160 LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
son Bevis married her six years ago in London.- She showed me her marriage certificate. They quarrelled a year after the marriage, and he paid her to keep away from him. She has a son five years old. She is an American of the lower classes,—an ignorant person,— and until lately she did not fully understand what her son could claim. She consulted a lawyer and found out that the boy was really Lord Fauntleroy and the heir to the earldom of Dorincourt; and she, of course, insists on his claims being acknowledged."
There was a movement of the curly head on the yellow satin cushion. A soft, long, sleepy sigh came from the parted lips, and the little boy stirred in his sleep, but not at all restlessly or uneasily. Not at all as if his slumber were disturbed by the fact that he was being proved a small impostor and that he was not Lord Fauntleroy at all and never would be the Earl of Dorincourt. He only turned his rosy face more on its side, as if to enable the old man who stared at it so solemnly to see it better.
The handsome, grim old face was ghastly. A bitter smile fixed itself upon it.
" I should refuse to believe a word of it," he said, " if it were not such a low, scoundrelly piece of business that it becomes quite possible in connection with the name of my son Bevis. It is quite like Bevis. He was always a disgrace to us. Always a weak, untruthful, vicious young brute with low tastes—my son and heir, Bevis, Lord Fauntleroy. The woman is an ignorant, vulgar person, you say ? "
" I am obliged to admit that she can scarcely spell her own name," answered the lawyer. She is absolutely uneducated and openly mercenary. She cares for nothing but the money. She is very handsome in a coarse way, but------"
The fastidious old lawyer ceased speaking and gave a sort of shudder.