Little Lord Fauntleroy
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Part 2 out of 4
"She says it is not necessary, and that as the relations between
you are not friendly----"
"Not friendly!" ejaculated my lord savagely; "I should say
they were not friendly! I hate to think of her! A mercenary,
sharp-voiced American! I don't wish to see her."
"My lord," said Mr. Havisham, "you can scarcely call her
mercenary. She has asked for nothing. She does not accept the
money you offer her."
"All done for effect!" snapped his noble lordship. "She wants
to wheedle me into seeing her. She thinks I shall admire her
spirit. I don't admire it! It's only American independence! I
won't have her living like a beggar at my park gates. As she's
the boy's mother, she has a position to keep up, and she shall
keep it up. She shall have the money, whether she likes it or
"She won't spend it," said Mr. Havisham.
"I don't care whether she spends it or not!" blustered my lord.
"She shall have it sent to her. She sha'n't tell people that
she has to live like a pauper because I have done nothing for
her! She wants to give the boy a bad opinion of me! I suppose
she has poisoned his mind against me already!"
"No," said Mr. Havisham. "I have another message, which will
prove to you that she has not done that."
"I don't want to hear it!" panted the Earl, out of breath with
anger and excitement and gout.
But Mr. Havisham delivered it.
"She asks you not to let Lord Fauntleroy hear anything which
would lead him to understand that you separate him from her
because of your prejudice against her. He is very fond of her,
and she is convinced that it would cause a barrier to exist
between you. She says he would not comprehend it, and it might
make him fear you in some measure, or at least cause him to feel
less affection for you. She has told him that he is too young to
understand the reason, but shall hear it when he is older. She
wishes that there should be no shadow on your first meeting."
The Earl sank back into his chair. His deep-set fierce old eyes
gleamed under his beetling brows.
"Come, now!" he said, still breathlessly. "Come, now! You
don't mean the mother hasn't told him?"
"Not one word, my lord," replied the lawyer coolly. "That I
can assure you. The child is prepared to believe you the most
amiable and affectionate of grandparents. Nothing--absolutely
nothing has been said to him to give him the slightest doubt of
your perfection. And as I carried out your commands in every
detail, while in New York, he certainly regards you as a wonder
"He does, eh?" said the Earl.
"I give you my word of honor," said Mr. Havisham, "that Lord
Fauntleroy's impressions of you will depend entirely upon
yourself. And if you will pardon the liberty I take in making
the suggestion, I think you will succeed better with him if you
take the precaution not to speak slightingly of his mother."
"Pooh, pooh!" said the Earl. "The youngster is only seven
"He has spent those seven years at his mother's side," returned
Mr. Havisham; "and she has all his affection."
It was late in the afternoon when the carriage containing little
Lord Fauntleroy and Mr. Havisham drove up the long avenue which
led to the castle. The Earl had given orders that his grandson
should arrive in time to dine with him; and for some reason best
known to himself, he had also ordered that the child should be
sent alone into the room in which he intended to receive him. As
the carriage rolled up the avenue, Lord Fauntleroy sat leaning
comfortably against the luxurious cushions, and regarded the
prospect with great interest. He was, in fact, interested in
everything he saw. He had been interested in the carriage, with
its large, splendid horses and their glittering harness; he had
been interested in the tall coachman and footman, with their
resplendent livery; and he had been especially interested in the
coronet on the panels, and had struck up an acquaintance with the
footman for the purpose of inquiring what it meant.
When the carriage reached the great gates of the park, he looked
out of the window to get a good view of the huge stone lions
ornamenting the entrance. The gates were opened by a motherly,
rosy-looking woman, who came out of a pretty, ivy-covered lodge.
Two children ran out of the door of the house and stood looking
with round, wide-open eyes at the little boy in the carriage, who
looked at them also. Their mother stood courtesying and smiling,
and the children, on receiving a sign from her, made bobbing
little courtesies too.
"Does she know me?" asked Lord Fauntleroy. "I think she must
think she knows me." And he took off his black velvet cap to her
"How do you do?" he said brightly. "Good-afternoon!"
The woman seemed pleased, he thought. The smile broadened on her
rosy face and a kind look came into her blue eyes.
"God bless your lordship!" she said. "God bless your pretty
face! Good luck and happiness to your lordship! Welcome to
Lord Fauntleroy waved his cap and nodded to her again as the
carriage rolled by her.
"I like that woman," he said. "She looks as if she liked
boys. I should like to come here and play with her children. I
wonder if she has enough to make up a company?"
Mr. Havisham did not tell him that he would scarcely be allowed
to make playmates of the gate-keeper's children. The lawyer
thought there was time enough for giving him that information.
The carriage rolled on and on between the great, beautiful trees
which grew on each side of the avenue and stretched their broad,
swaying branches in an arch across it. Cedric had never seen
such trees,--they were so grand and stately, and their branches
grew so low down on their huge trunks. He did not then know that
Dorincourt Castle was one of the most beautiful in all England;
that its park was one of the broadest and finest, and its trees
and avenue almost without rivals. But he did know that it was
all very beautiful. He liked the big, broad-branched trees, with
the late afternoon sunlight striking golden lances through them.
He liked the perfect stillness which rested on everything. He
felt a great, strange pleasure in the beauty of which he caught
glimpses under and between the sweeping boughs--the great,
beautiful spaces of the park, with still other trees standing
sometimes stately and alone, and sometimes in groups. Now and
then they passed places where tall ferns grew in masses, and
again and again the ground was azure with the bluebells swaying
in the soft breeze. Several times he started up with a laugh of
delight as a rabbit leaped up from under the greenery and scudded
away with a twinkle of short white tail behind it. Once a covey
of partridges rose with a sudden whir and flew away, and then he
shouted and clapped his hands.
"It's a beautiful place, isn't it?" he said to Mr. Havisham.
"I never saw such a beautiful place. It's prettier even than
He was rather puzzled by the length of time they were on their
"How far is it," he said, at length, "from the gate to the
"It is between three and four miles," answered the lawyer.
"That's a long way for a person to live from his gate,"
remarked his lordship.
Every few minutes he saw something new to wonder at and admire.
When he caught sight of the deer, some couched in the grass, some
standing with their pretty antlered heads turned with a
half-startled air toward the avenue as the carriage wheels
disturbed them, he was enchanted.
"Has there been a circus?" he cried; "or do they live here
always? Whose are they?"
"They live here," Mr. Havisham told him. "They belong to the
Earl, your grandfather."
It was not long after this that they saw the castle. It rose up
before them stately and beautiful and gray, the last rays of the
sun casting dazzling lights on its many windows. It had turrets
and battlements and towers; a great deal of ivy grew upon its
walls; all the broad, open space about it was laid out in
terraces and lawns and beds of brilliant flowers.
"It's the most beautiful place I ever saw!" said Cedric, his
round face flushing with pleasure. "It reminds any one of a
king's palace. I saw a picture of one once in a fairy-book."
He saw the great entrance-door thrown open and many servants
standing in two lines looking at him. He wondered why they were
standing there, and admired their liveries very much. He did not
know that they were there to do honor to the little boy to whom
all this splendor would one day belong,--the beautiful castle
like the fairy king's palace, the magnificent park, the grand old
trees, the dells full of ferns and bluebells where the hares and
rabbits played, the dappled, large-eyed deer couching in the deep
grass. It was only a couple of weeks since he had sat with Mr.
Hobbs among the potatoes and canned peaches, with his legs
dangling from the high stool; it would not have been possible for
him to realize that he had very much to do with all this
grandeur. At the head of the line of servants there stood an
elderly woman in a rich, plain black silk gown; she had gray hair
and wore a cap. As he entered the hall she stood nearer than the
rest, and the child thought from the look in her eyes that she
was going to speak to him. Mr. Havisham, who held his hand,
paused a moment.
"This is Lord Fauntleroy, Mrs. Mellon," he said. "Lord
Fauntleroy, this is Mrs. Mellon, who is the housekeeper."
Cedric gave her his hand, his eyes lighting up.
"Was it you who sent the cat?" he said. "I'm much obliged to
Mrs. Mellon's handsome old face looked as pleased as the face of
the lodge-keeper's wife had done.
"I should know his lordship anywhere," she said to Mr.
Havisham. "He has the Captain's face and way. It's a great
day, this, sir."
Cedric wondered why it was a great day. He looked at Mrs. Mellon
curiously. It seemed to him for a moment as if there were tears
in her eyes, and yet it was evident she was not unhappy. She
smiled down on him.
"The cat left two beautiful kittens here," she said; "they
shall be sent up to your lordship's nursery."
Mr. Havisham said a few words to her in a low voice.
"In the library, sir," Mrs. Mellon replied. "His lordship is
to be taken there alone."
A few minutes later, the very tall footman in livery, who had
escorted Cedric to the library door, opened it and announced:
"Lord Fauntleroy, my lord," in quite a majestic tone. If he
was only a footman, he felt it was rather a grand occasion when
the heir came home to his own land and possessions, and was
ushered into the presence of the old Earl, whose place and title
he was to take.
Cedric crossed the threshold into the room. It was a very large
and splendid room, with massive carven furniture in it, and
shelves upon shelves of books; the furniture was so dark, and the
draperies so heavy, the diamond-paned windows were so deep, and
it seemed such a distance from one end of it to the other, that,
since the sun had gone down, the effect of it all was rather
gloomy. For a moment Cedric thought there was nobody in the
room, but soon he saw that by the fire burning on the wide hearth
there was a large easy-chair and that in that chair some one was
sitting--some one who did not at first turn to look at him.
