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Author: Subject: BBP vs Wuthering Heights
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ninja.gif posted on 5-8-2020 at 22:04
BBP vs Wuthering Heights
DISCLAIMER: This is a complete waste of time and shouldn't be read by anyone. Time is precious, cherish it!

It's official - I've put a halt on my DeviantArt activity because of the way the "Eclipse "change to the site has changed its functionality for the worse - but unfortunately there is creative overflow.

Well, there always has been - wouldn't be so bad if I actually could draw a circle around a penny or carry a tune in a bucket.

So I've decided to write - something for which I've always had this odd flair - some non-fiction about some fiction. Specifically, about my experience with my arch nemesis.

Of course I'm talking about Wuthering Heights. Rarely have I seen a book with such divisive reviews, raising it to heaven or razing it to the ground.

It's the book that called me. When I first flipped through a copy, the phrase I landed on was "‘Now, my bonny man, I’m going to Liverpool to-day, what shall I bring you?'
It must have been a coincidence, I thought. I closed the book and opened it to another page, only to find the words: "Bonny bird; wheeling over our heads in the middle of the moor."

It's the book that nearly did me in. Well, not the book, really. The song. That infernal ghastly haunting song, that hawk voice that gets me disoriented until I hear "your temper like my jealousy" that makes me switch it off immediately. That song that takes me back to the days of my evil stepmother, who played it a lot. The song that got in my head so badly in 2014 it actually made me depressed.

So, at 70 cents in the Goodwill store, I purchase it and brace myself for the experience. Eyes wide open and mind as open as it can get, and like with that other book I recently finished (The Scarlet Letter) I'm not going to put it down until I finish it.

Impressions? Reading the text on the back I read of the lover Heathcliff, who is bullied and humiliated by the brother of the woman he loves, leaves, returns as a wealthy and polished man. "He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries."

Reading this text on the back reminds me of the Count Of Monte Cristo, the story of a man who's wrongfully imprisoned, comes back wealthy and avenges himself on the people who wronged him, hurting the innocent as much as the guilty.

I'd like to read that book - I primarily know the story through The Stars' Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry.

How will I fare? Well... from my experience reading the first three pages, I decided to log BBs Wild Adventures In Wuthering Heights, so maybe that says something...

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[*] posted on 6-8-2020 at 22:16

Day 2 of reading Wuthering Heights, I've finally made it to page four. I've read the first three pages several times - I stumble on every page. How do I do it?

It's like my father, who went to read one of the great Dutch literary outputs of the 20th century, The Darkroom of Damocles, read the opening sentence "For days he wandered on his raft, without anything to drink" - and said: "That must be a big raft."

Not quite the first sentence, but there are numerous places on the first page where I can't wrap my head around what has been said.
"I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in solliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Range: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts..." which I believe translates means "I'm sorry to bother you." The construction of "I do myself the honour" is strange. It seems to me only other people can do you honours.

Heathcliff, the new landlord of the I in the previous sentence, tells him to walk in:
"The 'walk in' was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, 'Go to the Deuce': even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathising movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself."

Go to the Deuce means "go to the devil" according to the notes. So, making a summary of what we've read:
"I" introduces himself to his new landlord and apologizes for his persistence in renting the property of said landlord. (Remind me to send a note of apology to ours).
The landlord says "come in" in a way that "I" feels it's "let lost, (insult)."
Friendly landlord, huh? I would've walked away at that point, had I been "I".

The gate manifested no sympathising movement to the words. I know you can slam a door to express anger, but how can you make a gate express sympathising movement to the words "walk in"? Besides opening it?
Could this be a way in which the author expresses "he invited me in but didn't open the door for me"?

The "I"'s name is revealed to be Mr Lockwood. As his horse is "fairly pushing the barrier", (which I take to mean that the horse gives the barrier an even chance) , Heathcliff takes the horse and hands it to the servant Joseph. He also orders Joseph to get the wine.
"Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy."
Here are some words of which I learn new meanings - elderly is apparently not the same as old. Hale I know as verb (compare the Dutch "halen" but can also mean healthy, and sinewy apparently means lean and muscular in this context.

"The Lord help us!" he solliloquized in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, mean-time, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent."

Solliloquize is a word I primarily know in a Shakespearian context, in the form of "To be or not to be, that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind so suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune etcetera. But if my dictionary's correct it means he's talking to himself. "Peevish displeasure" feels a bit redundant. There's another adverb "charitably conjectured". Lockwood kindly guesses that the guy has indigestion, or "need of divine aid to digest his dinner."
A cup of tea is great for indigestion. And to be honest I do think tea's pretty divine.

Ejaculation I remember well from a scene in QI where they describe the ejaculations of Sherlock Holmes - a very chuckly scene showing how words change their meaning to beyond recognition overtime. The pious ejaculation is enough to lift eyebrows, especially considering Joseph just relieved Lockfood from his horse.

Sooo... that was page 1. Are you ready for page 2? At this rate I will need to pause my reading for a few days per week so I can add to my adventures without getting too far behind.

