The Two Guardians
"Preach, read, and study as we will,
Death is the mighty teacher still."
Caroline continued very ill all the evening, hardly able to to look up, and every attempt to
speak or swallow causing her great pain. Her mother would not leave her again, and sat
watching her, and she smiled, and gave a pleased look of surprise at her kindness, which
she had so long missed; but her chief comfort seemed to be in Marian's presence. She
followed her about the room with her eyes, and was uneasy whenever she fancied that she
was going out of the room.
She was not told that the physician was coming till he was actually in the house, and then
she gave Marian a quick, sharp look of alarmed inquiry; but Marian was not able to
answer, as she had to leave her to his visit. When it was over, and Marian returned, while
Mrs. Lyddell went to hear his opinion, Caroline was striving hard to speak. Marian bent
over her, and at last heard one word gasped out--"Walter."
"Yes, I will tell Mr. Lyddell; he shall be sent for, dearest," said Marian; and Caroline
It was long before Marian had an opportunity of hearing what the physician's opinion had
been, and there was little comfort in it. It was a very severe case of inflammation in the
windpipe, and the only hope of subduing it was in instant recourse to strong remedies.
How badly it was thought of she saw plainly enough, without words, in Mr. Lyddell's
restless, hasty manner, and in the exertions which Mrs. Lyddell was allowed to make, at a
time when she ought to have been in her bed. The worst sign of all was, it seemed to her,
that as soon as she mentioned Caroline's wish to see Walter, Mr. Lyddell took measures
for sending a letter at once by the railroad, instead of waiting for the post, which would
have made a delay of two days.
Lionel sat meanwhile, by himself in the drawing room, or was found wandering on the
stairs, anxiously listening. Marian came on him once, and had exclaimed at finding him
in the dark, before she remembered that it made no difference to him. She was in haste to
fetch something for Caroline and could do nothing for him but say the sad words, "No
All night Mrs. Lyddell and Marian stayed with Caroline; the one because she could not
bear to go, the other because she could not be spared. Mrs. Lyddell would not
acknowledge the extent of the danger to herself, far less allow any hint of it to come to
Caroline; and for this Marian was sorry, though she was sure that Caroline was conscious
of it herself; but with Mrs. Lyddell always present, it was impossible to read any of the
things that would have been the only support at such a time. Poor Caroline could not