A Little Princess

A Little Princess

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Overview


When Sara's privileged status comes to an abrupt end and she finds herself penniless, the plucky heroine uses her imagination and generosity of spirit to make the best of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486834405
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 07/17/2019
Series: Dover Children's Evergreen Classics
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 973,649
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years

About the Author

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924) emigrated to the U.S. in 1865. She wrote more than 40 books; the best-known today are Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SARA

ONCE ON a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.

She sat with her feet tucked under her, and leaned against her father, who held her in his arm, as she stared out of the window at the passing people with a queer old-fashioned thoughtfulness in her big eyes.

She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to. She felt as if she had lived a long, long time.

At this moment she was remembering the voyage she had just made from Bombay with her father, Captain Crewe. She was thinking of the big ship, of the Lascars passing silently to and fro on it, of the children playing about on the hot deck, and of some young officers' wives who used to try to make her talk to them and laugh at the things she said.

Principally, she was thinking of what a queer thing it was that at one time one was in India in the blazing sun, and then in the middle of the ocean, and then driving in a strange vehicle through strange streets where the day was as dark as the night. She found this so puzzling that she moved closer to her father.

"Papa," she said in a low, mysterious little voice which was almost a whisper, "papa."

"What is it, darling?" Captain Crewe answered, holding her closer and looking down into her face. "What is Sara thinking of?"

"Is this the place?" Sara whispered, cuddling still closer to him. "Is it, papa?"

"Yes, little Sara, it is. We have reached it at last." And though she was only seven years old, she knew that he felt sad when he said it.

It seemed to her many years since he had begun to prepare her mind for "the place," as she always called it. Her mother had died when she was born, so she had never known or missed her. Her young, handsome, rich, petting father seemed to be the only relation she had in the world. They had always played together and been fond of each other. She only knew she was rich because she had heard people say so when they thought she was not listening, and she had also heard them say that when she grew up she would be rich, too. She did not know all that being rich meant. She had always lived in a beautiful bungalow, and had been used to seeing many servants who made salaams to her and called her "Missee Sahib," and gave her her own way in everything. She had had toys and pets and an ayah who worshipped her, and she had gradually learned that people who were rich had these things. That, however, was all she knew about it.

During her short life only one thing had troubled her, and that thing was "the place" she was to be taken to some day. The climate of India was very bad for children, and as soon as possible they were sent away from it — generally to England and to school. She had seen other children go away, and had heard their fathers and mothers talk about the letters they received from them. She had known that she would be obliged to go also, and though sometimes her father's stories of the voyage and the new country had attracted her, she had been troubled by the thought that he could not stay with her.

"Couldn't you go to that place with me, papa?" she had asked when she was five years old. "Couldn't you go to school, too? 1 would help you with your lessons."

"But you will not have to stay for a very long time, little Sara," he had always said. "You will go to a nice house where there will be a lot of little girls, and you will play together, and I will send you plenty of books, and you will grow so fast that it will seem scarcely a year before you are big enough and clever enough to come back and take care of papa."

She had liked to think of that. To keep the house for her father; to ride with him, and sit at the head of his table when he had dinner-parties; to talk to him and read his books — that would be what she would like most in the world, and if one must go away to "the place" in England to attain it, she must make up her mind to go. She did not care very much for other little girls, but if she had plenty of books she could console herself. She liked books more than anything else, and was, in fact, always inventing stories of beautiful things and telling them to herself. Sometimes she had told them to her father, and he had liked them as much as she did.

"Well, papa," she said softly, "if we are here I suppose we must be resigned."

He laughed at her old-fashioned speech and kissed her. He was really not at all resigned himself, though he knew he must keep that a secret. His quaint little Sara had been a great companion to him, and he felt he should be a lonely fellow when, on his return to India, he went into his bungalow knowing he need not expect to see the small figure in its white smock come forward to meet him. So he held her very closely in his arm as the cab rolled into the big, dull square in which stood the house which was their destination.

It was a big, dull, brick house, exactly like all the others in its row, but that on the front door there shone a brass plate on which was engraved in black letters:

Miss Minchin, Select Seminary for Young Ladies.

