back to page 8                               Sara Chapter 9 The solicitor's visit.

When Mr Barrow came in he happened to notice some of the presents. "These must have cost over a hundred pounds," he said. "It is ridiculous to spend all that money on presents for an eleven year old girl." ( A hundred pounds in those days would be equivalent to over a thousand pounds today.)

"Mr Barrow!" said Miss Minchin, "Captain Crewe is a very rich man and he can do what he wants with his money. He will soon be even richer when the diamond mines start working."

                                                                                             Picture of Miss Minchin with the solicitor

"Diamond mines!" said Mr Barrow." It would have been better if there had been no diamond mines. The Late Captain Crewe was advised by a friend to invest his money in a diamond mine.

That diamond mine is worth nothing. "

"Why do you say, 'The Late Captain Crewe?'" said Miss Minchin.

"I have come to tell you that Captain Crewe is dead." said Mr Barrow. "He died of jungle fever. He would probably have got better but he was extremely worried about the money he invested in the diamond mine. He put in all the money he had and now it is worth nothing."

"Do you mean that Sara now has no money? There will be nothing to pay her school fees?"

Now as we have seen before Miss Minchin was not a very nice person. If she had been, then she would have thought first of all about how upset Sara would be but all she could think about was the money. She knew that Captain Crewe had not paid for that term and he had not paid for the party that Sara was having. "

"What am I to do?" said Miss Minchin.
"There isn't anything you can do," said Mr Barrow. Sara has no money. She has no relatives. There is no one to look after her but you."

Today, a child very seldom loses both her parents but If this did happen then, the child would live in a children's home and probably be adopted later. In those days a child might have to sit in the street and beg for money.

"I am not going to look after her," said Miss Minchin. I have already spent money on her and I will not get it back. I will turn her out into the street to beg."

"I wouldn't do that,"said Mr Barrow. "People would get to know about it. What would they think if they learned that someone in your school was turned out into the street because her father died and could not pay the fees?  Do you think that many parents would want to send their children to your school?  If you keep her I am sure she will be able to help you when she grows a little older."

Miss Minchin told Miss Amelia to go and tell Sara that her father was dead. Miss Amelia told Sara who did not cry. She simply looked as if she could not bellieve it. Miss Amelia also told her to take off her fine dress and put on an old black one.

Later Miss Minchin sent for Sara and told her that from now on she would have to work for her keep. She would not have her own room and she would have to sleep in the attic with Becky.

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