This reminds me of a jocular criticism by Kamagurka, in his comic "Bob Plagiaat vertelt" about the Tintin album "Red Rackham's Treasure" - he pulls apart the first page - why does person A ask person B if he is still a cook when person B is obviously a sailor? There's a white rectangle that ísn't coloured in this panel. And the woman in panel 4 turns into a man in panel 5! After some observations of this kind, the doorbell of the eponymous Bob Plagiaat who was picking the story apart, rings. He's getting sued for plagiarism.
Seeing how many lines from the book I quoted already I'm glad that the rights have expired by now. Maybe I should copy them from Gutenberg instead of typing them out manually.

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[*] posted on 7-8-2020 at 21:25

Today I'm slooooowly starting on chapter 2, so let's try to wrap up Chapter 1, which I reread for the third time and now understand almost completely.

Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.
Which translates to "it's so windy there it influences the plant growth."
The gaunt thorns phrase is puzzling - I look up gaunt to find it means thin, emaciated. Good since I was thinking along the lines of gauntlet. Thorns themselves don't have limbs - they're those sharp things that puncture every tyre in the house when we trimmed the robinia - and then have them craving alms of the sun is not helping the comparison. Is "gaunt thorn" a type of plant then? Apparently not: when I Duckduckgo the phrase the only hits I get are related to Wuthering Heights.

"Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date ‘1500,’ and the name ‘Hareton Earnshaw.’"
Forget the rest of the chapter! I want to hear more of the shameless little boys!

"One stop brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or passage: they call it here ‘the house’ pre-eminently."
Well, what do you know? These people call their house "House". Must be a lot quicker than "the beautifully bricked abode that my loved ones and I reside, dine and dream in."

"It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter: at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fireplace; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls."
I like the idea of forcing a kitchen to retreat. As I bravely hold Fort Bonnerden while I'm under attack from the Malicious Sink, or the Dangerous Kitchen if you will to give this a bit of a Zappa twist, I hold up my victorious sword, shouting "Thou shalt not force thy dirty dishes on me!"

"One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof. "
The very roof no less!The immense pewter dishes tower to the roof!
Picturing an immense dish - a dish all of Scotland and a bit of England too could eat from - a dish that could hold all the cows and deers of a national park, a dish that stretches all the way to the horizon...

"The floor was of smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green: one or two heavy black ones lurking in the shade."
Lurking in this context probably means "to exist unobserved or unsuspected" - I only know it in the context of people or animals. What does the "ones" refer to? Chairs? Stone? Probably chairs.

"In an arch under the dresser reposed a huge, liver-coloured bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses."
All's good now. There are puppies!

After an adjective-filled phrase describing Heathcliff:
"He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. "
How can anyone be a "dark-skinned gipsy in aspect"? And how tacked on "and rather morose" is.

Then follows a paragraph where Lockwood reminisces the pretty girl he saw at a camping site but was too shy to talk to:
"By this curious turn of disposition I have gained the reputation of deliberate heartlessness; how undeserved, I alone can appreciate."
So that's how easy it is to get a bad reputation. Just shy away from talking to a pretty girl once.

And then Lockwood gets attacked by dogs - I have a phobia of dogs oddly enough - to me a dog attack is nightmarish but I read over it twice. That's what you get when you take three paragraphs to get into a building. Fortunately there's a weapon and its master at hand: "Happily, an inhabitant of the kitchen made more despatch: a lusty dame, with tucked-up gown, bare arms, and fire-flushed cheeks, rushed into the midst of us flourishing a frying-pan: and used that weapon, and her tongue, to such purpose, that the storm subsided magically, and she only remained, heaving like a sea after a high wind, when her master entered on the scene."
I'll never leave the house without frying pan now.

The conversation is starting - Heathcliff sort of apologizes for his dogs and his own aloofness as he pours out the wine - but we already had a complete character description, just before the dog attack.

At the end of page 5 the meeting between Heathcliff and Lockwood is summarized:
He—probably swayed by prudential consideration of the folly of offending a good tenant—relaxed a little in the laconic style of chipping off his pronouns and auxiliary verbs, and introduced what he supposed would be a subject of interest to me,—a discourse on the advantages and disadvantages of my present place of retirement. I found him very intelligent on the topics we touched; and before I went home, I was encouraged so far as to volunteer another visit to-morrow. He evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion. I shall go, notwithstanding.

So they talked about something but he doesn't say what, we just know that he's supposed to be intelligent and unsociable.

Kinda like that doctor Gregory House. Hey, House! Let's paraphrase him, to celebrate how happy we can be that people refer to house as "house":
"Dr House, I've heard your name!"
"You probably have. It's also a noun."

So, that's the end of Chapter 1. Thrilling read so far, huh!

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[*] posted on 8-8-2020 at 23:10

Today I got way ahead of myself and read on quite a bit - until I realized I didn't understand the story, went back to read it and discovered things were different from what I thought I'd read the first time. In that sense, this book reading journal is a good exercise - I definitely understand what I read a bit better. A bit. A. Bit.

Chapter 2 starts with Lockwood's return to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff's house:
Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. On coming up from dinner, however, (N.B.—I dine between twelve and one o’clock; the housekeeper, a matronly lady, taken as a fixture along with the house, could not, or would not, comprehend my request that I might be served at five)—on mounting the stairs with this lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees surrounded by brushes and coal-scuttles, and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immediately; I took my hat, and, after a four-miles’ walk, arrived at Heathcliff’s garden-gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow-shower.

