He was immediately seized by a suffocating cough that soon ended his triumph. It lasted so long that it frightened even me. As to his cousin, she wept with all her might, aghast at the mischief she had done: though she said nothing. I held him till the fit exhausted itself. Catherine quelled her lamentations also, took a seat opposite, and looked solemnly into the fire.
“I wish she felt as I do,” he replied: “spiteful, cruel thing! Hareton never touches me: he never struck me in his life. And I was better to-day: and there-” his voice died in a whimper.
He sighed and moaned like one under great suffering, and kept it up for a quarter of an hour; on purpose to distress his cousin apparently, for whenever he caught a stifled sob from her he put renewed pain and pathos into the inflexions of his voice.
“Im sorry I hurt you, Linton,” she said at length, racked beyond endurance. “But I couldnt have been hurt by that little push, and I had no idea that you could, either: youre not much, are you, Linton? Dont let me go home thinking Ive done you harm. Answer! speak to me.”
“I cant speak to you,” he murmured; “youve hurt me so that I shall lie awake all night choking with this cough. If you had it youd know what it was; but youll be comfortably asleep while Im in agony, and nobody near me. I wonder how you would like to pass those fearful nights!” And he began to wail aloud, for very pity of himself.
“Since you are in the habit of passing dreadful nights,” I said, “it wont be Miss who spoils your ease: youd be the same had she never come. However, she shall not disturb you again; and perhaps youll get quieter when we leave you.”
“You cant alter what youve done,” he replied pettishly, shrinking from her, “unless you alter it for the worse by teasing me into a fever.”
She lingered, and resisted my persuasions to departure a tiresome while; but as he neither looked up nor spoke, she finally made a movement to the door, and I followed. We were recalled by a scream. I thoroughly gauged his disposition from his behaviour, and saw at once it would be folly to attempt humouring him. Not so my companion: she ran back in terror, knelt down, and cried, and soothed, and entreated, till he grew quiet from lack of breath: by no means from compunction at distressing her.
“I shall lift him on to the settle,” I said, “and he may roll about as he pleases: we cant stop to watch him. I hope you are satisfied, Miss Cathy, that you are not the person to benefit him; and that his condition of health is not occasioned by attachment to you. Now, then, there he is! Come away: as soon as he knows there is nobody by to care for his nonsense, hell be glad to lie still.”
She placed a cushion under his head, and offered him some water; he rejected the latter, and tossed uneasily on the former, as if it were a stone or a block of wood. She tried to put it installment loans Jasper no bank account more comfortably.