Beatrice took the letter carelessly from him; the handwriting was quite unknown to her; she knew no one in Brookfield, which was the nearest post-town--it was probably some circular, some petition for charity, she thought. Lord Airlie crossed the room to speak to her, and she placed the letter carelessly in the pocket of her dress, and in a few minutes forgot all about it.
Lord Airlie was waiting; the horses had been ordered for an early hour. Beatrice ran upstairs to put on her riding habit, and never gave a thought to the letter.
It was a pleasant ride; in the after-days she looked back upon it as one of the brightest hours she had ever known. Lord Airlie told her all about Lynnton, his beautiful home--a grand old castle, where every room had a legend, every tree almost a tradition.
For he intended to work wonders; a new and magnificent wing should be built, and on one room therein art, skill, and money should be lavished without stint.
"Her boudoir" he said, "should be fit for a queen and for a fairy."
So they rode through the pleasant, sunlit air. A sudden thought struck Beatrice.
"I wonder," she said, "what mamma will think? You must go to see her, Hubert. She dreaded love and marriage so much. Poor mamma!"
She asked herself, with wondering love, what could have happened that her mother should dread what she found so pleasant? Lord Airlie entered warmly into all her plans and wishes. Near the grand suite of rooms that were to be prepared for his beautiful young wife, Lord Airlie spoke of rooms for Dora, if she would consent to live with them.