Page images




and then Mr. Havisham saw him sitting in some

queer little old-fashioned attitude, watching the It was during the voyage that Cedric's mother sea, with a very grave face, and more than once told him that his home was not to be hers; and he heard an unchildish sigh rise to his lips. when he first understood it, his grief was so great “ I don't like it,” he said once as he was having that Mr. Havisham saw that the Earl had been one of his almost venerable talks with the lawyer. wise in making the arrangements that his mother * You don't know how much I don't like it ; but should be quite near him, and see him often; for it there are a great many troubles in this world, and was very plain he could not have borne the separa- you have to bear them. Mary says so, and I've tion otherwise. But his mother managed the little heard Mr. Hobbs say it too. And Dearest wants fellow so sweetly and lovingly, and made him feel me to like to live with my grandpapa, because, you that she would be so near him, that, after a while, see, all his children are dead, and that's very he ceased to be oppressed by the fear of any real mournful. It makes you sorry for a man, when parting

all his children have died and one was killed “My house is not far from the Castle, Ceddie,” suddenly." she repeated each time the subject was referred to One of the things which always delighted the “a very little way from yours, and you can always people who made the acquaintance of his young run in and see me every day, and you will have so lordship was the sage little air he wore at times many things to tell me! and we shall be so happy when he gave himself up to conversation ;-comtogether! It is a beautiful place. Your papa has bined with his occasionally elderly remarks and often told me about it. He loved it very much; the extreme innocence and seriousness of his round and you will love it too.”

childish face, it was irresistible. He was such a “I should love it better if you were there,” his handsome, blooming, curly-headed little fellow, small lordship said, with a heavy little sigh. that, when he sat down and nursed his knee with

He could not but feel puzzled by so strange a his chubby hands, and conversed with much gravity, state of affairs, which could put his “Dearest" in he was a source of great entertainment to his one house and himself in another.

hearers. Gradually Mr. Havisham had begun to The fact was that Mrs. Errol had thought it bet- derive a great deal of private pleasure and amuseter not to tell him why this plan had been made. ment from his society.

“I should prefer he should not be told," she “ And so you are going to try to like the Earl," said to Mr. Havisham. “He would not really he said. understand; he would only be shocked and hurt; “Yes," answered his lordship. “He's my and I feel sure that his feeling for the Earl will be relation, and of course you have to like your relaa more natural and affectionate one if he does not tions; and besides, he's been very kind to me. know that his grandfather dislikes me so bitterly. When a person does so many things for you, and He has never seen hatred or hardness, and it would wants you to have everything you wish for, of be a great blow to him to find out that any one could course you 'd like him if he was n't your relation; hate me.

He is so loving himself, and I am so but when he 's your relation and does that, why, dear to him! It is better for him that he should you 're very fond of him.” not be told until he is much older, and it is far “Do you think,” suggested Mr. Havisham, better for the Earl. It would make a barrier be- “ that he will be fond of you?” tween them, even though Ceddie is such a child.” Well,” said Cedric, “ I think he will, because,

So Cedric only knew that there was some mys- you see, I 'm his relation, too, and I 'm his boy's terious reason for the arrangement, some reason little boy besides, and, well, don't you see - of which he was not old enough to understand, but course he must be fond of me now, or he would n't which would be explained when he was older. He want me to have everything that I like, and he was puzzled; but, after all, it was not the reason he would n't have sent you for me.” cared about so much; and after many talks with his “Oh!” remarked the lawyer, “that 's it, is it?" mother, in which she comforted him and placed “Yes,” said Cedric, “that's it. Don't you before him the bright side of the picture, the dark think that's it, too? Of course a man would be side of it gradually began to fade out, though now fond of his grandson."

