Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. “Wuthering” being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. One may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.
The window ledge, above the bed where I placed my candle, was covered with writing scratched on the paint. A name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small – a Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.
In vapid Listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw – Heathcliff – Linton, till my eyes closed, but they had not rested five minutes when I was disturbed by the noise from the branch of a fir tree that touched my lattice, as the wind wailed by, and rattled its dry cones against the panes.
I resolved to silence it, if possible; I endeavoured to unhasp the casement, but the hook was soldered into the staple.
“I must stop it, nevertheless!” I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, “Let me in, let me in!”
Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, “Let me in!” and maintained its tenacious grip, almost maddening me with fear.
“How can I?” I said at length. “Let me go, if you want me to let you in!”
The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, and stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour; yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on!
“Begone!” I shouted, “I’ll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.”
“It is twenty years,” mourned the voice. “Twenty years. I’ve been awaiting for twenty years!”
There at began a feeble scratching outside. I tried to jump up, but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. Hasty footsteps approached my chamber door; somebody pushed it open, with a vigorous hand.