Have you read Wuthering Heights? Don’t tell anybody but I haven’t🤫 but I do know there is a character named HeathCliff and this is his story!
It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”
Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life. At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.
Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance and prosperity.
But what happened during those years? How could he have made his fortune, from nothing? Who might his parents have been? And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?
For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered.
Purchase Link – mybook.to/heathcliff
Author Bio –
Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.
Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue’s first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet), was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. Since then she has produced five more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015), Never on Saturday (2017), Heathcliff (2018), and Finding Nina (2019).
Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.
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In this extract, which comes very early in the story, Nelly Dean describes her conversation with Cathy.
I really don’t understand what Miss Catherine can be thinking of. The only possible explanation is that she must have lost her mind.
Earlier this evening, she came to see me in the kitchen, almost in tears. During the afternoon, whilst Mr Edgar was visiting her, she behaved appallingly towards me and young Hareton, and she even slapped Mr Edgar’s face. Goodness only knows what he must have thought of her. When she first appeared I wondered if she might have come to say she was sorry, though I’m well aware that this is not in her nature.
What she did say almost knocked me sideways. She told me that Mr Edgar has asked her to marry him, and that she has accepted! Then – incredibly – she asked me if she was doing the right thing.
As if I could give her an answer! But in any case, it certainly isn’t my place to tell her. If she really is doing the right thing by marrying Mr Edgar, she would know in her own heart, and wouldn’t need to ask anyone – let alone the likes of me.
I asked her if she loves Mr Edgar. She said she does, because he’s “handsome, and pleasant, and young, and cheerful, and rich.” And also because he loves her.
My first thought, on hearing this, is one which I would rather not repeat. My second thought was Heaven help poor Mr Edgar… I managed to control myself and tried to reason with Miss Catherine, suggesting that she might be marrying him for all the wrong reasons.
But even though I could see she was already beginning to have doubts about it (she even admitted that in her heart and her soul she was convinced she was wrong), she wouldn’t listen to me. Not that I’m surprised. She was always a wilful and headstrong thing, even as a child.
Then she told me that she’d once dreamed she was in Heaven, but she’d been so miserable that the angels had thrown her back down to earth. It made me feel very uneasy, to be honest, until she explained that she had no more business to be in Heaven than she had to marry Mr Edgar.
But then she said, “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff.”
I was so taken aback at this that at first I failed to notice a slight sound from behind the settle, and possibly the creak of a door. I glanced up, and imagined I saw a faint movement in the shadows. But Miss Catherine, who was sitting on the floor with her back to the door, went on talking.
If I thought she was crazy before, what she said next convinced me of it. Her next words, after saying it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff, were “…so he shall never know how I love him”.
Oh dear God in Heaven.
I opened my mouth to say: “Love is a great leveller, Miss Catherine. So if you really love Heathcliff, then the question of rank or status wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, enter into it.” But before I could speak she just carried on, saying her soul and Heathcliff’s were one and the same, whereas hers and Edgar’s were as different as they could possibly be.
Yet another reason why marrying Mr Edgar is the worst thing she could possibly do.
When she finally paused for breath I held up my hand for silence, saying I’d heard the sound of Joseph’s cart in the yard, and it was likely that Heathcliff would be with him. At that point, she panicked, clearly terrified that Heathcliff might have any suspicion of what she’s done.
“But Heathcliff doesn’t know anything about love, does he, Nelly?” she declared.
“How can you be so sure of that, Miss Catherine?” I replied. “Is there any reason why he shouldn’t know? Let’s just suppose that he does – and that you might be the one he loves. Can you even begin to imagine how he might feel, once he finds out that you’re going to marry Edgar Linton?”
“But we’ll still be together,” she protested. “Don’t you understand, Nelly? Nobody will ever separate us! Edgar will understand, once he realises how much Heathcliff means to me.”
My face must have betrayed my horror at this point, because she carried on: “Nelly, I know you must think I’m a selfish brat. But has it not occurred to you that if I married Heathcliff, we’d be little more than beggars? Whereas if I marry Edgar, I can help Heathcliff to better himself.”
I was aghast. “With your husband’s money, Miss Catherine? Do you honestly think you can get away with that? And, begging your pardon, I think that’s your worst reason yet for agreeing to marry Mr Edgar.”
“No, it is the best reason of all!” she shouted. “Don’t you see how unselfish I’m being? I’m doing this for Heathcliff, not for myself or for Edgar! Don’t you understand?”
“No, Miss Catherine, I’m afraid I don’t understand.” By now I had run out of patience with her. “As far as I can tell, either you have no idea of what is expected of a married woman, or you are just a spoilt, unprincipled child. Please spare me any more of your ramblings.”
At this point the door opened and Joseph entered, effectively bringing our conversation to a close. Miss Catherine slumped into a seat in the corner, whilst I moved to the stove to continue preparing the supper. As I passed round to the other side of the settle, I spotted a small pale object on the floor underneath the bench by the wall. Bending down to retrieve it, I recognised Heathcliff’s clay pipe.
I recalled having heard the door creak. That was when I realised what had happened: Heathcliff must have overheard the earlier part of our conversation, up to when Miss Catherine said it would degrade her to marry him – at which point, he’d got up and left.