It might have been two or three days after that, when she went into a small Italian restaurant in the Bayswater district. She often went out for her meals now: she had developed an exhausting cough, and she found that it somehow became less troublesome when she was in a public place looking at strange faces. In her flat there
were all the things that Hugh had used; the trunks and bags still had his name on them with the labels of
places where they had been together. They were like stabs. In the restaurant, people came and went, many
soldiers too among them, just glancing at her in her corner.
This day, as it chanced, she was rather late and there was nobody there. She was very tired. She nibbled at the
food they brought her. She could almost have cried from tiredness and loneliness and the ache in her heart.
Then suddenly he was before her, sitting there opposite at the table. It was as it was in the days of their
engagement, when they used sometimes to lunch at restaurants. He was not in uniform. He smiled at her and
urged her to eat, just as he used in those days. . . .
I met her that afternoon as she was crossing Kensington Gardens, and she told me about it.
'I have been with Hugh.' She seemed most happy.
'Did he say anything?'
'N-no. Yes. I think he did, but I could not quite hear. My head was so very tired. The next time----'
* * * * *
I did not see her for some time after that. She found, I think, that by going to places where she had once seen
him--the old church, the little restaurant--she was more certain to see him again. She never saw him at home.
But in the street or the park he would often walk along beside her. Once he saved her from being run over.
She said she actually felt his hand grabbing her arm, suddenly, when the car was nearly upon her.
She had given me the address of the clairvoyant; and it is through that strange woman that I know--or seem to
Mrs. Wilton was not exactly ill last winter, not so ill, at least, as to keep to her bedroom. But she was very
thin, and her great handsome eyes always seemed to be staring at some point beyond, searching. There was a
look in them that seamen's eyes sometimes have when they are drawing on a coast of which they are not very
certain. She lived almost in solitude: she hardly ever saw anybody except when they sought her out. To those
who were anxious about her she laughed and said she was very well.
One sunny morning she was lying awake, waiting for the maid to bring her tea. The shy London sunlight
peeped through the blinds. The room had a fresh and happy look.
When she heard the door open she thought that the maid had come in. Then she saw that Hugh was standing at
the foot of the bed. He was in uniform this time, and looked as he had looked the day he went away.
'Oh, Hugh, speak to me! Will you not say just one word?'
He smiled and threw back his head, just as he used to in the old days at her mother's house when he wanted to
call her out of the room without attracting the attention of the others. He moved towards the door, still signing
to her to follow him. He picked up her slippers on his way and held them out to her as if he wanted her to put them on. She slipped out of bed hastily. . . .
It is strange that when they came to look through her things after her death the slippers could never be found.
[J] Copyright, 1917, by The Boston Transcript Co. Copyright, 1918, by Vincent O'Sullivan.