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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 10. Ways Of Earning A Living
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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 10. Ways Of Earning A Living Post by :gananathan Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :953

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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 10. Ways Of Earning A Living

CHAPTER X. WAYS OF EARNING A LIVING

That night, after her sisters were in bed, Primrose again sat up late--once again she read her mother's letter; then burying her face in her hands, she sat for a long, long time lost in thought.

Jasmine and Daisy, all unconcerned and unconscious, slept overhead, but Hannah was anxious about her young mistress, and stepped into the drawing-room, and said in her kind voice--

"Hadn't you better be getting your beauty sleep, missie?"

"Oh, Hannah! I am so anxious," said Primrose.

"Now, deary, whatever for?" asked the old servant.

Primrose hesitated. She wanted to talk to Hannah about her mother's letter; she half took it out of her pocket, then she restrained herself.

"Another time," she whispered to herself. Aloud she said--

"Hannah, Mrs. Ellsworthy and Miss Martineau hinted to me what Mr. Danesfield said plainly to-day--we three girls have not got money enough to live on."

"Eh, dear!" answered Hannah, dropping on to the nearest chair, "and are you putting yourself out about that, my pretty? Why, tisn't likely that you three young ladies could support yourselves. Don't you fret about that, Miss Primrose; why, you'll get quite old with fretting, and lose all your nice looks. You go to bed, my darling--there's a Providence over us, and he'll find ways and means to help you."

Primrose rose to her feet, some tears came to her eyes, and taking Hannah's hard old hand, she stooped and kissed her.

"I won't fret, Hannah," she said, "and I'll go to bed instantly. Thank you for reminding me about God." Then she lit her bedroom candle and went very gently up the stairs to her bedroom, but as she laid her head on the pillow she said to herself--"Even Hannah sees that we can't live on our income."

The next morning early Primrose said rather abruptly to her two sisters--

"I have found out the meaning of Miss Martineau's fussiness and Mrs. Ellsworthy's kindness. They are both sorry for us girls, for they know we can't live on thirty pounds a year."

"Oh, what nonsense!" said Jasmine; "any one can live on thirty pounds a year. Didn't you see how Poppy opened her eyes when we mentioned it;--she thought it quite a lot of money, and said we could come to London out of the savings. I am sure, Primrose, if any one ought to know, it is Poppy, for her mother is really very poor."

"Mr. Danesfield, too, says we can't live on it," continued Primrose; "and when I asked Hannah last night, she said 'Of course not'--that no one expected us to. Now look here, Jasmine, this is all quite fresh to you and Daisy, but I'm accustomed to it, for I have known it for twenty-four hours, and what I say is this, if we can't live on our income we have got to make some more income to live on. If thirty pounds a year is not enough for us at the end, neither is it enough for us at the beginning, so we had better see about earning an income at once, or we'll get into debt, which will be quite awful. Jasmine, I am afraid the days of our merry childhood are over, and I am so sorry for you and Daisy, for you are both very young."

"Oh, I don't mind," said Jasmine--"I--I--I'd do anything--I fancy I could make dresses best, or--Oh, suppose I wrote poetry, and sold it? You know you and Daisy do like my poems. Do you remember how you cried over the one I called 'An Ode to the Swallow?'"

"No, I didn't cry over that one," interrupted Daisy. "I thought that one rather stupid--I cried over the one in which you spoke about my darling Pink being caught in a trap, and having her leg broken."

"Oh, that one," repeated Jasmine--"I thought that one a little vulgar. I only made it up to please you, Daisy. Primrose, don't you notice what a lot of poems there are in all the magazines, and of course, somebody must write them. I should not be a bit surprised if I could add to our income by writing poetry, Primrose. All the books, nearly all the magazines and newspapers, come from London. Poppy will not be going to London until to-morrow--I'll run round this morning and ask her to try and find out for me which of the publishers want poems like my 'Ode to the Swallow.' Perhaps they'd like it in the ---- _Review_; only the ---- _Review is so horribly deep. My ode is deep too, for Daisy cannot understand it. Perhaps I could send my poem about Pink to one of the other magazines. Oh, Primrose! may I run round to Poppy, and see if she can help us?"

Primrose smiled very faintly, and it dawned across her again in rather a painful manner what a mere child her little sister was.

"I think I wouldn't, darling," she said. "Poppy could not really help you about publishers. Look here, Jasmine and Daisy; here is a letter I found in mamma's cabinet yesterday--it is directed to me, but the news it contains is for us all; will you and Daisy go out into the garden and read it together. You will be very much astonished when you read the letter--poor mamma, what she must have suffered! While you are reading I will go out. Mr. Danesfield says I may consult him, and as I know he is a wise man, I will do so."

"Would you like to take my ode with you?" inquired Jasmine.

"No, not to-day, dear--if I am not in to dinner, don't wait for me."

"I know one thing; we'll be very saving about that dinner," remarked Jasmine, shaking back her curly locks. "If you are not in, Primrose, Daisy and I will divide an egg between us--I read somewhere that eggs were very nourishing, and half a one each will do fine. Come into the garden now, Eyebright. Oh, Primrose! I don't feel a bit low about adding to our income. If we choose we can eat so very little, and then if the ---- _Review likes my poetry, I can spin it off by the yard."

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