Primrose was the soul of hospitality; having decided that Miss Martineau was to be admitted that evening, it occurred to her that she might as well make things pleasant for this angular, good-humored, and somewhat hungry personage. Primrose could cook charmingly, and when dinner was over she turned to her sisters, and said in her usual rather slow way—
“I am going to make some cream-cakes for tea; and Jasmine, dear, you might put some fresh flowers in the vases; and Daisy—“; she paused as she looked at her sister—the child’s blue eyes were fixed on her, she noticed with a pang that the little face was pale, and the dimpled mouth looked sad.
“Daisy,” she said, suddenly, “you can go into the garden, and have a romp with the Pink.”
“The Pink” was Daisy’s favorite kitten.
Daisy laughed aloud, Jasmine started up briskly from the dinner-table, and Primrose, feeling that she had done well, went into the kitchen to consult with Hannah, the old cook, over the making of the cream-cakes.
The result of all this was that when Miss Martineau, sharp at four o’clock (the hours were very primitive at Rosebury), arrived at the Mainwarings’ door, the outward aspect of the house bore no tokens of violent grief on the part of its inmates—the blinds were drawn up, not quite to the top, for that would have been ugly, and Jasmine was full of artistic instincts, but they were drawn up to let in plenty of sunlight, the white muslin curtains were draped gracefully, some pots of fresh flowers could be seen on the window-ledge, and a canary in a rather battered cage hung from a hook above, and disported himself cheerfully in the sunlight.
Miss Martineau was very old-fashioned in her ideas, and she did not much like the look of the bay window.
She comforted herself, however, with the reflection that even under the direst afflictions blinds must be drawn up some time, and that she would doubtless find the poor dear girls in a state of tempestuous grief within. She imagined herself soothing Jasmine, holding Primrose’s hand, and allowing Daisy to sit on her knee. Miss Martineau was most kind-hearted, and would have done anything for the three girls, whom she dearly loved, only, like many another good-hearted person, she would wish to do that anything or something in her own way.