But he had attracted attention in one quarter at least. On the
floor, by the arm-chair, lay a dog, a huge tawny mastiff, with
body and limbs almost as big as a lion's; and this great creature
rose majestically and slowly, and marched toward the little
fellow with a heavy step.
Then the person in the chair spoke. "Dougal," he called,
"come back, sir."
But there was no more fear in little Lord Fauntleroy's heart than
there was unkindness--he had been a brave little fellow all his
life. He put his hand on the big dog's collar in the most
natural way in the world, and they strayed forward together,
Dougal sniffing as he went.
And then the Earl looked up. What Cedric saw was a large old man
with shaggy white hair and eyebrows, and a nose like an eagle's
beak between his deep, fierce eyes. What the Earl saw was a
graceful, childish figure in a black velvet suit, with a lace
collar, and with love-locks waving about the handsome, manly
little face, whose eyes met his with a look of innocent
good-fellowship. If the Castle was like the palace in a fairy
story, it must be owned that little Lord Fauntleroy was himself
rather like a small copy of the fairy prince, though he was not
at all aware of the fact, and perhaps was rather a sturdy young
model of a fairy. But there was a sudden glow of triumph and
exultation in the fiery old Earl's heart as he saw what a strong,
beautiful boy this grandson was, and how unhesitatingly he looked
up as he stood with his hand on the big dog's neck. It pleased
the grim old nobleman that the child should show no shyness or
fear, either of the dog or of himself.
Cedric looked at him just as he had looked at the woman at the
lodge and at the housekeeper, and came quite close to him.
"Are you the Earl?" he said. "I'm your grandson, you know,
that Mr. Havisham brought. I'm Lord Fauntleroy."
He held out his hand because he thought it must be the polite and
proper thing to do even with earls. "I hope you are very
well," he continued, with the utmost friendliness. "I'm very
glad to see you."
The Earl shook hands with him, with a curious gleam in his eyes;
just at first, he was so astonished that he scarcely knew what to
say. He stared at the picturesque little apparition from under
his shaggy brows, and took it all in from head to foot.
"Glad to see me, are you?" he said.
"Yes," answered Lord Fauntleroy, "very."
There was a chair near him, and he sat down on it; it was a
high-backed, rather tall chair, and his feet did not touch the
floor when he had settled himself in it, but he seemed to be
quite comfortable as he sat there, and regarded his august
relative intently but modestly.
"I've kept wondering what you would look like," he remarked.
"I used to lie in my berth in the ship and wonder if you would
be anything like my father."
"Am I?" asked the Earl.
"Well," Cedric replied, "I was very young when he died, and I
may not remember exactly how he looked, but I don't think you are
"You are disappointed, I suppose?" suggested his grandfather.
"Oh, no," responded Cedric politely. "Of course you would
like any one to look like your father; but of course you would
enjoy the way your grandfather looked, even if he wasn't like
your father. You know how it is yourself about admiring your
The Earl leaned back in his chair and stared. He could not be
said to know how it was about admiring his relations. He had
employed most of his noble leisure in quarreling violently with
them, in turning them out of his house, and applying abusive
epithets to them; and they all hated him cordially.
"Any boy would love his grandfather," continued Lord
Fauntleroy, "especially one that had been as kind to him as you
Another queer gleam came into the old nobleman's eyes.
"Oh!" he said, "I have been kind to you, have I?"
"Yes," answered Lord Fauntleroy brightly; "I'm ever so much
obliged to you about Bridget, and the apple-woman, and Dick."
"Bridget!" exclaimed the Earl. "Dick! The apple-woman!"
"Yes!" explained Cedric; "the ones you gave me all that money
for--the money you told Mr. Havisham to give me if I wanted it."
"Ha!" ejaculated his lordship. "That's it, is it? The money
you were to spend as you liked. What did you buy with it? I
should like to hear something about that."
He drew his shaggy eyebrows together and looked at the child
sharply. He was secretly curious to know in what way the lad had
"Oh!" said Lord Fauntleroy, "perhaps you didn't know about
Dick and the apple-woman and Bridget. I forgot you lived such a
long way off from them. They were particular friends of mine.
And you see Michael had the fever----"
"Who's Michael?" asked the Earl.
"Michael is Bridget's husband, and they were in great trouble.
When a man is sick and can't work and has twelve children, you
know how it is. And Michael has always been a sober man. And
Bridget used to come to our house and cry. And the evening Mr.
Havisham was there, she was in the kitchen crying, because they
had almost nothing to eat and couldn't pay the rent; and I went
in to see her, and Mr. Havisham sent for me and he said you had
given him some money for me. And I ran as fast as I could into
the kitchen and gave it to Bridget; and that made it all right;
and Bridget could scarcely believe her eyes. That's why I'm so
obliged to you."
"Oh!" said the Earl in his deep voice, "that was one of the
things you did for yourself, was it? What else?"
Dougal had been sitting by the tall chair; the great dog had
taken its place there when Cedric sat down. Several times it had
turned and looked up at the boy as if interested in the
conversation. Dougal was a solemn dog, who seemed to feel
altogether too big to take life's responsibilities lightly. The
old Earl, who knew the dog well, had watched it with secret
interest. Dougal was not a dog whose habit it was to make
acquaintances rashly, and the Earl wondered somewhat to see how
quietly the brute sat under the touch of the childish hand. And,
just at this moment, the big dog gave little Lord Fauntleroy one
more look of dignified scrutiny, and deliberately laid its huge,
lion-like head on the boy's black-velvet knee.
The small hand went on stroking this new friend as Cedric
"Well, there was Dick," he said. "You'd like Dick, he's so
This was an Americanism the Earl was not prepared for.
"What does that mean?" he inquired.
Lord Fauntleroy paused a moment to reflect. He was not very sure
himself what it meant. He had taken it for granted as meaning
something very creditable because Dick had been fond of using it.
"I think it means that he wouldn't cheat any one," he
exclaimed; "or hit a boy who was under his size, and that he
blacks people's boots very well and makes them shine as much as
he can. He's a perfessional bootblack."
"And he's one of your acquaintances, is he?" said the Earl.
"He is an old friend of mine," replied his grandson. "Not
quite as old as Mr. Hobbs, but quite old. He gave me a present
just before the ship sailed."
He put his hand into his pocket and drew forth a neatly folded
red object and opened it with an air of affectionate pride. It
was the red silk handkerchief with the large purple horse-shoes
and heads on it.
"He gave me this," said his young lordship. "I shall keep it
always. You can wear it round your neck or keep it in your
pocket. He bought it with the first money he earned after I
bought Jake out and gave him the new brushes. It's a keepsake.
I put some poetry in Mr. Hobbs's watch. It was, `When this you
see, remember me.' When this I see, I shall always remember
The sensations of the Right Honorable the Earl of Dorincourt
could scarcely be described. He was not an old nobleman who was
very easily bewildered, because he had seen a great deal of the
world; but here was something he found so novel that it almost
took his lordly breath away, and caused him some singular
emotions. He had never cared for children; he had been so
occupied with his own pleasures that he had never had time to
care for them. His own sons had not interested him when they
were very young--though sometimes he remembered having thought
Cedric's father a handsome and strong little fellow. He had been
so selfish himself that he had missed the pleasure of seeing
unselfishness in others, and he had not known how tender and
faithful and affectionate a kind-hearted little child can be, and
how innocent and unconscious are its simple, generous impulses.
A boy had always seemed to him a most objectionable little
animal, selfish and greedy and boisterous when not under strict
restraint; his own two eldest sons had given their tutors
constant trouble and annoyance, and of the younger one he fancied
he had heard few complaints because the boy was of no particular
importance. It had never once occurred to him that he should
like his grandson; he had sent for the little Cedric because his
pride impelled him to do so. If the boy was to take his place in
the future, he did not wish his name to be made ridiculous by
descending to an uneducated boor. He had been convinced the boy
would be a clownish fellow if he were brought up in America. He
had no feeling of affection for the lad; his only hope was that
he should find him decently well-featured, and with a respectable
share of sense; he had been so disappointed in his other sons,
and had been made so furious by Captain Errol's American
marriage, that he had never once thought that anything creditable
could come of it. When the footman had announced Lord
Fauntleroy, he had almost dreaded to look at the boy lest he
should find him all that he had feared. It was because of this
feeling that he had ordered that the child should be sent to him
alone. His pride could not endure that others should see his
disappointment if he was to be disappointed. His proud, stubborn
old heart therefore had leaped within him when the boy came
forward with his graceful, easy carriage, his fearless hand on
the big dog's neck. Even in the moments when he had hoped the
most, the Earl had never hoped that his grandson would look like
that. It seemed almost too good to be true that this should be
the boy he had dreaded to see--the child of the woman he so
disliked--this little fellow with so much beauty and such a
brave, childish grace! The Earl's stern composure was quite
shaken by this startling surprise.
And then their talk began; and he was still more curiously moved,
and more and more puzzled. In the first place, he was so used to
seeing people rather afraid and embarrassed before him, that he
had expected nothing else but that his grandson would be timid or
shy. But Cedric was no more afraid of the Earl than he had been
of Dougal. He was not bold; he was only innocently friendly, and
he was not conscious that there could be any reason why he should
be awkward or afraid. The Earl could not help seeing that the
little boy took him for a friend and treated him as one, without
having any doubt of him at all. It was quite plain as the little
fellow sat there in his tall chair and talked in his friendly way
that it had never occurred to him that this large, fierce-looking
old man could be anything but kind to him, and rather pleased to
see him there. And it was plain, too, that, in his childish way,
he wished to please and interest his grandfather. Cross, and
hard-hearted, and worldly as the old Earl was, he could not help
feeling a secret and novel pleasure in this very confidence.
