A LITTLE PRINCESS
A LITTLE PRINCESS
Title: A little princess
Writer: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Editor: Xist classics
TIME OF THE STORY
About six years.
Sara Crewe is only seven years old when she leaves her bungalow and her life in India to return in England and go to Miss Milchin’s Seminary for Young Ladies.
Sara is a pretty, clever, odd and solemn little girl, she loves the books, her doll Emily and her tender father.
Her father, Captain Ralph Crewe, is a young and rich man who loves her little daughter and entrust her in Miss Milchin’s hands.
When her papa is gone, Sara felt very alone in the big school, in which she is treated like a little princess because she and her father are rich people.
She’s got richly embroided silk dresses, and plumgy caps, and softy cloaks, and downy showls, and nice little shoes, and pretty sashes, and colourful frocks, and elegant gowns, and silk stocks and gloves, and handchiefs, and a lot of magnific things.
Her beloved doll has got a rich and luxurious wardrobe, too.
Her companion Lavinia invys her, and snobbs her, pretending Sara is only a silly child and that her things are absurd and ridicolus.
One day, a terrible notice comes: Captain Crewe has died, and little Sara is poor and alone.
She’s got only her intimate friend/doll Emily and herself.
Miss Milchin, a cruel, heartless woman, says her that she can stay in the school, but that she’ll has to work for her living.
From that moment, Sara has to work hardly, sleep in a terrible attic full of rats and mices, wear old and shabby dresses, bear orders and scoldings.
Her old companions don’t speak with her anymore now that she isn’t “Princess Sara” and that she’s “a beggar”, Lavinia critizes her, Jessie giggles over her shabbiness and Miss Milchin is stritch and cold.
Sara is alone, and her heart full of sore would break if it wasn’t for her only friends: the doll Emily, the dull and affectionate Ermengarde, poor, sweet, little Becky and the pretty, little, spoiled Lottie.
During the time Sara passes in the attic she makes friend with a rat, the clever, gray-fured, bright-eyed Melchisedec.
He has a family to take care of and Sara fed them with crumbs.
She speaks with him often, and he stays near his hole in the wall, watching at her interested, like he understoods what she’s saying.
Sara is a strong little girl, and has got a big imagination: she likes pretending things, like that the dreadful attic is the Bastille, Becky the prisoner af the next cell and Miss Milchin the jailer.
Slowly, pretending and supposing that things are better than they are in reality becomes for her a way to bear humiliatons, hunger, cold, and to escape from a world that seems sometimes too hard for her little hungry body and her suffering soul.
When she pretends she’s a fairy princess, she can bear everything and everybody.
One day, in the house of the next door, arrive an Indian Gentleman.
He’s got a mistery past, people only know that he’s an Englishman who has lived in India for many time, that he owned diamond mines, but that he has almost lost all his immense fortune for a bad affair.
He’s got a terrible brain fever and he’s almost died, but now he’s better.
Sara grows fond of him because he seems always so ill, unhappy, hopeless, homesick, restless and sad, and she’d like to help him like she was used to do for her beloved papa when he was ill.
Sara doesn’t know that the Indian gentleman is always so restless because he has rouined his best friend, who had put all his money in diamond mines.
His friend is died, leaving his little daugher friendless and penniless.
He doesn’t remember little girl’s name or her age, but only that she’s in a school somewhere.
He thinks she’s in a French school in Paris, but he isn’t sure at all.
He’s always thinking that it’s his fault if the child is ruined and he’d like to help her.
So he’s in search of her disperately, hoping to find her to say her that he’s sorry to everything he’s done and that he wishes to help her.
One day Sara meets Ram Dass, the Indian gentlman’s Lascar, who has a little, peppery monkey.
He grows fond of that poor, pretty, princess-like little girl.
Ram Dass sees how miserable Sara is e how shabby and poor her attic is, so he speaks with his master of her conditions.
