Portia Holverleyscrum rode the train and wished wishfully. She looked out the window at the passing scenery and hoped hopefully. She checked her watch and yearned yearningly. Or maybe it was that she yearned hopefully and hoped wishfully and wished yearningly. The train rolled on, and the words “wishfully, hopefully, yearningly” could be heard in the sound of the wheels on the rails and echoing in Portia’s brain.
She was on her way to East Dudleystoke Hastings from Baghill Underwood to meet with the formidable (“formidaaahhhble,” thought Portia) Mrs. Malvernia Jenkins. Mrs. Malvernia Jenkins had offered to take Portia under her wing, introduce her to the members of the Charitable Works and Benevolent Society of the Villages of East Dudleystoke Hastings and Baghill Underwood (Combined), and generally ease Portia’s entrance into society in the larger, more sophisticated town of East Dudleystoke Hastings.
Portia was not sure why Mrs. Malvernia Jenkins had taken such an interest in her. She was an old school chum of Portia’s Great Aunt Daphne, but had not so much as sent a birthday card or holiday greeting in all of Portia’s life. The summons from Mrs. Malvernia Jenkins, passed to Portia by Aunt Daff, was phrased politely but was nevertheless something on the order of an executive decree, not to be denied, dismissed, or dilly-dallied over. She wished (wishfully, of course) that she understood the reason behind the offer. Aunt Daff declined to explain.
Style and culture were everything – everything – to Mrs. Malvernia Jackson; Portia was well aware. She knew that she should have selected a beautiful handbag to go with her outfit, but there really hadn’t been enough time. She hoped (hopefully, of course) that the parasol she’d brought along would do.
More than anything else, Portia yearned (yearningly, of course) for her cozy attic room in Baghill Underwood and the small, little life to which she believed she really was best suited.