Chapters 18, 19 and 20
During the next 13 years, Catherine grows up at the
Grange under the guidance of a very protective Edgar.
She is not allowed to leave the grounds on her own and she is totally unaware of Wuthering Heights. However, she is an inquisitive girl and has learned about the fairy cave at Penistone Crags (a place well-known to her mother). She asks her father to take here there, but he is not willing to go as the road passes Wuthering Heights.
Around this time, Isabella writes to Edgar informing him of her impending
death. She requests that he comes to London to bring Linton back to the Grange in order to keep him out of the clutches of Heathcliff. Edgar leaves to go to London, leaving Nelly in charge of Catherine.
One day Catherine goes missing and it transpires that her pony leaped the
hedge and made for the Penistone Crags. Catherine ended up at Wuthering Heights where she spent the day with Hareton. They had a great time together.
Nelly insists on getting Catherine back to the Grange.
A servant at Wuthering Heights tells Catherine that Hareton is her cousin. Catherine in turn tells Hareton that his father is off to London to fetch her cousin back to the Grange. This further upsets Nelly and she tells Catherine not to mention their visit to Wuthering Heights to her father.
Edgar returns from London with the pale, delicate Linton who greatly
Catherine treats him like a pet because he is too weak to play with her. Edgar hopes that Heathcliff will allow Linton to stay at the Grange, but that night Joseph arrives, demanding to take Linton to Wuthering Heights. Edgar says that he will deliver him the next morning.
Nelly takes Linton to Wuthering Heights and she tries to comfort Linton by
making up falsehoods concerning his father.
When he arrives, Heathcliff refers to his son as property and calls Isabella a wicked slut. Linton is distraught at being left at Wuthering Heights, pleading with Nelly not to leave him.
Given the responsibility by Edgar to look after
Catherine, Nelly makes a mess of things. The one thing Edgar would not have wished is for Catherine to go to Wuthering Heights and learn about her cousin there, and give information about his trip to London to
fetch Heathcliff’s son. Therefore, the reader must realize that Nelly’s narration is geared to her self-preservation.
We have stated that the second part of the novel has certain duality with
Here we see Hareton and Catherine spend a happy day at Penistone Crags, just as Heathcliff and Cathy had. Also, Catherine disapproves of Hareton’s lack of education, similar to her mother’s rejection of Heathcliff.
The unfortunate treatment of Linton in Chapter 20 shocks the reader, and
again we must question Nelly’s involvement in this episode. She will, obviously, be relieved to have Linton away from the Grange, and she lies to Linton in order to make the transfer easier. The fact
that his Uncle Edgar cared for him makes the jolt to Wuthering Heights even more severe when facing his uncaring father. It will not help Linton’s position that he looks like Edgar.