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The Palace Beautiful eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Palace Beautiful.

“If you like, dear,” answered Primrose; “but why do you try to write such very sad things, Jasmine?”

“Oh, I don’t know; they suit me.  Primrose, do you know of a very, very melancholy periodical?”

“Several of the periodicals seem to me rather melancholy,” answered Primrose; “there is one I sometimes see on Mrs. Dove’s table—­it is called The Watch.  I glanced at it one day, and I thought it seemed very morbid.”

“Oh, I know,” answered Jasmine; “but there is a worse one than that—­Mrs. Dove showed it to me.  Mrs. Dove is very fond of reading, and she told me that she would not give a farthing for any literature that could not draw forth the salt and bitter tear; she says the magazine she likes best at present is a new one called The Downfall.  She says it is very little known, but its melancholy is profound.  Shall I send my verses to The Downfall, Primrose?”

“If you like, dear; but I don’t at all admire the name, and I really do not think Mrs. Dove ought to be your guide in such matters, Jasmine.”

“Oh, she has very good taste,” answered Jasmine; “she says that only real talent is admitted on the staff of The Downfall.  Of course I’d rather write for one of the shilling magazines.  Well, if you like, I’ll send my poem to one of them first.”

Before Primrose could answer Jasmine on this weighty point there came a knock on the sitting-room door, and Mrs. Dove, with her face wrapped up in a thick woollen shawl, entered the room.

“Very sorry to disturb you, young ladies,” she said, “but could you oblige me with the loan of three and tenpence-halfpenny.  Dove has put in no appearance, and unless I can pay three and tenpence-halfpenny on account to the baker he refuses positive to allow me sufficient bread to see Sunday through.”

When Mrs. Dove made this request Primrose’s face became intensely pale.  She was silent for half a minute, then she said—­

“I will lend you the money this time, Mrs. Dove, but please don’t ask me again; you know that at this present moment you owe me very nearly two pounds.”

“Thank you, my dear Miss Mainwaring,” answered Mrs. Dove, in a very suave voice, as she hastily pocketed poor Primrose’s few shillings.  “You are always obliging, and this, with the other trifle due, shall be returned the moment Dove comes in—­Dove is on a very good piece of work just at present, and the money is as safe as safe.  Oh, Miss Jasmine, I have brought you this week’s copy of The Downfall—­the serial in it is really of the most powerful order.  I have shed a deluge of tears over it.  The lowest person of rank in the pages is a marquess; but the story mostly deals in ducal families.  It was a terrible blow to come down to the baker from the duke’s ancestral halls—­you read it, Miss Jasmine; you’ll be very much overcome.”

CHAPTER XXIV.

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