Sara, a Princess

Language: English
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"Sairay! Sairay!"

The high, petulant voice rose shrilly through the steep, narrow stairway, and seemed to pierce the ears of the young girl who sat under the low, sloping roof, nearly bent double over the book in her lap.

She involuntarily raised both hands to her ears, as if the noise distressed her, then dropped them, straightened herself resolutely, and answered in a pleasant contralto, whose rich notes betokened power and repression,—

"Well, mother?"

"Your fayther's got to hev them nets mended right away, he says, an' my han's is in the dough. Be you at them books agin?"

"Yes," said Sara; "but I'll come," rising with a sigh, and carefully slipping a bit of paper between the leaves of her book, before she laid it on the rough board shelf at one side of the little garret room.

As she passed directly from the stairway into the kitchen, or living- room, her father turned from the hopeless-seeming tangle of soiled and torn netting on the floor before him, and looked at her half wistfully from under the glazed brim of his wide hat.

"Was you studyin', Sairay? Ye see, I've got into a bad sort o' mess here, an' we may git our orders fur the long fish any day."

"That's all right, father! No, baby, sister can't take you now," as the little fellow on the floor crept to her feet and set up a wail; but her smile, and a replaced toy, silenced the cry, and brought back comfort and complaisance to the puckered little face.

Sara then stepped to her father's side, and drew the large soiled fish- net towards her, looking with dismay on the broken meshes; but her voice was still bright, as she said,—

"You must have had a big haul, father, to make such a rent!"

"Waal, 'twas partly thet, but more the ice. Ye see, it's jest breakin' up now, and it's monstrous jagged-like; 'twas thet did it, I reckon. Kin ye fix it, Sairay?"

"Yes, father."

She was soon seated, the dirty mass across her knee, and the large bone shuttle in her hand flying rapidly in and out. But while her young stepmother went and came, talking a good deal, and the baby pulled and scrambled about her knees, her thoughts were far away, in the large schoolroom at Weskisset.

For one short, happy year she had been an inmate of the seminary there, and in her thoughts this year was the Round Top of her life! All events dated from before or since her "school-time." All paths with her led to Weskisset, as with the ancients all roads led to Rome: it was her Athens, her Mecca, almost her Jerusalem.

Sara's own mother, though born inland, had come as schoolmistress, some twenty years since, to the little fishing-village of Killamet (now Sara's home), where she was wooed and won by the handsome, honest, daring young fisherman, Reuben Olmstead.

Sara was their first child, and upon her the young mother lavished untold tenderness. When, at the birth of the twins, nearly seven years later,—two infants having died between,—she yielded up her own gentle life, her last words had been,—

"Don't forget, Reuben, that Sara is to have an education....