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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
BY FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT
Cedric himself knew nothing whatever about it. It had never been
even mentioned to him. He knew that his papa had been an
Englishman, because his mamma had told him so; but then his papa
had died when he was so little a boy that he could not remember
very much about him, except that he was big, and had blue eyes
and a long mustache, and that it was a splendid thing to be
carried around the room on his shoulder. Since his papa's death,
Cedric had found out that it was best not to talk to his mamma
about him. When his father was ill, Cedric had been sent away,
and when he had returned, everything was over; and his mother,
who had been very ill, too, was only just beginning to sit in her
chair by the window. She was pale and thin, and all the dimples
had gone from her pretty face, and her eyes looked large and
mournful, and she was dressed in black.
"Dearest," said Cedric (his papa had called her that always,
and so the little boy had learned to say it),--"dearest, is my
He felt her arms tremble, and so he turned his curly head and
looked in her face. There was something in it that made him feel
that he was going to cry.
"Dearest," he said, "is he well?"
Then suddenly his loving little heart told him that he'd better
put both his arms around her neck and kiss her again and again,
and keep his soft cheek close to hers; and he did so, and she
laid her face on his shoulder and cried bitterly, holding him as
if she could never let him go again.
"Yes, he is well," she sobbed; "he is quite, quite well, but
we--we have no one left but each other. No one at all."
Then, little as he was, he understood that his big, handsome
young papa would not come back any more; that he was dead, as he
had heard of other people being, although he could not comprehend
exactly what strange thing had brought all this sadness about.
It was because his mamma always cried when he spoke of his papa
that he secretly made up his mind it was better not to speak of
him very often to her, and he found out, too, that it was better
not to let her sit still and look into the fire or out of the
window without moving or talking. He and his mamma knew very few
people, and lived what might have been thought very lonely lives,
although Cedric did not know it was lonely until he grew older
and heard why it was they had no visitors. Then he was told that
his mamma was an orphan, and quite alone in the world when his
papa had married her. She was very pretty, and had been living
as companion to a rich old lady who was not kind to her, and one
day Captain Cedric Errol, who was calling at the house, saw her
run up the stairs with tears on her eyelashes; and she looked so
sweet and innocent and sorrowful that the Captain could not
forget her. And after many strange things had happened, they
knew each other well and loved each other dearly, and were
married, although their marriage brought them the ill-will of
several persons. The one who was most angry of all, however, was
the Captain's father, who lived in England, and was a very rich
and important old nobleman, with a very bad temper and a very
violent dislike to America and Americans. He had two sons older
than Captain Cedric; and it was the law that the elder of these
sons should inherit the family title and estates, which were very
rich and splendid; if the eldest son died, the next one would be
heir; so, though he was a member of such a great family, there
was little chance that Captain Cedric would be very rich himself.
But it so happened that Nature had given to the youngest son
gifts which she had not bestowed upon his elder brothers. He had
a beautiful face and a fine, strong, graceful figure; he had a
bright smile and a sweet, gay voice; he was brave and generous,
and had the kindest heart in the world, and seemed to have the
power to make every one love him. And it was not so with his
elder brothers; neither of them was handsome, or very kind, or
clever. When they were boys at Eton, they were not popular; when
they were at college, they cared nothing for study, and wasted
both time and money, and made few real friends. The old Earl,
their father, was constantly disappointed and humiliated by them;
his heir was no honor to his noble name, and did not promise to
end in being anything but a selfish, wasteful, insignificant man,
with no manly or noble qualities. It was very bitter, the old
Earl thought, that the son who was only third, and would have
only a very small fortune, should be the one who had all the
gifts, and all the charms, and all the strength and beauty.
Sometimes he almost hated the handsome young man because he
seemed to have the good things which should have gone with the
stately title and the magnificent estates; and yet, in the depths
of his proud, stubborn old heart, he could not help caring very
much for his youngest son. It was in one of his fits of
petulance that he sent him off to travel in America; he thought
he would send him away for a while, so that he should not be made
angry by constantly contrasting him with his brothers, who were
at that time giving him a great deal of trouble by their wild
But, after about six months, he began to feel lonely, and longed
in secret to see his son again, so he wrote to Captain Cedric and
ordered him home. The letter he wrote crossed on its way a
letter the Captain had just written to his father, telling of his
love for the pretty American girl, and of his intended marriage;
and when the Earl received that letter he was furiously angry.
Bad as his temper was, he had never given way to it in his life
as he gave way to it when he read the Captain's letter. His
valet, who was in the room when it came, thought his lordship
would have a fit of apoplexy, he was so wild with anger. For an
hour he raged like a tiger, and then he sat down and wrote to his
son, and ordered him never to come near his old home, nor to
write to his father or brothers again. He told him he might live
as he pleased, and die where he pleased, that he should be cut
off from his family forever, and that he need never expect help
from his father as long as he lived.
The Captain was very sad when he read the letter; he was very
fond of England, and he dearly loved the beautiful home where he
had been born; he had even loved his ill-tempered old father, and
had sympathized with him in his disappointments; but he knew he
need expect no kindness from him in the future. At first he
scarcely knew what to do; he had not been brought up to work, and
had no business experience, but he had courage and plenty of
determination. So he sold his commission in the English army,
and after some trouble found a situation in New York, and
married. The change from his old life in England was very great,
but he was young and happy, and he hoped that hard work would do
great things for him in the future. He had a small house on a
quiet street, and his little boy was born there, and everything
was so gay and cheerful, in a simple way, that he was never sorry
for a moment that he had married the rich old lady's pretty
companion just because she was so sweet and he loved her and she
loved him. She was very sweet, indeed, and her little boy was
like both her and his father. Though he was born in so quiet and
cheap a little home, it seemed as if there never had been a more
fortunate baby. In the first place, he was always well, and so
he never gave any one trouble; in the second place, he had so
sweet a temper and ways so charming that he was a pleasure to
every one; and in the third place, he was so beautiful to look at
that he was quite a picture. Instead of being a bald-headed
baby, he started in life with a quantity of soft, fine,
gold-colored hair, which curled up at the ends, and went into
loose rings by the time he was six months old; he had big brown
eyes and long eyelashes and a darling little face; he had so
strong a back and such splendid sturdy legs, that at nine months
he learned suddenly to walk; his manners were so good, for a
baby, that it was delightful to make his acquaintance. He seemed
to feel that every one was his friend, and when any one spoke to
him, when he was in his carriage in the street, he would give the
stranger one sweet, serious look with the brown eyes, and then
follow it with a lovely, friendly smile; and the consequence was,
that there was not a person in the neighborhood of the quiet
street where he lived--even to the groceryman at the corner, who
was considered the crossest creature alive--who was not pleased
to see him and speak to him. And every month of his life he grew
handsomer and more interesting.
When he was old enough to walk out with his nurse, dragging a
small wagon and wearing a short white kilt skirt, and a big white
hat set back on his curly yellow hair, he was so handsome and
strong and rosy that he attracted every one's attention, and his
nurse would come home and tell his mamma stories of the ladies
who had stopped their carriages to look at and speak to him, and
of how pleased they were when he talked to them in his cheerful
little way, as if he had known them always. His greatest charm
was this cheerful, fearless, quaint little way of making friends
with people. I think it arose from his having a very confiding
nature, and a kind little heart that sympathized with every one,
and wished to make every one as comfortable as he liked to be
himself. It made him very quick to understand the feelings of
those about him. Perhaps this had grown on him, too, because he
had lived so much with his father and mother, who were always
loving and considerate and tender and well-bred. He had never
heard an unkind or uncourteous word spoken at home; he had always
been loved and caressed and treated tenderly, and so his childish
soul was full of kindness and innocent warm feeling. He had
always heard his mamma called by pretty, loving names, and so he
used them himself when he spoke to her; he had always seen that
his papa watched over her and took great care of her, and so he
learned, too, to be careful of her.
So when he knew his papa would come back no more, and saw how
very sad his mamma was, there gradually came into his kind little
heart the thought that he must do what he could to make her
happy. He was not much more than a baby, but that thought was in
his mind whenever he climbed upon her knee and kissed her and put
his curly head on her neck, and when he brought his toys and
picture-books to show her, and when he curled up quietly by her
side as she used to lie on the sofa. He was not old enough to
know of anything else to do, so he did what he could, and was
more of a comfort to her than he could have understood.
"Oh, Mary!" he heard her say once to her old servant; "I am
sure he is trying to help me in his innocent way--I know he is.
He looks at me sometimes with a loving, wondering little look, as
if he were sorry for me, and then he will come and pet me or show
me something. He is such a little man, I really think he
As he grew older, he had a great many quaint little ways which
amused and interested people greatly. He was so much of a
companion for his mother that she scarcely cared for any other.
They used to walk together and talk together and play together.
When he was quite a little fellow, he learned to read; and after
that he used to lie on the hearth-rug, in the evening, and read
aloud--sometimes stories, and sometimes big books such as older
people read, and sometimes even the newspaper; and often at such
times Mary, in the kitchen, would hear Mrs. Errol laughing with
delight at the quaint things he said.
"And; indade," said Mary to the groceryman, "nobody cud help
laughin' at the quare little ways of him--and his ould-fashioned
sayin's! Didn't he come into my kitchen the noight the new
Prisident was nominated and shtand afore the fire, lookin' loike
a pictur', wid his hands in his shmall pockets, an' his innocent
bit of a face as sayrious as a jedge? An' sez he to me: `Mary,'
sez he, `I'm very much int'rusted in the 'lection,' sez he. `I'm
a 'publican, an' so is Dearest. Are you a 'publican, Mary?'
