The Two Guardians
"But we are women when boys are but boys;
Heav'n gives us grace to ripen and grow wise,
Some six years earlier. I thank heav'n for it:
We grow upon the sunny side of the wall."
It certainly was quite involuntary on Agnes Wortley's part, but when the time came for
returning to Oakworthy, Marian was conscious of more kindly and affectionate feelings
towards it and its inhabitants than she had ever expected to entertain for them. She did
not love Fern Torr or the Wortleys less; she had resumed her confidence and sympathy
with Agnes, and felt the value of Mrs. Wortley more than ever; and it quite made her
heart ache to think how long it would be before she saw another purple hill or dancing
streamlet, and that she should not be there to see her dear old myrtle's full pride of
blossom. But, on the other hand, her room at Oakworthy, with its treasures, was a sort of
home; and she looked forward to it gladly, when once she was out of sight of the moors.
The train had stopped and gone on again from the last station before that where they were
to leave it for Oakworthy, when Gerald, coming across to the seat by her side, said,
"Marian, I say, can you lend me a couple of pounds?"
"Why, Gerald, what can you want with them?"
"Never mind; only be a good girl, and let me have them."
"You had plenty of money when you came to Fern Torr. How could you have got rid of it
"Come, come, Marian, don't be tiresome. Haven't I had to give to all the old women in
"But do you really mean that you have no money?"
"O yes, I have some, but not what I want. Come, I know you keep California in your
pocket. What harm can it do you?"
After all Marian's presents at Fern Torr, it was not quite as convenient, as Gerald fancied,
to part with two pounds; but that was not the best motive to put forward, nor was it her
reason for hesitating.
"I don't know whether it is right; that is the thing, Gerald."
"Right! why where is the right or wrong in it?"