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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 42. A New Employment
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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 42. A New Employment Post by :Bonuses Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :1985

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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 42. A New Employment


At an early hour the next morning Mrs. Dredge and Primrose started for Rosebury, and poor Jasmine and Poppy prepared to have a long and lonely time by themselves. Poppy hoped that Jasmine would cheer up, and look at that lovely printed story of hers, and perhaps read it aloud to her; but poor Jasmine was really nearly broken-hearted, and said once almost passionately--

"How can I look at it, Poppy, when I don't know where our little darling is? Did she not share my secret? And she was so proud of me and she always would believe I was a genius. I can't look at it, Poppy--no, I can't; but if you like to open the manuscript, and read what is printed of the story, why you may. Yes, I expect you will find it exciting. Sit down and read it, Poppy, and I will go to the window and look out. Oh, dear! oh, dear! Primrose promised to send me a telegram when she got to Rosebury. Oh, what shall I do if I don't soon hear some news of my darling little Daisy?"

"Seeing as I can't comfort you, Miss Jasmine, I may as well take to reading the mysterious, lovely story," answered Poppy. "Maybe when you're having your dinner bye-and-bye, miss, you won't object to me telling you what I thinks of it."

"Only I shan't care in the least what you think to-day, dear Poppy," answered poor little Jasmine, in a tone of deep melancholy.

She went and stood by the window, and Poppy ensconced herself comfortably on the sofa, and began to enjoy herself as best she could under the circumstances.

In about an hour there came a tap at the door, and Arthur Noel came in. Jasmine gave a little pleased exclamation when she saw him; then she ran forward, took his hand in hers, and burst into tears.

"Daisy is lost," she said; "our sweet little Daisy, who loved you so much, is lost."

"It's inferred that she's gone down with a single third to Rosebury, sir," here interposed Poppy.

"Come and tell me all about it, Jasmine," said Noel, in his most sympathizing tones. He led the poor little girl to the sofa, and, sitting down by her, listened attentively to her story.

"But the Ellsworthys are in London," he said, when he heard that Daisy had gone to them.

On hearing this news poor Jasmine burst into floods of fresh weeping.

"Oh, then she's sure to be quite lost!" she said. "Oh, Mr. Noel, if you are in any sense a true friend, won't you try to find her?"

"Yes, Jasmine; I will never rest until I find her. I am glad I came in to-day. I came to ask you to do something for me, but I find you want my help instead. I will come here this evening, about the time your sister is likely to be back, and I will then go and look for Daisy, in case she is not found. Don't be frightened, Jasmine, I am quite sure we shall soon get tidings of the dear little girl."

"And do you know," said Jasmine, who felt a little comforted, "that we have not only lost Daisy, but all our quarter's money. It is most mysterious. Primrose gave Daisy a check to take care of for her, and Daisy says she has gone away because the cheque is lost. We have no money now that the cheque is lost, except just what Primrose earns from Mrs. Mortlock."

"There's a likelihood of some more earnings presently, Miss Jasmine," here interposed Poppy, in a cheerful voice; "there's a likelihood of a good bit more money when this powerful and thrilling romance is published."

"Your story, Jasmine?" said Noel, "and in type? Who did you get to publish it, my dear child? Oh, you must let me read this."

"Another time, please, Mr. Noel. I don't think I could quite bear it to-day," said Jasmine.

Noel looked at her earnestly.

"I wonder, Jasmine," he said, "even though you are in such trouble, if you would be brave enough to help _me_, and to earn a little money to day? I want you to do quite a simple thing, and something you will probably enjoy. I have never read any of your romances, but I have often noticed that you possess rather remarkable artistic tastes, and that you have a very correct eye for the arrangement of color. I have been struck with this even in this little room, and I happened to mention my observations one day to a lady who is a friend of mine. That lady is giving a dinner-party to-night, and she wants some one to arrange the flowers on her table in as fresh and new a style as possible. Will you come with me to her house now, and see what you can do? She will provide you with the flowers and the glasses to put them into, and you can arrange them on the table just as you like best. She will give you a guinea for the work, and I think you will find it light and pleasant."

