Wuthering Heights: Novel Summary: Chapters 17-18
Select a Chapter:
Chapter 17: She then tells Ellen what had been happening the last few days. Hindley had planned to be at Catherine's funeral and had stayed up and tried not to drink, but then he got in suicidal low spirits and had to stay home and drink. She and Hindley were together when they heard Heathcliff finally coming home. Hindley asked if they should lock him out, and they did. Then Hindley told her that they should return his violence and treachery and Isabella agreed. He then however, took a pistol out. This is not what Isabella had meant, and she could not let Hindley kill Heathcliff, so she tried to warn him. They all yelled angrily at each other until Heathcliff broke through a window and jumped at Hindley. The knife part of the gun struck Hindley, and while was down Heathcliff beat him. He then called Joseph in to care for Hindley and clean up his blood, but remembering Isabella, he made her do it.
The next morning Isabella came down and saw that Hindley was quite ill. Isabella was glad to see how much Heathcliff was grieving over Catherine as she wanted to see him suffer. She said that Catherine would not have let him beat on Hindley like that, and that everyone knew that she would be alive now if not for Heathcliff. This angers Heathcliff much, and he throws a knife at Isabella, striking her below the ear. She pulls the knife out, throws one at Heathcliff and runs out of the house, looking back to see Heathcliff and Hindley fighting. She came then to the Grange, and leaves after changing clothes and telling Ellen the story. Isabella goes to the south near London, and there has a son whom she names Linton and who is quite sickly. Heathcliff does not look for Isabella, but he finds out about the child and often asks Ellen about him, saying that he will have him when he wants him.
When Ellen tells Edgar about Isabella, he seems happy that she has left her husband. He becomes rather a hermit, as he does not want to go anywhere he might see Heathcliff. Time heals some of his wounds, and he finds comfort in his daughter, who has been named Catherine. Hindley dies about six months after Catherine. The doctor tells Ellen that he died as he lived, drunk. Ellen goes to the lawyer and to Wuthering Heights to see about the funeral. She learns that Hindley was quite in debt and had mortgaged everything. Ellen tries to get Hareton out of the Heights, but Heathcliff says he will fight for him, and Edgar does not pursue the matter. Heathcliff becomes the master of Wuthering Heights, and Hareton becomes no more than a servant there.
Chapter 18: The next twelve years are quite happy according to Ellen. Young Catherine grows to be a beautiful and good child, although she can sometimes be saucy. At this time she has never been beyond the park by herself. She is a perfect recluse, and knows nothing of Wuthering Heights or Heathcliff. About this time Isabella writes to Edgar to say that she is ill and will not live. She asks him to come and see her and get Linton so that he can raise him, and he goes. Catherine asks Ellen if she can go riding and she does, not coming back for tea. Ellen goes to look for her, and after searching a while, sees her dogs and horse outside Wuthering Heights. She finds her inside talking happily with Hareton. Ellen tries to get her to go, saying that she would not be there if she knew whose house it was. Thinking Hareton might be a servant, Cathy tells him to get her horse. He then growls that he will not be her servant, and curses her. Catherine is quite surprised, as she has never had anyone speak to her like this. The housekeeper there tells her that Hareton is her cousin, and she does not believe it, saying that her father will soon be coming back with her real cousin. Ellen is quite distressed, as she realizes that now Heathcliff will hear that his son is coming to Thrushcross Grange. Ellen finally gets Catherine to leave, asking her to not tell her father about what happened because her father objects to the household at the Heights.