Ronald, Lord Earle, was lying on the grass at his wife's feet. He looked older, and the luxuriant hair was threaded with silver; but there was peace and calm in his face.
He laughed at Lillian and her husband conversing so anxiously over the roses.
"They are lovers yet," he said to Dora; and she glanced smilingly at them.
The words were true. Ten years married, they were lovers yet. There was gentle forbearance on one side, an earnest wish to do right on the other. Lillian Dacre never troubled her head about "woman's rights;" she had no idea of trying to fill her husband's place; if her opinion on voting was asked, the chances were that she would smile and say, "Lionel manages all those matters." Yet in her own kingdom she reigned supreme; her actions were full of wisdom, he words were full of kindly thought. The quiet, serene beauty of her youth had developed into that of magnificent womanhood. The fair, spirituelle face was peerless in her husband's eyes. There was no night or day during which Lionel Dacre did not thank Heaven for that crown of all great gifts, a good and gentle wife.
There was a stir among the children; a tall, dark gentleman was seen crossing the lawn, and Lionel cried: "Here is Gaspar Laurence with his arms full of toys--those children will be completely spoiled!"
The little ones rushed forward, and Bertrand, in his hurry, fell over a pretty child with large dark eyes and dark hair. Lord Earle jumped up and caught her in his arms.
"Bertie, my boy," he said, "always be kind to little Beatrice!" The child clasped her arms round his neck. He kissed the dark eyes and murmured to himself, "Poor little Beatrice!"
The summer wind that played among the roses, lifting the golden, rippling hair from Lillian's forehead and tossing her little girl's curls into Lord Earle's face, was singing a sweet, low requiem among the trees that shaded the grave of Beatrice Earle.