Study Guide

A Little Princess

A Little Princess Summary

When the story opens, we see the mushy smushy interactions between a little girl named Sara Crewe and her father (let's call him Papa Crewe), who are extremely sad about an imminent event. The imminent event happens to be the fact that Papa Crewe is shipping Sara off to boarding school in London (the cloudiest, most dreary of all places to be abandoned!) because she simply cannot stay with him in India. It's not good for children because sun is worse than rain, and foreign countries turn good children into savages, or something.

(In case you're wondering: yes. This is racist. In fact, the whole book is a tad racist. We'll get to that.)

Sara arrives at Miss Minchin's Seminary for Girls, which is a fancy boarding school run by a humorless old maid named (you guessed it!) Miss Minchin. Papa Crewe buys her lots of expensive clothes and toys, including a doll named Emily, and then jets off to India again.

Miss Minchin treats her as a star pupil because she's rich, but secretly she has a serious dislike of the little girl because she's intelligent and independent—and Miss Minchin doesn't like to feel threatened in any way. Sara makes friends with a not-too-bright girl named Ermengarde and takes a little girl named Lottie under her wing. She also befriends a scullery maid named Becky and wows everyone with her impressive grasp of the French language. So far, London is a success.

On Sara's eleventh birthday, Miss Minchin plans a huge party and Sara buys a giant doll that she ominously refers to as "the last doll." However, as Sara is celebrating, Papa Crewe's lawyer comes to the boarding school and gives Miss Minchin some unfortunate news—Papa Crewe has died. Penniless. With no money to pay the bills.

Minchin is angry because of the money, but she's delighted because now she can hate Sara openly. Overnight, Sara goes from the richest student at the school to a maid who's forced to sleep in a tiny attic room and perform all sorts of chores. She somehow survives by making up fantastical stories, befriending a rat, and talking to her doll. Yes, she's a pretty weird little girl.

Despite the fact that she's poor, hungry, and cold, Sara still manages to act like a princess, dispensing charity and speaking proper English. Meanwhile, her neighbors—a large family and a rich neighbor with an Indian servant—are watching Sara, who they find very odd and sad.

We get to see inside the Indian man and his house as well—and there is something reallllly interesting going on! The Indian man happens to be searching for the child of his friend, Ralph Crewe, who was also his business partner in diamond mines. Basically, the kid of this Ralph Crewe fellow is going to be stinking rich when this Indian guy finds her. Hm, Ralph Crewe. Something about that sounds familiar … Oh, hey, it's Sara's dad! Unfortunately, the man is totally on the wrong track, searching in France and Russia.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, Sara has gotten herself into big trouble. Miss Minchin punishes her severely, taking away the meager scraps of food that she's been living on. Sara goes to bed hungry and upset, but when she wakes up in the morning, she sees that her room has been magically visited and is full of nice things, a warm fire, and filling food. Magic and sorcery!

This whole "elves in the night" thing continues for a while and Sara and Becky are not quite so starved anymore, which bothers Miss Minchin because she's a total witch, and not in the cool J. K. Rowling sense.

Then, one day, Sara returns a monkey to her rich neighbor's house. (Really.) When she gets there, the man and his lawyer realize that … wait for it … she's Sara Crewe! Sara comes to live with the man and receives her inheritance, and Miss Minchin is predictably miserable when she realizes she's made a terrible mistake in treating Sara poorly and missing out on all that money she could have had.

So, in the end, the good are rewarded and the bad are punished—just like in a real fairy tale. Happily ever after!

  • Chapter 1

    Sara

    • A little girl named Sara drives through London in a cab with her father, Captain Crewe. They have come to London from India.
    • Sara's mother died when she was born, and she has been living with her rich father in India. But now it's time for her to get educated at boarding school in London.
    • They arrive at Miss Minchin's Seminary for Young Ladies, a respectable big house. Sara doesn't like it at all, but she resolves to be brave.
    • They meet Miss Minchin, who is pretty dull and mean-looking and kisses up to Sara and her rich papa like crazy.
    • Sara's an astute kid, and she doesn't buy any of it. What she really cares about right now is going out and buying Emily—the doll her father has promised to get her in order for her to have a "friend" after he leaves her.
    • You'll notice that Sara has already named Emily, even though Emily doesn't yet actually exist.
    • Sara stays with her dad at his hotel room for a few days, and he buys her lots of fancy and expensive things—including the beloved Emily doll.
    • After buying her love with lots of material things (kidding, we're kidding), Sara's dad drops her off at Miss Minchin's and tells her that his lawyers will pay for all her bills and upkeep. Sweet!
    • Sara sits by the window and watches the cab drive off very sadly. But she doesn't cry, because she wants to be brave like a soldier.
    • This is one of our early clues that Sara is a weird little girl.
    • Miss Minchin's sister Amelia thinks that Sara is a very strange, old-fashioned child and Miss Minchin thinks that her fancy clothes are absolutely ridiculous.
    • Jelly, much?
    • As Captain Crewe drives off, Sara stares at the corner where he disappeared.
    • She may not be crying, but we sure are.
  • Chapter 2

