A Little Princess
Once on a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets
of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do
at night, an odd- looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather
slowly through the big thoroughfares.
She sat with her feet tucked under her, and leaned against her father, who held her in his
arm, as she stared out of the window at the passing people with a queer old-fashioned
thoughtfulness in her big eyes.
She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It
would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The
fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not
herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people
and the world they belonged to. She felt as if she had lived a long, long time.
At this moment she was remembering the voyage she had just made from Bombay with
her father, Captain Crewe. She was thinking of the big ship, of the Lascars passing
silently to and fro on it, of the children playing about on the hot deck, and of some young
officers' wives who used to try to make her talk to them and laugh at the things she said.
Principally, she was thinking of what a queer thing it was that at one time one was in
India in the blazing sun, and then in the middle of the ocean, and then driving in a strange
vehicle through strange streets where the day was as dark as the night. She found this so
puzzling that she moved closer to her father.
"Papa," she said in a low, mysterious little voice which was almost a whisper, "papa."
"What is it, darling?" Captain Crewe answered, holding her closer and looking down into
her face. "What is Sara thinking of?"
"Is this the place?" Sara whispered, cuddling still closer to him. "Is it, papa?"
"Yes, little Sara, it is. We have reached it at last." And though she was only seven years
old, she knew that he felt sad when he said it.
It seemed to her many years since he had begun to prepare her mind for "the place," as
she always called it. Her mother had died when she was born, so she had never known or
missed her. Her young, handsome, rich, petting father seemed to be the only relation she
had in the world. They had always played together and been fond of each other. She only
knew he was rich because she had heard people say so when they thought she was not
listening, and she had also heard them say that when she grew up she would be rich, too.
She did not know all that being rich meant. She had always lived in a beautiful bungalow,
and had been used to seeing many servants who made salaams to her and called her
"Missee Sahib," and gave her her own way in everything. She had had toys and pets and