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After the funeral, Cathy and Nelly sit together in the library consoling each other. Heathcliff enters and informs them that he has rented out the Grange. Cathy is to stay at the Heights and nurse her husband, whether she likes it or not. Nelly is warned not to visit.
Heathcliff tells Nelly what he did on the day Edgar died. He opened Catherine's coffin with the sexton's help and saw her face. He told the sexton to place him next to Catherine when he died. He then kicked in one side of Catherine's coffin and asked the sexton to do the same with his coffin when he died; he wants his dust to mingle with that of Catherine.
Heathcliff also confesses to Nelly that he has been haunted by Catherine's presence ever since the night of her death and has not known rest for eighteen years. On the night of her burial, while trying to dig up her body, Heathcliff felt her spirit come to him.
At the end of the chapter, Nelly sorrowfully watches as Heathcliff and Cathy disappear into the woods.
Heathcliff's cruelty is further emphasized by the manner in which he behaves towards Cathy in this chapter. Immediately after Edgar's burial, he rents out the Grange and orders the girl to come with him to Wuthering Heights. He tells his daughter- in-law, "Begone, witch, and get your things."
The chapter also reveals the extent to which Heathcliff has been plagued by Catherine's death for the past eighteen years. Constantly haunted by her spirit, he is perpetually in a state of torment and unable to rest. On the day of Edgar's death, he has the sexton dig up Catherine's grave. Heathcliff then pries open the casket to take a look at his true love; he also kicks in the side of the coffin and tells the sexton to do the same to his when he is buried. He believes the holes will allow his dust to mingle with Catherine's. It is one of the few times in the novel that the reader feels a touch of pity for the evil Heathcliff.
This chapter sheds some light on Lockwood's dream and Heathcliff's reaction to it at the beginning of the novel, helping to unify the plot. It also prepares the reader for Nelly's account of Heathcliff's strange death at the end.