`Sorra a bit,' sez I; `I'm the bist o' dimmycrats!' An' he looks
up at me wid a look that ud go to yer heart, an' sez he: `Mary,'
sez he, `the country will go to ruin.' An' nivver a day since
thin has he let go by widout argyin' wid me to change me
Mary was very fond of him, and very proud of him, too. She had
been with his mother ever since he was born; and, after his
father's death, had been cook and housemaid and nurse and
everything else. She was proud of his graceful, strong little
body and his pretty manners, and especially proud of the bright
curly hair which waved over his forehead and fell in charming
love-locks on his shoulders. She was willing to work early and
late to help his mamma make his small suits and keep them in
"'Ristycratic, is it?" she would say. "Faith, an' I'd loike
to see the choild on Fifth Avey-NOO as looks loike him an' shteps
out as handsome as himself. An' ivvery man, woman, and choild
lookin' afther him in his bit of a black velvet skirt made out of
the misthress's ould gownd; an' his little head up, an' his curly
hair flyin' an' shinin'. It's loike a young lord he looks."
Cedric did not know that he looked like a young lord; he did not
know what a lord was. His greatest friend was the groceryman at
the corner--the cross groceryman, who was never cross to him.
His name was Mr. Hobbs, and Cedric admired and respected him very
much. He thought him a very rich and powerful person, he had so
many things in his store,--prunes and figs and oranges and
biscuits,--and he had a horse and wagon. Cedric was fond of the
milkman and the baker and the apple-woman,, but he liked Mr.Hobbs
best of all, and was on terms of such intimacy with him that he
went to see him every day, and often sat with him quite a long
time, discussing the topics of the hour. It was quite surprising
how many things they found to talk about--the Fourth of July, for
instance. When they began to talk about the Fourth of July there
really seemed no end to it. Mr. Hobbs had a very bad opinion of
"the British," and he told the whole story of the Revolution,
relating very wonderful and patriotic stories about the villainy
of the enemy and the bravery of the Revolutionary heroes, and he
even generously repeated part of the Declaration of Independence.
Cedric was so excited that his eyes shone and his cheeks were red
and his curls were all rubbed and tumbled into a yellow mop. He
could hardly wait to eat his dinner after he went home, he was so
anxious to tell his mamma. It was, perhaps, Mr. Hobbs who gave
him his first interest in politics. Mr. Hobbs was fond of
reading the newspapers, and so Cedric heard a great deal about
what was going on in Washington; and Mr. Hobbs would tell him
whether the President was doing his duty or not. And once, when
there was an election, he found it all quite grand, and probably
but for Mr. Hobbs and Cedric the country might have been wrecked.
Mr. Hobbs took him to see a great torchlight procession, and many
of the men who carried torches remembered afterward a stout man
who stood near a lamp-post and held on his shoulder a handsome
little shouting boy, who waved his cap in the air.
It was not long after this election, when Cedric was between
seven and eight years old, that the very strange thing happened
which made so wonderful a change in his life. It was quite
curious, too, that the day it happened he had been talking to Mr.
Hobbs about England and the Queen, and Mr. Hobbs had said some
very severe things about the aristocracy, being specially
indignant against earls and marquises. It had been a hot
morning; and after playing soldiers with some friends of his,
Cedric had gone into the store to rest, and had found Mr. Hobbs
looking very fierce over a piece of the Illustrated London News,
which contained a picture of some court ceremony.
"Ah," he said, "that's the way they go on now; but they'll get
enough of it some day, when those they've trod on rise and blow
'em up sky-high,--earls and marquises and all! It's coming, and
they may look out for it!"
Cedric had perched himself as usual on the high stool and pushed
his hat back, and put his hands in his pockets in delicate
compliment to Mr. Hobbs.
"Did you ever know many marquises, Mr. Hobbs?" Cedric
"No," answered Mr. Hobbs, with indignation; "I guess not. I'd
like to catch one of 'em inside here; that's all! I'll have no
grasping tyrants sittin' 'round on my cracker-barrels!"
And he was so proud of the sentiment that he looked around
proudly and mopped his forehead.
"Perhaps they wouldn't be earls if they knew any better," said
Cedric, feeling some vague sympathy for their unhappy condition.
"Wouldn't they!" said Mr. Hobbs. "They just glory in it!
It's in 'em. They're a bad lot."
They were in the midst of their conversation, when Mary appeared.
Cedric thought she had come to buy some sugar, perhaps, but she
had not. She looked almost pale and as if she were excited about
"Come home, darlint," she said; "the misthress is wantin'
Cedric slipped down from his stool.
"Does she want me to go out with her, Mary?" he asked.
"Good-morning, Mr. Hobbs. I'll see you again."
He was surprised to see Mary staring at him in a dumfounded
fashion, and he wondered why she kept shaking her head.
"What's the matter, Mary?" he said. "Is it the hot weather?"
"No," said Mary; "but there's strange things happenin' to
"Has the sun given Dearest a headache?" he inquired anxiously.
But it was not that. When he reached his own house there was a
coupe standing before the door. and some one was in the little
parlor talking to his mamma. Mary hurried him upstairs and put
on his best summer suit of cream-colored flannel, with the red
scarf around his waist, and combed out his curly locks.
"Lords, is it?" he heard her say. "An' the nobility an'
gintry. Och! bad cess to them! Lords, indade--worse luck."
It was really very puzzling, but he felt sure his mamma would
tell him what all the excitement meant, so he allowed Mary to
bemoan herself without asking many questions. When he was
dressed, he ran downstairs and went into the parlor. A tall,
thin old gentleman with a sharp face was sitting in an
arm-chair. His mother was standing near by with a pale face, and
he saw that there were tears in her eyes.
"Oh! Ceddie!" she cried out, and ran to her little boy and
caught him in her arms and kissed him in a frightened, troubled
way. "Oh! Ceddie, darling!"
The tall old gentleman rose from his chair and looked at Cedric
with his sharp eyes. He rubbed his thin chin with his bony hand
as he looked.
He seemed not at all displeased.
"And so," he said at last, slowly,--"and so this is little
There was never a more amazed little boy than Cedric during the
week that followed; there was never so strange or so unreal a
week. In the first place, the story his mamma told him was a
very curious one. He was obliged to hear it two or three times
before he could understand it. He could not imagine what Mr.
Hobbs would think of it. It began with earls: his grandpapa,
whom he had never seen, was an earl; and his eldest uncle, if he
had not been killed by a fall from his horse, would have been an
earl, too, in time; and after his death, his other uncle would
have been an earl, if he had not died suddenly, in Rome, of a
fever. After that, his own papa, if he had lived, would have
been an earl, but, since they all had died and only Cedric was
left, it appeared that HE was to be an earl after his grandpapa's
death--and for the present he was Lord Fauntleroy.
He turned quite pale when he was first told of it.
"Oh! Dearest!" he said, "I should rather not be an earl.
None of the boys are earls. Can't I NOT be one?"
But it seemed to be unavoidable. And when, that evening, they
sat together by the open window looking out into the shabby
street, he and his mother had a long talk about it. Cedric sat
on his footstool, clasping one knee in his favorite attitude and
wearing a bewildered little face rather red from the exertion of
thinking. His grandfather had sent for him to come to England,
and his mamma thought he must go.
"Because," she said, looking out of the window with sorrowful
eyes, "I know your papa would wish it to be so, Ceddie. He
loved his home very much; and there are many things to be thought
of that a little boy can't quite understand. I should be a
selfish little mother if I did not send you. When you are a man,
you will see why."
Ceddie shook his head mournfully.
"I shall be very sorry to leave Mr. Hobbs," he said. "I'm
afraid he'll miss me, and I shall miss him. And I shall miss
When Mr. Havisham--who was the family lawyer of the Earl of
Dorincourt, and who had been sent by him to bring Lord Fauntleroy
to England--came the next day, Cedric heard many things. But,
somehow, it did not console him to hear that he was to be a very
rich man when he grew up, and that he would have castles here and
castles there, and great parks and deep mines and grand estates
and tenantry. He was troubled about his friend, Mr. Hobbs, and
he went to see him at the store soon after breakfast, in great
anxiety of mind.
He found him reading the morning paper, and he approached him
with a grave demeanor. He really felt it would be a great shock
to Mr. Hobbs to hear what had befallen him, and on his way to the
store he had been thinking how it would be best to break the
"Hello!" said Mr. Hobbs. "Mornin'!"
"Good-morning," said Cedric.
He did not climb up on the high stool as usual, but sat down on a
cracker-box and clasped his knee, and was so silent for a few
moments that Mr. Hobbs finally looked up inquiringly over the top
of his newspaper.
"Hello!" he said again.
Cedric gathered all his strength of mind together.
"Mr. Hobbs," he said, "do you remember what we were talking
about yesterday morning?"
"Well," replied Mr. Hobbs,--"seems to me it was England."
"Yes," said Cedric; "but just when Mary came for me, you
Mr. Hobbs rubbed the back of his head.
"We WAS mentioning Queen Victoria and the aristocracy."
"Yes," said Cedric, rather hesitatingly, "and--and earls;
don't you know?"
"Why, yes," returned Mr. Hobbs; "we DID touch 'em up a little;
Cedric flushed up to the curly bang on his forehead. Nothing so
embarrassing as this had ever happened to him in his life. He
was a little afraid that it might be a trifle embarrassing to Mr.
"You said," he proceeded, "that you wouldn't have them sitting
'round on your cracker-barrels."
"So I did!" returned Mr. Hobbs, stoutly. "And I meant it.
Let 'em try it--that's all!"
"Mr. Hobbs," said Cedric, "one is sitting on this box now!"
Mr. Hobbs almost jumped out of his chair.
"What!" he exclaimed.
"Yes," Cedric announced, with due modesty; "_I_ am one--or I
am going to be. I won't deceive you."
Mr. Hobbs looked agitated. He rose up suddenly and went to look
at the thermometer.
"The mercury's got into your head!" he exclaimed, turning back
to examine his young friend's countenance. "It IS a hot day!
How do you feel? Got any pain? When did you begin to feel that
He put his big hand on the little boy's hair. This was more
embarrassing than ever.
