“Will you cook the supper, and I will go to her?”
Jasmine nodded, and Primrose went straight into the other room. Her little sister had once more flown to the Pink for consolation; she was holding the little animal tightly in her arms, and was rocking herself backwards and forwards, and sobbing under her breath.
Primrose knelt down by her.
“What is it, my own little darling?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing, Primrose,” said poor little Daisy, raising her tear-stained face; “nothing really, dear Primrose, only I don’t like to leave the poor Doves.”
“Oh, is that all?” said Primrose, in a very cheerful tone. “Why, Daisy, you did not at all mind leaving them a couple of days ago; but if you are really fond of them you can still see them occasionally, for we are not going far away.”
“I don’t wish to leave the poor Doves,” repeated Daisy, bending down over the Pink, and her tears falling afresh.
“But, Daisy dear, how very funny of you to speak like this! You know, darling, you must allow Jasmine and me to decide for you; we feel that you will be much happier and much more comfortable with Mrs. Egerton. Come, Daisy, these tears are very bad for you in your weak state. Let me wash your face and hands, and take you into the other room to a nice surprise supper sent by Miss Egerton.”
But Daisy only shook her head, and bent lower over her cat, and repeated over, and over, and over:
“I can’t go away from Mr. and Mrs. Dove.”
Poor Primrose became really alarmed at last.
“Daisy,” she said, “there must be some reason for this sudden change in your wishes. You were quite delighted at the thought of going to Miss Egerton’s an hour ago, when Jasmine was here; Jasmine went out, and when she came back she found you in this state. Did you see anybody while Jasmine was out?”
“N—n—no—I mean—I mean I can’t say. Don’t ask me, Primrose. Oh, Primrose, I’m such a miserable little girl! but please, please, please don’t take me away from the poor Doves.”
Daisy cried herself nearly into hysterics, and Primrose had at last to pacify her by assuring her that they were not going away from the Doves just yet.
A STARTLING DISCOVERY.
All through her dreams that night Daisy sobbed and moaned. Primrose, lying awake by her side, felt more and more alarmed and concerned. What was the matter with her little sister? She felt completely puzzled. The bright little castle in the air she and Jasmine had been building; the cheerful thought of the cosy rooms which the girls were to share together in their friend’s house; the dear delight of having furniture of their very own again; all these very healthful and natural dreams were fading and fading, for whenever Primrose even alluded to their leaving their present quarters Daisy clutched her hand, and looked at her with such pleading eyes, and used hurried words of such anguished entreaty, that at last the eldest sister felt obliged to say—