"David playing to Saul could never have shown a finer sense of the occasion"
David and Saul
Public DomainDavid and Saul - Credit: Julius Kronberg

This is a reference to an incident recounted in 1 Samuel 16.14-23 in which Saul, the first king of Israel, is beset by an evil spirit sent by God. His servants hatch a plan to cure him by hunting down the most talented harp player in the kingdom. They eventually light upon David, a shepherd of the tribe of Judah. He is duly summoned before Saul and when he plays the evil spirit departs.

This reference, which sees the governess play the part of the possessed and Miles of the exorcist, is one of many hints that it is she, and not her young charges, who has fallen foul of diabolical influences.

David before Saul
Public DomainDavid before Saul - Credit: Wenzel Hollar