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A Little Princess

"You can read that while I am downstairs," she said; and, seeing Mariette looking at her
curiously, she spoke to her with a serious little face.
"What I believe about dolls," she said, "is that they can do things they will not let us
know about. Perhaps, really, Emily can read and talk and walk, but she will only do it
when people are out of the room. That is her secret. You see, if people knew that dolls
could do things, they would make them work. So, perhaps, they have promised each other
to keep it a secret. If you stay in the room, Emily will just sit there and stare; but if you
go out, she will begin to read, perhaps, or go and look out of the window. Then if she
heard either of us coming, she would just run back and jump into her chair and pretend
she had been there all the time."
"Comme elle est drole!" Mariette said to herself, and when she went downstairs she told
the head housemaid about it. But she had already begun to like this odd little girl who had
such an intelligent small face and such perfect manners. She had taken care of children
before who were not so polite. Sara was a very fine little person, and had a gentle,
appreciative way of saying, "If you please, Mariette," "Thank you, Mariette," which was
very charming. Mariette told the head housemaid that she thanked her as if she was
thanking a lady.
"Elle a l'air d'une princesse, cette petite," she said. Indeed, she was very much pleased
with her new little mistress and liked her place greatly.
After Sara had sat in her seat in the schoolroom for a few minutes, being looked at by the
pupils, Miss Minchin rapped in a dignified manner upon her desk.
"Young ladies," she said, "I wish to introduce you to your new companion." All the little
girls rose in their places, and Sara rose also. "I shall expect you all to be very agreeable to
Miss Crewe; she has just come to us from a great distance--in fact, from India. As soon as
lessons are over you must make each other's acquaintance."
The pupils bowed ceremoniously, and Sara made a little curtsy, and then they sat down
and looked at each other again.
"Sara," said Miss Minchin in her schoolroom manner, "come here to me."
She had taken a book from the desk and was turning over its leaves. Sara went to her
politely.
"As your papa has engaged a French maid for you," she began, "I conclude that he wishes
you to make a special study of the French language."
Sara felt a little awkward.
"I think he engaged her," she said, "because he--he thought I would like her, Miss
Minchin."
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