So basically the sight of the servant-girl extinguishing a fire and causing a dust storm, warrants another visit to Heathcliff and his Hellhounds, a four mile journey through the moors, while it's misty, cold and there's a snowstorm in the air, to a man who is even less sociable than the narrator, uninvited.
The last line of this paragraph makes me itch. Some say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit - to me allitteration is the lowest form of poetry.

Lockwood finds the door locked and no servant in sight - he knocks the door like crazy to get them to open up and let him in, causing the dogs to bark loudly:
‘Wretched inmates!’ I ejaculated, mentally, ‘you deserve perpetual isolation from your species for your churlish inhospitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred in the day-time. I don’t care—I will get in!’
It's a good thing Brontë added "mentally" since otherwisee I'd think he was conversing with animals. Barking mad. Muhahaha.

Joseph lets us in, whose dialogue is written in phonetic Scotch. You know, the friendly character who told us to go to hell earlier.

{will be continued since it's past my bedtime}

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[*] posted on 9-8-2020 at 11:50

Oh wait, Joseph doesn't let us in:
‘What are ye for?’ he shouted. ‘T’ maister’s down i’ t’ fowld. Go round by th’ end o’ t’ laith, if ye went to spake to him.’

‘Is there nobody inside to open the door?’ I hallooed, responsively.

‘There’s nobbut t’ missis; and shoo’ll not oppen ’t an ye mak’ yer flaysome dins till neeght.’

‘Why? Cannot you tell her whom I am, eh, Joseph?’

‘Nor-ne me! I’ll hae no hend wi’t,’ muttered the head, vanishing.

So Joseph refuses to let us in - Heathcliff is out and Mrs Heathcliff won't let him in. And he won't help us letting us in anyway. Well, considering he told us to go to hell earlier, that was to be expected.

The snow began to drive thickly.
Uh oh...

I seized the handle to essay another trial; when a young man without coat, and shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me to follow him, and, after marching through a wash-house, and a paved area containing a coal-shed, pump, and pigeon-cot, we at length arrived in the huge, warm, cheerful apartment where I was formerly received.

A new character lets us in and the large room that they call "house" is now suddenly a huge warm cheerful apartment. Or is it another unknown room altogether? At any rate, Mrs. Heathcliff is here:
"I was pleased to observe the ‘missis,’ an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected. I bowed and waited, thinking she would bid me take a seat. She looked at me, leaning back in her chair, and remained motionless and mute."

Mrs Heathcliff is apparently equally sociable. Lockwood tries to do some smalltalk but it's not working well.

The young man who let Lockwood in is making himself heard:
‘Sit down,’ said the young man, gruffly. ‘He’ll be in soon.’
I obeyed; and hemmed, and called the villain Juno, who deigned, at this second interview, to move the extreme tip of her tail, in token of owning my acquaintance.

Wait wait...
Juno is a female name - the Roman version of Hera, Jupiter's wife, queen of the goddesses. So this doesn't refer to the young man at all, and considering the movement of her tail it's not Mrs Heathcliff either. No, it's the bitch pointer who attacked Lockwood earlier, dropped in from nowhere.

‘A beautiful animal!’ I commenced again. ‘Do you intend parting with the little ones, madam?’
So now he wants one of the puppies of the dog that attacked him?

‘They are not mine,’ said the amiable hostess, more repellingly than Heathcliff himself could have replied.

‘Ah, your favourites are among these?’ I continued, turning to an obscure cushion full of something like cats.

‘A strange choice of favourites!’ she observed scornfully.

Unluckily, it was a heap of dead rabbits."

Actually quite funny.
So the hostess is amiable, though we don't know what she looks like and she is giving us the cold shoulder.

In the next paragraph we learn that Mrs Heathcliff is young, very pretty with flaxen nay golden hair.
I don't get the style figure of scratching out your proverb while writing - of course since it's told in first person it could be the style of Lockwood but... you know, we have erasers.

Ste aims to get a canister but can't quite reach it.
The canisters were almost out of her reach; I made a motion to aid her; she turned upon me as a miser might turn if any one attempted to assist him in counting his gold."

‘I don’t want your help,’ she snapped; ‘I can get them for myself.’

‘I beg your pardon!’ I hastened to reply.

‘Were you asked to tea?’ she demanded, tying an apron over her neat black frock, and standing with a spoonful of the leaf poised over the pot.

‘I shall be glad to have a cup,’ I answered.

‘Were you asked?’ she repeated.

‘No,’ I said, half smiling. ‘You are the proper person to ask me.’

She flung the tea back, spoon and all, and resumed her chair in a pet; her forehead corrugated, and her red under-lip pushed out, like a child’s ready to cry.

So we learn that Mrs Heathcliff is really not hospitable, she won't give him tea since nobody's offered it, goes in the chair to pout (I only half understand that last line - resumed her chair in a pet? )

Meanwhile, the young man had slung on to his person a decidedly shabby upper garment, and, erecting himself before the blaze, looked down on me from the corner of his eyes, for all the world as if there were some mortal feud unavenged between us.

So in Wuthering Heights we have Mr Heathcliff, who is aloof and unsociable, we have Mrs Heathcliff who is pretty but aloof and unsociable, we have Joseph who is unintelligble and aloof and unsociable, we have the young man who is carrying a grudge towards Lockwood for unknown reason and unsociable, and we have 6 dogs that attacked "I".
Why he came back is a mystery in the first place, why he is staying there is another.
Still an idiot.

