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Seebohm over the rights to theatrical adaptations of the work. With the deaths of his father’s elder brothers, Cedric has now inherited the title Lord Fauntleroy and is the heir to the earldom and a vast estate. He offers his son’s widow a house and guaranteed income, but he refuses to have anything to do with her, even after she declines his money. However, the Earl is impressed by the appearance and intelligence of his American grandson and is charmed by his innocent nature. Cedric believes his grandfather to be an honorable man and benefactor, and the Earl cannot disappoint him.

He therefore becomes a benefactor to his tenants, to their delight, though he takes care to let them know that their benefactor is the child, Lord Fauntleroy. Dick Tipton tells Cedric’s old friend Mr. Hobbs, a New York City grocer, that a few years prior, after the death of his parents, Dick’s older brother Benjamin married an awful woman who got rid of their only child together after he was born and then left. Benjamin moved to California to open a cattle ranch while Dick ended up in the streets. Cedric’s inheritance appears, the pretender’s mother claiming that he is the offspring of the Earl’s eldest son. The claim is investigated by Dick and Benjamin, who come to England and recognize the alleged heir’s mother as Benjamin’s former wife. The alleged heir’s mother flees, and the Tipton brothers and Benjamin’s son do not see her again.

Afterwards, Benjamin goes back to his cattle ranch in California where he happily raises his son by himself. The Earl is reconciled to his American daughter-in-law, realizing that she is far superior to the impostor. The Earl planned to teach his grandson how to be an aristocrat. Instead, Cedric teaches his grandfather that an aristocrat should practice compassion towards those dependent on him. He becomes the man Cedric always innocently believed him to be.