Wuthering Heights Chapters 9 - 12 Summary

Mrs. Dean is continuing her story about the Earnshaw family and Heathcliff. She explains what happened the night Hindley returned to the house not only drunk, but in a murderous mood. He had caught her trying to hide the child, Hareton, in a cupboard from his father. The young boy was frightened of his father and wanted nothing to do with him. Hindley in the end, did get ahold of his child and was trying to take him upstairs when Heathcliff entered the house. The boy took advantage of his father's distraction to leap from the stairs. Heathcliff caught him, breaking his fall.

Later after all the commotion had died down, Catherine entered the kitchen and took Mrs. Dean into her confidence. She told her she had accepted Edgar Linton's proposal of marriage. She liked him well enough and desired his wealth and social position, but she wondered if she was doing the right thing. Mrs. Dean counseled her that these reasons were not enough to make a marriage last for years and years. Catherine, it seems, was only interested in the present, because she thought she could help Heathcliff with the money she would gain from her marriage. She also confessed, to Mrs. Dean, her love for Heathcliff. She would have liked to marry him, but because of her brother's treatment of Heathcliff, his social standing was too low for her to marry him. She was unaware that Heathcliff had overheard only the section of her speech saying that, "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now." He left after she said this, and did not hear her state how deep her love for him was.

Heathcliff could not be found. Catherine sat out in a storm the night he left, waiting for him to return. Because of this she became feverish and was near death. She was taken to the Lintons to recover, but unfortunately Mr. and Mrs. Linton caught her illness and died.

Mr. Lockwood has become ill after eating some grouse Heathcliff gifted him. To distract himself while he recovers, he asks Mrs. Dean to return to her story of the Earnshaw family history. She tells him of how she came to live at Thrushcross Grange. After Catherine had married Edgar, Hindley assigned Mrs. Dean to her. She was upset at the prospect of leaving Hareton, but she was given no choice in the matter. Their life there was fine until the day, three years later, Heathcliff showed up at Thrushcross Grange. Edgar did not want him in his house, but Catherine insisted.

After a while Heathcliff, who was once again living at Wuthering Heights, became a constant visitor to the house. Edgar was not happy about this situation, but he endured it in an effort to make his wife happy. Soon enough Isabella, Edgar's sister, became infatuated with Heathcliff. She was eighteen years old and thought she was in love. She became angry with Catherine, because she felt Catherine was trying to keep her away from Heathcliff. In fact, she goes so far as to say that Catherine wanted Heathcliff for herself. The two women had a falling out after Catherine explained Heathcliff's bad qualities to Isabella. The two women did not speak to one another for the rest of the day.

The next day Heathcliff came for a visit. Catherine took the opportunity to tell him of Isabella's feelings for him, while Isabella was in the room with them. She was mortified to have her innermost feelings exposed in this way. After Isabella left the room, Heathcliff told Catherine he had no feelings for the girl, although a marriage to her would serve to elevate him socially and economically.

Mrs. Dean relates a story of how she was walking to town and saw a young boy playing. She thought she was seeing things because to her the boy looked like Hindley. She then realized it was Hareton, he was almost six years old and he no longer remembered her. She did find out by talking to the boy that he had not been given an education and in fact talked in quite a rough manner.

The next time Heathcliff came to visit he made a pass at Isabella. Mrs. Dean reported it to Catherine, who had words with Heathcliff. Mrs. Dean reported the exchange to Edgar, who was in the house at the time of the argument. He became agitated with both Heathcliff and Catherine about their relationship, and the attentions Heathcliff paid to his sister. Edgar went so far as to ban Heathcliff from his house. This caused Heathcliff to respond in anger towards him and the two of them had at first a verbal fight, which escalated to Edgar hitting Heathcliff. Heathcliff was going to stay and fight Edgar, but changed his mind after being told Edgar had recruited two of his men to help him fight.

Catherine pronounced herself ill and went with Mrs. Dean to her bedroom. Edgar tried to find out from his wife if she was in love with him or Heathcliff, but she would not answer. Instead she told him to leave her, because she was ill. She would not eat for a few days and then would only take a little food. Her old illness returned, but no one knew of it because she refused to see anyone. Finally, Mrs. Dean gained entrance into her room, she found her feverish and having hallucinations. Edgar found out about his wife's condition and sent for the doctor.

The family, also found out during this time, that Isabella had run away with Heathcliff. Edgar decided that she was his sister in name only.

Heathcliff leaves home after hearing Catherine say it would be degrading for her to marry him. Instead, she marries Edgar not for love, but for station and money. Hindley has become even more irrational because of his drinking problems. Heathcliff causes more problems for Catherine when he returns.

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