The people who had been seasick had no sooner a party of his grown-up friends would persuade recovered from their seasickness, and come on deck him to tell them some of these “asperiences" of to recline in their steamer-chairs and enjoy them- Jerry's, and as he sat relating them with great selves, than every one seemed to know the romantic delight and fervor, there was certainly no more story of little Lord Fauntleroy, and every one took popular voyager on any ocean steamer crossing the an interest in the little fellow, who ran about the Atlantic than little Lord Fauntleroy. He was ship or walked with his mother or the tall, thin always innocently and good-naturedly ready to do old lawyer, or talked to the sailors. Every one his small best to add to the general entertainment, liked him ; he made friends everywhere. He was ever ready to make friends. When the gentlemen walked up and down the deck, and let him walk with them, he stepped out with a manly, sturdy little tramp, and answered all their jokes with much gay enjoyment; when the ladies talked to him, there was always laughter in the group of which he was the center; when he played with the children, there was always magnificent fun on hand. Among the sailors he had the heartiest friends ; he heard miraculous stories about pirates and shipwrecks and desert islands; he learned to splice ropes and rig toy ships, and gained an amount of information concerning “tops'les” and “mains'les," quite surprising. His conversation had, indeed, quite a nautical flavor at times, and on one occasion he raised a shout of laughter in a group of ladies and gentlemen who were sitting on deck, wrapped in shawls and overcoats, by saying sweetly, and with a very engaging expression :

“Shiver my timbers, but it's a cold day!”

It surprised him when they laughed. He had picked up this sea-faring remark from an “elderly naval man ” of the name of Jerry, who told him stories in which it occurred frequently. To judge from his stories of his own adventures, Jerry had made some two or three thousand voyages, and had been invariably shipwrecked on each occasion on an island densely populated with bloodthirsty cannibals. Judging, also, by these same exciting adventures, he had been partially roasted and eaten frequently and had been scalped some fifteen or twenty times.

“That is why he is so bald,” explained Lord Fauntleroy to his mamma. “ After you have been scalped several times the hair never grows again. Jerry's never grew after that last time, when the King of the Parromachaweekins did it with the knife made out of the skull of the Chief of the Wopslemumpkies. He says it was one of the and there was a charm in the very unconsciousmost serious times he ever had. He was so fright- ness of his own childish importance. ened that his hair stood right straight up when the “ Jerry's stories int'rust them very much,” he king flourished his knife, and it never would lie said to his mamma. “For my part — you must down, and the king wears it that way now, and it excuse me, Dearest -- but sometimes I should have looks something like a hair-brush. I never heard thought they could n't be all quite true, if they anything like the asperiences Jerry has had ! I had n't happened to Jerry himself; but as they all should so like to tell Mr. Hobbs about them !” happened to Jerry — well, it 's very strange, you

Sometimes, when the weather was very disagreea- know, and perhaps sometimes he may forget and ble and people were kept below decks in the saloon, be a little mistaken, as he 's been scalped so often.



Being scalped a great many times might make a very pretty and cheerful. Mary led them upstairs person forgetful.”

to a bright chintz-hung bedroom where a fire was It was eleven days after he had said good-bye burning, and a large snow-white Persian cat was to his friend Dick before he reached Liverpool ; and sleeping luxuriously on the white fur hearth-rug. it was on the night of the twelfth day that the “ It was the house-kaper up at the Castle, ma'am, carriage, in which he and his mother and Mr. sint her to yez,” explained Mary. “It's herself Havisham had driven from the station, stopped is a kind-hearted lady an' has had iverything done before the gates of Court Lodge. They could not to prepar'fur yez. I seen her meself a few see much of the house in the darkness. Cedric minnits, an' she was fond av the Capt'in, ma'am, only saw that there was a driveway under great an' graivs fur him ; and she said to say the big cat arching trees, and after the carriage had rolled slapin' on the rug moight make the room same down this driveway a short distance, he saw an homeloike to yez. She knowed Capt'in Errol whin open door and a stream of bright light coming he was a bye - an'a foine handsum' bye she ses through it.

he was, an'a foine young man wid a plisint word Mary had come with them to attend her mistress, fur every one, great an' shmall. An' ses I to her, and she had reached the house before them. ses I: 'He's lift a bye that 's loike him, ma'am, fur When Cedric jumped out of the carriage he saw a foiner little felly niver sthipped in shoe-leather.'” one or two servants standing in the wide, bright When they were ready, they went downstairs hall, and Mary stood in the doorway.

into another big bright room ; its ceiling was low, Lord Fauntleroy sprang at her with a gay little and the furniture was heavy and beautifully carved, shout.

the chairs were deep and had high massive backs, “Did you get here, Mary?” he said. “Here's and there were queer shelves and cabinets with Mary, Dearest," and he kissed the maid on her strange, pretty ornaments on them. There was a rough red cheek.

