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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Palace Beautiful.

“Now, if the girls were all here,” she thought, “how pleasant and cheerful it would be!  Primrose should sit just opposite to me, and pour out the coffee; she would do it very nicely and deftly, and would look so sweet and daughterly.  And Jasmine—­little witch!—­I do not suppose she would keep the same seat two mornings running, and I should have to tell her over and over not to jump up every moment to rush to the window.  Daisy would sit near me, and, of course, I should have to have a special chair made for that funny kitten of hers.  I would dress the three girls in white—­white is so sweet for girls—­and how Jasmine and Daisy would chatter; their voices are very sweet in tone, and they never talk too fast, so as to make one’s head ache.  I often fancy I hear Jasmine talking to me now, her voice is so bright—­and—­oh, dear! is not that very like her voice?  Who is that asking for me in the hall?  Surely, surely, it must be Jasmine Mainwaring.  No other voice that I know has such a ring about it.”

Mrs. Ellsworthy half rose from her seat, half sat down again, and the color of eager anticipation flushed her cheeks.

The eager voice outside came nearer, light steps sounded in the hall, and the next moment Jasmine had her arms round her friend’s neck, and was kissing her, while both woman and girl wept.

“I had to come to you,” said Jasmine, while she wiped some bright falling tears away.  “I have not come to stay, nor to give you our address, nor to do anything of which Primrose would not approve; but after Miss Egerton told me last night all that you wanted to do for us, and how you still loved us, I just had to run round and thank you and kiss you.  Primrose and Daisy are still in the country, and Daisy is better.  Aren’t you glad she will be all right again soon?”

“Have breakfast with me, Jasmine,” said Mrs. Ellsworthy.  “I was thinking so much about you, and so longing to see you, and to have you in the room seems like a beautiful dream realized.  Sit down now and have some breakfast with me.”

“I did not have any at home, so I will,” answered Jasmine.  “I stayed awake half the night thinking about you.  Oh, you are a real, real friend!”

“And I spent the greater part of the night dreaming about you three girls,” said Mrs. Ellsworthy.  “Have some buttered toast, Jasmine, and some of this apricot preserve.”

“Did you dream about us last night?” asked Jasmine.  “Did you really?  You must love us very much.”

“I believe I do.  Now, Jasmine, I will not ask you for your address.  I will do nothing more to really help you until we get Primrose’s letter, but I want you all the same to spend this whole long day with me.”

Jasmine smiled, and her cheeks flushed.

“It would be very luxurious,” she said, “and such a change from our attics, although Daisy does call them a Palace Beautiful.  Will you take me for a drive, if I stay, Mrs. Ellsworthy, and will you let me imagine myself quite a rich little girl all day long?  You must not give me any presents, you know, for Primrose would not like that; but I can imagine I have got all kinds of things, and I wonder, oh!  I wonder, if we might call to see Poppy this afternoon?”

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