He is feeling uncomfortable for about five minutes until Heathcliff comes in, though why that "relieved" him is another question.
Heathcliff informs Lockwood that the snowstorm will last for the rest of the evening.

"‘Are you going to mak’ the tea?’ demanded he of the shabby coat, shifting his ferocious gaze from me to the young lady."
Ferocious gaze too? Run, Lockwood! Take your chances with the snowstorm!

‘Is he to have any?’ she asked, appealing to Heathcliff.

‘Get it ready, will you?’ was the answer, uttered so savagely that I started. The tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine bad nature. I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a capital fellow."

What took you so long to realize that, Lockwood? Run!

And we all, including the rustic youth, drew round the table: an austere silence prevailing while we discussed our meal.

An austere silence prevailing while we discussed our meal? That's clever, a mute conversation.

There's a wise lesson to be learnt in the next few paragraphs - don't assume.
After Lockwood implies Mrs Heathcliff is married to Mr Heathcliff, Heathcliff gets angry since his wife had passed away, she is his daughter-in-law. As Lockwood assumes that the youth who let him in is Mrs Heathcliff's husband, things get worse - the young lady is already the widow of Heathcliff's son.

The youth indroduces himself:
‘My name is Hareton Earnshaw,’ growled the other; ‘and I’d counsel you to respect it!
That is the name we read on the porch. HMmmm.

Lockwood spends some more time feeling uncomfortable. After dinner the sheep are brought in and Lockwood realizes he'll never find his way back today:

‘How must I do?’ I continued, with rising irritation.

There was no reply to my question; and on looking round I saw only Joseph bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs, and Mrs. Heathcliff leaning over the fire, diverting herself with burning a bundle of matches which had fallen from the chimney-piece as she restored the tea-canister to its place. The former, when he had deposited his burden, took a critical survey of the room, and in cracked tones grated out—‘Aw wonder how yah can faishion to stand thear i’ idleness un war, when all on ’ems goan out! Bud yah’re a nowt, and it’s no use talking—yah’ll niver mend o’yer ill ways, but goa raight to t’ divil, like yer mother afore ye!’

So they're just as nice among one another.Mrs. Heathcliff says:
I’ll show you how far I’ve progressed in the Black Art: I shall soon be competent to make a clear house of it.

Oh bother. Magic.
What follows is an argument in the household - Heathcliff won't allow Lockwood to sleep in a chair in the living room and tells him he'll have to share with Joseph or Hareton, Hareton briefly offers to take him halfway but Heathcliff won't hear of it. Lockwood grabs Joseph's lantern and says "i'll send it back on the morrow" but Joseph is so angered by this he sets the dogs on him.

Fortunately Zillah, the stout housewife and dog tamer comes to the rescue, nurses Lockwood and sends him to a bed. What bed? That'll be revealed in chapter 3.

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[*] posted on 11-8-2020 at 21:41

Well, what do you know. I finished the book yesterday evening since the extremely hot weather we're experiencing makes using a laptop a lot less attractive than reading a book in front of the fan.

There is a lot I could pick apart and I think I may continue this project - considering when I just read the TVTropes pages on it how much of the book I may have missed...

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[*] posted on 12-8-2020 at 21:47

So, let's roll up our sleeves and go to chapter 3!
The narrator Lockwood is forced to stay the night at Heathcliff's house due to his own stupidity and poor judge of character. The housekeeper Zillah recommends he snuffs his candle and remains silent, since Heathcliff doesn't like people to stay in that room.

Too stupefied to be curious myself, I fastened my door and glanced round for the bed. The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case, with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old-fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every one else.
I had to read this paragraph about 20 times before I understood what kind of furniture this was and I still don't think I have it right - a closet that opens to reveal a bed and bookshelves. Lockwood finds books with 3 names on it: Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff and Catherine Linton.

In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw—Heathcliff—Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark, as vivid as spectres—the air swarmed with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle-wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin.

Vapid listlessness appears to be a tautology.
I'm unfamiliar with "leant" as conjugation of "to lean" . Learnt something new!
Neither am I familiar with using the word "recline" on an object, rather than a human.
Anyway, Lockwood burns a book.

I snuffed it off, and, very ill at ease under the influence of cold and lingering nausea, sat up and spread open the injured tome on my knee.
Injured tome - I love "tome" as hefty synonym for "book". It's one I only learned fairly recently after overdosing on Fatal Frame. Injure I have to look up - like with recline I cannot find that it can also be used on inanimate objects.
Then again, books may have souls. :)

One curious comic book I have is filled with gags about the Rubik's Cube - the jokes range from creative other uses for the device, to creative means of destroying it. It has the same joke around 50 times and therefore really taught me about my sense of humour - I found it endearingly funny whenever human-like characteristics were attributed to the cube. My favourite is the one where the unfortunate cube is about to be executed by a firing squad - the little cube wears a blindfold and has a cigarette butt lying beside him. Cute, almost.
So, if you want to make me laugh - pretend some random object is alive!

