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Nik Marcel (2Language Books)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Little Lord Fauntleroy Vol.2 (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.2
Chapter I
It was already late in the afternoon of the following day when the coupé containing the little lord and Mr Havisham entered the long avenue that led to the castle.
The count had given orders that his grandson should arrive in time to dine with him; and for some reason — that he judged it inappropriate to communicate with anyone — he wanted the child to enter alone into the room where he intended to receive him.
As the vehicle went up the avenue, lord Fauntleroy leaned languidly on the cushions, and followed the view taking place before his eyes with the greatest of interest.
In truth, he met nothing with indifference: not the comfortable carriage with the two splendid horses harnessed to it, nor their magnificent harness, nor the coachman and footman, with their resplendent livery, and nor even the coronet painted on the panels — and he promised himself he would find out what it meant.
When the vehicle reached the great gates of the park, he leaned out the window to get a better view of the huge stone lions that ornamented the entrance.
The gates were opened by a fresh, nice looking young woman, who came out of a pretty, ivy covered cottage located near the entrance.
Two children accompanied her. With their mouths open and their eyes wide with curiosity, they stood looking at the little boy in the vehicle, and he looked at them too.
The woman made a curtsey and smiled at the little lord, and after receiving a sign from her, the two children imitated.
“Does she know me?” asked Cedric. “She thinks she knows me; that is for sure!”
He removed his black velvet cap, and saluted her with a joyous and humorous air.
“How are you going?” he said. “Good afternoon!”
The woman seemed delighted. The smile broadened on her pretty face, while her blue eyes shone with satisfaction.
“May God bless your lordship!” she said. “May God bless your charming face! Good luck and happiness to you! Welcome to you!”
Lord Fauntleroy waved his cap again, and made another friendly nod.
“I like that woman,” he said to Mr Havisham, when he had lost sight of them. “She looks as if she likes children. I would certainly like to come here and play with her children from time to time. I am concerned that they do not have many friends.”
Mr Havisham thought it better not to tell him that he would probably not be permitted to go and play with the park guard’s children.
He thought there would be time later to give him that information.
The carriage rolled on and on, between the grand and beautiful elm trees growing on each side of the avenue; they extended their branches into a curled arch above Cedric’s head.
The child had never seen such enormous trees.
He did not then know that the area around Dorincourt was one of the oldest in all of England; that its park was one of the finest, and that the avenues were almost without equal; nevertheless, he saw that everything was magnificent.
He took pleasure in watching the setting sun sending its golden arrows between the thick branches; he enjoyed the perfect tranquillity that seemed to prevail in the superb shadows; he admired the way in which the trees were arranged: sometimes pressed against each other, and so hardly leaving a gap to see through the dense undergrowth, sometimes standing alone, and sometimes in clumps on vast lawns.
From time to time, the vehicle passed through sections covered with ferns; in other areas, the ground was carpeted with wildflowers.
Cedric uttered an exclamation of joy several times on seeing the occasional rabbit jump onto the road from the underbrush, then suddenly return, with its stumpy white tail raised behind it. Once, it was a small group of partridges taking to flight with a swishing of wings that made the little lord clap his hands.
“It is a very beautiful place,” he said to Mr Havisham; “I have never seen such beauty. It is even more beautiful than Central Park.”
(Central Park is a public garden in New York.)
“And then, how big it is!” he added. “How far is it from the entrance gate to the castle?”
“Around three or four miles,” answered the lawyer.
(One mile is a little more than a kilometre.)
“How big it is!” repeated Cedric.
At almost every moment, the child saw new subjects of wonder and admiration.
What delighted him the most was when he caught sight of a herd of deer, lying on the grass. They turned their lovely heads — complete with elegant antlers — when the carriage passed by them.
The child had never seen these animals except at the zoo.
“Do they always live here?” he asked with excitement.
“Undoubtedly,” said Mr Havisham; “they belong to your grandfather.”
Shortly afterwards the castle came into view.
The vast and imposing structure, with its grey walls and many windows, rose up before them. The last rays of sunlight were making the windows dazzle.
It was bristling with towers, battlements, and turrets.
In several places, the ivy covered the walls.
The large open space in front of it was arranged into terraces planted with flowers.
“It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen,” said Cedric, his face glowing with joy. “It looks like a palace from one of my books of fairy tales.”
He saw the great entrance door thrown open, and many servants arranged in two lines, looking at him.
He greatly admired their livery, and wondered to himself what they were doing there.
He had no idea that they were honouring the little boy to whom all this splendour would one day belong: the beautiful castle, which resembled a palace out of a fairy tale; and the magnificent park, with its grand old trees, clearings full of ferns and wildflowers where the hares and rabbits played, and its deer — with large languid eyes — laying on the thick grass.
It was just two weeks before when he was still sitting beside Mr Hobbs, mounted on a barrel of brown sugar or a case of soap, with his legs dangling down from his perch, without even an inkling of the grandeurs awaiting him; and now he was walking between two rows of servants who considered him their master and their future lord, and who stood ready to execute his slightest wishes.
