by Mark Twain



Plot summary

From: Wikipedia

Tom Canty, youngest son of a family of beggars living with the dregs of society in Offal Court, has always had aspirations to a better life, encouraged by the local priest who has taught him to read and write. He hangs around the palace gates one day and sees the Prince (the Prince of Wales - Edward the Sixth). Tom is nearly caught and beaten by the Royal Guards, but Edward stops them and invites Tom into his palace chamber. There, the two boys get to know one another, somewhat - and each becomes fascinated by the other's lifestyle, and even more fascinated by the fact that they each bear an amazing and uncanny resemblance to each other. They decide to switch clothes (and thereby, lives) "temporarily". Edward leaves in rather a hurry, before the boys are caught at their game, first quickly putting away an article of national importance which we later learn is the Great Seal of England. Soon Prince Edward is attempting to escape from the brutality of Tom's abusive and drunken father, while Tom posing as the prince, is attempting to cope with court customs and manners. His fellow nobles and palace personnel think "the prince" is suffering an illness that has caused memory loss and fear he will go mad. They repeatedly question him about the missing "Great Seal", but he knows nothing about it. However, when Tom is asked to sit in on judgments, his common-sense observations reassure them that he is of sound mind.

Edward soon encounters Miles Hendon, a soldier and nobleman returning from war. While Miles does not believe Edward's claims to royalty, he humors him and becomes his protector. Meanwhile, news reaches them that King Henry VIII has died and Edward is now the rightful king.

As Edward experiences the brutish life of a pauper first hand, he becomes aware of the stark class inequalities in England at that time. In particular, he realizes the harsh and punitive nature of the English judicial system, witnessing women being pilloried and flogged. He becomes aware that the accused are convicted on the flimsiest of evidence and branded or hung for petty offenses. He vows to reign with mercy when he regains his rightful place. When he unwisely declares before a gang of thieves that he really is the king and will put an end to unjust laws, they assume he is insane, and hold a mock coronation.

After a series of adventures, including a stint in prison, Edward manages to interrupt the coronation (with some much-needed help from Miles), just as Tom is about to celebrate it as the new King Edward the Sixth. Tom is eager to give up the throne, but the nobles refuse to believe that the beggarly child the real Edward appears to be, is the rightful king, until Edward produces the Great Seal that he had hidden before leaving the palace. Tom declares that if anyone had bothered to describe the Seal he could have produced it at once, since he had found it inside a decorative suit of armor where Edward had hidden it, and had been using it to crack nuts.

Edward and Tom finally switch back, and later, Miles is rewarded with a raised noble rank of an Earl and the unique family right to sit in the presence of the king. As for Tom, in gratitude for supporting the new King's claim to the throne, Edward names him "The King's Ward," a privileged position he holds for the rest of his life. In the end, they all live happily for quite some time. The afterword mentions that Edward died at a young age (which is an inescapable historical fact - Edward having been an actual historical personage).


Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, to Lord Cromwell, on the birth of the

Prince of Wales (afterward Edward VI.).


From the National Manuscripts preserved by the British Government.


Ryght honorable, Salutem in Christo Jesu, and Syr here ys no lesse joynge

and rejossynge in thes partees for the byrth of our prynce, hoom we

hungurde for so longe, then ther was (I trow), inter vicinos att the

byrth of S. J. Baptyste, as thys berer, Master Erance, can telle you.

Gode gyffe us alle grace, to yelde dew thankes to our Lorde Gode, Gode of

Inglonde, for verely He hathe shoyd Hym selff Gode of Inglonde, or rather

an Inglyssh Gode, yf we consydyr and pondyr welle alle Hys procedynges

with us from tyme to tyme.  He hath over cumme alle our yllnesse with Hys

excedynge goodnesse, so that we are now moor then compellyd to serve Hym,

seke Hys glory, promott Hys wurde, yf the Devylle of alle Devylles be

natt in us.  We have now the stooppe of vayne trustes ande the stey of

vayne expectations; lett us alle pray for hys preservatione.  Ande I for

my partt wylle wyssh that hys Grace allways have, and evyn now from the

begynynge, Governares, Instructores and offyceres of ryght jugmente, ne

optimum ingenium non optima educatione deprevetur.


Butt whatt a grett fowlle am I!  So, whatt devotione shoyth many tymys

butt lytelle dyscretione!  Ande thus the Gode of Inglonde be ever with

you in alle your procedynges.


The 19 of October.


Youres, H. L. B. of Wurcestere, now att Hartlebury.


Yf you wolde excytt thys berere to be moore hartye ayen the abuse of

ymagry or mor forwarde to promotte the veryte, ytt myght doo goode.  Natt

that ytt came of me, butt of your selffe, etc.


(Addressed) To the Ryght Honorable Loorde P. Sealle hys synguler gode





To those good-mannered and agreeable children Susie and Clara Clemens

this book is affectionately inscribed by their father.




I will set down a tale as it was told to me by one who had it of his

father, which latter had it of HIS father, this last having in like

manner had it of HIS father--and so on, back and still back, three

hundred years and more, the fathers transmitting it to the sons and so

preserving it.  It may be history, it may be only a legend, a tradition.

It may have happened, it may not have happened:  but it COULD have

happened.  It may be that the wise and the learned believed it in the old

days; it may be that only the unlearned and the simple loved it and

credited it.







I.      The birth of the Prince and the Pauper.

II.     Tom's early life.

III.    Tom's meeting with the Prince.

IV.     The Prince's troubles begin.

V.      Tom as a patrician.

VI.     Tom receives instructions.

VII.    Tom's first royal dinner.

VIII.   The question of the Seal.

IX.     The river pageant.

X.      The Prince in the toils.

XI.     At Guildhall.

XII.    The Prince and his deliverer.

XIII.   The disappearance of the Prince.

XIV.    'Le Roi est mort--vive le Roi.'

XV.     Tom as King.

XVI.    The state dinner.

XVII.   Foo-foo the First.

XVIII.  The Prince with the tramps.

XIX.    The Prince with the peasants.

XX.     The Prince and the hermit.

XXI.    Hendon to the rescue.

XXII.   A victim of treachery.

XXIII.  The Prince a prisoner.

XXIV.   The escape.

XXV.    Hendon Hall.

XXVI.   Disowned.

XXVII.  In prison.

XXVIII. The sacrifice.

XXIX.   To London.

XXX.    Tom's progress.

XXXI.   The Recognition procession.

XXXII.  Coronation Day.

XXXIII. Edward as King.

Conclusion. Justice and Retribution.