    A French Lesson

    • Sara enters the classroom for the first time the next morning, and everyone checks her out (including her shoes) because she's the new kid.
    • Some of her classmates include: Lavinia Herbert (who is almost 13) and Lottie Leigh (who is only 4).
    • Talk about multi-age classrooms.
    • All the girls have been gossiping about Sara: she has a French maid (named Mariette) and boxes full of ridiculously frilly clothes, canyouevenbelieveit?
    • Oh, and she's been telling tales about how she believes that dolls can talk and walk but only do it when people are out of the room. Who is this girl?
    • Miss Minchin introduces Sara to the rest of the class and tells her that she will be studying French.
    • Sara wants to say that she already knows French, but she doesn't know how to say so and ends up giving Miss Minchin the impression that she's being difficult and doesn't want to learn the language.
    • When the French master, Monsieur Dufarge comes in, Miss Minchin announces to him that Sara does not wish to learn French.
    • However, Sara stands up and begins to explain to Monsieur Dufarge—in perfect French, of course—that she totally does know French, merci beaucoup.
    • Miss Minchin has a secret: she doesn't speak French. So now she's ticked off that Sara didn't tell her, annoyed that she knows she's in the wrong, and also a little resentful of her new pupil.
    • Yeah, this is going to end well.
  • Chapter 3

    Ermengarde

    • Sara may be a weird kid, but Ermengarde St. John has a decidedly weird name. She's not super smart, poor thing, and is blown away by Sara's ability to learn French.
    • Miss Minchin isn't very nice to Ermengarde, and because of this, Sara feels the need to reach out to her.
    • After lessons, Sara introduces herself. Ermengarde goes on about how clever Sara must be because she can speak French.
    • Sara does what any child would upon making a friend (not)—she asks Ermengarde if she'd like to meet Emily, her doll.
    • When she starts to tell fantastical stories about Emily, Ermengarde is amazed at how she's able to just make things up on the fly.
    • Suddenly, Sara looks like she's in pain. Ermengarde asks her what is up with that, and Sara responds that she's in pain because she misses her father.
    • Then, Ermengarde asks Sara if she'd like to be her best friend. Which is not weird at all.
    • Sara agrees. Yay, BFF!
  • Chapter 4

    Lottie

    • Miss Minchin kisses up to Sara all the time and compliments her because she wants her to stay at the boarding school—on account of all that money, of course.
    • Whenever parents come, Sara is brought out to speak to them as evidence of how good the school is.
    • That's bananas, of course, since Sara hasn't learned a thing at the school.
    • Lavinia is super jealous of Sara, Mean Girls-style. She wants to stay the queen bee and thinks that Sara's habit of playing pretend and making up stories is completely silly.
    • However, Sara is super friendly and kind to all the students so obviously they like her more. She even has tea parties for them in her room.
    • One little girl, Lottie Leigh, is prone to tantrums and constantly uses the fact that her mother is dead as a bargaining chip.
    • One day when she's having a tantrum that Miss Amelia and Miss Minchin can't deal with, Sara volunteers to to calm her down.
    • Sara lets her cry and then calmly informs Lottie that she doesn't have a mother either. Both their mothers are in heaven and that it is an absolutely beautiful and angelic place.
    • Sara says that she will be Lottie's mama at the school, and takes her to go wash her face and brush her hair.
  • Chapter 5

