Titolo: Little lord Fauntleroy
Autore: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Numero di pagine: 270
Cedric Errol is a little boy who lives in America, New York.
His father, Captain Cedric Errol, is an English nobleman, third son of Earl of Dorincourt.
The Captain is an handsome, clever, kind man, the best of his two older brothers, who will be heirs of all their father immense fortune.
One day, when the captain is in America, he meets a pretty, young, sweet American girl, and after a while they merry.
When the Earl learns that his favourite son merried a vulgar, moneyless American woman, he falls into a violent rage and writes to the captain that he’s forever chopped out from his family and that he won’t help him in the future.
Thought sad, the Captain and his young wife go to New York and buy a small house in a quiet street.
Here borns Cedric, their first son.
Since his born, Cedric is a clever and adorable lad.
One bad day, Captain Errol suddenly dies, leaving the pretty widow and his little child alone.
Cedric is a strong, graceful, sweet child, and always tries to make happy “Dearest” (his mamma: Captain Errol called his wife with this affectionate nickname, so Cedric calls her so, too), though he’s only a very little boy.
Growing up, he’s a lovely little boy.
He’s pretty, nice, smiling, polite and kind-hearted.
He’s got a faithful and innocent little soul and a big heart full of kindness and sweetness.
Like his father, he’s got the power to make everyone love him, and to be always gentle with everyone, grown-up or young, poor or rich, man or woman.
He’s got curly, golden-colored, glossy hair; big, faithful brown eyes and a strong, graceful little figure.
Cedric’s best friend is Mr. Hobbs, the cross, gentle, affectionate groceryman who has his grocery in the corner of the street in which Cedric and his mamma live.
Sat on the tall footstool in the shop, surronded by sweets, candies, apples, potatoes, boxed foods and everythings people could needs, Cedric and Mr. Hobbs talk about the President, America, the Republic Rally, the Fourth of July, George Washington, the Revolution, the torched-parate and English nobleman like Earls, Marches and the Queen, which Mr. Hobbs thinks are all cruel tyramns.
Cedric doesn’t knows that his beloved papa was a nobleman.
In that shabby, quiet New York street, with his mamma and his others friends (Bridget, Micheal, Dick, Mary, the old apple-woman), Cedric has a beautiful life.
One day, when Cedric is about 7, before their house stops itself a carriage who carries an old man: he’s Mr. Havisham, Earl of Dorincourt’s lawyer.
He’s came from England to bring Cedric with him.
Mr. Havisham says Mrs. Errol that all the Earl’s sons are died and that. because just Cedric is left, the boy will be the next owner of all the states and the noble title that now are of the old Earl.
So Cedric learns all at once that his grandfather is a nobleman, and that his father was one, too, and that now he has to be one.
This new development of the matter at first bewildres him, but then he makes used.
Though Mr. Havisham is a cold, severe, sharp, business-like and wordly old man, with a hard heart and a tall, bony figure, when he meets little joyful and polite Cedric, with his pretty manners, his beaming smile and his earnest big brown eyes, he can’t help thinking he will be a perfect heir.
Mr. Havisham tells Cedric that his grandfather’s given him some money with which he’ll can do what he wants.
The Earl thought that his grandson would spent them in toys, candies, chupa-chupa, candites fruit and other silly and sugary things that little children always like, but Cedric is different from all other children: he naturally choses to spend his money in good things for his needing friends.
So he gives to Micheal, a poor, ill bringmaker, some money to buy medecines and noutrishing food; he gives a tent and some money to the old apple-woman with hurty bones, so that she won’t need to stay out in the rain trying to sell apples to people; he gives to Dick, a funny blackboot, some new brushes; and finally Cedric buys a golden watch with inside a poetry and he gives it to Mr. Hobbs like a keepmemory.
Mr. Havisham is surprised that Lord Fauntleroy (Cedric’s name isn’t Cedric Errol anymore, but from today in forth it’ll be Lord Fautleroy) doesn’t buy anything for himself but only gifts for his friends.
The day comes, and Cedric has to leave New York and his old friends, sailing toward a new life in the unknown and far England.
During the journey on the ship, Cedric makes friends with all the people on it, in particulary with an old sailor who has been everywhere in the world and tells him fantastic and excinting stories about pirates, cannibals, Indios, Chinese people, Turks, sweet princesses and brave princes, beautiful marmaids with gorgeus, magic voices and terrible, horrid, bloody monsters.
On the ship, Cedric learns a sad and bad thing that he cant understand: his mamma won’t live in the Castel with him, but in a near small house.
Cedric doesn’t know that Dearest won’t stay with him because his grandfather, the Earl, has always disliked America and Americans and especially hates Dearest because he thinks she’s married his favourite son only because he was an Earl.
When they arrive in England, the Castel of Dorincuort is an enormous, stately, gray-stone ancient castel, surrounded by board, beautiful, green fealds, with arching, tall, splendid trees.