After all, it was not disagreeable to meet some one who did not
distrust him or shrink from him, or seem to detect the ugly part
of his nature; some one who looked at him with clear,
unsuspecting eyes,--if it was only a little boy in a black velvet
So the old man leaned back in his chair, and led his young
companion on to telling him still more of himself, and with that
odd gleam in his eyes watched the little fellow as he talked.
Lord Fauntleroy was quite willing to answer all his questions and
chatted on in his genial little way quite composedly. He told
him all about Dick and Jake, and the apple-woman, and Mr. Hobbs;
he described the Republican Rally in all the glory of its banners
and transparencies, torches and rockets. In the course of the
conversation, he reached the Fourth of July and the Revolution,
and was just becoming enthusiastic, when he suddenly recollected
something and stopped very abruptly.
"What is the matter?" demanded his grandfather. "Why don't
you go on?"
Lord Fauntleroy moved rather uneasily in his chair. It was
evident to the Earl that he was embarrassed by the thought which
had just occurred to him.
"I was just thinking that perhaps you mightn't like it," he
replied. "Perhaps some one belonging to you might have been
there. I forgot you were an Englishman."
"You can go on," said my lord. "No one belonging to me was
there. You forgot you were an Englishman, too."
"Oh! no," said Cedric quickly. "I'm an American!"
"You are an Englishman," said the Earl grimly. "Your father
was an Englishman."
It amused him a little to say this, but it did not amuse Cedric.
The lad had never thought of such a development as this. He felt
himself grow quite hot up to the roots of his hair.
"I was born in America," he protested. "You have to be an
American if you are born in America. I beg your pardon," with
serious politeness and delicacy, "for contradicting you. Mr.
Hobbs told me, if there were another war, you know, I should have
to--to be an American."
The Earl gave a grim half laugh--it was short and grim, but it
was a laugh.
"You would, would you?" he said.
He hated America and Americans, but it amused him to see how
serious and interested this small patriot was. He thought that
so good an American might make a rather good Englishman when he
was a man.
They had not time to go very deep into the Revolution again--and
indeed Lord Fauntleroy felt some delicacy about returning to the
subject--before dinner was announced.
Cedric left his chair and went to his noble kinsman. He looked
down at his gouty foot.
"Would you like me to help you?" he said politely. "You could
lean on me, you know. Once when Mr. Hobbs hurt his foot with a
potato-barrel rolling on it, he used to lean on me."
The big footman almost periled his reputation and his situation
by smiling. He was an aristocratic footman who had always lived
in the best of noble families, and he had never smiled; indeed,
he would have felt himself a disgraced and vulgar footman if he
had allowed himself to be led by any circumstance whatever into
such an indiscretion as a smile. But he had a very narrow
escape. He only just saved himself by staring straight over the
Earl's head at a very ugly picture.
The Earl looked his valiant young relative over from head to
"Do you think you could do it?" he asked gruffly.
"I THINK I could," said Cedric. "I'm strong. I'm seven, you
know. You could lean on your stick on one side, and on me on the
other. Dick says I've a good deal of muscle for a boy that's
He shut his hand and moved it upward to his shoulder, so that the
Earl might see the muscle Dick had kindly approved of, and his
face was so grave and earnest that the footman found it necessary
to look very hard indeed at the ugly picture.
"Well," said the Earl, "you may try."
Cedric gave him his stick and began to assist him to rise.
Usually, the footman did this, and was violently sworn at when
his lordship had an extra twinge of gout. The Earl was not a
very polite person as a rule, and many a time the huge footmen
about him quaked inside their imposing liveries.
But this evening he did not swear, though his gouty foot gave him
more twinges than one. He chose to try an experiment. He got up
slowly and put his hand on the small shoulder presented to him
with so much courage. Little Lord Fauntleroy made a careful step
forward, looking down at the gouty foot.
"Just lean on me," he said, with encouraging good cheer.
"I'll walk very slowly."
If the Earl had been supported by the footman he would have
rested less on his stick and more on his assistant's arm. And
yet it was part of his experiment to let his grandson feel his
burden as no light weight. It was quite a heavy weight indeed,
and after a few steps his young lordship's face grew quite hot,
and his heart beat rather fast, but he braced himself sturdily,
remembering his muscle and Dick's approval of it.
"Don't be afraid of leaning on me," he panted. "I'm all
right--if--if it isn't a very long way."
It was not really very far to the dining-room, but it seemed
rather a long way to Cedric, before they reached the chair at the
head of the table. The hand on his shoulder seemed to grow
heavier at every step, and his face grew redder and hotter, and
his breath shorter, but he never thought of giving up; he
stiffened his childish muscles, held his head erect, and
encouraged the Earl as he limped along.
"Does your foot hurt you very much when you stand on it?" he
asked. "Did you ever put it in hot water and mustard? Mr.
Hobbs used to put his in hot water. Arnica is a very nice thing,
they tell me."
The big dog stalked slowly beside them, and the big footman
followed; several times he looked very queer as he watched the
little figure making the very most of all its strength, and
bearing its burden with such good-will. The Earl, too, looked
rather queer, once, as he glanced sidewise down at the flushed
little face. When they entered the room where they were to dine,
Cedric saw it was a very large and imposing one, and that the
footman who stood behind the chair at the head of the table
stared very hard as they came in.
But they reached the chair at last. The hand was removed from
his shoulder, and the Earl was fairly seated.
Cedric took out Dick's handkerchief and wiped his forehead.
"It's a warm night, isn't it?" he said. "Perhaps you need a
fire because--because of your foot, but it seems just a little
warm to me."
His delicate consideration for his noble relative's feelings was
such that he did not wish to seem to intimate that any of his
surroundings were unnecessary.
"You have been doing some rather hard work," said the Earl.
"Oh, no!" said Lord Fauntleroy, "it wasn't exactly hard, but I
got a little warm. A person will get warm in summer time."
And he rubbed his damp curls rather vigorously with the gorgeous
handkerchief. His own chair was placed at the other end of the
table, opposite his grandfather's. It was a chair with arms, and
intended for a much larger individual than himself; indeed,
everything he had seen so far,--the great rooms, with their high
ceilings, the massive furniture, the big footman, the big dog,
the Earl himself,--were all of proportions calculated to make
this little lad feel that he was very small, indeed. But that
did not trouble him; he had never thought himself very large or
important, and he was quite willing to accommodate himself even
to circumstances which rather overpowered him.
Perhaps he had never looked so little a fellow as when seated now
in his great chair, at the end of the table. Notwithstanding his
solitary existence, the Earl chose to live in some state. He was
fond of his dinner, and he dined in a formal style. Cedric
looked at him across a glitter of splendid glass and plate, which
to his unaccustomed eyes seemed quite dazzling. A stranger
looking on might well have smiled at the picture,--the great
stately room, the big liveried servants, the bright lights, the
glittering silver and glass, the fierce-looking old nobleman at
the head of the table and the very small boy at the foot. Dinner
was usually a very serious matter with the Earl--and it was a
very serious matter with the cook, if his lordship was not
pleased or had an indifferent appetite. To-day, however, his
appetite seemed a trifle better than usual, perhaps because he
had something to think of beside the flavor of the entrees and
the management of the gravies. His grandson gave him something
to think of. He kept looking at him across the table. He did
not say very much himself, but he managed to make the boy talk.
He had never imagined that he could be entertained by hearing a
child talk, but Lord Fauntleroy at once puzzled and amused him,
and he kept remembering how he had let the childish shoulder feel
his weight just for the sake of trying how far the boy's courage
and endurance would go, and it pleased him to know that his
grandson had not quailed and had not seemed to think even for a
moment of giving up what he had undertaken to do.
"You don't wear your coronet all the time?" remarked Lord
"No," replied the Earl, with his grim smile; "it is not
becoming to me."
"Mr. Hobbs said you always wore it," said Cedric; "but after
he thought it over, he said he supposed you must sometimes take
it off to put your hat on."
"Yes," said the Earl, "I take it off occasionally."
And one of the footmen suddenly turned aside and gave a singular
little cough behind his hand.
Cedric finished his dinner first, and then he leaned back in his
chair and took a survey of the room.
"You must be very proud of your house," he said, "it's such a
beautiful house. I never saw anything so beautiful; but, of
course, as I'm only seven, I haven't seen much."
"And you think I must be proud of it, do you?" said the Earl.
"I should think any one would be proud of it," replied Lord
Fauntleroy. "I should be proud of it if it were my house.
Everything about it is beautiful. And the park, and those
trees,--how beautiful they are, and how the leaves rustle!"
Then he paused an instant and looked across the table rather
"It's a very big house for just two people to live in, isn't
it?" he said.
"It is quite large enough for two," answered the Earl. "Do
you find it too large?"
His little lordship hesitated a moment.
"I was only thinking," he said, "that if two people lived in
it who were not very good companions, they might feel lonely
"Do you think I shall make a good companion?" inquired the
"Yes," replied Cedric, "I think you will. Mr. Hobbs and I
were great friends. He was the best friend I had except
The Earl made a quick movement of his bushy eyebrows.
