Read Books Online, for Free
|The Turn of the Screw||Henry James|
|Page 1 of 3||
I got hold of Mrs. Grose as soon after this as I could; and I can give no intelligible account of how I fought out the interval. Yet I still hear myself cry as I fairly threw myself into her arms: "They KNOW--it's too monstrous: they know, they know!"
"And what on earth--?" I felt her incredulity as she held me.
"Why, all that WE know--and heaven knows what else besides!" Then, as she released me, I made it out to her, made it out perhaps only now with full coherency even to myself. "Two hours ago, in the garden"-- I could scarce articulate--"Flora SAW!"
Mrs. Grose took it as she might have taken a blow in the stomach. "She has told you?" she panted.
"Not a word--that's the horror. She kept it to herself! The child of eight, THAT child!" Unutterable still, for me, was the stupefaction of it.
Mrs. Grose, of course, could only gape the wider. "Then how do you know?"
"I was there--I saw with my eyes: saw that she was perfectly aware."
"Do you mean aware of HIM?"
"No--of HER." I was conscious as I spoke that I looked prodigious things, for I got the slow reflection of them in my companion's face. "Another person--this time; but a figure of quite as unmistakable horror and evil: a woman in black, pale and dreadful--with such an air also, and such a face!--on the other side of the lake. I was there with the child--quiet for the hour; and in the midst of it she came."
"Came how--from where?"
"From where they come from! She just appeared and stood there-- but not so near."
"And without coming nearer?"
"Oh, for the effect and the feeling, she might have been as close as you!"
My friend, with an odd impulse, fell back a step. "Was she someone you've never seen?"
"Yes. But someone the child has. Someone YOU have." Then, to show how I had thought it all out: "My predecessor-- the one who died."
"Miss Jessel. You don't believe me?" I pressed.
She turned right and left in her distress. "How can you be sure?"
This drew from me, in the state of my nerves, a flash of impatience. "Then ask Flora--SHE'S sure!" But I had no sooner spoken than I caught myself up. "No, for God's sake, DON'T!" She'll say she isn't--she'll lie!"
Mrs. Grose was not too bewildered instinctively to protest. "Ah, how CAN you?"
"Because I'm clear. Flora doesn't want me to know."
"It's only then to spare you."
"No, no--there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don't know what I DON'T see--what I DON'T fear!"
Mrs. Grose tried to keep up with me. "You mean you're afraid of seeing her again?"
"Oh, no; that's nothing--now!" Then I explained. "It's of NOT seeing her."
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Turn of the Screw
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004