"Thank you," said Ceddie; "I'm all right. There is nothing
the matter with my head. I'm sorry to say it's true, Mr. Hobbs.
That was what Mary came to take me home for. Mr. Havisham was
telling my mamma, and he is a lawyer."
Mr. Hobbs sank into his chair and mopped his forehead with his
"ONE of us has got a sunstroke!" he exclaimed.
"No," returned Cedric, "we haven't. We shall have to make the
best of it, Mr. Hobbs. Mr. Havisham came all the way from
England to tell us about it. My grandpapa sent him."
Mr. Hobbs stared wildly at the innocent, serious little face
"Who is your grandfather?" he asked.
Cedric put his hand in his pocket and carefully drew out a piece
of paper, on which something was written in his own round,
"I couldn't easily remember it, so I wrote it down on this," he
said. And he read aloud slowly: "`John Arthur Molyneux Errol,
Earl of Dorincourt.' That is his name, and he lives in a
castle--in two or three castles, I think. And my papa, who died,
was his youngest son; and I shouldn't have been a lord or an earl
if my papa hadn't died; and my papa wouldn't have been an earl if
his two brothers hadn't died. But they all died, and there is no
one but me,--no boy,--and so I have to be one; and my grandpapa
has sent for me to come to England."
Mr. Hobbs seemed to grow hotter and hotter. He mopped his
forehead and his bald spot and breathed hard. He began to see
that something very remarkable had happened; but when he looked
at the little boy sitting on the cracker-box, with the innocent,
anxious expression in his childish eyes, and saw that he was not
changed at all, but was simply as he had been the day before,
just a handsome, cheerful, brave little fellow in a blue suit and
red neck-ribbon, all this information about the nobility
bewildered him. He was all the more bewildered because Cedric
gave it with such ingenuous simplicity, and plainly without
realizing himself how stupendous it was.
"Wha--what did you say your name was?" Mr. Hobbs inquired.
"It's Cedric Errol, Lord Fauntleroy," answered Cedric. "That
was what Mr. Havisham called me. He said when I went into the
room: `And so this is little Lord Fauntleroy!'"
"Well," said Mr. Hobbs, "I'll be--jiggered!"
This was an exclamation he always used when he was very much
astonished or excited. He could think of nothing else to say
just at that puzzling moment.
Cedric felt it to be quite a proper and suitable ejaculation.
His respect and affection for Mr. Hobbs were so great that he
admired and approved of all his remarks. He had not seen enough
of society as yet to make him realize that sometimes Mr. Hobbs
was not quite conventional. He knew, of course, that he was
different from his mamma, but, then, his mamma was a lady, and he
had an idea that ladies were always different from gentlemen.
He looked at Mr. Hobbs wistfully.
"England is a long way off, isn't it?" he asked.
"It's across the Atlantic Ocean," Mr. Hobbs answered.
"That's the worst of it," said Cedric. "Perhaps I shall not
see you again for a long time. I don't like to think of that,
"The best of friends must part," said Mr. Hobbs.
"Well," said Cedric, "we have been friends for a great many
years, haven't we?"
"Ever since you was born," Mr. Hobbs answered. "You was about
six weeks old when you was first walked out on this street."
"Ah," remarked Cedric, with a sigh, "I never thought I should
have to be an earl then!"
"You think," said Mr. Hobbs, "there's no getting out of it?"
"I'm afraid not," answered Cedric. "My mamma says that my
papa would wish me to do it. But if I have to be an earl,
there's one thing I can do: I can try to be a good one. I'm not
going to be a tyrant. And if there is ever to be another war
with America, I shall try to stop it."
His conversation with Mr. Hobbs was a long and serious one. Once
having got over the first shock, Mr. Hobbs was not so rancorous
as might have been expected; he endeavored to resign himself to
the situation, and before the interview was at an end he had
asked a great many questions. As Cedric could answer but few of
them, he endeavored to answer them himself, and, being fairly
launched on the subject of earls and marquises and lordly
estates, explained many things in a way which would probably have
astonished Mr. Havisham, could that gentleman have heard it.
But then there were many things which astonished Mr. Havisham.
He had spent all his life in England, and was not accustomed to
American people and American habits. He had been connected
professionally with the family of the Earl of Dorincourt for
nearly forty years, and he knew all about its grand estates and
its great wealth and importance; and, in a cold, business-like
way, he felt an interest in this little boy, who, in the future,
was to be the master and owner of them all,--the future Earl of
Dorincourt. He had known all about the old Earl's disappointment
in his elder sons and all about his fierce rage at Captain
Cedric's American marriage, and he knew how he still hated the
gentle little widow and would not speak of her except with bitter
and cruel words. He insisted that she was only a common American
girl, who had entrapped his son into marrying her because she
knew he was an earl's son. The old lawyer himself had more than
half believed this was all true. He had seen a great many
selfish, mercenary people in his life, and he had not a good
opinion of Americans. When he had been driven into the cheap
street, and his coupe had stopped before the cheap, small house,
he had felt actually shocked. It seemed really quite dreadful to
think that the future owner of Dorincourt Castle and Wyndham
Towers and Chorlworth, and all the other stately splendors,
should have been born and brought up in an insignificant house in
a street with a sort of green-grocery at the corner. He wondered
what kind of a child he would be, and what kind of a mother he
had. He rather shrank from seeing them both. He had a sort of
pride in the noble family whose legal affairs he had conducted so
long, and it would have annoyed him very much to have found
himself obliged to manage a woman who would seem to him a vulgar,
money-loving person, with no respect for her dead husband's
country and the dignity of his name. It was a very old name and
a very splendid one, and Mr. Havisham had a great respect for it
himself, though he was only a cold, keen, business-like old
When Mary handed him into the small parlor, he looked around it
critically. It was plainly furnished, but it had a home-like
look; there were no cheap, common ornaments, and no cheap, gaudy
pictures; the few adornments on the walls were in good taste.
and about the room were many pretty things which a woman's hand
might have made.
"Not at all bad so far," he had said to himself; "but perhaps
the Captain's taste predominated." But when Mrs. Errol came into
the room, he began to think she herself might have had something
to do with it. If he had not been quite a self-contained and
stiff old gentleman, he would probably have started when he saw
her. She looked, in the simple black dress, fitting closely to
her slender figure, more like a young girl than the mother of a
boy of seven. She had a pretty, sorrowful, young face, and a
very tender, innocent look in her large brown eyes,--the
sorrowful look that had never quite left her face since her
husband had died. Cedric was used to seeing it there; the only
times he had ever seen it fade out had been when he was playing
with her or talking to her, and had said some old-fashioned
thing, or used some long word he had picked up out of the
newspapers or in his conversations with Mr. Hobbs. He was fond
of using long words, and he was always pleased when they made her
laugh, though he could not understand why they were laughable;
they were quite serious matters with him. The lawyer's
experience taught him to read people's characters very shrewdly,
and as soon as he saw Cedric's mother he knew that the old Earl
had made a great mistake in thinking her a vulgar, mercenary
woman. Mr. Havisham had never been married, he had never even
been in love, but he divined that this pretty young creature with
the sweet voice and sad eyes had married Captain Errol only
because she loved him with all her affectionate heart, and that
she had never once thought it an advantage that he was an earl's
son. And he saw he should have no trouble with her, and he began
to feel that perhaps little Lord Fauntleroy might not be such a
trial to his noble family, after all. The Captain had been a
handsome fellow, and the young mother was very pretty, and
perhaps the boy might be well enough to look at.
When he first told Mrs. Errol what he had come for, she turned
"Oh!" she said; "will he have to be taken away from me? We
love each other so much! He is such a happiness to me! He is
all I have. I have tried to be a good mother to him." And her
sweet young voice trembled, and the tears rushed into her eyes.
"You do not know what he has been to me!" she said.
The lawyer cleared his throat.
"I am obliged to tell you," he said, "that the Earl of
Dorincourt is not--is not very friendly toward you. He is an old
man, and his prejudices are very strong. He has always
especially disliked America and Americans, and was very much
enraged by his son's marriage. I am sorry to be the bearer of so
unpleasant a communication, but he is very fixed in his
determination not to see you. His plan is that Lord Fauntleroy
shall be educated under his own supervision; that he shall live
with him. The Earl is attached to Dorincourt Castle, and spends
a great deal of time there. He is a victim to inflammatory gout,
and is not fond of London. Lord Fauntleroy will, therefore, be
likely to live chiefly at Dorincourt. The Earl offers you as a
home Court Lodge, which is situated pleasantly, and is not very
far from the castle. He also offers you a suitable income. Lord
Fauntleroy will be permitted to visit you; the only stipulation
is, that you shall not visit him or enter the park gates. You
see you will not be really separated from your son, and I assure
you, madam, the terms are not so harsh as--as they might have
been. The advantage of such surroundings and education as Lord
Fauntleroy will have, I am sure you must see, will be very
He felt a little uneasy lest she should begin to cry or make a
scene, as he knew some women would have done. It embarrassed and
annoyed him to see women cry.
But she did not. She went to the window and stood with her face
turned away for a few moments, and he saw she was trying to
"Captain Errol was very fond of Dorincourt," she said at last.
"He loved England, and everything English. It was always a
grief to him that he was parted from his home. He was proud of
his home, and of his name. He would wish--I know he would wish
that his son should know the beautiful old places, and be brought
up in such a way as would be suitable to his future position."
Then she came back to the table and stood looking up at Mr.
Havisham very gently.
"My husband would wish it," she said. "It will be best for my
little boy. I know--I am sure the Earl would not be so unkind as
to try to teach him not to love me; and I know--even if he
tried--that my little boy is too much like his father to be
harmed. He has a warm, faithful nature, and a true heart. He
would love me even if he did not see me; and so long as we may
see each other, I ought not to suffer very much."
"She thinks very little of herself," the lawyer thought. "She
does not make any terms for herself."
