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Henrietta's Wish Or, Domineering   By: (1823-1901)

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By Charlotte M. Yonge


On the afternoon of a warm day in the end of July, an open carriage was waiting in front of the painted toy looking building which served as the railway station of Teignmouth. The fine bay horses stood patiently enduring the attacks of hosts of winged foes, too well behaved to express their annoyance otherwise than by twitchings of their sleek shining skins, but duly grateful to the coachman, who roused himself now and then to whisk off some more pertinacious tormentor with the end of his whip.

Less patient was the sole occupant of the carriage, a maiden of about sixteen years of age, whose shady dark grey eyes, parted lips, and flushed complexion, were all full of the utmost eagerness, as every two or three minutes she looked up from the book which she held in her hand to examine the clock over the station door, compare it with her watch, and study the countenances of the bystanders to see whether they expressed any anxiety respecting the non arrival of the train. All, however, seemed quite at their ease, and after a time the arrival of the railway omnibus and two or three other carriages, convinced her that the rest of the world only now began to consider it to be due. At last the ringing of a bell quickened everybody into a sudden state of activity, and assured her that the much desired moment was come. The cloud of smoke was seen, the panting of the engine was heard, the train displayed its length before the station, men ran along tapping the doors of the carriages, and shouting a word which bore some distant resemblance to "Teignmouth," and at the same moment various travellers emerged from the different vehicles.

Her eye eagerly sought out one of these arrivals, who on his side, after a hasty greeting to the servant who met him on the platform, hurried to the carriage, and sprang into it. The two faces, exactly alike in form, complexion, and features, were for one moment pressed together, then withdrawn, in the consciousness of the publicity of the scene, but the hands remained locked together, and earnest was the tone of the "Well, Fred!" "Well, Henrietta!" which formed the greeting of the twin brother and sister.

"And was not mamma well enough to come?" asked Frederick, as the carriage turned away from the station.

"She was afraid of the heat. She had some business letters to write yesterday, which teased her, and she has not recovered from them yet; but she has been very well, on the whole, this summer. But what of your school affairs, Fred? How did the examination go off?"

"I am fourth, and Alex Langford fifth. Every one says the prize will lie between us next year."

"Surely," said Henrietta, "you must be able to beat him then, if you are before him now."

"Don't make too sure, Henrietta," said Frederick, shaking his head, "Langford is a hard working fellow, very exact and accurate; I should not have been before him now if it had not been for my verses."

"I know Beatrice is very proud of Alexander," said Henrietta, "she would make a great deal of his success."

"Why of his more than of that of any other cousin?" said Frederick with some dissatisfaction.

"O you know he is the only one of the Knight Sutton cousins whom she patronizes; all the others she calls cubs and bears and Osbaldistones. And indeed, Uncle Geoffrey says he thinks it was in great part owing to her that Alex is different from the rest. At least he began to think him worth cultivating from the time he found him and Busy Bee perched up together in an apple tree, she telling him the story of Alexander the Great. And how she always talks about Alex when she is here."

"Is she at Knight Sutton?"

"Yes, Aunt Geoffrey would not come here, because she did not wish to be far from London, because old Lady Susan has not been well. And only think, Fred, Queen Bee says there is a very nice house to be let close to the village, and they went to look at it with grandpapa, and he kept on saying how well it would do for us... Continue reading book >>

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