At the head of the line of servants was an elderly woman in a plain, black silk gown.
“This is Lord Fauntleroy, Mrs Mellon,” Mr Havisham said to her, while holding the little lord’s hand.
“Lord Fauntleroy, this is Mrs Mellon, the lady in charge of the castle.”
Cedric gave her his hand.
“I have been told it was you who sent the beautiful cat to mum for me. Thankyou very much.”
“I would have recognised his lordship anywhere,” said the head housekeeper, as a smile of contentment came across her face; “it is the captain trait for trait.”
“Have a great day, my lord,” she added.
Cedric wondered why it was a great day.
It seemed to him that he saw tears shining in the eyes of the old woman; almost certainly, and yet, she was not feeling sad, for she smiled at him again.
“The cat that I have sent to the Lodge has two beautiful little kittens,” she said; “I will have them sent to His Lordship’s apartment.”
Chapter II
Several minutes later, a tall and imposing footman, who had already escorted Cedric to the entrance of the library, opened the door and announced in quite a majestic tone, “Lord Fauntleroy, my lord.”
He was only a servant, but he felt it was a solemn occasion when a young heir was ushered into the presence of the one who one day must leave him his name and title.
Cedric entered into the chamber.
It was a beautiful and grand apartment, furnished with a harsh kind of luxury, and filled almost all the way around with shelves full of books.
The wall coverings and curtains were so dark, the windows were embellished with stained glass that was so deeply encased, and the declining day gave so little light, that one could hardly see to the end of the room — and at first glance, it produced a gloomy effect.
For a few moments, Cedric thought there was nobody in the room; but eventually — by the fire that burned in a huge fireplace — he distinguished a big chair, and a person sitting in the chair.
On the floor, beside the person, lay a dog — belonging to the breed of large mastiffs.
Its legs and head were almost as big as that of a lion, and it looked even more like the king of the deserts, with the tawny colour of its coat.
Upon hearing the door open, it rose majestically and marched slowly over to the new arrival, as if to do the honours of introducing him to the apartment.
Then the person who was in the chair, no doubt fearing that the child was afraid, spoke: “Dougal, come here, sir.”
However, there was no more fear in the little lord’s heart than there was wickedness.
He put his hand on the big dog’s collar, in the most simple and natural way in the world, and the two of them advanced towards the individual ensconced in the chair, with the dog sniffing the air forcefully as they went forward.
The person then looked up at them.
What Cedric saw was a large old man with a moustache, white hair, bushy eyebrows, and a nose like an eagle’s beak between his two piercing eyes.
What the count saw was a graceful and childish figure in a black velvet suit, with a lace collar, and with golden curls floating about a handsome and manly little face, whose eyes met his with a look of innocent sympathy.
If, in accordance with what Cedric said, the castle was like the palace in a fairy tale, one can as well say that the little lord resembled prince Charming — who featured in some of these fairy tales.
A sudden flame of pride and triumph shone in the eyes of the count when he saw how distinguished, beautiful, and strong his grandson was, and how he stood before him with such a silent courage, with his hand on the neck of the enormous dog.
It did not displease the ferocious gentleman that his grandson did not seem to show any fear, neither of his dog nor of himself.
Cedric looked at him just as he had looked at the woman guarding the park gate, and Mrs Mellon, the head of housekeeping.
“Are you the count?” he asked, when he had come quite close to the chair. “I am your grandson, lord Fauntleroy; Mr Havisham has brought me here.”
Then he offered his hand to the count.
“I hope you are very well,” he continued, in an affectionate tone; “I am very glad to see you.”
The count took the hand that was offered to him.
He was so astonished that he found nothing to say.
He allowed his sunken eyes to wander from the feet to the head of this little apparition.
“You are glad to see me?” he repeated.
“Yes,” answered lord Fauntleroy, “very glad.”
There was a chair beside the count, and he sat down on it; the chair was high, and the little man’s feet dangled above the floor; nevertheless, Cedric seemed completely at ease.
He regarded his noble relative attentively, although modestly.
“I have kept wondering what you would look like,” he remarked. “I used to lie in my hammock, on the ship, and ask myself whether you might resemble my father.”
“Well?” asked the count.
“Well,” Cedric replied, “I was very young when he died, and so I may not remember very well; but I do not think you look like him.”
“You are disappointed, I suppose?” suggested his grandfather.
“Oh, no,” responded the little lord politely.
“Of course it is nice to see someone who looks like your father; but that does not prevent you liking your grandfather, even if he is different from your father.
You always love your relatives, and you always find them to be very good indeed.”
The counted seemed a little disconcerted.
It could not be said of him that he had ever been kind to his relatives.
On the contrary, he had been a tyrant to all the members of his family, and they all hated him cordially.
“What child does not love their grandfather, especially a grandfather who has been as kind as you have been to me?” replied Cedric.
“Ah!” said the count, with a queer gleam in his eyes. “I have been good to you?”

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