Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

An American boy becomes A British Earl, By Frances Hodgson Burnett

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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.                                19
" 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
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