yS LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
" I was born in America," he protested. " You have to be an American if you are born in America. I beg your pardon," with serious politeness and delicacy, " for contradicting you. Mr. Hobbs told me, if there were another war, you know, I should have to — to be an American."
The Earl gave a grim half laugh — it was short and grim, but it was a laugh.
" You would, would you ?" he said.
He hated America and Americans, but it amused him to see how serious and interested this small patriot was. He thought that so good an American might make a rather good Englishman when he was a man.
They had not time to go very deep into the Revolution again — and indeed Lord Fauntleroy felt some delicacy about returning to the subject — before dinner was announced.
Cedric left his chair and went to his noble kinsman. He looked down at his gouty foot.
"Would you like me to help you?" he said politely. "You could lean on me, you know. Once when Mr. Hobbs hurt his foot with a potato-barrel rolling on it, he used to lean on me."
The big footman almost periled his reputation and his situation by smiling. He was an aristocratic footman who had always lived in the best of noble families, and he had never smiled ; indeed, he would have felt himself a disgraced and vulgar footman if he had allowed himself to be led by any circumstance whatever into such an indiscretion as a smile. But he had a very narrow escape. He only just saved himself by staring straight over the Earl's head at a very ugly picture.
The Earl looked his valiant young relative over from head to foot.
" Do you think you could do it ?" he asked gruffly.