The Two Guardians
"O Brignal banks are fresh and fair,
And Greta woods are green;
I'd rather rove with Edmund there,
Than reign our English queen."
Winter came, and with it the time fixed for that farewell visit from Edmund Arundel, to
which Marian and Gerald had long looked forward. Marian was becoming very anxious
for it on Gerald's account, for she was beginning to feel that he was not quite the same
child as when he first arrived at Oakworthy. He was less under control, less readily
obedient to Miss Morley, less inclined to quote Edmund upon all occasions, more
sensible of his own consequence, and more apt to visit that forbidden ground, the stables.
She longed for Edmund's coming, trusting to him to set everything right, and to explain to
her the marvels of this strange new world.
Several gentlemen were staying in the house, and there was to be a dinner party on the
day when he was expected, so that she thought the best chance of seeing him would be to
stay in the garden with Gerald, while the others took their walk, so that she might be at
hand on his arrival. Clara, though by no means wanted, chose to stay also, and the two
girls walked up and down the terrace together.
"It is so very odd," said Clara "that you should care about such a great old cousin."
"He is only twenty-four," answered Marian.
"But he must have been grown up ever since you remember."
"Yes, but he is so kind. He used to carry us about and play with us when we were quite
little children, and since I have been older he has made me almost a companion. He
taught me to ride, and trained my bay pony, my beautiful Mayflower, and read with me,
and helped me in my music and drawing."
"That is more than Elliot would do for us, if he could," said Clara. "It is very dull to have
no one to care about our lessons, but to be shut up in the schoolroom for ever with poor
Marian did not choose to say how fully she assented to this complaint, but happiness had
opened her heart, and she went on,--"I have had so many delightful walks with him
through the beautiful wood full of rocks, and out upon the moor. O, Clara, you cannot
think what it is to sit upon one of those rocks, all covered with moss and lichen, and the
ferns growing in every cleft and cranny, and the beautiful little ivy-leafed campanula