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In spite of the warning she received, Nelly pays a visit to Wuthering Heights, but she is not allowed to see Cathy. She does, however, get some news about the girl from Zillah, the housekeeper at the Heights.
Zillah has been instructed by her master not to help Cathy in any way; her torture is part of his plan of revenge. When Cathy asks Heathcliff to send for a doctor since she is not feeling well, her cruel father-in-law refuses.
Linton, Cathy's young husband and Heathcliff's son, soon dies. Heathcliff delights in showing Cathy the will that Linton has left; it bequeaths everything to Heathcliff. Cathy now has neither money nor friends; her entire existence depends on Heathcliff, the man she hates. Before Linton's funeral, Cathy falls sick and remains in her room until after her husband is buried.
After a couple of weeks of solitude, Cathy comes out of her room and tries to create a more normal life for herself. Hareton tries to please her with his attentions, but Cathy treats him haughtily, wanting nothing to do with him. In fact, the attitude of the once gentle Cathy is now cold and proud to everyone. Nelly thinks that the only hope for Cathy's happiness is for her to remarry. With this, Nelly Dean ends her story.
This chapter presents the death of Linton. Heathcliff reveals the depth of his hatred towards his son when he declares that he is not willing to spend a farthing on him. Cathy, on the other hand, seems truly grieved over her young husband's death. She is also fearful of her future life at Wuthering Heights, where she must stay since she has no money or friends. After Linton's death, Cathy stays isolated in her room for a number of days.
Hareton makes an attempt to win Cathy's favor, but the girl clearly shows her distaste for him, as well as for all the others in the house. She is even brave enough to speak rudely to Heathcliff. When he strikes her, Cathy becomes more vicious towards him. According to Nelly, the only remedy for the present state of affairs in Catherine's life is for her to get married again.
At this point, the story narrated by Nelly comes to an end. The reader is reminded that the tale of Wuthering Heights has been told as a flashback. Mr. Lockwood has been listening to the story off and on throughout his recovery from his illness. At the end of this chapter, it is obvious that he is much improved, for he is now well enough to move about. He even plans to ride over to Wuthering Heights to inform his landlord, Heathcliff, that he will spend the next six months in London; therefore, Heathcliff can look for a new tenant for Thrushcross Grange.