Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

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

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138
LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
doubt he was. At first he had only been pleased and proud of Cedric's beauty and bravery, but there was something more than pride in his feeling now. He laughed a grim, dry laugh all to him­self sometimes, when he thought how he liked to have the boy near him, how he liked to hear his voice, and how in secret he really wished to be liked and thought well of by his small grandson.
" I 'm an old fellow in my dotage, and I have nothing else to think of," he would say to himself; and yet he knew it was not that alto­gether. And if he had allowed himself to admit the truth, he would perhaps have found himself obliged to own that the very things which attracted him, in spite of himself, were the qualities he had never possessed—the frank, true, kindly nature, the affectionate trustfulness which could never think evil.
It was only about a week after that ride when, after a visit to his mother, Fauntleroy came into the library with a troubled, thought­ful face. He sat down in that high-backed chair in which he had sat on the evening of his arrival, and for a while he looked at the embers on the hearth. The Earl watched him in silence, wondering what was coming. It was evident that Cedric had something on his mind. At last he looked up. " Does Newick know all about the people ? " he asked.
" It is his business to know about them," said his lordship. " Been neglecting it—has he ? "
Contradictory as it may seem, there was nothing which enter­tained and edified him more than the little fellow's interest in his tenantry. He had never taken any interest in them himself, but it pleased him well enough that, with all his childish habits of thought and in the midst of all his childish amusements and high spirits, there should be such a quaint seriousness working in the curly head.
" There is a place," said Fauntleroy, looking up at him with wide-open, horror-stricken eye— " Dearest has seen it; it is at the other
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