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Of what first happened when I was left alone I had no subsequent memory.
I only knew that at the end of, I suppose, a quarter of an hour,
an odorous dampness and roughness, chilling and piercing
my trouble, had made me understand that I must have thrown myself,
on my face, on the ground and given way to a wildness of grief.
I must have lain there long and cried and sobbed, for when I raised
my head the day was almost done. I got up and looked a moment,
through the twilight, at the gray pool and its blank, haunted edge,
and then I took, back to the house, my dreary and difficult course.
When I reached the gate in the fence the boat, to my surprise, was gone,
so that I had a fresh reflection to make on Flora's extraordinary
command of the situation. She passed that night, by the most tacit,
and I should add, were not the word so grotesque a false note,
the happiest of arrangements, with Mrs. Grose. I saw neither of them
on my return, but, on the other hand, as by an ambiguous compensation,
I saw a great deal of Miles. I saw--I can use no other phrase--
so much of him that it was as if it were more than it had ever been.
No evening I had passed at Bly had the portentous quality of this one;
in spite of which--and in spite also of the deeper depths of
consternation that had opened beneath my feet--there was literally,
in the ebbing actual, an extraordinarily sweet sadness.
On reaching the house I had never so much as looked for the boy;
I had simply gone straight to my room to change what I was wearing
and to take in, at a glance, much material testimony to Flora's rupture.
Her little belongings had all been removed. When later,
by the schoolroom fire, I was served with tea by the usual maid,
I indulged, on the article of my other pupil, in no inquiry whatever.
He had his freedom now--he might have it to the end! Well, he did
have it; and it consisted--in part at least--of his coming
in at about eight o'clock and sitting down with me in silence.
On the removal of the tea things I had blown out the candles
and drawn my chair closer: I was conscious of a mortal coldness
and felt as if I should never again be warm. So, when he appeared,
I was sitting in the glow with my thoughts. He paused a moment
by the door as if to look at me; then--as if to share them--
came to the other side of the hearth and sank into a chair.
We sat there in absolute stillness; yet he wanted, I felt,
to be with me.