"Here we are, Sara," said Captain Crewe, making his voice sound as cheerful as possible. Then he lifted her out of the cab and they mounted the steps and rang the bell. Sara often thought afterward that the house was somehow exactly like Miss Minchin. It was respectable and well furnished, but everything in it was ugly; and the very armchairs seemed to have hard bones in them. In the hall everything was hard and polished — even the red cheeks of the moon face on the tall clock in the corner had a severe varnished look. The drawing-room into which they were ushered was covered by a carpet with a square pattern upon it, the chairs were square, and a heavy marble timepiece stood upon the heavy marble mantel.

As she sat down in one of the stiff mahogany chairs, Sara cast one of her quick looks about her.

"I don't like it, papa," she said. "But then I dare say soldiers — even brave ones — don't really like going into battle."

Captain Crewe laughed outright at this. He was young and full of fun, and he never tired of hearing Sara's queer speeches.

"Oh, little Sara," he said. "What shall I do when I have no one to say solemn things to me? No one else is quite as solemn as you are."

"But why do solemn things make you laugh so?" inquired Sara.

"Because you are such fun when you say them," he answered, laughing still more. And then suddenly he swept her into his arms and kissed her very hard, stopping laughing all at once and looking almost as if tears had come into his eyes.

It was just then that Miss Minchin entered the room. She was very like her house, Sara felt: tall and dull, and respectable and ugly. She had large, cold, fishy eyes, and a large, cold, fishy smile. It spread itself into a very large smile when she saw Sara and Captain Crewe. She had heard a great many desirable things of the young soldier from the lady who had recommended her school to him. Among other things, she had heard that he was a rich father who was willing to spend a great deal of money on his little daughter.

"It will be a great privilege to have charge of such a beautiful and promising child, Captain Crewe," she said, taking Sara's hand and stroking it. "Lady Meredith has told me of her unusual cleverness. A clever child is a great treasure in an establishment like mine."

Sara stood quietly, with her eyes fixed upon Miss Minchin's face. She was thinking something odd, as usual.

"Why does she say I am a beautiful child," she was thinking. "I am not beautiful at all. Colonel Grange's little girl, Isobel, is beautiful. She has dimples and rose-colored cheeks, and long hair the color of gold. I have short black hair and green eyes; besides which, I am a thin child and not fair in the least. I am one of the ugliest children I ever saw. She is beginning by telling a story."

She was mistaken, however, in thinking she was an ugly child. She was not in the least like Isobel Grange, who had been the beauty of the regiment, but she had an odd charm of her own. She was a slim, supple creature, rather tall for her age, and had an intense, attractive little face. Her hair was heavy and quite black and only curled at the tips; her eyes were greenish gray, it is true, but they were big, wonderful eyes with long, black lashes, and though she herself did not like the color of them, many other people did. Still she was very firm in her belief that she was an ugly little girl, and she was not at all elated by Miss Minchin's flattery.

"I should be telling a story if I said she was beautiful," she thought; "and I should know I was telling a story. I believe I am as ugly as she is — in my way. What did she say that for?"

After she had known Miss Minchin longer she learned why she had said it. She discovered that she said the same thing to each papa and mamma who brought a child to her school.

Sara stood near her father and listened while he and Miss Minchin talked. She had been brought to the seminary because Lady Meredith's two little girls had been educated there, and Captain Crewe had a great respect for Lady Meredith's experience. Sara was to be what was known as "a parlor-boarder," and she was to enjoy even greater privileges than parlor-boarders usually did. She was to have a pretty bedroom and sitting-room of her own; she was to have a pony and a carriage, and a maid to take the place of the ayah who had been her nurse in India.

"I am not in the least anxious about her education," Captain Crewe said, with his gay laugh, as he held Sara's hand and patted it. "The difficulty will be to keep her from learning too fast and too much. She is always sitting with her little nose burrowing into books. She doesn't read them, Miss Minchin: she gobbles them up as if she were a little wolf instead of a little girl. She is always starving for new books to gobble, and she wants grown-up books — great, big, fat ones — French and German as well as English — history and biography and poets, and all sorts of things. Drag her away from her books when she reads too much. Make her ride her pony in the Row or go out and buy a new doll. She ought to play more with dolls."

"Papa," said Sara. "You see, if I went out and bought a new doll every few days I should have more than I could be fond of. Dolls ought to be intimate friends. Emily is going to be my intimate friend."

Captain Crewe looked at Miss Minchin and Miss Minchin looked at Captain Crewe.

