The Hint

He was a mad dog, and he was also an Englishman and at that time he was also a stevedore baking away in the midday sun on a dock, in a harbour, at a port at the heart of the central powers. It was a low point and it got lower when she stepped down the gangway from the recently docked liner. She was on the arm of her newly married French husband. Her blonde tresses cascaded as only hers could cascade, they hid her beautiful face such that he could not tell of her demeanour. As he straightened from his working position railing against the relentless midday sunshine he thought that he had failed to catch her eye. He thought she did not see him, nor the squalor through which she stepped to reach the arranged transport that would drive them away at speed.

The last he saw of her was a glimpse of long white linen, an alabaster ankle and maybe, just maybe the stroboscopic hint of a flickering smile.

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