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A Little Princess

it became apparent that Sara was a leader, too, and not because she could make herself
disagreeable, but because she never did.
"There's one thing about Sara Crewe," Jessie had enraged her "best friend" by saying
honestly, "she's never `grand' about herself the least bit, and you know she might be,
Lavvie. I believe I couldn't help being--just a little--if I had so many fine things and was
made such a fuss over. It's disgusting, the way Miss Minchin shows her off when parents
come."
"`Dear Sara must come into the drawing room and talk to Mrs. Musgrave about India,'"
mimicked Lavinia, in her most highly flavored imitation of Miss Minchin. "`Dear Sara
must speak French to Lady Pitkin. Her accent is so perfect.' She didn't learn her French at
the Seminary, at any rate. And there's nothing so clever in her knowing it. She says
herself she didn't learn it at all. She just picked it up, because she always heard her papa
speak it. And, as to her papa, there is nothing so grand in being an Indian officer."
"Well," said Jessie, slowly, "he's killed tigers. He killed the one in the skin Sara has in her
room. That's why she likes it so. She lies on it and strokes its head, and talks to it as if it
was a cat."
"She's always doing something silly," snapped Lavinia. "My mamma says that way of
hers of pretending things is silly. She says she will grow up eccentric."
It was quite true that Sara was never "grand." She was a friendly little soul, and shared
her privileges and belongings with a free hand. The little ones, who were accustomed to
being disdained and ordered out of the way by mature ladies aged ten and twelve, were
never made to cry by this most envied of them all. She was a motherly young person, and
when people fell down and scraped their knees, she ran and helped them up and patted
them, or found in her pocket a bonbon or some other article of a soothing nature. She
never pushed them out of her way or alluded to their years as a humiliation and a blot
upon their small characters.
"If you are four you are four," she said severely to Lavinia on an occasion of her having--
it must be confessed--slapped Lottie and called her "a brat;" "but you will be five next
year, and six the year after that. And," opening large, convicting eyes, "it takes sixteen
years to make you twenty."
"Dear me," said Lavinia, "how we can calculate!" In fact, it was not to be denied that
sixteen and four made twenty--and twenty was an age the most daring were scarcely bold
enough to dream of.
So the younger children adored Sara. More than once she had been known to have a tea
party, made up of these despised ones, in her own room. And Emily had been played
with, and Emily's own tea service used-- the one with cups which held quite a lot of
much-sweetened weak tea and had blue flowers on them. No one had seen such a very
real doll's tea set before. From that afternoon Sara was regarded as a goddess and a queen
by the entire alphabet class.
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