Hed better have kept his distance: my master quickly sprang erect, and struck him full on the throat a blow that would have levelled a slighter man. It took his breath for a minute; and while he choked, Mr. Linton walked out by the back door into the yard, and from thence to the front entrance.
Id rather see Edgar at bay than you
“There! youve done with coming here,” cried Catherine. “Get away, now; hell return with a brace of pistols and half-a-dozen assistants. If he did overhear us, of course hed never forgive you. Youve played me an ill turn, Heathcliff! But go-make haste! ”
“Do you suppose Im going with that blow burning in my gullet?” he thundered. “By hell, no! Ill crush his ribs in like a rotten hazel-nut before I cross the threshold! If I dont floor him now, I shall murder him some time; so, as you value his existence, let me get at him!”
“He is not coming,” I interposed, framing a bit of a lie. “Theres the coachman and the two gardeners; youll surely not wait to be thrust into the road by them! Each has a bludgeon; and master will, very likely, be watching from the parlour-windows to see that they fulfil his orders.”
The gardeners and coachman were there: but Linton was with them. They had already entered the court. Heathcliff, on the second thoughts, resolved to avoid a struggle against three underlings: he seized the poker, smashed the lock from the inner door, and made his escape as they tramped in.
Linton, who was very much excited, bade me accompany her upstairs. She did not know my share in contributing to the disturbance, and I was anxious to keep her in ignorance.
“Im nearly distracted, Nelly!” she exclaimed, throwing herself on the sofa. “A thousand smiths hammers are beating in my head! Tell Isabella to shun me; this uproar is owing to her; and should she or any one else aggravate my anger at present, I shall get wild. And, Nelly, say to Edgar, if you see him again to-night, that Im in danger of being seriously ill. I wish it may prove true. He has startled and distressed me shockingly! I want to frighten him. Besides, he might come and begin a string of abuse or complainings; Im certain I should recriminate, and God knows where we should end! Will you do so, my good Nelly? You are aware that I am no way blamable in this matter. What possessed him to turn listener? Heathcliffs talk was outrageous, after you left us; but I could soon have diverted him from Isabella, and the rest meant nothing. Now all is dashed wrong; by the fools craving to hear evil of self, that haunts some people like a demon! Had Edgar never gathered our conversation, he would never have been the worse for it. Really, when he opened on me in that unreasonable tone of displeasure after I had scolded Heathcliff till I was hoarse for him; I did not care hardly what they did to each other; especially as I felt that, however the scene closed, we should all be driven asunder for nobody knows how long! Well, if I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend-if Edgar will be mean and jealous, Ill try to break their hearts by breaking my own. That will be a prompt way of finishing all, when I am pushed to extremity! But its a deed to be reserved for a forlorn hope; Id not take Linton by surprise with it. To this point he has been discreet in dreading to provoke me; you must represent the peril of quitting that policy, and remind him of my passionate temper, verging, when kindled, on frenzy. I wish you could dismiss that apathy out of that countenance, and look rather more anxious about me.”