LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
" All done for effect!" snapped his noble lordship. " She wants to wheedle me into seeing her. She thinks I shall admire her spirit. I don't admire it! It 's only American independence ! 1 wont have her living like a beggar at my park gates. As she 's the boy's mother, she has a position to keep up, and she shall keep it up. She shall have the money, whether she likes it or not!"
" She wont spend it," said Mr. Havisham.
" I don't care whether she spends it or not!" blustered my lord. " She shall have it sent to her. She sha'n't tell people that she has to live like a pauper because I have done nothing for her! She wants to give the boy a bad opinion of me ! I suppose she has poisoned his mind against me already! "
" No," said Mr. Havisham. " I have another message, which will prove to you that she has not done that."
" I don't want to hear it! " panted the Earl, out of breath with anger and excitement and gout.
But Mr. Havisham delivered it.
" She asks you not to let Lord Fauntleroy hear anything which would lead him to understand that you separate him from her because of your prejudice against her. He is very fond of her, and she is convinced that it would cause a barrier to exist between you. She says he would not comprehend it, and it might make him fear you in some measure, or at least cause him to feel less affection for you. She has told him that he is too young to understand the reason, but shall hear it when he is older. She wishes that there should be no shadow on your first meeting."
The Earl sank back into his chair. His deep-set fierce old eyes gleamed under his beetling brows.
" Come, now !" he said, still breathlessly. " Come, now ! You don't mean the mother has n't told him ? "