Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

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CHAPTER I
THE BRENTFORDS.

THE BRENTFORDS, of Brentford Farm, Middlesex, England, were an ancient and honorable yeoman family, who, in the secure enjoyment of moderate wealth, led a peaceful, pleasurable existence upon their own goodly estate.

The only shadow that obscured the happiness of the Brentfords was the thought that soon the old name would be extinct; for Mr. and Mrs. William Brentford had but one child--a daughter. However, to make amends for this disappointment, this daughter was richly endowed with beauty and mental gifts; and as she grew to womanhood, the fond parents forgot they were sonless in the joy of having such a daughter.

"My queen," the proud father called her; and the | | 8 title seemed well suited to the stately figure, far above the usual stature of woman, yet so harmoniously proportioned that one knew not which to admire most,--its grace, or its majesty. A queen, indeed, Oreana Brentford appeared, as she moved among her girl companions, with the dignified reserve of a sovereign; and no crown did she need; save the massive braids of her chestnut-brown hair. But when soul enthusiasm flamed out of her hazel gray eyes, and the pale, statuesque face grew luminous in the glowing radiations, when the regal form swayed in the ecstasy of exaltation, the queen became a priestess.

Perhaps it was the blending of these peculiar types that gave to Oreana an undefinable expression, as of some hidden power, or some strange destiny, that would isolate her from woman kind.

This idea of expectancy, this vague surmising of what she would do,--what would happen to her, impressed and attracted a stranger more than did her beauty.

Had she suddenly developed into a Deborah or--a Judith, few would have felt surprised; except, perhaps, her parents, who deemed it impossible that a Brentford could ever diverge from the well-known path within whose narrow limits they and their ancestors had walked contentedly.

At the age of eighteen Oreana accepted as her affianced husband Julian Bellew, the heir of the manor, and her second cousin. The Bellews and Brentfords hailed with delight this engagement. It promised the realization of all their hopes and wishes, for the union of Oreana and Julian had always been the pet scheme of the two families.

For once the course of true love ran smoothly-- | | 9 every one seemed delighted. Those who had prophesied an ominous destiny for Oreana were silenced; some still shook their heads and pitied Julian, but they numbered few, and the general voice declared the lovers the happiest of the happy.

Pre-eminently happy they seemed to be, blest with love, beauty, home joys, and the world's favors.