     'The quality of mercy . . . is twice bless'd;

      It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;

      'Tis mightiest in the mightiest:  it becomes

      The thron-ed monarch better than his crown'.

                                   Merchant of Venice.





Chapter I. The birth of the Prince and the Pauper.


In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second

quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the

name of Canty, who did not want him.  On the same day another English

child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him.

All England wanted him too.  England had so longed for him, and hoped for

him, and prayed God for him, that, now that he was really come, the

people went nearly mad for joy.  Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed

each other and cried. Everybody took a holiday, and high and low, rich

and poor, feasted and danced and sang, and got very mellow; and they kept

this up for days and nights together.  By day, London was a sight to see,

with gay banners waving from every balcony and housetop, and splendid

pageants marching along.  By night, it was again a sight to see, with its

great bonfires at every corner, and its troops of revellers making merry

around them.  There was no talk in all England but of the new baby,

Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, who lay lapped in silks and satins,

unconscious of all this fuss, and not knowing that great lords and ladies

were tending him and watching over him--and not caring, either.  But

there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor

rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble

with his presence.




Chapter II. Tom's early life.


Let us skip a number of years.


London was fifteen hundred years old, and was a great town--for that day.

It had a hundred thousand inhabitants--some think double as many.  The

streets were very narrow, and crooked, and dirty, especially in the part

where Tom Canty lived, which was not far from London Bridge.  The houses

were of wood, with the second story projecting over the first, and the

third sticking its elbows out beyond the second.  The higher the houses

grew, the broader they grew.  They were skeletons of strong criss-cross

beams, with solid material between, coated with plaster.  The beams were

painted red or blue or black, according to the owner's taste, and this

gave the houses a very picturesque look.  The windows were small, glazed

with little diamond-shaped panes, and they opened outward, on hinges,

like doors.


The house which Tom's father lived in was up a foul little pocket called

Offal Court, out of Pudding Lane.  It was small, decayed, and rickety,

but it was packed full of wretchedly poor families. Canty's tribe

occupied a room on the third floor.  The mother and father had a sort of

bedstead in the corner; but Tom, his grandmother, and his two sisters,

Bet and Nan, were not restricted--they had all the floor to themselves,

and might sleep where they chose.  There were the remains of a blanket or

two, and some bundles of ancient and dirty straw, but these could not

rightly be called beds, for they were not organised; they were kicked

into a general pile, mornings, and selections made from the mass at

night, for service.


Bet and Nan were fifteen years old--twins.  They were good-hearted girls,

unclean, clothed in rags, and profoundly ignorant.  Their mother was like

them.  But the father and the grandmother were a couple of fiends.  They

got drunk whenever they could; then they fought each other or anybody

else who came in the way; they cursed and swore always, drunk or sober;

John Canty was a thief, and his mother a beggar.  They made beggars of

the children, but failed to make thieves of them.  Among, but not of, the

dreadful rabble that inhabited the house, was a good old priest whom the

King had turned out of house and home with a pension of a few farthings,

and he used to get the children aside and teach them right ways secretly.

Father Andrew also taught Tom a little Latin, and how to read and write;

and would have done the same with the girls, but they were afraid of the

jeers of their friends, who could not have endured such a queer

accomplishment in them.


All Offal Court was just such another hive as Canty's house. Drunkenness,

riot and brawling were the order, there, every night and nearly all night

long.  Broken heads were as common as hunger in that place.  Yet little

Tom was not unhappy.  He had a hard time of it, but did not know it.  It

was the sort of time that all the Offal Court boys had, therefore he

supposed it was the correct and comfortable thing.  When he came home

empty-handed at night, he knew his father would curse him and thrash him

first, and that when he was done the awful grandmother would do it all

over again and improve on it; and that away in the night his starving

mother would slip to him stealthily with any miserable scrap or crust she

had been able to save for him by going hungry herself, notwithstanding

she was often caught in that sort of treason and soundly beaten for it by

her husband.


No, Tom's life went along well enough, especially in summer.  He only

begged just enough to save himself, for the laws against mendicancy were

stringent, and the penalties heavy; so he put in a good deal of his time

listening to good Father Andrew's charming old tales and legends about

giants and fairies, dwarfs and genii, and enchanted castles, and gorgeous

kings and princes.  His head grew to be full of these wonderful things,

and many a night as he lay in the dark on his scant and offensive straw,

tired, hungry, and smarting from a thrashing, he unleashed his

imagination and soon forgot his aches and pains in delicious picturings

to himself of the charmed life of a petted prince in a regal palace.  One

desire came in time to haunt him day and night:  it was to see a real

prince, with his own eyes.  He spoke of it once to some of his Offal

Court comrades; but they jeered him and scoffed him so unmercifully that

he was glad to keep his dream to himself after that.


He often read the priest's old books and got him to explain and enlarge

upon them.  His dreamings and readings worked certain changes in him,

by-and-by.  His dream-people were so fine that he grew to lament his shabby

clothing and his dirt, and to wish to be clean and better clad.  He went

on playing in the mud just the same, and enjoying it, too; but, instead

of splashing around in the Thames solely for the fun of it, he began to

find an added value in it because of the washings and cleansings it



Tom could always find something going on around the Maypole in Cheapside,

and at the fairs; and now and then he and the rest of London had a chance

to see a military parade when some famous unfortunate was carried

prisoner to the Tower, by land or boat. One summer's day he saw poor Anne

Askew and three men burned at the stake in Smithfield, and heard an

ex-Bishop preach a sermon to them which did not interest him.  Yes, Tom's

life was varied and pleasant enough, on the whole.


By-and-by Tom's reading and dreaming about princely life wrought such a

strong effect upon him that he began to ACT the prince, unconsciously.

