“Call in whom you like, as many as you like, my darling, the whole medical faculty if it serves to pacify or to content you,” he said, smiling at her.
Damaris repented. Took poor passion by the throat, stifling its useless cries.
“I tire you. I waste your strength. I think only of myself, of my own grief, most beloved, my own consuming grief and desolation.—See—I will be good—I am good. What else is there you want to have me do?”
“This—but recollect you are free to say me nay, without scruple or hesitation. I shall not require you to give your reasons, but shall bow, unreservedly, to your wishes. For you possess a touchstone in such questions as the one now troubling me, which, did I ever possess it, I lost, as do most men, rather lamentably early in my career. If you suffer me to do so, I will ask Darcy Faircloth to bring his mother here to me, this evening at dusk, when her coming will not challenge impertinent observation—so that I may be satisfied no bitterness colours her thought of me and that we part in peace, she and I.”
Damaris got up from her seat on the arm of the red-covered chair. She stood rigid, her expression reserved to blankness, but her head carried high.
“Of course,” she said, a little hoarsely, and waited. “Of course. How could I object? Wasn’t it superfluous even to ask me? Your word, dearest, is law.”
“But in the present case hardly gospel?”
“Yes—gospel too—since it is your word. Gospel, that is, for me. Let Darcy Faircloth bring his mother here by all means. Only I think, perhaps, this is all a little outside my province. It would be better you should make the—the appointment with him yourself. I will send to him directly. Patch can take a note over to the island. I would prefer to have Patch go as messenger than either of the other men.”
She walked towards the door. Stopped half-way and turned, hearing her father move. And as she turned—her eyes quick with enquiry as to his case, but inscrutable as to her own—Charles Verity rose too and held out his arms in supreme invitation. She came swiftly forward and kissed him, while with all the poor measure of force left him, he strained her to his breast.
“Have I asked too much from you, Damaris, and, in the desire to make sure of peace elsewhere, endangered the perfection of my far dearer peace with you?”
She leaned back from the waist, holding her head away from him and laid her hand on his lips.
“Don’t blaspheme, most beloved,” she said, “I have no will but yours.”
Again she kissed him, disengaged herself very gently, and went.