“It’s all one, Miss Jasmine,” she exclaimed; “if it was my dying breath, I’d have to own that London is not what we pictered it—vanities there is, and troubles there is, and disappointments most numerous and most biting. But for the one happy day I spent out with you dear young ladies, I hasn’t known no happiness in London. Oh, Miss Jasmine,” drawing up short and looking her young lady full in the face—“what dreadful lies them novels tells! I read them afore I came, and I made up such wonderful picters; but I will own that what with the ladies in this mansion, as worrit me almost past bearing, and what with you going away all secret like, and what with me being no longer Poppy the tare, but Sarah Jane the drudge, even if I was to get one of the bonnets that they show in the shop windows in Bond Street, why, it wouldn’t draw a smile from me Miss Jasmine!”
HOW TO PAINT CHINA AND HOW TO FORM STYLE.
Mrs. Dove had a great many lodgers—she let rooms on each of her floors, and she called her lodgers by the name of the floor they occupied—first floor, second floor, third floor came and went to 10, Eden Street. The girls were known as “the attics,” and Jasmine felt very indignant at the name.
“It’s almost as bad as being a tare,” she said to Primrose. “Dear, dear! I never thought I should turn into an attic! What an unpleasant place London is! I begin to think Poppy is quite right in what she says of it.”
“I begin to suspect,” said Primrose, “that London, like all places, has its shady side and its bright side. We are in the shady side at present, dear Jasmine—that is all.”
Mrs. Dove had not only lodgers who seemed to worry her from morning to night—for, unlike her name, she was always fretting or scolding somebody—but she also had a husband, and this husband made his presence felt by every lodger in the house. He was often away for a whole week at a time, and then comparative peace reigned in No. 10; but he would come back at unexpected moments—he would enter the house, singing out, in a loud rasping voice—
My only love!”
And then poor Mrs. Dove would get flushed and uncomfortable and lose what little self-possession she ever had, and would own in confidence to the first floor, or the second floor, or the attics, just as they happened to be present, that Mr. Dove’s honeyed phrases were only words after all, and meant quite the contrary.
The girls were not a week at No. 10, Eden Street, before it became very apparent to them that there was little of the real Eden to be found in the place. They kept themselves, however, quite apart from the other lodgers; they began to get out their books and their employments, and what with housekeeping, and what with cleaning their rooms, and going out for long rambling walks in all directions, they were busy