it up with assurance. You might as well believe it of the little lady. Bless her, she added the next momentlook at her!
I turned and saw that Flora, whom, ten minutes before, I had established in the schoolroom with a sheet of white paper, a pencil, and a copy of nice round os, now presented herself to view at the open door. She expressed in her little way an extraordinary detachment from disagreeable duties, looking to me, however, with a great childish light that seemed to offer it as a mere result of the affection she had conceived for my person, which had rendered necessary that she should follow me. I needed nothing more than this to feel the full force of Mrs. Groses comparison, and, catching my pupil in my arms, covered her with kisses in which there was a sob of atonement.
Nonetheless, the rest of the day I watched for further occasion to approach my colleague, especially as, toward evening, I began to fancy she rather sought to avoid me. I overtook her, I remember, on the staircase; we went down together, and at the bottom I detained her, holding her there with a hand on her arm. I take what you said to me at noon as a declaration that youve never known him to be bad.
She threw back her head; she had clearly, by this time, and very honestly, adopted an attitude. Oh, never known himI dont pretend that!
I was upset again. Then you have known him?
Yes indeed, miss, thank God!
On reflection I accepted this. You mean that a boy who never is?
Is no boy for me!
I held her tighter. You like them with the spirit to be naughty? Then, keeping pace with her answer, So do I! I eagerly brought out. But not to the degree to contaminate
To contaminate?my big word left her at a loss. I explained it. To corrupt.
She stared, taking my meaning in; but it produced in her an odd laugh. Are you afraid hell corrupt you? She put the question with such a fine bold humor that, with a laugh, a little silly doubtless, to match her own, I gave way for the time to the apprehension of ridicule.
But the next day, as the hour for my drive approached, I cropped up in another place. What was the lady who was here before?
The last governess? She was also young and prettyalmost as young and almost as pretty, miss, even as you.
Ah, then, I hope her youth and her beauty helped her! I recollect throwing off. He seems to like us young and pretty!
Oh, he did, Mrs. Grose assented: it was the way he liked everyone! She had no sooner spoken indeed than she caught herself up. I mean thats his waythe masters.
I was struck. But of whom did you speak first?
She looked blank, but she colored. Why, of him.
Of the master?
Of who else?
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