A Little Princess
much worn to be used downstairs had been sent up. Under the skylight in the roof, which
showed nothing but an oblong piece of dull gray sky, there stood an old battered red
footstool. Sara went to it and sat down. She seldom cried. She did not cry now. She laid
Emily across her knees and put her face down upon her and her arms around her, and sat
there, her little black head resting on the black draperies, not saying one word, not
making one sound.
And as she sat in this silence there came a low tap at the door-- such a low, humble one
that she did not at first hear it, and, indeed, was not roused until the door was timidly
pushed open and a poor tear-smeared face appeared peeping round it. It was Becky's face,
and Becky had been crying furtively for hours and rubbing her eyes with her kitchen
apron until she looked strange indeed.
"Oh, miss," she said under her breath. "Might I--would you allow me--jest to come in?"
Sara lifted her head and looked at her. She tried to begin a smile, and somehow she could
not. Suddenly--and it was all through the loving mournfulness of Becky's streaming eyes-
-her face looked more like a child's not so much too old for her years. She held out her
hand and gave a little sob.
"Oh, Becky," she said. "I told you we were just the same--only two little girls--just two
little girls. You see how true it is. There's no difference now. I'm not a princess anymore."
Becky ran to her and caught her hand, and hugged it to her breast, kneeling beside her
and sobbing with love and pain.
"Yes, miss, you are," she cried, and her words were all broken. "Whats'ever 'appens to
you--whats'ever--you'd be a princess all the same--an' nothin' couldn't make you nothin'