This afternoon she told him about both her sisters.
“Is having a bent the same as destiny, Mr. Noel?” she inquired anxiously. “Jasmine says she has a bent, and she must follow it, and no one can prevent her.”
“The bent can be guided, Daisy,” said Arthur; but he looked puzzled and seemed uncomfortable at the little girl’s news. The Ellsworthy’s had begged of Noel to promote the interests of these girls. He was only too anxious to do so, but he found his task by no means an easy one. What wild imprudence would poor little Jasmine commit if she was not aided and helped; surely Primrose’s work was too uncongenial for her long to continue it. Why did the girls persistently reject the kindnesses of those who would help them? Where was it all to end? Their money could only hold out to a certain date. How fragile Daisy looked, even now; had anybody been cruel to the little one? What was the mystery about Mr. Danesfield’s letter? and above all things, why did not Mr. Danesfield reply to a long epistle which Arthur had sent him some weeks ago?
VISITING THE PUBLISHERS.
Jasmine had begged of Daisy to keep her secret from Primrose’s ears. She said that half her pleasure in bringing home money for her contributions would be destroyed if Primrose knew about it beforehand. Jasmine hoped that if she were very successful she might be able to buy a little present apiece for both her sisters. Primrose badly needed some new gloves, and Jasmine pictured to herself how her eldest sister’s sweet eyes would fill with tears, and how touched she would be by her little offering. Yes, certainly Daisy must keep her secret faithfully.
On Tuesday morning, as Primrose was preparing to start for Penelope Mansion, Jasmine announced her intention of accompanying her. Her face had a slightly guilty look as she made this suggestion; and Daisy quite blushed, and kept her eyes fixed on her plate, and wondered how Jasmine would smuggle a large roll of manuscript out of the house. Primrose immediately guessed that there was a little mystery afloat, but she was not a curious girl, and was only too pleased to see that her sisters had something to interest them.
“You can walk with me if you like, Jasmine,” she said; “but it is a rather dull morning, and I fear it will rain.”
“Torrents wouldn’t keep me in to-day,” said Jasmine. Then fearing she had betrayed herself, she added hastily, “I want to see Poppy. Poppy is to have a holiday to-day, and I want to take her out.”
Primrose made no further objection, and Jasmine having packed her manuscript into a small leather bag, and having given Daisy a somewhat solemn farewell, the two girls set out.
When they arrived at the Mansion Primrose went upstairs at once to Mrs. Mortlock’s sitting-room, but Jasmine began to enter into an earnest conversation with Poppy.