She woke up ill. She was not certain on how ill she truly was but rather static on the fact she felt terribly ill. One would suppose living in the Heights would have rendered Isabella Linton hard and relentless to petty little things such as a mere cold or sickness (she had been petty before). But the illness she woke up neither felt petty or mundane, it had made her body feel like stone and difficult to move.
As she pulled the covers off of her (with tremendous force, by her account); she tried to stretch her body, but only ache responded. It was not bruises that caused her pain (bruises, she knew and she was expert on them), for this pain was unfamiliar and unbearable. Bruises, she mused, had an unpleasant look and feel to them but felt good on her. They were her medals, her little victories of being able to arouse extreme emotions in him. Of that she felt proud, for his temper was a hard one to move or persuade, and yet she considered herself a master on all the possible ranges of his emotions. To her bruises were signs that he was losing and she winning. And only winning mattered. She felt guilty for thinking so highly of bruises and she felt even more guilty for scowling her emotions. If anything, all she had left in this whole vast empty world was to feel, and should she ever deprive herself of that, she figured, for it would only mean her spiritual death. She would go mad, she was certain, that is if she wasn't already half-mad. But before Isabella could muse on whether or not Heathcliff madness was contagious, in stormed the housekeeper with her usual fretful self.
"Girl get up!" she said with haste as she begin to grip the covers that had fallen off her frail bed. Isabella frowned weakly at the woman's usual attitude. The housekeeper always addressed her as 'girl', not Mrs Isabella, or Mrs Heathcliff, and not even 'lady' or 'woman' were terms she fancied. It always 'girl' (or conversation in: 'the girl') and her eyes were always full of pity and contempt for Isabella. She thought lowly of her, Isabella was certain, but whether she thought lowly of her because of her dull persona, or her marriage to such a man (if he is a man) as Heathcliff or to her disposition to her husband's abuse was of question. Nevertheless, the woman always hurried and shut down Isabella's attempts to converse. She never once threw a kindly glance at her or a courteous word, for that Isabella held an equal contempt and hostility for the woman. Isabella was of an easy nature, capable of quick love or quick hatred (mayhaps both if one considered her feelings for her dotting husband). The woman has sneaked her way into quick hatred with tremendous easiness and unremarkable accuracy.
"Are you deaf?" the woman snapped interrupting Isabella's train of thoughts. Isabella shaked her head and assumed her gracious temper. "No, Mrs Heywood," she replied softly while she sat herself up (how her body hurt!). Flora, as the woman was named but name Isabella Linton purposely chose to not recall, scoffed at the silliness of her person and her usual polite disposition. "Why are you up so late?" Flora said attempting to strike conversation and hide her natural dislike of her at the same time. Flora bent down and placed the bed's crimpled covers next to Isabella. While she artfully folded them she bid herself not to look at Mrs Heathcliff.
"It is not to say you are always up early or that you rise with the birds, of course! Why I haven't met a girl your age with such lethargy and poor will! You rise late but you sleep quite early. And you are always tired and refuse to participate in household activities, such cooking or sweeping the hearth. Frankly I don't understand how Mr Heathcliff thinks spoiling rotten will ever make a good wife (or mother) out of you. But I must not be surprised how his breeding only brings about his low wit about you." She said earnestly.
Isabella listened carefully and considered her words as one would consider a wild goose's advice. She laughed internally at Flora's notion of Heathcliff spoiling her rotten. She understood, to an extent, was Flora had interpreted as 'spoiling'. Heathcliff hated his wife so dearly and so ardently that he sent every servant or housekeeper to attend to her needs instead of himself meeting with them. It is not to say these were lavish needs but rather simple basic necessities such setting a bath, fixing her quarters (for she dare not share a room or night with her husband), helping on occasions with her dress (though Isabella managed quite well) or just striking conversation with her.
It is also not to say every said servant and housekeeper met her with good will or gentle disposition, but rather dismissed Mrs Heathcliff as a peevish and needful person. In this house everyone was bitter and cold and Isabella's natural sweet nature grew wearisome on most. She only boasted of two people she shared and exchanged thoughts with (one of them being Heathcliff unsurprisingly). As for the rest, the house was a dead cell hole where she felt her body was condemned to spend endless eternities. And it's not the house itself was unhospitable but rather the guests themselves were! Such grim thoughts, Isabella kept to herself rather with no one, especially not prideful and stony Flora.
Flora eyed the girl carefully trying to suspect whether she had offended or reached Mrs Heathcliff's state of conscience. "You are terribly right," Isabella responded with vividness, "but you must understand Flora, that my duty is to my husband. I cannot simply leave him unattended can I? And you've seen him, tell me not is he not the most miserable thing you have ever seen? Doesn't he need all my positive attention and earnest devotion? Does he not look to you as a person who is love starved and needs my endless love? I do wish I could do more for the house and help you with house chores but my husband constant demands leave me a bit love starved myself and exhausted, as well. It is hard on me to provide a love so strong for two parties and for a marriage to function. I suppose you couldn't understand of such an unearthly passion, as is the one I bear to Heathcliff. Could you? But I digress. I do not wish to offend your moral person or ethics, I am only pointing that my love for Heathcliff is impossible for you to comprehend or bare. I do feel ill today, however, and I am not willing to withstand heated conversations with you on such a sickful morning."
Flora cheeks reddened with sharp anger at Mrs Heathcliff presumptuous reply. She even grew more with anger when the said Missus stood up from her bed triumphantly and began to dress herself in an unpreoccupied matter. Mrs Heathcliff failure to acknowledge the housekeeper's presence only rose her contempt for her. "Well then!" she said scornfully, "I suppose I'll lead myself out and finish cleaning up the place when you are done." "Well then, Mrs Heywood," replied Isabella in a tactless demeanor, "but before you go, may you bid me where is my husband?"
"Your husband," Flora said in hot politeness, "is having breakfast, if you hurry yourself you might just catch him. I only suggest this on the grounds of your ardent manifestation of your devotion to him and only hope to keep you both in closeness as much as possible."
She had every intention in the world to avoid her husband, as why she had asked was to keep a safe distance from him. She thought about breaking her fast in the kitchen and running off outside almost instantly to avoid any possible collisions. While the breakfast table had been an excellent place to provoke Heathcliff to anger and thus entertain herself, Isabella's poor spirit and body felt otherwise. Despite her fiery words to the woman, Isabella felt altogether more ill and tired from dressing and festering herself. Still, Isabella smiled gently and bid her housekeeper good-bye as she shut the door harshly behind her.
As she laced up the front of her dress, Isabella looked up to catch a glimpse of herself in the room's tainted mirror. She was still pretty despite it all. Her eyes were still deep blue and her hair was still blonde and bouncy, and yet she felt so miserable all over. Whether it was her sickness or overall spirit at the Heights, she could no longer tell. She longed to breathe and she longed to not hurt any more. Perhaps it was the weather that dampened her moods, the winter brought about rain and rain had always been something that upset Isabella even in the Grange.
Oh the Grange! It had been her lush green palace where all people she loved and who loved her where she had been the happiest. She grinned thinking of all the times she spend with her many small dogs, playing with her brother, hugging her father and smelling her mother's perfume, it was her absolute happiness… She then bit herself at the memory and the thought. Her childhood was happy, she supposed, it looked happy. She recollected the image of her father's laugh and her mother's bright curls, with her brother running and her small dogs jumping, it seemed quite happy. Yes, it seemed. But was it the true? Had she been truly happy?