Natural Events: "The Demon Lover" The events in Elisabeth Bower's "The Demon Lover" can be explained naturally. The story being as vague as it is leads most to concur with the title of the story and imagine that there is a supernatural aspect in the story. In the short story, Kathleen has returned to her home in London that has been abandoned during the bombing of World War II. She is not expected, yet she finds a letter addressed to her on a table in the hallway. Twenty-five years has past since the leaving of her former lover during World War I. Kathleen's lover is had been presumed dead after months of being missing in action and she has moved on. She is now married to a William Dover and living the countryside with her immediate family. What had she promised her lover those 25 years earlier? Was he stalking her when he was missing in action? How did the letter get to the house and on the table? Who was the taxi Driver when Mrs.
Dover is drove off screaming? Let us explore the possibilities of these events.
The promise made to the lover by Kathleen is unclear. It may have been too upsetting for Kathleen to think about or even remember at that time. Like her lover's face, the promise may have been forgotten. She may have gone to the house the day she had promised to meet him subconsciously. She was suppose to wait for her lover's return, yet she got married to another man. There is an impulse to think that no matter what she belongs to the cold-hearted lover of hers. Whatever the promise was it must have been bleak for her to feel as if she was lost or forsworn to the promise. She had made a promise that would make him a part of her no matter what she did to get rid of him.
He lover was so sure that he would return to her on the day of his departure. When Kathleen says that he is going far away, he replies, " Not so far as you think." If he were going to war, he would not say he was not going far away and would not be certain he was going to make it back. Her lover could have been stationed close by or he could have went AWOL and stalked Kathleen. If the person driving the taxi was Mrs. Kathleen Dover's former lover he must have stalked her or had some else stalk her to know where she was staying. When Mrs. Dover feels a draft from the basement she feels like someone is in the house and just left through a window. The person in the taxi could have already been in the house at the time she had walked in and watched her as she gathered her things. He now knowing she would not be able to carry all he parcels with her went to the taxi to wait for her. If it had been her lover stalking her he would not have stalked her all the time. He would have waited to find a time that Mrs. Dover was alone. Her going to a house with out anyone knowing she was going there would be a perfect opportunity to get Kathleen back for not waiting for him.
Now there is the matter of how did the letter get to the house. The story mentions that the door was warped. Mrs. Dover had a hard time getting her key into the lock. Was the door even locked at all? There is not mention of Mrs. Dover unlocking the door. With the door being unwatched, someone could break into the house easily. As Mrs. Dover thinks in the story, letters do not place their selves on tables. Someone had to have gone in and placed the latter on the table.
The taxi driver must be someone that scared Mrs. Dover. Why would Mrs. Dover scream if she does not know the person driving the taxi? The taxi driver was a threat to Mrs. Dover whom ever he/she was. She could have remembered that the person driving the taxi was her former lover.
The events in "The Demon Lover" is natural there are no evidence in the story to suggest other wise. The events in the story can only be speculated. The author gives little outside evidence to what is going on in the story. What is the promise made by Kathleen to her lover? It may have been to wait for her lover to return in a given amount of time. Who, if anyone was stalking Mrs. Dover? The taxi driver turned in the direction of the house in which Mrs. Dover wished to go. How did he know where to turn? How does the letter get on the hall way table? The door was warped and hard to unlock, if it did unlock at all. Someone could have broke in the house and placed the letter inside. Who was the taxi driver? Mrs. Dover would have considered the driver a threat if she thought there was cause to scream. It must have been someone she knew was a threat to her. The story leaves many things open, yet there is little evidence of supernatural events. There is nothing in the short story to conclude that anything supernatural went on in the story and the title gives people a false image to the reader. If the police had had this case, it would have looked like Mrs. Dover had vanished just like the unknown demon lover.