Chapter-6 The Strength of Love

Chapter 6



But all her pleadings could not move Daisie from her resolve to tell Royall everything and break her engagement. She persisted in it, crying pleadingly:

“Oh, if you really want to do me a kindness, you must help me with Dallas. He is at your house, and you will see him when you go back. Won’t you tell him how it all came about, that I love only him, and ask him to forgive me and come back to me again?”

She did not know that she was pleading to a woman who loved Dallas so madly that she would rather have seen him dead than married to another; but somehow she could not believe the story that he had proposed to Lutie Fleming and been refused. Daisie believed that any woman would be glad to accept such a splendid lover. She told herself that the artful young widow was just trying to shield her cousin and to further his cause.

[Pg 47]

Mrs. Fleming said decisively:

“I decline to speak to Dallas Bain on this subject, or to work against my cousin’s interests in any way, and I believe that when you come to your sober senses, girl, you will be glad enough to keep this affair a secret and marry Royall, after all.”

So saying, she swept from the room and rustled out to her carriage, nodding a careless greeting to Annette Janowitz, who was just entering the gate, and who went in the open doors with a friendly familiarity, and found Daisie sobbing with hysterical grief on her sofa.

“Oh, my poor dear, is your foot so bad?” queried she, with quick sympathy; and presently she drew from her friend the story of the morning’s happenings.

“Oh, Annette, I cannot give him up! I love him so dearly! You will help me to win him back, won’t you, dear?”

“Indeed, I will, if you will only tell me what I can do for you,” responded Annette, the tears of sympathy shining in her bright dark eyes.

Daisie thought a few moments, very seriously, and then announced her plan:

[Pg 48]

“Write him a friendly note, Annette, asking him to call at your house this evening and see you about a very particular matter. Don’t mention my name, or, in his first resentment, he might refuse to come.”

Annette nodded her approval, and said:

“And when he arrives I must explain your affair to him, and beg him to forgive you, and come and see you?”

“If you will be so kind, dear Annette,” murmured Daisie, whose shining eyes were dried now in the sunshine of hope.

Annette went to the writing desk, and penned a dainty little note, inviting Dallas Bain to call on her that evening, as she wished to consult him about his taking part in some private theatricals they were planning for a village charity.

“I have heard that he is a splendid amateur actor, so he will not refuse,” she said gleefully. “And I can tell him afterward that it was just a ruse to get him to my house to plead your cause. Depend upon it, he will be overjoyed to learn that you intend to throw over Royall Sherwood for his sake,” she added encouragingly.

“Now, Annette, please run out to the post office[Pg 49] at the corner, and post it quickly, so that he will not fail to get it this afternoon,” cried Daisie, with feverish impatience.

Annette went as requested, and when she returned she said joyously:

“Oh, Daisie, I wish you were as happy as I am! I am engaged, you know, and only think—I had a letter from my dear boy this morning, saying that he is coming to see me to-morrow. He is a commercial traveler, you know, and just perfectly magnificent! The only drawback is that he’s just horridly jealous, and does not permit me to look at any other man.”

“Well, you need not want to, if you love him. I would not care if there were not another man in the world to look at but Dallas!” cried Daisie tenderly.

“Oh, I dare say you may be tired of looking at him some day when you are married to him!” laughed Annette; but she could not persuade Daisie of it. She was in love in the most romantic fashion.

While the girls laid their innocent plans for calling back Daisie’s lover, Mrs. Fleming rode[Pg 50] back to Sea View with fury in her heart—the fury of “a woman scorned.”

Keen and bitter had been her humiliation when Daisie had said so innocently:

“He laughed at the idea of marrying you!”

Her last hope of winning him was gone now, and jealous anger entered her heart and drove out the sweet guest, Love.

She hated and envied Daisie Bell with a hatred beyond all telling.

“She took him away from me—came between us with her dazzling face—I might still have won him if they had not met. Very well, I will punish them both most bitterly,” she vowed. “As for marrying, they never shall, if a woman’s wit can prevent it.”

As soon as she entered the house, she ascertained that Dallas Bain had not yet returned.

Her young-lady guests were down at the beach, and she went to her room to rest and plot how to keep the lovers apart for the future.

“I dare say she wrote to him as soon as I came away, explaining everything, and begging him to come back to her,” she thought astutely. “I must make sure of getting that letter.”

[Pg 51]

And as the village was so small that the letter-carrier service was not yet established, she presently sent her maid, Letty, to the post office, saying:

“Bring everything that is in the Sea View box straight to me, Letty, before you let any one else see it. My cousin, Mr. Sherwood, wanted me to get out of it some private mail for him.”

Letty Green returned in an hour with a budget of letters, books, and papers for her mistress and her guests; but she had made sure, with feminine curiosity, first, that there was nothing for Royall Sherwood; also, that there was one very dainty-looking perfumed letter for Dallas Bain, bearing the town postmark, Gull Beach.

This was what Mrs. Fleming expected, and as soon as the maid’s back was turned she opened and read it, laughing to herself:

“She has planned with Annette to get him back; but Dallas Bain will never see this letter, and the two young misses will be disappointed this evening.”

The Strength of Love by Mrs. ALEX. McVEIGH MILLER

Status: Ongoing


Native Language: English

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