"Madam," he said aloud, "I respect your consideration for your
son. He will thank you for it when he is a man. I assure you
Lord Fauntleroy will be most carefully guarded, and every effort
will be used to insure his happiness. The Earl of Dorincourt
will be as anxious for his comfort and well-being as you yourself
"I hope," said the tender little mother, in a rather broken
voice, "that his grandfather will love Ceddie. The little boy
has a very affectionate nature; and he has always been loved."
Mr. Havisham cleared his throat again. He could not quite
imagine the gouty, fiery-tempered old Earl loving any one very
much; but he knew it would be to his interest to be kind, in his
irritable way, to the child who was to be his heir. He knew,
too, that if Ceddie were at all a credit to his name, his
grandfather would be proud of him.
"Lord Fauntleroy will be comfortable, I am sure," he replied.
"It was with a view to his happiness that the Earl desired that
you should be near enough to him to see him frequently."
He did not think it would be discreet to repeat the exact words
the Earl had used, which were in fact neither polite nor amiable.
Mr. Havisham preferred to express his noble patron's offer in
smoother and more courteous language.
He had another slight shock when Mrs. Errol asked Mary to find
her little boy and bring him to her, and Mary told her where he
"Sure I'll foind him aisy enough, ma'am," she said; "for it's
wid Mr. Hobbs he is this minnit, settin' on his high shtool by
the counther an' talkin' pollytics, most loikely, or enj'yin'
hisself among the soap an' candles an' pertaties, as sinsible an'
shwate as ye plase."
"Mr. Hobbs has known him all his life," Mrs. Errol said to the
lawyer. "He is very kind to Ceddie, and there is a great
friendship between them."
Remembering the glimpse he had caught of the store as he passed
it, and having a recollection of the barrels of potatoes and
apples and the various odds and ends, Mr. Havisham felt his
doubts arise again. In England, gentlemen's sons did not make
friends of grocerymen, and it seemed to him a rather singular
proceeding. It would be very awkward if the child had bad
manners and a disposition to like low company. One of the
bitterest humiliations of the old Earl's life had been that his
two elder sons had been fond of low company. Could it be, he
thought, that this boy shared their bad qualities instead of his
father's good qualities?
He was thinking uneasily about this as he talked to Mrs. Errol
until the child came into the room. When the door opened, he
actually hesitated a moment before looking at Cedric. It would,
perhaps, have seemed very queer to a great many people who knew
him, if they could have known the curious sensations that passed
through Mr. Havisham when he looked down at the boy, who ran into
his mother's arms. He experienced a revulsion of feeling which
was quite exciting. He recognized in an instant that here was
one of the finest and handsomest little fellows he had ever seen.
His beauty was something unusual. He had a strong, lithe,
graceful little body and a manly little face; he held his
childish head up, and carried himself with a brave air; he was so
like his father that it was really startling; he had his father's
golden hair and his mother's brown eyes, but there was nothing
sorrowful or timid in them. They were innocently fearless eyes;
he looked as if he had never feared or doubted anything in his
"He is the best-bred-looking and handsomest little fellow I ever
saw," was what Mr. Havisham thought. What he said aloud was
simply, "And so this is little Lord Fauntleroy."
And, after this, the more he saw of little Lord Fauntleroy, the
more of a surprise he found him. He knew very little about
children, though he had seen plenty of them in England--fine,
handsome, rosy girls and boys, who were strictly taken care of by
their tutors and governesses, and who were sometimes shy, and
sometimes a trifle boisterous, but never very interesting to a
ceremonious, rigid old lawyer. Perhaps his personal interest in
little Lord Fauntleroy's fortunes made him notice Ceddie more
than he had noticed other children; but, however that was, he
certainly found himself noticing him a great deal.
Cedric did not know he was being observed, and he only behaved
himself in his ordinary manner. He shook hands with Mr. Havisham
in his friendly way when they were introduced to each other, and
he answered all his questions with the unhesitating readiness
with which he answered Mr. Hobbs. He was neither shy nor bold,
and when Mr. Havisham was talking to his mother, the lawyer
noticed that he listened to the conversation with as much
interest as if he had been quite grown up.
"He seems to be a very mature little fellow," Mr. Havisham said
to the mother.
"I think he is, in some things," she answered. "He has always
been very quick to learn, and he has lived a great deal with
grownup people. He has a funny little habit of using long words
and expressions he has read in books, or has heard others use,
but he is very fond of childish play. I think he is rather
clever, but he is a very boyish little boy, sometimes."
The next time Mr. Havisham met him, he saw that this last was
quite true. As his coupe turned the corner, he caught sight of a
group of small boys, who were evidently much excited. Two of
them were about to run a race, and one of them was his young
lordship, and he was shouting and making as much noise as the
noisiest of his companions. He stood side by side with another
boy, one little red leg advanced a step.
"One, to make ready!" yelled the starter. "Two, to be steady.
Mr. Havisham found himself leaning out of the window of his coupe
with a curious feeling of interest. He really never remembered
having seen anything quite like the way in which his lordship's
lordly little red legs flew up behind his knickerbockers and tore
over the ground as he shot out in the race at the signal word.
He shut his small hands and set his face against the wind; his
bright hair streamed out behind.
"Hooray, Ced Errol!" all the boys shouted, dancing and
shrieking with excitement. "Hooray, Billy Williams! Hooray,
Ceddie! Hooray, Billy! Hooray! 'Ray! 'Ray!"
"I really believe he is going to win," said Mr. Havisham. The
way in which the red legs flew and flashed up and down, the
shrieks of the boys, the wild efforts of Billy Williams, whose
brown legs were not to be despised, as they followed closely in
the rear of the red legs, made him feel some excitement. "I
really--I really can't help hoping he will win!" he said, with
an apologetic sort of cough. At that moment, the wildest yell of
all went up from the dancing, hopping boys. With one last
frantic leap the future Earl of Dorincourt had reached the
lamp-post at the end of the block and touched it, just two
seconds before Billy Williams flung himself at it, panting.
"Three cheers for Ceddie Errol!" yelled the little boys.
"Hooray for Ceddie Errol!"
Mr. Havisham drew his head in at the window of his coupe and
leaned back with a dry smile.
"Bravo, Lord Fauntleroy!" he said.
As his carriage stopped before the door of Mrs. Errol's house,
the victor and the vanquished were coming toward it, attended by
the clamoring crew. Cedric walked by Billy Williams and was
speaking to him. His elated little face was very red, his curls
clung to his hot, moist forehead, his hands were in his pockets.
"You see," he was saying, evidently with the intention of
making defeat easy for his unsuccessful rival, "I guess I won
because my legs are a little longer than yours. I guess that was
it. You see, I'm three days older than you, and that gives me a
'vantage. I'm three days older."
And this view of the case seemed to cheer Billy Williams so much
that he began to smile on the world again, and felt able to
swagger a little, almost as if he had won the race instead of
losing it. Somehow, Ceddie Errol had a way of making people feel
comfortable. Even in the first flush of his triumphs, he
remembered that the person who was beaten might not feel so gay
as he did, and might like to think that he MIGHT have been the
winner under different circumstances.
That morning Mr. Havisham had quite a long conversation with the
winner of the race--a conversation which made him smile his dry
smile, and rub his chin with his bony hand several times.
Mrs. Errol had been called out of the parlor, and the lawyer and
Cedric were left together. At first Mr. Havisham wondered what
he should say to his small companion. He had an idea that
perhaps it would be best to say several things which might
prepare Cedric for meeting his grandfather, and, perhaps, for the
great change that was to come to him. He could see that Cedric
had not the least idea of the sort of thing he was to see when he
reached England, or of the sort of home that waited for him
there. He did not even know yet that his mother was not to live
in the same house with him. They had thought it best to let him
get over the first shock before telling him.
Mr. Havisham sat in an arm-chair on one side of the open window;
on the other side was another still larger chair, and Cedric sat
in that and looked at Mr. Havisham. He sat well back in the
depths of his big seat, his curly head against the cushioned
back, his legs crossed, and his hands thrust deep into his
pockets, in a quite Mr. Hobbs-like way. He had been watching Mr.
Havisham very steadily when his mamma had been in the room, and
after she was gone he still looked at him in respectful
thoughtfulness. There was a short silence after Mrs. Errol went
out, and Cedric seemed to be studying Mr. Havisham, and Mr.
Havisham was certainly studying Cedric. He could not make up his
mind as to what an elderly gentleman should say to a little boy
who won races, and wore short knickerbockers and red stockings on
legs which were not long enough to hang over a big chair when he
sat well back in it.
But Cedric relieved him by suddenly beginning the conversation
"Do you know," he said, "I don't know what an earl is?"
"Don't you?" said Mr. Havisham.
"No," replied Ceddie. "And I think when a boy is going to be
one, he ought to know. Don't you?"
"Well--yes," answered Mr. Havisham.
"Would you mind," said Ceddie respectfully--"would you mind
'splaining it to me?" (Sometimes when he used his long words he
did not pronounce them quite correctly.) "What made him an
"A king or queen, in the first place," said Mr. Havisham.
"Generally, he is made an earl because he has done some service
to his sovereign, or some great deed."
"Oh!" said Cedric; "that's like the President."
"Is it?" said Mr. Havisham. "Is that why your presidents are
"Yes," answered Ceddie cheerfully. "When a man is very good
and knows a great deal, he is elected president. They have
torch-light processions and bands, and everybody makes speeches.
I used to think I might perhaps be a president, but I never
thought of being an earl. I didn't know about earls," he said,
rather hastily, lest Mr. Havisham might feel it impolite in him
not to have wished to be one,--"if I'd known about them, I dare
say I should have thought I should like to be one"
"It is rather different from being a president," said Mr.
"Is it?" asked Cedric. "How? Are there no torch-light
Mr. Havisham crossed his own legs and put the tips of his fingers
carefully together. He thought perhaps the time had come to
explain matters rather more clearly.
"An earl is--is a very important person," he began.
