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|Little Lord Fauntleroy||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|Page 2 of 7||
This went on for two or three weeks before any new idea came to him. Being slow and ponderous, it always took him a long time to reach a new idea. As a rule, he did not like new ideas, but preferred old ones. After two or three weeks, however, during which, instead of getting better, matters really grew worse, a novel plan slowly and deliberately dawned upon him. He would go to see Dick. He smoked a great many pipes before he arrived at the conclusion, but finally he did arrive at it. He would go to see Dick. He knew all about Dick. Cedric had told him, and his idea was that perhaps Dick might be some comfort to him in the way of talking things over.
So one day when Dick was very hard at work blacking a customer's boots, a short, stout man with a heavy face and a bald head stopped on the pavement and stared for two or three minutes at the bootblack's sign, which read:
"PROFESSOR DICK TIPTON
He stared at it so long that Dick began to take a lively interest in him, and when he had put the finishing touch to his customer's boots, he said:
"Want a shine, sir?"
The stout man came forward deliberately and put his foot on the rest.
"Yes," he said.
Then when Dick fell to work, the stout man looked from Dick to the sign and from the sign to Dick.
"Where did you get that?" he asked.
"From a friend o' mine," said Dick,--"a little feller. He guv' me the whole outfit. He was the best little feller ye ever saw. He's in England now. Gone to be one o' them lords."
"Lord--Lord--" asked Mr. Hobbs, with ponderous slowness, "Lord Fauntleroy--Goin' to be Earl of Dorincourt?"
Dick almost dropped his brush.
"Why, boss!" he exclaimed, "d' ye know him yerself?"
"I've known him," answered Mr. Hobbs, wiping his warm forehead, "ever since he was born. We was lifetime acquaintances--that's what WE was."
It really made him feel quite agitated to speak of it. He pulled the splendid gold watch out of his pocket and opened it, and showed the inside of the case to Dick.
"`When this you see, remember me,'" he read. "That was his parting keepsake to me `I don't want you to forget me'--those was his words--I'd ha' remembered him," he went on, shaking his head, "if he hadn't given me a thing an' I hadn't seen hide nor hair on him again. He was a companion as ANY man would remember."
"He was the nicest little feller I ever see," said Dick. "An' as to sand--I never seen so much sand to a little feller. I thought a heap o' him, I did,--an' we was friends, too--we was sort o' chums from the fust, that little young un an' me. I grabbed his ball from under a stage fur him, an' he never forgot it; an' he'd come down here, he would, with his mother or his nuss and he'd holler: `Hello, Dick!' at me, as friendly as if he was six feet high, when he warn't knee high to a grasshopper, and was dressed in gal's clo'es. He was a gay little chap, and when you was down on your luck, it did you good to talk to him."
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|Little Lord Fauntleroy
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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