Yesterday, I was reading a 5th grader's comprehension book. It had multiple excerpts from good (if not well-known) novels.
One of them particularly stood out to me. It was about a woman who lived in the Victorian era. When she was a young girl, Victoria was crowned. On her coronation day, the protagonist and her sister couldn't handle the huge crowd and so started walking down a less busy road. There they see a sickly boy of their age lying on the ground. He tells them that he'd escaped from the factory he worked in. The master used to beat underage workers and kept them in alarmingly unsuitable conditions.
Her older sister is considerably disgusted by him and tells her to leave him as is. Not listening to her, she helps him stand up and is kind to him. He begs them to let him escape so that he can live a better life. And he implores her not to say which way he went if the master came searching for him.
Soon the dreaded master comes and gets hold of the boy. He is rough and tells the girls that this is the way of life for the poor — harsh. He himself worked in factories as a boy and believes the poor have no way but to work hard. In the meantime, the boy slips off his grip and manages to flee. The master gives up then and heads back to the factory.
Many years later, she reminisces about that day as she attends Queen Victoria's funeral. She has become old and can't push her way through the crowd. A gentleman helps her pass the crowd and when she turns to thank him, she smiles and sees that exact same scar the boy had on the man's face.
Is this simply a short story or part of a novel? Which book is it taken from then?