Catherine scribbled all over her books - not even in my copy of Barry Miles's monstrosity about FZ did I write so much that any free space was used for my writing. Not a pretty scrawl either - it's described as unformed. He also finds a humorous cartoon of Joseph, the grumpy preachy servant.
An immediate interest kindled within me for the unknown Catherine, and I began forthwith to decipher her faded hieroglyphics.
"Hieroglyphics" means like hieroglyphs. They were first deciphered in the 1820s, before this book was written, and Brontë may have read about them. Hieroglyphs were used for quite a long time - starting out as a character-like writing, but developing syllabic and alphabetic symbols later on. Around 1000 hieroglyphs are known.
But what does it mean when you compare writing to hieroglyphs? Did she interject her writing with drawings, like we may do with emoji?

‘All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so Joseph must needs get up a congregation in the garret; and, while Hindley and his wife basked downstairs before a comfortable fire—doing anything but reading their Bibles, I’ll answer for it—Heathcliff, myself, and the unhappy ploughboy were commanded to take our prayer-books, and mount: we were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning and shivering, and hoping that Joseph would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily for his own sake.
The young Catherine writes in much the same style as Lockwood does. According to the timeline Wikipedia offers, she is 10, which would explain unformed handwriting but not the sentence construction.

Catherine wishes her father would come back, since Hindley is awful to her and Heathcliff - she relates how they have to endure a three-hour sermon by Joseph on a Sunday when it was too rainy to go to church. Afterwards she and Heathcliff find a private nook, but Joseph finds them and tells them in phonetic spelling that requires several repeat readings and the occasional note to read some of the religious books.

I took my dingy volume by the scroop, and hurled it into the dog-kennel, vowing I hated a good book.
We already knew that from your scribbling in them, young lady.
I can only find "harsh sound or cry" as definition for scroop. It can also refer to the sound that cloth makes when it rubs together, so maybe she caused the volume to be noisy? Or maybe it's a Northern word?

Stumbling on, Joseph calls Hindley to punish the kids for their insolence.
‘Hindley hurried up from his paradise on the hearth, and seizing one of us by the collar, and the other by the arm, hurled both into the back-kitchen; where, Joseph asseverated, “owd Nick” would fetch us as sure as we were living: and, so comforted, we each sought a separate nook to await his advent.
Hm, Nick as name for the devil? Is new to this St Nicholas fan. You live and learn!

The kids run away and the note ends, Lockwood keeps on reading:
I suppose Catherine fulfilled her project, for the next sentence took up another subject: she waxed lachrymose.

I assume here wax is used as synonym for grow, as in increase in size. Lachrymose I know refers to tears (Lacrimosa, dies illa...) but it's an adjective only. So I guess she grows tearful but still... This feels like a thesaurus job.
She cries over how Hindley treats Heathcliff.

He sees another book title and drops off to have two nasty dreams, which I'll save for my next post since this laptop gets hot.

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[*] posted on 13-8-2020 at 22:20

The first dream I understand has been subject to debate as it appears to have no function within the book, so let's see if I can find out more... (fat chance)

In dream 1, Joseph accompanies Lockwood to the church to attend a lengthy sermon by a man whose book Lockwood just saw on the shelf.

The snow lay yards deep in our road; and, as we floundered on, my companion wearied me with constant reproaches that I had not brought a pilgrim’s staff: telling me that I could never get into the house without one, and boastfully flourishing a heavy-headed cudgel, which I understood to be so denominated.

So Joseph doesn't just call a house a house, he also insists tat a cudgel is called a cudgel.
For "flounder" I found no definition that I could fit in the situation: potential etymology lists "flodderen" (to wade) .

They make it to the church, where the preacher is preaching (maybe I need a thesaurus myself):
However, in my dream, Jabez had a full and attentive congregation; and he preached—good God! what a sermon; divided into four hundred and ninety parts, each fully equal to an ordinary address from the pulpit, and each discussing a separate sin!
Can you imagine dreaming a sermon that long?

Lockwood reaches the point where he has had enough:
Fellow-martyrs, have at him! Drag him down, and crush him to atoms, that the place which knows him may know him no more!
John Dalton developed his atomic theory in the early 1800s, Brontë may well have been aware of them.
I couldn't find when the first atom was isolated and we actually managed to crush something to atoms, I'll look into it...

Unfortunately the tables turn, and the Reverend tells the worshippers to execute Lockwood:
Brethren, execute upon him the judgment written.

What follows is a fight in church:
In the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed; blows, aimed at me, fell on other sconces. Presently the whole chapel resounded with rappings and counter rappings: every man’s hand was against his neighbour; and Branderham, unwilling to remain idle, poured forth his zeal in a shower of loud taps on the boards of the pulpit, which responded so smartly that, at last, to my unspeakable relief, they woke me.
And Lockwood does the smart thing: wake up. And then he falls asleep and has a worse dream:

I heard, also, the fir bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp the casement.
He tries to open the window. Unfortunately he is so frustrated with the sound he thinks of a worse solution:

‘I must stop it, nevertheless!’ I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!
Importunate means troublesome - most commonly used for human behaviour.
Having someone grab a hand out unseen is a great horror trick. The ice cold is a bonus.

(to be continued)

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[*] posted on 16-8-2020 at 17:36

I found it hard to look up when we first got to separate an atom - I've found one source giving the honour to Ernest Rutherfort in 1908 (7 November to be precise) but I couldn't find info to back that up.
Separating an atom is done with chemical or electrical means - the first mechanical separation of an atom from its molecule took place in 2003.

