She was standing the next morning in the room where the three sisters had slept—it was early, only five o’clock in the morning, but this was Poppy’s London hour for rising. Jasmine was sitting up in bed and regarding her earnestly, Primrose was also awake, but Daisy slept like a cherub.
“It ain’t what we dreamt of,” continued Poppy—“it’s work, and it’s dirt, and it’s dust, and it’s smuts. Oh, my word! the smuts is enough to turn one crazy. Nothing is white here, as you calls white in the country—speckled is more the word. No, no. Penelope Mansion is, taking it all in all, a biting disappointment.”
“Well Poppy, Penelope Mansion is not the whole of London,” said Jasmine, in a rather quavering, but would-be wise voice.
“Yes, but it’s the London I has got to do with,” answered Poppy Jenkins—“and oh! the worst of all is, that aunt won’t have me called by my home name—she speaks of it most bitter as a ‘weed.’ She says poppies are what are meant in the Scripter by the tares. Don’t it sound real awful?—I trembled all over when she told me that. So Sarah I am here, and Sarah Ann, and Sarah Jane, and Sarah Mary the ladies calls me. When they’re in a very good humor I’m Sarah Mary, and when they’re a bit put out it’s Sarah Jane they calls for, and now and then I’m Sarah Ann—then I know I’m in for a scolding. Oh yes, Miss Primrose, London is not what we thought it.”
“Never mind,” said Primrose sweetly; “you’ll always be Poppy to us, dear, and I know the tares were not poppies, so don’t you fret—the poppy is a sweet flower, and Poppy is a sweet name for a girl. Why we four are all called after flowers, and we must just be very friendly, and very brave and loving and sweet in this London, and then, perhaps, it won’t disappoint us.”
“You’re real kind, Miss Primrose,” said Poppy. “Yes, it’s a great ease to me to know as you three are in the house. I won’t be so lonesome-like now, and I won’t be dreaming that I’m a tare. It’s awful to think of yourself as a tare, but I know now that aunt made a mistake. Oh, ain’t Miss Daisy beautiful in her sleep? Now look here, you’re all tired, and I’ll bring you up your breakfasts in bed. You shall have some of mother’s fresh eggs and real country butter. I’ll run downstairs, and bring you up some breakfast the very first thing.”
The girls spent that morning in their room. They unpacked a few of their things, and put their mother’s picture on the mantel-piece, and Primrose opened Mr. Danesfield’s letter. It contained an enclosure within and on this enclosure was written, in a funny little printing hand, “When you want me, use me; don’t return me, and never abuse me.”
Primrose’s face grew rather red. She read the funny little motto two or three times, then put the enclosure unopened into her trunk.
“I think,” she said, looking at Jasmine, “that we will not send this back. I had a queer dream last night. It seemed to me that mother came to me and said, ’Are you not foolish to cast away all your kind friends? Try to remember that true independence is not too proud to lean on others. Primrose, for my sake do not be over proud.’ Mr. Danesfield was always a friend of mother’s,” continued Primrose, “so I will keep his letter until we want it, and will write him a little note to thank him for it.”