"Who is Dearest?"
"She is my mother," said Lord Fauntleroy, in a rather low,
quiet little voice.
Perhaps he was a trifle tired, as his bed-time was nearing, and
perhaps after the excitement of the last few days it was natural
he should be tired, so perhaps, too, the feeling of weariness
brought to him a vague sense of loneliness in the remembrance
that to-night he was not to sleep at home, watched over by the
loving eyes of that "best friend" of his. They had always been
"best friends," this boy and his young mother. He could not
help thinking of her, and the more he thought of her the less was
he inclined to talk, and by the time the dinner was at an end the
Earl saw that there was a faint shadow on his face. But Cedric
bore himself with excellent courage, and when they went back to
the library, though the tall footman walked on one side of his
master, the Earl's hand rested on his grandson's shoulder, though
not so heavily as before.
When the footman left them alone, Cedric sat down upon the
hearth-rug near Dougal. For a few minutes he stroked the dog's
ears in silence and looked at the fire.
The Earl watched him. The boy's eyes looked wistful and
thoughtful, and once or twice he gave a little sigh. The Earl
sat still, and kept his eyes fixed on his grandson.
"Fauntleroy," he said at last, "what are you thinking of?"
Fauntleroy looked up with a manful effort at a smile.
"I was thinking about Dearest," he said; "and--and I think I'd
better get up and walk up and down the room."
He rose up, and put his hands in his small pockets, and began to
walk to and fro. His eyes were very bright, and his lips were
pressed together, but he kept his head up and walked firmly.
Dougal moved lazily and looked at him, and then stood up. He
walked over to the child, and began to follow him uneasily.
Fauntleroy drew one hand from his pocket and laid it on the dog's
"He's a very nice dog," he said. "He's my friend. He knows
how I feel."
"How do you feel?" asked the Earl.
It disturbed him to see the struggle the little fellow was having
with his first feeling of homesickness, but it pleased him to see
that he was making so brave an effort to bear it well. He liked
this childish courage.
"Come here," he said.
Fauntleroy went to him.
"I never was away from my own house before," said the boy, with
a troubled look in his brown eyes. "It makes a person feel a
strange feeling when he has to stay all night in another person's
castle instead of in his own house. But Dearest is not very far
away from me. She told me to remember that--and--and I'm
seven--and I can look at the picture she gave me."
He put his hand in his pocket, and brought out a small violet
"This is it," he said. "You see, you press this spring and it
opens, and she is in there!"
He had come close to the Earl's chair, and, as he drew forth the
little case, he leaned against the arm of it, and against the old
man's arm, too, as confidingly as if children had always leaned
"There she is," he said, as the case opened; and he looked up
with a smile.
The Earl knitted his brows; he did not wish to see the picture,
but he looked at it in spite of himself; and there looked up at
him from it such a pretty young face--a face so like the child's
at his side--that it quite startled him.
"I suppose you think you are very fond of her," he said.
"Yes," answered Lord Fauntleroy, in a gentle tone, and with
simple directness; "I do think so, and I think it's true. You
see, Mr. Hobbs was my friend, and Dick and Bridget and Mary and
Michael, they were my friends, too; but Dearest--well, she is my
CLOSE friend, and we always tell each other everything. My
father left her to me to take care of, and when I am a man I am
going to work and earn money for her."
"What do you think of doing?" inquired his grandfather.
His young lordship slipped down upon the hearth-rug, and sat
there with the picture still in his hand. He seemed to be
reflecting seriously, before he answered.
"I did think perhaps I might go into business with Mr. Hobbs,"
he said; "but I should LIKE to be a President."
"We'll send you to the House of Lords instead," said his
"Well," remarked Lord Fauntleroy, "if I COULDN'T be a
President, and if that is a good business, I shouldn't mind. The
grocery business is dull sometimes."
Perhaps he was weighing the matter in his mind, for he sat very
quiet after this, and looked at the fire for some time.
The Earl did not speak again. He leaned back in his chair and
watched him. A great many strange new thoughts passed through
the old nobleman's mind. Dougal had stretched himself out and
gone to sleep with his head on his huge paws. There was a long
In about half an hour's time Mr. Havisham was ushered in. The
great room was very still when he entered. The Earl was still
leaning back in his chair. He moved as Mr. Havisham approached,
and held up his hand in a gesture of warning--it seemed as if he
had scarcely intended to make the gesture--as if it were almost
involuntary. Dougal was still asleep, and close beside the great
dog, sleeping also, with his curly head upon his arm, lay little
When Lord Fauntleroy wakened in the morning,--he had not wakened
at all when he had been carried to bed the night before,--the
first sounds he was conscious of were the crackling of a wood
fire and the murmur of voices.
"You will be careful, Dawson, not to say anything about it," he
heard some one say. "He does not know why she is not to be with
him, and the reason is to be kept from him."
"If them's his lordship's orders, mem," another voice answered,
they'll have to be kep', I suppose. But, if you'll excuse the
liberty, mem, as it's between ourselves, servant or no servant,
all I have to say is, it's a cruel thing,--parting that poor,
pretty, young widdered cre'tur' from her own flesh and blood, and
him such a little beauty and a nobleman born. James and Thomas,
mem, last night in the servants' hall, they both of 'em say as
they never see anythink in their two lives--nor yet no other
gentleman in livery--like that little fellow's ways, as innercent
an' polite an' interested as if he'd been sitting there dining
with his best friend,--and the temper of a' angel, instead of one
(if you'll excuse me, mem), as it's well known, is enough to
curdle your blood in your veins at times. And as to looks, mem,
when we was rung for, James and me, to go into the library and
bring him upstairs, and James lifted him up in his arms, what
with his little innercent face all red and rosy, and his little
head on James's shoulder and his hair hanging down, all curly an'
shinin', a prettier, takiner sight you'd never wish to see. An'
it's my opinion, my lord wasn't blind to it neither, for he
looked at him, and he says to James, `See you don't wake him!' he
Cedric moved on his pillow, and turned over, opening his eyes.
There were two women in the room. Everything was bright and
cheerful with gay-flowered chintz. There was a fire on the
hearth, and the sunshine was streaming in through the
ivy-entwined windows. Both women came toward him, and he saw
that one of them was Mrs. Mellon, the housekeeper, and the other
a comfortable, middle-aged woman, with a face as kind and
good-humored as a face could be.
"Good-morning, my lord," said Mrs. Mellon. "Did you sleep
His lordship rubbed his eyes and smiled.
"Good-morning," he said. "I didn't know I was here."
"You were carried upstairs when you were asleep," said the
housekeeper. "This is your bedroom, and this is Dawson, who is
to take care of you."
Fauntleroy sat up in bed and held out his hand to Dawson, as he
had held it out to the Earl.
"How do you do, ma'am?" he said. "I'm much obliged to you for
coming to take care of me."
"You can call her Dawson, my lord," said the housekeeper with a
smile. "She is used to being called Dawson."
"MISS Dawson, or MRS. Dawson?" inquired his lordship.
"Just Dawson, my lord," said Dawson herself, beaming all over.
"Neither Miss nor Missis, bless your little heart ! Will you
get up now, and let Dawson dress you, and then have your
breakfast in the nursery?"
"I learned to dress myself many years ago, thank you," answered
Fauntleroy. "Dearest taught me. `Dearest' is my mamma. We had
only Mary to do all the work,--washing and all,--and so of course
it wouldn't do to give her so much trouble. I can take my bath,
too, pretty well if you'll just be kind enough to 'zamine the
corners after I'm done."
Dawson and the housekeeper exchanged glances.
"Dawson will do anything you ask her to," said Mrs. Mellon.
"That I will, bless him," said Dawson, in her comforting,
good-humored voice. "He shall dress himself if he likes, and
I'll stand by, ready to help him if he wants me."
"Thank you," responded Lord Fauntleroy; "it's a little hard
sometimes about the buttons, you know, and then I have to ask
He thought Dawson a very kind woman, and before the bath and the
dressing were finished they were excellent friends, and he had
found out a great deal about her. He had discovered that her
husband had been a soldier and had been killed in a real battle,
and that her son was a sailor, and was away on a long cruise, and
that he had seen pirates and cannibals and Chinese people and
Turks, and that he brought home strange shells and pieces of
coral which Dawson was ready to show at any moment, some of them
being in her trunk. All this was very interesting. He also
found out that she had taken care of little children all her
life, and that she had just come from a great house in another
part of England, where she had been taking care of a beautiful
little girl whose name was Lady Gwyneth Vaughn.
"And she is a sort of relation of your lordship's," said
Dawson. "And perhaps sometime you may see her."
"Do you think I shall?" said Fauntleroy. "I should like that.
I never knew any little girls, but I always like to look at
When he went into the adjoining room to take his breakfast, and
saw what a great room it was, and found there was another
adjoining it which Dawson told him was his also, the feeling that
he was very small indeed came over him again so strongly that he
confided it to Dawson, as he sat down to the table on which the
pretty breakfast service was arranged.
"I am a very little boy," he said rather wistfully, "to live
in such a large castle, and have so many big rooms,--don't you
"Oh! come!" said Dawson, "you feel just a little strange at
first, that's all; but you'll get over that very soon, and then
you'll like it here. It's such a beautiful place, you know."
"It's a very beautiful place, of course," said Fauntleroy, with
a little sigh; "but I should like it better if I didn't miss
Dearest so. I always had my breakfast with her in the morning,
and put the sugar and cream in her tea for her, and handed her
the toast. That made it very sociable, of course."
