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|A Little Princess||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
The Diamond Mines
|Page 2 of 7||
"There she is, with that horrid child!" exclaimed Lavinia in a whisper. "If she's so fond of her, why doesn't she keep her in her own room? She will begin howling about something in five minutes."
It happened that Lottie had been seized with a sudden desire to play in the schoolroom, and had begged her adopted parent to come with her. She joined a group of little ones who were playing in a corner. Sara curled herself up in the window-seat, opened a book, and began to read. It was a book about the French Revolution, and she was soon lost in a harrowing picture of the prisoners in the Bastille-- men who had spent so many years in dungeons that when they were dragged out by those who rescued them, their long, gray hair and beards almost hid their faces, and they had forgotten that an outside world existed at all, and were like beings in a dream.
She was so far away from the schoolroom that it was not agreeable to be dragged back suddenly by a howl from Lottie. Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage.
"It makes me feel as if someone had hit me," Sara had told Ermengarde once in confidence. "And as if I want to hit back. I have to remember things quickly to keep from saying something ill-tempered."
She had to remember things quickly when she laid her book on the window-seat and jumped down from her comfortable corner.
Lottie had been sliding across the schoolroom floor, and, having first irritated Lavinia and Jessie by making a noise, had ended by falling down and hurting her fat knee. She was screaming and dancing up and down in the midst of a group of friends and enemies, who were alternately coaxing and scolding her.
"Stop this minute, you cry-baby! Stop this minute!" Lavinia commanded.
"I'm not a cry-baby . . . I'm not!" wailed Lottle. "Sara, Sa--ra!"
"If she doesn't stop, Miss Minchin will hear her," cried Jessie. "Lottie darling, I'll give you a penny!"
"I don't want your penny," sobbed Lottie; and she looked down at the fat knee, and, seeing a drop of blood on it, burst forth again.
Sara flew across the room and, kneeling down, put her arms round her.
"Now, Lottie," she said. "Now, Lottie, you PROMISED Sara."
"She said I was a cry-baby," wept Lottie.
Sara patted her, but spoke in the steady voice Lottie knew.
"But if you cry, you will be one, Lottie pet. You PROMISED>." Lottle remembered that she had promised, but she preferred to lift up her voice.
"I haven't any mamma," she proclaimed. "I haven't--a bit--of mamma."
"Yes, you have," said Sara, cheerfully. "Have you forgotten? Don't you know that Sara is your mamma? Don't you want Sara for your mamma?"
Lottie cuddled up to her with a consoled sniff.
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|A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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