Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

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

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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.                              IOI
The Earl slightly started.
" I forgot you/" he said. " I forgot we had a philanthropist in the room. Who was Michael ? " And the gleam of queer amuse­ment came back into the old man's deep-set eyes.
"He was Bridget's husband, who had the fever," answered Faunt-leroy; "and he could n't pay the rent or buy wine and things. And you gave me that money to help him."
The Earl drew his brows together into a curious frown, which somehow was scarcely grim at all. He glanced across at Mr. Mordaunt.
" I don't know what sort of landed proprietor he will make," he said. " I told Havisham the boy was to have what he wanted— anything he wanted—and what he wanted, it seems, was money to give to beggars."
" Oh! but they were n't beggars," said Fauntleroy eagerly. " Michael was a splendid bricklayer! They all worked."
"Oh!" said the Earl, "they were not beggars. They were splendid bricklayers, and bootblacks, and apple-women."
He bent his gaze on the boy for a few seconds in silence. The fact was that a new thought was coming to him, and though, per­haps, it was not prompted by the noblest emotions, it was not a bad thought. " Come here," he said, at last.
Fauntleroy went and stood as near to him as possible without encroaching on the gouty foot.
" What would you do in this case? " his lordship asked. It must be confessed that Mr. Mordaunt experienced for the moment a curious sensation. Being a man of great thoughtfulness, and having spent so many years on the estate of Dorincourt, know­ing the tenantry, rich and poor, the people of the village, honest and industrious, dishonest and lazy, he realized very strongly what power for good or evil would be given in the future to this one
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