Daphne ushered me to a back table in the hotel dining room. The place was empty, except for us. The waitress came and asked if we wanted to order food. We settled for coffee. The waitress left, and I looked long and hard at this vision of loveliness.
Then I asserted, “Why so friendly? This is an abject reversal from two nights ago.”
I stared back at her and said, “Why did he do that?”
She shifted in her chair, and I realized this was a delicate family subject.
She came to a decision and in a ferocious voice quickly stated, “Father and mother have been trying to get me to marry the son of a local banker down in Charles Town, but I can’t stand him.”
Now she slowed down and looking down at the table said in a low voice, “When I started to talk about your help in rescuing me and how nice you had treated me, I guess it scared them.”
I nodded and replied with a bit of sarcasm, “So, the man from Arkansas was too much of a wild man to suit their tastes?
She kept her eyes averted and whispered, “Something like that.”
I leaned forward and said, “Look at me Daphne.”
Her head snapped up and she stared at me with trembling lips.
“Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, I do. You are the woman of my dreams. I know you have been told that before, and I know you must have had a multitude of suitors, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
She just stared at me, and then a tear escaped her left eye and slowly coursed its way down her cheek.
“Oh, Jim,” she cried. And pulling out a handkerchief, she buried her face in it and began to cry.
I was ashamed of myself and hadn’t meant to be so bold as to embarrass her. I stammered, “Daphne, please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to make you cry. It was heartless of me.”
She ceased sobbing and looked at me. Choking a bit, she said, “No, No Jim. Don’t apologize. I feel the same way, too.”