The bank at Rosebury was only a branch office of a large establishment in the nearest town. It happened that that morning Mr. Danesfield was particularly busy, and anxious to get away to the large bank at an early hour. For more reasons than one, therefore he felt annoyed at Primrose’s visit.
“Poor child,” he said to himself, “I have certainly nothing very good to tell her; and I have undoubtedly no time to waste over her this morning.”
Aloud, however, he said to his clerk—
“Ask Miss Mainwaring to step this way—and, Dawson, order my trap to be at the door in ten minutes.”
“I won’t keep you very long, Mr. Danesfield,” began Primrose, in a quick and rather nervous manner for her.
Mr. Danesfield was always the soul of politeness, however irritable he might feel.
“Sit down, my dear young lady,” he said; “I am delighted to see you, and I can give you exactly five minutes.”
“I want to ask you two questions,” began Primrose. “The questions are short. They are about money; and you understand all about that.”
“Not all, my dear girl—money is far too great a theme to be wholly comprehended by one single individual.”
Primrose tapped her foot impatiently—then, after a brief pause, she raised her clear brown eyes, and looked full at the banker.
“How much money have we in the bank, Mr. Danesfield?”
“My dear child, not much—very little, scarcely anything. ’Pon my word, I am sorry for you, but your entire capital does not amount to quite two hundred pounds.”
Primrose received this information calmly.
“Thank you,” she said—“I just wanted to know from yourself. Now, I have one other question to ask you, and then I will go. My sisters and I have thirty pounds a year to live on. By drawing a little on our capital, say, taking ten or fifteen pounds a year from it, can we live, Mr. Danesfield?”
Mr. Danesfield rose from his seat, and coming over to Primrose, laid his hand on her shoulder—
“Live! my poor, dear child; you and your sisters would starve. No, Miss Mainwaring, there is nothing for you three girls to do but to turn to and earn your living. Your friends, I doubt not, will help, and you must take their help. I shall be delighted to give advice. Now, my dear child, my trap is at the door, and I must go. Good morning—good morning.”
A strange letter and A proposed visit to London.
Primrose was always direct in her movements—she made up her mind quickly; from her earliest childhood she was in the habit of acting with decision.
After her short interview with Mr. Danesfield she went straight home, and without paying any attention to the clear voice of her pet Daisy, who called to her from the garden, or to Jasmine’s little impatient—“Sister, I want you to help me to arrange the trimming on my new black skirt,” she ran upstairs, and locked herself into her mother’s room.