Becky ran to her and caught her hand, and hugged it to her breast, kneeling beside her and sobbing with love and pain. (7.205)
Nothing compares to the pain of learning that her papa has died, and even Becky feels terrible for Sara. Well, we say "even," but it actually seems at this point like Becky might be the only one.
Added to this, she had been deprived of her dinner, because Miss Minchin had chosen to punish her. She was so cold and hungry and tired that her face began to have a pinched look, and now and then some kind-hearted person passing her in the street glanced at her with sudden sympathy. (13.10)
Life at Miss Minchin's school is certainly not as rosy as it was in the beginning, with all those sumptuous fabrics, toys and books. (And you know it's bad when random strangers feel sorry for you.)
Just to look at her made Sara more hungry and faint. (13.32)
As if there weren't enough things to make Sara hungry and faint already! But this is how we know Sara is a true princess: she suffers along with the populace.
"Sara," she said in a timid, almost awe-stricken voice, "are—are —you never told me—I don't want to be rude, but—are YOU ever hungry?" (15.99)
Well, duh, Ermengarde. Duh. But we can't really blame Ermengarde: she's a loyal and true friend, but she has literally no imagination. If she's not hungry, she can't imagine that anyone else would be.
"There isn't any banquet left, Emily," she said. "And there isn't any princess. There is nothing left but the prisoners in the Bastille." And she sat down and hid her face. (15.224)
When the magic has come and gone, it's just Sara in her sad, lonely little attic. Super depressing, Shmoopers. But wait! This may be the darkest moment yet—which means that dawn can't be far behind.
She suddenly felt so tired—perhaps through want of food—that she sat down on the edge of the bed quite weakly. (15.228)
Noooo! Just hold on for a few more hours, Sara: help is on the way.
But after yesterday's deprivation of meals, the violent scene of last night, the prospect of hunger today, she must surely have broken down. It would be strange indeed if she did not come downstairs with pale cheeks and red eyes and an unhappy, humbled face. (16.24)
Wow, Miss Minchin really wins Villain of the Year Award. All she wants is to see a little girl look "broken"—so you have to wonder why so many parents are entrusting their children to her.
He was himself so well and happy, and so surrounded by cheerfulness and love, that desolation and broken health seemed pitifully unbearable things. (17.37)
It's not just the poor who suffer. Even though Mr. Carrisford has all the money in the world, he's utterly miserable.
"As to starving in the streets," he said," She might have starved more comfortably there than your attic." (18.60)
Touché, Mr. Carrisford. Touché, indeed. (Although probably not true, actually. We do hate to say it, though.)
"I WAS supposing," she said. "I was remembering that hungry day, and a child I saw." (19.13)
Even when she's as rich as a real princess (and probably richer than some), Sara will never forget her hungriest and most miserable days.