`I don't much mind speaking of his amiable qualities now,' he answered; `because she must either accept him or remain a prisoner, and you along with her, till your master dies. I can detain you both, quite concealed, here. If you doubt, encourage her to retract her word, and you'll have an opportunity of judging!'
`I'll not retract my word,' said Catherine. `I'll marry him within this hour, if I may go to Thrushcross Grange afterwards. Mr Heathcliff, you're a cruel man, but you're not a fiend; and you won't, from mere malice, destroy irrevocably all my happiness. If papa thought I had left him on purpose, and if he died before I returned, could I bear to live? I've given over crying: but I'm going to kneel here, at your knee; and I'll not get up, and I'll not take my eyes from your face till you look back at me! No, don't turn away! do look! You'll see nothing to provoke you.
I don't hate you. I'm not angry that you struck me. Have you never loved anybody in all your life, uncle? never? Ah! you must look once. I'm so wretched, you can't help being sorry and pitying me.'
`Keep your eft's fingers off; and move, or I'll kick you!' cried Heathcliff, brutally repulsing her. `I'd rather be hugged by a snake. How the devil can you dream of fawning on me? I detest you!'
He shrugged his shoulders: shook himself, indeed, as if his flesh crept with aversion; and thrust back his chair; and opened my mouth, to commence a downright torrent of abuse. But I was rendered dumb in the middle of the first sentence, by a threat that I should be shown into a room by myself the very next syllable I uttered. It was growing dark--we heard a sound of voices at the garden gate. Our host hurried out instantly: he had his wits about him; we had not. There was a talk of two or three minutes, and he returned alone.