“Well, Primrose, the little maid was fired with the strongest ambition. She wrote her novel in secret, and one day, accompanied by that good-natured Poppy Jenkins and sweet little Daisy, went Citywards, and simply plunged—for I can use no other word—into the unknown and to me rather awful realm of publishers.
“Poor child, of course none of the good houses would even look at her immature productions; but she was taken in by a man who professed himself to be the editor of a monthly paper—The Joy-bell was its silly title. On an understanding that her story was to be printed in the pages of The Joy-bell—of course I’ve never seen the paper, and should not dream of reading anything so rubbishy—poor Jasmine was induced to subscribe two pounds five shillings, or, in other words, to undertake to buy one hundred copies of The Joy-bell. Of course she imagined that her printed words would immediately bring her fame. She paid her money, and looked out for her story.”
“Where did she get the money from?” thought the anxious reader.
“Primrose, how wrinkled up your brows are;” called out little Daisy.
Primrose sighed, and resumed her perusal of the closely-written sheets.
“On the very evening our little Daisy ran away Jasmine received her first proofs. They were barbarously printed on wretched paper, but the poor child was in such trouble then that she scarcely noticed them. Afterwards she did read them with care, and was surprised to find what a very small portion of her story had been printed.
“You know that I was unexpectedly detained in the country by the serious illness and death of my poor cousin. Jasmine was not doing as well as we supposed by her profession of dressing dinner-tables. The dear child was determined not to ask help from any one, not even from you, Primrose, and she made a valiant effort to support herself on her tiny earnings. Alas, her purse was all too soon emptied, and she had also upon her the awful load of debt, for Poppy Jenkins it seems, lent her the money to get that rubbishy story published. In her despair she thought of The Joy-bell, and went off to see the editor.
“She was met at the office (poor child, how she could venture there alone is a mystery to me) with the intelligence that The Joy-bell had ceased to exist, and the editor had decamped with poor Poppy’s wages.