"So is a president!" put in Ceddie. "The torch-light
processions are five miles long, and they shoot up rockets, and
the band plays! Mr. Hobbs took me to see them."
"An earl," Mr. Havisham went on, feeling rather uncertain of
his ground, "is frequently of very ancient lineage----"
"What's that?" asked Ceddie.
"Of very old family--extremely old."
"Ah!" said Cedric, thrusting his hands deeper into his pockets.
"I suppose that is the way with the apple-woman near the park.
I dare say she is of ancient lin-lenage. She is so old it would
surprise you how she can stand up. She's a hundred, I should
think, and yet she is out there when it rains, even. I'm sorry
for her, and so are the other boys. Billy Williams once had
nearly a dollar, and I asked him to buy five cents' worth of
apples from her every day until he had spent it all. That made
twenty days, and he grew tired of apples after a week; but
then--it was quite fortunate--a gentleman gave me fifty cents and
I bought apples from her instead. You feel sorry for any one
that's so poor and has such ancient lin-lenage. She says hers
has gone into her bones and the rain makes it worse."
Mr. Havisham felt rather at a loss as he looked at his
companion's innocent, serious little face.
"I am afraid you did not quite understand me," he explained.
"When I said `ancient lineage' I did not mean old age; I meant
that the name of such a family has been known in the world a long
time; perhaps for hundreds of years persons bearing that name
have been known and spoken of in the history of their country."
"Like George Washington," said Ceddie. "I've heard of him
ever since I was born, and he was known about, long before that.
Mr. Hobbs says he will never be forgotten. That's because of the
Declaration of Independence, you know, and the Fourth of July.
You see, he was a very brave man."
"The first Earl of Dorincourt," said Mr. Havisham solemnly,
"was created an earl four hundred years ago."
"Well, well!" said Ceddie. "That was a long time ago! Did
you tell Dearest that? It would int'rust her very much. We'll
tell her when she comes in. She always likes to hear cur'us
things. What else does an earl do besides being created?"
"A great many of them have helped to govern England. Some of
them have been brave men and have fought in great battles in the
"I should like to do that myself," said Cedric. "My papa was
a soldier, and he was a very brave man--as brave as George
Washington. Perhaps that was because he would have been an earl
if he hadn't died. I am glad earls are brave. That's a great
'vantage--to be a brave man. Once I used to be rather afraid of
things--in the dark, you know; but when I thought about the
soldiers in the Revolution and George Washington--it cured me."
"There is another advantage in being an earl, sometimes," said
Mr. Havisham slowly, and he fixed his shrewd eyes on the little
boy with a rather curious expression. "Some earls have a great
deal of money."
He was curious because he wondered if his young friend knew what
the power of money was.
"That's a good thing to have," said Ceddie innocently. "I
wish I had a great deal of money."
"Do you?" said Mr. Havisham. "And why?"
"Well," explained Cedric, "there are so many things a person
can do with money. You see, there's the apple-woman. If I were
very rich I should buy her a little tent to put her stall in, and
a little stove, and then I should give her a dollar every morning
it rained, so that she could afford to stay at home. And
then--oh! I'd give her a shawl. And, you see, her bones
wouldn't feel so badly. Her bones are not like our bones; they
hurt her when she moves. It's very painful when your bones hurt
you. If I were rich enough to do all those things for her, I
guess her bones would be all right."
"Ahem!" said Mr. Havisham. "And what else would you do if you
"Oh! I'd do a great many things. Of course I should buy
Dearest all sorts of beautiful things, needle-books and fans and
gold thimbles and rings, and an encyclopedia, and a carriage, so
that she needn't have to wait for the street-cars. If she liked
pink silk dresses, I should buy her some, but she likes black
best. But I'd, take her to the big stores, and tell her to look
'round and choose for herself. And then Dick----"
"Who is Dick?" asked Mr. Havisham.
"Dick is a boot-black," said his young; lordship, quite warming
up in his interest in plans so exciting. "He is one of the
nicest boot-blacks you ever knew. He stands at the corner of a
street down-town. I've known him for years. Once when I was
very little, I was walking out with Dearest, and she bought me a
beautiful ball that bounced, and I was carrying it and it bounced
into the middle of the street where the carriages and horses
were, and I was so disappointed, I began to cry--I was very
little. I had kilts on. And Dick was blacking a man's shoes,
and he said `Hello!' and he ran in between the horses and caught
the ball for me and wiped it off with his coat and gave it to me
and said, `It's all right, young un.' So Dearest admired him very
much, and so did I, and ever since then, when we go down-town, we
talk to him. He says `Hello!' and I say `Hello!' and then we
talk a little, and he tells me how trade is. It's been bad
"And what would you like to do for him?" inquired the lawyer,
rubbing his chin and smiling a queer smile.
"Well," said Lord Fauntleroy, settling himself in his chair
with a business air, "I'd buy Jake out."
"And who is Jake?" Mr. Havisham asked.
"He's Dick's partner, and he is the worst partner a fellow could
have! Dick says so. He isn't a credit to the business, and he
isn't square. He cheats, and that makes Dick mad. It would make
you mad, you know, if you were blacking boots as hard as you
could, and being square all the time, and your partner wasn't
square at all. People like Dick, but they don't like Jake, and
so sometimes they don't come twice. So if I were rich, I'd buy
Jake out and get Dick a `boss' sign--he says a `boss' sign goes a
long way; and I'd get him some new clothes and new brushes, and
start him out fair. He says all he wants is to start out fair."
There could have been nothing more confiding and innocent than
the way in which his small lordship told his little story,
quoting his friend Dick's bits of slang in the most candid good
faith. He seemed to feel not a shade of a doubt that his elderly
companion would be just as interested as he was himself. And in
truth Mr. Havisham was beginning to be greatly interested; but
perhaps not quite so much in Dick and the apple-woman as in this
kind little lordling, whose curly head was so busy, under its
yellow thatch, with good-natured plans for his friends, and who
seemed somehow to have forgotten himself altogether.
"Is there anything----" he began. "What would you get for
yourself, if you were rich?"
"Lots of things!" answered Lord Fauntleroy briskly; "but first
I'd give Mary some money for Bridget--that's her sister, with
twelve children, and a husband out of work. She comes here and
cries, and Dearest gives her things in a basket, and then she
cries again, and says: `Blessin's be on yez, for a beautiful
lady.' And I think Mr. Hobbs would like a gold watch and chain to
remember me by, and a meerschaum pipe. And then I'd like to get
up a company."
"A company!" exclaimed Mr. Havisham.
"Like a Republican rally," explained Cedric, becoming quite
excited. "I'd have torches and uniforms and things for all the
boys and myself, too. And we'd march, you know, and drill.
That's what I should like for myself, if I were rich."
The door opened and Mrs. Errol came in.
"I am sorry to have been obliged to leave you so long," she
said to Mr. Havisham; "but a poor woman, who is in great
trouble, came to see me."
"This young gentleman," said Mr. Havisham, "has been telling
me about some of his friends, and what he would do for them if he
"Bridget is one of his friends," said Mrs. Errol; "and it is
Bridget to whom I have been talking in the kitchen. She is in
great trouble now because her husband has rheumatic fever."
Cedric slipped down out of his big chair.
"I think I'll go and see her," he said, "and ask her how he
is. He's a nice man when he is well. I'm obliged to him because
he once made me a sword out of wood. He's a very talented man."
He ran out of the room, and Mr. Havisham rose from his chair. He
seemed to have something in his mind which he wished to speak of.
He hesitated a moment, and then said, looking down at Mrs. Errol:
"Before I left Dorincourt Castle, I had an interview with the
Earl, in which he gave me some instructions. He is desirous that
his grandson should look forward with some pleasure to his future
life in England, and also to his acquaintance with himself. He
said that I must let his lordship know that the change in his
life would bring him money and the pleasures children enjoy; if
he expressed any wishes, I was to gratify them, and to tell him
that his grand-father had given him what he wished. I am aware
that the Earl did not expect anything quite like this; but if it
would give Lord Fauntleroy pleasure to assist this poor woman, I
should feel that the Earl would be displeased if he were not
For the second time, he did not repeat the Earl's exact words.
His lordship had, indeed, said:
"Make the lad understand that I can give him anything he wants.
Let him know what it is to be the grandson of the Earl of
Dorincourt. Buy him everything he takes a fancy to; let him have
money in his pockets, and tell him his grandfather put it
His motives were far from being good, and if he had been dealing
with a nature less affectionate and warm-hearted than little Lord
Fauntleroy's, great harm might have been done. And Cedric's
mother was too gentle to suspect any harm. She thought that
perhaps this meant that a lonely, unhappy old man, whose children
were dead, wished to be kind to her little boy, and win his love
and confidence. And it pleased her very much to think that
Ceddie would be able to help Bridget. It made her happier to
know that the very first result of the strange fortune which had
befallen her little boy was that he could do kind things for
those who needed kindness. Quite a warm color bloomed on her
pretty young face.
"Oh!" she said, "that was very kind of the Earl; Cedric will
be so glad! He has always been fond of Bridget and Michael.
They are quite deserving. I have often wished I had been able to
help them more. Michael is a hard-working man when he is well,
but he has been ill a long time and needs expensive medicines and
warm clothing and nourishing food. He and Bridget will not be
wasteful of what is given them."
Mr. Havisham put his thin hand in his breast pocket and drew
forth a large pocket-book. There was a queer look in his keen
face. The truth was, he was wondering what the Earl of
Dorincourt would say when he was told what was the first wish of
his grandson that had been granted. He wondered what the cross,
worldly, selfish old nobleman would think of it.
"I do not know that you have realized," he said, "that the
Earl of Dorincourt is an exceedingly rich man. He can afford to
gratify any caprice. I think it would please him to know that
Lord Fauntleroy had been indulged in any fancy. If you will call
him back and allow me, I shall give him five pounds for these
"That would be twenty-five dollars!" exclaimed Mrs. Errol.
