|St. Paul's Church and benches, Covent Garden|
The "Actor's Church"
Sitting on that bench that long ago day also reminded me of one of my favorite books, A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Published in 1905, it was based on Burnett's 1888 serialized novel titled Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchin's Boarding School. It's been named one of the 'Top 100 Chapter Books of all Time' by the School Library Journal, and with good reason. If you haven't read this heartwarming story of a little girl orphaned and left in the hands of a cruel headmistress, Miss Minchin, and how Sara's imagination and belief in the goodness of others sustains her, I suggest checking it out and settling in for a lovely night's reading. I have always particularly enjoyed the version illustrated by Tasha Tudor.
But what does this have to do with Covent Garden, you are probably wondering? In the book, Sara and her father, Captain Crewe, go shopping for a Last Doll, the doll that will keep Sara company while her father returns to India. This delightful picture shows Sara and her father window shopping at Covent Garden for her new companion. I found a doll shop there with dolls in the window that would have delighted little Sara, and oh, how badly I wanted to bring one of them home with me! Perhaps another trip, another time, and I will have my own Last Doll.