Wuthering Heights

Die Sturmhöhe

Übersetzt von Grete Rambach
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022






































1801. — I have just re­turned from a vis­it to my land­lord — the sol­it­ary neigh­bour that I shall be troubled with.
This is cer­tainly a beau­ti­ful coun­try! In all Eng­land, I do not be­lieve that I could have fixed on a situ­ation so com­pletely re­moved from the stir of so­ci­ety.
A per­fect mis­an­throp­ist’s heav­en: and Mr. Heath­cliff and I are such a suit­able pair to di­vide the des­ol­a­tion between us.
A cap­it­al fel­low! He little ima­gined how my heart warmed to­wards him
when I be­held his black eyes with­draw so sus­pi­ciously un­der their brows, as I rode up,
and when his fin­gers sheltered them­selves, with a jeal­ous res­ol­u­tion, still fur­ther in his waist­coat, as I an­nounced my name.
‘Mr. Heath­cliff?’ I said.
A nod was the an­swer.
‘Mr. Lock­wood, your new ten­ant, sir. 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 so­li­cit­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion of Thrush­cross Grange:
I heard yes­ter­day you had had some thoughts —’
‘Thrush­cross Grange is my own, sir,’ he in­ter­rup­ted, win­cing.
‘I should not al­low any one to in­con­veni­ence me, if I could hinder it — 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.
When he saw my horse’s breast fairly push­ing the bar­ri­er, he did put out his hand to un­chain it,
and then sul­lenly pre­ceded me up the cause­way, call­ing, as we entered the court,— ‘Joseph, take Mr. Lock­wood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’
‘Here we have the whole es­tab­lish­ment of do­mest­ics, I sup­pose,’ was the re­flec­tion sug­ges­ted by this com­pound or­der.
‘No won­der the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge-cut­ters.’
Joseph was an eld­erly, nay, an old man: very old, per­haps, though hale and sinewy.
‘The Lord help us!’ he so­li­lo­quised in an un­der­tone of peev­ish dis­pleas­ure,
while re­liev­ing me of my horse: look­ing, mean­time, 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.
Wuther­ing Heights is the name of Mr. Heath­cliff’s dwell­ing. ‘Wuther­ing’ be­ing a sig­ni­fic­ant pro­vin­cial ad­ject­ive,
de­script­ive of the at­mo­spher­ic tu­mult to which its sta­tion is ex­posed in stormy weath­er.
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.
Hap­pily, the ar­chi­tect had foresight to build it strong:
the nar­row win­dows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners de­fen­ded with large jut­ting stones.
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.’
I would have made a few com­ments, and re­ques­ted a short his­tory of the place from the surly own­er;
but his at­ti­tude at the door ap­peared to de­mand my speedy en­trance,
or com­plete de­par­ture, and I had no de­sire to ag­grav­ate his im­pa­tience pre­vi­ous to in­spect­ing the penet­rali­um.
One stop brought us into the fam­ily sit­ting-room, without any in­tro­duct­ory lobby or pas­sage: they call it here ‘the house’ pre-em­in­ently.
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.
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 lat­ter had nev­er been un­der-drawn: its en­tire ana­tomy lay bare to an in­quir­ing eye,
ex­cept where a frame of wood laden with oat­cakes and clusters of legs of beef, mut­ton, and ham, con­cealed it.
Above the chim­ney were sun­dry vil­lain­ous old guns, and a couple of horse-pis­tols:
and, by way of or­na­ment, three gaud­ily-painted can­is­ters dis­posed along its ledge.
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.
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.
The apart­ment and fur­niture would have been noth­ing ex­traordin­ary as be­long­ing to a homely, north­ern farm­er,
with a stub­born coun­ten­ance, and stal­wart limbs set out to ad­vant­age in knee-breeches and gaiters.
Such an in­di­vidu­al seated in his arm-chair, his mug of ale froth­ing on the round table be­fore him,
is to be seen in any cir­cuit of five or six miles among these hills, if you go at the right time after din­ner.
But Mr. Heath­cliff forms a sin­gu­lar con­trast to his abode and style of liv­ing.
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.
Pos­sibly, some people might sus­pect him of a de­gree of un­der-bred pride;
I have a sym­path­et­ic chord with­in that tells me it is noth­ing of the sort:
I know, by in­stinct, his re­serve springs from an aver­sion to showy dis­plays of feel­ing — to mani­fest­a­tions of mu­tu­al kind­li­ness.
He’ll love and hate equally un­der cov­er, and es­teem it a spe­cies of im­per­tin­ence to be loved or hated again.
No, I’m run­ning on too fast: I be­stow my own at­trib­utes over-lib­er­ally on him.
