathcliff guessed the meaning of hermanoeuvres, and said - 'If you have got anything for Isabella (as no doubt you have, Nelly), give it to her. Youneedn't make a secret of it: we have no secrets between us.''Oh, I have nothing,' I replied, thinking it best to speak the truth at once. 'My master bid me tell his sister thatshe must not expect either a letter or a visit from him at present. He sends his love, ma'am, and his wishes foryour happiness, and his pardon for the grief you have occasioned; but he thinks that after this time hishousehold and the household here should drop intercommunication, as nothing could come of keeping it up.'Mrs. Heathcliff's lip quivered slightly, and she returned to her seat in the window. Her husband took his standon the hearthstone, near me, and began to put questions concerning Catherine. I told him as much as I thoughtproper of her illness, and he extorted from me, by cross-examination, most of the facts connected with itsorigin. I blamed her, as she deserved, for bringing it all on herself; and ended by hoping that he would followMr. Linton's example and avoid future interference with his family, for good or evil.'Mrs. Linton is now just recovering,' I said; 'she'll never be like she was, but her life is spared; and if youreally have a regard for her, you'll shun crossing her way again: nay, you'll move out of this country entirely;and that you may not regret it, I'll inform you Catherine Linton is as different now from your old friendCatherine Earnshaw, as that young lady is different from me. Her appearance is changed greatly, her charactermuch more so; and the person who is compelled, of necessity, to be her companion, will only sustain hisaffection hereafter by the remembrance of what she once was, by common humanity, and a sense of duty!'CHAPTER XIV86
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'That is quite possible,' remarked Heathcliff, forcing himself to seem calm: 'quite possible that your mastershould have nothing but common humanity and a sense of duty to fall back upon. But do you imagine that Ishall leave Catherine to his DUTY and HUMANITY? and can you compare my feelings respecting Catherineto his? Before you leave this house, I must exact a promise from you that you'll get me an interview with her:consent, or refuse, I WILL see her! What do you say?''I say, Mr. Heathcliff,' I replied, 'you must not: you never shall, through my means. Another encounter
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