    Becky

    • Sara's been at the school for two years now (which makes her eleven, for those keeping track.)
    • As she's getting out of the carriage one day, she sees a little dingy figure standing on the stairs and watching her. Sara smiles at the person, who runs away.
    • Later that day, she sees the same girl enter the room as she's telling stories to the other pupils about mermaids.
    • Lavinia points out snottily that the girl has been listening, and the girl runs away. When Sara is annoyed, Lavinia says that it's unseemly to tell stories to servant girls.
    • (Because why, exactly?)
    • When Sara gets back to her room, she asks Mariette who the girl is. It turns out she's a scullery maid who does all sorts of nasty chores for the household.
    • A few weeks later, Sara comes into her room to see Becky asleep on the chair. She lets her sleep for a while, but Becky wakes up and is totally horrified.
    • Sara assures her that it's okay and even invites her to sit down and have a slice of cake.
    • Then she says that Becky can listen to her stories any time she wants to.
    • Is your heart warmed yet?
  • Chapter 6

    The Diamond Mines

    • A little later, Sara gets an exciting letter: her papa is investing in diamond mines! Talk about glamorous.
    • Lavinia, in true Mean Girls fashion, sniffs and huffs and says that they should call Sara "Your Royal Highness."
    • We already don't like Lavinia, but it gets worse when she actually has a tiff with Lottie, who is about a decade younger than she is:
    • Lavinia tells Lottie not to be a baby and to not cry, and Lottie becomes hysterical. However, Sara sweeps in and saves Lottie, who asks her to tell her about the diamond mines.
    • Lavinia says that she'd like to slap Lottie, and Sara retorts that she would slap Lavinia, but she's above that.
    • Of course, Lavinia uses that as an excuse to call Sara a princess.
    • Sara comes towards her, and we're so ready for a fight.
    • But at the last moment, she stops and says, yeah, sometimes she does pretend to be a princess so she'll behave like one.
    • Sara talks to Becky and hears about all sorts of crazy things in the attic where Becky lives—like, there are rats. Blech! Sara feels bad for her and gives her some food.
    • Sara also tells Becky stories.
    • A few weeks before Sara's eleventh birthday, she gets a letter from her father telling her that he's buying her a "Last Doll" (since she's growing so old) and that her birthday is going to be one super duper big party that he'll pay for (naturally).
    • When she wakes up on her birthday, Becky has left her a little package with a pincushion. She says that she loves it, and she and Becky hug.
  • Chapter 7

    The Diamond Mines Again

    • Sara goes into the schoolroom for her big party and even gets Miss Minchin to agree to let Becky stay.
    • Duh, to watch, not to actually participate.
    • Miss Minchin gives a big, fake speech about "dear Sara" and thanks her for coming to the school. Then Sara gets her last doll with a trunkful of fancy clothes for it.
    • However, at the same time, disaster is a'brewing.
    • Captain Crewe's solicitor (that's "lawyer" for all you Americans) comes and demands to talk to Miss Minchin.
    • He says that Captain Crewe is dead and that there were no diamonds in the diamond mines—so now "dear Sara" is both penniless AND an orphan.
    • Sara's big party isn't being paid for and Miss Minchin is going to have to take care of her... forever. Of course she's furious.
    • Miss Minchin tells Miss Amelia, who starts to cry. Becky turns out to be in the room and she starts to cry too.
    • Miss Minchin calls Sara in and tells her that her papa is dead, and she'll have to make herself useful around the school.
    • Wow, not much compassion here.
    • Sara won't be able to keep playing with her dolls or keep all her fancy things.
    • And? She's also going to start sleeping in the attic room next to Becky's.
    • Sara is remarkably calm for a child who's just had her entire world taken away. She trudges up to the attic and lies down in the dingy little room.
    • Then Becky comes in and they both cry together.
  • Chapter 8

    In the Attic

    • Sara is wrecked, obviously, but Miss Minchin wants her to just get on ASAP.
    • She sends away Mariette and takes all of Sara's nice stuff, and then tells her that she's going to sit with the younger children to watch over them and keep them quiet.
    • So Sara pretty much becomes another little drudge at Miss Minchin's school, helping the kids with their lessons, running errands, and doing all sorts of other stuff.
    • Hasn't anyone here heard of child labor laws?!
    • Now that she's a maid, Sara hardly has time to speak to her friends, and a lot of the girls she used to hang out with treat her differently.
    • Lavinia, of course, is delighted.
    • Sara doesn't complain and works very hard, soldiering on through the trenches. (So to speak.)
    • Lucky her, she's got good friends.
    • At night, Sara takes comfort in the fact that Becky is on the other side of the wall, and is always there to make sure that she's okay.
    • Her relationship with Ermengarde is a wee bit more complicated; at first, things are awkward because Sara assumes that Ermengarde is shunning her like the other girls.
    • Then one night, Sara heads up to the attic for bed and sees that there's light coming from underneath her door—creeptastic!
    • When she opens it there's Ermengarde.
    • Ermengarde confronts Sara and asks her why she doesn't like her anymore—and Sara realizes that she's made a rather silly mistake. She had assumed that Ermengarde was judging and shunning her, but really she ended up shunning Ermengarde.
    • The girls reconcile and Sara says that she pretends that she's a prisoner in the Bastille when she's locked up in the attic.
    • Ermengarde asks if she can come up at night sometimes and hear Sara's stories. Of course!
  • Chapter 9

