Chapters 24, 25 and 26
Nelly ‘recovers’ her health and becomes aware of
Catherine’s strange behavior of retiring early to bed.
One night she goes into Catherine’s room and finds her missing and waits for her return. Catherine tries to lie her way out of her predicament, but eventually she tells Nelly the truth.
On one of the occasions when she is at Wuthering Heights, Hareton stops
Catherine and says that he can read the name above the door.
Catherine says to him ‘do you know what the numbers are?’ and he is unable to respond. This angers Hareton and he takes his anger out on Linton. Later Hareton apologies to Catherine regarding his behavior, but she refuses to listen to him. Linton blames Catherine for angering Hareton so Catherine leaves and doesn’t return for some time. When she does go back, she tells Linton that she cannot visit him any more, so he apologizes for his behavior.
It is at this time that Nelly decides to tell Edgar what has been happening
and he forbids Catherine to visit Linton, but says that he will write inviting Linton to visit the Grange. Catherine agrees to abide by her father’s wishes. He only wants Catherine to be happy, and would
even allow her to marry Linton if she really desired this, even although it would mean that Heathcliff would achieve his perverted aims.
Linton does not accept the invitation, and eventually Edgar allows Catherine to visit Linton on the moors.
As arranged, Nelly and Catherine go onto the moors to meet with Linton, but
he is not at the meeting place. They eventually find him within view of Wuthering Heights and he seems to be apprehensive about venturing far from his home.
Both Catherine and Nelly are concerned about Linton’s health, but they agree to meet again in a few days.
The reader will observe that there is a slight change
in the narration in Chapter 24. Lockwood is hearing the story relayed to Nelly by Catherine and the main flaw will be Catherine’s account of her caring for Linton. The reader can assume from the evidence
available that Linton is a whining disagreeable person, and it must be quite difficult for anyone to get close to him. He behaves like a petulant child, blaming Catherine for all his misfortunes.
He is, therefore, holding a measure of guilt over Catherine’s head showing that he is totally self-centered.
It should also be noted that Nelly finally advises Edgar what has been going
on, and she lets him form the notion that Catherine might obtain a secure position by marrying Linton because Nelly does not tell Edgar of Linton’s frail condition. Edgar thinks that Catherine will be able to
marry Linton and keep her family home.
In Chapter 25, we realize that these events happen just over a year previous
to Lockwood’s arrival. During this year, therefore, the reader realizes that Linton dies and that the characters Lockwood met at Wuthering Heights are still suffering from this loss. Also Edgar has died,
going to his death realizing that he was unable to secure Catherine’s happiness, just as he was unable to make her mother, Cathy, happy.
Again we have duality regarding the moors as a meeting place, initially for
Heathcliff and Cathy, and now for Catherine and Linton, the difference being that Heathcliff required no prompting to escape to the moors to be with his love, Cathy, whilst Linton is being cajoled by Heathcliff to
Perhaps Heathcliff hopes that the magic he found there can be rekindled with Catherine and Linton. Heathcliff is single-minded regarding his objectives, having no feelings for Linton, using him up before he dies.