While this conversation was going on Bridget knocked at the girls’ door, and presented Jasmine with a thick parcel, which had just arrived for her by post. It was some of the manuscript, and the first proofs of her story. The parcel came to hand at a sorrowful moment, and Jasmine laid it on the sofa, made no comment about it, and did not attempt to open it. Primrose scarcely raised her head from her hands, and was not the least curious, but Poppy’s eyes gleamed brightly, for sharp Poppy guessed what the parcel contained, and she sincerely hoped that whatever happened this story would prove a great success, and that it would bring in so many gold coins to her young lady that she would become not only rich herself, but able to pay back what she had borrowed from her. For although Poppy was the soul of generosity, she did want her wages back.
A NEW EMPLOYMENT.
At an early hour the next morning Mrs. Dredge and Primrose started for Rosebury, and poor Jasmine and Poppy prepared to have a long and lonely time by themselves. Poppy hoped that Jasmine would cheer up, and look at that lovely printed story of hers, and perhaps read it aloud to her; but poor Jasmine was really nearly broken-hearted, and said once almost passionately—
“How can I look at it, Poppy, when I don’t know where our little darling is? Did she not share my secret? And she was so proud of me and she always would believe I was a genius. I can’t look at it, Poppy—no, I can’t; but if you like to open the manuscript, and read what is printed of the story, why you may. Yes, I expect you will find it exciting. Sit down and read it, Poppy, and I will go to the window and look out. Oh, dear! oh, dear! Primrose promised to send me a telegram when she got to Rosebury. Oh, what shall I do if I don’t soon hear some news of my darling little Daisy?”
“Seeing as I can’t comfort you, Miss Jasmine, I may as well take to reading the mysterious, lovely story,” answered Poppy. “Maybe when you’re having your dinner bye-and-bye, miss, you won’t object to me telling you what I thinks of it.”
“Only I shan’t care in the least what you think to-day, dear Poppy,” answered poor little Jasmine, in a tone of deep melancholy.
She went and stood by the window, and Poppy ensconced herself comfortably on the sofa, and began to enjoy herself as best she could under the circumstances.
In about an hour there came a tap at the door, and Arthur Noel came in. Jasmine gave a little pleased exclamation when she saw him; then she ran forward, took his hand in hers, and burst into tears.
“Daisy is lost,” she said; “our sweet little Daisy, who loved you so much, is lost.”
“It’s inferred that she’s gone down with a single third to Rosebury, sir,” here interposed Poppy.
“Come and tell me all about it, Jasmine,” said Noel, in his most sympathizing tones. He led the poor little girl to the sofa, and, sitting down by her, listened attentively to her story.