a special place in his life for the past 13 month, the woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had sustained him unfailingly.
Lieutenant Blandford remembered one day in particular, during the worst of the fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of enemy’s planes. In one of his letters he had confessed to her that he often felt fear, and only a few days before this battle he had received her answer:
"Of course you fear…all brave men do. Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: yeah, though I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will hear no evil:
for thou art with me." He had remembered, and it had renewed his strength.
Now he was going to hear her real voice. Four minutes to six.
A girl passed close to him, and Lieutenant Blandford started. She was wearing a flower, but it was not the little red rose they had agreed upon. Besides, this girl was only about 18, and Hollis Meynell had told him she was 30. “What of it?” he had answered. “I’m 32.” He was 29.
His mind went back to that book he had read in the training camp. Of Human Bondage it was; and throughout the book were notes in a woman’s handwriting. He had never believed that a woman could see into a man’s heart so tenderly, so understandingly. Her name was on the book plate: Hollis Meynell. He had got hold a New York City telephone book and found her address. He had written;
she had answered. Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing.
For 13 months she had faithfully replied. When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed that he loved her and that she loved him.
But she had refused all his pleas to send him her photograph. She had explained:” If you’re feeling
for me has any reality, what I look like won’t matter. Suppose I’m beautiful. I’d always been haunted by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust
me. Suppose I’m plain ( and you must admit that this is more likely), then I’d always fear that you were only going on writing because you were lonely and had no one else. No, don’t ask for my picture. When you come to New York, you shall see me and then you shall make your decision.”
One minute to six…he put hard on a cigarette. Then Lieutenant Blandford’s heart leaped.
A young woman was coming towards him. Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls over her delicate ears. Her eyes were as blue as flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness. In her pale-green suit, she was like springtime come alive.