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|A Little Princess||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|Page 6 of 6||
"Is that--" she ventured, looking longingly at the rose-colored frock. And she asked it almost in a whisper. "Is that there your best?"
"It is one of my dancing-frocks," answered Sara. "I like it, don't you?"
For a few seconds Becky was almost speechless with admiration. Then she said in an awed voice, "Onct I see a princess. I was standin' in the street with the crowd outside Covin' Garden, watchin' the swells go inter the operer. An' there was one everyone stared at most. They ses to each other, `That's the princess.' She was a growed-up young lady, but she was pink all over-- gownd an' cloak, an' flowers an' all. I called her to mind the minnit I see you, sittin' there on the table, miss. You looked like her."
"I've often thought," said Sara, in her reflecting voice, "that I should like to be a princess; I wonder what it feels like. I believe I will begin pretending I am one."
Becky stared at her admiringly, and, as before, did not understand her in the least. She watched her with a sort of adoration. Very soon Sara left her reflections and turned to her with a new question.
"Becky," she said, "weren't you listening to that story?"
"Yes, miss," confessed Becky, a little alarmed again. "I knowed I hadn't orter, but it was that beautiful I--I couldn't help it."
"I liked you to listen to it," said Sara. "If you tell stories, you like nothing so much as to tell them to people who want to listen. I don't know why it is. Would you like to hear the rest?"
Becky lost her breath again.
"Me hear it?" she cried. "Like as if I was a pupil, miss! All about the Prince--and the little white Mer-babies swimming about laughing-- with stars in their hair?"
"You haven't time to hear it now, I'm afraid," she said; "but if you will tell me just what time you come to do my rooms, I will try to be here and tell you a bit of it every day until it is finished. It's a lovely long one--and I'm always putting new bits to it."
"Then," breathed Becky, devoutly, "I wouldn't mind HOW heavy the coal boxes was--or WHAT the cook done to me, if--if I might have that to think of."
"You may," said Sara. "I'll tell it ALL to you."
When Becky went downstairs, she was not the same Becky who had staggered up, loaded down by the weight of the coal scuttle. She had an extra piece of cake in her pocket, and she had been fed and warmed, but not only by cake and fire. Something else had warmed and fed her, and the something else was Sara.
When she was gone Sara sat on her favorite perch on the end of her table. Her feet were on a chair, her elbows on her knees, and her chin in her hands.
"If I WAS a princess--a REAL princess," she murmured, "I could scatter largess to the populace. But even if I am only a pretend princess, I can invent little things to do for people. Things like this. She was just as happy as if it was largess. I'll pretend that to do things people like is scattering largess. I've scattered largess."
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|A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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