"Keep fast!" (as an order to a dog) from "Wuthering Heights"

< Previous | Next >

OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hi, friends! First, the context:
A beast of a servant came up with a lantern, at last, shouting
—“Keep fast, Skulker, keep fast!” He changed his note, however,
when he saw Skulker’s game.
("Wuthering Heights," Chapter 6)

Heathcliff and Catherine went over from Wuthering Heights
to Thrushcross Grange without prior notice. There, a fierce guard
dog, named "Skulker," jumped at Catherine and bit her, taking her
as an intruder. Then a servant of Thrushcross Grange (owned by
the Lintons) comes running to the dog, saying to him, "Keep fast!"

What does this "Keep fast" mean? Does it by any chance mean
either of the following?
  (1) Keep running (or moving) at high speed!
  (2) Stick firmly to the intruder! (Don't let him go!)
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I believe that he was telling the dog to continue holding on to the intruder -- your interpretation #2. At that point, the servant didn't realize that the 'intruder' was Catherine.

    When he saw that the dog was holding onto Catherine, the servant 'changed his tune' -- no longer wanted the dog to hold onto Catherine. Did the servant start scolding the dog or tell it to let go or go away?

    OED Loves Me Not

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Osaka
    Thanks, Cagey, for your answer. Right after telling his dog to "keep fast,"
    he throttles the dog off and picks Cathy up, taking her into the house,
    as the passage quoted below indicates:
    He changed his note, however, when he saw Skulker’s game.
    The dog was throttled off; his huge, purple tongue hanging
    half a foot out of his mouth, and his pendent lips streaming
    with bloody slaver. The man took Cathy up; she was sick: not
    from fear, I’m certain, but from pain. He carried her in;
    < Previous | Next >