Chapters 22–25 Summary and Analysis
Later that autumn, Edgar falls ill and becomes bedridden. Nelly tries to keep Cathy company in his stead, and one day, the two of them venture out to the wall at the end of the park. Cathy appears very melancholy, and when Nelly asks why she’s crying, Cathy admits that she often thinks about what will happen to her once Edgar and Nelly are gone. Attempting to reassure her, Nelly says that Edgar is only suffering from a cold. Somewhat mollified, Cathy climbs up on the wall of the park. As she is reaching for some fruit on a nearby tree, her hat falls off on the other side of the wall. Cathy clambers down to retrieve it but finds that she cannot climb back up. Though she and Nelly are near the entrance to the property, the gate is locked. Nelly is trying to find the key to unlock the gate and let Cathy back in when Heathcliff suddenly appears on horseback. Cathy tells him that she knows he hates her and her father and vows not to speak to him. Heathcliff tells her that Linton is very ill and possibly dying. He blames Linton’s sickness on Cathy, telling her that she broke Linton’s heart by dropping their correspondence. Nelly yells that he is lying and says she will break the lock with a stone rather than allow Cathy to listen to such “vile nonsense.” Heathcliff tells Cathy that he will be away for the next week and urges her to visit during his absence, vowing once more that Linton is truly dying. When they return to the house, Cathy says that she will never feel at ease until she knows whether Heathcliff was telling the truth. The next day, Nelly reluctantly agrees to accompany Cathy to Wuthering Heights in the hope that what they find there will prove Heathcliff to be a liar.
When Nelly and Cathy arrive at Wuthering Heights, they encounter a sickly Linton whining about the servants. He complains that Cathy has not visited or corresponded with him, and she replies that she would love to spend more time with him if she had her father’s consent. Linton says that he wishes Cathy were his wife so she would love him more than anyone. Cathy quickly tells him that she will love no one more than she loves her father. She says she would rather be Linton’s sister since people sometimes come to hate their wives, and she thoughtlessly cites his own mother and Heathcliff as an example. Linton angrily denies her claim, and the two argue about their parents until Linton provokes Cathy into giving his chair a small shove. Linton goes into a coughing fit, and Cathy is instantly filled with remorse and apologizes. Linton accuses her of worsening his health, and when Cathy and Nelly attempt to leave, he makes himself fall to the floor and begins screaming petulantly. Nelly tries to convince Cathy to ignore Linton’s antics, but he successfully guilts Cathy into promising to return. After they leave, Nelly warns Cathy that she will tell Edgar if Cathy attempts to return to Wuthering Heights. Shortly afterward, Nelly falls ill with a cold, and Cathy nurses both Nelly and Edgar diligently. During this time, Cathy is left unattended in the evenings, and neither Nelly nor Edgar suspects that she uses this time to secretly travel out on the moors.
After a few weeks, Nelly is well enough to leave her bed. She quickly becomes suspicious of Cathy’s behavior and finally catches Cathy in the act of sneaking back into Thrushcross Grange one night. Cathy admits that she has been traveling to see Linton at Wuthering Heights nearly every day. She recounts her second visit, during which she and Linton quarreled once again before making up and playing a game. When she came back the next day, Hareton met her outside and demonstrated his improving literacy by reading the inscription above the door. When he admitted that he could not read the date in the inscription, Cathy laughed and called him a dunce. At this point, Nelly interrupts Cathy’s story to scold her for her uncharitable behavior toward Hareton. Cathy...
(The entire section is 1,701 words.)