“I am delighted,” began Primrose; but Jasmine interrupted her. “Dazzling,” she repeated, “of course it is dazzling, Poppy. I am so very glad you are going. I only wish I were going. If there is a wonderful, delightful, charming place, it is London. I have read about it, and I have dreamed about it, and I have pictured it. What fun you will have! Of course your aunt will take you to see all the sights. Oh, do sit down. Primrose, we ought to tell her about the places she should see, ought we not?”
Primrose nodded, and Poppy dropped on to the edge of the nearest chair, and, clasping her red and hard-worked hands in front of her, prepared herself to listen.
“First of all, Poppy,” began Jasmine, after waiting for her sister to speak; but Primrose was strangely silent.
“First of all, Poppy, you must go to the places which improve your mind; now, I do hope you are not going to be giddy, running just after pretty things; but I suppose your aunt, who is so wise, and who keeps the boarding-house, will see to that. Well, first of all you had better go to Westminster Abbey. Oh, Poppy! I have read such glorious descriptions of it—the lights from the painted windows—the wonderfully ancient look of the old pillars, and then the music; it peals down the aisles and echoes through the fretted roofs; you will be greatly overpowered at Westminster Abbey, Poppy; but you must remember that you are a very privileged person, and be thankful for being permitted to see with your own eyes such a lovely, lovely, glorious place!”
“It do sound, from your description, very awe-inspiring, Miss Jasmine,” answered Poppy. “Is there no other place where one might get more, so to speak, into the festive mood, miss?”
“Oh yes, you silly Poppy, lots and lots; but we’ll come to those presently. You’ll have to see the Houses of Parliament, where our laws are made—if you don’t feel grave there, you ought. Then you must visit the Tower, where people’s heads were cut off—it’s very solemn indeed at the Tower; and, of course, you will pay a visit to the Zoo, and you can see the lions fed, and you can look at the monkey-house.”
“I likes monkeys,” said Poppy, whose face had been growing graver and graver while Jasmine was talking; “and if you’ll throw in a little bit of gazing into shop windows, Miss Jasmine, and learning the newest cuts of a bonnet, and the most genteel fit of a mantle, why, then, I’ll do even that dreadful Tower, as in duty bound. My mother calls London a vast sea and a world of temptation, and nothing but vanity from end to end; but when I thinks of the beautiful ladies in aunt’s boarding-house, and of the shop windows I feels that it is dazzling.”
“I wish that I were going,” repeated Jasmine, whose cheeks were flushed, and her starry eyes brighter than usual; “I wish I were going. Oh, Primrose, think of you, and Daisy, and me saying our prayers in the Abbey!”