- 36. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 35
- 37. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 36
- 38. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 37
- 39. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 38
- 40. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 39
- 41. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 40
- 42. Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 41
The lights glowed warm in the darkness from inside the Snowdon View as Hugh tethered his horse to a tree out of sight of curious eyes. The hotel was filled with guests. He could make out the brightly coloured flash of silk gowns between the more sober evening wear of the men. It was a cheerful scene, one that left him with an unexpected ache in his heart.
Sara’s familiar figure, dressed in soft lavender, moved amongst her guests. Hugh took a deep breath. He had to speak to her. However she tried to avoid him, however occupied she might be with her guests, he had to talk to her! It might be his only chance.
He was about to make his way inside when a small side door of the conservatory was opened and Sara slipped out into the grounds, walking with a restless step towards the river.
After only a moment’s hesitation, Hugh followed. He caught up with her at a small wooden jetty where a rowing boat, for the use of those staying at the hotel, lay rocking gently in the flow of the river. A full moon was rising, taking a slow dance between soft wisps of cloud. She stood so still, gazing down into the darkness of the water, that he grew alarmed.
She turned slowly, as if in a dream.
“Hugh.” There was no surprise in her voice. “I was just thinking of you.”
His heart began to beat hard in this chest.
“Good thoughts, I hope?”
She was silent for a moment.
“I was thinking of what might have been. Of how different our lives could have been. My life might have been.”
“With me?” He grasped her hand. “Sara, it can be still! We still have our lives ahead of us. And we are both free to direct our fate. Dearest Sara, you are the only woman I have ever truly loved. We can take our happiness. There is nothing to stand between us now.”
She gently disengaged her hand.
“Only the past.”
“We can wipe the past away. Start again.” He frowned. Didn’t she understand? “I couldn’t bear to lose you again, Sara. I’m asking you to marry me.”
There, he had said it. Finally he had laid his heart at her feet. He was so dizzy with the relief of having spoken that he barely noticed her taking a step away from him.
“So you could own me? So I would finally have to do your bidding?”
“No!” He stared at her in horror. “No, Sara, of course not.”
Hurt shot through him.
“How could you think that of me?”
“How else am I supposed to think?” Her voice was harsh. “When have you ever put another’s feelings before your own? You once told me you loved me and wished to marry me. But you would not stand up to your father to protect me when he humiliated me, and had his men take me away to Manchester and leave me there on the streets, with no roof over my head and no means of supporting myself.”
“I didn’t know!”
“Because you chose not to,” she retorted angrily. “I was lucky. Thanks to Owain I could read and write. I was able to find work and good people who helped me and took me in. Have you any idea what my fate would have been otherwise?”
He swallowed hard.
“You would never have stooped so low.”
“You have clearly never been hungry, or cold, or terrified of men who would take without a second thought that which others would at least pay for.”
“I’m sorry. I was young and weak. But I am older now. Don’t you think a man can change?”
She turned back towards the river, staring into the darkness of the Conwy.
“Words of love are easy, Hugh. But you have never once put yourself in my shoes, nor those of Arabella, your wife. Are you surprised I’m not inclined to trust you now?”
“I could prove it!”
“By bringing me flowers and being attentive to my every wish until I gave in to you?” She sounded weary. “How long would such consideration last after you were certain you had my love?”
“That is unfair! Let me prove it. I don’t know how, but at least give me the chance. Give us both the chance to regain what we once had.”