Author's Note: A Little Princess belongs to Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I've been a fan of ALP since I was nine years old and received the book for my birthday. One of my favorite characters in the entire story is the Indian gentleman, aka Tom Carrisford. He doesn't get a lot of face time, so I thought I'd write something short about him. This is based upon the novel and not any of the movie adaptations.

Crewe is dead and I killed him.

The man who sat before the blazing hearth rocking back and forth was almost skeletal in appearance now; the fever that had kept him bedridden for weeks had finally broken but it was obvious that he was still not quite well. He did not eat and rarely slept; his waking thoughts were consumed with the silent accusation that his weakened mind would not allow him to forget.

Crewe is dead and I killed him.

When he could no longer fight his exhaustion he did not sleep peacefully; no, those seven words followed him even into his dreams until he awoke screaming with his sweat-drenched blankets tangled about his limbs. He could think of nothing except that he, Tom Carrisford, was a murderer, a thief, and the worst kind of coward. He had ruined his friend, or at least had thought he had; he had not lost Crewe's fortune after all, but what did that matter now? Crewe was dead and he was saddled with his friend's money, an ill-gotten wealth that stained Carrisford's hands with blood.

Crewe is dead and I killed him.

His memories seemed so muddled and fuzzy; he felt as if he should remember something very important but it was just out of reach and he hadn't the strength to search for it. It didn't matter to him anyway. He only stared into the fire and mused that although the room was dreadfully warm, the flames of hell were surely hotter.

Crewe is dead and I killed him.

For weeks Mr. Carrisford had rocked in that chair and repeated those words in his mind; for weeks the servants had worried that their master had gone mad while the doctor he employed had urged him to return to England and forget the tragedy that had occurred. But he could not forget and would not leave; no, Tom Carrisford had run away once already, he would not do so a second time. He would stay and wait for Crewe to come for him and drag him into the pits of fire where he would burn for eternity, and justly so; he had no reasons to live but plenty of reasons to die, and so he would not move from this place.

Crewe is dead and I killed him.

Indrakshi would come into the study soon, the irritating woman who had taken it upon herself to pry him away from the personal hell that he had so carefully constructed. Carrisford was of half a mind to dismiss her, but firing her would require effort and he didn't feel like expending the energy. So he would sit in his chair and continue to rock to and fro, wishing that he could escape from her incessant chatter so he could return to his misery. You need a wife to look after you, she always said matter-of-factly. You need to listen to the doctor and go back to England to find a missus to care for you. She was an impudent wench – what did she know? Crewe was dead and…and…


He cried out so suddenly that the servants rushed into the room, certain that something terrible had befallen him. He brushed their hands away, the dreadful accusation that had filled every waking moment for the past weeks gone only to be replaced with a horrifying realization. Crewe had a child and he had forgotten about her! How could he have not remembered her existence all of this time? Crewe had mentioned her on several occasions – yes, a little girl, Crewe's little missus, his only daughter – but what was her name? Had her name ever been spoken in Carrisford's presence? If it had he could not recall it now, and he beat his fists weakly against his temples in frustration. He had ruined her as well, ruined a little girl who had trusted that her papa would always provide for her, and now she was a penniless orphan somewhere because her father had chosen to put his faith in Tom Carrisford. Oh, what a blackguard he was!

Orphan she may be, but penniless she is not…

Carrisford knew that his actions could never be forgiven, but if he could find the child and make sure that she never wanted for anything, he could set at least something aright. Crewe's daughter could not be allowed to starve in the streets while his fortune rested in the pitiful hands of a coward who deserved only death.

I cannot die now. I must live long enough to find the little missus.

For the first time since he had awoken from the brain fever, Tom Carrisford prayed for life.