His speech and manners became curiously ceremonious and courtly, to the

vast admiration and amusement of his intimates.  But Tom's influence

among these young people began to grow now, day by day; and in time he

came to be looked up to, by them, with a sort of wondering awe, as a

superior being.  He seemed to know so much! and he could do and say such

marvellous things! and withal, he was so deep and wise!  Tom's remarks,

and Tom's performances, were reported by the boys to their elders; and

these, also, presently began to discuss Tom Canty, and to regard him as a

most gifted and extraordinary creature.  Full-grown people brought their

perplexities to Tom for solution, and were often astonished at the wit

and wisdom of his decisions.  In fact he was become a hero to all who

knew him except his own family--these, only, saw nothing in him.


Privately, after a while, Tom organised a royal court!  He was the

prince; his special comrades were guards, chamberlains, equerries, lords

and ladies in waiting, and the royal family.  Daily the mock prince was

received with elaborate ceremonials borrowed by Tom from his romantic

readings; daily the great affairs of the mimic kingdom were discussed in

the royal council, and daily his mimic highness issued decrees to his

imaginary armies, navies, and viceroyalties.


After which, he would go forth in his rags and beg a few farthings, eat

his poor crust, take his customary cuffs and abuse, and then stretch

himself upon his handful of foul straw, and resume his empty grandeurs in

his dreams.


And still his desire to look just once upon a real prince, in the flesh,

grew upon him, day by day, and week by week, until at last it absorbed

all other desires, and became the one passion of his life.


One January day, on his usual begging tour, he tramped despondently up

and down the region round about Mincing Lane and Little East Cheap, hour

after hour, bare-footed and cold, looking in at cook-shop windows and

longing for the dreadful pork-pies and other deadly inventions displayed

there--for to him these were dainties fit for the angels; that is,

judging by the smell, they were--for it had never been his good luck to

own and eat one. There was a cold drizzle of rain; the atmosphere was

murky; it was a melancholy day.  At night Tom reached home so wet and

tired and hungry that it was not possible for his father and grandmother

to observe his forlorn condition and not be moved--after their fashion;

wherefore they gave him a brisk cuffing at once and sent him to bed.  For

a long time his pain and hunger, and the swearing and fighting going on

in the building, kept him awake; but at last his thoughts drifted away to

far, romantic lands, and he fell asleep in the company of jewelled and

gilded princelings who live in vast palaces, and had servants salaaming

before them or flying to execute their orders.  And then, as usual, he

dreamed that HE was a princeling himself.


All night long the glories of his royal estate shone upon him; he moved

among great lords and ladies, in a blaze of light, breathing perfumes,

drinking in delicious music, and answering the reverent obeisances of the

glittering throng as it parted to make way for him, with here a smile,

and there a nod of his princely head.


And when he awoke in the morning and looked upon the wretchedness about

him, his dream had had its usual effect--it had intensified the

sordidness of his surroundings a thousandfold.  Then came bitterness, and

heart-break, and tears.




Chapter III. Tom's meeting with the Prince.


Tom got up hungry, and sauntered hungry away, but with his thoughts busy

with the shadowy splendours of his night's dreams. He wandered here and

there in the city, hardly noticing where he was going, or what was

happening around him.  People jostled him, and some gave him rough

speech; but it was all lost on the musing boy.  By-and-by he found

himself at Temple Bar, the farthest from home he had ever travelled in

that direction.  He stopped and considered a moment, then fell into his

imaginings again, and passed on outside the walls of London.  The Strand

had ceased to be a country-road then, and regarded itself as a street,

but by a strained construction; for, though there was a tolerably compact

row of houses on one side of it, there were only some scattered great

buildings on the other, these being palaces of rich nobles, with ample

and beautiful grounds stretching to the river--grounds that are now

closely packed with grim acres of brick and stone.


Tom discovered Charing Village presently, and rested himself at the

beautiful cross built there by a bereaved king of earlier days; then

idled down a quiet, lovely road, past the great cardinal's stately

palace, toward a far more mighty and majestic palace beyond--Westminster.

Tom stared in glad wonder at the vast pile of masonry, the wide-spreading

wings, the frowning bastions and turrets, the huge stone gateway, with

its gilded bars and its magnificent array of colossal granite lions, and

other the signs and symbols of English royalty.  Was the desire of his

soul to be satisfied at last?  Here, indeed, was a king's palace.  Might

he not hope to see a prince now--a prince of flesh and blood, if Heaven

were willing?


At each side of the gilded gate stood a living statue--that is to say, an

erect and stately and motionless man-at-arms, clad from head to heel in

shining steel armour.  At a respectful distance were many country folk,

and people from the city, waiting for any chance glimpse of royalty that

might offer.  Splendid carriages, with splendid people in them and

splendid servants outside, were arriving and departing by several other

noble gateways that pierced the royal enclosure.


Poor little Tom, in his rags, approached, and was moving slowly and

timidly past the sentinels, with a beating heart and a rising hope, when

all at once he caught sight through the golden bars of a spectacle that

almost made him shout for joy.  Within was a comely boy, tanned and brown

with sturdy outdoor sports and exercises, whose clothing was all of

lovely silks and satins, shining with jewels; at his hip a little

jewelled sword and dagger; dainty buskins on his feet, with red heels;

and on his head a jaunty crimson cap, with drooping plumes fastened with

a great sparkling gem.  Several gorgeous gentlemen stood near--his

servants, without a doubt.  Oh! he was a prince--a prince, a living

prince, a real prince--without the shadow of a question; and the prayer

of the pauper-boy's heart was answered at last.


Tom's breath came quick and short with excitement, and his eyes grew big

with wonder and delight.  Everything gave way in his mind instantly to

one desire:  that was to get close to the prince, and have a good,

devouring look at him.  Before he knew what he was about, he had his face

against the gate-bars.  The next instant one of the soldiers snatched him

rudely away, and sent him spinning among the gaping crowd of country

gawks and London idlers.  The soldier said,--


"Mind thy manners, thou young beggar!"


The crowd jeered and laughed; but the young prince sprang to the gate

with his face flushed, and his eyes flashing with indignation, and cried



"How dar'st thou use a poor lad like that?  How dar'st thou use the King

my father's meanest subject so?  Open the gates, and let him in!"


You should have seen that fickle crowd snatch off their hats then. You

should have heard them cheer, and shout, "Long live the Prince of Wales!"


