Little Lord Fauntleroy
There was never a more amazed little boy than Cedric during the week that followed;
there was never so strange or so unreal a week. In the first place, the story his mamma
told him was a very curious one. He was obliged to hear it two or three times before he
could understand it. He could not imagine what Mr. Hobbs would think of it. It began
with earls: his grandpapa, whom he had never seen, was an earl; and his eldest uncle, if
he had not been killed by a fall from his horse, would have been an earl, too, in time; and
after his death, his other uncle would have been an earl, if he had not died suddenly, in
Rome, of a fever. After that, his own papa, if he had lived, would have been an earl, but,
since they all had died and only Cedric was left, it appeared that HE was to be an earl
after his grandpapa's death--and for the present he was Lord Fauntleroy.
He turned quite pale when he was first told of it.
"Oh! Dearest!" he said, "I should rather not be an earl. None of the boys are earls. Can't I
NOT be one?"
But it seemed to be unavoidable. And when, that evening, they sat together by the open
window looking out into the shabby street, he and his mother had a long talk about it.
Cedric sat on his footstool, clasping one knee in his favorite attitude and wearing a
bewildered little face rather red from the exertion of thinking. His grandfather had sent
for him to come to England, and his mamma thought he must go.
"Because," she said, looking out of the window with sorrowful eyes, "I know your papa
would wish it to be so, Ceddie. He loved his home very much; and there are many things
to be thought of that a little boy can't quite understand. I should be a selfish little mother
if I did not send you. When you are a man, you will see why."
Ceddie shook his head mournfully.
"I shall be very sorry to leave Mr. Hobbs," he said. "I'm afraid he'll miss me, and I shall
miss him. And I shall miss them all."
When Mr. Havisham--who was the family lawyer of the Earl of Dorincourt, and who had
been sent by him to bring Lord Fauntleroy to England--came the next day, Cedric heard
many things. But, somehow, it did not console him to hear that he was to be a very rich
man when he grew up, and that he would have castles here and castles there, and great
parks and deep mines and grand estates and tenantry. He was troubled about his friend,
Mr. Hobbs, and he went to see him at the store soon after breakfast, in great anxiety of
He found him reading the morning paper, and he approached him with a grave demeanor.
He really felt it would be a great shock to Mr. Hobbs to hear what had befallen him, and
on his way to the store he had been thinking how it would be best to break the news.
"Hello!" said Mr. Hobbs. "Mornin'!"
"Good-morning," said Cedric.