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Sara Crewe comes to Britain

This is a story from more than a hundred years ago.

Sara was born in India which is very much hotter than it is in Britain. In those days there were many more horrible diseases in India than there are here because germs were able to live, grow and multiply in the heat. At the time, even the doctors could not cure many of these diseases and many people took ill and died. Sara's mother died soon after Sara was born and Sara could not remember her.
At this time the British ruled india. Sara's father was a Captain in the British army and he had a great deal of money. They lived in a beautiful bungalow and there were a lot of servants. There was even a special servant called an Ayah. She was like a nanny and she loved Sara and looked after her very well. Now Sara's mother was French and her father had chosen an Ayah who could speak French. As Sara grew up she learned to speak French as well as English. She had toys and pets and she was very happy. One of the things she liked most of all was reading books. She often spent time making up stories of her own.
Sara was usually allowed to have her own way. Many children are spoiled when they are given too much of their own way but Sara did not get like this.

Because there were so many horrible diseases in India, many British children were sent to boarding school in Britain as soon as they were old enough. Sara had some friends who were a little older than she was and they had already been sent away to school. They wrote back to their parents and sometimes one of them would write to Sara, telling her all about school in Britain. When Sara was 7 years old her father said that it was time to go to school in Britain. She was sad that she would not be with her father and he was very sad too but he was sure that it was right for her to go away to school.

 He travelled with her to Britain on a big ship.
If you travelled to India today you would probably go by plane but in those days everyone had to go by ship and the journey took weeks. 

Sara played with some of the other children who were also on the voyage. At first it was very hot but as the ship sailed North it became cooler. In fact it became colder than Sara had ever known.

They finally arrived in Britain and travelled on a steam train to London.

 When they left the station in London they got into a handsome cab which was pulled by a horse.
Now at this time everyone in London had a coal fire. Steam engines on the railways and in factories also burnt coal so London was very smoky. This was the time of year when it was foggy so the fog looked yellow and all the buildings looked dirty. People did not have electricity so all the shops were lit by gas. Everything looked and felt very different to what it did in India and Sara thought it was all very strange and she did not like it very much. They came to a hotel and Sara lived there with her father for a few days.

 He took her shopping and bought her many fine clothes. This was not really a very good idea because when she did start school it made some of the other girls jealous.
At last the day came and they set out to walk to the school.
"This is the place." said her father. It was a big, dull brick house exactly like all the others in the street but on the front was a brass plate and written on it were the words, "MISS MINCHIN, Select Seminary for Young Ladies."

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