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

Primrose said to herself—­

“After all, I am glad I know the very worst.  People mean to be kind; but, oh! how can they understand what we three girls are to one another?”

She walked quickly in her agitation, and passing the village green, came suddenly upon Poppy Jenkins, who was hurrying home to her mother’s cottage.

“Well, Miss Primrose, I’m off to-morrow,” said Poppy, dropping one of her quick curtseys, and a more vivid red than usual coming into her bright cheeks.

“Yes, Poppy,” answered Primrose; “I hope you will be very happy in London”—­then a sudden thought occurring to her, she ran after the young girl and laid her hand on her shoulder.

“Poppy, give me your London address—­I may want it.”

“Oh law!  Miss Primrose, do you think you’d be saving out of the thirty pounds regular income and coming up to London on a visit?”

“We may come to London, Poppy—­I can’t say,” answered Primrose in a sad voice—­“anyhow, I should like to have your address—­may I have it?”

“Surely, miss—­aunt lives in a part they call central—­she says the rents are very high, but it’s all done for the convenience of the beautiful ladies who boards with her.  Aunt’s address is Penelope Mansion—­Wright Street, off the Edgware Road.  It’s a beautiful sounding address, isn’t it, Miss Primrose?”

Primrose smiled again—­a smile, however, which made poor little Poppy feel rather down-hearted, and then she continued her walk.

“It is very difficult to know what to do,” she said to herself—­“it makes one feel quite old and careworn.  If only that brother who was lost long ago was now living, how nice it would be for us girls.  I wonder if he is really dead—­I suppose he is, or mamma would have heard something about him.  Twenty years ago since it happened—­longer than my whole life.  Poor mother! poor, dear mother! what she must have suffered!  I understand now why her pretty sweet face looked so sad, and why her hair was grey before her time.  What a pity my brother has not lived—­he certainly would not wish us girls to be parted.”

Primrose walked on a little farther, then she retraced her steps and went home.  She found Jasmine and Daisy in a state of the greatest excitement.  Mrs. Ellsworthy had called, and had been nicer and sweeter and more charming than ever—­she had brought Daisy a doll of the most perfect description, and had presented the flower-loving Jasmine with a great bouquet of exotics, which looked almost out of place in the humble little cottage.

“And there is a long letter for you, Primrose,” continued Jasmine; “and she says she hopes you will read it very quickly, and that she may come down to-morrow morning to talk it over with you.  She says there is a plan in the letter, and that it is a delightful plan—­I wonder what it can be?  Will you read the letter now, Primrose?—­shall I break the seal and read it aloud to you?”

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