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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

comforting pledge-never falsified, thank heaven!- that we should on every question be
quite at one. Oh, she was glad I was there!

What I felt the next day was, I suppose, nothing that could be fairly called a reaction
from the cheer of my arrival; it was probably at the most only a slight oppression
produced by a fuller measure of the scale, as I walked round them, gazed up at them,
took them in, of my new circumstances. They had, as it were, an extent and mass for
which I had not been prepared and in the presence of which I found myself, freshly, a
little scared as well as a little proud. Lessons, in this agitation, certainly suffered some
delay; I reflected that my first duty was, by the gentlest arts I could contrive, to win the
child into the sense of knowing me. I spent the day with her out-of-doors; I arranged
with her, to her great satisfaction, that it should be she, she only, who might show me
the place. She showed it step by step and room by room and secret by secret, with droll,
delightful, childish talk about it and with the result, in half an hour, of our becoming
immense friends. Young as she was, I was struck, throughout our little tour, with her
confidence and courage, with the way, in empty chambers and dull corridors, on
crooked staircases that made me pause and even on the summit of an old machicolated
square tower that made me dizzy, her morning music, her disposition to tell me so
many more things than she asked, rang out and led me on. I have not seen Bly since the
day I left it, and I daresay that to my older and more informed eyes it would now
appear sufficiently contracted. But as my little conductress, with her hair of gold and
her frock of blue, danced before me round corners and pattered down passages, I had
the view of a castle of romance inhabited by a rosy sprite, such a place as would
somehow, for diversion of the young idea, take all color out of storybooks and
fairytales. Wasn’t it just a storybook over which I had fallen adoze and adream? No; it
was a big, ugly, antique, but. convenient house, embodying a few features of a building
still older, half-replaced and half-utilized, in which I had the fancy of our being almost
as lost as a handful of passengers in a great drifting ship. Well, I was, strangely, at the
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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