I’m sick with a cold. Drat. I know there are worse things than feeling so rotten that you need to lie abed with your handmade handkerchiefs, endless cups of tea, a good slug of Nyquil every now and again, and a book (gosh, I am almost making a cold seem appealing!), but, still. I’m a busy lady! Alas, everyone knows that your cold lasts twice as long if you don’t read one of your favorite-est, most comforting books when you’re sick. No amount of soup or even toast with butter (not even butter, cinnamon AND sugar) can make me feel as good as one of my comfort reads.
For this cold, I’m choosing A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
I’ve read this book so many times I’ve lost count. Sara Crewe’s kindness, perseverance, self-control, and most overwhelmingly, her imagination have been so important in my life. I can’t tell you how many times Sara has come to mind before I do something rash or ungenerous. I think about her when I feed the birds and squirrels outside my window, help the students at work, and so very much when I make things:
“What is that?” she exclaimed.
Sara got up from the floor and answered quite dramatically:
“It is the prisoner in the next cell.”
“Becky!” cried Ermengarde, enraptured.
“Yes,” said Sara. “Listen; the two knocks meant, `Prisoner, are you there?'”
She knocked three times on the wall herself, as if in answer.
“That means, `Yes, I am here, and all is well.'”
Four knocks came from Becky’s side of the wall.
“That means,” explained Sara, “`Then, fellow-sufferer, we will sleep in peace. Good night.'”
Ermengarde quite beamed with delight.
“Oh, Sara!” she whispered joyfully. “It is like a story!”
“It IS a story,” said Sara. “EVERYTHING’S a story. You are a story– I am a story. Miss Minchin is a story.”
And she sat down again and talked until Ermengarde forgot that she was a sort of escaped prisoner herself, and had to be reminded by Sara that she could not remain in the Bastille all night, but must steal noiselessly downstairs again and creep back into her deserted bed.
Gosh, now I’m crying. Good thing I have all those handkerchiefs.
Added bonus – did you know Burnett’s story was partially inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s last fragment of writing, Emma? It really is all frighteningly, magically connected, huh?
Do you have a favorite comfort read that you grab again and again? I’d love to hear what it is!