Cathy and Heathcliff seemed to be born
and driven into conflict. When Cathy's father, Mr Earnshaw brought Heathcliff
back from Liverpool, -he was an orphan on the streets - Cathy's infamous
words were "But he is dirty". Her father's answer to her was, "Oh, Cathy,
please don't make me ashamed of you."
Courageous as they were, Cathy and Heathcliff
became the best of friends, all the while having Hindley, Cathy's brother,
building an intensified hatred towards them both, especially Heathcliff.
After Hindley thrashed Heathcliff with his whip because he wanted Heathcliff's
horse, Heathcliff and Cathy bonded even more closely and declared upon
Peniston Crag, their castle, that she was Queen Cathy, and he was her
Knight, who saved her from the Black Knight.
This place in the distance, though blurred in my photograph was the
location of Peniston Crag, known by locals as Ponden Kirk. I met a couple,
on my wanderings up the moors, who pointed this out to me. It was my
only blurred photo of this journey, (and such an important picture),
so I made an arrow to show exactly where they meant. I did not make
it to Top Withens, of which the house of Wuthering Heights was based
upon, due to the wet weather. Yet,from where I stood, it seemed a long
way from Ponden Kirk, although, I would suppose that in summer, a long
distance is more easily accessible than it would be in autumn and winter.
This is an actual photo of Ponden Kirk.
This particular farmhouse, Top Withens, on a high point
of the moors, may be the inspiration for the house of 'Wuthering Heights'.
A stone plaque, set into one of the outside walls explains this, although
it has not been proven as certain. This view also shows how far I
was able to climb.
This sketch was done by Branwell Bronte, the brother of the three
sisters. It was of farm buildings, which resemble Top Withins.
But back to Cathy and Heathcliff, their love was declared
at such a young age. What seemed so pure and true at the time, ended
up damning them both.
There was Cathy's indecision between
being a wild gypsy of the moor and the Queen of Peniston Crag, or
the Queen of the Manor. And Heathcliff's decision of what meant more
to him, seeing Cathy happy as Edgar's wife, or punishing her by marrying
Edgar's sister. Could
either of them see beyond their own selfish feelings? Heathcliff did
take off and made a fortune, returning, only to find that Cathy had
married already. One could understand his bitterness. But if only
he had stayed longer, hidden outside the kitchen, to hear the full
story of Cathy's evening with Edgar. He heard her declare her love
for Edgar and that she would
marry him. Asked by Ellen why she loved him, Cathy replied "Because
he's handsome and pleasant to be with...Because he'll be rich someday,
and I'll be the finest lady in the county." When asked how she loved
him she replied, "I love the ground under his feet, the air above
his head, and everything he touches." Ellen asked "What about Heathcliff?"
Cathy: "Oh Heathcliff. He gets worse
everyday. It would degrade me to marry him. I wish he hadn't come
And Heathcliff left at this stage not
hearing Cathy's change of heart.
Cathy: "I don't think I belong in Heaven,
Ellen. I dreamt once that I was there. I dreamt I went to Heaven, and
that Heaven didn't seem to be my home. And I broke my heart with weeping
to come back to Earth. And the angels were so angry they flung me out
into the middle of the heath, on top of Wuthering Heights. And I woke
up sobbing with joy. That's it, Ellen. I have no more business marrying
Edgar Linton than I have of being in Heaven."
And finding out that Heathcliff had
heard the cruel word's she had spoken, Cathy did not think he would return
and accepted Edgar's hand in marriage. Oh, what terrible things they did
to each other, knowingly, but even worse, unknowingly!