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A Little Princess

Miss Minchin was scandalized. She glanced from one figure to the other.
"My dear Sara," she said, "Becky is the scullery maid. Scullery maids--er--are not little
girls."
It really had not occurred to her to think of them in that light. Scullery maids were
machines who carried coal scuttles and made fires.
"But Becky is," said Sara. "And I know she would enjoy herself. Please let her stay--
because it is my birthday."
Miss Minchin replied with much dignity:
"As you ask it as a birthday favor--she may stay. Rebecca, thank Miss Sara for her great
kindness."
Becky had been backing into the corner, twisting the hem of her apron in delighted
suspense. She came forward, bobbing curtsies, but between Sara's eyes and her own there
passed a gleam of friendly understanding, while her words tumbled over each other.
"Oh, if you please, miss! I'm that grateful, miss! I did want to see the doll, miss, that I
did. Thank you, miss. And thank you, ma'am,"--turning and making an alarmed bob to
Miss Minchin-- "for letting me take the liberty."
Miss Minchin waved her hand again--this time it was in the direction of the corner near
the door.
"Go and stand there," she commanded. "Not too near the young ladies."
Becky went to her place, grinning. She did not care where she was sent, so that she might
have the luck of being inside the room, instead of being downstairs in the scullery, while
these delights were going on. She did not even mind when Miss Minchin cleared her
throat ominously and spoke again.
"Now, young ladies, I have a few words to say to you," she announced.
"She's going to make a speech," whispered one of the girls. "I wish it was over."
Sara felt rather uncomfortable. As this was her party, it was probable that the speech was
about her. It is not agreeable to stand in a schoolroom and have a speech made about you.
"You are aware, young ladies," the speech began--for it was a speech--"that dear Sara is
eleven years old today."
"DEAR Sara!" murmured Lavinia.
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