LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY. 165
knew all about Dick. Cedric had told him, and his idea was that perhaps Dick might be some comfort to him in the way of talking things over.
So one day when Dick was very hard at work blacking a customer's boots, a short, stout man with a heavy face and a bald head stopped on the pavement and stared for two or three minutes at the bootblack's sign, which read:
" Professor Dick Tipton Can't be Beat."
He stared at it so long that Dick began to take a lively interest in him, and when he had put the finishing touch to his customer's boots, he said :
" Want a shine, sir ? " The stout man came forward deliberately and put his foot on the rest.
"Yes," he said. Then when Dick fell to work, the stout man looked from Dick to the sign and from the sign to Dick.
" Where did you get that? " he asked.
''From a friend o' mine," said Dick,—"a little feller. He guv' me the whole outfit. He was the best little feller ye ever saw. He 's in England now. Gone to be one o' them lords."
"Lord — Lord—"asked Mr. Hobbs, with ponderous slowness, " Lord Fauntleroy — Goin' to be Earl of Dorincourt?" Dick almost dropped his brush.
" Why, boss ! " he exclaimed, " d' ye know him yerself ? "
" I Ve known him," answered Mr. Hobbs, wiping his warm forehead, "ever since he was born. We was lifetime acquaintances — that 's what we was."