The Two Guardians
"It's hame, and it's hame, and it's hame."
Edmund and Gerald had promised to spend a few days at Oakworthy, before the one
returned to Portsmouth and the other to Eton; but their plans were disconcerted by an
event which, as Clara said, placed Marian in mourning in good earnest, namely, the death
of her great aunt, old Mrs. Jessie Arundel, who had always lived at Torquay. For the last
four or five years she had been almost imbecile, and so likely to die at any time, that, as it
seemed for that very reason, every one took her death as a surprise when it really
Edmund thought it right that both he and Gerald should attend her funeral. Lord
Marchmont, whose wife stood in the same relationship to her, met them in London, and
they all went together to Torquay, instead of making the intended visit to Oakworthy.
Gerald was obliged to return to Eton on the following day, without coming to
Oakworthy; but, to make up for it, he wrote to his Writer from Torquay, and his letter
ended thus,--"Now I have a capital bit of news for you. Old aunt Jessie has done what I
shall venerate her for ever after--left every scrap of her property to Edmund, except a
legacy or two to her servants, a picture of my father to me, and some queer old-fashioned
jewels to you and Selina. The will was made just after I was born; so it was to make up to
Edmund for my cutting him out of Fern Torr. You may suppose how Lord Marchmont
and I shook hands with him. It is somewhere about £20,000; there is good news for you!
He is executor, and has got to be here a day or two longer; but Lord Marchmont and I set
off by the first train to-morrow. I shall look out for Lionel, tell him, in case he is too blind
to see me. Can't you come with him to the station, and have one moment's talk?"
This proved to be possible; and Marian, in the interval between the coming of the post
and the setting off, had time, all the hurry of her dressing, to wonder if she ought to be
very much rejoiced. She did not believe, that even wealth could spoil Edmund, but she
did not think all this would be of much use to him. It did not give him a home, and in fact
she thought it rather a creditable thing to be as poor as he had hitherto been. She had
rather have heard of something to make him look less like Tressilian, than he had done
the last time she had seen him.
She had a pleasant drive with Lionel, who was very glad of any good luck befalling Mr.
Arundel, and presently, after some meditation, broke out as follows:--"My eyes! what
miles and miles it would buy in Australia" and then proceeded to talk all the rest of the
way about Australian bulls.
The meeting at the station was a bright one, though so short, as scarcely to be worth the
journey, if the value of such moments were to be reckoned by their number. There was
Lord Marchmont to be spoken to, as well as Gerald, which broke into the time. Gerald