Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

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

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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.                                99
Fauntleroy looked up at the gentleman in the clerical garments, and gave him his hand.
" I am very glad to make your acquaintance, sir," he said, remem­bering the words he had heard Mr. Hobbs use on one or two occasions when he had been greeting a new customer with ceremony. Cedric felt quite sure that one ought to be more than usually polite to a minister. Mr. Mordaunt held the small hand in his a moment as he looked down at the child's face, smiling involuntarily. He liked the little fellow from that instant — as in fact people always did like him. And it was not the boy's beauty and grace which most appealed to him; it was the simple, natural kindliness in the little lad which made any words he uttered, however quaint and unexpected, sound pleas­ant and sincere. As the rector looked at Cedric, he forgot to think of the Earl at all. Nothing in the world is so strong as a kind heart, and somehow this kind little heart, though it was only the heart of a child, seemed to clear all the atmosphere of the big gloomy room and make it brighter.
" I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Lord Fauntleroy," said the rector. " You made a long journey to come to us. A great many people will be glad to know you made it safely."
"It was a long way," answered Fauntleroy, "but Dearest, my mother, was with me and I was n't lonely. Of course you are never lonely if your mother is with you ; and the ship was beautiful."
" Take a chair, Mordaunt," said the Earl. Mr. Mordaunt sat down. He glanced from Fauntleroy to the Earl.
" Your lordship is greatly to be congratulated," he said warmly. But the Earl plainly had no intention of showing his feelings on the subject.
" He is like his father," he said rather gruffly. " Let us hope he '11 conduct himself more creditably." And then he added : " Well, what is it this morning, Mordaunt? Who is in trouble now?"
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