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This thought held me sufficiently to make me cross to his
threshold and pause again. I preternaturally listened; I figured
to myself what might portentously be; I wondered if his bed were
also empty and he too were secretly at watch. It was a deep,
soundless minute, at the end of which my impulse failed.
He was quiet; he might be innocent; the risk was hideous;
I turned away. There was a figure in the grounds--a figure
prowling for a sight, the visitor with whom Flora was engaged;
but it was not the visitor most concerned with my boy.
I hesitated afresh, but on other grounds and only for a few seconds;
then I had made my choice. There were empty rooms at Bly,
and it was only a question of choosing the right one.
The right one suddenly presented itself to me as the lower one--
though high above the gardens--in the solid corner of the house
that I have spoken of as the old tower. This was a large,
square chamber, arranged with some state as a bedroom, the extravagant
size of which made it so inconvenient that it had not for years,
though kept by Mrs. Grose in exemplary order, been occupied.
I had often admired it and I knew my way about in it; I had only,
after just faltering at the first chill gloom of its disuse,
to pass across it and unbolt as quietly as I could one of
the shutters. Achieving this transit, I uncovered the glass
without a sound and, applying my face to the pane, was able,
the darkness without being much less than within, to see that I
commanded the right direction. Then I saw something more.
The moon made the night extraordinarily penetrable and
showed me on the lawn a person, diminished by distance,
who stood there motionless and as if fascinated, looking up
to where I had appeared--looking, that is, not so much
straight at me as at something that was apparently above me.
There was clearly another person above me--there was a person
on the tower; but the presence on the lawn was not in the least
what I had conceived and had confidently hurried to meet.
The presence on the lawn--I felt sick as I made it out--
was poor little Miles himself.