Lord Airlie went to the drawing room where he had left Beatrice, and told her Lord Earle's answer; she smiled, but he saw the white lips quiver as she did so.
Only one month since his passionate, loving words would have made the sweetest music to her; she listened and tried to look like herself, but her heart was cold with vague, unutterable dread.
"The fourteenth of October"--clever Lord Airlie, by some system of calculation known only to himself, persuaded Beatrice that that was the "latter end of the month."
"Not another word," he said, gayly. "I will go and tell Lord Earle. Do not say afterward that you have changed your mind, as many ladies do. Beatrice, say to me, 'Hubert, I promise to marry you on the fourteenth of October.'"
She repeated the words after him.
"It will be almost winter," he added; "the flowers will have faded, the leaves will have fallen from the trees; yet no summer day will ever be so bright to me as that."
She watched him quit the room, and a long, low cry came from her lips. Would it ever be? She went to the window and looked at the trees. When the green leaves lay dead she would be Lord Airlie's wife, or would the dark cloud of shame and sorrow have fallen, hiding her forever from his sight?
Ah, if she had been more prudent! How tame and foolish, how distasteful the romance she had once thought delightful seemed now! If she had but told all to Lord Earle!