“You would not think,” she began, with an air of modest pride, “that I belong to the booky and the parchmenty people, but I do. I am going down the Row to inquire about one of my publications, perhaps I ought to say my first, so I am anxious about it.”
“Lor’, who would have thought it!” exclaimed both the ladies, but they instantly fell back and seemed to think it better to leave so alarmedly learned a little girl alone. For the remainder of the ride they talked across Jasmine about the price of onions, and where the cheapest bacon was to be purchased, and they both breathed a sigh of relief when she stepped out into the rain and they could once more expand themselves in the space which she had occupied.
Meanwhile the forlorn little adventurer walked down the narrow path of this celebrated Row. It was still raining heavily, and Jasmine’s umbrella had several rents in its canopy. Now that she was so close to her destination she began to feel strangely nervous, and many fears hitherto unknown beset her. Suppose, after all, The Joy-bell which contained the first portion of her story had not had a large success; suppose, after all, the public were not so delighted with her flowing words. Perhaps the editor would receive her very coldly, and would tell her what a loss her story had been, and how indisposed he felt to go on with it. If this was the case she never, never would have courage to ask him to give her Poppy’s wages. If the editor scolded her she felt that she would be incapable of saying a word in her own defence. Nay, she thought it extremely probable that then and there she would burst into tears. Undoubtedly, she was in a very low frame of mind to-day. She, as well as Poppy, had her low fit on, and she greatly trembled for the result of the coming interview. Since that pathetic little last speech of Poppy’s about her broken boots Jasmine had quite forgotten how sorely she needed money for herself. Her one and only desire just now was to restore Poppy’s money.
“I must do it,” she said to herself; “I must do it, and I will. I have made up my mind, and I really need not be so frightened. After all, Poppy and Daisy are both quite sure that I am a genius. Daisy says that I have got the face of a genius, and Poppy was in such great, great delight at my story. It is not likely that they would both be wrong, and Poppy is a person of great discernment. I must cheer up and believe what they told me. I daresay Poppy is right, and London is half-flooded with my story. Ah, here I am at the entrance of the court where the editor of The Joy-bell lives. How funny it is to be here all alone. I really feel quite like a heroine. Now I am at the office—how queer, how very queer—I do not see any Joy-bells pressed up against the window. No, not a single one; there are lots of other books and papers, but no Joy-bells. Dear, dear! my heart does beat, for I am thinking that perhaps Poppy is right, and that all the copies of The Joy-bells are bought up; that, of course, is on account of my story.” Then Jasmine entered the house, and went into a little office where a red-haired boy was sitting on a high stool before a dirty-looking desk. The boy had a facetious and rather unpleasant face, and was certainly not remarkable for good manners.