Hindley returns for his father's funeral and brings a wife, Frances, along with him. Taking control of the farmhouse, Hindley immediately makes changes, moving Joseph and Nelly to the back-kitchen and prohibiting Heathcliff from receiving an education. Hindley also makes Heathcliff work in the fields. Hindley does not pay much attention to either Heathcliff or Catherine, and so they live "as savages," skipping church and playing on the moors.
One day both Catherine and Heathcliff disappear. When they can not be found, Hindley orders the doors bolted. Nelly waits up for them, but finds out that Heathcliff returned home alone. He explains to Nelly that he and Catherine ended up near Thrushcross Grange and stole closer to peer into the windows and make fun of Edgar and Isabella, the Linton children. As Catherine and Heathcliff laugh at the Lintons, they are heard and run away. Skulker, the Linton's dog, chases after them, biting Catherine on the ankle.
Because of her injury, Catherine is unable to get away. A servant carries her into the Grange. Mr. and Mrs. Linton are shocked at the appearance and behavior of both Catherine and Heathcliff and are unwilling to allow Heathcliff to spend the night, even as they tend to Catherine's injury. Concerned for Catherine's safety, Heathcliff spies on them. He sees that they treat her like a queen. After a visit from Mr. Linton, who scolded Hindley about the manner in which he raised his sister, Hindley threatens Heathcliff with banishment the next time he so much as talks to Catherine.
Being able to roam free across the moors best illustrates the wildness of Catherine and Heathcliff's natures. This rough freedom of Wuthering Heights contrasts with the dignified calmness of Thrushcross Grange. Similarly, the Linton children (safe, spoiled, and cowardly) serve as a contrast to Catherine and Heathcliff (self-willed, strong, and rebellious).
For the first time, a difference between Catherine and Heathcliff is revealed: She is drawn to the civility and luxury present there whereas he is repulsed by it. Ironically, Heathcliff is once again an outsider, meeting with rejection. Heathcliff will never be a welcome presence at Thrushcross Grange, but Catherine will always be treated as royalty.
Within Nelly's narration, the events that transpired at Thrushcross Grange are told from Heathcliff's point of view. He immediately dislikes the Lintons and what they represent, plus they now have what he cherishes most, namely Catherine. Therefore, the narrative once again becomes slightly suspect. Perhaps things occurred exactly as Heathcliff relates them or perhaps he paints a slightly skewed picture.
This chapter marks the first significant change in Catherine's character. She experiences a whole new world at Thrushcross Grange, a world that will not and cannot contain Heathcliff. Gradually the change in Catherine will lead to a change in the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff, whether she wants it to or not.
delf-case a cabinet for tableware named for popular glazed earthenware, usually blue and white, originating in the city of Delft.
peevish hard to please.
flogging a beating with a strap, stick, or whip, especially as punishment.
catechised taught, especially in the principles of religion, by the method of questions and answers.
slaver saliva drooling from the mouth.
beard to face or oppose courageously or brazenly.
strong-hold a place having strong defenses; here, Mr. Linton is referring to his home, Thrushcross Grange.
negus a hot beverage made from wine, hot water, and lemon juice, sweetened and spiced.