The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - XIV
"No, not THAT again. It was nothing."
"It was nothing," I said. "But we must go on."
He resumed our walk with me, passing his hand into my arm. "Then when AM I going back?"
I wore, in turning it over, my most responsible air. "Were you very happy at school?"
He just considered. "Oh, I'm happy enough anywhere!"
"Well, then," I quavered, "if you're just as happy here--!"
"Ah, but that isn't everything! Of course YOU know a lot--"
"But you hint that you know almost as much?" I risked as he paused.
"Not half I want to!" Miles honestly professed. "But it isn't so much that."
"What is it, then?"
"Well--I want to see more life."
"I see; I see." We had arrived within sight of the church and of various persons, including several of the household of Bly, on their way to it and clustered about the door to see us go in. I quickened our step; I wanted to get there before the question between us opened up much further; I reflected hungrily that, for more than an hour, he would have to be silent; and I thought with envy of the comparative dusk of the pew and of the almost spiritual help of the hassock on which I might bend my knees. I seemed literally to be running a race with some confusion to which he was about to reduce me, but I felt that he had got in first when, before we had even entered the churchyard, he threw out--
"I want my own sort!"
It literally made me bound forward. "There are not many of your own sort, Miles!" I laughed. "Unless perhaps dear little Flora!"
"You really compare me to a baby girl?"
This found me singularly weak. "Don't you, then, LOVE our sweet Flora?"
"If I didn't--and you, too; if I didn't--!" he repeated as if retreating for a jump, yet leaving his thought so unfinished that, after we had come into the gate, another stop, which he imposed on me by the pressure of his arm, had become inevitable. Mrs. Grose and Flora had passed into the church, the other worshippers had followed, and we were, for the minute, alone among the old, thick graves. We had paused, on the path from the gate, by a low, oblong, tablelike tomb.
"Yes, if you didn't--?"
He looked, while I waited, at the graves. "Well, you know what!" But he didn't move, and he presently produced something that made me drop straight down on the stone slab, as if suddenly to rest. "Does my uncle think what YOU think?"
I markedly rested. "How do you know what I think?"
"Ah, well, of course I don't; for it strikes me you never tell me. But I mean does HE know?"
"Know what, Miles?"
"Why, the way I'm going on."
I perceived quickly enough that I could make, to this inquiry, no answer that would not involve something of a sacrifice of my employer. Yet it appeared to me that we were all, at Bly, sufficiently sacrificed to make that venial. "I don't think your uncle much cares."
Miles, on this, stood looking at me. "Then don't you think he can be made to?"
"In what way?"
"Why, by his coming down."
"But who'll get him to come down?"
"_I_ will!" the boy said with extraordinary brightness and emphasis. He gave me another look charged with that expression and then marched off alone into church.