rags to riches

It is astonishing how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen. It had taken only a few minutes, apparently, to change all the fortunes of the little boy dangling his red legs from the high stool in Mr. Hobbs’s store, and to transform him from a small boy, living the simplest life in a quiet street, into an English nobleman, the heir to an earldom and magnificent wealth. It had taken only a few minutes, apparently, to change him from an English nobleman into a penniless little impostor, with no right to any of the splendors he had been enjoying. And, surprising as it may appear, it did not take nearly so long a time as one might have expected, to alter the face of everything again and to give back to him all that he had been in danger of losing.

Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is one of my most favourite classic novels. It tells the story of poor American boy Cedric Errol who is summoned back to England to become the heir of his aristocratic grandfather. Most notable is the ridiculous prejudices that the Americans and Englishmen in the book have for each other – I found those descriptions rather amusing, considering how far each country has come. Then again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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