The story of the governess
Did I tell you the story of James’ governess? Well, I went for a walk in the woods yesterday in the early evening. I always sleep better after pacing aimlessly around there for a while; there’s always a new space I happen to come across and yesterday it was a river.
I walked along it with my dress trailing shortly behind. I was wearing my Alexander McQueen long sleeved caped dress. I was warm, except for my bare feet, but the woods were too peaceful then to worry about the cold. I don’t know for how long I walked along the riverbank, I was distracted thinking of stories about monarchs and royals, and feeling like one in my dress, when I saw a woman on the ground wailing, while a bit farther off from her, an older woman and a girl were walking away from here, holding hands.
Her face was on the ground and her crying was one endless wail but as I slowly approached her, she looked up at me, starting from my feet and moving upwards, until her anguished face rested on mine.
“Another one of you? Please go away.”
She said this weakly, with broken red eyes; she was the embodiment of a shiver lying on the ground. I summed up my look quite quickly — black dress, paler than a ghost —
“Oh darling, I’m no ghost. Here, feel my hands.”
“You’re colder than a corpse.”
“Well it is winter, and this dress didn’t come with gloves. Here, feel my dress.”
“It’s so soft.”
“Are you a royal?”
“No, let’s move on.”
“Why do you look like a ghost? Why are you walking in the woods at this time? It’s almost dark.”
“Why are you crying in the woods before dark?”
“I’m the governess of these two little children, a boy and a girl, and they’re driving me mad.”
“No but they’re evil.”
“Aren’t they all?”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
“Have you tried telling them scary stories to instil some fear in them? This usually makes them listen.”
“You haven’t met these children.”
“Ah kids, you see one and you’ve seen them all.”
“She wouldn’t admit she was seeing her and he’s always referring to me as my dear. Their studied charm is alluring despite everything.”
I tried to ask questions but she went on rambling like this. She had forgotten I was there; she lay on the ground again, face down crying along the riverbank. We were in the deepest part of the woods and I needed to get out of there myself before I could help her, so I walked away, while she resumed her wailing with twilight approaching. I returned home before it got too dark again.
Story credits: Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw; Alexander McQueen; Stella Mccartney Kids.