great tiger-skin before the fire, and an arm-chair “I am glad you are here, Mary,” Mrs. Errol on each side of it. The stately white cat had said to her in a low voice. " It is such a comfort responded to Lord Fauntleroy's stroking and folto me to see you. It takes the strangeness away.” lowed him downstairs, and when he threw himself And she held out her little hand which Mary down upon the rug, she curled herself up grandly squeezed encouragingly. She knew how this first beside him as if she intended to make friends. “strangeness” must feel to this little mother who Cedric was so pleased that he put his head down had left her own land and was about to give up by hers, and lay stroking her, not noticing what her child.

his mother and Mr. Havisham were saying. The English servants looked with curiosity at They were, indeed, speaking in a rather low tone. both the boy and his mother. They had heard all Mrs. Errol looked a little pale and agitated. sorts of rumors about thein both; they knew how “He need not go to-night?" she said. “He will angry the old Earl had been, and why Mrs. Errol stay with me to-night?” was to live at the lodge and her little boy at the “Yes," answered Mr. Havisham in the same castle; they knew all about the great fortune he low tone; “it will not be necessary for him to go was to inherit, and about the savage old grand- to-night. I myself will go to the Castle as soon as father and his gout and his tempers.

we have dined, and inform the Earl of our arrival.” “He'll have no easy time of it, poor little Mrs. Errol glanced down at Cedric. He was chap,” they had said among themselves.

lying in a graceful, careless attitude upon the But they did not know what sort of a little lord black-and-yellow skin; the fire shone on his had come among them; they did not quite under- handsome, flushed little face, and on the tumbled, stand the character of the next Earl of Dorincourt. curly hair spread out on the rug; the big cat was

He pulled off his overcoat quite as if he were purring in drowsy content, she liked the caressing used to doing things for himself, and began to touch of the kind little hand on her fur. look about him. He looked about the broad hall, Mrs. Errol siniled faintly. at the pictures and stags' antlers and curious “His lordship does not know all that he is takthings that ornamented it. They seemed curious ing from me,” she said rather sadly. Then she to him because he had never seen such things looked at the lawyer. “Will you tell him, if you before in a private house.

please," she said, “that I should rather not have “ Dearest,” he said, “this is a very pretty house, the money ?” is n't it? I am glad you are going to live here. “ The money!” Mr. Havisham exclaimed. It's quite a large house."

“You can not mean the income he proposed to It was quite a large house compared to the settle upon you !” one in the shabby New York street, and it was Yes,” she answered, quite simply ; “I think I

should rather not have it. I am obliged to accept “ It is rather difficult to judge of the character the house, and I thank him for it, because it of a child of seven,” he said cautiously. makes it possible for me to be near my child; The Earl's prejudices were very intense. He but I have a little money of my own,- enough to looked up quickly and uttered a rough word. live simply upon,- and I should rather not take A fool, is he?" he exclaimed.

" Or a clumsy the other. As he dislikes me so much, I should cub? His American blood tells, does it?” feel a little as if I were selling Cedric to him. I “I do not think it has injured him, my lord,” am giving him up only because I love him enough replied the lawyer in his dry, deliberate fashion. to forget myself for his good, and because his “I don't know much about children, but I thought father would wish it to be so."

him rather a fine lad.” Mr. Havisham rubbed his chin.

His manner of speech was always deliberate and “ This is very strange,” he said. “He will be unenthusiastic, but he made it a trifle more so very angry. He wont understand it."

than usual. He had a shrewd fancy that it would “I think he will understand it, after he thinks be better that the Earl should judge for himself, it over,” she said. “I do not really need the and be quite unprepared for his first interview with money, and why should I accept luxuries from the his grandson. man who hates me so much that he takes my little “Healthy and well-grown ?” asked my lord. boy from me — his son's child?”

' Apparently very healthy, and quite wellMr. Havisham looked reflective for a few grown," replied the lawyer. moments.

'Straight-limbed and well enough to look at?" I will deliver your message," he said after- demanded the Earl. ward.

