Justine ou les Malheurs de la vertu

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Marquis de Sade

Chapter 19

Isabella dies, and Edgar returns with his nephew, Linton. Cathy is overjoyed to see her cousin and new playmate. Linton is a frail boy, but he too seems happy to have Cathy. That same night, however, they are visited by Joseph, who is sent by Heathcliff. Heathcliff wants the boy, since it is his own. Edgar at first refuses to give up the child, but sensing that Heathcliff is determined to have his heir, Edgar relents and promises to send the boy tomorrow.

In this chapter, it is revealed that Heathcliff still exercises a maniacal control, even after more than a decade of silence. Whether he means to corrupt the boy or use him for some ulterior motive is not immediately clear. What is clear, though, is that Heathcliff is still the same.

Chapter 20

Linton, of course, does not desire to stay at Wuthering Heights, but there the poor boy is left to be raised by Heathcliff. Heathcliff speaks ill of Isabella to the boy. It is already apparent that Linton displeases his father, and his frail constitution is almost insulting to Heathcliff’s strength, as though the mother had somehow contrived that the boy should resemble the Linton side more than the Heathcliff side. Nelly leaves Linton to his fate, and as she slides out, the boy cries, “Don’t leave me! I’ll not stay here! I’ll not stay here!” Sadly, he has no choice in the matter.

This chapter is particularly painful for its depiction of a kind of child neglect. The adults at the Grange know full well what sort of fate is in store for any young boy left at Wuthering Heights, and yet they rather hopelessly send Linton to his doom as though nothing could help it. This kind of exaggerated fate is particular to the gothic genre of the 19th century, but it does not resonate well with a modern audience, which is likely to be confounded at the utter callousness of Edgar and Nelly for giving in so easily to Heathcliff’s demands.

Chapter 21

Cathy is disappointed to find that her new cousin has been removed from her so soon. Nelly keeps up on Linton’s progress; his weak health continues to be a problem at Wuthering Heights, but for the most part, Heathcliff seems to leave Linton alone (even though his dislike is apparent and grows ever worse).

Miss Cathy reaches the age of 16. On a walk around the moors one day, Cathy and Nelly venture out. Cathy outstrips Nelly and runs into Heathcliff. Nelly catches up, and Heathcliff confesses to her that he designs for the two, Cathy and his own son, to fall in love.

Nelly nearly scoffs at Heathcliff and tells him that she is resolved to keep Cathy away from Wuthering Heights. Cathy cannot seem to decide what to think of Heathcliff, and when his eyes meet hers, his voice becomes softer. Nelly mistakenly thinks that perhaps his memory of Catherine will keep him from wishing harm upon her daughter.

Linton and Cathy are reintroduced. Linton has grown tall and is kissed by Cathy. Heathcliff speaks of a quarrel between himself and her father and makes it appear as though the fault were all on Edgar’s side. Hareton also arrives and shyly takes Cathy on a walk when Linton refuses to do so for fear of tiring himself out. Heathcliff professes preference for Hareton over Linton, even though the latter is his. It is, however, the parentage of the former that will not allow Heathcliff to love him.

Upon returning to Thrushcross Grange, Cathy tells her father about their visit. Edgar relates the nature of Heathcliff’s evil disposition to his daughter, who heretofore had no knowledge of such things. Thus, he establishes his grounds for refusing his daughter permission to return to Wuthering Heights to visit her cousins. Cathy is upset because she has already promised Linton that she will return.

So, Cathy writes to Linton instead and sends it by secret messenger without Nelly’s knowledge. After some weeks, Nelly inspects Cathy’s desk drawer and discovers a few weeks’ worth of passionate correspondence. Cathy speaks of “loving” Linton. Nelly is shocked and threatens to show the letters to Edgar. Cathy protests. Instead, they agree to burn them all. The next day, a letter arrives for Cathy, and Nelly responds in writing that “Master Heathcliff is requested to send no more notes to Miss Linton, as she will not receive them.”

This chapter reveals more of Heathcliff’s designs. Yet, although he claims to be up-front and honest about it, there is still something unsettling underneath. The passionate letters from Linton seem out of keeping with his character as already witnessed. It is possible that the boy is being coached so as to better be able to snare the daughter.

Chapter 22

Cathy is saddened by the abrupt conclusion of her little romance. She is made the more melancholy by the decline of her father’s health. She confides in Nelly that is she is afraid of losing them both and having no one in the world. During a walk, they happen to meet Heathcliff. He tells Cathy that poor Linton misses their correspondence and her company. He goes so far as to say that Linton is dying and that it would be well if Cathy could visit him.

Nelly does not believe Heathcliff’s words, but Cathy cannot help but believe them. They argue about whether or not Cathy should visit. In the end, however, Nelly gives in to Cathy’s petitions, and they return to Wuthering Heights, if only so that Nelly may prove the falseness of Heathcliff’s words.

Chapter 23

Linton appears to be rather peevish. He complains about the fire, about Cathy’s kissing him, the draft from the door, and so on. Cathy still expresses her love for Linton, even though Linton shows little fervor. All he can say is that it is nice to hear a new voice, adding that he is glad it is hers. The boy has obviously been browbeaten by his father and told all sorts of lies about Edgar.

The two, therefore, quickly get in an argument. Cathy is so vexed by him that she pushes his chair, which causes him to stir, and which launches him into a terrible fit of coughing. He accuses her of hurting him, and she responds with great contrition. She truly does feel badly for him.

Their visit soon ends, and Nelly tries to persuade Cathy that their friendship must not continue despite the visit that day. Cathy merely says, “We’ll see!” The chapter ends with Nelly intimating how well Cathy has taken her advice: Cathy’s hours after tea are apparently spent traveling back and forth between the Grange and Wuthering Heights.

Chapter 24

Nelly is ill for three weeks and thus unable to keep close watch over Cathy. Once she regains her health, however, she comes to realize just what Cathy has been up to. Cathy confesses that she has been to see Michael (Linton) every night since their visit three weeks ago. She has taken him books, and they play games together. They quarrel sometimes.

Once, she recounts to Nelly, Hareton tried to impress her with his ability to spell his name, but she mocked him for not knowing his letters. Here, Nelly rebukes Cathy for mocking her cousin Hareton and attempts to instruct her on how to behave properly. Cathy is impatient to get on with her story and only seems to half-listen. She tells how Hareton then came into the room she and Linton were sharing and snatched Linton by the arm, thrust them both out and acted like a brute.

Linton screams for his life at being removed from the fireplace and throws a fit and collapses. Cathy fetches Zillah for assistance. Cathy frightens Hareton by crying that she will tell papa and see that he is hanged. Later, she whips him when he tries to apologize.

On Cathy’s return, she tells Linton that she feels her visiting is no good since it is apparent that he does not like her. Linton tells her that if only he could feel sweet and kind, he would be so—but he impresses upon her the fact that he is frail and weak. Cathy is convinced that he needs her still. Thus, she concludes her story to Nelly, who straightaway tells all to Edgar, who in return forbids Cathy from going anymore to Wuthering Heights. However, he does give Cathy hope by saying that Linton may come to the Grange if he so desires her company.

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