The Way of an Eagle eBook

Ethel May Dell
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about The Way of an Eagle.

“Dear Muriel will tell us presently just how it happened,” Lady Bassett said in her soft voice.

But Muriel was as one who heard not.  She would not even open her eyes till Sir Reginald came to her, pillowed her head against him, kissed her white face, and called her his brave little girl.

That moved her at last, awaking in her the old piteous hunger, never wholly stifled, for her father.  She turned and clung to him convulsively with an inarticulate murmuring that ended in passionate tears.

CHAPTER LIII

THE LAST SKIRMISH

Why had he gone?  That was the question that vexed Muriel’s soul through the long hours that followed her return to the Residency.  Lying sleepless on her bed, she racked her weary brain for an answer to the riddle, but found none.  Her brief doubt regarding him had long since fled.  She knew with absolute certainty that it was Nick and no other who had yelled those furious words, who had made that panther-spring, who had leaned over her and withdrawn the revolver from her hold, telling her softly not to cry.  But why had he gone just then when she needed him most?

Surely by now her message had reached him!  Surely he knew that she wanted him, that she had lowered what he had termed her miserable little rag of pride to tell him so!  Then why was he tormenting her thus—­playing with her as a cat might play with a mouse?  Was he taking his revenge for all the bitter scorn she had flung at him in the past?  Did he think to wring from her some more definite appeal?  Ah, that was it!  Like a searchlight flashing inwards, she remembered her promise to him uttered long ago against her will—­his answering oath.  And she knew that he meant to hold her to that promise—­that he would exact the very uttermost sacrifice that it entailed; and then perchance—­she shivered at the unendurable thought—­he would laugh his baffling, enigmatical laugh, and go his way.

But this was unbearable, impossible.  She would sooner die than suffer it.  She would sooner—­yes, she would almost sooner—­break her promise.

And then, to save her from distraction, the other side of the picture presented itself, that reverse side which he had once tauntingly advised her to study.  If he truly loved her, he would not treat her thus.  It would not gratify him to see her in the dust.  If he still cared, as Daisy had assured her he did, it would not be his pleasure to make her suffer.  But then again—­oh, torturing question!—­had that been so, would he have gone at that critical moment, would he have left her, when a look, a touch, would have sufficed to establish complete understanding?

Drearily the hours dragged away.  The heat was great, and just before daybreak a thunder-storm rolled up, but spent itself without a drop of rain.  It put the finishing touches to Muriel’s restlessness.  She rose and dressed, to sit by her window with her torturing thoughts for company, and awaited the day.

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The Way of an Eagle from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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