Sharp to the hour Poppy arrived with her gift; she was a pretty little village girl, who adored the Misses Mainwaring.
“The bird will want a heap of sunshine,” she said; “he’s young, and my mother says that all young things want lots and lots of sun. May I pull up the blind in the bay window, Miss Primrose; and may I hang Jimmy’s cage just here?”
Primrose nodded. She forgot, in her interest over Jimmy, to remember that the bay window looked directly on to the village street.
“And please, miss,” said Poppy, as she was preparing to return home, “Miss Martineau says she’ll look in this evening, and that she was glad when she saw you out last night, young ladies, and acting sensible again.”
Primrose had always a very faint color; at Poppy’s words it deepened slightly.
“We’ve tried to act in a sensible way all through,” she said, with gentle dignity. “Perhaps Miss Martineau does not quite understand. We love one another very much; we are not going to be foolish, but we cannot help grieving for our mother.”
At these words Jasmine rushed out of the room and Poppy’s round eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, Miss Primrose—,” she began.
“Never mind, Poppy,” said Primrose; “we’ll see Miss Martineau to-night. I am glad you told us she was coming.”
The neighbors at Rosebury were all of the most sociable type; the Mainwaring girls knew every soul in the place, and when their mother died there was quite a rush of sympathy for them, and the little cottage might have been full from morning till night. Primrose, however, would not have it; even Miss Martineau, who was their teacher, and perhaps their warmest friend, was refused admittance. The neighbors wondered, and thought the girls very extraordinary and a little stuck-up, and their sympathy, thrown back on themselves, began to cool.
The real facts of the case, however, were these: Primrose, Jasmine and Daisy would have been very pleased to see Poppy Jenkins, or old Mrs. Jones, who sometimes came in to do choring, or even the nice little Misses Price, who kept a grocery shop at the other end of the village street; they would also have not objected to a visit from good, hearty Mrs. Fry, the doctor’s wife, but had they admitted any of these neighbors they must have seen Miss Martineau, and Miss Martineau, once she got a footing in the house, would have been there morning, noon and night.
Poor Jasmine would not have at all objected to crying away some of her sorrow on kind Mrs. Fry’s motherly breast; Primrose could have had some really interesting talk which would have done her good with the Misses Price; they were very religious people, and their brother was a clergyman, and they might have said some things which would comfort the sore hearts of the young girls. Little Daisy could have asked some of her unceasing questions of Poppy Jenkins, and the three would really have been the better for the visits and the sympathy