A very slight smile touched Mr. Havisham's thin And then the dinner was brought in and they lips. There rose up before his mind's eye the sat down together, the big cat taking a seat on a picture he had left at Court Lodge,- the beautichair near Cedric's and purring majestically ful, graceful child's body lying upon the tiger-skin throughout the meal.

in careless comfort - the bright, tumbled hair When, later in the evening, Mr. Havisham pre- spread on the rug- the bright, rosy boy's face. sented himself at the Castle, he was taken at once “Rather a handsome boy, I think, my lord, to the Earl. He found him sitting by the fire in a as boys go,” he said, “ though I am scarcely a luxurious easy-chair, his foot on a gout-stool. He judge, perhaps. But you will find him somewhat looked at the lawyer sharply from under his shaggy different from most English children, I dare say.” eyebrows, but Mr. Havisham could see that, in “I have n't a doubt of that,” snarled the Earl, spite of his pretense at calmness, he was nervous a twinge of gout seizing him. “A lot of impudent and secretly excited.

little beggars, those American children; I 've “Well,” he said ; “ well, Havisham, come back, heard that often enough.” have you? What 's the news ? "

“It is not exactly impudence in his case,” said “Lord Fauntleroy and his mother are at Court Mr. Havisham. “I can scarcely describe what Lodge,” replied Mr. Havisham. “ They bore the the difference is. He has lived more with older voyage very well and are in excellent health." people than with children, and the difference

The Earl made a half-impatient sound and seems to be a mixture of maturity and childishness." moved his hand restlessly.

“American impudence !” protested the Earl. “Glad to hear it,” he said brusquely. “So “I've heard of it before. They call it precocity far, so good. Make yourself comfortable. Have and freedom. Beastly, impudent bad manners ; a glass of wine and settle down. What else ?" that 's what it is !” “His lordship remains with his mother to-night. Mr. Havisham drank some more port.

He selTo-morrow I will bring him to the Castle.” dom argued with his lordly patron,- never when

The Earl's elbow was resting on the arm of his his lordly patron's noble leg was inflamed by gout. chair ; he put his hand up and shielded his eyes At such times it was always better to leave him with it.

alone. So there was a silence of a few moments. “Well,” he said ;

You know I told It was Mr. Havisham who broke it. you not to write to me about the matter, and I “I have a message to deliver from Mrs. Errol,” know nothing whatever about it. What kind of a he remarked. lad is he? I don't care about the mother; what “ I don't want any of her messages ! ” growled sort of a lad is he?"

his lordship; “the less I hear of her the better.” Mr. Havisham drank a little of the glass of port “ This is a rather important one,” explained he had poured out for himself, and sat holding the lawyer. “She prefers not to accept the init in his hand.

come you proposed to settle on her."

“ go on.

The Earl started visibly.

blustered my lord. “She shall have it sent to her. "What 's that?” he cried out. “What 's She sha'n't tell people that she has to live like a that?"

pauper because I have done nothing for her! She Mr. Havisham repeated his words.

wants to give the boy a bad opinion of me! I “She says it is not necessary, and that as the suppose she has poisoned his mind against me relations between you are not friendly

already!” "Not friendly!” ejaculated my lord savagely; “No," said Mr. Havisham. “I have another “ I should say they were not friendly! I hate to message, which will prove to you that she has not think of her! A mercenary, sharp-voiced Ameri- done that.” can! I don't wish to see her!"

“I don't want to hear it!” panted the Earl, out “My lord," said Mr. Havisham, “you can of breath with anger and excitement and gout.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

scarcely call her mercenary. She has asked for But Mr. Havisham delivered it. nothing. She does not accept the money you “She asks you not to let Lord Fauntleroy hear offer her."

anything which would lead him to understand “All done for effect ! ” snapped his noble lord- that you separate him from her because of your ship. “She wants to wheedle me into seeing prejudice against her. He is very fond of her, and her. She thinks I shall admire her spirit. I don't she is convinced that it would cause a barrier to admire it! It's only American independence! I exist between you. She says he would not comwont have her living like a beggar at my park gates. prehend it, and it might make him fear you in As she's the boy's mother, she has a position to keep some measure, or at least cause him to feel less up, and she shall keep it up. She shall have the affection for you. She has told him that he is too money, whether she likes it or not!”

young to understand the reason, but shall hear it “She wont spend it,” said Mr. Havisham. when he is older. She wishes that there should “I don't care whether she spends it or not !” be no shadow on your first meeting.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »