Little Lord Fauntleroy

Chapter IX
The fact was, his lordship the Earl of Dorincourt thought in those days, of many things of
which he had never thought before, and all his thoughts were in one way or another
connected with his grandson. His pride was the strongest part of his nature, and the boy
gratified it at every point. Through this pride he began to find a new interest in life. He
began to take pleasure in showing his heir to the world. The world had known of his
disappointment in his sons; so there was an agreeable touch of triumph in exhibiting this
new Lord Fauntleroy, who could disappoint no one. He wished the child to appreciate his
own power and to understand the splendor of his position; he wished that others should
realize it too. He made plans for his future.
Sometimes in secret he actually found himself wishing that his own past life had been a
better one, and that there had been less in it that this pure, childish heart would shrink
from if it knew the truth. It was not agreeable to think how the beautiful, innocent face
would look if its owner should be made by any chance to understand that his grandfather
had been called for many a year "the wicked Earl of Dorincourt." The thought even made
him feel a trifle nervous. He did not wish the boy to find it out. Sometimes in this new
interest he forgot his gout, and after a while his doctor was surprised to find his noble
patient's health growing better than he had expected it ever would be again. Perhaps the
Earl grew better because the time did not pass so slowly for him, and he had something to
think of beside his pains and infirmities.
One fine morning, people were amazed to see little Lord Fauntleroy riding his pony with
another companion than Wilkins. This new companion rode a tall, powerful gray horse,
and was no other than the Earl himself. It was, in fact, Fauntleroy who had suggested this
plan. As he had been on the point of mounting his pony, he had said rather wistfully to
his grandfather:
"I wish you were going with me. When I go away I feel lonely because you are left all by
yourself in such a big castle. I wish you could ride too."
And the greatest excitement had been aroused in the stables a few minutes later by the
arrival of an order that Selim was to be saddled for the Earl. After that, Selim was
saddled almost every day; and the people became accustomed to the sight of the tall gray
horse carrying the tall gray old man, with his handsome, fierce, eagle face, by the side of
the brown pony which bore little Lord Fauntleroy. And in their rides together through the
green lanes and pretty country roads, the two riders became more intimate than ever. And
gradually the old man heard a great deal about "Dearest" and her life. As Fauntleroy
trotted by the big horse he chatted gayly. There could not well have been a brighter little
comrade, his nature was so happy. It was he who talked the most. The Earl often was
silent, listening and watching the joyous, glowing face. Sometimes he would tell his
young companion to set the pony off at a gallop, and when the little fellow dashed off,
sitting so straight and fearless, he would watch him with a gleam of pride and pleasure in
his eyes; and when, after such a dash, Fauntleroy came back waving his cap with a
laughing shout, he always felt that he and his grandfather were very good friends indeed.
One thing that the Earl discovered was that his son's wife did not lead an idle life. It was
not long before he learned that the poor people knew her very well indeed. When there
was sickness or sorrow or poverty in any house, the little brougham often stood before
the door.