82 LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
his unaccustomed eyes seemed quite dazzling. A stranger looking on might well have smiled at the picture,—the greaj stately room, the big liveried servants, the bright lights, the glittering silver and glass, the fierce-looking old nobleman at the head of the table and the very small boy at the foot. Dinner was usually a very serious matter with the Earl — and it was a very serious matter with the cook, if his lordship was not pleased or had an indifferent appetite. To-day, however, his appetite seemed a trifle better than usual, perhaps because he had something to think of beside the flavor of the entrees and the management of the gravies. His grandson gave him something to think of. He kept looking at him across the table. He did not say very much himself, but he managed to make the boy talk. He had never imagined that he could be entertained by hearing a child talk, but Lord Fauntleroy at once puzzled and amused him, and he kept remembering how he had let the childish shoulder feel his weight just for the sake of trying how far the boy's courage and endurance would go, and it pleased him to know that his grandson had not quailed and had not seemed to think even for a moment of giving up what he had undertaken to do.
"You don't wear your coronet all the time?" remarked Lord Fauntleroy respectfully.
" No," replied the Earl, with his grim smile; "it is not becoming to me."
"Mr. Hobbs said you always wore it," said Cedric; "but after he thought it over, he said he supposed you must sometimes take it off to put your hat on."
" Yes," said the Earl, " I take it off occasionally." And one of the footmen suddenly turned aside and gave a singular little cough behind his hand.
Cedric finished his dinner first, and then he leaned tack in his chair and took a survey of the room.