68 LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
tall ferns grew in masses, and again and again the ground was azure with the bluebells swaying in the soft breeze. Several times he started up with a laugh of delight as a rabbit leaped up from under the greenery and scudded away with a twinkle of short white tail behind it. Once a covey of partridges rose with a sudden whir and flew away, and then he shouted and clapped his hands.
" It 's a beautiful place, is n't it?" he said to Mr. Havisham. " I never saw such a beautiful place. It 's prettier even than Central Park."
He was rather puzzled by the length of time they were on their way.
" How far is it," he said, at length, " from the gate to the front door ? "
" It is between three and four miles," answered the lawyer.
" That 's a long way for a person to live from his gate," remarked his lordship.
Every few minutes he saw something new to wonder at and admire. When he caught sight of the deer, some couched in the grass, some standing with their pretty antlered heads turned with a half-startled air toward the avenue as the carriage wheels disturbed them, he was enchanted.
"Has there been a circus?" he cried; "or do they live here always ? Whose are they ? "
"They live here," Mr. Havisham told him. "They belong to the Earl, your grandfather."
It was not long after this that they saw the castle. It rose up before them stately and beautiful and gray, the last rays of the sun casting dazzling lights on its many windows. It had turrets and battlements and towers; a great deal of ivy grew upon its walls ; all the broad, open space about it was laid out in terraces and lawns and beds of brilliant flowers.