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Nik Marcel (2Language Books)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Little Lord Fauntleroy Vol.1 (English)

Little Lord Fauntleroy
Le Petit Lord
(English & French)
English partly translated anew from French.
Copyright © 2013 Nik Marcel
All rights reserved.
2Language Books
(A Bilingual Dual-Language Project)


Little Lord Fauntleroy Vol.1

Chapter I

Cedric knew nothing of his past.
Although he lived in New York, he knew — because his mother had told him — that his father had been English. However, when Captain Errol had died, Cedric was so little that now he cannot remember very much about him, except that he was big, had blue eyes and a long moustache, and that there was no great happiness in the world for him — a little boy four or five years old — than to be carried around the room on his shoulders.
When his father was ill, Cedric had been sent away, and when he had returned, everything was over.
His mother (Mrs Errol), who had also been very ill, was only just beginning to sit, dressed all in black, in her chair by the window.
She was pale, and all the dimples had gone from her pretty face.
Her large brown eyes stared mournfully into empty space.
“‘Dearest’,” said Cedric — his father had always called her that, and so the little boy did the same — “‘dearest’, is father going to get better?”
He felt her arms tremble as they lay around his neck. Then he turned his curly head and, looking in her face, he felt that he was going to cry.
“‘Dearest’,” he said again, “how is father getting on?”
Then his tender little heart suddenly told him what he had better do. He climbed onto the lap of his mother, threw his arms around her neck, and kissed her again and again, and kept his soft cheek close to hers.
She buried her face in her little boy’s hair, and wept bitterly, holding him tightly against her. It seemed as if she would never let him go.
“Yes, he is well now,” she finally sobbed; “he is quite a lot better; but we… we no longer have anyone left but each other. All we have is each other.”
Then, little as he was, Cedric understood that his big, handsome and strong father was gone forever; that he would never see him again; that he was dead, as he had heard it said of other people, although he could not comprehend exactly what the word meant.
Seeing that his mother always cried when he said his name, he secretly made the resolution to no longer speak about him very often.
He also said to himself that he had better not let her sit, silent and immobile, in front of the fire or by the window — and that this silence and stillness was not worth much to him.
He and his mother knew very few people, and lived very reclusive lives. Mrs Errol was an orphan, and did not have any family when the captain married her.
The captain’s father, the count of Dorincourt, was an old English gentleman; he was very rich, of a hard constitution, and detested America and Americans.
He had two sons older than the captain, and according to English law, the elder alone would inherit the family title and all its properties, which was considerable.
If the eldest son died, the second one would take his place, and so collect the entire inheritance; so, although he was a member of a rich and powerful family, there was little chance that Captain Errol would himself become rich and powerful.
However it happened that nature, which does not take into account social divisions, granted the youngest son the gifts she had denied the others.
He was tall, handsome, brave, intelligent and generous. He possessed the kindest heart in the world, and seemed gifted with the capacity to make himself loved by all, while both his older brothers were neither handsome, nor loving, nor intelligent.
During their school life, including in their studies at Eton and elsewhere, they had not been able to win the affections of their fellow students, nor the respect of their teachers.
The count of Dorincourt was incessantly humiliated by them. His heir, he saw with chagrin, would not bring honour to his noble name, and would not become other than an insignificant and egoistic being.
It was a very bitter subject of contemplation for the old lord.
Sometimes he almost seemed to resent his third son: he had received all the talents, and possessed all the qualities that so well fitted with the high position that awaited the eldest brother.
However, in the depths of his heart, he could not stop himself from feeling favourably inclined towards this son, for he flattered his pride.
It was in a fit of rage — caused by these conflicting feelings — that he sent him to America. That way, he would not ceaselessly have to witness the contrast between his youngest son and the two eldest, whose conduct was giving him more and more worries and grief.
However, after around six months, he began to feel lonely, and secretly longed to see him; so he ordered him to return home.
His letter crossed (on its way) a letter in which the captain announced his desire to marry.
