The little maid had really a certain amount of genius to guide her, and although all her ideas were crude and unpractised, she managed to be happy in the castle which she built, and her dark eyes grew bright once more, and her pretty face resumed its animated and contented expression.
Primrose, who worked very steadily at her china-painting, was much cheered at this time with one or two small, but bona-fide orders for work. They came not through Mr. Jones, who pocketed her money and exhibited her wares in a dusty and uncertain fashion, but through Miss Egerton, who was proving herself a real friend to the girls. Primrose was immensely cheered by these little orders, and, in consequence, Christmas Day—the girls’ first Christmas Day without a home and a mother—passed not uncheerfully. Things might have gone well with the three but for an incident which occurred just at the beginning of the New Year.
One morning Daisy awoke shivering, and complaining of fresh cold. She refused, however, to stay at home by herself, and begged of Jasmine to wrap her up, and take her across to Miss Egerton’s, but when the two girls reached the kind mistress’s door they were informed that she had been suddenly sent for to the country, and would not be back until the following day.
“You must go back now, my pet,” said Jasmine. “I’ll take you back myself, and I’ll build up such a nice fire for you, and you shall look at the dear old scrap-book which we made when we were all happy at Rosebury.”
“I wish we were back at Rosebury,” said little Daisy, in a very sad and plaintive voice. “I don’t think London is at all a cheerful place. We made a great mistake about it, didn’t we, Jasmine? Oh, Jasmine, darling, you are not going to leave me by myself, for I really don’t feel well this morning.”
“I’ll come back ever so quickly, Eyebright, but I really think I must do Primrose’s shopping for her, now that I am not going to Miss Egerton. Primrose is working very hard at her china-painting order, and it is not fair she should be interrupted. You won’t be selfish, will you, Eyebright? You know we arranged long ago that the way you were to help matters forward was not to hinder us older girls in our work.”
“I know,” answered Daisy, with a patient sigh. “I won’t be selfish, Jasmine. Just kiss me before you go.”
Jasmine went away, and Daisy, taking the Pink into her arms, sat down close to the fire. She was not exactly nervous, but she scarcely liked to be left in the attics by herself. She wished Mrs. Dove would come up, or even that Tommy Dove, who was a rude boy, and whom, as a rule, she particularly disliked, would pay her a visit. Any company, however she reflected, would be better than none, for she was feeling heavy and depressed with her cold. The warm feel of the Pink’s furry little body, elapsed tightly in her arms, comforted her not a little. She remembered with some satisfaction that Jasmine had locked the door, and she began already to count the moments for her sister’s return.