A Little Princess
Ermengarde looked round the attic with a rather fearsome curiosity.
"Sara," she said, "do you think you can bear living here?"
Sara looked round also.
"If I pretend it's quite different, I can," she answered; "or if I pretend it is a place in a
She spoke slowly. Her imagination was beginning to work for her. It had not worked for
her at all since her troubles had come upon her. She had felt as if it had been stunned.
"Other people have lived in worse places. Think of the Count of Monte Cristo in the
dungeons of the Chateau d'If. And think of the people in the Bastille!"
"The Bastille," half whispered Ermengarde, watching her and beginning to be fascinated.
She remembered stories of the French Revolution which Sara had been able to fix in her
mind by her dramatic relation of them. No one but Sara could have done it.
A well-known glow came into Sara's eyes.
"Yes," she said, hugging her knees, "that will be a good place to pretend about. I am a
prisoner in the Bastille. I have been here for years and years--and years; and everybody
has forgotten about me. Miss Minchin is the jailer--and Becky"--a sudden light adding
itself to the glow in her eyes--"Becky is the prisoner in the next cell."
She turned to Ermengarde, looking quite like the old Sara.
"I shall pretend that," she said; "and it will be a great comfort."
Ermengarde was at once enraptured and awed.
"And will you tell me all about it?" she said. "May I creep up here at night, whenever it is
safe, and hear the things you have made up in the day? It will seem as if we were more
`best friends' than ever."
"Yes," answered Sara, nodding. "Adversity tries people, and mine has tried you and
proved how nice you are."