“What is the matter, Daisy?” said Jasmine: “you have quite hurt my hand; has anything frightened you? have you seen any one?”
“Oh, it’s nothing—I mean I’m subject to starts,” said poor little Daisy, in a sad voice. “I’ll be better when I get into the omnibus with you, Jasmine; and please, Jasmine, may I sit very close to you? and may I hold your hand?”
“You poor little darling!” said Jasmine, affectionately, “you are not a bit strong yet—you must have some more chemical food; I am told there is nothing so good for starts as chemical food.”
Daisy gave another start and a very gentle sigh. She knew well in her little breast that no amount of chemical food would take away the terror which inspired her when she saw the face of Mr. Dove. She had seen him just now, although Jasmine had not—he was standing with several other men at the corner of the road, and his blood-shot eyes had seemed to look through her, and as she passed by he had raised his hand, and shaken it at her in a truly menacing manner.
Dove had not forgotten Daisy, as Daisy had fondly hoped. Daisy Mainwaring meant to him a certain amount of money. Dove was not the sort of man to allow the chance of gaining money dishonestly to go by. As to earning money, and coming by it as the sweet fruits of honest toil, that did not at all suit his idea. When he saw the child going out with her sister he recollected, with much pleasure, that quarter-day was about due. Feeling in his own pockets, he confessed they were unpleasantly light and empty, and then he wondered if he might find any agreeable little pickings in the girls’ trunks. He had subjugated poor little Daisy so completely that he would have ventured to rob even in her presence, but of course he preferred doing his burglary work alone.
He very quickly made up his mind to pay a visit that very day to the girls’ new rooms in Miss Egerton’s house. He made an excuse to get away from his companions, and then, walking quickly in the direction of Miss Egerton’s house, he took his bearings carefully. At this hour Miss Egerton was busy with her school and Bridget was employed in the kitchen. He might do what he liked, therefore, in that part of the house which the girls called the Palace Beautiful. He knew a way by which he could get on the roof—from the roof there was an easy entrance to the girls’ rooms. By the time Jasmine, Daisy, and Poppy were joyously driving towards the city Dove had taken possession of their nice bright rooms. When he got in he locked the outer door, and then he felt quite comfortable, and at leisure to look around him.
The first thing he saw was the letter directed to Primrose on the sitting-room table. He took it up, and examined it closely. He could spell out—for he was by no means a proficient reader—the word Rosebury on one of the post-marks; that was enough for him; the letter was tucked neatly into his pocket, and then he went round the room in search of fresh spoil.