Why is Mrs. Drover at her home in London?

The story is set in London, 1940.

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Mrs. Drover is at her home in London to fetch some family belongings and to check on her house. Currently, Mrs. Drover and her family are staying in the country.

Since the war began, frequent bomb attacks have wrecked many houses in the city. So, Mrs. Drover is curious to...

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see whether her house still remains. On another level, she also feels dissatisfied with what she considers the negligent habits of the part-time caretaker she has hired. This is why Mrs. Drover feels that she must check on her house periodically.

At the house, Mrs. Drover discovers that the last bombing has left some cracks in the structure of the house. She finds this fact disturbing but understands that she can do no repairs until the war is over.

To retrieve the family belongings, Mrs. Drover goes upstairs. Accordingly, the items are in a bedroom chest. There, she makes up a number of parcels for her sons, her husband, and her sister. So, Mrs. Drover does accomplish most of what she sets out to do. The only thing that eludes her is the ability to escape the grasp of her demon lover.

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In "The Demon Lover," Mrs. Drover has returned to her London home to collect some belongings for herself and her family. (They fled this house when the war began and moved out to the country where the German bombs could not reach them.)

Mrs. Drover has clearly not visited this house for some time: it is shuttered, the air is stale, and the remaining possessions are covered in a film of dust. While collecting the items she requires, Mrs. Drover notices that somebody has left a letter for her on the hall table. This letter appears to come from her former fiancé, a soldier who was reported missing during the war, and who has returned to keep an appointment that they made twenty-five years ago. 

Mrs. Drover flees the house with the items she has come to collect, without realizing that she has walked straight into the arms of her demon lover.  

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Why does Mrs. Drover return to the house?

It is World War II, and the Germans are bombing London on a regular basis. Like many other Londoners, Mrs. Drover and her family have escaped to the countryside. Mrs. Drover is in the city for a day in August to do some shopping and decides to return to her London house to look for some family belongings and personal items that she wants to take away.

The setting of the blitz becomes the eerie and fitting backdrop to this ghost story. All the familiar domestic surroundings have become defamiliarized and made unhomelike by the war. The street is deserted, and Mrs. Drover's house is boarded up, empty, and dark. Even the caretaker is away on vacation. As she reads the letter mysteriously left in the hallway, rain pours down outside.

This strange environment, in which the recent past seemed erased, brings up Mrs. Drover's repressed memories of twenty-five years past, when in 1916 her lover went missing in World War I, presumed dead. It seems he has returned, just as a world war has returned, and is here to haunt her. She has moved on with her life, marrying and having three children, but has not entirely moved on, as her desire to look for "several things she wanted to take away" symbolizes. She has not yet let go of her past.

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