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|A Little Princess||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
"It Is the Child!"
|Page 1 of 5||
The next afternoon three members of the Large Family sat in the Indian gentleman's library, doing their best to cheer him up. They had been allowed to come in to perform this office because he had specially invited them. He had been living in a state of suspense for some time, and today he was waiting for a certain event very anxiously. This event was the return of Mr. Carmichael from Moscow. His stay there had been prolonged from week to week. On his first arrival there, he had not been able satisfactorily to trace the family he had gone in search of. When he felt at last sure that he had found them and had gone to their house, he had been told that they were absent on a journey. His efforts to reach them had been unavailing, so he had decided to remain in Moscow until their return. Mr. Carrisford sat in his reclining chair, and Janet sat on the floor beside him. He was very fond of Janet. Nora had found a footstool, and Donald was astride the tiger's head which ornamented the rug made of the animal's skin. It must be owned that he was riding it rather violently.
"Don't chirrup so loud, Donald," Janet said. "When you come to cheer an ill person up you don't cheer him up at the top of your voice. Perhaps cheering up is too loud, Mr. Carrisford?" turning to the Indian gentleman.
But he only patted her shoulder.
"No, it isn't," he answered. "And it keeps me from thinking too much."
"I'm going to be quiet," Donald shouted. "We'll all be as quiet as mice."
"Mice don't make a noise like that," said Janet.
Donald made a bridle of his handkerchief and bounced up and down on the tiger's head.
"A whole lot of mice might," he said cheerfully. "A thousand mice might."
"I don't believe fifty thousand mice would," said Janet, severely; "and we have to be as quiet as one mouse."
Mr. Carrisford laughed and patted her shoulder again.
"Papa won't be very long now," she said. "May we talk about the lost little girl?"
"I don't think I could talk much about anything else just now," the Indian gentleman answered, knitting his forehead with a tired look.
"We like her so much," said Nora. "We call her the little un-fairy princess."
"Why?" the Indian gentleman inquired, because the fancies of the Large Family always made him forget things a little.
It was Janet who answered.
"It is because, though she is not exactly a fairy, she will be so rich when she is found that she will be like a princess in a fairy tale. We called her the fairy princess at first, but it didn't quite suit."
"Is it true," said Nora, "that her papa gave all his money to a friend to put in a mine that had diamonds in it, and then the friend thought he had lost it all and ran away because he felt as if he was a robber?"
"But he wasn't really, you know," put in Janet, hastily.
The Indian gentleman took hold of her hand quickly.
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|A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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