Little Lord Fauntleroy - illustrated online book

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

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LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
171
had lived with his elder brother, and had gone to a night-school; but, being a sharp boy, he had made the most of that brief educa­tion, and had spelled out things in newspapers since then, and prac­ticed writing with bits of chalk on pavements or walls or fences. He told Mr. Hobbs all about his life and about his elder brother, who had been rather good to him after their mother died, when Dick was quite a little fellow. Their father had died some time before. The brother's name was Ben, and he had taken care of Dick as well as he could, until the boy was old enough to sell newspapers and run errands. They had lived together, and as he grew older Ben had managed to get along until he had quite a decent place in a store.
" And then," exclaimed Dick with disgust, " blest if he did n't go an' marry a gal! Just went and got spoony an' had n't any more sense left! Married her, an' set up housekeepin' in two back rooms. An' a hefty un she was,— a regular tiger-cat. She 'd tear things to pieces when she got mad,—and she was mad all the time. Had a baby just like her,—yell day 'n' night! An' if I did n't have to 'tend it! an' when it screamed, she 'd fire things at me. She fired a plate at me one day, an' hit the baby— cut its chin. Doctor said he 'd carry the mark till he died. A nice mother she was! Crackey ! but did n't we have a time—Ben 'n' mehself 'n' the young un. She was mad at Ben because he did n't make money faster; 'n' at last he went out West with a man to set up a cattle ranch. An' had n't been gone a week 'fore one night, I got home from sellin' my papers, 'n' the rooms wus locked up 'n' empty, 'n' the woman o' the house, she told me Minna 'd gone — shown a clean pair o' heels. Some un else said she 'd gone across the water to be nuss to a lady as had a little baby, too. Never heard a word of her since — nuther has Ben. If I 'd ha' bin him, I would n't ha' fretted a bit — 'n' I guess he did n't. But he thought a heap o' her at the start. Tell you, he
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