"I was thinking," she answered.
"Beg my pardon immediately," said Miss Minchin.
Sara hesitated a second before she replied.
"I will beg your pardon for laughing, if it was rude," she said then; "but I won't beg your pardon for thinking."
"What were you thinking?" demanded Miss Minchin.
"How dare you think? What were you thinking?"
Jessie tittered, and she and Lavinia nudged each other in unison. All the girls looked up from their books to listen. Really, it always interested them a little when Miss Minchin attacked Sara. Sara always said something queer, and never seemed the least bit frightened. She was not in the least frightened now, though her boxed ears were scarlet and her eyes were as bright as stars.
"I was thinking," she answered grandly and politely, "that you did not know what you were doing."
"That I did not know what I was doing?" Miss Minchin fairly gasped.
"Yes," said Sara, "and I was thinking what would happen if I were a princess and you boxed my ears -- what I should do to you. And I was thinking that if I were one, you would never dare to do it, whatever I said or did. And I was thinking how surprised and frightened you would be if you suddenly found out -- "
She had the imagined future so clearly before her eyes that she spoke in a manner which had an effect even upon Miss Minchin. It almost seemed for the moment to her narrow, unimaginative mind that there must be some real power hidden behind this candid daring.
"What?" she exclaimed. "Found out what?"
"That I really was a princess," said Sara, "and could do anything -- anything I liked."