"Who is Emily?" she inquired.

"Tell her, Sara," Captain Crewe said, smiling.

Sara's green-gray eyes looked very solemn and quite soft as she answered.

"She is a doll I haven't got yet," she said. "She is a doll papa is going to buy for me. We are going out together to find her. I have called her Emily. She is going to be my friend when papa is gone. 1 want her to talk to about him."

Miss Minchin's large, fishy smile became very flattering indeed.

"What an original child!" she said. "What a darling little creature!"

"Yes," said Captain Crewe, drawing Sara close. "She is a darling little creature. Take great care of her for me, Miss Minchin."

Sara stayed with her father at his hotel for several days; in fact, she remained with him until he sailed away to India. They went out and visited many big shops together, and bought a great many things. They bought, indeed, a great many more things than Sara needed; but Captain Crewe was a rash, innocent young man and wanted his little girl to have everything she admired and everything he admired himself, so between them they collected a wardrobe much too grand for a child of seven. There were velvet dresses trimmed with costly furs, and lace dresses, and embroidered ones, and hats with great, soft ostrich feathers, and ermine coats and muffs, and boxes of tiny gloves and handkerchiefs and silk stockings in such abundant supplies that the polite young women behind the counters whispered to each other that the odd little girl with the big, solemn eyes must be at last some foreign princess — perhaps the little daughter of an Indian rajah.

And at last they found Emily, but they went to a number of toy-shops and looked at a great many dolls before they finally discovered her.

"I want her to look as if she wasn't a doll really," Sara said. "I want her to look as if she listens when I talk to her. The trouble with dolls, papa" — and she put her head on one side and reflected as she said it — "the trouble with dolls is that they never seem to hear." So they looked at big ones and little ones — at dolls with black eyes and dolls with blue — at dolls with brown curls and dolls with golden braids, dolls dressed and dolls undressed.

"You see," Sara said when they were examining one who had no clothes. "If, when I find her, she has no frocks, we can take her to a dressmaker and have her things made to fit. They will fit better if they are tried on."

After a number of disappointments they decided to walk and look in at the shop windows and let the cab follow them. They had passed two or three places without even going in, when, as they were approaching a shop which was really not a very large one, Sara suddenly started and clutched her father's arm.

"Oh, papa!" she cried. "There is Emily!"

A flush had risen to her face and there was an expression in her green-gray eyes as if she had just recognized some one she was intimate with and fond of.

"She is actually waiting for us!" she said. "Let us go in to her."

"Dear me!" said Captain Crewe; "I feel as if we ought to have some one to introduce us."

"You must introduce me and 1 will introduce you," said Sara. "But I knew her the minute I saw her — so perhaps she knew me, too."

Perhaps she had known her. She had certainly a very intelligent expression in her eyes when Sara took her in her arms. She was a large doll, but not too large to carry about easily; she had naturally curling golden-brown hair, which hung like a mantle about her, and her eyes were a deep, clear, gray blue, with soft, thick eyelashes which were real eyelashes and not mere painted lines.

"Of course," said Sara, looking into her face as she held her on her knee — "of course, papa, this is Emily."

So Emily was bought and actually taken to a children's outfitter's shop, and measured for a wardrobe as grand as Sara's own. She had lace frocks, too, and velvet and muslin ones, and hats and coats and beautiful lace-trimmed underclothes, and gloves and handkerchiefs and furs.

"I should like her always to look as if she were a child with a good mother," said Sara. "I'm her mother, though 1 am going to make a companion of her."

Captain Crewe would really have enjoyed the shopping tremendously, but that a sad thought kept tugging at his heart. This all meant that he was going to be separated from his beloved, quaint little comrade.

He got out of his bed in the middle of the night and stood looking down at Sara, who lay asleep with Emily in her arms. Her black hair was spread out on the pillow and Emily's golden-brown hair mingled with it, both of them had lace-ruffled night-gowns, and both had long eyelashes which lay and curled up on their cheeks. Emily looked so like a real child that Captain Crewe felt glad she was there. He drew a big sigh and pulled his mustache with a boyish expression.

"Heigh-ho, little Sara!" he said to himself. "I don't believe you know how much your daddy will miss you."

