A Little Princess
The Diamond Mines
Not very long after this a very exciting thing happened. Not only Sara, but the entire
school, found it exciting, and made it the chief subject of conversation for weeks after it
occurred. In one of his letters Captain Crewe told a most interesting story. A friend who
had been at school with him when he was a boy had unexpectedly come to see him in
India. He was the owner of a large tract of land upon which diamonds had been found,
and he was engaged in developing the mines. If all went as was confidently expected, he
would become possessed of such wealth as it made one dizzy to think of; and because he
was fond of the friend of his school days, he had given him an opportunity to share in this
enormous fortune by becoming a partner in his scheme. This, at least, was what Sara
gathered from his letters. It is true that any other business scheme, however magnificent,
would have had but small attraction for her or for the schoolroom; but "diamond mines"
sounded so like the Arabian Nights that no one could be indifferent. Sara thought them
enchanting, and painted pictures, for Ermengarde and Lottie, of labyrinthine passages in
the bowels of the earth, where sparkling stones studded the walls and roofs and ceilings,
and strange, dark men dug them out with heavy picks. Ermengarde delighted in the story,
and Lottie insisted on its being retold to her every evening. Lavinia was very spiteful
about it, and told Jessie that she didn't believe such things as diamond mines existed.
"My mamma has a diamond ring which cost forty pounds," she said. "And it is not a big
one, either. If there were mines full of diamonds, people would be so rich it would be
"Perhaps Sara will be so rich that she will be ridiculous," giggled Jessie.
"She's ridiculous without being rich," Lavinia sniffed.
"I believe you hate her," said Jessie.
"No, I don't," snapped Lavinia. "But I don't believe in mines full of diamonds."
"Well, people have to get them from somewhere," said Jessie. "Lavinia," with a new
giggle, "what do you think Gertrude says?"
"I don't know, I'm sure; and I don't care if it's something more about that everlasting
"Well, it is. One of her `pretends' is that she is a princess. She plays it all the time--even
in school. She says it makes her learn her lessons better. She wants Ermengarde to be
one, too, but Ermengarde says she is too fat."
"She IS too fat," said Lavinia. "And Sara is too thin."
Naturally, Jessie giggled again.