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Here was Lavinia's opportunity.
"Ah, yes, your royal highness," she said. "We are princesses, I believe. At least one of us is. The school ought to be very fashionable now Miss Minchin has a princess for a pupil."
Sara started toward her. She looked as if she were going to box her ears. Perhaps she was. Her trick of pretending things was the joy of her life. She never spoke of it to girls she was not fond of. Her new 'pretend' about being a princess was very near to her heart, and she was shy and sensitive about it. She had meant it to be rather a secret, and here was Lavinia deriding it before nearly all the school. She felt the blood rush up into her face and tingle in her ears. She only just saved herself. If you were a princess, you did not fly into rages. Her hand dropped, and she stood quite still a moment. When she spoke it was in a quiet, steady voice; she held her head up, and everybody listened to her.
"It's true," she said. "Sometimes I do pretend I am a princess. I pretend I am a princess, so that I can try and behave like one."
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Synopsis: Sara Crewe, the only child of her rich, widowed father, had everything a little girl could ever want until her father's ruin and death left her a pauper on the hands of her boarding school. The cruel headmistress, Miss Minchin, puts her to work in the scullery, but Sara continues to pretend she is a princess in rags. Meanwhile, her father's close friend searches the world over for her.
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I've enjoyed all three of Francis Hodgson Burnett's most popular books--Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Secret Garden, and The Little Princess--but this one is my favorite by far.
I'm not a big fan of the author's "Beautiful Thought" (a variant on the unhealthy "New Thought" philosophy), which shows up most clearly in The Secret Garden; on the surface and moral levels, however, I found The Little Princess an engaging tale and one I have emulated to some extent all my life.