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A Little Princess

"We must not frighten her," Mr. Carmichael said aside to him in a quick, low voice. And
he added aloud to Sara, "So you were sent up into the attic, and made into a little drudge.
That was about it, wasn't it?"
"There was no one to take care of me," said Sara. "There was no money; I belong to
nobody."
"How did your father lose his money?" the Indian gentleman broke in breathlessly.
"He did not lose it himself," Sara answered, wondering still more each moment. "He had
a friend he was very fond of--he was very fond of him. It was his friend who took his
money. He trusted his friend too much."
The Indian gentleman's breath came more quickly.
"The friend might have MEANT to do no harm," he said. "It might have happened
through a mistake."
Sara did not know how unrelenting her quiet young voice sounded as she answered. If
she had known, she would surely have tried to soften it for the Indian gentleman's sake.
"The suffering was just as bad for my papa," she said. It killed him."
"What was your father's name?" the Indian gentleman said. "Tell me."
"His name was Ralph Crewe," Sara answered, feeling startled. "Captain Crewe. He died
in India."
The haggard face contracted, and Ram Dass sprang to his master's side.
"Carmichael," the invalid gasped, "it is the child--the child!"
For a moment Sara thought he was going to die. Ram Dass poured out drops from a
bottle, and held them to his lips. Sara stood near, trembling a little. She looked in a
bewildered way at Mr. Carmichael.
"What child am I?" she faltered.
"He was your father's friend," Mr. Carmichael answered her. "Don't be frightened. We
have been looking for you for two years."
Sara put her hand up to her forehead, and her mouth trembled. She spoke as if she were in
a dream.
"And I was at Miss Minchin's all the while," she half whispered. "Just on the other side of
the wall."
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