Daisy, when she had become reconciled to the smuts and disagreeables, and the slights to which the Pink was exposed all day long in Penelope Mansion, began to enjoy life in a serene but unqualified manner. Each of the girls had her own particular tastes; and these they were by no means slow to express to one another.
Primrose, who intended to study china painting—to make it, in short, a profession—liked to stand opposite some large shop in Oxford Street, and to study and try to carry away in her mind’s eye the shape and beauty of the many lovely things displayed in the windows.
Jasmine, who during the first few days had quite made up her mind not to worry at all about the future, did not much care for these gazing fits of Primrose’s. She wanted to get into the parks. She exclaimed in ecstasy over the horses, and those picture-galleries which were free to the public quite enchanted her. Daisy frankly admitted that she liked toy-shops, and of all toy-shops those which displayed rows of dolls in their windows the best. Primrose had decided that the three should have one week’s holiday, and it was during this week that they began to make a certain first acquaintance with London. “It is the heart of the world,” Jasmine was heard to say. “Primrose, it is what we pictured it; in many ways it is even greater than what we pictured it. Oh, don’t your cheeks glow, and don’t you feel that your eyes are shining when you look down Oxford Street? Yes, it is lovely and grand, and I think we ought to show poor dear Poppy some more of its delights.”
Primrose was only too glad to give Poppy all the happiness in her power, and she and Jasmine arranged that they would take the little girl out with them on another expedition before they settled down finally to the great work of their lives.
“We’ll spend five shillings,” said Primrose, “we must not on any account spend more, but we will be extravagant, and give poor Poppy a real treat with one crown piece.”
“We had better ask her to come to-morrow,” said Daisy; “five shillings seems a lot of money. Do you think there will be enough over, Primrose, to buy me a tiny, tiny little doll?”
Primrose kissed Daisy, and said she would try somehow to manage the doll, and Jasmine was elected to go downstairs and sound Poppy on the subject of the morrow’s treat.
The little maiden had made herself pretty well at home in the Mansion by this time, and she soon discovered Poppy in what was called the back scullery. The ladies had all finished their mid-day meal, and were out. Even Mrs. Flint had sallied forth to a distant market to secure some cheap provisions, and Poppy had the back scullery to herself. She was handling the dinner-plates in a rather clumsy manner, and, after the fashion of a discontented little girl, was sighing over her work, and not doing it properly.
“Oh, let me help you!” said Jasmine, dancing up to her: “I hate washing china, or delf, or whatever you call it, after people have eaten, but I like wiping it if the cloths are clean. Poppy, I have come to you about a most delicious and important scheme.”