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|Little Lord Fauntleroy||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|Page 3 of 12||
But no one knew quite how much it had been warmed, and how day by day the old man found himself caring more and more for the child, who was the only creature that had ever trusted him. He found himself looking forward to the time when Cedric would be a young man, strong and beautiful, with life all before him, but having still that kind heart and the power to make friends everywhere, and the Earl wondered what the lad would do, and how he would use his gifts. Often as he watched the little fellow lying upon the hearth, conning some big book, the light shining on the bright young head, his old eyes would gleam and his cheek would flush.
"The boy can do anything," he would say to himself, "anything!"
He never spoke to any one else of his feeling for Cedric; when he spoke of him to others it was always with the same grim smile. But Fauntleroy soon knew that his grandfather loved him and always liked him to be near--near to his chair if they were in the library, opposite to him at table, or by his side when he rode or drove or took his evening walk on the broad terrace.
"Do you remember," Cedric said once, looking up from his book as he lay on the rug, "do you remember what I said to you that first night about our being good companions? I don't think any people could be better companions than we are, do you?"
"We are pretty good companions, I should say," replied his lordship. "Come here."
Fauntleroy scrambled up and went to him.
"Is there anything you want," the Earl asked; "anything you have not?"
The little fellow's brown eyes fixed themselves on his grandfather with a rather wistful look.
"Only one thing," he answered.
"What is that?" inquired the Earl.
Fauntleroy was silent a second. He had not thought matters over to himself so long for nothing.
"What is it?" my lord repeated.
"It is Dearest," he said.
The old Earl winced a little.
"But you see her almost every day," he said. "Is not that enough?"
"I used to see her all the time," said Fauntleroy. "She used to kiss me when I went to sleep at night, and in the morning she was always there, and we could tell each other things without waiting."
The old eyes and the young ones looked into each other through a moment of silence. Then the Earl knitted his brows.
"Do you NEVER forget about your mother?" he said.
"No," answered Fauntleroy, "never; and she never forgets about me. I shouldn't forget about YOU, you know, if I didn't live with you. I should think about you all the more."
"Upon my word," said the Earl, after looking at him a moment longer, "I believe you would!"
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|Little Lord Fauntleroy
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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