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Little Lord Fauntleroy Frances Hodgson Burnett

Chapter X

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"Come here, Lord Fauntleroy," she said, smiling; "and tell me why you look at me so."

"I was thinking how beautiful you are," his young lordship replied.

Then all the gentlemen laughed outright, and the young lady laughed a little too, and the rose color in her cheeks brightened.

"Ah, Fauntleroy," said one of the gentlemen who had laughed most heartily, "make the most of your time! When you are older you will not have the courage to say that."

"But nobody could help saying it," said Fauntleroy sweetly. "Could you help it? Don't YOU think she is pretty, too?"

"We are not allowed to say what we think," said the gentleman, while the rest laughed more than ever.

But the beautiful young lady--her name was Miss Vivian Herbert--put out her hand and drew Cedric to her side, looking prettier than before, if possible.

"Lord Fauntleroy shall say what he thinks," she said; "and I am much obliged to him. I am sure he thinks what he says." And she kissed him on his cheek.

"I think you are prettier than any one I ever saw," said Fauntleroy, looking at her with innocent, admiring eyes, "except Dearest. Of course, I couldn't think any one QUITE as pretty as Dearest. I think she is the prettiest person in the world."

"I am sure she is," said Miss Vivian Herbert. And she laughed and kissed his cheek again.

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She kept him by her side a great part of the evening, and the group of which they were the center was very gay. He did not know how it happened, but before long he was telling them all about America, and the Republican Rally, and Mr. Hobbs and Dick, and in the end he proudly produced from his pocket Dick's parting gift,--the red silk handkerchief.

"I put it in my pocket to-night because it was a party," he said. "I thought Dick would like me to wear it at a party."

And queer as the big, flaming, spotted thing was, there was a serious, affectionate look in his eyes, which prevented his audience from laughing very much.

"You see, I like it," he said, "because Dick is my friend."

But though he was talked to so much, as the Earl had said, he was in no one's way. He could be quiet and listen when others talked, and so no one found him tiresome. A slight smile crossed more than one face when several times he went and stood near his grandfather's chair, or sat on a stool close to him, watching him and absorbing every word he uttered with the most charmed interest. Once he stood so near the chair's arm that his cheek touched the Earl's shoulder, and his lordship, detecting the general smile, smiled a little himself. He knew what the lookers-on were thinking, and he felt some secret amusement in their seeing what good friends he was with this youngster, who might have been expected to share the popular opinion of him.

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Little Lord Fauntleroy
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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