    Melchisedec

    • The other person who helps Sara get through some rough times is Lottie, who adores her and can't figure why Sara looks all shabby now.
    • Lottie somehow gets up to Sara's room and starts crying because it's so bad.
    • (Lottie has also never seen a princess movie, so she doesn't know how this story is going to end.)
    • Sara bravely tells her that the room isn't so bad and that she can see all sorts of things from the attic.
    • They look out the window. The house next door is empty and Sara says she wishes someone lived over there so she'd have someone to talk to.
    • They feed crumbs to the sparrows and Sara talks dreamily about all the amazing things that she can see from up there.
    • She even pretends that her room is full of nice furniture.
    • Lottie is convinced, but Sara isn't quite. Once Lottie leaves, she sits around feeling pretty sorry for herself.
    • Just then, a large rat emerges from the wall with its eye on some of the crumbs that Lottie dropped.
    • Sara doesn't scream like other little girls (and Shmoop) would. Instead, she watches the rat and encourages him to come out.
    • Though he's pretty scared, the rat finally takes the crumbs and then darts back into the wall
    • A week later, Ermengarde comes to join Sara in her room and overhears Sara speaking to someone named Melchisedec.
    • Who is Melchisedec, you (and Ermengarde) ask, and why is his name such a mouthful?
    • Oh, it's just the rat, no biggie.
    • Sara says that she imagines Melchisedec's whole life and his family.
    • Then, they hear a knock from the other room. It's Becky, who communicates with Sara through the wall.
    • Sara tells Ermengarde stories for the rest of the night, and they're all like one big happy family.
  • Chapter 10

    The Indian Gentleman

    • It's dangerous for Ermengarde and Lottie to come visit Sara though, because they'll all get into a lot of trouble if they're ever found out.
    • So Sara goes about her days and does all her errands alone, scurrying around like a little beggar.
    • When she's walking home sometimes, she sees the Large Family, a family that lives near Miss Minchin's school.
    • There are eight children in the house, and they should obviously have their own reality show.
    • They're rich and happy. Sara makes up stories about them and gives them names. She calls them the Montmorencys.
    • One evening, some of the Montmorencys are going to a children's party. Guy Clarence, the five-year-old, stops and sees Sara.
    • He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a sixpence, and gives it to Sara because he thinks she's a beggar girl.
    • She tries to give it back but Guy Clarence insists that she keeps it.
    • She does, even though she feels proud and a little ashamed.
    • The Large Family rides away in their carriage and the other children ask Donald (which is Guy Clarence's real name) why he offered Sara his sixpence.
    • She may be a servant, but she doesn't seem much like a servant—she doesn't act or talk like one, anyway.
    • Sara takes the sixpence and wears it around her neck.
    • One night, she tells Emily that she can't take this anymore. Emily doesn't say anything. Obviously. Because she's a doll.
    • If she did start speaking, this would be a totally different kind of story.
    • Sara knocks Emily off the chair, says that she's nothing but a doll, and starts to cry.
    • But then she feels bad and picks Emily back up again.
    • One day, when coming home, she sees that someone is moving in to the house next door.
    • The furniture being brought in is from India, which Sara is very excited about.
    • As she's watching, she sees the father of the Large Family walk up to the house—and so she realizes that he must know whoever has moved in.
    • Exciting times!
    • That night, Becky says that an Indian gentleman has moved in and he's very rich and ill—and that the Large Family's father is his lawyer.
    • (Brain snack: "Indian" here doesn't mean that he's actually Indian. He's English. He's just been living in India, and probably made his fortune there. Confusing? Yes. But that was a really common way of referring to English people living in India.)
    • It turns out that the new next-door neighbor doesn't have a family, and one day he arrives with the father of the Large Family and a nurse and two men-servants.
    • Lottie says the man is yellow, but Sara corrects her and says that he's just very ill.
  • Chapter 11