The soldiers presented arms with their halberds, opened the gates, and

presented again as the little Prince of Poverty passed in, in his

fluttering rags, to join hands with the Prince of Limitless Plenty.


Edward Tudor said--


"Thou lookest tired and hungry:  thou'st been treated ill.  Come with



Half a dozen attendants sprang forward to--I don't know what; interfere,

no doubt.  But they were waved aside with a right royal gesture, and they

stopped stock still where they were, like so many statues.  Edward took

Tom to a rich apartment in the palace, which he called his cabinet.  By

his command a repast was brought such as Tom had never encountered before

except in books.  The prince, with princely delicacy and breeding, sent

away the servants, so that his humble guest might not be embarrassed by

their critical presence; then he sat near by, and asked questions while

Tom ate.


"What is thy name, lad?"


"Tom Canty, an' it please thee, sir."


"'Tis an odd one.  Where dost live?"


"In the city, please thee, sir.  Offal Court, out of Pudding Lane."


"Offal Court!  Truly 'tis another odd one.  Hast parents?"


"Parents have I, sir, and a grand-dam likewise that is but indifferently

precious to me, God forgive me if it be offence to say it--also twin

sisters, Nan and Bet."


"Then is thy grand-dam not over kind to thee, I take it?"


"Neither to any other is she, so please your worship.  She hath a wicked

heart, and worketh evil all her days."


"Doth she mistreat thee?"


"There be times that she stayeth her hand, being asleep or overcome with

drink; but when she hath her judgment clear again, she maketh it up to me

with goodly beatings."


A fierce look came into the little prince's eyes, and he cried out--


"What!  Beatings?"


"Oh, indeed, yes, please you, sir."


"BEATINGS!--and thou so frail and little.  Hark ye:  before the night

come, she shall hie her to the Tower.  The King my father"--


"In sooth, you forget, sir, her low degree.  The Tower is for the great



"True, indeed.  I had not thought of that.  I will consider of her

punishment.  Is thy father kind to thee?"


"Not more than Gammer Canty, sir."


"Fathers be alike, mayhap.  Mine hath not a doll's temper.  He smiteth

with a heavy hand, yet spareth me:  he spareth me not always with his

tongue, though, sooth to say.  How doth thy mother use thee?"


"She is good, sir, and giveth me neither sorrow nor pain of any sort.

And Nan and Bet are like to her in this."


"How old be these?"


"Fifteen, an' it please you, sir."


"The Lady Elizabeth, my sister, is fourteen, and the Lady Jane Grey, my

cousin, is of mine own age, and comely and gracious withal; but my sister

the Lady Mary, with her gloomy mien and--Look you:  do thy sisters forbid

their servants to smile, lest the sin destroy their souls?"


"They?  Oh, dost think, sir, that THEY have servants?"


The little prince contemplated the little pauper gravely a moment, then



"And prithee, why not?  Who helpeth them undress at night?  Who attireth

them when they rise?"


"None, sir.  Would'st have them take off their garment, and sleep

without--like the beasts?"


"Their garment!  Have they but one?"


"Ah, good your worship, what would they do with more?  Truly they have

not two bodies each."


"It is a quaint and marvellous thought!  Thy pardon, I had not meant to

laugh.  But thy good Nan and thy Bet shall have raiment and lackeys enow,

and that soon, too:  my cofferer shall look to it.  No, thank me not;

'tis nothing.  Thou speakest well; thou hast an easy grace in it.  Art



"I know not if I am or not, sir.  The good priest that is called Father

Andrew taught me, of his kindness, from his books."


"Know'st thou the Latin?"


"But scantly, sir, I doubt."


"Learn it, lad:  'tis hard only at first.  The Greek is harder; but

neither these nor any tongues else, I think, are hard to the Lady

Elizabeth and my cousin.  Thou should'st hear those damsels at it!  But

tell me of thy Offal Court.  Hast thou a pleasant life there?"


"In truth, yes, so please you, sir, save when one is hungry. There be

Punch-and-Judy shows, and monkeys--oh such antic creatures! and so

bravely dressed!--and there be plays wherein they that play do shout and

fight till all are slain, and 'tis so fine to see, and costeth but a

farthing--albeit 'tis main hard to get the farthing, please your



"Tell me more."


"We lads of Offal Court do strive against each other with the cudgel,

like to the fashion of the 'prentices, sometimes."


The prince's eyes flashed.  Said he--


"Marry, that would not I mislike.  Tell me more."


"We strive in races, sir, to see who of us shall be fleetest."


"That would I like also.  Speak on."


"In summer, sir, we wade and swim in the canals and in the river, and

each doth duck his neighbour, and splatter him with water, and dive and

shout and tumble and--"


"'Twould be worth my father's kingdom but to enjoy it once! Prithee go



"We dance and sing about the Maypole in Cheapside; we play in the sand,

each covering his neighbour up; and times we make mud pastry--oh the

lovely mud, it hath not its like for delightfulness in all the world!--we

do fairly wallow in the mud, sir, saving your worship's presence."


"Oh, prithee, say no more, 'tis glorious!  If that I could but clothe me

in raiment like to thine, and strip my feet, and revel in the mud once,

just once, with none to rebuke me or forbid, meseemeth I could forego the



"And if that I could clothe me once, sweet sir, as thou art clad--just



"Oho, would'st like it?  Then so shall it be.  Doff thy rags, and don

these splendours, lad!  It is a brief happiness, but will be not less

keen for that.  We will have it while we may, and change again before any

come to molest."


A few minutes later the little Prince of Wales was garlanded with Tom's

fluttering odds and ends, and the little Prince of Pauperdom was tricked

out in the gaudy plumage of royalty.  The two went and stood side by side

before a great mirror, and lo, a miracle: there did not seem to have been

any change made!  They stared at each other, then at the glass, then at

each other again.  At last the puzzled princeling said--


"What dost thou make of this?"


"Ah, good your worship, require me not to answer.  It is not meet that

one of my degree should utter the thing."


"Then will _I_ utter it.  Thou hast the same hair, the same eyes, the

same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and

countenance that I bear.  Fared we forth naked, there is none could say

which was you, and which the Prince of Wales.  And, now that I am clothed

as thou wert clothed, it seemeth I should be able the more nearly to feel

as thou didst when the brute soldier--Hark ye, is not this a bruise upon

your hand?"