Mr. Heath­cliff may have en­tirely dis­sim­il­ar reas­ons for keep­ing his hand out of the way
when he meets a would-be ac­quaint­ance, to those which ac­tu­ate me.
Let me hope my con­sti­tu­tion is al­most pe­cu­li­ar: my dear moth­er used to say
I should nev­er have a com­fort­able home; and only last sum­mer I proved my­self per­fectly un­worthy of one.
While en­joy­ing a month of fine weath­er at the sea-coast, I was thrown into the com­pany of a most fas­cin­at­ing creature:
a real god­dess in my eyes, as long as she took no no­tice of me.
I ‘nev­er told my love’ vo­cally; still, if looks have lan­guage, the merest idi­ot might have guessed I was over head and ears:
she un­der­stood me at last, and looked a re­turn — the sweetest of all ima­gin­able looks.
And what did I do? I con­fess it with shame — shrunk icily into my­self, like a snail;
at every glance re­tired colder and farther; till fi­nally the poor in­no­cent was led to doubt her own senses,
and, over­whelmed with con­fu­sion at her sup­posed mis­take, per­suaded her mamma to de­camp.
By this curi­ous turn of dis­pos­i­tion I have gained the repu­ta­tion of de­lib­er­ate heart­less­ness; how un­deserved, I alone can ap­pre­ci­ate.
I took a seat at the end of the hearth­stone op­pos­ite that to­wards which my land­lord ad­vanced,
and filled up an in­ter­val of si­lence by at­tempt­ing to caress the can­ine moth­er, who had left her nurs­ery,
and was sneak­ing wolfishly to the back of my legs, her lip curled up, and her white teeth wa­ter­ing for a snatch.
My caress pro­voked a long, gut­tur­al gnarl.
‘You’d bet­ter let the dog alone,’ growled Mr. Heath­cliff in uni­son, check­ing fiercer demon­stra­tions with a punch of his foot.
‘She’s not ac­cus­tomed to be spoiled — not kept for a pet.’ Then, strid­ing to a side door, he shouted again, ‘Joseph!’
Joseph mumbled in­dis­tinctly in the depths of the cel­lar, but gave no in­tim­a­tion of as­cend­ing;
so his mas­ter dived down to him, leav­ing me vis-a-vis the ruf­fi­anly bitch and a pair of grim shaggy sheep-dogs,
who shared with her a jeal­ous guard­i­an­ship over all my move­ments.
Not anxious to come in con­tact with their fangs, I sat still;
but, ima­gin­ing they would scarcely un­der­stand ta­cit in­sults, I un­for­tu­nately in­dulged in wink­ing and mak­ing faces at the trio,
and some turn of my physiognomy so ir­rit­ated madam, that she sud­denly broke into a fury and leapt on my knees.
I flung her back, and hastened to in­ter­pose the table between us.
This pro­ceed­ing aroused the whole hive:
half-a-dozen four-footed fiends, of vari­ous sizes and ages, is­sued from hid­den dens to the com­mon centre.
I felt my heels and coat-laps pe­cu­li­ar sub­jects of as­sault;
and par­ry­ing off the lar­ger com­batants as ef­fec­tu­ally as I could with the poker,
I was con­strained to de­mand, aloud, as­sist­ance from some of the house­hold in re-es­tab­lish­ing peace.
Mr. Heath­cliff and his man climbed the cel­lar steps with vex­a­tious phlegm:
I don’t think they moved one second faster than usu­al, though the hearth was an ab­so­lute tem­pest of wor­ry­ing and yelp­ing.
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.
‘What the dev­il is the mat­ter?’ he asked, eye­ing me in a man­ner that I could ill en­dure, after this in­hos­pit­able treat­ment.
‘What the dev­il, in­deed!’ I muttered.
‘The herd of pos­sessed swine could have had no worse spir­its in them than those an­im­als of yours, sir.
You might as well leave a stranger with a brood of ti­gers!’
‘They won’t meddle with per­sons who touch noth­ing,’ he re­marked, put­ting the bottle be­fore me, and restor­ing the dis­placed table.
‘The dogs do right to be vi­gil­ant. Take a glass of wine?’
‘No, thank you.’
‘Not bit­ten, are you?’
‘If I had been, I would have set my signet on the biter.’
Heath­cliff’s coun­ten­ance re­laxed into a grin.
‘Come, come,’ he said, ‘you are flur­ried, Mr. Lock­wood. Here, take a little wine.
Guests are so ex­ceed­ingly rare in this house that I and my dogs, I am will­ing to own, hardly know how to re­ceive them. Your health, sir?’
I bowed and re­turned the pledge; be­gin­ning to per­ceive that it would be fool­ish to sit sulk­ing for the mis­be­ha­viour of a pack of curs;
be­sides, I felt loth to yield the fel­low fur­ther amuse­ment at my ex­pense; since his hu­mour took that turn.
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.
It is as­ton­ish­ing how so­ci­able I feel my­self com­pared with him.

Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights / Die Sturmhöhe
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Grete Rambach

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