"Oh, well!" answered Dawson, comfortingly, "you know you can
see her every day, and there's no knowing how much you'll have to
tell her. Bless you! wait till you've walked about a bit and
seen things,--the dogs, and the stables with all the horses in
them. There's one of them I know you'll like to see----"
"Is there?" exclaimed Fauntleroy; "I'm very fond of horses. I
was very fond of Jim. He was the horse that belonged to Mr.
Hobbs' grocery wagon. He was a beautiful horse when he wasn't
"Well," said Dawson, "you just wait till you've seen what's in
the stables. And, deary me, you haven't looked even into the
very next room yet!"
"What is there?" asked Fauntleroy.
"Wait until you've had your breakfast, and then you shall see,"
At this he naturally began to grow curious, and he applied
himself assiduously to his breakfast. It seemed to him that
there must be something worth looking at, in the next room;
Dawson had such a consequential, mysterious air.
"Now, then," he said, slipping off his seat a few minutes
later; "I've had enough. Can I go and look at it?"
Dawson nodded and led the way, looking more mysterious and
important than ever. He began to be very much interested indeed.
When she opened the door of the room, he stood upon the threshold
and looked about him in amazement. He did not speak; he only put
his hands in his pockets and stood there flushing up to his
forehead and looking in.
He flushed up because he was so surprised and, for the moment,
excited. To see such a place was enough to surprise any ordinary
The room was a large one, too, as all the rooms seemed to be, and
it appeared to him more beautiful than the rest, only in a
different way. The furniture was not so massive and antique as
was that in the rooms he had seen downstairs; the draperies and
rugs and walls were brighter; there were shelves full of books,
and on the tables were numbers of toys,--beautiful, ingenious
things,--such as he had looked at with wonder and delight through
the shop windows in New York.
"It looks like a boy's room," he said at last, catching his
breath a little. "Whom do they belong to?"
"Go and look at them," said Dawson. "They belong to you!"
"To me!" he cried; "to me? Why do they belong to me? Who
gave them to me?" And he sprang forward with a gay little shout.
It seemed almost too much to be believed. "It was Grandpapa!"
he said, with his eyes as bright as stars. "I know it was
"Yes, it was his lordship," said Dawson; "and if you will be a
nice little gentleman, and not fret about things, and will enjoy
yourself, and be happy all the day, he will give you anything you
It was a tremendously exciting morning. There were so many
things to be examined, so many experiments to be tried; each
novelty was so absorbing that he could scarcely turn from it to
look at the next. And it was so curious to know that all this
had been prepared for himself alone; that, even before he had
left New York, people had come down from London to arrange the
rooms he was to occupy, and had provided the books and playthings
most likely to interest him.
"Did you ever know any one," he said to Dawson, "who had such
a kind grandfather!"
Dawson's face wore an uncertain expression for a moment. She had
not a very high opinion of his lordship the Earl. She had not
been in the house many days, but she had been there long enough
to hear the old nobleman's peculiarities discussed very freely in
the servants' hall.
"An' of all the wicious, savage, hill-tempered hold fellows it
was ever my hill-luck to wear livery hunder," the tallest
footman had said, "he's the wiolentest and wust by a long
And this particular footman, whose name was Thomas, had also
repeated to his companions below stairs some of the Earl's
remarks to Mr. Havisham, when they had been discussing these very
"Give him his own way, and fill his rooms with toys," my lord
had said. "Give him what will amuse him, and he'll forget about
his mother quickly enough. Amuse him, and fill his mind with
other things, and we shall have no trouble. That's boy nature."
So, perhaps, having had this truly amiable object in view, it did
not please him so very much to find it did not seem to be exactly
this particular boy's nature. The Earl had passed a bad night
and had spent the morning in his room; but at noon, after he had
lunched, he sent for his grandson.
Fauntleroy answered the summons at once. He came down the broad
staircase with a bounding step; the Earl heard him run across the
hall, and then the door opened and he came in with red cheeks and
"I was waiting for you to send for me," he said. "I was ready
a long time ago. I'm EVER so much obliged to you for all those
things! I'm EVER so much obliged to you! I have been playing
with them all the morning."
"Oh!" said the Earl, "you like them, do you?"
"I like them so much--well, I couldn't tell you how much!" said
Fauntleroy, his face glowing with delight. "There's one that's
like baseball, only you play it on a board with black and white
pegs, and you keep your score with some counters on a wire. I
tried to teach Dawson, but she couldn't quite understand it just
at first--you see, she never played baseball, being a lady; and
I'm afraid I wasn't very good at explaining it to her. But you
know all about it, don't you?"
"I'm afraid I don't," replied the Earl. "It's an American
game, isn't it? Is it something like cricket?"
"I never saw cricket," said Fauntleroy; "but Mr. Hobbs took me
several times to see baseball. It's a splendid game. You get so
excited! Would you like me to go and get my game and show it to
you? Perhaps it would amuse you and make you forget about your
foot. Does your foot hurt you very much this morning?"
"More than I enjoy," was the answer.
"Then perhaps you couldn't forget it," said the little fellow
anxiously. "Perhaps it would bother you to be told about the
game. Do you think it would amuse you, or do you think it would
"Go and get it," said the Earl.
It certainly was a novel entertainment this,--making a companion
of a child who offered to teach him to play games,--but the very
novelty of it amused him. There was a smile lurking about the
Earl's mouth when Cedric came back with the box containing the
game, in his arms, and an expression of the most eager interest
on his face.
"May I pull that little table over here to your chair?" he
"Ring for Thomas," said the Earl. "He will place it for
"Oh, I can do it myself," answered Fauntleroy. "It's not very
"Very well," replied his grandfather. The lurking smile
deepened on the old man's face as he watched the little fellow's
preparations; there was such an absorbed interest in them. The
small table was dragged forward and placed by his chair, and the
game taken from its box and arranged upon it.
"It's very interesting when you once begin," said Fauntleroy.
"You see, the black pegs can be your side and the white ones
mine. They're men, you know, and once round the field is a home
run and counts one--and these are the outs--and here is the first
base and that's the second and that's the third and that's the
He entered into the details of explanation with the greatest
animation. He showed all the attitudes of pitcher and catcher
and batter in the real game, and gave a dramatic description of a
wonderful "hot ball" he had seen caught on the glorious
occasion on which he had witnessed a match in company with Mr.
Hobbs. His vigorous, graceful little body, his eager gestures,
his simple enjoyment of it all, were pleasant to behold.
When at last the explanations and illustrations were at an end
and the game began in good earnest, the Earl still found himself
entertained. His young companion was wholly absorbed; he played
with all his childish heart; his gay little laughs when he made a
good throw, his enthusiasm over a "home run," his impartial
delight over his own good luck and his opponent's, would have
given a flavor to any game.
If, a week before, any one had told the Earl of Dorincourt that
on that particular morning he would be forgetting his gout and
his bad temper in a child's game, played with black and white
wooden pegs, on a gayly painted board, with a curly-headed small
boy for a companion, he would without doubt have made himself
very unpleasant; and yet he certainly had forgotten himself when
the door opened and Thomas announced a visitor.
The visitor in question, who was an elderly gentleman in black,
and no less a person than the clergyman of the parish, was so
startled by the amazing scene which met his eye, that he almost
fell back a pace, and ran some risk of colliding with Thomas.
There was, in fact, no part of his duty that the Reverend Mr.
Mordaunt found so decidedly unpleasant as that part which
compelled him to call upon his noble patron at the Castle. His
noble patron, indeed, usually made these visits as disagreeable
as it lay in his lordly power to make them. He abhorred churches
and charities, and flew into violent rages when any of his
tenantry took the liberty of being poor and ill and needing
assistance. When his gout was at its worst, he did not hesitate
to announce that he would not be bored and irritated by being
told stories of their miserable misfortunes; when his gout
troubled him less and he was in a somewhat more humane frame of
mind, he would perhaps give the rector some money, after having
bullied him in the most painful manner, and berated the whole
parish for its shiftlessness and imbecility. But, whatsoever his
mood, he never failed to make as many sarcastic and embarrassing
speeches as possible, and to cause the Reverend Mr. Mordaunt to
wish it were proper and Christian-like to throw something heavy
at him. During all the years in which Mr. Mordaunt had been in
charge of Dorincourt parish, the rector certainly did not
remember having seen his lordship, of his own free will, do any
one a kindness, or, under any circumstances whatever, show that
he thought of any one but himself.
He had called to-day to speak to him of a specially pressing
case, and as he had walked up the avenue, he had, for two
reasons, dreaded his visit more than usual. In the first place,
he knew that his lordship had for several days been suffering
with the gout, and had been in so villainous a humor that rumors
of it had even reached the village--carried there by one of the
young women servants, to her sister, who kept a little shop and
retailed darning-needles and cotton and peppermints and gossip,
as a means of earning an honest living. What Mrs. Dibble did not
know about the Castle and its inmates, and the farm-houses and
their inmates, and the village and its population, was really not
worth being talked about. And of course she knew everything
about the Castle, because her sister, Jane Shorts, was one of the
upper housemaids, and was very friendly and intimate with Thomas.
"And the way his lordship do go on!" said Mrs. Dibble, over the
counter, "and the way he do use language, Mr. Thomas told Jane
herself, no flesh and blood as is in livery could stand--for
throw a plate of toast at Mr. Thomas, hisself, he did, not more
than two days since, and if it weren't for other things being
agreeable and the society below stairs most genteel, warning
would have been gave within a' hour!"
