LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY. 185
life. He has given me something to live for. I am proud of him. I was satisfied to think of his taking his place some day as the head of the family."
He came back and stood before Mrs. Errol. " I am miserable," he said. " Miserable ! "
He looked as if he was. Even his pride could not keep his voice steady or his hands from shaking. For a moment it almost seemed as if his deep, fierce eyes had tears in them. " Perhaps it is because I am miserable that I have come to you," he said, quite glaring down at her. " I used to hate you; I have been jealous of you. This wretched, disgraceful business has changed that. After seeing that repulsive woman who calls herself the wife of my son Bevis, I actually felt it would be a relief to look at you. I have been an obstinate old fool, and I suppose I have treated you badly. You are like the boy, and the boy is the first object in my life. I am miserable, and I came to you merely because you are like the boy, and he cares for you, and I care for him. Treat me as well as you can, for the boy's sake."
He said it all in his harsh voice, and almost roughly, but somehow he seemed so broken down for the time that Mrs. Errol was touched to the heart. She got up and moved an arm-chair a little forward.
" I wish you would sit down," she said in a soft, pretty, sympathetic way. " You have been so much troubled that you are very tired, and you need all your strength."
It was just as new to him to be spoken to and cared for in that gentle, simple way as it was to be contradicted. He was reminded of " the boy " again, and he actually did as she asked him. Perhaps his disappointment and wretchedness were good discipline for him ; if he had not been wretched he might have continued to hate her, but just at present he found her a little soothing. Almost anything