I heard the door shut as Hattie left the room.
After a moment or two, Daphne still clung to me, and I could feel rather than hear her gentle sobbing.
I reach down to lift her up, but she said, “I look like tha dickens. Please don’t look at me.”
I said softly, “Ya always look like an angel.”
Then she gushed, “When ya went away, we didn’t part on tha best of terms. I was angry and tried to forget ya, but I couldn’t. Jim, I know therah’s a reason for ya being herah. I know it’s somethin’ important. I also believe it’s dangerous, but I wanna be with ya for as long as possible. Jim, don’t ever try to keep me out of yar life again. Please don’t.”
I smoothed her long raven hair as I murmured, “I won’t. I promise.”
She began to gently cry again. I was forever trying to understand this beautiful woman, but her crying stumped me.
I tenderly asked, “Why are ya still crying?”
“They’re tears of joy,” she said.
I had heard her say this before, but I truly didn’t understand the different reasons for weeping. I softly said, “Darling, do what ya need to for as long as ya want. I love ya and enjoy having ya near me.”
I think that brought a smile to her face, because she stopped weeping, and rising up, she gently kissed me. I was ashamed that I had put a wedge between us when I left to join the cavalry. I really could never have rejected this gift from God. I was a fool for thinking I could.
She sat on the edge of my bed and we just looked at each other with loving eyes.
Finally, she sighted and asked, “Are ya hungry?”
I smiled and muttered, “I am digesting the most wonderful nourishment just looking at ya.”
She blushed and coyly returned, “Well, aren’t ya tha biggest Lothario alive.”
We both chuckled.
Suddenly, I felt my stomach let me know that it was ready to be fed.
I put my hands on my middle and said, “I guess I could eat something. Why dontcha get me a bite and we can talk? I’ve got a whole lot of questions to ask ya.”
“I’ll get ya some food and be right back,” she promised. Then she hurried from the room.
I looked around and didn’t recognize my surroundings. I was reclining in a very elegant bedroom with a ceiling about fourteen feet high, trimmed in a ten-inch crown molding painted pale yellow. The walls were ecru.
Looking around the chamber, I mentally calculated the room measured at least fourteen feet by fifteen feet. It was as large as a master bedroom in a 21st century home.
Focusing on the furniture, I spied a dark brown armoire positioned on the opposite wall. It must have been about six feet tall with massive metal rings attached to open two huge doors. A woman’s dressing table with an attached wood rococo-framed mirror was on the far wall opposite the foot of the bed. A multi-colored high-back chair was situated in the leg space of the table. Three drawers lined each side of the table and were festooned with butterflies for handles. A multitude of bottles covered the top of the table with a variety of colored liquids. Lastly, I viewed what seemed to be a powder puff placed in a holder of powder just like my 21st century grandma had on her dressing table.
The room also had various wooden stands with ceramic vessels located throughout the room. In one corner of the room, opposite the bed, there was a wooden cabinet with glass inlaid doors and sides. The interior of the cabinet housed many delicate figurines placed on four glass shelves in several modes of social rapport.
Two windows of enormous height were on the outside wall of the room. They must have faced the front of the house, because I noticed a tree-lined road leading into the distance from one of them. Drapes that were affixed to the inside of the windows rose from the floor to the top of the windows. A sixteen-inch cornice connected the drapes at the top of the window. Both drapes and cornice were decorated with an entwined red roses and green ivy pattern.
I had just finished the observation of my recuperative environment when Daphne opened the hall door and walked in, followed by two servants carrying trays of food and drink.
My eyes must have bugged out of my head as I declared, “Daphne, I can’t eat all that food.”
She returned, “I know, but at least ya will have better than what tha army has probably issued over tha last month.”
I had to smile at that quip. She joined me in grinning from ear to ear.
The servants cleared some of the small wooden stands and deposited the bounteous supply of edibles on them before leaving the room. They gently closed the door as they left.
I raised my eyebrows that we were left alone unchaperoned in what was no doubt a lady’s boudoir. Daphne saw my expression and responded, “I’ve got ya alone for tha first time in months and I’m not gonna let ya out of my sights.”
I visibly gulped.