The next day he took her to Miss Minchin's and left her there. He was to sail away the next morning. He explained to Miss Minchin that his solicitors, Messr. Barrow & Skipworth, had charge of his affairs in England and would give her any advice she wanted, and that they would pay the bills she sent in for Sara's expenses. He would write to Sara twice a week, and she was to be given every pleasure she asked for.

"She is a sensible little thing, and she never wants anything it isn't safe to give her," he said.

Then he went with Sara into her little sitting-room and they bade each other good-by. Sara sat on his knee and held the lapels of his coat in her small hands, and looked long and hard at his face.

"Are you learning me by heart, little Sara," he said, stroking her hair.

"No," she answered. "I know you by heart. You are inside my heart." And they put their arms around each other and kissed as if they would never let each other go.

When the cab drove away from the door, Sara was sitting on the floor of her sitting-room, with her hands under her chin and her eyes following it until it had turned the corner of the square. Emily was sitting by her, and she looked after it, too. When Miss Minchin sent her sister, Miss Amelia, to see what the child was doing, she found she could not open the door.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "A Little Princess"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Sara – A French Lesson – Ermengarde – Lottie – Becky – The Diamond Mines – The Diamond Mines Again – In the Attic – Melchisedec – The Indian Gentleman – Ram Dass – The Other Side of the Wall – One of the Populace – What Melchisedec Heard and Saw – The Magic – The Visitor – “It Is the Child” – “I Tried Not to Be” – Anne

