Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

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

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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.                                61
" I have n'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. Enrol," 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.
" She says it is not necessary, and that as the relations between you are not friendly------"
" Not friendly!" ejaculated my lord savagely; " I should say they were not friendly! I hate to think of her! A mercenary, sharp-voiced American ! I don't wish to see her."
"My lord," said Mr. Havisham, "you can scarcely call her mer­cenary. She has asked for nothing. She does not accept the money you offer her."
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