A monologue from the
novel by Emily Brontë
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted
from Wuthering Heights. Emily Brontë. New York: Harper
& Brothers, 1848.
HEATHCLIFF: It began oddly. You know I was wild after
she died; and eternally, from dawn to dawn, praying her to return
to me her spirit! I have a strong faith in ghosts: I have a conviction
that they can, and do, exist among us! The day she was buried,
there came a fall of snow. In the evening I went to the churchyard.
It blew bleak as winter -- all round was solitary. I didn't fear
that her fool of a husband would wander up the glen so late;
and no one else had business to bring them there. Being alone,
and conscious two yards of loose earth was the sole barrier between
us, I said to myself -- "I'll have her in my arms again!
If she be cold, I'll think it is this north wind that chills
ME; and if she be motionless, it is sleep." I got a spade
from the tool-house, and began to delve with all my might --
it scraped the coffin; I fell to work with my hands; the wood
commenced cracking about the screws; I was on the point of attaining
my object, when it seemed that I heard a sigh from some one above,
close at the edge of the grave, and bending down. "If I
can only get this off," I muttered, "I wish they may
shovel in the earth over us both!" and I wrenched at it
more desperately still. There was another sigh, close at my ear.
I appeared to feel the warm breath of it displacing the sleet-laden
wind. I knew no living thing in flesh and blood was by; but,
as certainly as you perceive the approach to some substantial
body in the dark, though it cannot be discerned, so certainly
I felt that Cathy was there: not under me, but on the earth.
A sudden sense of relief flowed from my heart through every limb.
I relinquished my labour of agony, and turned consoled at once:
unspeakably consoled. Her presence was with me: it remained while
I re-filled the grave, and led me home. You may laugh, if you
will; but I was sure I should see her there. I was sure she was
with me, and I could not help talking to her. Having reached
the Heights, I rushed eagerly to the door. It was fastened; and,
I remember, that accursed Earnshaw and my wife opposed my entrance.
I remember stopping to kick the breath out of him, and then hurrying
up-stairs, to my room and hers. I looked round impatiently --
I felt her by me -- I could ALMOST see her, and yet I COULD NOT!
I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my yearning
-- from the fervour of my supplications to have but one glimpse!
I had not one. She showed herself, as she often was in life,
a devil to me! And, since then, sometimes more and sometimes
less, I've been the sport of that intolerable torture! Infernal!
keeping my nerves at such a stretch that, if they had not resembled
catgut, they would long ago have relaxed to the feebleness of
Linton's. When I sat in the house with Hareton, it seemed that
on going out I should meet her; when I walked on the moors I
should meet her coming in. When I went from home I hastened to
return; she MUST be somewhere at the Heights, I was certain!
And when I slept in her chamber -- I was beaten out of that.
I couldn't lie there; for the moment I closed my eyes, she was
either outside the window, or sliding back the panels, or entering
the room, or even resting her darling head on the same pillow
as she did when a child; and I must open my lids to see. And
so I opened and closed them a hundred times a night -- to be
always disappointed! It racked me! I've often groaned aloud,
till that old rascal Joseph no doubt believed that my conscience
was playing the fiend inside of me. Now, since I've seen her,
I'm pacified -- a little. It was a strange way of killing: not
by inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths, to beguile me with
the spectre of a hope through eighteen years!
MONOLOGUES BY EMILY BRONTË