Why doesn't Nelly tell young Catherine that Heathcliff's son is Linton when they are out bird-hunting on the moors(Ch 21.)?Heathcliff tells young Catherine that he does have a son in Wuthering...

Why doesn't Nelly tell young Catherine that Heathcliff's son is Linton when they are out bird-hunting on the moors(Ch 21.)?

Heathcliff tells young Catherine that he does have a son in Wuthering heights, and that makes Cathy so curious that she can't wait to see him. But why Nelly doesn't tell young Catherine that Heathcliff's son is Linton at that moment. Maybe young Catherine will not keep insisting to pay a visit.

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 

Nelly knows that when they were children, Cathy DID meet Linton, and perhaps if she sees him again, she will remember him and become enamored of him and want to continue to see him, which is exactly what happens. When Catherine sees him, Heathcliff reminds her that she HAS seen him before, only she does not recognize him now that they are older. Also, Nelly fears that if she has any part in causing Cathy to want to visit Thrushcross Grange, she will get in trouble with Edgar Linton, who has forbidden Cathy to go there. Nelly does not want to be blamed for having anything to do with getting Cathy close to Heathcliff for any reason. She says:

“Mr. Heathcliff, it's very wrong,” I continued: “you know you mean no good. And there she'll see Linton, and all will be told as soon as ever we return; and I shall have the blame.”

And then Heathcliff replies:

“I want her to see Linton,” he answered; “he's looking better these few days; it's not often he's fit to be seen. And we'll soon persuade her to keep the visit secret: where is the harm of it?”

Then Nelly tells him:

“The harm of it is, that her father would hate me if he found I suffered her to enter your house; and I am convinced you have a bad design in encouraging her to do so,” I replied.

Knowing of Heathcliff's history with the first Catherine, Nelly tries as hard as possible to protect young Cathy, but it is all in vain.

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Wuthering Heights

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