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|Wuthering Heights||Emily Bronte|
|Page 3 of 9||
I went here and there collecting it.
'I see in you, Nelly,' she continued dreamily, 'an aged woman: you have grey hair and bent shoulders. This bed is the fairy cave under Penistone crags, and you are gathering elf-bolts to hurt our heifers; pretending, while I am near, that they are only locks of wool. That's what you'll come to fifty years hence: I know you are not so now. I'm not wandering: you're mistaken, or else I should believe you really WERE that withered hag, and I should think I WAS under Penistone Crags; and I'm conscious it's night, and there are two candles on the table making the black press shine like jet.'
'The black press? where is that?' I asked. 'You are talking in your sleep!'
'It's against the wall, as it always is,' she replied. 'It DOES appear odd - I see a face in it!'
'There's no press in the room, and never was,' said I, resuming my seat, and looping up the curtain that I might watch her.
'Don't YOU see that face?' she inquired, gazing earnestly at the mirror.
And say what I could, I was incapable of making her comprehend it to be her own; so I rose and covered it with a shawl.
'It's behind there still!' she pursued, anxiously. 'And it stirred. Who is it? I hope it will not come out when you are gone! Oh! Nelly, the room is haunted! I'm afraid of being alone!'
I took her hand in mine, and bid her be composed; for a succession of shudders convulsed her frame, and she would keep straining her gaze towards the glass.
'There's nobody here!' I insisted. 'It was YOURSELF, Mrs. Linton: you knew it a while since.'
'Myself!' she gasped, 'and the clock is striking twelve! It's true, then! that's dreadful!'
Her fingers clutched the clothes, and gathered them over her eyes. I attempted to steal to the door with an intention of calling her husband; but I was summoned back by a piercing shriek - the shawl had dropped from the frame.
'Why, what is the matter?' cried I. 'Who is coward now? Wake up! That is the glass - the mirror, Mrs. Linton; and you see yourself in it, and there am I too by your side.'
Trembling and bewildered, she held me fast, but the horror gradually passed from her countenance; its paleness gave place to a glow of shame.
'Oh, dear! I thought I was at home,' she sighed. 'I thought I was lying in my chamber at Wuthering Heights. Because I'm weak, my brain got confused, and I screamed unconsciously. Don't say anything; but stay with me. I dread sleeping: my dreams appal me.'
'A sound sleep would do you good, ma'am,' I answered: 'and I hope this suffering will prevent your trying starving again.'
'Oh, if I were but in my own bed in the old house!' she went on bitterly, wringing her hands. 'And that wind sounding in the firs by the lattice. Do let me feel it - it comes straight down the moor - do let me have one breath!' To pacify her I held the casement ajar a few seconds. A cold blast rushed through; I closed it, and returned to my post. She lay still now, her face bathed in tears. Exhaustion of body had entirely subdued her spirit: our fiery Catherine was no better than a wailing child.
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