Summary of Section IV
When she comes into the house, Mrs. Grose is waiting for her, wondering why she is late. The governess suddenly realizes that something bizarre has happened, because she is feeling fear and does not tell Mrs. Grose about the man on the tower. She is now on guard with senses sharpened but can find no explanation. She decides it was some sort of intruder.
She tries to forget the incident by enjoying the children. She still wonders about Miles getting dismissed from school but decides he is better off out of “the horrid unclean school-world” (p. 19). She goes overboard in seeing the total innocence of the children, as though they are cherubs without any history. There is nothing in them to punish. She thinks Miles has never suffered, or else she would have seen traces of it. He never speaks of school.
On a Sunday when she goes to the dining room to get a pair of gloves for church, she suddenly sees someone looking in the window at her. He is the same man that was on the tower, and she sees him from the waist up quite clearly. The man looks at her but also looks around, and she understands that he is looking for someone else. With great courage she runs outside to find him, but he is gone. She looks in at the window to see what he had seen, and in that moment, Mrs. Grose comes in the room, sees the governess at the window, and is frightened.
Commentary on Section IV
After seeing the man the first time, the governess wonders if there is a mystery at Bly as in stories like Mrs. Radcliffe's popular 1794 gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho. Even now some part of her is aware that everything is too perfect, and she is under the spell of the children. At the second sighting, she receives a further shock by realizing the man is looking for someone else. A positive thing about the governess comes out here in that she conquers her own fear in her sense of duty to the children by running out to find the man. She does not understand why Mrs. Grose is frightened by seeing her out the window, however, except that her own face is white and ghost-like. She implies that Mrs. Grose may have also seen this apparition, but we find out that she has not.