"It will seem like wealth to them. "I can scarcely believe
that it is true."
"It is quite true," said Mr. Havisham, with his dry smile. "A
great change has taken place in your son's life, a great deal of
power will lie in his hands."
"Oh!" cried his mother. "And he is such a little boy--a very
little boy. How can I teach him to use it well? It makes me
half afraid. My pretty little Ceddie!"
The lawyer slightly cleared his throat. It touched his worldly,
hard old heart to see the tender, timid look in her brown eyes.
"I think, madam," he said, "that if I may judge from my
interview with Lord Fauntleroy this morning, the next Earl of
Dorincourt will think for others as well as for his noble self.
He is only a child yet, but I think he may be trusted."
Then his mother went for Cedric and brought him back into the
parlor. Mr. Havisham heard him talking before he entered the
"It's infam-natory rheumatism," he was saying, "and that's a
kind of rheumatism that's dreadful. And he thinks about the rent
not being paid, and Bridget says that makes the inf'ammation
worse. And Pat could get a place in a store if he had some
His little face looked quite anxious when he came in. He was
very sorry for Bridget.
"Dearest said you wanted me," he said to Mr. Havisham. "I've
been talking to Bridget."
Mr. Havisham looked down at him a moment. He felt a little
awkward and undecided. As Cedric's mother had said, he was a
very little boy.
"The Earl of Dorincourt----" he began, and then he glanced
involuntarily at Mrs. Errol.
Little Lord Fauntleroy's mother suddenly kneeled down by him and
put both her tender arms around his childish body.
"Ceddie," she said, "the Earl is your grandpapa, your own
papa's father. He is very, very kind, and he loves you and
wishes you to love him, because the sons who were his little boys
are dead. He wishes you to be happy and to make other people
happy. He is very rich, and he wishes you to have everything you
would like to have. He told Mr. Havisham so, and gave him a
great deal of money for you. You can give some to Bridget now;
enough to pay her rent and buy Michael everything. Isn't that
fine, Ceddie? Isn't he good?" And she kissed the child on his
round cheek, where the bright color suddenly flashed up in his
He looked from his mother to Mr. Havisham.
"Can I have it now?" he cried. "Can I give it to her this
minute? She's just going."
Mr. Havisham handed him the money. It was in fresh, clean
greenbacks and made a neat roll.
Ceddie flew out of the room with it.
"Bridget!" they heard him shout, as he tore into the kitchen.
"Bridget, wait a minute! Here's some money. It's for you, and
you can pay the rent. My grandpapa gave it to me. It's for you
"Oh, Master Ceddie!" cried Bridget, in an awe-stricken voice.
"It's twinty-foive dollars is here. Where be's the misthress?"
"I think I shall have to go and explain it to her," Mrs. Errol
So she, too, went out of the room and Mr. Havisham was left alone
for a while. He went to the window and stood looking out into
the street reflectively. He was thinking of the old Earl of
Dorincourt, sitting in his great, splendid, gloomy library at the
castle, gouty and lonely, surrounded by grandeur and luxury, but
not really loved by any one, because in all his long life he had
never really loved any one but himself; he had been selfish and
self-indulgent and arrogant and passionate; he had cared so much
for the Earl of Dorincourt and his pleasures that there had been
no time for him to think of other people; all his wealth and
power, all the benefits from his noble name and high rank, had
seemed to him to be things only to be used to amuse and give
pleasure to the Earl of Dorincourt; and now that he was an old
man, all this excitement and self-indulgence had only brought him
ill health and irritability and a dislike of the world, which
certainly disliked him. In spite of all his splendor, there was
never a more unpopular old nobleman than the Earl of Dorincourt,
and there could scarcely have been a more lonely one. He could
fill his castle with guests if he chose. He could give great
dinners and splendid hunting parties; but he knew that in secret
the people who would accept his invitations were afraid of his
frowning old face and sarcastic, biting speeches. He had a cruel
tongue and a bitter nature, and he took pleasure in sneering at
people and making them feel uncomfortable, when he had the power
to do so, because they were sensitive or proud or timid.
Mr. Havisham knew his hard, fierce ways by heart, and he was
thinking of him as he looked out of the window into the narrow,
quiet street. And there rose in his mind, in sharp contrast, the
picture of the cheery, handsome little fellow sitting in the big
chair and telling his story of his friends, Dick and the
apple-woman, in his generous, innocent, honest way. And he
thought of the immense income, the beautiful, majestic estates,
the wealth, and power for good or evil, which in the course of
time would lie in the small, chubby hands little Lord Fauntleroy
thrust so deep into his pockets.
"It will make a great difference," he said to himself. "It
will make a great difference."
Cedric and his mother came back soon after. Cedric was in high
spirits. He sat down in his own chair, between his mother and
the lawyer, and fell into one of his quaint attitudes, with his
hands on his knees. He was glowing with enjoyment of Bridget's
relief and rapture.
"She cried!" he said. "She said she was crying for joy! I
never saw any one cry for joy before. My grandpapa must be a
very good man. I didn't know he was so good a man. It's
more--more agreeabler to be an earl than I thought it was. I'm
almost glad--I'm almost QUITE glad I'm going to be one."
Cedric's good opinion of the advantages of being an earl
increased greatly during the next week. It seemed almost
impossible for him to realize that there was scarcely anything he
might wish to do which he could not do easily; in fact, I think
it may be said that he did not fully realize it at all. But at
least he understood, after a few conversations with Mr. Havisham,
that he could gratify all his nearest wishes, and he proceeded to
gratify them with a simplicity and delight which caused Mr.
Havisham much diversion. In the week before they sailed for
England he did many curious things. The lawyer long after
remembered the morning they went down-town together to pay a
visit to Dick, and the afternoon they so amazed the apple-woman
of ancient lineage by stopping before her stall and telling her
she was to have a tent, and a stove, and a shawl, and a sum of
money which seemed to her quite wonderful.
"For I have to go to England and be a lord," explained Cedric,
sweet-temperedly. "And I shouldn't like to have your bones on
my mind every time it rained. My own bones never hurt, so I
think I don't know how painful a person's bones can be, but I've
sympathized with you a great deal, and I hope you'll be better."
"She's a very good apple-woman," he said to Mr. Havisham, as
they walked away, leaving the proprietress of the stall almost
gasping for breath, and not at all believing in her great
fortune. "Once, when I fell down and cut my knee, she gave me
an apple for nothing. I've always remembered her for it. You
know you always remember people who are kind to you."
It had never occurred to his honest, simple little mind that
there were people who could forget kindnesses.
The interview with Dick was quite exciting. Dick had just been
having a great deal of trouble with Jake, and was in low spirits
when they saw him. His amazement when Cedric calmly announced
that they had come to give him what seemed a very great thing to
him, and would set all his troubles right, almost struck him
dumb. Lord Fauntleroy's manner of announcing the object of his
visit was very simple and unceremonious. Mr. Havisham was much
impressed by its directness as he stood by and listened. The
statement that his old friend had become a lord, and was in
danger of being an earl if he lived long enough, caused Dick to
so open his eyes and mouth, and start, that his cap fell off.
When he picked it up, he uttered a rather singular exclamation.
Mr. Havisham thought it singular, but Cedric had heard it before.
"I soy!" he said, "what're yer givin' us?" This plainly
embarrassed his lordship a little, but he bore himself bravely.
"Everybody thinks it not true at first," he said. "Mr. Hobbs
thought I'd had a sunstroke. I didn't think I was going to like
it myself, but I like it better now I'm used to it. The one who
is the earl now, he's my grandpapa; and he wants me to do
anything I like. He's very kind, if he IS an earl; and he sent
me a lot of money by Mr. Havisham, and I've brought some to you
to buy Jake out."
And the end of the matter was that Dick actually bought Jake out,
and found himself the possessor of the business and some new
brushes and a most astonishing sign and outfit. He could not
believe in his good luck any more easily than the apple-woman of
ancient lineage could believe in hers; he walked about like a
boot-black in a dream; he stared at his young benefactor and felt
as if he might wake up at any moment. He scarcely seemed to
realize anything until Cedric put out his hand to shake hands
with him before going away.
"Well, good-bye," he said; and though he tried to speak
steadily, there was a little tremble in his voice and he winked
his big brown eyes. "And I hope trade'll be good. I'm sorry
I'm going away to leave you, but perhaps I shall come back again
when I'm an earl. And I wish you'd write to me, because we were
always good friends. And if you write to me, here's where you
must send your letter." And he gave him a slip of paper. "And
my name isn't Cedric Errol any more; it's Lord Fauntleroy
and--and good-bye, Dick."
Dick winked his eyes also, and yet they looked rather moist about
the lashes. He was not an educated boot-black, and he would have
found it difficult to tell what he felt just then if he had
tried; perhaps that was why he didn't try, and only winked his
eyes and swallowed a lump in his throat.
"I wish ye wasn't goin' away," he said in a husky voice. Then
he winked his eyes again. Then he looked at Mr. Havisham, and
touched his cap. "Thanky, sir, fur bringin' him down here an'
fur wot ye've done, He's--he's a queer little feller," he added.
"I've allers thort a heap of him. He's such a game little
feller, an'--an' such a queer little un."
And when they turned away he stood and looked after them in a
dazed kind of way, and there was still a mist in his eyes, and a
lump in his throat, as he watched the gallant little figure
marching gayly along by the side of its tall, rigid escort.
Until the day of his departure, his lordship spent as much time
as possible with Mr. Hobbs in the store. Gloom had settled upon
Mr. Hobbs; he was much depressed in spirits. When his young
friend brought to him in triumph the parting gift of a gold watch
and chain, Mr. Hobbs found it difficult to acknowledge it
properly. He laid the case on his stout knee, and blew his nose
violently several times.
