By MICHAEL PUNT
The letter fell from his nerveless hands. He thought long and deeply. Yes hehad memories of a neighbour’s child, of a girl, of a woman in a dancing hall–all was dim and confused, like a flickering and shapeless view of a stone in the bed of a swiftly running stream. Shadows chased one another across his mind, but would not fuse into a picture. There were stirrings of
memory in the realm of feeling, and still he could not remember. It seemed to him that he must have dreamed all these figures, must have dreamed often and vividly–and yet they had only been phantoms of a dream. His eyes wandered to the blue vase on the writing-table. It was empty. For years it had not been empty on his birthday. He shuddered, feeling as if an invisible
door had been opened, a door through which a chilled breeze was blowing into his sheltered room. An intimation of death came to him, and an intimation of deathless love. Something welled up within him; and the thought of the dead woman stirred in his mind, bodiless and passionate, like the sound of distant music.
Zweig, S. (2004) Letter from and Unknown Woman, London: Pushkin Press:. p.104. (First published in German as Bukrief einer Unbekannten in 1922).