    Ram Dass

    • Sara spends her time (when she has any free time) up in the attic looking out onto the roof and into the sky.
    • She's watching the sun set one day when she sees a Lascar (an Indian man-servant) with a monkey climb out onto the roof.
    • They smile at each other.
    • The monkey suddenly breaks loose and runs over to Sara's roof, where it lands on her shoulder and scurries into her attic room.
    • Sara volunteers to help—in Hindustani.
    • The manservant is delighted and tells her that the monkey is disobedient. The manservant's name is Ram Dass, and he works for the man next door.
    • Ram Dass comes over to Sara's attic, catches the monkey, and leaves.
    • Sara is a little embarrassed about how bare and sad her room is, and she thinks about how Miss Minchin will make her stay at the school as a servant forever.
    • The only thing she can do is be princess-like even when she's in rags, because it is that much more of a triumph (and a challenge).
    • She is exceptionally polite to all the servants even when they're awful to her.
    • The next day, she is in the classroom and she suddenly starts laughing.
    • No, there's no joke: she's just thinking about how Miss Minchin would feel if she suddenly found out that Sara was actually a princess.
    • When Miss Minchin demands to know why she's laughing, she tells the truth.
    • Not a good move. Miss Minchin orders her out of the room.
  • Chapter 12

    The Other Side of the Wall

    • Sara likes to imagine what's going on in the house next door with the Indian gentleman.
    • She becomes fond of him even though she doesn't know him and figures out that he's actually an Englishman who had lived in India and went through a series of unfortunate events… having to do with some diamond mines.
    • She tries to send good vibes his way because he seems so sick and unhappy.
    • The Large Family goes to visit the Indian gentleman and they find that the man (named Carrisford) has been looking for a certain child.
    • He's convinced that this child is in Paris because her mother was French and her father was… dun, dun, dun, the one and only Ralph Crewe. That's right, ladies and gentleman, he's looking for Sara Crewe!
    • He wants to find Sara and give her a fortune when he finds her because he was Ralph Crewe's business partner.
    • Carmichael (the Large Family's father) assures Carrisford that they'll find the girl and that he himself will go to Paris to search for her.
    • At the same time Sara is on the other side of the wall talking to Melchisedec, completely unaware that there's a freaking search party for her next door.
  • Chapter 13

    Out of the Populace

    • Winter is coming—and it's no fun for Sara and Becky, who are hungry and cold all the time.
    • Sara tries to keep them warm by telling stories of warm places, but, you know, it's just not the same as a nice toasty fire.
    • While running an errand on a cold, wet day, Sara thinks how nice it would be to find some money, buy some hot buns, and eat them all without stopping.
    • Lo and behold—she finds a fourpenny piece!
    • She's off to find delicious food to stuff into her mouth, but before she gets to the bakery she sees a little street beggar who tells her that she hasn't had food in days.
    • Sara goes inside to buy four buns with her fourpenny piece, but the woman gives her six because she looks so hungry.
    • Outside, Sara gives the beggar child five of the buns, keeping only one for herself.
    • The baker woman comes out and asks the beggar child how many buns Sara gave her, and she can't believe that Sara gave away so many.
    • She tells the beggar child to come indoors and warm herself up, and that she'll give her food, too.
    • That's our Sara, spreading the love.
    • Sara eats tiny pieces of her last bun as she's walking back.
    • As she walks back, the Large Family is saying goodbye to their father and they tell him to find the little girl. Sara wonders who they're looking for.
    • Oh, the irony!
  • Chapter 14

    What Melchisedec Heard and Saw

    • While Sara is out and about for the day, an odd thing happens—and only Melchisedec is there to witness it.
    • Melchisedec is chilling, just minding his own business when the skylight opens and two people crawl through. Oh no! Could it be thieves?!
    • No, it's just Ram Dass and a young man, the Indian gentleman's secretary.
    • They take a look around at her bed (hard as stone), all her sheets (dingy and worn), and the fireplace (never had a fire in it).
    • Meanwhile, the secretary is furiously scribbling things down.
    • It appears that Ram Dass and the Indian gentleman have decided to bring lots of nice things into Sara's room and redecorate it while she is asleep one night.
    • Well, that seems a little bit ambitious. And creepy.
  • Chapter 15

