"I wish we could be 'best friends.' Would you have me for yours? You're clever and I'm the stupidest child in the school, but I—oh, I do so like you!" (3.68)
And then, Ermengarde gives her half of a heart necklace. Sara and Ermengarde feel a kinship toward each other even though everyone else thinks they're weird (for different reasons). Loners unite, right?
… and Sara saw her and was so sorry for her that she began rather to like her and want to be her friend. (3.4)
Ah, the beginnings of a beautiful friendship: pity. No but really, Sara and Ermengarde are meant to be BFFs.
"May I creep up here at night, whenever it is safe, and hear all the things you have made up in the day? It will seem as if we were more 'best friends' than ever." (8.75)
Ermengarde is even willing to risk the ire of the very scary Miss Minchin in order to keep up her friendship with Sara. She may not be smart or pretty, but she's a really good friend—as good a friend as Sara herself is. Which makes her a princess of her own, right?
The first, it must be owned, was Becky—just Becky. Throughout all that first night spent in the garret, she had felt a vague comfort in knowing that on the other side of the wall in which the rats scuffled and squeaked there was another young human creature. (8.23)
You know you've hit a low point when you're stoked to know that there's another person in a dingy attic who's just as miserable as you are.
But there were hours when her child heart might almost have broken with loneliness but for three people. (8.22)
If it weren't for Ermengarde, Becky and Lottie, Sara would have no one to talk to but a doll and a rat (literally). So, thank goodness for friends.
"Ernie!" she said. "Let us pretend! Let us pretend it's a party! And oh, won't you invite the prisoner in the next cell?" (15.118)
Ain't no party like a secret attic party! And it really is a good party. In fact, this secret attic party sounds nicer than Sara's fancy 11th birthday—at least, there's a lot more love. (Slightly less cake, though.)
It was better than to go into the room alone and find it empty and desolate. The mere presence of plump, comfortable Ermengarde, wrapped in her red shawl, would warm it a little. (15.21)
Even when you're freezing cold, it's nice to have a good friend to warm your spirits. (Although, Ermie, that shawl would probably help, too.)
"I can write to him," she said joyfully, "and leave it on the table. Then perhaps the person who takes the things away will take it, too. I won't ask him anything. He won't mind my thanking him, I feel sure." (16.84)
Check out how Sara is even nervous about thanking her mysterious benefactor, just in case he doesn't even want to be acknowledged. Pro tip, Shmoopers: always write your thank-you notes.
"Nice monkey! Nice monkey!" she crooned, kissing his funny head. "Oh, I do love little animal things." (16.110)
Sara is a regular Snow White when it comes to the number of animal friends she has: rats, monkeys, and sparrows.
"Then it is you who are my friend," she said; "It is you who are my friend!" And she dropped her face on his thin hand and kissed it again and again. (18.23)
The story begins with a fake friend—Emily—and it ends with a very real friend: Mr. Carrisford, who she finds is not her father's "wicked" friend but her mysterious and very wealthy friend.