And the rector had heard all this, for somehow the Earl was a
favorite black sheep in the cottages and farm-houses, and his bad
behavior gave many a good woman something to talk about when she
had company to tea.
And the second reason was even worse, because it was a new one
and had been talked about with the most excited interest.
Who did not know of the old nobleman's fury when his handsome son
the Captain had married the American lady? Who did not know how
cruelly he had treated the Captain, and how the big, gay,
sweet-smiling young man, who was the only member of the grand
family any one liked, had died in a foreign land, poor and
unforgiven? Who did not know how fiercely his lordship had hated
the poor young creature who had been this son's wife, and how he
had hated the thought of her child and never meant to see the
boy--until his two sons died and left him without an heir? And
then, who did not know that he had looked forward without any
affection or pleasure to his grandson's coming, and that he had
made up his mind that he should find the boy a vulgar, awkward,
pert American lad, more likely to disgrace his noble name than to
The proud, angry old man thought he had kept all his thoughts
secret. He did not suppose any one had dared to guess at, much
less talk over what he felt, and dreaded; but his servants
watched him, and read his face and his ill-humors and fits of
gloom, and discussed them in the servants' hall. And while he
thought himself quite secure from the common herd, Thomas was
telling Jane and the cook, and the butler, and the housemaids and
the other footmen that it was his opinion that "the hold man was
wuss than usual a-thinkin' hover the Capting's boy, an'
hanticipatin' as he won't be no credit to the fambly. An' serve
him right," added Thomas; "hit's 'is hown fault. Wot can he
iggspect from a child brought up in pore circumstances in that
there low Hamerica?"
And as the Reverend Mr. Mordaunt walked under the great trees, he
remembered that this questionable little boy had arrived at the
Castle only the evening before, and that there were nine chances
to one that his lordship's worst fears were realized, and
twenty-two chances to one that if the poor little fellow had
disappointed him, the Earl was even now in a tearing rage, and
ready to vent all his rancor on the first person who
called--which it appeared probable would be his reverend self.
Judge then of his amazement when, as Thomas opened the library
door, his ears were greeted by a delighted ring of childish
"That's two out!" shouted an excited, clear little voice.
"You see it's two out!"
And there was the Earl's chair, and the gout-stool, and his foot
on it; and by him a small table and a game on it; and quite close
to him, actually leaning against his arm and his ungouty knee,
was a little boy with face glowing, and eyes dancing with
excitement. "It's two out!" the little stranger cried. "You
hadn't any luck that time, had you?"--And then they both
recognized at once that some one had come in.
The Earl glanced around, knitting his shaggy eyebrows as he had a
trick of doing, and when he saw who it was, Mr. Mordaunt was
still more surprised to see that he looked even less disagreeable
than usual instead of more so. In fact, he looked almost as if
he had forgotten for the moment how disagreeable he was, and how
unpleasant he really could make himself when he tried.
"Ah!" he said, in his harsh voice, but giving his hand rather
graciously. "Good-morning, Mordaunt. I've found a new
employment, you see."
He put his other hand on Cedric's shoulder,--perhaps deep down in
his heart there was a stir of gratified pride that it was such an
heir he had to present; there was a spark of something like
pleasure in his eyes as he moved the boy slightly forward.
"This is the new Lord Fauntleroy," he said. "Fauntleroy, this
is Mr. Mordaunt, the rector of the parish."
Fauntleroy looked up at the gentleman in the clerical garments,
and gave him his hand.
"I am very glad to make your acquaintance, sir," he said,
remembering the words he had heard Mr. Hobbs use on one or two
occasions when he had been greeting a new customer with ceremony.
Cedric felt quite sure that one ought to be more than usually
polite to a minister.
Mr. Mordaunt held the small hand in his a moment as he looked
down at the child's face, smiling involuntarily. He liked the
little fellow from that instant--as in fact people always did
like him. And it was not the boy's beauty and grace which most
appealed to him; it was the simple, natural kindliness in the
little lad which made any words he uttered, however quaint and
unexpected, sound pleasant and sincere. As the rector looked at
Cedric, he forgot to think of the Earl at all. Nothing in the
world is so strong as a kind heart, and somehow this kind little
heart, though it was only the heart of a child, seemed to clear
all the atmosphere of the big gloomy room and make it brighter.
"I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Lord Fauntleroy,"
said the rector. "You made a long journey to come to us. A
great many people will be glad to know you made it safely."
"It WAS a long way," answered Fauntleroy, "but Dearest, my
mother, was with me and I wasn't lonely. Of course you are never
lonely if your mother is with you; and the ship was beautiful."
"Take a chair, Mordaunt," said the Earl. Mr. Mordaunt sat
down. He glanced from Fauntleroy to the Earl.
"Your lordship is greatly to be congratulated," he said warmly.
But the Earl plainly had no intention of showing his feelings on
"He is like his father," he said rather gruffly. "Let us hope
he'll conduct himself more creditably." And then he added:
"Well, what is it this morning, Mordaunt? Who is in trouble
This was not as bad as Mr. Mordaunt had expected, but he
hesitated a second before he began.
"It is Higgins," he said; "Higgins of Edge Farm. He has been
very unfortunate. He was ill himself last autumn, and his
children had scarlet fever. I can't say that he is a very good
manager, but he has had ill-luck, and of course he is behindhand
in many ways. He is in trouble about his rent now. Newick tells
him if he doesn't pay it, he must leave the place; and of course
that would be a very serious matter. His wife is ill, and he
came to me yesterday to beg me to see about it, and ask you for
time. He thinks if you would give him time he could catch up
"They all think that," said the Earl, looking rather black.
Fauntleroy made a movement forward. He had been standing between
his grandfather and the visitor, listening with all his might.
He had begun to be interested in Higgins at once. He wondered
how many children there were, and if the scarlet fever had hurt
them very much. His eyes were wide open and were fixed upon Mr.
Mordaunt with intent interest as that gentleman went on with the
"Higgins is a well-meaning man," said the rector, making an
effort to strengthen his plea.
"He is a bad enough tenant," replied his lordship. "And he is
always behindhand, Newick tells me."
"He is in great trouble now," said the rector.
"He is very fond of his wife and children, and if the farm is
taken from him they may literally starve. He can not give them
the nourishing things they need. Two of the children were left
very low after the fever, and the doctor orders for them wine and
luxuries that Higgins can not afford."
At this Fauntleroy moved a step nearer.
"That was the way with Michael," he said.
The Earl slightly started.
"I forgot YOU!" he said. "I forgot we had a philanthropist in
the room. Who was Michael?" And the gleam of queer amusement
came back into the old man's deep-set eyes.
"He was Bridget's husband, who had the fever," answered
Fauntleroy; "and he couldn't pay the rent or buy wine and
things. And you gave me that money to help him."
The Earl drew his brows together into a curious frown, which
somehow was scarcely grim at all. He glanced across at Mr.
"I don't know what sort of landed proprietor he will make," he
said. "I told Havisham the boy was to have what he
wanted--anything he wanted--and what he wanted, it seems, was
money to give to beggars."
"Oh! but they weren't beggars," said Fauntleroy eagerly.
"Michael was a splendid bricklayer! They all worked."
"Oh!" said the Earl, "they were not beggars. They were
splendid bricklayers, and bootblacks, and apple-women."
He bent his gaze on the boy for a few seconds in silence. The
fact was that a new thought was coming to him, and though,
perhaps, it was not prompted by the noblest emotions, it was not
a bad thought. "Come here," he said, at last.
Fauntleroy went and stood as near to him as possible without
encroaching on the gouty foot.
"What would YOU do in this case?" his lordship asked.
It must be confessed that Mr. Mordaunt experienced for the moment
a curious sensation. Being a man of great thoughtfulness, and
having spent so many years on the estate of Dorincourt, knowing
the tenantry, rich and poor, the people of the village, honest
and industrious, dishonest and lazy, he realized very strongly
what power for good or evil would be given in the future to this
one small boy standing there, his brown eyes wide open, his hands
deep in his pockets; and the thought came to him also that a
great deal of power might, perhaps, through the caprice of a
proud, self-indulgent old man, be given to him now, and that if
his young nature were not a simple and generous one, it might be
the worst thing that could happen, not only for others, but for
"And what would YOU do in such a case?" demanded the Earl.
Fauntleroy drew a little nearer, and laid one hand on his knee,
with the most confiding air of good comradeship.
"If I were very rich," he said, "and not only just a little
boy, I should let him stay, and give him the things for his
children; but then, I am only a boy." Then, after a second's
pause, in which his face brightened visibly, "YOU can do
anything, can't you?" he said.
"Humph!" said my lord, staring at him. "That's your opinion,
is it?" And he was not displeased either.
"I mean you can give any one anything," said Fauntleroy.
"He is my agent," answered the earl, "and some of my tenants
are not over-fond of him."
"Are you going to write him a letter now?" inquired Fauntleroy.
"Shall I bring you the pen and ink? I can take the game off
It plainly had not for an instant occurred to him that Newick
would be allowed to do his worst.
The Earl paused a moment, still looking at him. "Can you
write?" he asked.
"Yes," answered Cedric, "but not very well."
"Move the things from the table," commanded my lord, "and
bring the pen and ink, and a sheet of paper from my desk."
