The Demon Lover Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth Bowen

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Why is she mystified when she sees a letter addressed to her on the hall table in "The Demon Lover"?

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In the short story “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen, Mrs. Drover returns to her London home in order to collect some things “she wanted to take away [with her].” However, upon entering the house, she sees a letter on the hall table.

The reason why she is mystified by this letter is the fact that she has not been living in the house for some time, and therefore receiving a letter at this address is rather odd. The fact that she does not currently live in this house is shown clearly through expressions such as “her shut-up house” and “her once familiar street”. The fact that the “staircase window [has] been boarded up” further underlines this. When she spots the letter on the hall table, it immediately catches her attention: “she stopped dead and stared at the hall table,“ such was her surprise and confusion upon first catching sight of this letter.

She first assumes that the caretaker must have placed it there for her—but upon further reflection, she remains mystified regardless: She quickly realizes that this is not a satisfactory explanation, given that the house has not been lived in for some time. It is a mystery to her why anyone would put a letter in the letterbox of an empty house in the first place, especially as she had arranged for her mail to be redirected: “And the post office redirected...everything for her that came through the post.” In addition, she had not notified the caretaker of her return to London; therefore he would not have left any mail out for her anyway.

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