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A Little Princess 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 338 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt like this book should never end. Im 8 years old and im in 3rd grade. I felt very sad when sara crewe's father died. This book is the best book even though i didnt read it on my nook. Thank you for reading my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got the dollar one, and although it had all the content, the formatting was completely screwed up. I'd say that this versions worth the money
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a very good book for small children. I read the book to my daughter almost every night and she loves it.This book help brings on the imagination of little children around the globe.If you dont want to read it, consider watching the movie,its pretty good too.
j3p More than 1 year ago
As my daughter is getting interested in more challenging literature, I have been looking for nice, long-lasting copies of some of my favorite children's classics. I was thrilled to find the Sandy Creek edition of 'A Little Princess' today at Barnes and Noble. This Edition: The 2009 Sandy Creek edition is hardback with a nice, classic cover with a reproduction of one of the eight full color (and possibly original) prints by Tasha Tudor included in the book. One of my favorite parts about the edition is that the cover art is printed right on the cover and not on a dust jacket. I'm too lazy to cover dust jackets like the library does, so the other books in our current collection have either lost or are on their way to losing their jackets, and the book underneath isn't as appealing. It was a breeze to remove the price tags from this cover, which bodes well for easy future cleaning. The book is just the right size and weight to hold comfortably and still fit into a purse or backpack. The paper inside is of a nice weight, but the edges are "rough cut" which, while more "original," I find annoying. Since I liked everything else about the book, it was easy for me to ignore this. The font is well spaced and easy to read - perhaps a size 12 font. This edition includes a List of Chapters, List of Illustrations, brief bio of the author and on the inner cover, a name plate for the owner. It is well made, ever so slightly old-fashioned, darling and exactly what I was looking for and at an astonishingly affordable price point. The Sandy Creek Collection: Much to my delight, not only did Sandy Creek do a fine job with Anne of Green Gables, but also with a host of other fantastic classic children's books, many of which were on my shopping list! The books are the same size as one another, have similarly colored and designed spines, and only differ by color and cover art. I also bought 'The Wind in the Willows,' 'Anne of Green Gables' and 'The Secret Garden' and hope to add 'Treasure Island,' 'Journey to the Center of the Earth,' and more to my collections soon. It is a fine set at a great price. 'A Little Princess:' I loved Frances Burnett books as a child and was recently reminded of them by an article about Katherine Paterson (Newbery Medal and National Book Award for Children's Literature winner and 2010 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature) in the NY Times where she lists Burnett as one of her great childhood literary influences. I've read 'Princess' and 'A Secret Garden' countless times as I've grown and am always as engrossed in their Victorian worlds as I was the first reading. Her heroines are imperfect; starting out spoiled, entitled and generally bratty but learning from harsh, honest, sugar-coating-free worlds how to make a way for themselves and grow into lovely, kind and self-sufficient ladies. I would recommend this story and edition to anyone building a library for their children or themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good made me cry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have seen many movie verisios of this book and retold stories of this book but i like all of them not like but love all of them i recomend this book to any young girls out there who like to read books with adventures and some twists in the middle if you are that girl then this is the book for you and for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great book. I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It made me cry a lot! A classic, and my favorite book!!!!
Janice McKay More than 1 year ago
The book was touching
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book and I am so excited it is on Nook. I think it is a great story for everyone. It is a true riches-to-rags, rags-to-riches tale of the quaint little Sara Crewe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little Princess is my favorite book read it in fifth grade, but still read it to this day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnet was a fantastic fiction book. I loved it because it really made me stop and think about everything I was reading. The characters were all very well developed and it was written so well that I was able to understand everything that was going on. New drama was starting after every chapter.
A Little Princess is set in London, England during the early 1900s. The protagonist, Sara Crewe, lost her father when she was in a boarding school and was forced to live in an attic. She could not decide what to do with herself or if she could run away. At the beginning of the story, Sara¿s father dropped her at a boarding school in England. She was treated like a princess because she came from a wealthy family. On her eleventh birthday, she receives the news of her father¿s death and loses everything. The headmistress of the school forces her to live in the attic and become a servant. While she is a servant, she has to make do with what she has. Frances Hodgson Burnet used extremely descriptive and sophisticated language in this book. She described her characters very well.
I would recommend this book to any girl who lost a parent or someone very important to them. They might benefit from reading this because they might be able to learn how to handle their situation.
MMPRlover More than 1 year ago
It was a sweet book. It made me cry. It was much better then the movie. But books are always better then the movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Little Princes is a literary classic describing the hardships that Sara Crewe faced when she lost all her money and showing how kind she was when she was getting pampered like the queen of england. Sara was an intelligent a kind little girl never bragging about how well she spoke french or how much money she had. She was kind to the younger children and Ermengarde. She always tried to be polite and even when Miss Minchin starved her she behaved politely and civil and never complained
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it! Its not about a bratty little girl who is spoiled. :)
CarolineCarnivorous More than 1 year ago
My review of this got lost somehow, so I'll just write a new one! I waited for this book to come back in stock, and my, it was worth the wait! Just the beautiful interior of the book made me fall in love with it at once - It even has a little ''This book belongs to''! I hope I one day can pass this on to future generations of little princesses. Already from page two, I loved the book, and considered it one of my favorites ever. I felt such a strong connection to seven year old Sara Crewe, the intelligent little spoiled girl with black hair and strange thoughts too old for her young age. My heart totally broke when her father dies on her 11th birthday, and the headmistress at her boarding school forces her to be a maid, dressed in rags, working super hard and starving all the time. But even then, she keeps her cool and still acts and thinks she's a princess - And survives! And I felt so happy when I knew she was going to live happily again, she really deserved it! I guess we all have something to learn from little Sara Crewe. There's a princess in all of us - Whether dressed in rags or expensive gowns. This is a great story both for children (though maybe not the youngest ones) and adults alike! This a story that will touch your hearts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! But it does get sad during chapter 4. Just keep reading and it will get better. Sara Crewe had a wonderful life up to the age of 11. She went to a boarding school at 7. On Sara's 11th birthday, she learns her father is dead and left no money for her. Sara is forced to work like her friend, Becky. But then the story gets happier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever get it
Christopher Morgan More than 1 year ago
I read this book young and I loved it. A Little Princess brought tears to my eyes at times, and sometimes shriek of laughter. Since this book is a known classic and highly enjoyable, as well as buying it as an ebook I would also buy it to put it own your shelf. I would recommend this book to anybody, because I believe it would provide anybody's intrest. Dive into this book.
Chocolate-Hamsters More than 1 year ago
THSI BOOOK IS so great it had me crying from start to finish. Sara Crewe is a strong heart-filled girl who finds that riches aren't only found in money! WAY better than the movie!! .... well, all books are better than movies! :P <3 Reccommend it for everyone young and old!
Anonymous 3 months ago
if you liked the secret garden you will LOVE this!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Gbb bfv
Anonymous 11 months ago
A feel good book that may be predictable, makes you keep reading to make sure Sara and Becky end up happy and loved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
5 punts
mldg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When faced with adversity, a little rich girl (Sarah Crewe), manifests the noblest characteristics of a princess. Happy ending.