The Turn of the Screw
I held [Mrs. Grose] 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 he'll corrupt you?" (2.16-18)
I was a little late on the scene, and I felt, as he stood wistfully looking out for me before the door of the inn at which the coach had put him down, that I had seen him, on the instant, without and within, in the great glow of freshness, the same positive fragrance of purity, in which I had, from the first moment, seen his little sister. He was incredibly beautiful, and Mrs. Grose had put her finger on it: everything but a sort of passion of tenderness for him was swept away by his presence. What I then and there took him to my heart for was something divine that I have never found to the same degree in any child – his indescribable little air of knowing nothing in the world but love. It would have been impossible to carry a bad name with a greater sweetness of innocence, and by the time I had got back to Bly with him I remained merely bewildered – so far, that is, as I was not outraged – by the sense of the horrible letter locked up in my room, in a drawer. (3.1)
[Miles] made the whole charge absurd. My conclusion bloomed there with the real rose-flush of his innocence: he was only too fine and fair for the little horrid unclean school-world, and he had paid a price for it. (4.3)