In a drunken rage, Hindley accidentally drops Hareton over the banister, but luckily, Heathcliff is present and catches the baby. Later, in the kitchen, Catherine speaks to Nelly. Thinking they are alone, Catherine tells Nelly that Edgar asked her to marry him and that she accepted. Catherine explains that she cannot marry Heathcliff because Hindley has degraded him so much; however, she expresses her love for Heathcliff. She prefaces her remarks with "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff," and these are the words he overhears. Catherine continues, that Heathcliff will never know how much she loves him and that "he's more myself than I am."
Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights that night and disappears for three years. Catherine spends the entire night outdoors in the rain. She comes down with a bad chill, catches a fever, and almost dies. The Lintons allow her to recuperate at the Grange, but both Mr. and Mrs. Linton take the fever and die.
Three years after his parents' deaths, Edgar marries Catherine. They convince Nelly to leave Hareton and Wuthering Heights and move to Thrushcross Grange. When Nelly tries to refuse to go, both Edgar and Hindley force her to move.
Catherine's dual nature reveals itself most fully in this chapter. In one breath she is able to declare her love for Heathcliff while simultaneously stating she cannot marry him. She agrees to marry Edgar yet naively thinks this marriage will not affect her relationship with Heathcliff. Catherine, like most of Victorian society, views marriage as a social contract and not the ultimate commitment between lovers. In her eyes, she and Heathcliff are one; therefore, her marriage to Edgar could not possibly affect the spiritual connection she has with Heathcliff.
In addition to their spiritual connection, a symbolic connection between Catherine and Heathcliff also exists. When Catherine arrives at Thrushcross Grange, she is as much an outsider there as Heathcliff was when he arrived at Wuthering Heights. Upon their arrivals, both wreak havoc and turmoil on the inhabitants. Although Catherine chooses to marry and live with Edgar, she is out of her element.
shilling a former monetary unit of the United Kingdom, equal to 1/20 of a pound.
perdition [Archaic] complete and irreparable loss; ruin.
blasphemer one who speaks irreverently or profanely of or to God.
bairnies grat children wept.
mools earth of a grave.
Milo a famous Greek athlete who, caught by the tree he was trying to split, was eaten up by wild beasts; here, Catherine suggests that anyone who attempts to split Heathcliff and herself will end up destroyed.
settle a long wooden bench with a back, armrests, and sometimes a chest beneath the seat.
supplication a humble request, prayer, or petition.
vociferate to utter or shout loudly or vehemently.