"There's something written on it," said Cedric,--"inside the
case. I told the man myself what to say. `From his oldest
friend, Lord Fauntleroy, to Mr. Hobbs. When this you see,
remember me.' I don't want you to forget me."
Mr. Hobbs blew his nose very loudly again.
"I sha'n't forget you," he said, speaking a trifle huskily, as
Dick had spoken; "nor don't you go and forget me when you get
among the British arrystocracy."
"I shouldn't forget you, whoever I was among," answered his
lordship. "I've spent my happiest hours with you; at least,
some of my happiest hours. I hope you'll come to see me
sometime. I'm sure my grandpapa would be very much pleased.
Perhaps he'll write and ask you, when I tell him about you.
You--you wouldn't mind his being an earl, would you, I mean you
wouldn't stay away just because he was one, if he invited you to
"I'd come to see you," replied Mr. Hobbs, graciously.
So it seemed to be agreed that if he received a pressing
invitation from the earl to come and spend a few months at
Dorincourt Castle, he was to lay aside his republican prejudices
and pack his valise at once.
At last all the preparations were complete; the day came when the
trunks were taken to the steamer, and the hour arrived when the
carriage stood at the door. Then a curious feeling of loneliness
came upon the little boy. His mamma had been shut up in her room
for some time; when she came down the stairs, her eyes looked
large and wet, and her sweet mouth was trembling. Cedric went to
her, and she bent down to him, and he put his arms around her,
and they kissed each other. He knew something made them both
sorry, though he scarcely knew what it was; but one tender little
thought rose to his lips.
"We liked this little house, Dearest, didn't we?" he said.
"We always will like it, won't we?"
"Yes--yes," she answered, in a low, sweet voice. "Yes,
And then they went into the carriage and Cedric sat very close to
her, and as she looked back out of the window, he looked at her
and stroked her hand and held it close.
And then, it seemed almost directly, they were on the steamer in
the midst of the wildest bustle and confusion; carriages were
driving down and leaving passengers; passengers were getting into
a state of excitement about baggage which had not arrived and
threatened to be too late; big trunks and cases were being bumped
down and dragged about; sailors were uncoiling ropes and hurrying
to and fro; officers were giving orders; ladies and gentlemen and
children and nurses were coming on board,--some were laughing and
looked gay, some were silent and sad, here and there two or three
were crying and touching their eyes with their handkerchiefs.
Cedric found something to interest him on every side; he looked
at the piles of rope, at the furled sails, at the tall, tall
masts which seemed almost to touch the hot blue sky; he began to
make plans for conversing with the sailors and gaining some
information on the subject of pirates.
It was just at the very last, when he was standing leaning on the
railing of the upper deck and watching the final preparations,
enjoying the excitement and the shouts of the sailors and
wharfmen, that his attention was called to a slight bustle in one
of the groups not far from him. Some one was hurriedly forcing
his way through this group and coming toward him. It was a boy,
with something red in his hand. It was Dick. He came up to
Cedric quite breathless.
"I've run all the way," he said. "I've come down to see ye
off. Trade's been prime! I bought this for ye out o' what I
made yesterday. Ye kin wear it when ye get among the swells. I
lost the paper when I was tryin' to get through them fellers
downstairs. They didn't want to let me up. It's a hankercher."
He poured it all forth as if in one sentence. A bell rang, and
he made a leap away before Cedric had time to speak.
"Good-bye!" he panted. "Wear it when ye get among the
swells." And he darted off and was gone.
A few seconds later they saw him struggle through the crowd on
the lower deck, and rush on shore just before the gang-plank was
drawn in. He stood on the wharf and waved his cap.
Cedric held the handkerchief in his hand. It was of bright red
silk ornamented with purple horseshoes and horses' heads.
There was a great straining and creaking and confusion. The
people on the wharf began to shout to their friends, and the
people on the steamer shouted back:
"Good-bye! Good-bye! Good-bye, old fellow!" Every one seemed
to be saying, "Don't forget us. Write when you get to
Liverpool. Good-bye! Good-bye!"
Little Lord Fauntleroy leaned forward and waved the red
"Good-bye, Dick!" he shouted, lustily. "Thank you! Good-bye,
And the big steamer moved away, and the people cheered again, and
Cedric's mother drew the veil over her eyes, and on the shore
there was left great confusion; but Dick saw nothing save that
bright, childish face and the bright hair that the sun shone on
and the breeze lifted, and he heard nothing but the hearty
childish voice calling "Good-bye, Dick!" as little Lord
Fauntleroy steamed slowly away from the home of his birth to the
unknown land of his ancestors.
It was during the voyage that Cedric's mother told him that his
home was not to be hers; and when he first understood it, his
grief was so great that Mr. Havisham saw that the Earl had been
wise in making the arrangements that his mother should be quite
near him, and see him often; for it was very plain he could not
have borne the separation otherwise. But his mother managed the
little fellow so sweetly and lovingly, and made him feel that she
would be so near him, that, after a while, he ceased to be
oppressed by the fear of any real parting.
"My house is not far from the Castle, Ceddie," she repeated
each time the subject was referred to--"a very little way from
yours, and you can always run in and see me every day, and you
will have so many things to tell me! and we shall be so happy
together! It is a beautiful place. Your papa has often told me
about it. He loved it very much; and you will love it too."
"I should love it better if you were there," his small lordship
said, with a heavy little sigh.
He could not but feel puzzled by so strange a state of affairs,
which could put his "Dearest" in one house and himself in
The fact was that Mrs. Errol had thought it better not to tell
him why this plan had been made.
"I should prefer he should not be told," she said to Mr.
Havisham. "He would not really understand; he would only be
shocked and hurt; and I feel sure that his feeling for the Earl
will be a more natural and affectionate one if he does not know
that his grandfather dislikes me so bitterly. He has never seen
hatred or hardness, and it would be a great blow to him to find
out that any one could hate me. He is so loving himself, and I
am so dear to him! It is better for him that he should not be
told until he is much older, and it is far better for the Earl.
It would make a barrier between them, even though Ceddie is such
So Cedric only knew that there was some mysterious reason for the
arrangement, some reason which he was not old enough to
understand, but which would be explained when he was older. He
was puzzled; but, after all, it was not the reason he cared about
so much; and after many talks with his mother, in which she
comforted him and placed before him the bright side of the
picture, the dark side of it gradually began to fade out, though
now and then Mr. Havisham saw him sitting in some queer little
old-fashioned attitude, watching the sea, with a very grave face,
and more than once he heard an unchildish sigh rise to his lips.
"I don't like it," he said once as he was having one of his
almost venerable talks with the lawyer. "You don't know how
much I don't like it; but there are a great many troubles in this
world, and you have to bear them. Mary says so, and I've heard
Mr. Hobbs say it too. And Dearest wants me to like to live with
my grandpapa, because, you see, all his children are dead, and
that's very mournful. It makes you sorry for a man, when all his
children have died--and one was killed suddenly."
One of the things which always delighted the people who made the
acquaintance of his young lordship was the sage little air he
wore at times when he gave himself up to conversation;--combined
with his occasionally elderly remarks and the extreme innocence
and seriousness of his round childish face, it was irresistible.
He was such a handsome, blooming, curly-headed little fellow,
that, when he sat down and nursed his knee with his chubby hands,
and conversed with much gravity, he was a source of great
entertainment to his hearers. Gradually Mr. Havisham had begun
to derive a great deal of private pleasure and amusement from his
"And so you are going to try to like the Earl," he said.
"Yes," answered his lordship. "He's my relation, and of
course you have to like your relations; and besides, he's been
very kind to me. When a person does so many things for you, and
wants you to have everything you wish for, of course you'd like
him if he wasn't your relation; but when he's your relation and
does that, why, you're very fond of him."
"Do you think," suggested Mr. Havisham, "that he will be fond
"Well," said Cedric, "I think he will, because, you see, I'm
his relation, too, and I'm his boy's little boy besides, and,
well, don't you see--of course he must be fond of me now, or he
wouldn't want me to have everything that I like, and he wouldn't
have sent you for me."
"Oh!" remarked the lawyer, "that's it, is it?"
"Yes," said Cedric, "that's it. Don't you think that's it,
too? Of course a man would be fond of his grandson."
The people who had been seasick had no sooner recovered from
their seasickness, and come on deck to recline in their
steamer-chairs and enjoy themselves, than every one seemed to
know the romantic story of little Lord Fauntleroy, and every one
took an interest in the little fellow, who ran about the ship or
walked with his mother or the tall, thin old lawyer, or talked to
the sailors. Every one liked him; he made friends everywhere.
He was ever ready to make friends. When the gentlemen walked up
and down the deck, and let him walk with them, he stepped out
with a manly, sturdy little tramp, and answered all their jokes
with much gay enjoyment; when the ladies talked to him, there was
always laughter in the group of which he was the center; when he
played with the children, there was always magnificent fun on
hand. Among the sailors he had the heartiest friends; he heard
miraculous stories about pirates and shipwrecks and desert
islands; he learned to splice ropes and rig toy ships, and gained
an amount of information concerning "tops'ls" and "mains'ls,"
quite surprising. His conversation had, indeed, quite a nautical
flavor at times, and on one occasion he raised a shout of
laughter in a group of ladies and gentlemen who were sitting on
deck, wrapped in shawls and overcoats, by saying sweetly, and
with a very engaging expression:
"Shiver my timbers, but it's a cold day!"
It surprised him when they laughed. He had picked up this
sea-faring remark from an "elderly naval man" of the name of
Jerry, who told him stories in which it occurred frequently. To
judge from his stories of his own adventures, Jerry had made some
two or three thousand voyages, and had been invariably
shipwrecked on each occasion on an island densely populated with
bloodthirsty cannibals. Judging, also, by these same exciting
adventures, he had been partially roasted and eaten frequently
and had been scalped some fifteen or twenty times.
"That is why he is so bald," explained Lord Fauntleroy to his
mamma. "After you have been scalped several times the hair
never grows again. Jerry's never grew again after that last
time, when the King of the Parromachaweekins did it with the
knife made out of the skull of the Chief of the Wopslemumpkies.
