Strange Meeting | Page 1 of 123

Author: Susan Hill | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1340 Views | Add a Review

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Strange Meeting

Susan Hill

Copyright © 2013, Susan Hill

For John and Myfanwy Piper



Part One

Part Two

Part Three

About the Author

Part One

He was afraid to go to sleep. For three weeks, he had been afraid of going to sleep.

But then, because of some old, familiar sound or smell, suddenly recalled, in this room of his overlooking the rose garden, he recalled also the trick he had used as a child, to keep himself awake.

He wanted to stay awake.

In the hospital, it had been different. Because of the pain in his leg, and because he could not bear the noises of the ward at night, the sounds of hoarse breathing and death, and the crying of the Field-Gunner in the next bed, he had only wanted to sleep. He had asked them to give him something, had tried and failed to get whisky or rum. He had even tried to bribe Crawford.

Crawford …

He remembered Crawford’s eyes, and his soft jowls, folding inwards towards the small nose, and mouth and chin. Crawford, standing at the foot of his bed. It had not surprised him, their meeting there. Nothing like that was surprising now. Though, at first, Crawford had been busy with the Field-Gunner, had not come near Hilliard until the following day. Then, as always, in the past, their pointless, mutual dislike.

‘Hello, Hilliard. Got it through the calf, did you?’





‘No, shrapnel.’

Crawford nodded. The flesh over his cheeks was carefully razored. But there were dark smears beneath his eyes, as though he, too, did not sleep.

‘Good for a month back home, then. You always were a clever devil, Hilliard.’

When they were boys, they had both been sent to a dancing class, held on Saturdays at eleven, in the Methodist Hall.

‘If you are going to do a thing, do it properly,’ Constance Hilliard had said. ‘There is nothing to be ashamed of in learning dancing.’ He had not supposed that there was. His sister went, too. ‘Dancing will be a great asset to you later on, you will have me to thank for having taken you to proper lessons. I like a young man who knows how to dance.’ For she hoped that he would cut as good a figure as his father, would look so fine and be so accomplished, at the Waltz and the Lancers.

Saturday mornings in the Methodist Hall, and the smell of dust between the grain of the floorboards, the squeak of chalk where the steps were marked out, and, over the echoing piano, the voice of Miss Marchment.

‘The Crawfords are taking their boy,’ his mother had said, though she scarcely knew the Crawfords. Hilliard was three years younger.

He had not been embarrassed by the dancing class, only disliked it because he was no good, had no rhythm, could not convert her instructions into the right, patterned mo

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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