The Turn of the Screw
Henry James
Contributed by Cinderella Domino
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Chapter 9

She waits, and as the days elapse her consternation subsides. She wonders if her charges notice how closely they are under observation, and reasons that the more clouded their innocence is already, the more reason to fight to preserve it. The children are in this period "extravagantly and preternaturally fond" of the governess, hugging her often and telling her stories or reciting pieces. Miles’ show of striking cleverness in understanding the little lessons she poses him lessens her concern about finding another school for him. The two children are extraordinarily good comrades despite the age and sex difference, and never quarrel. However, she wonders if at times one conspires to distract her in order to allow the other one to slip away.

One night the governess stays up late at night reading a novel by candlelight. Suddenly she senses that something is astir in the house. She gets up, then looking over at Flora’s bed she locks the door and walks downstairs. Her candle suddenly goes out, but it’s early morning and light enough that she doesn’t really need it. She sees someone on the stair. It’s Quint, who pauses and faces her, staring. She feels anguish but no terror, and stands her ground with a great rigor of courage even though their stare into each other’s eyes seems to last forever. Finally Quint turns and vanishes as he descends the stairs.

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