Her mood changed then, and Lord Airlie thought her more entrancing than ever.
"That is the kind of wife I want," thought Lionel Dacre to himself, looking at Lillian--"some one to guide me, to teach me. Ah, if women only understood their mission! That girl looked as I can imagine only guardian angels look--I wish she would be mine."
Lord Airlie left the conservatory, with its thousand flowers, more in love than ever.
He would wait, he said to himself, until the ball was over; then he would ask Beatrice Earle to be his wife. If she refused him, he would go far away where no one knew him; if she accepted him, he would be her devoted slave. She should be a queen, and he would be her knight.
Ah! What thanks would he return to Heaven if so great a blessing should be his.
Lord Airlie muttered something that was not a benediction when, on the morning following, Gaspar Laurence made his appearance at Earlescourt.
"We can not receive visitors this morning," said Beatrice, half impatiently. "Mr. Laurence must have forgotten the ball tonight."
But Mr. Laurence had forgotten nothing of the kind. It was a delicious morning, the sun shining brightly and clearly, the westerly breeze blowing fresh and cool. He had thought it likely that the young ladies would spend the morning out-of-doors, and begged permission to join them.