“It’s in the purse, sir,” said Poppy, with an air of modest pride. “Forty-five shillings, and fifteen shillings over, for my wage with Aunt Flint comes exactly to three pounds a quarter. The fifteen shillings will find me in boots and house shoes, Miss Jasmine; and as my ’at is fresh trimmed, and I have enough cotton dresses to go on with, you are more than welcome to the two pound five.”
“We will arrange it so, then,” said the editor. “Miss Mainwaring, you must give me your address, and you shall receive proofs in a day or two. This sum of money provides for the appearance of the first instalment of your story. From the sale of the hundred copies you will be provided with funds for the second instalment, and so on.”
“But how am I to pay Poppy back if I must give you the money that I get for the magazines?” asked Jasmine, her face becoming more crimson each moment.
“Ah! that,” said the editor, with a slightly sarcastic smile, “that is surely not my affair.”
After this a few comparatively trivial arrangements were made. Jasmine gave the address of the Palace Beautiful to Mr. Potter, and walked downstairs, feeling excited, pleased, and disappointed.
“Oh, Poppy!” she said, “how light, how very light your purse is.”
“No, Miss Jasmine,” answered Poppy, “you’re out altogether there, for fifteen shillings in silver weighs more than three pounds in gold. It’s my heart, not my purse, that’s light, Miss Jasmine—it has done me a sight of good to help you, Miss Jasmine; I know he is a cheat in there, but never mind, when your pretty, beautiful tale appears there’ll be a run on it, I think, and that Joy-bell will be asked for high and low. You’ll pay me back, never fear, and I’ll be real proud to my dying day to feel that I was the first to help you.”
That evening, as Jasmine and Daisy sat together waiting for Primrose to return, Daisy said suddenly—
“Did you soar to-day, Jasmine, when you took Poppy’s wages to have your story printed?—was that what you call a soaring flight?”
Daisy spoke innocently, and with real desire for information, but at her words Jasmine covered her face and burst into tears.
“What a cruel remark, Eyebright,” she said. “Do you know I’m quite miserable about this; I’ve been getting more and more wretched ever since I left that man’s office. Suppose, Daisy, I don’t sell a hundred copies of The Joy-bell; then I shall never be able to have any more of my story printed, and I shall never have it in my power to pay Poppy back. I think I must have yielded to temptation that time; perhaps I’m nothing but a vain little girl, and think myself cleverer than I am.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’re a genius, Jasmine,” said Daisy. “I know, for I have studied your face a great deal; in the story-books I generally notice that the geniuses have the same kind of face that you have—they generally have a little discontented, surprised look about them. I admire the expression very much myself, and sometimes when I’m alone—for you know you and Primrose have to leave me a good deal alone—I try to practice it before the glass. I think it’s mostly done with a rise of the eyebrows, but I never can keep mine up long enough.”