    The Magic

    • Sara passes by the Indian gentleman's house and sees him looking lonely and unhappy. What's he thinking? About little Ralph Crewe's daughter, of course.
    • When she returns, the cook tells her that she's not allowed to have anything to eat but some bread, even though she had no dinner.
    • Sara gets the old, hard bread and climbs all the way up to the attic, where she sees that Ermengarde has paid her a visit.
    • Ermengarde, who isn't much of a reader, has brought Sara some books that her papa sent her.
    • Sara says she'll read them and tell Ermengarde all about them. They talk about the French Revolution.
    • At one moment, Sara thinks she hears something on the roof and Ermengarde is spooked. Downstairs, they can hear Miss Minchin scolding Becky for eating half a meat pie—even though Sara knows that the cook was the one who took it.
    • Ermengarde is perturbed and asks Sara if she's ever hungry, and Sara answers that why yes, she is in fact often very hungry.
    • Oh, what a horrifying thought!
    • Obviously Ermie's a little broken up that she never realized this before, but Sara assures her that she didn't want her to think that she was a street beggar.
    • Thankfully, Ermengarde's aunt has sent her a box full of good food and treats, and she decides to sneak it upstairs and have a party with Sara and Becky!
    • The girls are stoked, and Ermengarde trots off to get it while Sara puts a shawl on the table as a tablecloth and sets the table with her small white handkerchiefs.
    • She takes all sorts of knick-knacks and lays them out so that the table and room look fancier.
    • They pretend that they are having a royal feast in Sara's honor.
    • Its just time for cake when they hear a noise that is definitely not good—the sound of angry stomping footsteps coming up the stairs.
    • Uh-oh, spaghetti-o.
    • It is, of course, the dreaded Miss Minchin. Lavinia snitched.
    • Miss Minchin says that she's going to kick Becky out, and that Sara will have neither breakfast, dinner, nor supper the next day (even though she didn't have dinner or supper today).
    • Sara spits out that she wonders what her papa would say if he knew where she was tonight.
    • Miss Minchin storms out, and Sara finally goes to sleep.
    • As she's sleeping, the manservant next door (Ram Dass) sneaks into her room and turns it into a magical cozy place!
    • When she wakes up, her room is cozy with a crackling fire and lots of fancy things like silk quilts and robes and books, and there's even delicious food for her.
    • Seriously, we want this to be our bedroom.
    • A note says, "to the little girl in the attic. From a friend."
    • Sara starts crying, obviously, and calls Becky over to join her in the room.
    • (Note that Becky doesn't get the nice stuff. We'll talk more about this in "Themes: Society and Class."
  • Chapter 16

    The Visitor

    • For the rest of the evening, Becky and Sara drink tea and eat good food and basically have a jolly good time.
    • Lavinia and Jessie gossip about what's happened at school, and everyone expects that Sara will look very ill and unhappy when she comes downstairs the next morning.
    • But in fact, Sara trots down all happy and healthy, which just makes the grumpy Miss Minchin even nastier and more mean-spirited, because she is literally the worst person in the world.
    • The weather is even worse today, and everyone is just awful to Sara. But she has the Magic—and it doesn't let her down.
    • When she gets back to her room at night, it's even more magically outfitted than before—with a blazing fire, and a bunch of new things like cups and plates.
    • Becky comes over again and they sit around and talk and really have a rather pleasant evening.
    • Day after day, the magic adds pretty things (not to mention good, nourishing food) to Sara's room.
    • One day, Sara receives some large parcels that are filled with beautiful and fancy clothes.
    • Oh, and there's a note that says she has to wear them all the time.
    • This doesn't sit well with Miss Minchin, who is pretty paranoid that someone is looking out for Sara and would be pretty peeved if they found that Sara was being mistreated, overworked, and practically starved.
    • She lets Sara go into the schoolroom in her nice new clothes to learn her lessons with the other students again.
    • You know who else doesn't like this one bit? Yep, Lavinia.
    • When Sara returns to the room, she writes a thank you note and leaves it so that the person who's doing magical things for her will know just how much she appreciates it.
    • And then hears a scratching on the skylight: it's the monkey from next door. He's escaped again!
    • Sara brings him inside. He can sleep there tonight, but she'll take him back to the Indian gentleman tomorrow.
  • Chapter 17

    It Is the Child!

