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that I thought instantly of this as something I could get from her; and I felt it to be
connected with the desire she presently showed to know more. “When was it-on the
tower?” “About the middle of the month. At this same hour.” “Almost at dark,” said
“Oh, no, not nearly. I saw him as I see you.” “Then how did he get in?” “And how did
he get out?” I laughed. “I had no opportunity to ask him! This evening, you see,” I
pursued, “he has not been able to get in.” “He only peeps?” “I hope it will be confined
to that!” She had now let go my hand; she turned away a little. I waited an instant; then
I brought out: “Go to church. Goodbye. I must watch.” Slowly she faced me again. “Do
you fear for them?” We met in another long look. “Don’t you?” Instead of answering
she came nearer to the window and, for a minute, applied her face to the glass. “You
see how he could see,” I meanwhile went on.
She didn’t move. “How long was he here?” “Till I came out. I came to meet him.” Mrs.
Grose at last turned round, and there was still more in her face. “I couldn’t have come
out.” “Neither could I!” I laughed again. “But I did come. I have my duty.” “So have I
mine,” she replied; after which she added: “What is he like?” “I’ve been dying to tell
you. But he’s like nobody.” “Nobody?” she echoed.
“He has no hat.” Then seeing in her face that she already, in this, with a deeper dismay,
found a touch of picture, I quickly added stroke to stroke. “He has red hair, very red,
close-curling, and a pale face, long in shape, with straight, good features and little,
rather queer whiskers that are as red as his hair. His eyebrows are, somehow, darker;
they look particularly arched and as if they might move a good deal. His eyes are
sharp, strange-awfully; but I only know clearly that they’re rather small and very
fixed. His mouth’s wide, and his lips are thin, and except for his little whiskers he’s
quite clean-shaven. He gives me a sort of sense of looking like an actor.” “An actor!” It
was impossible to resemble one less, at least, than Mrs. Grose at that moment.
“I’ve never seen one, but so I suppose them. He’s tall, active, erect,” I continued, “but
never-no, never!- a gentleman.” My companion’s face had blanched as I went on; her
round eyes started and her mild mouth gaped. “A gentleman?” she gasped,
confounded, stupefied: “a gentleman he?” “You know him then?” She visibly tried to
hold herself. “But he is handsome?” I saw the way to help her. “Remarkably!” “In
somebody’s clothes. They’re smart, but they’re not his own.” She broke into a
breathless affirmative groan: “They’re the master’s!” I caught it up. “You do know
him?” She faltered but a second. “Quint!” she cried.
“Peter Quint-his own man, his valet, when he was here!” “When the master was?”
Gaping still, but meeting me, she pieced it all together. “He never wore his hat, but he
did wear-well, there were waistcoats missed. They were both herelast year. Then the
master went, and Quint was alone.” I followed, but halting a little. “Alone?” “Alone
with us.” Then, as from a deeper depth, “In charge,” she added.
“And what became of him?” She hung fire so long that I was still more mystified. “He
went, too,” she brought out at last.