I am almost ashamed to admit that seeing my sister at the window, her back hunched, shoulders drooping in defeat, gives me a sort of savage satisfaction. I do not need to look past her to know that she is seeing Sara Crewe, wrapped warmly against the cold in her rich clothing, entering her beautiful carriage. Yet I draw closer to the window, for I cannot help but look at our former charity student, forced to live as a servant in the attic, like a beggar, and share in her newfound joy. It warms me more than any of her rich furs could.
And there is of course Becky, just behind her. I think I will never forget the morning she left here, a thin little drudge in her threadbare clothing, no longer a small, beaten animal, but her eyes alight with hope and love for her little mistress. Sara knows Becky deserves her own happiness, for I have always suspected it was Becky that helped Sara through those dark days, even when they were cold and starving and filled with hopelessness. For Becky, Sara could never be anything else but a Princess.
I know I am a fool. My sister has called me a fool often enough, and a goose, and I always felt like a goose. It is a goose that is left to do the most disagreeable things. It was left to me to tell little Sara of her father’s death, and to turn her out of her beautiful room filled with the memories of her beloved father while she was in the depths of despair. It was I who stood quietly by while my sister tried to shame her, to break her spirit, while they overworked her, beat her and all but starved her, and was too craven to intervene. For I knew it was wrong and I am still filled remorse that I had not the courage to speak up. I always felt that Sara could see right through us with her clear grey eyes. My hard, selfish worldly sister, and I, the cowardly goose, grovelling before her wealth, but turning our backs on her when she needed kindness the most.
But for all the kindness we neglected to give her, Sara Crewe has in abundance. I do not doubt if she saw me now there would be no resentment in her eyes, they would be filled with nothing but happiness, and she must always share her good fortune. It is with fondness I see them now, no longer the little girls in the attic, but two blessed little girls, with a wonderful new life, just on the other side of the wall.
This is Olga’s copy of A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett. her first copy she read as a little girl is sadly lost, but it was with much happiness she found the same Puffin edition many years later. It gets read just as much now, and Miss Amelia is still an unlikely sort of heroine.
You can visit her blogs at Crickhollow Books and Nerdalicious.