Having done this, and sent Susan out with the notes, she went upstairs, and once more put on her black silk dress, her old-fashioned mantle, and her high poke bonnet. Thus attired, she started on an expedition which she trusted would lead to many happy results for the Mainwarings.
The contents of the cabinet.
The uneasiness Miss Martineau felt was by no means shared by the girls. Primrose had in reality a very practical nature; she could housekeep well, and no baker or butcher who ventured to show his face in Rosebury would dream of cheating this bright young lady. No one could make half-a-crown, or even a shilling, go farther than Primrose could. No one could more cleverly convert an old dress into a new, but her little experiences ended here. She had kept the house for her mother, and been both thrifty and saving, but real responsibility had never been hers. The overpowering sensation of knowing that she must make so much money meet so many absolute necessities had never touched her young life. Miss Martineau’s words had made her a little thoughtful, but by no means anxious. If she and her sisters could not live on thirty pounds a year there was still the money in the bank.
Primrose thought two hundred pounds, if not a large, at least a very comfortable sum. The only real effect that her old governess’s words had on her was to make her a little extra saving.
Jasmine never liked Primrose when she was in a saving mood, and she grumbled audibly when, the morning after Miss Martineau’s visit, her elder sister suggested that they should do without some black cotton dresses which the day before they had decided to buy and to make for themselves.
“Such nonsense!” said Jasmine, stamping her little foot impatiently; “you know we want the dresses, Primrose. You know poor Daisy can’t run and play in the garden in her black cashmere frock, and I can’t dig or weed. You know, when we decided to go on just as usual, just as if mamma—was—was—”
Here Jasmine paused, gulped down a sob, and said, hastily, “We want our print dresses, and we can’t do without them. You are just frightened, Primrose, by what Miss Martineau said.”
“I am not at all frightened,” answered Primrose, calmly; “only I think we ought to be careful.”
“And we are so rich, too,” said Jasmine. “I never thought we had two hundred pounds in the bank. Why it’s heaps and lots of money. Primrose, what are you so grave about?”
“Only,” said Primrose, in her slow voice, “only Miss Martineau thought it very, very little money. She looked so grave when she spoke about it—indeed, she seemed almost sad. Jasmine, I really think Miss Martineau quite loves us.”
“Perhaps,” said Jasmine, in an indifferent tone. “Well, Rose, if you are quite determined to be shabby and saving, I may as well join Daisy in the garden.”