watched him; he has been an imperturbable little prodigy of delightful, lovable goodness. Therefore you might perfectly have made the claim for him if you had not, as it happened, seen an exception to take. What was your exception, and to what passage in your personal observation of him did you refer?
It was a dreadfully austere inquiry, but levity was not our note, and, at any rate, before the gray dawn admonished us to separate I had got my answer. What my friend had had in mind proved to be immensely to the purpose. It was neither more nor less than the circumstance that for a period of several months Quint and the boy had been perpetually together. It was in fact the very appropriate truth that she had ventured to criticize the propriety, to hint at the incongruity, of so close an alliance, and even to go so far on the subject as a frank overture to Miss Jessel. Miss Jessel had, with a most strange manner, requested her to mind her business, and the good woman had, on this, directly approached little Miles. What she had said to him, since I pressed, was that she liked to see young gentlemen not forget their station.
I pressed again, of course, at this. You reminded him that Quint was only a base menial?
As you might say! And it was his answer, for one thing, that was bad.
And for another thing? I waited. He repeated your words to Quint?
No, not that. Its just what he wouldnt! she could still impress upon me. I was sure, at any rate, she added, that he didnt. But he denied certain occasions.
When they had been about together quite as if Quint were his tutorand a very grand oneand Miss Jessel only for the little lady. When he had gone off with the fellow, I mean, and spent hours with him.
He then prevaricated about ithe said he hadnt? Her assent was clear enough to cause me to add in a moment: I see. He lied.
Oh! Mrs. Grose mumbled. This was a suggestion that it didnt matter; which indeed she backed up by a further remark. You see, after all, Miss Jessel didnt mind. She didnt forbid him.
I considered. Did he put that to you as a justification?
At this she dropped again. No, he never spoke of it.
Never mentioned her in connection with Quint?
She saw, visibly flushing, where I was coming out. Well, he didnt show anything. He denied, she repeated; he denied.
Lord, how I pressed her now! So that you could see he knew what was between the two wretches?
I dont knowI dont know! the poor woman groaned.
You do know, you dear thing, I replied; only you havent my dreadful boldness of mind, and you keep back, out of timidity and modesty and delicacy, even the impression that, in the past, when you had, without my aid, to flounder about in silence, most of all made you miserable. But I shall get it out of you yet! There was something in the boy that suggested to you, I continued, that he covered and concealed their relation.
Oh, he couldnt prevent
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