“Luckily I came home that evening, and found your poor little sister in sad trouble. I am thankful to say I have been able to relieve her present necessities without the slightest inconvenience to myself. Jasmine has been greatly shaken, but she is better again now, and is most anxious that you should not be troubled. I only tell you this much, dear Primrose, because I consider it my bounden duty that you should know how matters really stand. Rest happy about Poppy; her money has been returned to her, and Jasmine has sufficient for her present necessities. On second thoughts, I had better perhaps let you into my little secret. I have borrowed ten pounds for Jasmine on that valuable Spanish lace of her mother’s. Do not imagine that the lace is gone; it will be returned to Jasmine whenever she can refund the money. It was necessary, dear Primrose, to take it, and I acted as I am sure you would think right in the matter. Poppy had to be paid her wages.
“Now, dear Primrose, I want to talk with you very seriously on another matter. You must own, dear, that though you have tried bravely you have not yet, any of you, succeeded in earning your living. It is almost a year since you began to try, and you have made, I fear, but small headway. You, Primrose, have done best, and have made fewer mistakes than your sisters, but even you would not care to spend all your life in continual reading to Mrs. Mortlock. Jasmine can only earn a precarious and uncertain living by dressing dinner-tables. Of course, no one even expects dear little Daisy to contribute to the family purse at present, but at the same time she need not put us into terrible frights, nor be in the power of wicked and designing people. My dear girls have had a trial of their own way; and now I think they ought to take the advice of those older and wiser than themselves.
“If, dear Primrose, you want to earn your living well—and nothing makes a woman braver and better than being able to support herself—you must be educated to take up some one profession in an efficient manner. Money must be spent for this purpose, and you must not be too proud to accept money from those who really love you. I have been to see Mrs. Ellsworthy, and she and I had a long, long talk about you girls. She is full of kindness, and she really and truly loves you. It would be worse than folly, it would be wicked, to throw such friendship away. Mrs. Ellsworthy tells me that she has been consulting your old friend Mr. Danesfield about you. Both he and Mrs. Ellsworthy are arranging plans which they trust you will all listen to with patience. These plans shall be fully disclosed to you on your return to town, but I may as well mention here that it will be absolutely necessary that you should give up your present lives, and should enter seriously on the great work of education. Money must be spent for this object; but when you are able to earn well, bye-and-bye it will be in your power to repay the money to the kind friends whose happiness it is now to lend it to you.