Crushing a person to atoms would be loborious since atoms are typically unstable and try to cling to molecules - imagining the efford needed, not to mention the machinery. This phrase may have dated poorly - it feels like "grind to powder" would have been more effective.Plus we can enjoy the result with the naked eye.

Anyway, Lockwood was dreaming that he smashed a hole in the window (poor guest behaviour) in order to stop the rattling noise and grabbed an ice-cold hand! Lockwood tries to pull back but the hand has grabbed him firmly and begs to be let in. Lockwood asks who it is. The voice replies "Catherine Linton, I'm lost on the moor". (this is what the song refers to. The song refers to the 1936 movie though). Lockwood looks out and sees the face of a child.
(Later on we find an incongruency here - Linton is Catherine's married name and she wouldn't have been a child when she got it, but it's a dream, so anything can happen no matter how bizarre.)

Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, ‘Let me in!’ and maintained its tenacious grip, almost maddening me with fear.
What do you know. Dream ghosts bleed.

‘Begone!’ I shouted. ‘I’ll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.’ ‘It is twenty years,’ mourned the voice: ‘twenty years. I’ve been a waif for twenty years!’
This may be another incongruency - this takes place 16 years after Catherine's death. Still it's a dream so I shouldn't be whining.

Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up; but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. To my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal: hasty footsteps approached my chamber door; somebody pushed it open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the squares at the top of the bed.
"Not ideal" here means not imaginary. Lockwood screamed for real and gave himself away.

I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead: the intruder appeared to hesitate, and muttered to himself.
Can you call it an intruder when it's his own house? OK it isn't but that's beside the point...

At last, he said, in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer, ‘Is any one here?’ I considered it best to confess my presence; for I knew Heathcliff’s accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept quiet.
Confess my presence, interesting. Falls under apologizing to the landlord for renting the house he put up to let.
Plus him saying "I knew Heathcliff's accents" feels pompous, knowing that from what little we experienced from the people at Wuthering Heights: Lockwood is a horrible judge of character.

Heathcliff is terrified by Lockwood opening the case.
‘It is only your guest, sir,’ I called out, desirous to spare him the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further.
The next phrase we'll summarize as "it's me, your guest".
‘Oh, God confound you, Mr. Lockwood! I wish you were at the—’ commenced my host, setting the candle on a chair, because he found it impossible to hold it steady. ‘And who showed you up into this room?’ he continued, crushing his nails into his palms, and grinding his teeth to subdue the maxillary convulsions.
Maxillary is relating to the jawbone. The combination is not used to describe a condition generally - looking for the phrase only gives me Wuthering Heights.

Lockwood betrays Zillah by saying it was her (jerk, she saved your butt from those dogs twice). He argues a little with Heathcliff about the sleeping place.

‘If the little fiend had got in at the window, she probably would have strangled me!’ I returned. ‘I’m not going to endure the persecutions of your hospitable ancestors again. Was not the Reverend Jabez Branderham akin to you on the mother’s side? And that minx, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or however she was called—she must have been a changeling—wicked little soul! She told me she had been walking the earth these twenty years: a just punishment for her mortal transgressions, I’ve no doubt!’

"Oh wait, I read that Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw were close..."
Scarcely were these words uttered when I recollected the association of Heathcliff’s with Catherine’s name in the book, which had completely slipped from my memory, till thus awakened. I blushed at my inconsideration: but, without showing further consciousness of the offence, I hastened to add—‘The truth is, sir, I passed the first part of the night in—’ Here I stopped afresh—I was about to say ‘perusing those old volumes,’ then it would have revealed my knowledge of their written, as well as their printed, contents; so, correcting myself, I went on—‘in spelling over the name scratched on that window-ledge. A monotonous occupation, calculated to set me asleep, like counting, or—’
Did I mention Lockwood is an idiot?

Lockwood again repeats to Heathcliff that he only knew the name from reading it on the volumes .
Not liking to show him that I had heard the conflict, I continued my toilette rather noisily, looked at my watch, and soliloquised on the length of the night: ‘Not three o’clock yet! I could have taken oath it had been six. Time stagnates here: we must surely have retired to rest at eight!’
He never even started his toilette (assuming this is whatever morning apparel routine men had back then) and he soliloquises again! But this time he is not talking to himself, Heathcliff is there too. And he talks back. Bed at 9, rise at 4. Nightmare upon nightmare here.

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[*] posted on 16-8-2020 at 22:27

Heathcliff tells Lockwood to go to H's room since H can't sleep anymore after that cry, Lockwood says he'll stay out in the yard until he can go back.

Keep out of the yard, though, the dogs are unchained; and the house—Juno mounts sentinel there, and—nay, you can only ramble about the steps and passages. But, away with you! I’ll come in two minutes!’

Mount Sentinel is a small mountain in Montana. Sentinel means on guard, so basically Juno (the bitch with the puppies) is on guard. I don't know if it's typical to mount a sentinel since the existence of Mount Sentinel makes the search harder (as in, less easy considering I'm putting in as little effort into it as possible.

