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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Palace Beautiful.

“Are you quite ready, Poppy?  Oh, you’ve got your working dress on still; how tiresome!”

“I won’t be a minute changing, Miss Jasmine; the hours for the working maid’s holiday are from ten to ten, and I won’t be denied them.  The clock has just gone ten, miss, and not another stroke of work shall Aunt Flint get out of me to-day, miss.”

“Quite right, Poppy,” said Jasmine; “run upstairs now, and be as quick as possible, and I will wait for you in the hall.”

Poppy did not need to be told to hasten; she flew up to the small attic which she occupied at the top of the house, and made a hasty and, she hoped, a brilliant toilet.  She had been thinking for weeks of this day; for since Primrose had come to Mrs. Mortlock’s Jasmine had promised Poppy that she was to spend her holiday with her, and Poppy had been getting ready her toilet with a view to the occasion.

Her dress, after all, was only an ordinary and somewhat shabby brown one, but she had adorned her tight-fitting black jacket with a sky-blue bow, which hung down in front with what she considered “truly hartistic folds.”  Poppy’s hat, however, was her master-piece; it was a rather small white straw hat, trimmed with dark blue velvet, and adorned with a scarlet tip and a bunch of yellow daffodils.

Poppy’s black eyes gleamed mischievously under the shade of this brilliant hat, and her cheeks rivalled the scarlet tip in their color.

With her little purse clasped tightly in her hand she tripped downstairs and joined Jasmine.

Jasmine was too excited and too eager to be off to notice Poppy’s attire particularly, and when her hat and general get-up were received without a comment the little maid whispered to herself, “It’s only another of the bitings; life’s full of them—­choke-full.”

“Where are we going, Miss Jasmine?” she asked aloud, smothering back a slight sigh.

“Business first, Poppy,” said Jasmine—­“business first and then pleasure.  I thought we’d make a little programme in this way—­we’d visit the publishers at their seats of learning in the morning hours; in the afternoon we might go to Madame Tussaud’s or a picture gallery—­I’d prefer that, but of course naturally you’d go in for Madame Tussaud’s, Poppy; then in the evening we’ll go and have tea with Daisy.  We’ll bring something nice in for tea, and Daisy will be so happy.  I expect to have very good news to bring to my little sister to-night, Poppy.”

“Oh, indeed, miss, I’m sure I’m gratified to hear that same.  I think, Miss Jasmine, that the programme sounds sensible—­the dull part first, and then the pleasure, and then the needed refreshment for our hungry bodies.  All things considered, Miss Jasmine, seeing that I eats the bread of toil from morn to eve, and have a swimming head, owing to being Sarah with every other name tacked on, I think it might be best for me to be enlivened with the waxen figures, miss, and not to have my poor brain worrited with picters.”

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