The Two Guardians
"What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barr'd with gold and opens but to golden keys.
* * * * *
"Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
Eager hearted as a boy when he first leaves his father's field."
Marian was not up much later than usual the next morning, but she had a long time to
wait for the rest of the party. She read, wrote, drew, tried to busy herself as usual all the
morning, but whether it was that she was tired with her ball, or that she was anxious
about Caroline, she did not prosper very much, and grew restless and dissatisfied. She
wished she knew whether she had done right, she wished she could feel that she had been
kind and accommodating.
Her head was dull and heavy from the struggle to occupy herself when her mind was full,
and after luncheon she tried to drive her stupidity away by a very long ride. Groom and
horses were always at her service, as a part of Mrs. Lyddell's justice to her, and off she
set, in search of breezes, to the highest and furthest downs, by her attainable. On she
went, cantering fast, feeling her power over her spirited pony, letting the summer sun
shine full on her face, and the wind, when she had ridden where she could meet it, stream
in a soft ripple round her head, like the waves of the summer tide. She rode far enough to
attain the object she had proposed to herself, namely, to look down on Salisbury spire,
pointing up in its green valley with the fresh meadows around it, giving a sense of
refreshment, repose and holy influence, which her eye carried to her mind. Good men had
raised that pile, had knelt there, sung in praise there, and now lay asleep within its grey
walls and shady cloisters; men and women who had been to the full as much wearied and
perplexed with sin and worldliness around them as she could ever feel; they had struggled
through, their worn and fainting hearts had rested there, and now their time of peace was
come. Why should it not be so with her?
Ah! but things were changed; in their time there was energy; there were great crimes
indeed, but the Church was active. The bad was very bad, but the good was very good,
there were real broad questions then of right and wrong, not the coldness and frivolity,
where all was so worthless that there was scarce a possibility of caring or seeing which
part was the right.
No, Marian would not accuse the time in which she was born, and the station to which it
had pleased God to call her. Mr. Wortley had warned her against that. She had a Church,
the one true holy Catholic Church, as surely and truly, nay, the very same that those men
of old had, and was as much bound to love it, serve it, fight for it in her own way, as ever
they had felt themselves. Life, truth, goodness, there was still, she saw it, knew it, felt it