He turned and fled. One meeting him, with fierce, wild eyes full of the fire of madness, with pale, haggard face full of despair, would have shunned him. He fled through the green park, out on the high-road, away through the deep woods--he knew not whither never looking back; crying out at times, with a hollow, awful voice that he had been all night by her grave; falling at times on his face with wild, woeful weeping, praying the heavens to fall upon him and hide him forever from his fellow men.
He crept into a field where the hedge-rows were bright with autumn's tints. He threw himself down, and tried to close his hot, dazed eyes, but the sky above him looked blood-red, the air seemed filled with flames. Turn where he would, the pale, despairing face that had looked up to him as the waters opened was before him. He arose with a great cry, and wandered on. He came to a little cottage, where rosy children were at play, talking and laughing in the bright sunshine.
Great Heaven! How long was it since the dead girl, now sleeping under the deep waters, was happy and bright as they?
He fled again. This time the piercing cry filled his ears; it seemed to deaden his brain. He fell in the field near the cottage. Hours afterward the children out at play found him lying in the dank grass that fringed the pond under the alder trees.
* * * * * * * * * * **
The first faint flush of dawn, a rosy light, broke in the eastern sky, a tremulous, golden shimmer was on the lake as the sunbeams touched it. The forest birds awoke and began to sing; they flew from branch to branch; the flowers began to open their "dewy eyes," the stately swans came out upon the lake, bending their arched necks, sailing round the water lilies and the green sedges.
The sun shone out at length in his majesty, warming and brightening the fair face of nature--it was full and perfect day. The gardeners came through the park to commence their work; the cows out in the pasture land stood to be milked, the busy world began to rouse itself; but the fatal secret hidden beneath the cold, dark water remained still untold.
The sun shone bright and warm in the breakfast room at Earlescourt. The rays fell upon the calm, stately face of Lady Helena, upon the grave countenance of her son, upon the bright, handsome features of Lord Airlie. They sparkled on the delicate silver, and showed off the pretty china to perfection. The breakfast was upon the table, but the three occupants of the room had been waiting. Lady Helena took her seat.