"Yes; but it is a slight thing, and your worship knoweth that the poor



"Peace!  It was a shameful thing and a cruel!" cried the little prince,

stamping his bare foot.  "If the King--Stir not a step till I come again!

It is a command!"


In a moment he had snatched up and put away an article of national

importance that lay upon a table, and was out at the door and flying

through the palace grounds in his bannered rags, with a hot face and

glowing eyes.  As soon as he reached the great gate, he seized the bars,

and tried to shake them, shouting--


"Open!  Unbar the gates!"


The soldier that had maltreated Tom obeyed promptly; and as the prince

burst through the portal, half-smothered with royal wrath, the soldier

fetched him a sounding box on the ear that sent him whirling to the

roadway, and said--


"Take that, thou beggar's spawn, for what thou got'st me from his



The crowd roared with laughter.  The prince picked himself out of the

mud, and made fiercely at the sentry, shouting--


"I am the Prince of Wales, my person is sacred; and thou shalt hang for

laying thy hand upon me!"


The soldier brought his halberd to a present-arms and said mockingly--


"I salute your gracious Highness."  Then angrily--"Be off, thou crazy



Here the jeering crowd closed round the poor little prince, and hustled

him far down the road, hooting him, and shouting--


"Way for his Royal Highness!  Way for the Prince of Wales!"




Chapter IV. The Prince's troubles begin.


After hours of persistent pursuit and persecution, the little prince was

at last deserted by the rabble and left to himself.  As long as he had

been able to rage against the mob, and threaten it royally, and royally

utter commands that were good stuff to laugh at, he was very

entertaining; but when weariness finally forced him to be silent, he was

no longer of use to his tormentors, and they sought amusement elsewhere.

He looked about him, now, but could not recognise the locality.  He was

within the city of London--that was all he knew.  He moved on, aimlessly,

and in a little while the houses thinned, and the passers-by were

infrequent.  He bathed his bleeding feet in the brook which flowed then

where Farringdon Street now is; rested a few moments, then passed on, and

presently came upon a great space with only a few scattered houses in it,

and a prodigious church.  He recognised this church.  Scaffoldings were

about, everywhere, and swarms of workmen; for it was undergoing elaborate

repairs.  The prince took heart at once--he felt that his troubles were

at an end, now.  He said to himself, "It is the ancient Grey Friars'

Church, which the king my father hath taken from the monks and given for

a home for ever for poor and forsaken children, and new-named it Christ's

Church.  Right gladly will they serve the son of him who hath done so

generously by them--and the more that that son is himself as poor and as

forlorn as any that be sheltered here this day, or ever shall be."


He was soon in the midst of a crowd of boys who were running, jumping,

playing at ball and leap-frog, and otherwise disporting themselves, and

right noisily, too.  They were all dressed alike, and in the fashion

which in that day prevailed among serving-men and 'prentices{1}--that is

to say, each had on the crown of his head a flat black cap about the size

of a saucer, which was not useful as a covering, it being of such scanty

dimensions, neither was it ornamental; from beneath it the hair fell,

unparted, to the middle of the forehead, and was cropped straight around;

a clerical band at the neck; a blue gown that fitted closely and hung as

low as the knees or lower; full sleeves; a broad red belt; bright yellow

stockings, gartered above the knees; low shoes with large metal buckles.

It was a sufficiently ugly costume.


The boys stopped their play and flocked about the prince, who said with

native dignity--


"Good lads, say to your master that Edward Prince of Wales desireth

speech with him."


A great shout went up at this, and one rude fellow said--


"Marry, art thou his grace's messenger, beggar?"


The prince's face flushed with anger, and his ready hand flew to his hip,

but there was nothing there.  There was a storm of laughter, and one boy



"Didst mark that?  He fancied he had a sword--belike he is the prince



This sally brought more laughter.  Poor Edward drew himself up proudly

and said--


"I am the prince; and it ill beseemeth you that feed upon the king my

father's bounty to use me so."


This was vastly enjoyed, as the laughter testified.  The youth who had

first spoken, shouted to his comrades--


"Ho, swine, slaves, pensioners of his grace's princely father, where be

your manners?  Down on your marrow bones, all of ye, and do reverence to

his kingly port and royal rags!"


With boisterous mirth they dropped upon their knees in a body and did

mock homage to their prey.  The prince spurned the nearest boy with his

foot, and said fiercely--


"Take thou that, till the morrow come and I build thee a gibbet!"


Ah, but this was not a joke--this was going beyond fun.  The laughter

ceased on the instant, and fury took its place.  A dozen shouted--


"Hale him forth!  To the horse-pond, to the horse-pond!  Where be the

dogs?  Ho, there, Lion! ho, Fangs!"


Then followed such a thing as England had never seen before--the sacred

person of the heir to the throne rudely buffeted by plebeian hands, and

set upon and torn by dogs.


As night drew to a close that day, the prince found himself far down in

the close-built portion of the city.  His body was bruised, his hands

were bleeding, and his rags were all besmirched with mud.  He wandered on

and on, and grew more and more bewildered, and so tired and faint he

could hardly drag one foot after the other.  He had ceased to ask

questions of anyone, since they brought him only insult instead of

information.  He kept muttering to himself, "Offal Court--that is the

name; if I can but find it before my strength is wholly spent and I drop,

then am I saved--for his people will take me to the palace and prove that

I am none of theirs, but the true prince, and I shall have mine own

again."  And now and then his mind reverted to his treatment by those

rude Christ's Hospital boys, and he said, "When I am king, they shall not

have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books; for a full

belly is little worth where the mind is starved, and the heart.  I will

keep this diligently in my remembrance, that this day's lesson be not

lost upon me, and my people suffer thereby; for learning softeneth the

heart and breedeth gentleness and charity." {1}


The lights began to twinkle, it came on to rain, the wind rose, and a raw

and gusty night set in.  The houseless prince, the homeless heir to the

throne of England, still moved on, drifting deeper into the maze of

squalid alleys where the swarming hives of poverty and misery were massed



Suddenly a great drunken ruffian collared him and said--


"Out to this time of night again, and hast not brought a farthing home, I

warrant me!  If it be so, an' I do not break all the bones in thy lean

body, then am I not John Canty, but some other."


