The Two Guardians / or, Home in This World

Produced by Michigan University, Joshua Hutchinson, and
the Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team

THE TWO GUARDIANS

or, HOME IN THIS WORLD

by CHARLOTTE MARY YONGE

THE AUTHOR OF “THE HEIR OF REDCLYFFE,” “HENRIETTA’S WISH,” “KENNETH,”
“HEARTSEASE,” “THE CASTLE BUILDERS,” ETC.

1871

[Illustration: “Stay here, Marian! I don’t care if all the world heard
me.”]

PREFACE.

In putting forth another work, the Author is anxious to say a few words
on the design of these stories; not with a view to obviate criticism,
but in hopes of pointing to the moral, which has been thought not
sufficiently evident, perhaps because it has been desired to convey,
rather than directly inculcate it.

Throughout these tales the plan has been to present a picture of
ordinary life, with its small daily events, its pleasures, and its
trials, so as to draw out its capabilities of being turned to the best
account. Great events, such as befall only a few, are thus excluded,
and in the hope of helping to present a clue, by example, to the
perplexities of daily life, the incidents, which render a story
exciting, have been sacrificed, and the attempt has been to make the
interest of the books depend on character painting.

Each has been written with the wish to illustrate some principle which
may be called the key note. “Abbeychurch” is intended to show the need
of self-control and the evil of conceit in different manifestations;
according to the various characters, “Scenes and Characters” was meant
to exemplify the effects of being guided by mere feeling, set in
contrast with strict adherence to duty. In “Henrietta’s Wish” the
opposition is between wilfulness and submission—filial submission as
required, in the young people, and that of which it is a commencement as
well as a type, as instanced in Mrs. Frederick Langford. The design of
the “Castle Builders” is to show the instability and dissatisfaction of
mind occasioned by the want of a practical, obedient course of daily
life; with an especial view to the consequences of not seeking strength
and assistance in the appointed means of grace.

And as the very opposite to Emmeline’s feeble character, the heroine
of the present story is intended to set forth the manner in which a
Christian may contend with and conquer this world, living in it but not
of it, and rendering it a means of self-renunciation. It is therefore
purposely that the end presents no great event, and leaves Marian
unrecompensed save by the effects her consistent well doing has
produced on her companions. Any other compensation would render her
self-sacrifice incomplete, and make her no longer invisibly above the
world.

October 14th, 1852.

CHAPTER I.

  ”With fearless pride I say

  That she is healthful, fleet, and strong

  And down the rocks will leap along,

  Like rivulets in May.”

WORDSWORTH.

Along a beautiful Devonshire lane, with banks of rock overhung by tall
bowery hedges, rode a lively and merry pair, now laughing and talking,
now summoning by call or whistle the spaniel that ran by their side, or
careered through the fields within the hedge.

The younger was a maiden of about twelve years old, in a long black and
white plaid riding-skirt, over a pink gingham frock, and her dark hair
hidden beneath a little cap furnished with a long green veil, which
was allowed to stream behind her in the wind, instead of affording the
intended shelter to a complexion already a shade or two darkened by the
summer sun, but with little colour in the cheeks; and what there was,
only the pale pink glow like a wild rose, called up for the moment
by warmth and exercise, and soon to pass away. Still there was no
appearance of want of health; the skin was of a clear, soft, fresh shade
of brown; the large dark eyes, in spite of all their depth of melancholy
softness, had the wild, untamed animation of a mountaineer; the face and
form were full of free life and vigour, as she sat erect and perfectly
at ease on her spirited little bay pony, which at times seemed so lively
that it might have been matter of surprise to a stranger that so young a
horsewoman should be trusted on its back.

Her companion was a youth some ten or eleven years her senior,
possessing a handsome set of regular features, with a good deal of
family likeness to hers; dark eyes and hair, and a figure which, though
slight, was rather too tall to look suitable to the small, stout, strong
pony which carried him and his numerous equipments, consisting of a long
rod-case, a fishing-basket and landing-net, in accordance with the lines
of artificial flies wreathed round his straw hat, and the various oddly
contrived pockets of his grey shooting-coat.

In the distance at the end of the lane there appeared two walking
figures. “Mrs. Wortley!” exclaimed the young lady.

“No, surely not out so soon!” was the answer. “She is in the depth of
lessons.”

“No, but Edmund, it is, look, and Agnes too! There, Ranger has better
eyes than you; he is racing to them.”

“Well, I acknowledge my mistake,” said Edmund, drawing up his rein as
they came upon the pair,—a pleasing lady, and a pretty blue-eyed girl
of fourteen. “I did not believe my eyes, Mrs. Wortley, though Marian
tried to persuade me. I thought you were always reading Italian at this
time in the morning, Agnes”.

“And I thought you were reading Phædrus with Gerald,” said Mrs. Wortley.

“Ay,” said Agnes, “we did not know what to make of you coming up the
lane; you with your lance there, like the Red Cross Knight himself, and
Marian with her palfry for Una.”

“The knight must have borrowed the dwarf’s ass,” said Edmund, laughing,
and putting his lance in rest.

“And where have you been, then, at this portentous time of day, Agnes?”
asked Marian.

“We heard a report of Betty Lapthorn’s child having another fit,” said
Agnes, “and set off to see; but it turned out to be a false alarm. And
now we are going up to the Manor House to ask Lady Arundel if she has
any arrowroot for it, for ours is all used up.”

“Shall we find her at leisure?” added Mrs. Wortley.

“Yes,” said Marian. “Gerald has finished his lessons by this time.
Mamma thought it would be too far for him to go with us, and besides he
frightens the fish.”

“Which you are in too good training to do, Marian,” said Mrs. Wortley.

“And how is your papa to-day?”

Pages: First | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | ... | Next → | Last | Single Page