The Middle Years is the story of a writer coming to his end, wishing that he had more time to cultivate his masterpiece, when he is befriended by a young enthusiast.
The story feels more like a ghost story. I don't know if this is a transition in to that period of stories, but over and over, there are references to superstitions. The narrator describes "strange silent subjects float" "remind him of some figure (he couldn't name it)" "rose before him like spectres with pitiless eyes" "still haunted" and even says directly "Doctor Hugh was an apparition."
All of these things are not to be taken literally, but the word choice piles up to give this story an eerie feeling, not just of death, but life after death.
That concept of life after death is present in the text as well. Hugh says specifically "You will live. You shall live." and this I took to mean his writing will continue to live on post death. The spirit of the written word lives on like a spectre, past the mortal.
Another interesting link was the idea of depth or submersion. Initially, this is described on 109, speaking about living into the story, drawn down, as by a siren's hand in the dim underworld..." Later in the story, the idea is brought forth when talking about pearls and the sinking of a great ship on pg 125. Again on 126, "the sense of cold submersion left him - he seemed to float without an effort."
This was a very interesting story.