No matter how great the expense and trouble, he was resolved that it should be done.
"Earlescourt would be wretched," he said, "if that fatal lake remained."
The day after the family left Earlescourt, he had workmen engaged. No one was sorry at his determination. Lady Helena highly approved of it. The water was drained off, the deep basin filled with earth, and tall saplings planted where once the water had glistened in the sun. The boat house was pulled down, and all vestige of the lake was done away with.
Lionel Dacre came home one evening from the works in very low spirits. Imbedded in the bottom of the lake they had found a little slipper--the fellow to it was locked away in Dora's drawer. He saved it to give it to her when she returned.
Two years passed away, and the travelers thought of returning. Lillian had recovered health and strength, and, Lord Earle said, longed for home.
One bright June day they were expected back. Lionel Dacre had driven to the station. Lady Earle had laid aside her mourning dress, and sat anxiously awaiting her son. She wished the homecoming were over, and that they had all settled down to the new life.
Her wish was soon gratified. Once again she gazed upon the face of her only and beloved son. He was little changed--somewhat sunburned, it was true; but there was less of the old pride and sternness, a kindly smile playing round his lips. There was, too, a shade of sadness that plainly would never leave him; Lord Earle could never forget his lost child.
Lady Helena looked anxiously at Dora, but there was no cause for fear. The rosy, dimpled beauty of youth had passed away, but a staid dignity had taken its place. She looked a graceful amiable woman, with eyes of wondrous beauty thickly veiled by long lashes, and a wealth of rippling black hair. Lady Helena thought her far more beautiful now than when the coy smiles and dimples had been the chief charm. She admired, too, the perfect and easy grace with which Dora fell at once into her proper place as mistress of that vast establishment.