THE SPELL OF LOVE
by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
Daisie was certainly suffering severely, but it was balm for her pain to see the eyes of Dallas Bain rest on her with such tenderness, and though she was thrillingly conscious that his arms held her more tightly than was necessary, even in her weakness, she did not rebel; the sensation gave her a happiness that she had never known before.
Directly they reached the house and found that Annette had the doctor waiting, they carried her tenderly in, and Dallas waited on the porch with an anxious heart for the verdict.
“The accident was all my fault, and every pang of her suffering wrings my heart!” he groaned to himself.
Soon the warm-hearted little Annette put an end to his suspense by running downstairs to tell him that Daisie had no serious injuries. The cut on her brow was superficial; she had some bruises and a sprained ankle, that was all. She would have to keep quiet on a sofa for a few days, then she would be all right again.
What a light of joy flashed into those dark eyes of Dallas Bain at the joyful tidings, as he cried:
“Ah, how happy you make me, for if she had been seriously hurt I never could have forgiven myself for the carelessness that made such an accident possible. Will you tell her for me that I will call to-morrow morning to ask her forgiveness?”
Annette promised freely—she was such a romantic little thing—and she was sure that he had fallen in love with her lovely friend. As she was already engaged herself to the dearest fellow in Cincinnati, she did not experience any pangs of jealousy.
So when the doctor was gone and Daisie resting easily, she whispered his message, and added:
“You have made quite a conquest, I am sure, by this accident, for if ever I saw love in a man’s eyes for a girl, it shone in Dallas Bain’s for you!”
Daisie blushed and demurred, but her heart was full of joy. She forgot all about Royall Sherwood, who had gone to New York last evening to be absent two days. She could think of[Pg 28] nothing but the message and the visit she was to receive next morning. If she spent a restless night, it was not so much from her injuries as from happy suspense.
She had longed so eagerly to know him, and when she had given up hope at last this blessing had come to her so suddenly that it made her forget everything else that she ought to remember.
The next morning she pretended to be feeling much better than she really was, so that the doctor would permit her to be helped down to the parlor to lie on the little blue sofa. When he gave his consent, she insisted on wearing her very daintiest white morning gown, with fluffy lace trimmings, though her aunt said she didn’t see that it mattered how she dressed, seeing that Mr. Sherwood was away.
Daisie answered, with a burning blush:
“It is Mr. Sherwood’s friend that is coming to call on me; so, of course, I want to look nice.”
This satisfied the old lady, and when Dallas Bain came at the earliest permissible hour she simply ushered him into the parlor and left him[Pg 29] alone with Daisie, excusing herself on the plea of domestic duties.
They were alone together—the pair of unacknowledged lovers—in the simple, dainty room, with its blue-and-white hangings that harmonized so exquisitely with the girl’s radiant fairness. The summer breeze swayed the lace curtains at the window and diffused the odor of white roses growing on a bush outside, disposing the mind to thoughts of love and purity.
Daisie, in her soft white robe, with her bandaged foot on a cushion, and the loose curls of her shining hair veiling her form in sunshine, reclined on a sofa, looking very unlike an invalid, so bright were her eyes and so rosy her face from the warm blood that coursed through her throbbing heart.
Dallas bent down and took her soft white hand in a gentle pressure, murmuring audaciously:
“I ought to be repenting in dust and ashes the accident that caused you such pain, I know; but—how can I regret the accident that gave me the delight of knowing you, Miss Bell?”
He had quite forgotten that he had decided two weeks ago that it was not worth his while trying[Pg 30] to know her, forgotten that Royall Sherwood had told him she was silly.
The incidents of yesterday had drawn them nearer together than months of formal acquaintance could have done.
He had held that sweet form in his arms, close to his heart, during a long ride, had feasted his eyes, unreproved, on her beauty, had even dared press reverent lips on her golden hair and one limp white hand.
It seemed to him, in the delirium of love that had come upon him, that all this made her his own, sealed her as his, to have and to hold forever.
He drew a chair close to her sofa, and they began to talk to each other—incoherently, I am afraid, for how could they preserve the formal dignity of strangers?—and very soon he saw that her mind was as lovely as her face, her words well chosen, her voice low and musical, her smile like sunshine, and her laughter a chime of silver bells.
If he had been keeping back a remnant of his heart, he surrendered now at discretion to this adorable creature.
Within half an hour he was saying gently:
“Do you know that I seem to have known you a long while, although we never spoke to each other till yesterday? Yet it is, after all, only two weeks since I first saw you. Since that day you have never been out of my thoughts.”
His beautiful dark eyes seemed to hold her violet ones in a fascinated gaze. She could not remove them, though she felt the rosy blushes bathing cheek and brow. Their glances mingled caressingly, and, taking her unresisting hand in his, he continued, in low, thrilling accents:
“Forgive me if I seem rash and forward, taking advantage of your gentleness; but, Daisie Bell, I love you with the passion of my life, though it may be madness to avow it, though it may meet your scorn. But the softness of your gaze inspires me with some little hope that you are not indifferent to my love, that I may win you—by long devotion—to be my bride.”
How pale her cheek grew—pale as yesterday, when she lay unconscious on his breast after that perilous accident! What a startled look came into her violet eyes!
The Strength of Love by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
Author: Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
Native Language: English