The Indian gentleman is sad and restless, so he choses to help that child.
One night, when Sara awake herself, she finds that her attic is totally changed: it’s got a glowing fire with dancing flames in the grate, nice pictures on the walls, a thick rug on the bare floor, soft dawny cushions and a silk coverlet on her narrow bed, an armchair near the warm fire and a pretty table with a hot dinner.
Af first Sara thinks that she’s still dreaming, but when she touchs the things and wears her new beautiful dress she understands that all this is true.
She calls Becky, and they together enjoy all that delights, a little afraid that the next morning the Magic will be broken.
When they get up, the day after, they see that the things are all here: it wasn’t a dream! Sara’s dreams have became true!
From that day, avery times Sara opens the attic door there are new fantastic furniture or objects that make her comfortable.
Quikly the once bare attic has got every sort of nice things into: it’s a little beautiful, warm room.
Though after all she has to work hardly and to run errands, now Sara knows that when at night she’ll go into the attic there will be a filling meal and an alight fire and a warm and soft bed for her, so she isn’t sad anymore.
One day, in a book, she finds these words written in the flyleaf: “I am your friend”.
So she knows that she isn’t completely alone in the world, and that someone cares about her a little: this is sweeter than all the other things.
One night, she hears a scratch from the skylight: she opens it and sees the little Indian gentleman’s monkey.
The day after Sara steals out and goes in the Indian gentleman’s house to give the lovely monkey back to his owner.
The Indian gentleman askes her some questions: she tells him that her father Captain Ralph Crewe is died because he has put all his money into his friend’s diamond mines and when he’s lost his fortune the pain has killed him.
So Indian gentleman understands that Sara is the child he was in search of!
The Indian gentleman calls Miss Milchin to say her that Sara won’t return in her Seminary and that she’ll stay with him.
Miss Milching grows angry, and she understands that for her cruelness she’s lost her best pupil.
The Indian gentleman says Sara that he’s got all her father’s money, and that for some good affairs now they’re tenfold.
From that day in forth Sara lives in the Indian gentleman’s house.
In a very short time they become great friends.
The Indian gentleman (whose real name is Thomas Carrisford, “Uncle Tom” for Sara) is a new man, he recoveres totally from his long illness and becomes a happy, smiling man, full of good thoughts, joy and optimism.
He dearly loves Sara, which becomes the little daughter he has never had.
Sara grows fonder and fonder of him, too, because he reminds her her past papa.
She is his “Little Missus” and quikly he becomes her best friend.
Together they read, speak and remember the past, so they lifes full themselves of happiness and cheerfullness and joy.
Now that she’s rich again, Sara can do avery sort of good things to children who are as poor and hungry as she was.
Becky becomes her personal maid, so that now she isn’t hungry or cold or scold anymore, then Sara says to a bun-woman to give hot-smoking bread to hungry children in cold or foggy or muddy days, and that she’ll pay for them.
I liked this book very much.
It’s delicate, sweet, exciting and the story is deep.
Through Sara and her disaventures, Frances Hodgson Burnett critizes the society of her time and wants to teach children – and at people of every age, too – how important kindness, sweetness and imagining are.
Sara is very similar to me: she loves books and loses herself into them, she likes telling stories, she enjoys studing and teach to people and she likes pretending things that make seem the world better.
She is more gentle and good than me, to speak the truth.
I liked Becky, too.
At the beginning, she’s afraid, lonely and hungry, but when she meets Sara she understands that kindness and laughters are as filling as pieces of cakes.
I didn’t like Ermengarde, she’s too dull, but I liked Lottie because, though she is spoiled and she’s a cry-baby, she needs a mamma, and in Sara she finds a very lovely one.
Finally, I hated Mrs. Milchin and Lavinia, I felt sad for poor silly Miss Amelia, and I loved Sara’s father.
This book is beautiful, and I found in it emotions that I felt only when I read it in Italian, years ago.