The Turn of the Screw
How we cite our quotes:
This person proved, on her presenting herself, for judgment, at a house in Harley Street, that impressed her as vast and imposing – this prospective patron proved a gentleman, a bachelor in the prime of life, such a figure as had never risen, save in a dream or an old novel, before a fluttered, anxious girl out of a Hampshire vicarage. One could easily fix this type; it never, happily, dies out. He was handsome and bold and pleasant, offhand and gay and kind. He struck her, inevitably, as gallant and splendid, but what took her most of all and gave her the courage she afterward showed was that he put the whole thing to her as a kind of favor, an obligation he should gratefully incur. She conceived him as rich, but as fearfully extravagant – saw him all in a glow of high fashion, of good looks, of expensive habits, of charming ways with women. (Prologue.13)
The overwhelming manliness of the Governess's employer is his most outstanding feature – he's really a very generic, undetailed, impersonal rich man as far as we can tell. However, this is enough to win over the Governess from the moment she meets him.
"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." (1.6-7)
This brief exchange comments upon the implicitly female tendency to be "carried away" by men (Miles is referenced beforehand).
"I take what you said to me at noon as a declaration that you've 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 him – I don't 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!" (2.12-15)
Boys are here given more leeway than girls; while Flora is expected to be flawless, Mrs. Grose admits that she wants Miles to be a little naughty.