Oh, heavens! In old days, this Women Toms Classic would win you knighthood!' exclaimed Mrs Linton. `We are vanquished! we are vanquished! Heathcliff would as soon lift a finger at you as a king would march his army against a colony of mice. Cheer up! you shan't be hurt! Your type is not a lamb, it's a sucking leveret.'
`I wish you joy of the milk-blooded coward, Cathy!' said her friend. `I compliment you on your taste. And that is the slavering, shivering thing you preferred to me! I would not strike him with my fist, but I'd kick him with my foot, and experience considerable satisfaction. Is he weeping, or is he going to faint for fear?'
The fellow approached and gave the chair on which Linton rested a push. He'd better have kept his distance; my master quickly sprang erect, and struck him full on the throat a blow that would have levelled a slighter man. It took his breath for a minute; and while he choked, Mr Linton walked out by the back door into the yard, and from thence to the front entrance.
`There! you've done with coming here,' cried Catherine. `Get away, now; he'll return with a brace of pistols, and half a dozen assistants. If he did overhear us, of course he'd never forgive you. You've played him an ill turn, Heathcliff! But go--make haste! I'd rather see Edgar at bay than you.'
`Do you suppose I'm going with that blow burning in my gullet?' he thundered. `By hell, no! I'll crush his ribs in like a rotten hazel nut before I cross the threshold! If I don't floor him now, I shall murder him some time; so, as you value his existence, let me get at him!'
`He's not coming,' I interposed, framing a bit of a lie. `There's the coachman and the two gardeners; you'll surely not wait to be thrust into the road by them! Each has a bludgeon; and master will, very likely, be watching from the parlour windows, to see that they fulfil his orders.'