The prince twisted himself loose, unconsciously brushed his profaned

shoulder, and eagerly said--


"Oh, art HIS father, truly?  Sweet heaven grant it be so--then wilt thou

fetch him away and restore me!"


"HIS father?  I know not what thou mean'st; I but know I am THY father,

as thou shalt soon have cause to--"


"Oh, jest not, palter not, delay not!--I am worn, I am wounded, I can

bear no more.  Take me to the king my father, and he will make thee rich

beyond thy wildest dreams.  Believe me, man, believe me!--I speak no lie,

but only the truth!--put forth thy hand and save me!  I am indeed the

Prince of Wales!"


The man stared down, stupefied, upon the lad, then shook his head and



"Gone stark mad as any Tom o' Bedlam!"--then collared him once more, and

said with a coarse laugh and an oath, "But mad or no mad, I and thy

Gammer Canty will soon find where the soft places in thy bones lie, or

I'm no true man!"


With this he dragged the frantic and struggling prince away, and

disappeared up a front court followed by a delighted and noisy swarm of

human vermin.




Chapter V. Tom as a patrician.


Tom Canty, left alone in the prince's cabinet, made good use of his

opportunity.  He turned himself this way and that before the great

mirror, admiring his finery; then walked away, imitating the prince's

high-bred carriage, and still observing results in the glass.  Next he

drew the beautiful sword, and bowed, kissing the blade, and laying it

across his breast, as he had seen a noble knight do, by way of salute to

the lieutenant of the Tower, five or six weeks before, when delivering

the great lords of Norfolk and Surrey into his hands for captivity.  Tom

played with the jewelled dagger that hung upon his thigh; he examined the

costly and exquisite ornaments of the room; he tried each of the

sumptuous chairs, and thought how proud he would be if the Offal Court

herd could only peep in and see him in his grandeur.  He wondered if they

would believe the marvellous tale he should tell when he got home, or if

they would shake their heads, and say his overtaxed imagination had at

last upset his reason.


At the end of half an hour it suddenly occurred to him that the prince

was gone a long time; then right away he began to feel lonely; very soon

he fell to listening and longing, and ceased to toy with the pretty

things about him; he grew uneasy, then restless, then distressed.

Suppose some one should come, and catch him in the prince's clothes, and

the prince not there to explain.  Might they not hang him at once, and

inquire into his case afterward?  He had heard that the great were prompt

about small matters.  His fear rose higher and higher; and trembling he

softly opened the door to the antechamber, resolved to fly and seek the

prince, and, through him, protection and release.  Six gorgeous

gentlemen-servants and two young pages of high degree, clothed like

butterflies, sprang to their feet and bowed low before him.  He stepped

quickly back and shut the door.  He said--


"Oh, they mock at me!  They will go and tell.  Oh! why came I here to

cast away my life?"


He walked up and down the floor, filled with nameless fears, listening,

starting at every trifling sound.  Presently the door swung open, and a

silken page said--


"The Lady Jane Grey."


The door closed and a sweet young girl, richly clad, bounded toward him.

But she stopped suddenly, and said in a distressed voice--


"Oh, what aileth thee, my lord?"


Tom's breath was nearly failing him; but he made shift to stammer out--


"Ah, be merciful, thou!  In sooth I am no lord, but only poor Tom Canty

of Offal Court in the city.  Prithee let me see the prince, and he will

of his grace restore to me my rags, and let me hence unhurt.  Oh, be thou

merciful, and save me!"


By this time the boy was on his knees, and supplicating with his eyes and

uplifted hands as well as with his tongue.  The young girl seemed

horror-stricken.  She cried out--


"O my lord, on thy knees?--and to ME!"


Then she fled away in fright; and Tom, smitten with despair, sank down,



"There is no help, there is no hope.  Now will they come and take me."


Whilst he lay there benumbed with terror, dreadful tidings were speeding

through the palace.  The whisper--for it was whispered always--flew from

menial to menial, from lord to lady, down all the long corridors, from

story to story, from saloon to saloon, "The prince hath gone mad, the

prince hath gone mad!"  Soon every saloon, every marble hall, had its

groups of glittering lords and ladies, and other groups of dazzling

lesser folk, talking earnestly together in whispers, and every face had

in it dismay. Presently a splendid official came marching by these

groups, making solemn proclamation--




Let none list to this false and foolish matter, upon pain of death, nor

discuss the same, nor carry it abroad.  In the name of the King!"


The whisperings ceased as suddenly as if the whisperers had been stricken



Soon there was a general buzz along the corridors, of "The prince! See,

the prince comes!"


Poor Tom came slowly walking past the low-bowing groups, trying to bow in

return, and meekly gazing upon his strange surroundings with bewildered

and pathetic eyes.  Great nobles walked upon each side of him, making him

lean upon them, and so steady his steps. Behind him followed the

court-physicians and some servants.


Presently Tom found himself in a noble apartment of the palace and heard

the door close behind him.  Around him stood those who had come with him.

Before him, at a little distance, reclined a very large and very fat man,

with a wide, pulpy face, and a stern expression.  His large head was very

grey; and his whiskers, which he wore only around his face, like a frame,

were grey also.  His clothing was of rich stuff, but old, and slightly

frayed in places.  One of his swollen legs had a pillow under it, and was

wrapped in bandages.  There was silence now; and there was no head there

but was bent in reverence, except this man's.  This stern-countenanced

invalid was the dread Henry VIII.  He said--and his face grew gentle as

he began to speak--


"How now, my lord Edward, my prince?  Hast been minded to cozen me, the

good King thy father, who loveth thee, and kindly useth thee, with a

sorry jest?"


Poor Tom was listening, as well as his dazed faculties would let him, to

the beginning of this speech; but when the words 'me, the good King' fell

upon his ear, his face blanched, and he dropped as instantly upon his

knees as if a shot had brought him there. Lifting up his hands, he



"Thou the KING?  Then am I undone indeed!"


This speech seemed to stun the King.  His eyes wandered from face to face

aimlessly, then rested, bewildered, upon the boy before him.  Then he

said in a tone of deep disappointment--


"Alack, I had believed the rumour disproportioned to the truth; but I

fear me 'tis not so."  He breathed a heavy sigh, and said in a gentle

voice, "Come to thy father, child:  thou art not well."


