A Little Princess HTML version

Never had such joy reigned in the nursery of the Large Family. Never had they dreamed
of such delights as resulted from an intimate acquaintance with the little-girl-who-was-
not-a-beggar. The mere fact of her sufferings and adventures made her a priceless
possession. Everybody wanted to be told over and over again the things which had
happened to her. When one was sitting by a warm fire in a big, glowing room, it was
quite delightful to hear how cold it could be in an attic. It must be admitted that the attic
was rather delighted in, and that its coldness and bareness quite sank into insignificance
when Melchisedec was remembered, and one heard about the sparrows and things one
could see if one climbed on the table and stuck one's head and shoulders out of the
Of course the thing loved best was the story of the banquet and the dream which was true.
Sara told it for the first time the day after she had been found. Several members of the
Large Family came to take tea with her, and as they sat or curled up on the hearth-rug she
told the story in her own way, and the Indian gentleman listened and watched her. When
she had finished she looked up at him and put her hand on his knee.
"That is my part," she said. "Now won't you tell your part of it, Uncle Tom?" He had
asked her to call him always "Uncle Tom." "I don't know your part yet, and it must be
So he told them how, when he sat alone, ill and dull and irritable, Ram Dass had tried to
distract him by describing the passers by, and there was one child who passed oftener
than any one else; he had begun to be interested in her--partly perhaps because he was
thinking a great deal of a little girl, and partly because Ram Dass had been able to relate
the incident of his visit to the attic in chase of the monkey. He had described its cheerless
look, and the bearing of the child, who seemed as if she was not of the class of those who
were treated as drudges and servants. Bit by bit, Ram Dass had made discoveries
concerning the wretchedness of her life. He had found out how easy a matter it was to
climb across the few yards of roof to the skylight, and this fact had been the beginning of
all that followed.
"Sahib," he had said one day, "I could cross the slates and make the child a fire when she
is out on some errand. When she returned, wet and cold, to find it blazing, she would
think a magician had done it."
The idea had been so fanciful that Mr. Carrisford's sad face had lighted with a smile, and
Ram Dass had been so filled with rapture that he had enlarged upon it and explained to
his master how simple it would be to accomplish numbers of other things. He had shown
a childlike pleasure and invention, and the preparations for the carrying out of the plan
had filled many a day with interest which would otherwise have dragged wearily. On the
night of the frustrated banquet Ram Dass had kept watch, all his packages being in
readiness in the attic which was his own; and the person who was to help him had waited
with him, as interested as himself in the odd adventure. Ram Dass had been lying flat
upon the slates, looking in at the skylight, when the banquet had come to its disastrous