In the grass are lying brown, sweet-eyes and still deers and soft, nice rabbits, and there are a lot of bluebells and pretty, colorful flowers.
His mamma stops herself into the lodge, where she’ll live, but Cedric arrives in the Castel.
That very evening, the child meets his granfather, alone in the big, gloomy library.
The Earl of Dorincourt is an old, tall man of about seventy; with great, gray mustache; shining, black, intense and deep eyes, and a still, handsome, eagle face.
The old Earl is a hard-hearted, brusque, sarcastic, proud man, who has always cared only about himself and his pleasures, and who has never though about other people.
He has always been a very proud man, proud of his title and his wealth, and he has never thought that people might not be all like him, but that someone might be needing his help.
The Earl has always allowed himself to do everything he liked to do, not caring about other’s feelings or thoughts or pains, because if the pain didn’t touch him himself, then it didn’t matter.
Neither a good thought has touched his mind or a kind word has touched his lips, because he’s always cared only about himself, always and just about himself and his ancient lineage and his magnificent properties.
He has often fallen in a violent rage, and he has always been angry and with a bad humor.
While he was young and strong and with all his life behind, he has been without any though about people and has liked to argue with people, thinking that they’d return, but they didn’t.
Now he’s very old and he’s nature is growing worse and worse, and he hasn’t any real friend in the all England, bacause his pride and his hardness have made that now all the people hate him, and talk of him like an old, cruel man without any heart.
Because his deep hate of America and Americans, the old Earl fears that his grandson will be a bad-bred, foolish, insolent american lad, without ony drop of English blood in his veins and not beautiful at all.
So, when he sees handsome, pretty, polite, quaint, earnest, faithful, graceful little Cedric, he’s very surprised and, in spite of himself, rather curios.
When they talk, the Earl find out that his grandson is a nice, polite, respectful, honest little creature, with a great courage and very kind and enchanting, exactly like his papa.
From that day forth, the Earl and his grandson became more intimate averyday that Cedric passes in the Castle.
His grandfather makes him a lot of splendid gifts, like new toys and a still pony, with big eyes and a gloss, brown, short fur.
During that time, Cedric doesn’t forget his mama, and almost everyday the meet, and every night she puts a candle at her window, and through an open space between the trees Cedric can see it twinkling.
The Earl is very surprised to see that his grandson thinks he’s the most kind, generous, affectionate and beloved person in the world, without any enemy and that never wrongs.
Cedric is very fond of his grandfather, and cant’ see anything but kindness and goodness in him.
This faithful in him at first bewildres the Earl, who then choses to try to be better only because he doesn’t want his grandson finds out that he hasn’t been a good person in all his past life.
The Earl is growing very fond of the little heir, and sometimes forgots his pains and his gout in his childish games, laughing and feeling himself very happy indeed.
In a short time his health is better, his humor is better, all his life is better, an the old man is very surprised to see how happy he is to see his grandson, to talk with him, to hear his joyful little voice in the enormous, gloomy rooms of the old Castel, which has always been a very miserable and mournful place, without any life or any smile or any merry voice between its walls.
Following Cedric’s example, the Earl became more generous and kind that before, and for the first time in all his alone life, he descovers how sweet and gentle a bright, frank-eyes, apple-cheeks little childish face might be.
Cedric is his granfather’s life light, with his joy, his hightest spirit, his absolute faith in all the world and especially in his grandpa, he gives to him a new interest in life.
The Earl loves Cedric, in spite of himself, more than any other person in the world, and for the first time he likes someone and someone likes him without ony doubt about his goodness and his kindness, without thinking about his past life.
In this manner, the Earl wishes that his all life has been a better and more industrios one, so that he mighn’t disappoint his grandoson, if a day he’d descover the truth about his past cruelness.
The truth is that he, who has never really loved anyone, now wishes that his little heir loves him and thinks only good about him, so that he doesn’t risk to lost his tenderly love.
Everyone needs love and the Earl, who has passed all the life in bitterness, sadness and disgust for any other person who wasn’t rich and noble exacly like him, now needs love and sweetness, too, and only a little child with a big, faithful, honest heart can give it to him and kneal his stubborn, hardned, ill soul.
All the people love Cedric: Mrs. Lorrileil, the Earl’s sister, a pretty, white-curled, peach-colored cheeks old lady adores him, too.
The old Earl’s bitterned heart open itself to love for the first time in his long life, and he gives a dinner party in the ancient Castel.
When, finally, the Earl is really happy, a terrible news arrives.
Mr. Havisham gives it to the Earl at the end of the dinner, alone in a big, fire-gleaming room, where little Cedric is sleeping, as lovely as a golden-curled angel.
That day a woman had came to Mr. Havisham, telling him that she was the eldest Earl’s son, Bevis, wife.