Mr. Mordaunt's interest began to increase. Fauntleroy did as he
was told very deftly. In a few moments, the sheet of paper, the
big inkstand, and the pen were ready.
"There!" he said gayly, "now you can write it."
"You are to write it," said the Earl.
"I!" exclaimed Fauntleroy, and a flush overspread his forehead.
"Will it do if I write it? I don't always spell quite right
when I haven't a dictionary, and nobody tells me."
"It will do," answered the Earl. "Higgins will not complain
of the spelling. I'm not the philanthropist; you are. Dip your
pen in the ink."
Fauntleroy took up the pen and dipped it in the ink-bottle, then
he arranged himself in position, leaning on the table.
"Now," he inquired, "what must I say?"
"You may say, `Higgins is not to be interfered with, for the
present,' and sign it, `Fauntleroy,'" said the Earl.
Fauntleroy dipped his pen in the ink again, and resting his arm,
began to write. It was rather a slow and serious process, but he
gave his whole soul to it. After a while, however, the
manuscript was complete, and he handed it to his grandfather with
a smile slightly tinged with anxiety.
"Do you think it will do?" he asked.
The Earl looked at it, and the corners of his mouth twitched a
"Yes," he answered; "Higgins will find it entirely
satisfactory." And he handed it to Mr. Mordaunt.
What Mr. Mordaunt found written was this:
"Dear mr. Newik if you pleas mr. higins is not to be intur
feared with for the present and oblige.
"Mr. Hobbs always signed his letters that way," said
Fauntleroy; "and I thought I'd better say `please.' Is that
exactly the right way to spell `interfered'?"
"It's not exactly the way it is spelled in the dictionary,"
answered the Earl.
"I was afraid of that," said Fauntleroy. "I ought to have
asked. You see, that's the way with words of more than one
syllable; you have to look in the dictionary. It's always
safest. I'll write it over again."
And write it over again he did, making quite an imposing copy,
and taking precautions in the matter of spelling by consulting
the Earl himself.
"Spelling is a curious thing," he said. "It's so often
different from what you expect it to be. I used to think
`please' was spelled p-l-e-e-s, but it isn't, you know; and you'd
think `dear' was spelled d-e-r-e, if you didn't inquire.
Sometimes it almost discourages you."
When Mr. Mordaunt went away, he took the letter with him, and he
took something else with him also--namely, a pleasanter feeling
and a more hopeful one than he had ever carried home with him
down that avenue on any previous visit he had made at Dorincourt
When he was gone, Fauntleroy, who had accompanied him to the
door, went back to his grandfather.
"May I go to Dearest now?" he asked. "I think she will be
waiting for me."
The Earl was silent a moment.
"There is something in the stable for you to see first," he
said. "Ring the bell."
"If you please," said Fauntleroy, with his quick little flush.
"I'm very much obliged; but I think I'd better see it to-morrow.
She will be expecting me all the time."
"Very well," answered the Earl. "We will order the
carriage." Then he added dryly, "It's a pony."
Fauntleroy drew a long breath.
"A pony!" he exclaimed. "Whose pony is it?"
"Yours," replied the Earl.
"Mine?" cried the little fellow. "Mine--like the things
"Yes," said his grandfather. "Would you like to see it?
Shall I order it to be brought around?"
Fauntleroy's cheeks grew redder and redder.
"I never thought I should have a pony!" he said. "I never
thought that! How glad Dearest will be. You give me EVERYthing,
"Do you wish to see it?" inquired the Earl.
Fauntleroy drew a long breath. "I WANT to see it," he said.
"I want to see it so much I can hardly wait. But I'm afraid
there isn't time."
"You MUST go and see your mother this afternoon?" asked the
Earl. "You think you can't put it off?"
"Why," said Fauntleroy, "she has been thinking about me all
the morning, and I have been thinking about her!"
"Oh!" said the Earl. "You have, have you? Ring the bell."
As they drove down the avenue, under the arching trees, he was
rather silent. But Fauntleroy was not. He talked about the
pony. What color was it? How big was it? What was its name?
What did it like to eat best? How old was it? How early in the
morning might he get up and see it?
"Dearest will be so glad!" he kept saying. "She will be so
much obliged to you for being so kind to me! She knows I always
liked ponies so much, but we never thought I should have one.
There was a little boy on Fifth Avenue who had one, and he used
to ride out every morning and we used to take a walk past his
house to see him."
He leaned back against the cushions and regarded the Earl with
rapt interest for a few minutes and in entire silence.
"I think you must be the best person in the world," he burst
forth at last. "You are always doing good, aren't you?--and
thinking about other people. Dearest says that is the best kind
of goodness; not to think about yourself, but to think about
other people. That is just the way you are, isn't it?"
His lordship was so dumfounded to find himself presented in such
agreeable colors, that he did not know exactly what to say. He
felt that he needed time for reflection. To see each of his
ugly, selfish motives changed into a good and generous one by the
simplicity of a child was a singular experience.
Fauntleroy went on, still regarding him with admiring eyes--those
great, clear, innocent eyes!
"You make so many people happy," he said. "There's Michael
and Bridget and their ten children, and the apple-woman, and
Dick, and Mr. Hobbs, and Mr. Higgins and Mrs. Higgins and their
children, and Mr. Mordaunt,--because of course he was glad,--and
Dearest and me, about the pony and all the other things. Do you
know, I've counted it up on my fingers and in my mind, and it's
twenty-seven people you've been kind to. That's a good
"And I was the person who was kind to them--was I?" said the
"Why, yes, you know," answered Fauntleroy. "You made them all
happy. Do you know," with some delicate hesitation, "that
people are sometimes mistaken about earls when they don't know
them. Mr. Hobbs was. I am going to write him, and tell him
"What was Mr. Hobbs's opinion of earls?" asked his lordship.
"Well, you see, the difficulty was," replied his young
companion, "that he didn't know any, and he'd only read about
them in books. He thought--you mustn't mind it--that they were
gory tyrants; and he said he wouldn't have them hanging around
his store. But if he'd known YOU, I'm sure he would have felt
quite different. I shall tell him about you."
"What shall you tell him?"
"I shall tell him," said Fauntleroy, glowing with enthusiasm,
"that you are the kindest man I ever heard of. And you are
always thinking of other people, and making them happy and--and I
hope when I grow up, I shall be just like you."
"Just like me!" repeated his lordship, looking at the little
kindling face. And a dull red crept up under his withered skin,
and he suddenly turned his eyes away and looked out of the
carriage window at the great beech-trees, with the sun shining on
their glossy, red-brown leaves.
"JUST like you," said Fauntleroy, adding modestly, "if I can.
Perhaps I'm not good enough, but I'm going to try."
The carriage rolled on down the stately avenue under the
beautiful, broad-branched trees, through the spaces of green
shade and lanes of golden sunlight. Fauntleroy saw again the
lovely places where the ferns grew high and the bluebells swayed
in the breeze; he saw the deer, standing or lying in the deep
grass, turn their large, startled eyes as the carriage passed,
and caught glimpses of the brown rabbits as they scurried away.
He heard the whir of the partridges and the calls and songs of
the birds, and it all seemed even more beautiful to him than
before. All his heart was filled with pleasure and happiness in
the beauty that was on every side. But the old Earl saw and
heard very different things, though he was apparently looking out
too. He saw a long life, in which there had been neither
generous deeds nor kind thoughts; he saw years in which a man who
had been young and strong and rich and powerful had used his
youth and strength and wealth and power only to please himself
and kill time as the days and years succeeded each other; he saw
this man, when the time had been killed and old age had come,
solitary and without real friends in the midst of all his
splendid wealth; he saw people who disliked or feared him, and
people who would flatter and cringe to him, but no one who really
cared whether he lived or died, unless they had something to gain
or lose by it. He looked out on the broad acres which belonged
to him, and he knew what Fauntleroy did not--how far they
extended, what wealth they represented, and how many people had
homes on their soil. And he knew, too,--another thing Fauntleroy
did not,--that in all those homes, humble or well-to-do, there
was probably not one person, however much he envied the wealth
and stately name and power, and however willing he would have
been to possess them, who would for an instant have thought of
calling the noble owner "good," or wishing, as this
simple-souled little boy had, to be like him.
And it was not exactly pleasant to reflect upon, even for a
cynical, worldly old man, who had been sufficient unto himself
for seventy years and who had never deigned to care what opinion
the world held of him so long as it did not interfere with his
comfort or entertainment. And the fact was, indeed, that he had
never before condescended to reflect upon it at all; and he only
did so now because a child had believed him better than he was,
and by wishing to follow in his illustrious footsteps and imitate
his example, had suggested to him the curious question whether he
was exactly the person to take as a model.
Fauntleroy thought the Earl's foot must be hurting him, his brows
knitted themselves together so, as he looked out at the park; and
thinking this, the considerate little fellow tried not to disturb
him, and enjoyed the trees and the ferns and the deer in silence.
But at last the carriage, having passed the gates and bowled
through the green lanes for a short distance, stopped. They had
reached Court Lodge; and Fauntleroy was out upon the ground
almost before the big footman had time to open the carriage door.
The Earl wakened from his reverie with a start.
"What!" he said. "Are we here?"
"Yes," said Fauntleroy. "Let me give you your stick. Just
lean on me when you get out."
"I am not going to get out," replied his lordship brusquely.
"Not--not to see Dearest?" exclaimed Fauntleroy with astonished
"`Dearest' will excuse me," said the Earl dryly. "Go to her
and tell her that not even a new pony would keep you away."
