The Turn of the Screw
Henry James
Contributed by Cinderella Domino
Chapter 6
Summary

She and Mrs. Grose run to the schoolroom and passionately talk about their course of action, now that they know that the governess is susceptible to seeing these ghosts and Mrs. Grose isn’t. The governess thinks that Quint is looking for Miles, and finds it funny that the little boy has never mentioned this old friend to her. Mrs. Grose explains that Quint was the one who took a great fancy to Miles, and hints that Quint was "too free." When the governess exclaims: "too free with my boy?" Mrs. Grose answers: "Too free with everyone!" The implication seems to be sexual. The governess asks how Mrs. Grose could have allowed the two little children to remain in such danger, and she explains that Quint was technically in charge and the master abhorred complaints of any kind. It comes out that Quint was discovered stone-dead with a wound to the head by the side of a village road-everyone presumed that he slipped and fell in the dark, perhaps after drinking. The governess feels called on to heroically protect the children from Quint-she wishes to be a screen and stand before them. The idea of such difficult and heroic service excites her.

One afternoon soon after she has left Miles reading a book in the house and taken Flora out for a walk. They stop by a small lake where Flora begins to play in a way that includes the governess but doesn’t require her to participate actively. The governess sews. Suddenly she feels she a third person is present, and screws her courage to look up. First she looks to little Flora, who is making some sticks into a boat and has her back to the lake. Then she shifts her eyes and "faced what I had to face."

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