She had told that before he died they’ve had a son, Tom, and that now, because Bevis was the eldest son and should be the heir if he wasn’t died, her son has to be Lord Fauntleroy, and not Cedric.
The Earl becomes white.
His Cedric, his little boy, that faithful child that has never been afraid of him, that child that has always though that his grandfather is the best man in the world, that child that always helps him and makes him laughand loves him totally, without any doubt or any fear, that boy sleeping quietly on tha sofa, that child won’t be his heir? Won’t he be his little boy forever? Won’t he stay near himyou till he lives? Wont’ he fill the place of Earl?
That’s impossible, thinks the old Earls frightned and angry and disparate by this news.
But that woman and that new boy, if they really were Bevis’ family, should got every right to put Tom on the place of next Earl of Dorincuort.
The Earl’s heart is broken, he falls into a terrible rage and then he sits near Cedric on the sofa e touch softly his golden hair, taking care that he doesn’t awake himself, so sad and mournful and disparate and tired of his life, if this news was true, that it isn’t possible to say how.
While these things happen, miles and miles fare away from the castle, in New York, another man is very sad: he’s Mr. Hobbs, that since his youg friend is gone is dreadfully unhappy.
He doesn’t like his newspaper anymore, because now he can’t speak about the news with his small companion.
He spends the days watching at the tall footstool which Cedric was used to sat on, and all the nights smoking his pipe and stalking mournfully to and forth in his store, dreaming Cedric is still with him.
During the day he hoped he’ll see a small figure with golden curls and a brigh smile on the threshold, but it doesn’t happens and he’s sadder and sadder.
He knows Dick and together they talk about the old times, when their little friend was still with them.
Dick, during ther acquitance, tells him his story, his mamma and dad were died when he was very small indeed, and his eldest brother Ben had taken care of him.
One day Ben had fallen in love of a woman named Minna, and they married.
They had had a child, Tom.
Minna was a cruel, heart-less, mad woman, and she had hurt Tom, leaving him a long scar on his chin.
Minna, one day, had chosen to go away and she had brough Tom with her, leaving Ben alone, who had gone to California, in a ranch.
One day a letter comes: it’s came from England, Dorincourt.
It’s a letter from Cedric!
In the letter, with his childish, round, trembling hand he’s written that another child will be Earl of Dorincourt and he won’t be.
Mr. Hobbs, who is deeply fond of Cedric, thinks that all this is only a complot to ruin him because he’s American and that British nobilty hate Americans since the Revolution, and for this reason now they want to ruin his Cedric just because he’s Republican.
Meanwhile, in England, the Earl is totally unhappy and Cedric, too, but only because he thinks that now that he won’t be the Earl his grandpa won’t be fond of you anymore, and his little boy will be Tom.
The old, grim, sardonic Earl, that now isn’t so cruel and so without any heart anymore, says him that he’ll be his little boy till he’ll live, and that he loves him.
Then, the the old arms and the young ones put themselves around each other neck.
A few days after, the Earl choses to go to see Mrs. Errol for the first time.
When he sees how pretty, silver-bell voice, sweet, kind a creature she is, he tells her how fond of Cedric he is now, and how they love each other, and he begs her pardon for all the bitter, bad he’s said about her.
Then they pardon one each other and finally, after years and years of bitternesses, they become rather good friends, without any rivality.
In America, meanwhile, Mr. Hobbs and Dick are reading every newspaper they find about the Cedric’s story, that has arrived in New York, too.
In one of these newspapers, Dick see an astonishing thing: a paint of the woman who says she’s the heir’s mother.
She’s got long black hair and brown, cruel eyes.
Dick should know her everywhere!
He runs to Mr. Hobbs and together they go to a young lawyer, and they write two letters: one to the Earl of Dorincuort, and the other to Ben, telling him the story.
When the letter arrive to England, Mr. Havisham and the Earl chose to believe them.
Mr. Hobbs and Dick go to England and Ben arrives, too.
Together they went where Minna stays with the supposed heir.
There, Minna knows they and betrays herself injuring they and losing totally every control over herself.
In this way, the Earl knows that she isn’t his son Bevis’ wife at all, and that her son isn’t his heir, but Cedric is.
Minna goes away and none sees her anymore.
Ben brings Tom with him ad together they return to the ranch in California.
The old Earl, unbelieavable happy that his beloved grandson is his heir, goes to the Lodge when Cedric and his mama stay now and he says her that he hopes she’ll go to live with him and Cedric in the big Castle.
Mr. Hobbs and Dick, meanwhile, are still in England, and for them all it’s new.
The Earl choses to give Dick a solid education, and so the boy stay there.
Mr. Hobbs is too happy to stay near his small old companion, Cedric, for returning in America.
Cedric, merry to have all his friends all around him – his Dearest, his beloved grandfather, his dearest old friends Mr. Hobbs and Dick – now is absolutally happy.