“Them attics have become rather too uppish for my taste,” she said to Dove when she got downstairs. “I took them a letter just now, and, my word! they had not eyes nor ears for me, though I toiled up all the weary stairs, which my shortness of breath don’t agree to. It wasn’t even ‘Thank you very much, Mrs. Dove,’ but all three of them, their eyes was fixed on the letter as if they’d eat it. It’s my belief, Dove, that they’re short of funds, for when I went yesterday to ask for the trifling loan of tenpence three-farthings to pay the cobbler for Tommy’s boots, Miss Mainwaring said, as pretty as you please, but very prim and firm—’I haven’t really got the money, Mrs. Dove.’ Well, well, I’ve done a deal for those girls—elbow grease I’ve given them, and thought I’ve given them, and books for the improving of their intellecs I’ve lent them, and that’s all the return I get, that when I bring up a letter it isn’t even ‘Thank you, Mrs. Dove.’ What I say is this, Dove, shall I give the attics notice to quit?”
“By no manner of means,” answered Dove—“you mark my words, Mrs. Dove, my only love, that why they were so flurried over the letter just received was because there was money in it. Don’t you turn away nice, genteel, quiet-spoken young ladies from this house. There’s most likely a postal order in that letter, and my name ain’t Dove if I don’t get my gleanings from it.”
“Oh, fie, Dove! you will have your joke,” answered his wife; but she said nothing further about giving the Mainwarings notice to quit.
Mr. Danesfield always forwarded the girls’ allowance in such a way that Primrose could easily obtain it—he did not trouble her with cheques or bank notes, but sent a money-order, which she could cash at the nearest post-office.
The three went out gleefully that day, and obtained their much needed money—then Primrose bought a new pair of boots for Daisy, and allowed Jasmine to spend sixpence on scribbling paper. Having obtained this delightful possession, Jasmine determined to begin her great work of fiction without a moment’s delay; she felt that she had listened quite long enough to Miss Egerton’s gentle warnings—that she had been discouraged sufficiently, and that what she had really to do was to prove the stuff which was in her, and to take the world by storm. She hesitated a little as to whether her great work was to appear before the world in the form of a novel or a poem. She thought that to produce a second “Evangeline” would be a matter of but slight difficulty, but on the whole she was inclined to give the world her experience in the fiery and untrammelled words of prose.
“My theme burns within me,” she said to herself. “I won’t be kept back by metres or rhymes, or numbers of feet, or any of those tiresome rules which Miss Egerton tries to instil into me. Oh, I shall be happy over my work! I will forget that we are poor, and forget that we live in attics. I will work with Miss Egerton in the daytime, and I will help Primrose in her house-keeping, and take Daisy for a walk, but morning and evening I will get into my Palace Beautiful, and write away, and forget the sordid cares of life.”