Miss Martineau had talked herself quite out of breath, and looked quite pleading, but the same obstacle which had prevented the girls’ acceding to Mrs. Ellsworthy’s request now debarred their taking up their quarters near Constantia Warren.
They spoke of their plans, but would not tell what they were, and Miss Martineau again went away offended.
“There is no secret in the matter,” she said, when talking over the affair with Mrs. Ellsworthy. “Primrose tries to make a mystery, and Jasmine likes to look mysterious, but there is not the smallest doubt that all the girls really want is to have their own way, and to be beholden to none of us.”
“Nevertheless, I love them, and shall always love them,” answered Mrs. Ellsworthy.
“Oh, for the matter of that, so will I always love them, Mrs. Ellsworthy. It seems to me they want a lot of pity, poor misguided young things!”
Primrose, Jasmine and Daisy all this time felt wonderfully serene. They were very sorry to hurt their friends, but it is quite true that they did want to have their own way. They had made distinct plans, but they must go to London to carry them out. They thought their wisest course was to go up to Penelope Mansion for a few days, and make their final arrangements from there.
“I’d be very lonely in London if I wasn’t near Poppy,” said Jasmine; and Primrose too said that she thought their wisest course was to go up to Penelope Mansion, and make their plans from there.
Accordingly, one afternoon, when Poppy Jenkins had been three weeks in her new place, she received a letter from Primrose Mainwaring, to which she sent the following reply. Poppy’s spelling need not be copied, but her language ran as follows:—
Wright street, off the Edgware Road,
“Your letter was that gratifying. I am so glad you have put by your savings, and are coming to visit this vast Babylon. Miss Primrose, it will do me a sight of good to see your face, and the face of Miss Jasmine, and the face of Miss Daisy. The ladies here, miss—for I must own to the truth—are not as beautiful as was to be expected. Neither in their visages nor in their manners are they beautiful. Sharp’s the word from morn till night here, and many a time I cry. I hasn’t had no moment yet to visit the sights, for aunt’s hands are very full, and she looks most natural to me to assist her, which I do, as in duty bound. I’m told that there isn’t much of the real London to be seen from Penelope Mansion, so I live in hopes that it is as beautiful as we pictured it beyond these dull walls. Miss, I has spoken to my aunt, and she will be very pleased to receive you three, and will put you in a bedroom to the front of the house. You’ll be fretted by the roar from the continuous multitude which passes these windows all day and all night, but otherwise the room is cheerful, although somewhat hot. Miss Primrose, I’ll give you all such a welcome.