Friendly host, huh, confining us to the staircases and hallways. Lockwood leaves but sees Heathcliff doing the following:
He got on to the bed, and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable passion of tears. ‘Come in! come in!’ he sobbed. ‘Cathy, do come. Oh, do—once more! Oh! my heart’s darling! hear me this time, Catherine, at last!’ The spectre showed a spectre’s ordinary caprice: it gave no sign of being; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even reaching my station, and blowing out the light.
First a house is a house, and now a spectre is a spectre. The book fortunately doesn't rely on the existence of spectres and whether they exist or not is left open. Except in this phrase.
(reads "wind whirled wildly)
(scratches arm)

Lockwood goes to the back kitchen where he has another encounter:
Nothing was stirring except a brindled, grey cat, which crept from the ashes, and saluted me with a querulous mew.
Brindled means greyish. A greyish grey cat. Probably because it crept from the ashes.
The cat seems equally sociable as the rest of the household. Wuthering Heights now hosts Heathcliff, whose awful character is already hinted at, young Earnshaw who is equally unpleasant, Mrs. Heathcliff who is also aloof and unsociable, Joseph the preaching unwellwisher, Zillah who led Lockwood into that room, 6 horrible hounds and now one cat joins the parade of utterly dreadful characters. What are you still doing there, Lockwood?

Two benches, shaped in sections of a circle, nearly enclosed the hearth; on one of these I stretched myself, and Grimalkin mounted the other.
Juno and Grimalkin are both names that aren't introduced - context leaves you to guess what is meant by the name. For Grimalkin this shouldn't be too much of a stretch - it's an archaic term for a cat. Grimalkin is the name of the cat in Macbeth, which helps the witches with foretelling the titular character's future.
The back kitchen is apparently Joseph's section of the house - he barges in, picks up the cat and smokes his pipe.

My presence in his sanctum was evidently esteemed a piece of impudence too shameful for remark: he silently applied the tube to his lips, folded his arms, and puffed away.
Assumptions, assumptions...

A more elastic footstep entered next; and now I opened my mouth for a ‘good-morning,’ but closed it again, the salutation unachieved; for Hareton Earnshaw was performing his orison sotto voce, in a series of curses directed against every object he touched, while he rummaged a corner for a spade or shovel to dig through the drifts. He glanced over the back of the bench, dilating his nostrils, and thought as little of exchanging civilities with me as with my companion the cat.
Orison is prayer, and he's doing it with soft voice - and apparently cursing.
And now I'm curious to know the difference between a spade and a shovel.

Lockwood enters the main room again, where Heathcliff has just finished telling off Zillah and is now roasting Mrs. Heathcliff:
Put your trash away, and find something to do. You shall pay me for the plague of having you eternally in my sight—do you hear, damnable jade?’
(The "trash" is the young lady's book)
‘I’ll put my trash away, because you can make me if I refuse,’ answered the young lady, closing her book, and throwing it on a chair. ‘But I’ll not do anything, though you should swear your tongue out, except what I please!'
(grabs popcorn)
Having no desire to be entertained by a cat-and-dog combat, I stepped forward briskly, as if eager to partake the warmth of the hearth, and innocent of any knowledge of the interrupted dispute.
(puts away popcorn with a sigh)

Lockwood gets away from the house ASAP and declining their breakfast invitation. Heathcliff is being nice for no apparent reason since the moors are a death trap under a thick layer of snow, he walks Lockwood halfway home. It then takes Lockwood four hours to get back to the Grange, where his servants welcome him as they had expected him to be dead. He puts on different clothes and gets dinner.

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[*] posted on 18-8-2020 at 21:50

We have now rushed towards chapter 4!

The first line (if you don't consider an exclamation mark an end of a phrase, not uncommon in English works) of chapter 4 is also the first paragraph:
What vain weathercocks we are! I, who had determined to hold myself independent of all social intercourse, and thanked my stars that, at length, I had lighted on a spot where it was next to impracticable—I, weak wretch, after maintaining till dusk a struggle with low spirits and solitude, was finally compelled to strike my colours; and under pretence of gaining information concerning the necessities of my establishment, I desired Mrs. Dean, when she brought in supper, to sit down while I ate it; hoping sincerely she would prove a regular gossip, and either rouse me to animation or lull me to sleep by her talk.
To translate as "I needed someone to talk to."
Proving again that Lockwood is a poor judge of character - of himself. I am completely unsure of what "vain weathercocks" is supposed to mean, or better put - how I can explain that phrase.

Fortunately Mrs. Dean, also called Ellen or Nelly in the book, is a gossip, and over the next few chapters she is our narrator.

The next section is very important in understanding the book and fortunately for me much less filled with purple prose:
-Mrs Dean has served at the grange for 18 years.
-Heathcliff is very rich.
-Heathcliff's son is dead. His young widow is called Catherine Linton, the daughter of Mrs. Dean's old master.
-Hareton Earnshaw is Catherine Linton's cousin. So was Heathcliff's son bytheway - Heathcliff married Mr Linton's sister.
-Mrs. Dean has a strong dislike towards Heathcliff.

I'll post the next paragraph in full:
Before I came to live here, she commenced—waiting no farther invitation to her story—I was almost always at Wuthering Heights; because my mother had nursed Mr. Hindley Earnshaw, that was Hareton’s father, and I got used to playing with the children: I ran errands too, and helped to make hay, and hung about the farm ready for anything that anybody would set me to. One fine summer morning—it was the beginning of harvest, I remember—Mr. Earnshaw, the old master, came down-stairs, dressed for a journey; and, after he had told Joseph what was to be done during the day, he turned to Hindley, and Cathy, and me—for I sat eating my porridge with them—and he said, speaking to his son, ‘Now, my bonny man, I’m going to Liverpool to-day, what shall I bring you? You may choose what you like: only let it be little, for I shall walk there and back: sixty miles each way, that is a long spell!’ Hindley named a fiddle, and then he asked Miss Cathy; she was hardly six years old, but she could ride any horse in the stable, and she chose a whip. He did not forget me; for he had a kind heart, though he was rather severe sometimes. He promised to bring me a pocketful of apples and pears, and then he kissed his children, said good-bye, and set off.

