Muriel moved impulsively, hiding her face in her friend’s neck. But she said no word in answer.
Daisy went on softly, as though she had spoken. “He is still waiting for you. I think he will wait all his life, though he will never come to you again unless you call him. Won’t you—can’t you—send him just one little word?”
“How can I?” The words broke suddenly from Muriel as though she could no longer restrain them. “How can I possibly?”
“It could be done,” Daisy said. “I know he is still somewhere in India though he has left the Army. We could get a message to him at any time.”
“Oh, but I couldn’t—I couldn’t!” Muriel had begun to tremble violently. There was a sound of tears in her deep voice. “Besides—he wouldn’t come.”
“My dear, he would,” Daisy assured her. “He would come to you directly if he only knew that you wanted him. Muriel, surely you are not—not too proud to let him know!”
“Proud! Oh, no, no!” There was almost a moan in the words. Muriel’s head sank a little lower. “Heaven knows I’m not proud,” she said. “I am ashamed—miserably ashamed. I have trampled on his love so often—so often. How could I ask him for it—now?”
“Ah, but if he came to you,” Daisy persisted, “if in spite of all he came to you, you wouldn’t send him away?”
“Send him away!” A sudden note of passion thrilled in Muriel’s voice. She lifted her head sharply. With the tears upon her cheeks she yet spoke with a certain exultation. “I—I would follow him barefoot across the world,” she said, “if—if he would only lift one finger to call me. But oh, Daisy,”—her confidence vanished at a breath—“where’s the use of talking? He never, never will.”
“He will if you let him know,” Daisy answered with conviction. “Don’t you think you can, dear? Give me just one word for him—one tiny message that he will understand. Only trust him this once—just this once! Give him his opportunity—he has never had one before, poor boy—and I know, I know, he will not throw it away.”
“You don’t think he will—laugh?” Muriel whispered.
“My dear child, no! Nick doesn’t laugh at sacred things.”
Muriel’s face was burning in the darkness. She covered it with her hands as though it could be seen.
For a few seconds she sat very still. Then slowly but steadily she spoke.
“Tell him then, Daisy, from me, that ’Love conquers all things—and we must yield to Love.’”
Not another word passed between Daisy and Muriel upon the subject of that night’s confidences. There seemed nothing further to be said. Moreover, there was between them a closer understanding than words could compass.
The days that followed passed very peacefully, and Daisy began to improve so marvellously in health and spirits that both her husband and her guest caught at times fleeting glimpses of the old light-hearted personality that they had loved in earlier days.