A Little Princess: Being the whole story of Sara Crewe now told for the first time
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A little later the carriage drew up before the door of the bakerТs 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.
УIТm sure that I remember you, miss,Ф she said. УAnd yet Ц Ф
УYes,Ф said Sara; Уonce you gave me six buns for fourpence, and Ц Ф
УAnd you gave five of Тem to a beggar child,Ф the woman broke in on her. УIТve always remembered it. I couldnТt make it out at first.Ф She turned round to the Indian gentleman and spoke her next words to him. УI beg your pardon, sir, but thereТs not many young people that notices a hungry face in that way; and IТve thought of it many a time. Excuse the liberty, miss,Ф Ц to Sara,†Ц Уbut you look rosier and Ц well, better than you did that Ц that Ц Ф
УI am better, thank you,Ф said Sara. УAnd Ц I am much happier Ц and I have come to ask you to do something for me.Ф
УMe, miss!Ф exclaimed the bun-woman, smiling cheerfully. УWhy, bless you! yes, miss. What can I do?Ф
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.
УWhy, bless me!Ф she said again when she had heard it all; УitТll 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 thereТs sights of trouble on every side; but, if youТll excuse me, IТm bound to say IТve given away many a bit of bread since that wet afternoon, just along oТ thinking of you Ц anТ how wet anТ cold you was, anТ how hungry you looked; anТ yet you gave away your hot buns as if you was a princess.Ф
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 childТs ragged lap.
УShe looked so hungry,Ф she said. УShe was even hungrier than I was.Ф
УShe was starving,Ф said the woman. УManyТs the time sheТs told me of it since Ц how she sat there in the wet, and felt as if a wolf was a-tearing at her poor young insides.Ф
УOh, have you seen her since then?Ф exclaimed Sara. УDo you know where she is?Ф
УYes, I do,Ф answered the woman, smiling more good-naturedly than ever. УWhy, sheТs in that there back room, miss, anТ has been for a month; anТ a decent, well-meaninТ girl sheТs goinТ to turn out, anТ such a help to me in the shop anТ in the kitchen as youТd scarce believe, knowinТ how sheТs lived.Ф
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.
УYou see,Ф said the woman, УI told her to come when she was hungry, and when sheТd come IТd give her odd jobs to do; anТ I found she was willing, and somehow I got to like her; and the end of it was, IТve given her a place anТ a home, and she helps me, anТ behaves well, anТ is as thankful as a girl can be. Her nameТs Anne. She has no other.Ф
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 otherТs eyes.
УI am so glad,Ф Sara said. УAnd 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.Ф
УYes, miss,Ф 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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