When Lord Fauntleroy wakened in the morning,—he had not wakened at all when he had been carried to bed the night before,—the first sounds he was conscious of were the crackling of a wood fire and the murmur of voices.
"You will be careful, Dawson, not to say anything about it," he heard some one say. "He does not know why she is not to be with him, and the reason is to be kept from him."
"If them's his lordship's orders, mem," another voice answered, "they'll have to be kep', I suppose. But, if you'll excuse the liberty, mem, as it's between ourselves, servant or no servant, all I have to say is, it's a cruel thing,—parting that poor, pretty, young widdered cre'tur' from her own flesh and blood, and him such a little beauty and a nobleman born. James and Thomas, mem, last night in the servants' hall, they both of 'em say as they never see anythink in their two lives—nor yet no other gentleman in livery—like that little fellow's ways, as innercent an' polite an' interested as if he'd been sitting there dining with his best friend,—and the temper of a' angel, instead of one (if you'll excuse me, mem), as it's well known, is enough to curdle your blood in your veins at times. And as to looks, mem, when we was rung for, James and me, to go into the library and bring him upstairs, and James lifted him up in his arms, what with his little innercent face all red and rosy, and his little head on James's shoulder and his hair hanging down, all curly an' shinin', a prettier, takiner sight you'd never wish to see. An' it's my opinion, my lord wasn't blind to it neither, for he looked at him, and he says to James, 'See you don't wake him!' he says."
Cedric moved on his pillow, and turned over, opening his eyes.
There were two women in the room. Everything was bright and cheerful with gay-flowered chintz. There was a fire on the hearth, and the sunshine was streaming in through the ivy-entwined windows. Both women came toward him, and he saw that one of them was Mrs. Mellon, the housekeeper, and the other a comfortable, middle-aged woman, with a face as kind and good-humored as a face could be.
"Good-morning, my lord," said Mrs. Mellon. "Did you sleep well?"
His lordship rubbed his eyes and smiled.
"Good-morning," he said. "I didn't know I was here."
"You were carried upstairs when you were asleep," said the housekeeper. "This is your bedroom, and this is Dawson, who is to take care of you."
Fauntleroy sat up in bed and held out his hand to Dawson, as he had held it out to the Earl.
"How do you do, ma'am?" he said. "I'm much obliged to you for coming to take care of me."
"You can call her Dawson, my lord," said the housekeeper with a smile. "She is used to being called Dawson."
"MISS Dawson, or MRS. Dawson?" inquired his lordship.
"Just Dawson, my lord," said Dawson herself, beaming all over. "Neither Miss nor Missis, bless your little heart! Will you get up now, and let Dawson dress you, and then have your breakfast in the nursery?"
"I learned to dress myself many years ago, thank you," answered Fauntleroy. "Dearest taught me. 'Dearest' is my mamma. We had only Mary to do all the work,—washing and all,—and so of course it wouldn't do to give her so much trouble. I can take my bath, too, pretty well if you'll just be kind enough to 'zamine the corners after I'm done."
Dawson and the housekeeper exchanged glances.
"Dawson will do anything you ask her to," said Mrs. Mellon.
"That I will, bless him," said Dawson, in her comforting, good-humored voice. "He shall dress himself if he likes, and I'll stand by, ready to help him if he wants me."
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Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886)Classics
Though separated from his mother because of the family feud, Cedric's love of her and his natural virtues win the heart of his harsh grandfather. *This story belongs to Frances Hodgson Burnett. I don't own anything.