Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ chapter 4 Summary and Analysis
Lockwood was feeling lucky to have found a place where he could live in peace and away from society and its rush. However, he soon started feeling the need for social company and in order to have some, he thought Nelly Dean, his housekeeper would be good. He could talk to her under the pretence of gaining some information about the Grange and so he began with how long she had been there. She said been eighteen years and come with Catherine after her marriage with Edgar. Nelly thought for some time and then said that times had changed a lot since then. She had seen several changes and several troubles too. Lockwood was more interested in knowing about his landlord and the girl widow and if she was a native of the countryside. He asked why Heathcliff was living at Wuthering Heights and let Thrushcross Grange or did he not have the money to maintain the estate in good order. Nelly Dean said nobody knew how much money he had and it kept growing every year. According to her, he was greedy and miserly who could not let the chance to earn a few hundred more go but letting Grange to Lockwoood.
He asked Nelly about Heathcliff’s son and his widow who turned out to be Nelly dean’s ex master’s daughter. Her name was Catherine Linton. However, Lockwood felt convinced that it was not the same Catherine Linton as in the diary. The Hareton Earnshaw that Lockwood had seen at the Heights turned out to be Mrs Linton’s nephew and the young widow’s cousin. Her husband was also her cousin because Heathcliff had married Mr Linton’s sister. The Earnshaws must be an old family, Lockwood thought. He remembered the carvings on the door. Nelly dean confirmed that Hareton was the last of them as was Cathy of the Lintons. Nelly wanted to know about Mrs Heathcliff and how she was when Lockwood saw her. She looked in good condition but seemed not very happy was Lockwood’s response. She asked about Heathcliff who Lockwood said was a rough fellow. He was not someone you should meddle with cautioned Nelly Dean for he was hard as a whimstone and rough as a saw. Life must have been rude to him thought Lockwood and asked Nelly Dean. She knew everything about him except who he was born off and what made him so rich. Hareton was brought up so poorly, the guy hardly knew how badly he had been cheated. Lockwood requested that she tell her everything. They could chat for an hour about their neighbours. Nelly Dean decided she would bring her sewing and fetch Lockwood some porridge before they started chatting. Lockwood was feeling excited to the extent of foolishness. The events from the last two days made him feel afraid. Nelly Dean brought her basket of work and evidently was feeling good about having talkative company.
She began her story – how she had lived at Wuthering heights before coming to the Grange and how her mother had nursed Hindley, Hareton’s father. She used to play with the kids and would do a few odd jobs that suited her age. One morning in the beginning of the harvest season, Mr Earnshaw was ready for a journey and came to ask each child what it wanted from Liverpool. Hindley wanted a fiddle, Cathy a whip and for Nelly Dean he promised to bring a pocketful of fruits. He was going to walk 60 miles and then back.
It took him three days and in the meantime, Cathy was very eager about when he would arrive. It was the third evening and Mrs Earnshaw was expecting him to arrive soon. She postponed dinner hour after hour and children too had grown tired of running to the gate. She was about to bid them to sleep but they wanted to remain awake. It was an hour to midnight when he arrived. It had been a tiresome walk and he was never again going to take another. He had brought a kid with him that was deep black in complexion and grown up sufficiently to walk and talk. His face looked older than Catherine’s. Mrs Earnshaw was angry over why her husband brought that Gypsy when they had their own folks to feed. He was exhausted but tried to explain that he could not leave the starved and helpless kid where he found it. No-one felt good about the black kid and Nelly dean herself found him aversive. However, ill conditions had made him tough. Though sullen, he was patient and would bear Hindley’s blows and Nelly Dean’s pinches with patience and without being troubled. Hindley had grown bitter of him for having usurped his parent’s love and therefore considered his father an oppressor. Nelly Dean’s attitude towards the gypsy brat changed when the children fell sick with measles.
Heathcliff was dangerously sick and as she tended to him, she felt more sympathetic. He was very quiet and uncomplaining but not out of gentleness but because he was tough. What made Nelly less partial was that he never teased her while Cathy and Hindley would constantly harass her. Heathcliff got well and the doctor praised Nelly Dean for her care. This made her soften towards the boy and now Hindley was his lone enemy. Heathcliff never showed any gratitude and looked absolutely insensible and Nelly never understood what made Mr Earnshaw dote on him. Once Mr Earnshaw brought two colts and Heathcliff got the sturdier one which soon grew lame and so he asked young Earnshaw to exchange colts or he would tell his father of the blows he had given him this week. Hindley grew angry and said he would thrash him but Heathcliff did not shake. He persisted and Hindley threw on him an iron weight that rendered him breathless for a second. Nelly Dean intervened or he would have told Mr Earnshaw. Hindley was forced to give him his colt but cursed him that he was going to cheat his father of all he had. He said he knew his real face and that he was an imp of Satan. Heathcliff went to take the colt and Hindley still angry knocked him on his feet and ran away. The black child gathered himself again and carried on his business of changing saddles. After that he rested for a while on the hay to overcome the pain caused by the blow. The bruises on his body were still evident and Nelly Dean persuaded him to say that the horse had caused the bruises. He was not concerned but as uncomplaining as he looked, his behavior had deceived Nelly dean which she said Lockwood learn from rest of the story.