When little Sara Crewe was eight years old, her father had brought her to England and left her with Miss Minchin, to be part of the Select Seminary for Young Ladies. Sara, who had always been a sharp little child, who remembered things, recollected hearing him say that he had not a relative in the world whom he knew of, and so he was obliged to place her at a boarding-school, and he had heard Miss Minchin's establishment spoken of very highly. The same day, he took Sara out and bought her a great many beautiful clothes -- clothes so grand and rich that only a very young and inexperienced man would have bought them for a mite of a child . . . Things take a drastic turn for Sara Crewe when she becomes a penniless orphan who endures cold, heartless conditions with spirit and dignity. While shorter than "A Little Princess," this book retains the essence of the main character and theme. Her dreams protect her from the harsh reality until one day they magically come true.
In the first place, Miss Minchin lived in London. Her home was a large, dull, tall one, in a large, dull square, where all the houses were alike, and all the sparrows were alike, and where all the door-knockers made the same heavy sound, and on still days—and nearly all the days were still—seemed to resound through the entire row in which the knock was knocked. On Miss Minchin's door there was a brass plate.