Tom was assisted to his feet, and approached the Majesty of England,

humble and trembling.  The King took the frightened face between his

hands, and gazed earnestly and lovingly into it awhile, as if seeking

some grateful sign of returning reason there, then pressed the curly head

against his breast, and patted it tenderly.  Presently he said--


"Dost not know thy father, child?  Break not mine old heart; say thou

know'st me.  Thou DOST know me, dost thou not?"


"Yea:  thou art my dread lord the King, whom God preserve!"


"True, true--that is well--be comforted, tremble not so; there is none

here would hurt thee; there is none here but loves thee. Thou art better

now; thy ill dream passeth--is't not so?  Thou wilt not miscall thyself

again, as they say thou didst a little while agone?"


"I pray thee of thy grace believe me, I did but speak the truth, most

dread lord; for I am the meanest among thy subjects, being a pauper born,

and 'tis by a sore mischance and accident I am here, albeit I was therein

nothing blameful.  I am but young to die, and thou canst save me with one

little word.  Oh speak it, sir!"


"Die?  Talk not so, sweet prince--peace, peace, to thy troubled heart

--thou shalt not die!"


Tom dropped upon his knees with a glad cry--


"God requite thy mercy, O my King, and save thee long to bless thy land!"

Then springing up, he turned a joyful face toward the two lords in

waiting, and exclaimed, "Thou heard'st it!  I am not to die:  the King

hath said it!"  There was no movement, save that all bowed with grave

respect; but no one spoke.  He hesitated, a little confused, then turned

timidly toward the King, saying, "I may go now?"


"Go?  Surely, if thou desirest.  But why not tarry yet a little? Whither

would'st go?"


Tom dropped his eyes, and answered humbly--


"Peradventure I mistook; but I did think me free, and so was I moved to

seek again the kennel where I was born and bred to misery, yet which

harboureth my mother and my sisters, and so is home to me; whereas these

pomps and splendours whereunto I am not used--oh, please you, sir, to let

me go!"


The King was silent and thoughtful a while, and his face betrayed a

growing distress and uneasiness.  Presently he said, with something of

hope in his voice--


"Perchance he is but mad upon this one strain, and hath his wits unmarred

as toucheth other matter.  God send it may be so!  We will make trial."


Then he asked Tom a question in Latin, and Tom answered him lamely in the

same tongue.  The lords and doctors manifested their gratification also.

The King said--


"'Twas not according to his schooling and ability, but showeth that his

mind is but diseased, not stricken fatally.  How say you, sir?"


The physician addressed bowed low, and replied--


"It jumpeth with my own conviction, sire, that thou hast divined aright."


The King looked pleased with this encouragement, coming as it did from so

excellent authority, and continued with good heart--


"Now mark ye all:  we will try him further."


He put a question to Tom in French.  Tom stood silent a moment,

embarrassed by having so many eyes centred upon him, then said



"I have no knowledge of this tongue, so please your majesty."


The King fell back upon his couch.  The attendants flew to his

assistance; but he put them aside, and said--


"Trouble me not--it is nothing but a scurvy faintness.  Raise me! There,

'tis sufficient.  Come hither, child; there, rest thy poor troubled head

upon thy father's heart, and be at peace.  Thou'lt soon be well:  'tis

but a passing fantasy.  Fear thou not; thou'lt soon be well."  Then he

turned toward the company:  his gentle manner changed, and baleful

lightnings began to play from his eyes.  He said--


"List ye all!  This my son is mad; but it is not permanent.  Over-study

hath done this, and somewhat too much of confinement.  Away with his

books and teachers! see ye to it.  Pleasure him with sports, beguile him

in wholesome ways, so that his health come again."  He raised himself

higher still, and went on with energy, "He is mad; but he is my son, and

England's heir; and, mad or sane, still shall he reign!  And hear ye

further, and proclaim it: whoso speaketh of this his distemper worketh

against the peace and order of these realms, and shall to the gallows!

. . . Give me to drink--I burn:  this sorrow sappeth my strength. . . .

There, take away the cup. . . . Support me.  There, that is well.  Mad,

is he?  Were he a thousand times mad, yet is he Prince of Wales, and I the

King will confirm it.  This very morrow shall he be installed in his

princely dignity in due and ancient form.  Take instant order for it, my

lord Hertford."


One of the nobles knelt at the royal couch, and said--


"The King's majesty knoweth that the Hereditary Great Marshal of England

lieth attainted in the Tower.  It were not meet that one attainted--"


"Peace!  Insult not mine ears with his hated name.  Is this man to live

for ever?  Am I to be baulked of my will?  Is the prince to tarry

uninstalled, because, forsooth, the realm lacketh an Earl Marshal free of

treasonable taint to invest him with his honours? No, by the splendour of

God!  Warn my Parliament to bring me Norfolk's doom before the sun rise

again, else shall they answer for it grievously!" {1}


Lord Hertford said--


"The King's will is law;" and, rising, returned to his former place.


Gradually the wrath faded out of the old King's face, and he said--


"Kiss me, my prince.  There . . . what fearest thou?  Am I not thy loving



"Thou art good to me that am unworthy, O mighty and gracious lord: that

in truth I know.  But--but--it grieveth me to think of him that is to

die, and--"


"Ah, 'tis like thee, 'tis like thee!  I know thy heart is still the same,

even though thy mind hath suffered hurt, for thou wert ever of a gentle

spirit.  But this duke standeth between thee and thine honours:  I will

have another in his stead that shall bring no taint to his great office.

Comfort thee, my prince:  trouble not thy poor head with this matter."


"But is it not I that speed him hence, my liege?  How long might he not

live, but for me?"


"Take no thought of him, my prince:  he is not worthy.  Kiss me once

again, and go to thy trifles and amusements; for my malady distresseth

me.  I am aweary, and would rest.  Go with thine uncle Hertford and thy

people, and come again when my body is refreshed."


Tom, heavy-hearted, was conducted from the presence, for this last

sentence was a death-blow to the hope he had cherished that now he would

be set free.  Once more he heard the buzz of low voices exclaiming, "The

prince, the prince comes!"


