GOD HELP US
by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
The sky was as blue as summer, the air was soft and bland, and the little, laughing wavelets at Gull Beach, rippled by the April breeze, rolled softly in upon the yellow sands.
It was three weeks now since Daisie and Annette had come away from New York back to Maryland—three weeks since the morning when Daisie had stooped over Royall while he held her hands, and kissed him with cold, unresponsive lips, while she said:
“God help us both to bear this sorrow!”
She could not hate him, or be angry with him, because his love and his affliction made her generous heart very kind and pitiful, and she realized that the cross of suffering lay heavy on them both.
So her beautiful eyes grew dim with tears as she gave the kiss his eyes entreated, and whispered pitifully and prayerfully:
“God help us both to bear our sorrow!”
“If you would only try to love me!” he groaned[Pg 272] entreatingly, and Daisie answered, with gentle patience:
“I have been trying ever since—that night when you were hurt. I will keep on trying.”
“You are an angel, my wife!” he cried passionately, realizing remorsefully how unworthy he was of her noble sacrifice, yet not wishing himself dead and out of the way so that she might be happy. He was too selfish for that, and madly jealous in his heart of the reappearance of Dallas Bain in so enviable a position.
So when Mrs. Fleming came to see him, after the girls had gone away, he wished her godspeed when she told him frankly that she intended to follow Lord Werter to California, and try to win him in spite of all that had passed.
“He is the only man I ever loved, though I have always had plenty of lovers,” she said; “and I was willing to take him, in spite of his seeming obscurity. Now, with his title, he is more desirable than ever, and I mean to throw myself in his way and win him yet if woman’s wit can accomplish it. It will be a relief to you, too, if I get him, for you can never be safe over Daisie until he is married to another.”
“No, never; and I am very sorry he ever turned up again. I hoped in my heart that the fellow was dead. Go in and win if you can, Lutie, and I’ll give you a diamond sunburst worth fifty thousand dollars for a bridal gift!” cried Royall, who felt that the price would be small to pay for security over Daisie; for he was always dreading that she might secure a divorce from him in order to marry her old lover.
Meanwhile, Daisie and Annette had traveled to Gull Beach, and although Aunt Alice was taken by surprise, she was very glad to see her niece, and made her very welcome.
“I thought you would be so fine and gay in your grand New York mansion that you would never care to visit my humble cottage again,” she exclaimed; and Daisie answered evasively:
“I have been leading too gay a life, Aunt Alice, in the whirl of social life, and now I am threatened with nervous prostration; so I must keep very quiet for a few weeks, and I knew your home was the very best haven of rest I could find.”
“Dear knows you’ll find it quiet enough here, and I’ll do my best to make you well again,” replied[Pg 274] the old lady cordially, for she was very proud of Daisie and the grand match she had made.
But she soon found that wealth does not always confer happiness; for, day by day, Daisie drooped like a strangely blighted flower, until at last she found that the girl was threatened with a serious illness.
“I don’t like the look of you, Daisie. You’ve been failing steadily ever since you came here, ten days ago. I don’t believe you’ve ever smiled since you came, and you don’t eat as much as a bird. Now you don’t feel well enough to rise from your bed, your face is red and feverish, and your pulse fairly frightens me. I’m going to send for Doctor Burns, and write for your husband to come.”
“No, no—you must not let Mr. Sherwood know unless I should be dying, and—there’s no such luck as that. The wretched are long-lived,” bitterly. “But you may send for Doctor Burns, Aunt Alice, for I believe you are right. I am going to be ill.”
She fell back among her pillows, shut her eyes, and seemed to sleep; then, before the doctor[Pg 275] came, she had lapsed into delirious babblings. While he sat by the bed, watching her with the greatest uneasiness, she had a lucid interval, in which she begged him not to let Royall know of her illness.
“He is not strong, and the shock might kill him. You can take care of me,” she said pleadingly.
But when she was quiet again, he whispered to her aunt and Annette:
“But, good heavens, this is brain fever! I fear that she will die!”
The Strength of Love by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
Author: Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER
Native Language: English