This came home to me when, two days later, I drove over with Flora to meet, as Mrs. Grose said, the little gentleman; and all the more for an incident that, presenting itself the second evening, had deeply disconcerted me. The first day had been, on the whole, as I have expressed, reassuring; but I was to see it wind up in keen apprehension. The postbag, that eveningit came latecontained a letter for me, which, however, in the hand of my employer, I found to be composed but of a few words enclosing another, addressed to himself, with a seal still unbroken. This, I recognize, is from the headmaster, and the headmasters an awful bore. Read him, please; deal with him; but mind you dont report. Not a word. Im off! I broke the seal with a great effortso great a one that I was a long time coming to it; took the unopened missive at last up to my room and only attacked it just before going to bed. I had better have let it wait till morning, for it gave me a second sleepless night. With no counsel to take, the next day, I was full of distress; and it finally got so the better of me that I determined to open myself at least to Mrs. Grose.
What does it mean? The childs dismissed his school.
She gave me a look that I remarked at the moment; then, visibly, with a quick blankness, seemed to try to take it back. But arent they all?
Sent homeyes. But only for the holidays. Miles may never go back at all.
Consciously, under my attention, she reddened. They wont take him?
They absolutely decline.
At this she raised her eyes, which she had turned from me; I saw them fill with good tears. What has he done?
I hesitated; then I judged best simply to hand her my letterwhich, however, had the effect of making her, without taking it, simply put her hands behind her. She shook her head sadly. Such things are not for me, miss.
My counselor couldnt read! I winced at my mistake, which I attenuated as I could, and opened my letter again to repeat it to her; then, faltering in the act and folding it up once more, I put it back in my pocket. Is he really bad?
The tears were still in her eyes. Do the gentlemen say so?
They go into no particulars. They simply express their regret that it should be impossible to keep him. That can have only one meaning. Mrs. Grose listened with dumb emotion; she forbore to ask me what this meaning might be; so that, presently, to put the thing with some coherence and with the mere aid of her presence to my own mind, I went on: That hes an injury to the others.
At this, with one of the quick turns of simple folk, she suddenly flamed up. Master Miles! him an injury?
There was such a flood of good faith in it that, though I had not yet seen the child, my very fears made me jump to the absurdity of the idea. I found myself, to meet my friend the better, offering it, on the spot, sarcastically. To his poor little innocent mates!
Its too dreadful, cried Mrs. Grose, to say such cruel things! Why, hes scarce ten years old.
Yes, yes; it would be incredible.
She was evidently grateful for such a profession. See him, miss, first. Then believe it! I felt forthwith a new impatience to see him; it was the beginning of a curiosity that, for all the next hours, was to deepen almost to pain. Mrs. Grose was aware, I could judge, of what she had produced in me, and she followed
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