Here's a problem we also had with the dogs - she just explained about Catherine Linton and she is talking about a Cathy here, but we are unsure about the time this takes place.
As it turns out it's another Cathy. In the book the story with the first one is told and then the story of the second one. Their stories don't overlap much - but: everybody save Heathcliff calls the older Catherine Catherine, Heathcliff calls her Cathy. The younger Catherine is called Cathy by everybody except Heathcliff who calls her Catherine.
This rule is set later in the book but here Mrs. Dean treads it, by calling Catherine Cathy. Then again she's 6 here.

Aaaaanyway Mr Earnshaw is going to Liverpool and asks his son Hindley and Catherine I (who turns out to be his daughter) what he can bring them.

He comes back three days later with quite a different present:
‘And at the end of it to be flighted to death!’ he said, opening his great-coat, which he held bundled up in his arms. ‘See here, wife! I was never so beaten with anything in my life: but you must e’en take it as a gift of God; though it’s as dark almost as if it came from the devil.’[i/]
He was frightened to death and brings a little kid in. He's dark (book later specifies him as not black black - this may be "ambiguously brown". Also his age is ambiguous. A fight between Earnshaw and his wife ensues, but she begrudgingly takes him up:
Well, the conclusion was, that my mistress grumbled herself calm; and Mr. Earnshaw told me to wash it, and give it clean things, and let it sleep with the children..

It. Nice.

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[*] posted on 19-8-2020 at 22:29

Mrs. Dean is telling us about how Heathcliff arrived at the Earnshaw home:
They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room; and I had no more sense, so I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it might be gone on the morrow.

So it's a young child of undetermined age, orphaned, unable to speak and pretty much helpless having just been taken to a desolate place - and the maid puts it out on the staircase.

So, all characters I can no longer sympathise with are Lockwood, Heathcliff, Mrs Heathcliff, Joseph, Hareton Earnshaw, Juno and Grimalkin, and now Mrs Dean. No character to sympathise with yet.

Miss Cathy and he were now very thick; but Hindley hated him: and to say the truth I did the same; and we plagued and went on with him shamefully: for I wasn’t reasonable enough to feel my injustice, and the mistress never put in a word on his behalf when she saw him wronged.
So that's Hindley and Mrs Earnshaw out of the window. That last suffix seems so tacked on. We indeed hear very little about Mrs Earnshaw.

He took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said (for that matter, he said precious little, and generally the truth), and petting him up far above Cathy, who was too mischievous and wayward for a favourite.
So that's Mr Earnshaw on the unsympathetic side - nice that he adopts a boy but if he starts favoriting it over his own children...

To demonstrate how manipulative Heathcliff was as a young boy, Mrs. Dean relates of the time Mr Earnshaw bought two colts for them. Heathcliff takes the prettiest one, but tries to swap it when it goes lame:

‘You must exchange horses with me: I don’t like mine; and if you won’t I shall tell your father of the three thrashings you’ve given me this week, and show him my arm, which is black to the shoulder.’ Hindley put out his tongue, and cuffed him over the ears. ‘You’d better do it at once,’ he persisted, escaping to the porch (they were in the stable): ‘you will have to: and if I speak of these blows, you’ll get them again with interest.’
Off, dog!’ cried Hindley, threatening him with an iron weight used for weighing potatoes and hay. ‘Throw it,’ he replied, standing still, ‘and then I’ll tell how you boasted that you would turn me out of doors as soon as he died, and see whether he will not turn you out directly.’ Hindley threw it, hitting him on the breast, and down he fell, but staggered up immediately, breathless and white; and, had not I prevented it, he would have gone just so to the master, and got full revenge by letting his condition plead for him, intimating who had caused it. ‘Take my colt, Gipsy, then!’ said young Earnshaw. ‘And I pray that he may break your neck: take him, and be damned, you beggarly interloper! and wheedle my father out of all he has: only afterwards show him what you are, imp of Satan.—And take that, I hope he’ll kick out your brains!’

The eloquence of these kids, and the amazing skill of Heathcliff at blackmailing at that age is wondrous. According to Wikipedia's timeline, Heathcliff was brought to the Earnshaws in 1771, when Hindley was 14. In 1774 Hindley is sent off to university and this dialogue would've happened when Heathcliff was 8 or 9, not to mention taking a heavy iron on the chest without ill side effects.

Mrs Dean is the same age as Hindley, so she would have been 14. The book doesn't make it clear if she witnessed it but how can you let the children you're supposed to care for throw heavy irons at each other?

I persuaded him easily to let me lay the blame of his bruises on the horse: he minded little what tale was told since he had what he wanted. He complained so seldom, indeed, of such stirs as these, that I really thought him not vindictive: I was deceived completely, as you will hear.
Picture Supernanny going to this house... good god.

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