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A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Visitor

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"Perhaps someone has left her a fortune," Jessie whispered. "I always thought something would happen to her. She's so queer."

"Perhaps the diamond mines have suddenly appeared again," said Lavinia, scathingly. "Don't please her by staring at her in that way, you silly thing."

"Sara," broke in Miss Minchin's deep voice, "come and sit here."

And while the whole schoolroom stared and pushed with elbows, and scarcely made any effort to conceal its excited curiosity, Sara went to her old seat of honor, and bent her head over her books.

That night, when she went to her room, after she and Becky had eaten their supper she sat and looked at the fire seriously for a long time.

"Are you making something up in your head, miss?" Becky inquired with respectful softness. When Sara sat in silence and looked into the coals with dreaming eyes it generally meant that she was making a new story. But this time she was not, and she shook her head.

"No," she answered. "I am wondering what I ought to do."

Becky stared--still respectfully. She was filled with something approaching reverence for everything Sara did and said.

"I can't help thinking about my friend," Sara explained. "If he wants to keep himself a secret, it would be rude to try and find out who he is. But I do so want him to know how thankful I am to him-- and how happy he has made me. Anyone who is kind wants to know when people have been made happy. They care for that more than for being thanked. I wish--I do wish--"

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She stopped short because her eyes at that instant fell upon something standing on a table in a corner. It was something she had found in the room when she came up to it only two days before. It was a little writing-case fitted with paper and envelopes and pens and ink.

"Oh," she exclaimed, "why did I not think of that before?"

She rose and went to the corner and brought the case back to the fire.

"I can write to him," she said joyfully, "and leave it on the table. Then perhaps the person who takes the things away will take it, too. I won't ask him anything. He won't mind my thanking him, I feel sure."

So she wrote a note. This is what she said:

I hope you will not think it is impolite that I should write this note to you when you wish to keep yourself a secret. Please believe I do not mean to be impolite or try to find out anything at all; only I want to thank you for being so kind to me--so heavenly kind-- and making everything like a fairy story. I am so grateful to you, and I am so happy--and so is Becky. Becky feels just as thankful as I do-- it is all just as beautiful and wonderful to her as it is to me. We used to be so lonely and cold and hungry, and now--oh, just think what you have done for us! Please let me say just these words. It seems as if I OUGHT to say them. THANK you--THANK you--THANK you!

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A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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