She drew the golden head down upon her shoulder, and with the charm that never failed, she talked and caressed her sister until she had overcome all objections.
But during the long hours of that night a fair head tossed wearily to and fro on its pillow--a fair face was stained with bitter tears. Lionel Dacre lingered, half hoping that even at the last she would come and bid him stay because she wished to tell him all.
But the last moment came, and no messenger from Lillian brought the longed-for words. He passed out from the Hall. He could not refrain from looking once at the window of her room, but the blind was closely drawn. He little knew or dreamed how and why he would return.
Thursday morning dawned bright and beautiful, as though autumn wished to surpass the glories or summer. Beatrice had not told Lillian when she was going to meet Hugh, partly because she dreaded her sister's anxiety, partly because she did not wish any one to know how long she might be with him; for Beatrice anticipated a painful interview, although she felt sure of triumph in the end.
Lillian was ill and unable to rise; unused to emotion, the strain upon her mind had been too great. When Lady Helena listened to her maid's remarks and went up to see her granddaughter, she forbade her to get up, and Lillian, suffering intensely, was only too pleased to obey.
The breakfast party was a very small one. Lord Earle was absent; he had gone to Holte. Lady Helena hurried away to sit with Lillian. Lord Airlie had been smiling very happily over a mysterious little packet that had come by post. He asked Beatrice if she would go out with him--he had something to show her. They went out into the park, intending to return in time for luncheon.
The morning was bright and calm. Something of the warmth and beauty of the summer lingered still, although the ground was strewn with fallen leaves.
Lord Airlie and Beatrice sat at the foot of the grand old cedar tree whence they would see the distant glimmer of the deep, still lake. The birds sang around them, and the sun shone brightly. On the beautiful face of Beatrice Earle her lover read nothing but happiness and love.