“I quite agree—in regard to Griffin’s ghost, or whatever it was—that its appearing first to the little boy, at so tender an age, adds a particular touch. But it’s not the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have involved a child. If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to TWO children—?”
“And is the record yours? You took the thing down?”
“Nothing but the impression. I took that HERE”—he tapped his heart. “I’ve never lost it.”
“Well, that, I think, is what I came for—to be carried away. I’m afraid, however,” I remember feeling the impulse to add, “I’m rather easily carried away. I was carried away in London!”
I can still see Mrs. Grose’s broad face as she took this in. “In Harley Street?”
“In Harley Street.”
“Well, miss, you’re not the first—and you won’t be the last.”
It may be, of course, above all, that what suddenly broke into this gives the previous time a charm of stillness—that hush in which something gathers or crouches. The change was actually like the spring of a beast.
I felt, in a fierce rigor of confidence, that if I stood my ground a minute I should cease—for the time, at least—to have him to reckon with; and during the minute, accordingly, the thing was as human and hideous as a real interview: hideous just because it WAS human, as human as to have met alone, in the small hours, in a sleeping house, some enemy, some adventurer, some criminal.
“By writing to him that his house is poisoned and his little nephew and niece mad?”
“But if they are, miss?”
“And if I am myself, you mean? That’s charming news to be sent him by a governess whose prime undertaking was to give him no worry.”