'Can't you see him? It seems strange to me that you can't see him. He is so near you. He is passing his arm
round your shoulders.'
This was a frequent gesture of Hugh's. And indeed at that moment she felt that somebody was very near her,
bending over her. She was enveloped in tenderness. Only a very thin veil, she felt, prevented her from seeing.
But the woman saw. She was describing Hugh minutely, even the little things like the burn on his right hand.
'Is he happy? Oh, ask him does he love me?'
The result was so far beyond anything she had hoped for that she was stunned. She could only stammer the
first thing that came into her head. 'Does he love me?'
'He loves you. He won't answer, but he loves you. He wants me to make you see him; he is disappointed, I
think, because I can't. But I can't unless you do it yourself.'
After a while she said:
'I think you will see him again. You think of nothing else. He is very close to us now.'
Then she collapsed, and fell into a heavy sleep and lay there motionless, hardly breathing. Mrs. Wilton put some notes on the table and stole out on tip-toe.
* * * * *
She seemed to remember that downstairs in the dark shop the dealer with the waxen face detained her to show
some old silver and jewelry and such like. But she did not come to herself, she had no precise recollection of
anything, till she found herself entering a church near Portland Place. It was an unlikely act in her normal
moments. Why did she go in there? She acted like one walking in her sleep.
The church was old and dim, with high black pews. There was nobody there. Mrs. Wilton sat down in one of
the pews and bent forward with her face in her hands.
After a few minutes she saw that a soldier had come in noiselessly and placed himself about half-a-dozen
rows ahead of her. He never turned round; but presently she was struck by something familiar in the figure.
First she thought vaguely that the soldier looked like her Hugh. Then, when he put up his hand, she saw who
She hurried out of the pew and ran towards him. 'Oh, Hugh, Hugh, have you come back?'
He looked round with a smile. He had not been killed. It was all a mistake. He was going to speak. . . .
Footsteps sounded hollow in the empty church. She turned and glanced down the dim aisle.
It was an old sexton or verger who approached. 'I thought I heard you call,' he said.
'I was speaking to my husband.' But Hugh was nowhere to be seen.
'He was here a moment ago.' She looked about in anguish. 'He must have gone to the door.'
'There's nobody here,' said the old man gently. 'Only you and me. Ladies are often taken funny since the
war. There was one in here yesterday afternoon said she was married in this church and her husband had
promised to meet her here. Perhaps you were married here?'
'No,' said Mrs. Wilton, desolately. 'I was married in India.'