"She will be disappointed," said Fauntleroy. "She will want
to see you very much."
"I am afraid not," was the answer. "The carriage will call
for you as we come back.--Tell Jeffries to drive on, Thomas."
Thomas closed the carriage door; and, after a puzzled look,
Fauntleroy ran up the drive. The Earl had the opportunity--as
Mr. Havisham once had--of seeing a pair of handsome, strong
little legs flash over the ground with astonishing rapidity.
Evidently their owner had no intention of losing any time. The
carriage rolled slowly away, but his lordship did not at once
lean back; he still looked out. Through a space in the trees he
could see the house door; it was wide open. The little figure
dashed up the steps; another figure--a little figure, too,
slender and young, in its black gown--ran to meet it. It seemed
as if they flew together, as Fauntleroy leaped into his mother's
arms, hanging about her neck and covering her sweet young face
On the following Sunday morning, Mr. Mordaunt had a large
congregation. Indeed, he could scarcely remember any Sunday on
which the church had been so crowded. People appeared upon the
scene who seldom did him the honor of coming to hear his sermons.
There were even people from Hazelton, which was the next parish.
There were hearty, sunburned farmers, stout, comfortable,
apple-cheeked wives in their best bonnets and most gorgeous
shawls, and half a dozen children or so to each family. The
doctor's wife was there, with her four daughters. Mrs. Kimsey
and Mr. Kimsey, who kept the druggist's shop, and made pills, and
did up powders for everybody within ten miles, sat in their pew;
Mrs. Dibble in hers; Miss Smiff, the village dressmaker, and her
friend Miss Perkins, the milliner, sat in theirs; the doctor's
young man was present, and the druggist's apprentice; in fact,
almost every family on the county side was represented, in one
way or another.
In the course of the preceding week, many wonderful stories had
been told of little Lord Fauntleroy. Mrs. Dibble had been kept
so busy attending to customers who came in to buy a pennyworth of
needles or a ha'porth of tape and to hear what she had to relate,
that the little shop bell over the door had nearly tinkled itself
to death over the coming and going. Mrs. Dibble knew exactly how
his small lordship's rooms had been furnished for him, what
expensive toys had been bought, how there was a beautiful brown
pony awaiting him, and a small groom to attend it, and a little
dog-cart, with silver-mounted harness. And she could tell, too,
what all the servants had said when they had caught glimpses of
the child on the night of his arrival; and how every female below
stairs had said it was a shame, so it was, to part the poor
pretty dear from his mother; and had all declared their hearts
came into their mouths when he went alone into the library to see
his grandfather, for "there was no knowing how he'd be treated,
and his lordship's temper was enough to fluster them with old
heads on their shoulders, let alone a child."
"But if you'll believe me, Mrs. Jennifer, mum," Mrs. Dibble had
said, "fear that child does not know--so Mr. Thomas hisself
says; an' set an' smile he did, an' talked to his lordship as if
they'd been friends ever since his first hour. An' the Earl so
took aback, Mr. Thomas says, that he couldn't do nothing but
listen and stare from under his eyebrows. An' it's Mr. Thomas's
opinion, Mrs. Bates, mum, that bad as he is, he was pleased in
his secret soul, an' proud, too; for a handsomer little fellow,
or with better manners, though so old-fashioned, Mr. Thomas says
he'd never wish to see."
And then there had come the story of Higgins. The Reverend Mr.
Mordaunt had told it at his own dinner table, and the servants
who had heard it had told it in the kitchen, and from there it
had spread like wildfire.
And on market-day, when Higgins had appeared in town, he had been
questioned on every side, and Newick had been questioned too, and
in response had shown to two or three people the note signed
And so the farmers' wives had found plenty to talk of over their
tea and their shopping, and they had done the subject full
justice and made the most of it. And on Sunday they had either
walked to church or had been driven in their gigs by their
husbands, who were perhaps a trifle curious themselves about the
new little lord who was to be in time the owner of the soil.
It was by no means the Earl's habit to attend church, but he
chose to appear on this first Sunday--it was his whim to present
himself in the huge family pew, with Fauntleroy at his side.
There were many loiterers in the churchyard, and many lingerers
in the lane that morning. There were groups at the gates and in
the porch, and there had been much discussion as to whether my
lord would really appear or not. When this discussion was at its
height, one good woman suddenly uttered an exclamation.
"Eh," she said, "that must be the mother, pretty young
thing." All who heard turned and looked at the slender figure in
black coming up the path. The veil was thrown back from her face
and they could see how fair and sweet it was, and how the bright
hair curled as softly as a child's under the little widow's cap.
She was not thinking of the people about; she was thinking of
Cedric, and of his visits to her, and his joy over his new pony,
on which he had actually ridden to her door the day before,
sitting very straight and looking very proud and happy. But soon
she could not help being attracted by the fact that she was being
looked at and that her arrival had created some sort of
sensation. She first noticed it because an old woman in a red
cloak made a bobbing courtesy to her, and then another did the
same thing and said, "God bless you, my lady!" and one man
after another took off his hat as she passed. For a moment she
did not understand, and then she realized that it was because she
was little Lord Fauntleroy's mother that they did so, and she
flushed rather shyly and smiled and bowed too, and said, "Thank
you," in a gentle voice to the old woman who had blessed her.
To a person who had always lived in a bustling, crowded American
city this simple deference was very novel, and at first just a
little embarrassing; but after all, she could not help liking and
being touched by the friendly warm-heartedness of which it seemed
to speak. She had scarcely passed through the stone porch into
the church before the great event of the day happened. The
carriage from the Castle, with its handsome horses and tall
liveried servants, bowled around the corner and down the green
"Here they come!" went from one looker-on to another.
And then the carriage drew up, and Thomas stepped down and opened
the door, and a little boy, dressed in black velvet, and with a
splendid mop of bright waving hair, jumped out.
Every man, woman, and child looked curiously upon him.
"He's the Captain over again!" said those of the on-lookers who
remembered his father. "He's the Captain's self, to the life!"
He stood there in the sunlight looking up at the Earl, as Thomas
helped that nobleman out, with the most affectionate interest
that could be imagined. The instant he could help, he put out
his hand and offered his shoulder as if he had been seven feet
high. It was plain enough to every one that however it might be
with other people, the Earl of Dorincourt struck no terror into
the breast of his grandson.
"Just lean on me," they heard him say. "How glad the people
are to see you, and how well they all seem to know you!"
"Take off your cap, Fauntleroy," said the Earl. "They are
bowing to you."
"To me!" cried Fauntleroy, whipping off his cap in a moment,
baring his bright head to the crowd and turning shining, puzzled
eyes on them as he tried to bow to every one at once.
"God bless your lordship!" said the courtesying, red-cloaked
old woman who had spoken to his mother; "long life to you!"
"Thank you, ma'am," said Fauntleroy. And then they went into
the church, and were looked at there, on their way up the aisle
to the square, red-cushioned and curtained pew. When Fauntleroy
was fairly seated, he made two discoveries which pleased him: the
first that, across the church where he could look at her, his
mother sat and smiled at him; the second, that at one end of the
pew, against the wall, knelt two quaint figures carven in stone,
facing each other as they kneeled on either side of a pillar
supporting two stone missals, their pointed hands folded as if in
prayer, their dress very antique and strange. On the tablet by
them was written something of which he could only read the
"Here lyeth ye bodye of Gregorye Arthure Fyrst Earle of
Dorincourt Allsoe of Alisone Hildegarde hys wyfe."
"May I whisper?" inquired his lordship, devoured by curiousity.
"What is it?" said his grandfather.
"Who are they?"
"Some of your ancestors," answered the Earl, "who lived a few
hundred years ago."
"Perhaps," said Lord Fauntleroy, regarding them with respect,
"perhaps I got my spelling from them." And then he proceeded to
find his place in the church service. When the music began, he
stood up and looked across at his mother, smiling. He was very
fond of music, and his mother and he often sang together, so he
joined in with the rest, his pure, sweet, high voice rising as
clear as the song of a bird. He quite forgot himself in his
pleasure in it. The Earl forgot himself a little too, as he sat
in his curtain-shielded corner of the pew and watched the boy.
Cedric stood with the big psalter open in his hands, singing with
all his childish might, his face a little uplifted, happily; and
as he sang, a long ray of sunshine crept in and, slanting through
a golden pane of a stained glass window, brightened the falling
hair about his young head. His mother, as she looked at him
across the church, felt a thrill pass through her heart, and a
prayer rose in it too,--a prayer that the pure, simple happiness
of his childish soul might last, and that the strange, great
fortune which had fallen to him might bring no wrong or evil with
it. There were many soft, anxious thoughts in her tender heart
in those new days.
"Oh, Ceddie!" she had said to him the evening before, as she
hung over him in saying good-night, before he went away; "oh,
Ceddie, dear, I wish for your sake I was very clever and could
say a great many wise things! But only be good, dear, only be
brave, only be kind and true always, and then you will never hurt
any one, so long as you live, and you may help many, and the big
world may be better because my little child was born. And that
is best of all, Ceddie,--it is better than everything else, that
the world should be a little better because a man has lived--even
ever so little better, dearest."
And on his return to the Castle, Fauntleroy had repeated her
words to his grandfather.
"And I thought about you when she said that," he ended; "and I
told her that was the way the world was because you had lived,
and I was going to try if I could be like you."
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