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|A Little Princess||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
The Diamond Mines Again
|Page 3 of 13||
"Thank you, Sara!" it said, and it must be confessed that Lottie jumped up and down. Sara looked rather shy for a moment. She made a curtsy--and it was a very nice one.
"Thank you," she said, "for coming to my party."
"Very pretty, indeed, Sara," approved Miss Minchin. "That is what a real princess does when the populace applauds her. Lavinia"--scathingly-- "the sound you just made was extremely like a snort. If you are jealous of your fellow-pupil, I beg you will express your feelings in some more lady-like manner. Now I will leave you to enjoy yourselves."
The instant she had swept out of the room the spell her presence always had upon them was broken. The door had scarcely closed before every seat was empty. The little girls jumped or tumbled out of theirs; the older ones wasted no time in deserting theirs. There was a rush toward the boxes. Sara had bent over one of them with a delighted face.
"These are books, I know," she said.
The little children broke into a rueful murmur, and Ermengarde looked aghast.
"Does your papa send you books for a birthday present?" she exclaimed. "Why, he's as bad as mine. Don't open them, Sara."
"I like them," Sara laughed, but she turned to the biggest box. When she took out the Last Doll it was so magnificent that the children uttered delighted groans of joy, and actually drew back to gaze at it in breathless rapture.
"She is almost as big as Lottie," someone gasped.
Lottie clapped her hands and danced about, giggling.
"She's dressed for the theater," said Lavinia. "Her cloak is lined with ermine."
"Oh," cried Ermengarde, darting forward, "she has an opera-glass in her hand--a blue-and-gold one!"
"Here is her trunk," said Sara. "Let us open it and look at her things."
She sat down upon the floor and turned the key. The children crowded clamoring around her, as she lifted tray after tray and revealed their contents. Never had the schoolroom been in such an uproar. There were lace collars and silk stockings and handkerchiefs; there was a jewel case containing a necklace and a tiara which looked quite as if they were made of real diamonds; there was a long sealskin and muff, there were ball dresses and walking dresses and visiting dresses; there were hats and tea gowns and fans. Even Lavinia and Jessie forgot that they were too elderly to care for dolls, and uttered exclamations of delight and caught up things to look at them.
"Suppose," Sara said, as she stood by the table, putting a large, black-velvet hat on the impassively smiling owner of all these splendors--"suppose she understands human talk and feels proud of being admired."
"You are always supposing things," said Lavinia, and her air was very superior.
"I know I am," answered Sara, undisturbedly. "I like it. There is nothing so nice as supposing. It's almost like being a fairy. If you suppose anything hard enough it seems as if it were real."
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|A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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