The next morning she was obliged to leave earlier than usual, and rather to Daisy’s astonishment, and very much to her relief, said nothing about Mr. Danesfield’s letter. Primrose had not forgotten the letter, but she knew she would not be able to go to the bank that day, and she thought it would comfort Daisy to take care of it.
“Jasmine,” she said to her second sister, “must you go out this morning? I think it is hardly well to leave Daisy alone.”
Jasmine’s face clouded over.
“Have you forgotten, Primrose, that Miss Egerton and Mr. Noel were to take me to South Kensington Museum to-day? They arranged that I should go with them quite a week ago, and it would never do to put them off again now. I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Primrose; I’ll take Daisy too; I’ll see that she is not over tired, and Mr. Noel will take great care of her; they are very fond of each other.”
“Try to arrange it so, then, Jasmine,” said Primrose; “for I do not feel happy about her being left.”
Primrose went away to spend her day as usual with Mrs. Mortlock, and sat down to her “continual reading” with a heavy heart.
Mrs. Mortlock was losing her sight rapidly—cataract was forming on her eyes, and she could now only dimly see the face and form of her young companion. Primrose, however, always managed to soothe the somewhat irascible old lady, and was already a prime favorite with her.
To-day she took up the newspaper with a heavy heart, and the anxiety which oppressed her made itself felt in a certain weary tone which came into her voice.
Mrs. Mortlock was fond of Primrose, but was never slow in expressing an opinion.
“Crisp up, Miss Mainwaring,” she said; “crisp up a little; drawling voices give me the fidgets most terribly. Now, my dear, try to fancy yourself in the House of Commons; read that speech more animated, my love. Ah, that’s better!”
Primrose exerted herself, and for a few minutes the reading came up to its usual standard, but then, again, thoughts of Daisy oppressed the young reader, and once more her voice flagged.
“There, my dear, you had better turn to the bits of gossip; they are more in your line, I can see, this morning. Dear, dear, dear! I can’t tell what’s come to girls these days; they don’t seem to find no heart nor pleasure in anything. Now, if there is a girl who, in my opinion, has fallen on her feet, it’s you, Miss Mainwaring; for, surely, the handsome salary I allow is earned with next to no trouble. When once a girl can read she can read continual, and that’s all I ask of you.”
“I’m sorry,” said Primrose; “some things at home are troubling me, and I cannot help thinking about them. I shall do better over the gossip.”
“That’s right, my love! I’d ask you about the home troubles, but my nerves won’t stand no worriting. Get on with the gossip, dear, and make your voice chirrupy and perky, as though you saw the spice of it all, and enjoyed it—do.”