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you just want me not to worry you?” He looked round at me now, as if in recognition
of my understanding him; then ever so gently, “To let me alone,” he replied.
There was even a singular little dignity in it, something that made me release him, yet,
when I had slowly risen, linger beside him. God knows I never wished to harass him,
but I felt that merely, at this, to turn my back on him was to abandon or, to put it more
truly, to lose him. “I’ve just begun a letter to your uncle,” I said.
“Well, then, finish it!” I waited a minute. “What happened before?” He gazed up at me
again. “Before what?” “Before you came back. And before you went away.” For some
time he was silent, but he continued to meet my eyes. “What happened?” It made me,
the sound of the words, in which it seemed to me that I caught for the very first time a
small faint quaver of consenting consciousness-it made me drop on my knees beside
the bed and seize once more the chance of possessing him. “Dear little Miles, dear little
Miles, if you knew how I want to help you! It’s only that, it’s nothing but that, and I’d
rather die than give you a pain or do you a wrong-I’d rather die than hurt a hair of
you. Dear little Miles”- oh, I brought it out now even if I should go too far-“I just want
you to help me to save you!” But I knew in a moment after this that I had gone too far.
The answer to my appeal was instantaneous, but it came in the form of an
extraordinary blast and chill, a gust of frozen air, and a shake of the room as great as if,
in the wild wind, the casement had crashed in. The boy gave a loud, high shriek,
which, lost in the rest of the shock of sound, might have seemed, indistinctly, though I
was so close to him, a note either of jubilation or of terror. I jumped to my feet again
and was conscious of darkness. So for a moment we remained, while I stared about me
and saw that the drawn curtains were unstirred and the window tight.
“Why, the candle’s out!” I then cried.
“It was I who blew it, dear!” said Miles.