The moment her school duties were over Miss Egerton went out. She visited certain shops that she knew of—queer little, quaint, out-of-the-way shops—quite pokey little places; but from their depths she managed to extract one or two round tables, one or two easy-chairs, a few brackets, which could be easily converted into book-shelves, a certain sofa, with not too hard a back, a couple of fenders, some fire-irons, some cups and saucers, some dinner plates. These and a few more necessary articles she bought for what would have seemed a ridiculously low figure to any one who was not in her secret. The furniture was all conveyed to her neat little house that afternoon, and there it was absolutely pounced upon by her willing and hard-working servant who washed it, and scrubbed it, and rubbed it, and polished it; and, finally, Miss Egerton purchased bright chintz, and slipped it over the ugly little chairs, and covered up the antiquated old sofa, and that very night a certain amount of her work was got through, and the attics began already to look habitable.
“I mean to do a great deal more,” thought Miss Egerton; “fortunately the paper is fresh and the paint clean; but I must put up two or three pictures, and I shall fill these book-shelves with the books I used to love when I was young. My own white sheep-skin rug shall go in front of the fire. Daisy will like to see the Pink curling down into the depths of that sheep-skin. Ah, yes! the girls shall have a good time—a cosy, home-like time—in these rooms, if I can give it to them.”
Then Miss Egerton went downstairs to meet Primrose with a smile about her thin lips, and a serene, beautiful light in her kind eyes.
“They are getting ready—the rooms are beginning to look charming, dear,” she said. “Oh no, you must not see them yet. It is my fancy not to show them to you until they are quite ready, and I fear that won’t be until the day after to-morrow; but to-morrow, Primrose, you and Jasmine and little Daisy may occupy yourselves packing your trunks.”
“It all sounds delightful,” said Primrose. “You cannot think, Miss Egerton, how cheered we all are at the thought of coming to you. As to Daisy, I simply should not know her—she is a changed child. I told the Doves that we were leaving as I went out this afternoon. They looked rather cross, and Mrs. Dove asked for a week’s rent, instead of the usual notice. But I can manage to pay that nicely. I won’t stay now, dear Miss Egerton. I’m going round to see Mr. Jones about the plates he was to try and sell for me, and then I shall hurry back to Daisy.”
“Take her this fresh egg and this little sponge-loaf for her supper,” said Miss Egerton. “Now good-bye, dear. God bless you, dear!”
“It is wonderful what kind friends we girls seem to meet at every turn,” thought Primrose to herself, as she hurried down the dirty, sloppy street. “It would be very strange if we did not succeed with so many people wishing us well. Oh! I feel in good spirits to-night. Even if Mr. Jones has not sold the plates I shall not complain.”