Nelly tells Lockwood that she hasn't seen Cathy since that day, and only gets news about her from Zillah. Heathcliff forbade anyone at the Heights to be kind to Cathy, and made her nurse Linton herself until he died. After Linton's death, Cathy refuses to spend time with Zillah or Hareton (though she and Hareton do often argue). Nelly wishes Cathy could come live with her in a cottage Nelly has taken, but knows it will never happen. She says that only another marriage could save Cathy, but such a thing seems impossible.
As a woman, Cathy is trapped without legal rights to defend herself from Heathcliff. At this point, the novel seems to be setting up the possibility that Lockwood will save Cathy from her fate. If only Lockwood would act boldly, recklessly, with passion...
In his diary, Lockwood writes that Nelly has finished her story. He says that he has recovered from his illness and will soon ride to Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff that he will be leaving Thrushcross Grange and going to London, where he will be free of the strange people of the Grange and Heights.
...but Lockwood is a civilized city man who dislikes such shows of emotion. He finds them grotesque and strange, and so, rather than try to save the beautiful Cathy and win her love, he goes to London.