Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

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

my other ideas. Yet when he at last arrived, the difficulty of applying them, the
accumulations of my problem, were brought straight home to me by the beautiful little
presence on which what had occurred had as yet, for the eye, dropped neither stain nor

To mark, for the house, the high state I cultivated I decreed that my meals with the boy
should be served, as we called it, downstairs; so that I had been awaiting him in the
ponderous pomp of the room outside of the window of which I had had from Mrs.
Grose, that first scared Sunday, my flash of something it would scarce have done to call
light. Here at present I felt afresh-for I had felt it again and again-how my equilibrium
depended on the success of my rigid will, the will to shut my eyes as tight as possible
to the truth that what I had to deal with was, revoltingly, against nature. I could only
get on at all by taking “nature” into my confidence and my account, by treating my
monstrous ordeal as a push in a direction unusual, of course, and unpleasant, but
demanding, after all, for a fair front, only another turn of the screw of ordinary human
virtue. No attempt, nonetheless, could well require more tact than just this attempt to
supply, one’s self, all the nature. How could I put even a little of that article into a
suppression of reference to what had occurred? How, on the other hand, could I make
reference without a new plunge into the hideous obscure? Well, a sort of answer, after a
time, had come to me, and it was so far confirmed as that I was met, incontestably, by
the quickened vision of what was rare in my little companion. It was indeed as if he
had found even now-as he had so often found at lessons-still some other delicate way
to ease me off. Wasn’t there light in the fact which, as we shared our solitude, broke out
with a specious glitter it had never yet quite worn?- the fact that (opportunity aiding,
precious opportunity which had now come) it would be preposterous, with a child so
endowed, to forego the help one might wrest from absolute intelligence? What had his
intelligence been given him for but to save him? Mightn’t one, to reach his mind, risk
the stretch of an angular arm over his character? It was as if, when we were face to face
in the dining room, he had literally shown me the way. The roast mutton was on the
table, and I had dispensed with attendance. Miles, before he sat down, stood a moment
with his hands in his pockets and looked at the joint, on which he seemed on the point
of passing some humorous judgment. But what he presently produced was: “I say, my
dear, is she really very awfully ill?” “Little Flora? Not so bad but that she’ll presently
be better. London will set her up. Bly had ceased to agree with her. Come here and take
your mutton.” He alertly obeyed me, carried the plate carefully to his seat, and, when
he was established, went on. “Did Bly disagree with her so terribly suddenly?” “Not so
suddenly as you might think. One had seen it coming on.” “Then why didn’t you get
her off before?” “Before what?” “Before she became too ill to travel.”

I found myself prompt. “She’s not too ill to travel: she only might have become so if she
had stayed. This was just the moment to seize. The journey will dissipate the
influence”- oh, I was grand!- “and carry it off.” “I see, I see”- Miles, for that matter, was
grand, too. He settled to his repast with the charming little “table manner” that, from
the day of his arrival, had relieved me of all grossness of admonition. Whatever he had
been driven from school for, it was not for ugly feeding. He was irreproachable, as
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with