Young Cedric Errol lives in poverty in New York with his mother. When his father, who was disinherited for marrying an American, dies, Cedric is summoned to his grandfather's English estate. While the crotchety old Earl planned to transform the boy into a docile, traditional lording, it is Little Lord Fauntleroy who does the converting. Through his goodness and innocence, he wins the hearts of his English relatives who welcome his mother with open arms, and he teaches the Earl some valuable lessons about the true meaning of nobility. This classic tale embodies the author's belief that Nothing in the world is so strong as a kind heart.
Cedric himself knew nothing whatever about it. It had never been even mentioned to him. He knew that his papa had been an Englishman, because his mamma had told him so; but then his papa had died when he was so little a boy that he could not remember very much about him, except that he was big, and had blue eyes and a long mustache, and that it was a splendid thing to be carried around the room on his shoulder. Since his papa's death, Cedric had found out that it was best not to talk to his mamma about him. When his father was ill, Cedric had been sent away, and when he had returned, everything was over; and his mother, who had been very ill, too, was only just beginning to sit in her chair by the window. She was pale and thin, and all the dimples had gone from her pretty face, and her eyes looked large and mournful, and she was dressed in black. "Dearest," said Cedric (his papa had called her that always, and so the little boy had learned to say it),—"dearest, is my papa better?" He felt her arms tremble, and so he turned his curly head and looked in her face. There was something in it that made him feel that he was going to cry.