In Elizabeth Bowen's short story "The Demon Lover," how does Mrs. Drover react to the undesirable encounter with her past?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Elizabeth Bowen's short story, set during World War II, the protagonist, Mrs. Kathleen Drover, has returned from the countryside where she and her family had taken refuge to avoid the bombs falling on London. The familiar streets and house make her reflect back on her past life. When she goes into the house and starts assembling her belongs, she notices a letter on the table, oddly in a plain envelope with no stamp. The letter, signed with the initial "K.", stirs up memories of a previous war, World War I, when she was engaged to a soldier who went missing in action. The narrator treats the engagement as somehow uncanny, although without precise details. 

The letter reads:

Dear Kathleen: You will not have forgotten that today is our anniversary, and the day we said. ... In view of the fact that nothing has changed, I shall rely upon you to keep your promise. I was sorry to see you leave London, but was satisfied that you would be back in time.

Her reaction to the letter is intense. First, she acutely remembers every detail of their final meeting except her lover's face. No matter how she struggles to recall his face, it remains blank. She remembers her lover as "not kind" and unnerving in a way, and is frightened by the letter. When she is spirited away by the taxi at the end of the story, she is terrified and screaming.

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