Heathcliff bore his degradation pretty well at first, because Cathy taught him what she learnt, and worked or played with him in the fields.
He delighted to witness Hindley degrading himself past redemption; and became daily more notable for savage sullenness and ferocity.
He had listened till he heard Catherine say it would degrade her to marry him, and then he stayed to hear no further.
His countenance was much older in expression and decision of feature than Mr. Linton’s; it looked intelligent, and retained no marks of former degradation.
It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am.
For me, grieved as I was about Catherine, it was impossible to avoid regarding this season of deliverance from degrading oppression as a holiday.
Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, YOU, of your own will, did it.
— Do you know that, twenty times a day, I covet Hareton, with all his degradation?
Leaving aside the degradation of an alliance with a nameless man, and the possible fact that his property, in default of heirs male, might pass into such a one’s power, he had sense to comprehend Heathcliff’s disposition: to know that, though his exterior was altered, his mind was unchangeable and unchanged.
’I’ve been so far forbearing with you, sir,’ he said quietly; ’not that I was ignorant of your miserable, degraded character, but I felt you were only partly responsible for that; and Catherine wishing to keep up your acquaintance, I acquiesced — foolishly.
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Rise, and don’t degrade yourself into an abject reptile — DON’T!’
His honest, warm, and intelligent nature shook off rapidly the clouds of ignorance and degradation in which it had been bred; and Catherine’s sincere commendations acted as a spur to his industry.
Well, Hareton’s aspect was the ghost of my immortal love; of my wild endeavours to hold my right; my degradation, my pride, my happiness, and my anguish — ’But it is frenzy to repeat these thoughts to you: only it will let you know why, with a reluctance to be always alone, his society is no benefit; rather an aggravation of the constant torment I suffer: and it partly contributes to render me regardless how he and his cousin go on together.
’ "But then," I continued, holding myself ready to flee, "if poor Catherine had trusted you, and assumed the ridiculous, contemptible, degrading title of Mrs. Heathcliff, she would soon have presented a similar picture!