"Mr and Mrs Dove" by Katherine Mansfield (1888 to 1923-New Zealand) was first published in 1921 then republished in 1922 in a collection of her short stories, The Garden Party and Other Stories.
As the story begins Reginald (who seems in his mid-twenties) is getting ready to go back to his post as a colonial administrator in Rhodesia. (As I read that I was brought to mind that Ida Baker had Rhodesian roots.) Today is his last day in England. He goes to the home of a family friend, Colonel Proctor, to take his leave. What he really wants to do is to ask to Anne Proctor, daughter of the Colonel, to marry him and go to Rhodesia with him. The idea of a young man having to go to or return to a colonial post is a frequent entity in English literature between the wars. It was often the lot of second sons. It could if one was lucky smart and opportunistic be quite lucrative but it might also damaging to your health.
As Reginald arrives at the house he finds Anne is home alone. He makes a very weak attempt to get Anne to commit to him. He spends most of his time telling her what a bad idea it would be for her to accept him.
The actions of the doves kept by the Proctors is a kind of metaphor for all of this. Anne tries to tell Reginald something very important through talking about the doves but Reginald appears too thick to pick it up.
"Mr and Mrs Dove" is a very well told and written story. I am glad I took the time to read it.