Jasmine stooped down, kissed her sister lightly on the forehead, and then ran out of the room. A moment or two later Primrose heard laughing voices floating in through the open window. She was glad in her heart that Jasmine and Daisy were beginning to do things just as usual, and yet somehow their laughter gave her a pang.
The little cottage was a tiny place; it consisted downstairs of one long low room, with a bay window at the extreme end. This room the Mainwarings called the drawing-room, and it was really furnished with great daintiness and care. At one end was the bay window, at the other were glass doors which opened directly into the garden. The kitchen was at the other end of the narrow hall, and this also looked on the garden. Hannah, the one servant, was often heard to object to this arrangement. She gave solid reasons for her objections, declaring roundly that human nature was far more agreeable to her than any part of the vegetable kingdom; but though Hannah found her small kitchen rather dull, and never during the years she stayed with them developed the slightest taste for the beauties of Nature, she was sincerely attached to the Mainwaring girls, and took care to serve them well.
Upstairs were two bedrooms—one looking to the street, in which the girls slept, the prettiest room with the garden view being reserved for Mrs. Mainwaring. Hannah occupied a small and attic-like apartment over the kitchen.
When Jasmine ran into the garden Primrose slowly rose from her seat and went upstairs. It occurred to her that this was a fitting opportunity to do something which she longed and dreaded to accomplish.
Since her mother’s death, since the moment when the three young girls had bent over the coffin and strewed flowers over the form they loved, the sisters had not gone near this room.
Hannah had dusted it and kept it tidy, but the blinds had been drawn down and the sun excluded. The girls had shrunk from entering this chamber; it seemed to them like a grave. They passed it with reverent steps, and spoke in whispers as they stole on tiptoe by the closed door.
It occurred, however, to Primrose that now was an opportunity when she might come into the room and put some of her mother’s treasures straight. She unlocked the door and entered; a chill, cold feeling struck on her. Had she been Jasmine she would have turned and fled, but being Primrose, she instantly did what her clear common sense told her was the sensible course.
“We have made up our minds to go on as usual,” she said to herself; “and letting in the sunlight and the daylight is not forgetting our dear mother.”
Then she pulled up the blinds, and threw the window-sashes wide open.
A breath of soft warm air from the garden instantly filled the dreary chamber, and Primrose, sitting down by an old-fashioned little cabinet, slipped a key into the lock of the centre drawer, and opened it.