“Oh, yes! I know very well what that proud little heart of yours tells you about me. It says, ’She is great and rich, and she is curious about us girls, and she wants to patronize us—’”
Here Primrose had to put down her letter, for she was interrupted by an exclamation from Daisy—
“But we don’t think like that of our darling, pretty Mrs. Ellsworthy—do we, Jasmine?”
“Go on reading, Primrose,” said Jasmine.
“You are all wrong about me, my dear, dear girls, and yet, after a measure, you are right; for in a certain sense I am curious about you; and most undoubtedly I want to help you. I know already a certain portion of your story, and already I can partly read your characters. The part of your story I know is this: You are ladies by birth—you are very ignorant of the world—and you have not at all sufficient money to live on. Your characters are as follows:
“Primrose, I am not at all afraid of you on paper. You, Primrose, are proud and independent. You are also sadly obstinate, and it is extremely probable that you will take your own way, which I can see beforehand will not be a wise one.”
“Oh! oh! oh!” came interruption No. 2 to the reading of the letter, and Jasmine’s arms were flung tightly round Primrose’s neck.
“How can she talk of you like that? How little she knows you, my ‘queen of roses.’”
Primrose smiled, kissed Jasmine between her eyebrows and went on reading.
“Jasmine’s character,” continued Mrs. Ellsworthy in her letter, “is as yet unformed. She has high aspirations and generous impulses—if she is well managed, and if you don’t spoil her, Primrose, she will probably develop into a very noble woman. I love Jasmine very dearly already.
“As to your little sister, she is as fresh, and innocent, and dainty as her name; but take warning, Primrose, she is not over strong—there is a look about the little one which makes me dread the thought of her encountering any of the roughnesses of life.
“Now, my dear girl, I have read my little bit of a lecture; you are probably extremely angry with me, but I don’t care. I now come to the practical part of my letter; I am desirous to help you three, and I want to help you in the way most suited to your individual characters. The sad fact cannot be gain-said—you must give up your home—you must earn your livings. May I help you to find a way to put bread into your mouths? I have thought it all out, and I think I know a plan. If you will agree to it, you may keep your independence, Primrose; Jasmine may be developed into the kind of woman God meant her to become; and little Daisy need not fear the rude blasts of adverse fate.”
Here Daisy, who only partly understood the letter, burst into tears, and Primrose, taking her in her arms, allowed the closely written sheets to fall on the floor.