He says it was one of the most serious times he ever had. He was
so frightened that his hair stood right straight up when the king
flourished his knife, and it never would lie down, and the king
wears it that way now, and it looks something like a hair-brush.
I never heard anything like the asperiences Jerry has had! I
should so like to tell Mr. Hobbs about them!"
Sometimes, when the weather was very disagreeable and people were
kept below decks in the saloon, a party of his grown-up friends
would persuade him to tell them some of these "asperiences" of
Jerry's, and as he sat relating them with great delight and
fervor, there was certainly no more popular voyager on any ocean
steamer crossing the Atlantic than little Lord Fauntleroy. He
was always innocently and good-naturedly ready to do his small
best to add to the general entertainment, and there was a charm
in the very unconsciousness of his own childish importance.
"Jerry's stories int'rust them very much," he said to his
mamma. "For my part--you must excuse me, Dearest--but sometimes
I should have thought they couldn't be all quite true, if they
hadn't happened to Jerry himself; but as they all happened to
Jerry --well, it's very strange, you know, and perhaps sometimes
he may forget and be a little mistaken, as he's been scalped so
often. Being scalped a great many times might make a person
It was eleven days after he had said good-bye to his friend Dick
before he reached Liverpool; and it was on the night of the
twelfth day that the carriage in which he and his mother and Mr.
Havisham had driven from the station stopped before the gates of
Court Lodge. They could not see much of the house in the
darkness. Cedric only saw that there was a drive-way under great
arching trees, and after the carriage had rolled down this
drive-way a short distance, he saw an open door and a stream of
bright light coming through it.
Mary had come with them to attend her mistress, and she had
reached the house before them. When Cedric jumped out of the
carriage he saw one or two servants standing in the wide, bright
hall, and Mary stood in the door-way.
Lord Fauntleroy sprang at her with a gay little shout.
"Did you get here, Mary?" he said. "Here's Mary, Dearest,"
and he kissed the maid on her rough red cheek.
"I am glad you are here, Mary," Mrs. Errol said to her in a low
voice. "It is such a comfort to me to see you. It takes the
strangeness away." And she held out her little hand, which Mary
squeezed encouragingly. She knew how this first "strangeness"
must feel to this little mother who had left her own land and was
about to give up her child.
The English servants looked with curiosity at both the boy and
his mother. They had heard all sorts of rumors about them both;
they knew how angry the old Earl had been, and why Mrs. Errol was
to live at the lodge and her little boy at the castle; they knew
all about the great fortune he was to inherit, and about the
savage old grandfather and his gout and his tempers.
"He'll have no easy time of it, poor little chap," they had
said among themselves.
But they did not know what sort of a little lord had come among
them; they did not quite understand the character of the next
Earl of Dorincourt.
He pulled off his overcoat quite as if he were used to doing
things for himself, and began to look about him. He looked about
the broad hall, at the pictures and stags' antlers and curious
things that ornamented it. They seemed curious to him because he
had never seen such things before in a private house.
"Dearest," he said, "this is a very pretty house, isn't it? I
am glad you are going to live here. It's quite a large house."
It was quite a large house compared to the one in the shabby New
York street, and it was very pretty and cheerful. Mary led them
upstairs to a bright chintz-hung bedroom where a fire was
burning, and a large snow-white Persian cat was sleeping
luxuriously on the white fur hearth-rug.
"It was the house-kaper up at the Castle, ma'am, sint her to
yez," explained Mary. "It's herself is a kind-hearted lady an'
has had iverything done to prepar' fur yez. I seen her meself a
few minnits, an' she was fond av the Capt'in, ma'am, an' graivs
fur him; and she said to say the big cat slapin' on the rug
moight make the room same homeloike to yez. She knowed Capt'in
Errol whin he was a bye--an' a foine handsum' bye she ses he was,
an' a foine young man wid a plisint word fur every one, great an'
shmall. An' ses I to her, ses I: `He's lift a bye that's loike
him, ma'am, fur a foiner little felly niver sthipped in
When they were ready, they went downstairs into another big
bright room; its ceiling was low, and the furniture was heavy and
beautifully carved, the chairs were deep and had high massive
backs, and there were queer shelves and cabinets with strange,
pretty ornaments on them. There was a great tiger-skin before
the fire, and an arm-chair on each side of it. The stately white
cat had responded to Lord Fauntleroy's stroking and followed him
downstairs, and when he threw himself down upon the rug, she
curled herself up grandly beside him as if she intended to make
friends. Cedric was so pleased that he put his head down by
hers, and lay stroking her, not noticing what his mother and Mr.
Havisham were saying.
They were, indeed, speaking in a rather low tone. Mrs. Errol
looked a little pale and agitated.
"He need not go to-night?" she said. "He will stay with me
"Yes," answered Mr. Havisham in the same low tone; "it will
not be necessary for him to go to-night. I myself will go to the
Castle as soon as we have dined, and inform the Earl of our
Mrs. Errol glanced down at Cedric. He was lying in a graceful,
careless attitude upon the black-and-yellow skin; the fire shone
on his handsome, flushed little face, and on the tumbled, curly
hair spread out on the rug; the big cat was purring in drowsy
content,--she liked the caressing touch of the kind little hand
on her fur.
Mrs. Errol smiled faintly.
"His lordship does not know all that he is taking from me," she
said rather sadly. Then she looked at the lawyer. "Will you
tell him, if you please," she said, "that I should rather not
have the money?"
"The money!" Mr. Havisham exclaimed. "You can not mean the
income he proposed to settle upon you!"
"Yes," she answered, quite simply; "I think I should rather
not have it. I am obliged to accept the house, and I thank him
for it, because it makes it possible for me to be near my child;
but I have a little money of my own,--enough to live simply
upon,--and I should rather not take the other. As he dislikes me
so much, I should feel a little as if I were selling Cedric to
him. I am giving him up only because I love him enough to forget
myself for his good, and because his father would wish it to be
Mr. Havisham rubbed his chin.
"This is very strange," he said. "He will be very angry. He
won't understand it."
"I think he will understand it after he thinks it over," she
said. "I do not really need the money, and why should I accept
luxuries from the man who hates me so much that he takes my
little boy from me--his son's child?"
Mr. Havisham looked reflective for a few moments.
"I will deliver your message," he said afterward.
And then the dinner was brought in and they sat down together,
the big cat taking a seat on a chair near Cedric's and purring
majestically throughout the meal.
When, later in the evening, Mr. Havisham presented himself at the
Castle, he was taken at once to the Earl. He found him sitting
by the fire in a luxurious easy-chair, his foot on a gout-stool.
He looked at the lawyer sharply from under his shaggy eyebrows,
but Mr. Havisham could see that, in spite of his pretense at
calmness, he was nervous and secretly excited.
"Well," he said; "well, Havisham, come back, have you? What's
"Lord Fauntleroy and his mother are at Court Lodge," replied
Mr. Havisham. "They bore the voyage very well and are in
The Earl made a half-impatient sound and moved his hand
"Glad to hear it," he said brusquely. "So far, so good. Make
yourself comfortable. Have a glass of wine and settle down.
"His lordship remains with his mother to-night. To-morrow I
will bring him to the Castle."
The Earl's elbow was resting on the arm of his chair; he put his
hand up and shielded his eyes with it.
"Well," he said; "go on. You know I told you not to write to
me about the matter, and I know nothing whatever about it. What
kind of a lad is he? I don't care about the mother; what sort of
a lad is he?"
Mr. Havisham drank a little of the glass of port he had poured
out for himself, and sat holding it in his hand.
"It is rather difficult to judge of the character of a child of
seven," he said cautiously.
The Earl's prejudices were very intense. He looked up quickly
and uttered a rough word.
"A fool, is he?" he exclaimed. "Or a clumsy cub? His
American blood tells, does it?"
"I do not think it has injured him, my lord," replied the
lawyer in his dry, deliberate fashion. "I don't know much about
children, but I thought him rather a fine lad."
His manner of speech was always deliberate and unenthusiastic,
but he made it a trifle more so than usual. He had a shrewd
fancy that it would be better that the Earl should judge for
himself, and be quite unprepared for his first interview with his
"Healthy and well-grown?" asked my lord.
"Apparently very healthy, and quite well-grown," replied the
"Straight-limbed and well enough to look at?" demanded the
A very slight smile touched Mr. Havisham's thin lips. There rose
up before his mind's eye the picture he had left at Court
Lodge,--the beautiful, graceful child's body lying upon the
tiger-skin in careless comfort--the bright, tumbled hair spread
on the rug--the bright, rosy boy's face.
"Rather a handsome boy, I think, my lord, as boys go," he said,
"though I am scarcely a judge, perhaps. But you will find him
somewhat different from most English children, I dare say."
"I haven't a doubt of that," snarled the Earl, a twinge of gout
seizing him. "A lot of impudent little beggars, those American
children; I've heard that often enough."
"It is not exactly impudence in his case," said Mr. Havisham.
"I can scarcely describe what the difference is. He has lived
more with older people than with children, and the difference
seems to be a mixture of maturity and childishness."
"American impudence!" protested the Earl. "I've heard of it
before. They call it precocity and freedom. Beastly, impudent
bad manners; that's what it is!"
Mr. Havisham drank some more port. He seldom argued with his
lordly patron,--never when his lordly patron's noble leg was
inflamed by gout. At such times it was always better to leave
him alone. So there was a silence of a few moments. It was Mr.
Havisham who broke it.
"I have a message to deliver from Mrs. Errol," he remarked.
"I don't want any of her messages!" growled his lordship; "the
less I hear of her the better."
"This is a rather important one," explained the lawyer. "She
prefers not to accept the income you proposed to settle on her."
The Earl started visibly.
"What's that?" he cried out. "What's that?"
Mr. Havisham repeated his words.