When the count received this letter he went into a furious rage.
He wrote another letter to his son, forbidding him to appear in his presence, and even to never write to him or his brothers.
He added that he now regarded him as cut off from the family, and to never expect anything from him.
The Captain was very sad when he received this letter.
He loved England and the old house where he was born, and he especially loved his father, despite how harsh he was in this regard; the thought of never seeing him again caused a profound sorrow.
Still, he knew the old lord well enough to know that his resolution was irrevocable.
After some time he managed to find a job, got himself married, and settled in a quiet neighbourhood.
It was there that Cedric was born.
Although the interior of the house was very modest, Mrs Errol was so sweet, joyful, and loving, that the young man felt happy in spite of the turn of events.
Never was there a child more talented than Cedric.
Like his mother, he had big brown eyes, fringed with long lashes, and his blond hair fell in natural curls on his shoulders.
He had the most gracious manners, such a supple and elegant frame, and he gave all those who spoke to him such a sweet look, accompanied by such a lovely smile, that it was impossible to see him without being seduced.
Also, there was no person in the suburb where they lived — not even Mr Hobbs, the grocer at the corner of the street, and the grumpiest person in the world — who was not happy to see and speak with him.
His charm mainly seemed to come from his open and confident air.
One had the feeling that his good little heart sympathised with everyone: he wanted the same for others as he did himself.
Perhaps the kind and natural disposition was augmented by the life he led.
He had always been pampered and treated with tenderness; he had never heard a harsh word — or even an impolite one.
His father always used affectionate names in referring to his wife, and the child imitated him.
The old captain watched over her with tender solicitude, and so Cedric strove to do the same.
So, when he realised that his dear father would never come back, and when he saw how sad his mother was, he said to himself — in his good little soul — that since she no longer had him in the world, he would do everything he could to make her happy.
This thought was in the child’s mind the day he returned to his mother’s place — when he climbed on her knee, kissed her, and put his curly head on her chest, when he brought his toys and picture-books to show her, and when he curled up quietly by her side, when she used to lie on the sofa.
He was not old enough to conceive of anything else to do, but he was more of a comfort and a consolation to his mother than he could have understood.
“Oh! Mary,” Mrs Errol once said to the faithful old woman who had been her servant for a long time, “as little as he is, I am sure that he understands me, that he perceives everything that I suffer, and that he wants to bring me some relief. He has a brave little heart: so tender and so courageous!”
Indeed, Cedric continued to be his mother’s little companion — going out, chatting, and playing with her.
When he learnt to read, he read all the books that made up his children’s library, and then he read more serious books, and newspapers.
Little by little, the colour reappeared in the cheeks of Mrs Errol; and from time to time, as Mary was working in the kitchen, she would hear Mrs Errol laughing at Cedric’s remarks and arguments.
“It is like so,” said Mary, when she was standing beside Mr Hobbs; “he has such funny little ways, and he can maintain such serious conversations.
Did not he come into my kitchen, the night the new President was nominated, to talk politics with me!
He stopped in front of the fire, with his hands in his little pockets, and, with his innocent little face looking as solemn as a judge, he said to me, ‘Mary, I am very much interested in the election. I am a Republican; ‘dearest’ is too. And you, Mary, are you a Republican?’
Ever since then, he has never let up on talking to me about the affairs of the government, and always with the air of a little man.”
The old woman was quite strongly attached to the child — and very proud too.
She was proud of this graceful little person, of his quaint manners — though most of all she was proud of his golden curls, which shone and fell down over his lovely face.
“There is not a child on Fifth Avenue,” she said — Fifth Avenue is the aristocratic district in New York —; “no, there is not a single one that is half as distinguished as him. Everyone looks at him when he wears his black velvet outfit, sewn from the mistress’s old gown. With his curly hair, he has the look of a young lord.”
Cedric had never asked if he resembled a young lord; primarily because he did not know what a lord was.
His greatest friend was the grocery man on the corner — the cantankerous grocer, who was never cranky with him.

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