Edgar refuses to forgive Isabella and sends nothing with Nelly when Nelly visits Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is eager to hear news of Catherine's situation and demands that Nelly arrange a meeting between the two. Nelly refuses, but her refusal prompts Heathcliff to force Nelly to stay at Wuthering Heights, claiming he will go alone. Nelly fears what might happen if that were to occur and begrudgingly agrees to his request to carry a letter to Catherine.
Of particular importance in this chapter is Heathcliff's declaration and explanation of his love for Catherine. Heathcliff tells Nelly, "For every thought she [Catherine] spends on Linton, she spends a thousand on me . . . If he [Edgar] loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn't love as much in eighty years as I could in a day." The passion and commitment Heathcliff reveals frightens Nelly and is partially the reason he is able to persuade her to carry a letter to Catherine.
As Heathcliff discusses his relationship to both Catherine and Isabella, he appears to be true to himself: He recognizes that he is brutal and cruel. He is, however, also intelligent and manipulative, which is how he is able to con Nelly into agreeing to do his bidding.
epistle a letter, especially a long, formal instructive letter.
sideboard dining-room furniture for holding linen, silver, and china.
perspicacity keen judgement or understanding.
brach [Archaic] a female hound.
appellation the act of calling by a name.
dree to endure or suffer; here, it is used to characterize sadness.