LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY. 159
over the yellow satin cushion. He made a picture well worth looking at.
As Mr. Havisham looked at it, he put his hand up and rubbed his shaven chin, with a harassed countenance.
" Well, Havisham," said the Earl's harsh voice behind him. "What is it? It is evident something has happened. What was the extraordinary event, if I may ask ?"
Mr. Havisham turned from the sofa, still rubbing his chin.
" It was bad news," he answered, "distressing news, my lord — the worst of news. I am sorry to be the bearer of it."
The Earl had been uneasy for some time during the evening, as he glanced at Mr. Havisham, and when he was uneasy he was always ill-tempered.
"Why do you look so at the boy!" he exclaimed irritably. "You have been looking at him all the evening as if—See here now, why should you look at the boy, Havisham, and hang over him like some bird of ill-omen ! What has your news to do with Lord Fauntleroy ? "
"My lord," said Mr. Havisham, "I will waste no words. My news has everything to do with Lord Fauntleroy. And if we are to believe it—it is not Lord Fauntleroy who lies sleeping before us, but only the son of Captain Errol. And the present Lord Fauntleroy is the son of your son Bevis, and is at this moment in a lodging-house in London."
The Earl clutched the arms of his chair with both his hands until the veins stood out upon them; the veins stood out on his forehead too; his fierce old face was almost livid.
" What do you mean ! " he cried out. " You are mad ! Whose lie is this ? "
" If it is a lie," answered Mr. Havisham, "it is painfully like the truth. A woman came to my chambers this morning. She said your