Chapter-10 The Strength of Love

Chapter 10



Royall Sherwood’s surprise and chagrin were beyond expression when he returned to Gull Beach and learned all that had happened in the two days of his absence.

For Daisie, in her desperation, did not spare herself. She had confessed everything, and taken back her promise.

“I never loved you, and it was flattered vanity alone that made me accept you. Forgive me, and release me,” she pleaded, shrinking back from the flash of the beautiful ring he was trying to place on her finger.

In that moment he realized fully with what a passion he loved her, and what a pang it would cost to give up the one he adored with all the fervor of his heart.

“Daisie Bell, I will not release you!” he vowed, clinging to the little hand that she strove to withdraw. “You gave me your promise of your own free will, and you shall not break it now.”

[Pg 77]

He saw her turn pale and tremble with alarm, and he continued wildly:

“You shall not make me ridiculous, and cause the finger of scorn to be pointed at me as a jilted man.”

“Oh, but I told you not to let the engagement be known,” she remonstrated.

“I only told my Cousin Lutie—and I forgot she could not keep a secret—so the whole town knows it now, and if you break your promise, you will be known as an arrant little flirt.”

“I can’t help it. I didn’t mean to flirt, so let them say what they please. I am going away soon, so it cannot hurt me,” she returned, in helpless defiance, the color rushing back into her face, and her eyes growing dark with emotion.

Every swift change in her wonderful beauty only wound his heartstrings more tightly about her; he vowed to himself that any man would be a fool to give her up after her promise had been once gained.

So he persevered. He urged and entreated, played the devoted lover to perfection.

“But I have told you that I love another!” she[Pg 78] cried, with the lovely blushes rising up to her brow.

“He is gone, and you will never see him again. Let that brief dream be forgotten, and give your heart to me,” urged Royall, in painful earnestness that touched her heart.

“Oh, I can never love you, and I feel I have wronged you enough already by my silly vacillation. Leave me now, for indeed all is at an end between us.”

“You are very cruel to me, Daisie,” he sighed.

“I know I am. I have been wicked and thoughtless to let you love me. I repent it now; but all I can do is to send you from me, and let you forget. That is the greatest kindness I can show you.”

He saw that there was no use pressing her now. She would only turn stubborn, and command him to go. And he did not wish to anger her, for since his rival had withdrawn from the field, he was determined not to give up hope.

Sighing heavily, he said:

“This is a cruel blow to me, the crueler from being so totally unexpected. I must accept my fate, but I feel that it was undeserved.”

[Pg 79]

Her generous heart was touched by his apparent humility. She felt a twinge of remorse for her apparent fickleness, and cried eagerly:

“Oh, I am so sorry I wounded you! Believe me, I am grateful for your love, though I cannot accept it. But—but—I will always be your friend.”

“That is better than nothing,” Royall answered, with a mirthless laugh; and, rising to go, he added pleadingly: “Then this does not mean utter dismissal? Though I am unwelcome as a lover, I may come and see you sometimes—as a friend?”

She feared instantly that she had made a mistake, but in the consciousness of his suffering, she could not bear to refuse. She remembered, also, that she would soon be going away, and that would end it all. So she said falteringly:

“Yes, as a friend—but—but—I should think you would be too angry to care to see me again.”

“Angry with you, Daisie, when I have loved you so dearly? How could such a thing be?” he exclaimed, with a thrilling glance, as he bowed himself out, taking with him the rejected ring,[Pg 80] but vowing to himself that she should wear it yet if patient persistence counted for anything.

“When she finds that Bain has gone, never to return, she will be ready to take me back again,” he thought, confident of the ultimate triumph of his golden charms if not of his personal attractions.

As for Daisie, she wept wildly when he was gone, yielding to the cruel strain on her emotions. She felt herself the most unhappy girl in the world. Dallas was gone from her in anger, and she had no hope of ever seeing him again.

Yet Daisie knew in her heart that this was the love of her life, and that she never could forget her handsome, dark-eyed lover. The joy and the sorrow of this brief love dream would stay with her forever.

One bitter drop in the cup of Daisie’s sorrow was the anger of her Aunt Alice at her broken engagement.

The old lady had been so proud of her niece’s rich catch that she could hardly believe it when Daisie confessed to her the truth of the broken engagement.

She became violently angry, but neither scolding[Pg 81] nor reproaches could “bring that silly girl to her senses,” as she termed it, then she relapsed into sullen silence. There was neither pity nor sympathy in that house for poor Daisie.

Worst of all, Royall Sherwood kept coming every day to call, and he let her see quite plainly that he did not despair of winning her yet.

“You will forget Dallas Bain, now that you see him no more,” he said confidently. “In fact, I am not sure that he was worthy of your regard. There was something very mysterious about the fellow, and I have no idea what has become of him.”

Daisie had no answer to give; but she knew that the memory of Dallas Bain would never leave her mind.

When she was alone the music of his voice seemed to echo in her ears, the flash of his dark eyes to light up the darkness, and always, always, she could feel the touch of his hand and the thrill of his lips as they met her own—no, such love as hers could never die. Though she never spoke his name aloud, she would tremble and thrill when it was uttered by another.

After Annette’s accident and the cruel failure[Pg 82] of Daisie’s letter to reach Dallas, there seemed nothing left to hope for now. Daisie determined to leave Gull Beach and return to the city.

When Royall Sherwood came to call the next evening she bid him farewell, saying that she was going to New York the next day.

He cried out reproachfully:

“You will return to a life of toil and hardship rather than accept my name and wealth?”

“Do not bring that subject up again,” she answered wearily; and he went away in despair, to seek his cousin’s advice.

“She is going away, she will be lost to me in the vortex of the wide world! Oh, Lutie, put your wits to work, you women are so shrewd! Is there no way to detain her longer at Gull Beach till she softens toward me?”

“I will think it over, and tell you in the morning,” she replied.

The Strength of Love by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER

Status: Ongoing


Native Language: English

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *