Arthur: Silence, fellow! Last night’s excess has overwrought my steely nerves. I can no more take that appalling din, than I endure to eat any of this filthy slop. Make me some coffee and be quick about it. Milk indeed; are we infants?
Joseph: [only daring to speak to himself under his breath] Are things come to this, that I, fifty years in this house, mun take orders from such a nought? [Aloud] Maister Heathcliff, am I to endure this?
Heathcliff: [even more darkly brooding than usual this morning] Quiet, or I’ll kick you out. Make some coffee and I’ll have some too. Be quick about it, or i’ll use your good books to stoke the fire.
Jospeh: Ah, wicked furren ways. Hareton, lad, sup thy milk in blessed innocence.
Hareton: I’ll have some too. [Jospeh goes out, lamenting ]
[Some minutes pass in grim silence]
Hareton,[to Heathcliff Did I hear knocking last night?
Heathcliff: Tha’ did, lad. A lass knocked on the door, and I sent her away into the wind and the rain. You know what I always say: ‘Let the worms writhe, I have no mercy’.
Arthur: [to himself] Just the sort of quip to set the table on a roar; this fellow’s a social lion.
Hareton: Nay, it weren’t right, if it were a lassie.
Arthur: You’re right, young sir. I should have spoken up for the wench, plain-looking though she was, but I was a trifle elevated. Here’s that old Pharisee with the coffee at last
[Enter Joseph] They drank all the wine and brandy I keep for t’good of my health and my old bones last night, and now they’re at my coffee. Sinful. Someone knocks. Mayhap, the devil himself.
Heathcliff; Just so long as its no more trespassers from other novels.
Huntingdon: Damn me, I can’t stand this biblical cant over breakfast, when I’ve got to surmount last night’s excesses. My wife was bad enough for that, but at least she had didn’t have a face like that. I’ve seen happier looking ghouls. Young sir, what’s the best way to Wildfell Hall?
Hareton: I’ll put you on your way, Mr Huntingdon.
[Joseph returns] Maister Heathcliff, there’s two boxes of books out there, wi’ fair shocking covers, wi’ wenches a-flaunting their bosoms in indecent low gowns, wi’ their cheeks and lips looking fair painted, and t’wind a blowin’ their skirts above their ankles, and you with your shirt off, and a snarlin’ like our house dogs, and all called ‘Wuthering Heights. T’shame of it! That folks should credit such things go on here!
Hareton [hurries out] I must see this!
Huntingdon: A shame I’ve seen no such fine wenches here. Why anyone would choose to write about this damned sorry place, is beyond me. Now I’ll take my leave. I thank you for your hospitality. I believe I lost tuppence over the cards last night? As a debt of honour, I must pay that. [throws down coin]
Heathclif: [hurls his marked cards down on the table in a rage] And I was dreaming of getting my hands on that Grassdale Manor of yours!
Huntingdon: Never mind, at least you have some reading matter more agreeable than ‘Torments in the Pitt (Extended Edition, with Lurid Illustrations by Hironymous Bosche)’ and ‘One Thousand Reflections for a Sinner’. [Exit]