“Mrs. Ellsworthy is made of money,” repeated Poppy, “and L17 10_s._ would be no more than a feather’s weight to her. All the same, I can’t make out what you’re driving at, Miss Daisy.”
“I wonder if Mrs. Ellsworthy is at Shortlands now,” continued Daisy.
“To be sure she is, Miss Daisy; shall I take her any message when I goes back home?”
“Oh, no, Poppy, thank you very much. Poppy, I wish you had not lent all that money to Jasmine two days ago—you have not any money in your pocket now, have you, Poppy?”
Poppy gave a slight sigh.
“Just the price of a third single to Rosebury, and no more, Miss Daisy, darling.”
“Oh, dear me,” said Daisy, “it’s just exactly that much money which would make me perfectly happy. Must you go to Rosebury to-night, Poppy?”
“Well, missy, I’d do something to make you ’appy, but I don’t know where to go if I don’t go to my home—to be sure, Aunt Flint would give her eyes to get me back again, but I fears that even for you, Miss Daisy, I can’t bear no more of that Sarah game.”
“But don’t you think you might be able to bear it just for a week, Poppy? If I loved you always and always all the rest of my life, do you think you could bear it just for one little week longer? I’d be sure to let you have the money back again then, dear Poppy.”
Poppy gazed hard at the child, who was sitting upright on her sofa, with her cheeks flushed and her eyes shining, and a fitful quiver about her pretty lips.
“What does it all mean?” thought practical Poppy; “it’s more than common worries ails the little dear. I’m sure I’d bear Sarah to my dying day to help her, the sweet lamb! I wonder, now, has she lost some of Miss Primrose’s money. I know they’re short enough of means, the darling ladies, and maybe the child has mislaid some of their money, and is frightened to tell. Dear me, I shouldn’t think Miss Primrose would be hard on any one, least of all on a sweet little lamb like that; but there’s never no saying, and the child looks pitiful. Well, I’m not the one to deny her.”
“Miss Daisy,” said Poppy, aloud, “I have got exactly fifteen shillings in my purse, and that’s the price of a third single to Rosebury, and no more. It’s true enough I meant to go down there to-night, and never to see Aunt Flint again, but it’s true also that she’d give her eyes to have me back, and was crying like anything when I said good-bye to her. ‘Sarah,’ she says, ’it’s you that’s ongrateful, and you’ll find it out, but if you comes back again you shall be forgiven, Sarah,’ she says. So I can go back for a week, Miss Daisy, and if you have lost fifteen shillings, why, I can lend it to you, dearie.”
“Oh, Poppy, you are a darling!” said little Daisy. “Oh, Poppy, how can I ever, ever thank you? Yes, I have—lost—fifteen shillings. You shall have it back again, Poppy, and Poppy, I will always love you, and always remember that you were the best of good fairies to me, and that you took me out of the power of a terrible ogre.”