Frances Burnett.

A Little Princess: Being the whole story of Sara Crewe now told for the first time





A little later the carriage drew up before the door of the bakers shop, and its occupants got out, oddly enough, just as the bun-woman was putting a tray of smoking-hot buns into the window.

When Sara entered the shop the woman turned and looked at her, and, leaving the buns, came and stood behind the counter. For a moment she looked at Sara very hard indeed, and then her good-natured face lighted up.

Im sure that I remember you, miss, she said. And yet

Yes, said Sara; once you gave me six buns for fourpence, and

And you gave five of em to a beggar child, the woman broke in on her. Ive always remembered it. I couldnt make it out at first. She turned round to the Indian gentleman and spoke her next words to him. I beg your pardon, sir, but theres not many young people that notices a hungry face in that way; and Ive thought of it many a time. Excuse the liberty, miss, to Sara, but you look rosier and well, better than you did that that

I am better, thank you, said Sara. And I am much happier and I have come to ask you to do something for me.

Me, miss! exclaimed the bun-woman, smiling cheerfully. Why, bless you! yes, miss. What can I do?

And then Sara, leaning on the counter, made her little proposal concerning the dreadful days and the hungry waifs and the hot buns.

The woman watched her, and listened with an astonished face.

Why, bless me! she said again when she had heard it all; itll be a pleasure to me to do it. I am a working-woman myself and cannot afford to do much on my own account, and theres sights of trouble on every side; but, if youll excuse me, Im bound to say Ive given away many a bit of bread since that wet afternoon, just along o thinking of you an how wet an cold you was, an how hungry you looked; an yet you gave away your hot buns as if you was a princess.

The Indian gentleman smiled involuntarily at this, and Sara smiled a little, too, remembering what she had said to herself when she put the buns down on the ravenous childs ragged lap.

She looked so hungry, she said. She was even hungrier than I was.

She was starving, said the woman. Manys the time shes told me of it since how she sat there in the wet, and felt as if a wolf was a-tearing at her poor young insides.

Oh, have you seen her since then? exclaimed Sara. Do you know where she is?

Yes, I do, answered the woman, smiling more good-naturedly than ever. Why, shes in that there back room, miss, an has been for a month; an a decent, well-meanin girl shes goin to turn out, an such a help to me in the shop an in the kitchen as youd scarce believe, knowin how shes lived.

She stepped to the door of the little back parlor and spoke; and the next minute a girl came out and followed her behind the counter. And actually it was the beggar-child, clean and neatly clothed, and looking as if she had not been hungry for a long time.

She looked shy, but she had a nice face, now that she was no longer a savage, and the wild look had gone from her eyes. She knew Sara in an instant, and stood and looked at her as if she could never look enough.

You see, said the woman, I told her to come when she was hungry, and when shed come Id give her odd jobs to do; an I found she was willing, and somehow I got to like her; and the end of it was, Ive given her a place an a home, and she helps me, an behaves well, an is as thankful as a girl can be. Her names Anne. She has no other.

The children stood and looked at each other for a few minutes; and then Sara took her hand out of her muff and held it out across the counter, and Anne took it, and they looked straight into each others eyes.

I am so glad, Sara said. And I have just thought of something. Perhaps Mrs. Brown will let you be the one to give the buns and bread to the children. Perhaps you would like to do it because you know what it is to be hungry, too.

Yes, miss, said the girl.

And, somehow, Sara felt as if she understood her, though she said so little, and only stood still and looked and looked after her as she went out of the shop with the Indian gentleman, and they got into the carriage and drove away.

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