Jasmine's eyes began to sparkle.

"Oh! at another time it would be delightful," she said.

"But don't you want a guinea very badly now? Don't you think you had better put on your hat and come away with me, and try to earn it?"

"I will," said Jasmine, with sudden enthusiasm. "Oh, Mr. Noel, how good you are! How I wish I had a brother, and that you were he!"

Noel took Jasmine to his friend's house, where the little girl began by being almost frightened, but soon forgot herself in the strong interest of her pleasant work. Noel was right when he said Jasmine had true artistic instincts. Certainly, hers was untaught genius, but her unerring taste came to her aid, and Mrs. Daintree's dinner-table never looked prettier or fresher than when the little maiden had completed her work. The room was bright and sunny, but Jasmine gave the table a bower-like and cool effect, and she not only dressed the dinner-table but placed flowers here and there about the room. Mrs. Daintree was delighted, and asked the pretty little girl to come again to arrange a dinner-table for her the following week.

With her golden sovereign and her shilling tucked tightly away in her glove Jasmine did not feel altogether miserable as she went home; even though Daisy might still be lost, those first earnings were sweet. She rushed upstairs and told her tale to Poppy, who sympathized most warmly with her. Very soon after her arrival a four-wheeler was heard to draw up to the door, and Mrs. Dredge alone returned.

"I have left Primrose at Rosebury," she said; "we have made inquiries, and there is no doubt a child resembling Daisy went down by the night train yesterday. We have searched high and low, however, but cannot at present get any trace of her. Don't look so pale, Jasmine, she must soon be found. Primrose is staying with Miss Martineau, and they are not leaving a stone unturned to find her. Most likely they have done so by now. Don't cry, Jasmine; take example by your sister--she's a fine plucky bit of a lass, and does not waste her time in tears when there's something to be done."

"Yes, that's just it," said Jasmine; Primrose has got something to do, but I haven't--I can do nothing to find my little darling! Oh, Mrs. Dredge, are not you awfully frightened about her?"

"Tut, tut, my dear, not a bit of it! Of course, when a little lass runs away all by herself there are most times difficulties in getting trace of her, but don't you be in a way, for they won't last long."

Poor little Jasmine sighed, and all her deep depression returned. She was soothed again, however, by the sight of Noel, who came in very soon afterwards. He said he had seen the Ellsworthys, and meant to go down to Rosebury by the night train.

"I'm pleased to hear it, young man," said Mrs. Dredge; "you're doing just what my Joshua would have approved of had he been alive. Even though Joshua was in the chandlery line he had a truly noble heart, and one of his mottoes was that the strong should help the weak, and if shoulders are made broad they should carry big burdens, so you go down to Rosebury, young man, and prosper in your work."

Noel smiled.

"I will certainly do my best," he said; "I quite agree with your husband's sentiments."

"Well, well, young man, Joshua would have liked to know you in his day. Dear, how stupid I am! but I didn't rightly catch your name. What are you pleased to call yourself, sir?"

"My name is Arthur Noel."

"Well, what a small world we live in; it was only to-day I heard talk of you. When Miss Primrose and I were down at Rosebury we came across a gentleman of the name of Danesfield, and he came straight up to Miss Primrose and said he had had a letter from you which he had not been able to answer, because he was away. He said a lot to Miss Primrose about the letter you wrote him; it seems that somebody must have stolen three five-pound notes, which Mr. Danesfield put into a closed envelope, and gave Miss Primrose for a kind of emergency fund when she left her home. The poor lassie turned as white as a sheet when he talked to her. Well, young man, you look white enough yourself at the present moment, but I'll tell you, now, what has struck me, that whoever took the three five-pound notes helped himself or herself to that cheque of Miss Primrose's, and that poor little Daisy knows about it."

"I should not be the least surprised if you were right, Mrs. Dredge," answered Noel. "Well, I must go now if I want to catch my train. Good-bye, Jasmine keep up your heart--expect good news soon, and get all the orders you can for dressing dinner-tables."

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