Back to page 10                                          Sara 11 A visit from Lottie

The third friend that Sara had was Lottie. She was very young and did not know what it meant to be poor.  She had heard that strange things had happened to Sara, but she could not understand why she looked different and why she wore an old black frock.  She could not understand why Sara only came into the school room to teach the youngest girls and why she was no longer came to learn lessons herself.

Picture of Lottie

Lottie had heard the little ones whispering that Sara did not stay in her own room but now slept in the attic.Sara did not seem to want to tell her what had happened. "Are you very poor now, Sara?" she had asked confidentially, the first morning her friend took charge of the small French class.  "Are you as poor as a beggar?"  

She thrust a fat hand into the slim one and opened round, tearful eyes.  "I don't want you to be as poor as a beggar."

She looked as if she was going to cry. And Sara hurriedly consoled her. "Beggars have nowhere to live," she said courageously. "I have a place to live in."

"Where do you live?" persisted Lottie. "The new girl sleeps in your room, and it isn't pretty any more."
"I live in another room," said Sara. "Is it a nice one?" inquired Lottie. "I want to go and see it."

She had found out already that if anything went wrong she got the blame. If Miss Minchin thought that the children were not listening or if they talked it was Sara who was blamed.
But Lottie was a determined little girl. She thought that If Sara would not tell her where she lived then she would find out in some other way. She talked to her young friends and hung around and listened to what the older girls were saying. Eventually she heard where Sara was and started climbing the stairs to the attic.There she found two doors near each other. She opened one, she saw Sara standing upon an old table and looking out of a window.

"Sara!" she cried. She was horrified because the attic was so bare and ugly.
Sara turned round at the sound of her voice. It was her turn to be shocked. What would happen now? If Lottie began to cry and anyone heard then she could be thrown out and Lottie would be in trouble too.  She jumped down from her table and ran to  Lottie. "Don't cry and make a noise," she implored. "I shall be scolded if you do, and I have been scolded all day. It's--it's not such a bad room, Lottie."
"Isn't it?" gasped Lottie, and as she looked round it she bit her lip to stop herself from crying.

 "You can see all sorts of things you can't see downstairs," said Sara.
"What sort of things?" demanded Lottie.

"You can see the Chimney pots," said Sara with smoke curling up in clouds and going up into the sky--and sparrows hopping about andtalking to each other just as if they were people--and other atticwindows where heads may pop out any minute and you can wonder 

who they belong to. And it all feels as high up--as if it was another world."
"Oh, let me see it!" cried Lottie. "Lift me up!" Sara lifted her up, and they stood on the old table together and leaned on the edge of the flat window in the roof, and looked out.

Lottie had never been in an attic and she was surprised at what she could see. The sparrows twittered and hopped about. Two of them perched on the chimney top nearest and quarrelled with each other fiercely until one pecked the other and drove him away.

"Oh, Sara!" cried Lottie, cuddling in her guarding arm. "I like this attic--I like it! It is nicer than downstairs!"
"Look at that sparrow," whispered Sara. "I wish I had some crumbs to throw to him. "I have some!" said  Lottie. "I have part of a bun in my pocket; I bought it with my penny yesterday, and I saved a bit."

When they threw out a few crumbs the sparrow jumped and flew away to another chimney top.
He put his head on one side, and looked at the crumbs. Lottie could scarcely keep still.
"Will he come? Will he come?" she whispered.
"I think he will," Sara whispered back. "He is thinking and thinking whether he dare. Yes, he will! Yes, he is coming!" He flew down and hopped toward the crumbs, but stopped a few inches away from them and looked carefully to make sure this was not a trap. He hopped nearer and nearer. Then he quickly grabbed the biggest crumb with a lightning peckand carried it away to the other side of his chimney
."Now he KNOWS", said Sara. "And he will come back for the others." He did come back, and even brought a friend, and the friend went away and brought more friends and they all gobbled up the crumbs.
Lottie was so delighted that she no longer thought that the attic was an awful place. "It is so little and so high above everything," she said, "that it is almost like a nest in a tree. "
"I can lie in bed," said Sara," and look right up into the sky through that flat window in the roof. Little pink clouds float about, and I feel as if I could touch them. And if it rains, the drops patter and patter as if they were saying something nice. Then if there are stars, you can lie and try to count them."
"Oh, Sara!" cried Lottie. "I should like to live here!"

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