    • The next day, the Large Family is at Mr. Carrisford's house trying to cheer him up because Mr. Carmichael still hasn't found Ralph Crewe's child.
    • Ooh, ooh! Pick us! We know where she is!
    • Anyway, Mr. Carrisford is really bummed out and just about ready to give up.
    • At that very moment, Ram Dass comes in and says that the child from next door has come in to deliver the monkey.
    • (This is going to be good.)
    • Mr. Carrisford says that he'd like to see her—since he's been providing all these nice things for her, after all—and tells her to come in.
    • Sara comes in and says that she will hand it over to the Lascar.
    • When Mr. Carrisford asks how she knows about Lascars, she says she was born in India
    • What a coincidence!
    • Mr. Carrisford suddenly seems extremely interested in Sara's circumstances. He has Mr. Carmichael ask her about how she came to be a scullery maid at Miss Minchin's.
    • Sara says that at first she was a pupil, but then her father lost all his money and died. She says that her father's friend took all his money and that her father's name is Ralph Crewe and he died in India.
    • Everyone freaks out for a moment, and Sara doesn't really know why.
    • Finally they tell her that they've been looking for her this whole time—all two years—and that Mr. Carrisford is her father's friend.
  • Chapter 18

    I Tried Not to Be

    • Mrs. Carmichael explains everything, since, you know, men can't explain anything, right????
    • (J/K. But they really do bring her in to explain, even though she's never appeared in the story before.)
    • Sara asks if Mr. Carrisford was her father's wicked friend.
    • Well, kind of, only he's not actually wicked. He only thought he had lost her father's money and that he was so sad about her father that he too almost died.
    • They also tell her that Ram Dass made all those magical things happen in her attic room.
    • Sara and Mr. Carrisford spend some getting-to-know-you time together.
    • They decide that Sara won't be returning to the seminary (obviously), but before they can tell Miss Minchin she goes over to the house looking for Sara herself.
    • When Miss Minchin arrives, Carrisford informs her that Sara won't be returning.
    • Remember the diamond mines? Yeah, they're real. And Sara has a fortune now.
    • Miss Minchin backpedals faster than Lance Armstrong's supporters, saying that Sara would have starved if it wasn't for her.
    • She tries to appeal to Sara and says that she's always been fond of her, but Sara sees through that trick right quick.
    • Second tactic: Miss Minchin says that Sara will never see her friends again, but Mr. Carmichael steps forward in a totally lawyer-ly way and begs to differ.
    • Finally, Miss Minchin heads home to complain to Miss Amelia, who is oddly unsympathetic and pretty much tells Miss Minchin that she had it coming all along.
    • Ermengarde receives a letter from Sara that explains about the diamond mines and how she's now living with Mr. Carrisford.
    • Becky is very happy for Sara, is sad that she's gone. But when she comes up to her room, Ram Dass is waiting for her and says that she's going to be Sara's servant from now on! Woohoo!!
    • Well, at least it's a step up.
  • Chapter 19

    Anne

    • Sara tells the children in the Large Family all about her story, which they love—especially the part about the magical things that appeared in her attic room.
    • (Sara kind of glosses over the starvation-and-abuse part.)
    • Mr. Carrisford tells his part of the story and says that Ram Dass thought of the idea of sneaking over to Sara's room and making it magical and warm—and that Mr. Carrisford loved how fanciful the idea was.
    • They become great friends, Sara and Mr. Carrisford. He plans all sorts of fun activities, gives her little gifts, and even buys her a dog named Boris.
    • One day, Sara looks thoughtful and Mr. Carrisford asks her what she's thinking about.
    • She says she's thinking about "the hungry day" when she found the fourpence and bought the buns.
    • She wants to go talk to the baker and ask her if she'll give bread to the poor children and send the bill to Sara.
    • The next morning, Sara and Mr. Carrisford and Becky set out to go to the bakery, and Sara has to remind the baker woman about who she is.
    • Then Sara asks her if she'll give food to the hungry children and let Sara pay for it.
    • When the baker woman hears this, she says that she's already doing a bit of that.
    • Oh, and she took in that hungry child that Sara gave the five buns.
    • The girl (Anne) now works at the bakery.
    • Sara says that because Anne knows what it's like to be hungry, that she should be the one to give the buns and bread to the children in the future.
    • And … that's all, folks. Happy endings all around.