Her position before was sheltered from the light; now, I had a distinct view of her whole figure and countenance. She was slender, and apparently scarcely past girlhood: an admirable form, and the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the pleasure of beholding; small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck; and eyes, had they been agreeable in expression, that would have been irresistible: fortunately for my susceptible heart, the only sentiment they evinced hovered between scorn and a kind of desperation, singularly unnatural to be detected there. The canisters were almost out of her reach; I made a motion to aid her; she turned upon me as a miser might turn if any one attempted to assist him in counting his gold.
I began to doubt whether he were a servant or not: his dress and speech were both rude, entirely devoid of the superiority observable in Mr
“Were you asked to tea?” she demanded, tying an apron over her neat black frock, and standing with a spoonful of the leaf poised over the pot.
I hemmed once more, and drew closer to the hearth, repeating my comment on the wildness of the evening
She flung the tea back, spoon and all, and resumed her chair in a pet; her forehead corrugated, and her red under-lip pushed out, like a childs ready to cry.
Meanwhile, the young man had slung on to his person a decidedly shabby upper garment, and, erecting himself before the blaze, looked down on me from the corner of his eyes, for all the world as if there were some mortal feud unavenged between us. and Mrs. Heathcliff; his thick brown curls were rough and uncultivated, his whiskers encroached bearishly over his cheeks, and his hands were embrowned like those of a common labourer: still his bearing was free, almost haughty, and he showed none of a domestics assiduity in attending on the lady of the house. In the absence of clear proofs of his condition, I deemed it best to abstain from noticing his curious conduct; and, five minutes afterwards, the entrance of Heathcliff relieved me, in some measure, from my uncomfortable state.
“You see, sir, I am come, according to promise!” I exclaimed, assuming the cheerful; “and I fear I shall be weather-bound for half an hour, if you can afford me shelter during that space.”
“Half an hour?” he said, shaking the white flakes from his clothes; “I wonder you should select the thick of a snow-storm to ramble about in. Do you know that you run a risk of being lost in the iliar with these moors often miss their road on such evenings; and I can tell you there is no chance of a change at present.”
“Perhaps I can get a guide among your lads, and he might stay at the Grange till morning-could you spare me one?”
“Are you going to mak the tea?” demanded he of the shabby coat, shifting his ferocious gaze from me to the young lady.
“Get it ready, will you?” was click resources the answer, uttered so savagely that I started. The tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine bad nature. I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a capital fellow. When the preparations were finished, he invited me with-“Now, sir, bring forward your chair.” And we all, including the rustic youth, drew round the table: an austere silence prevailing while we discussed our meal.
I thought, if I had caused the cloud, it was my duty to make an effort to dispel it. They could not every day sit so grim and taciturn; and it was impossible, however ill-tempered they might be, that the universal scowl they wore was their every-day countenance.