His spirits sank lower and lower as he moved between the glittering files

of bowing courtiers; for he recognised that he was indeed a captive now,

and might remain for ever shut up in this gilded cage, a forlorn and

friendless prince, except God in his mercy take pity on him and set him



And, turn where he would, he seemed to see floating in the air the

severed head and the remembered face of the great Duke of Norfolk, the

eyes fixed on him reproachfully.


His old dreams had been so pleasant; but this reality was so dreary!




Chapter VI. Tom receives instructions.


Tom was conducted to the principal apartment of a noble suite, and made

to sit down--a thing which he was loth to do, since there were elderly

men and men of high degree about him.  He begged them to be seated also,

but they only bowed their thanks or murmured them, and remained standing.

He would have insisted, but his 'uncle' the Earl of Hertford whispered in

his ear--


"Prithee, insist not, my lord; it is not meet that they sit in thy



The Lord St. John was announced, and after making obeisance to Tom, he



"I come upon the King's errand, concerning a matter which requireth

privacy.  Will it please your royal highness to dismiss all that attend

you here, save my lord the Earl of Hertford?"


Observing that Tom did not seem to know how to proceed, Hertford

whispered him to make a sign with his hand, and not trouble himself to

speak unless he chose.  When the waiting gentlemen had retired, Lord St.

John said--


"His majesty commandeth, that for due and weighty reasons of state, the

prince's grace shall hide his infirmity in all ways that be within his

power, till it be passed and he be as he was before.  To wit, that he

shall deny to none that he is the true prince, and heir to England's

greatness; that he shall uphold his princely dignity, and shall receive,

without word or sign of protest, that reverence and observance which unto

it do appertain of right and ancient usage; that he shall cease to speak

to any of that lowly birth and life his malady hath conjured out of the

unwholesome imaginings of o'er-wrought fancy; that he shall strive with

diligence to bring unto his memory again those faces which he was wont to

know--and where he faileth he shall hold his peace, neither betraying by

semblance of surprise or other sign that he hath forgot; that upon

occasions of state, whensoever any matter shall perplex him as to the

thing he should do or the utterance he should make, he shall show nought

of unrest to the curious that look on, but take advice in that matter of

the Lord Hertford, or my humble self, which are commanded of the King to

be upon this service and close at call, till this commandment be

dissolved. Thus saith the King's majesty, who sendeth greeting to your

royal highness, and prayeth that God will of His mercy quickly heal you

and have you now and ever in His holy keeping."


The Lord St. John made reverence and stood aside.  Tom replied



"The King hath said it.  None may palter with the King's command, or fit

it to his ease, where it doth chafe, with deft evasions. The King shall

be obeyed."


Lord Hertford said--


"Touching the King's majesty's ordainment concerning books and such like

serious matters, it may peradventure please your highness to ease your

time with lightsome entertainment, lest you go wearied to the banquet and

suffer harm thereby."


Tom's face showed inquiring surprise; and a blush followed when he saw

Lord St. John's eyes bent sorrowfully upon him.  His lordship said--


"Thy memory still wrongeth thee, and thou hast shown surprise--but suffer

it not to trouble thee, for 'tis a matter that will not bide, but depart

with thy mending malady.  My Lord of Hertford speaketh of the city's

banquet which the King's majesty did promise, some two months flown, your

highness should attend.  Thou recallest it now?"


"It grieves me to confess it had indeed escaped me," said Tom, in a

hesitating voice; and blushed again.


At this moment the Lady Elizabeth and the Lady Jane Grey were announced.

The two lords exchanged significant glances, and Hertford stepped quickly

toward the door.  As the young girls passed him, he said in a low voice--


"I pray ye, ladies, seem not to observe his humours, nor show surprise

when his memory doth lapse--it will grieve you to note how it doth stick

at every trifle."


Meantime Lord St. John was saying in Tom's ear--


"Please you, sir, keep diligently in mind his majesty's desire. Remember

all thou canst--SEEM to remember all else.  Let them not perceive that

thou art much changed from thy wont, for thou knowest how tenderly thy

old play-fellows bear thee in their hearts and how 'twould grieve them.

Art willing, sir, that I remain?--and thine uncle?"


Tom signified assent with a gesture and a murmured word, for he was

already learning, and in his simple heart was resolved to acquit himself

as best he might, according to the King's command.


In spite of every precaution, the conversation among the young people

became a little embarrassing at times.  More than once, in truth, Tom was

near to breaking down and confessing himself unequal to his tremendous

part; but the tact of the Princess Elizabeth saved him, or a word from

one or the other of the vigilant lords, thrown in apparently by chance,

had the same happy effect.  Once the little Lady Jane turned to Tom and

dismayed him with this question,--


"Hast paid thy duty to the Queen's majesty to-day, my lord?"


Tom hesitated, looked distressed, and was about to stammer out something

at hazard, when Lord St. John took the word and answered for him with the

easy grace of a courtier accustomed to encounter delicate difficulties

and to be ready for them--


"He hath indeed, madam, and she did greatly hearten him, as touching his

majesty's condition; is it not so, your highness?"


Tom mumbled something that stood for assent, but felt that he was getting

upon dangerous ground.  Somewhat later it was mentioned that Tom was to

study no more at present, whereupon her little ladyship exclaimed--


"'Tis a pity, 'tis a pity!  Thou wert proceeding bravely.  But bide thy

time in patience:  it will not be for long.  Thou'lt yet be graced with

learning like thy father, and make thy tongue master of as many languages

as his, good my prince."


"My father!" cried Tom, off his guard for the moment.  "I trow he cannot

speak his own so that any but the swine that kennel in the styes may tell

his meaning; and as for learning of any sort soever--"


He looked up and encountered a solemn warning in my Lord St. John's eyes.


He stopped, blushed, then continued low and sadly: "Ah, my malady

persecuteth me again, and my mind wandereth.  I meant the King's grace no



"We know it, sir," said the Princess Elizabeth, taking her 'brother's'

hand between her two palms, respectfully but caressingly; "trouble not

thyself as to that.  The fault is none of thine, but thy distemper's."


"Thou'rt a gentle comforter, sweet lady," said Tom, gratefully, "and my

heart moveth me to thank thee for't, an' I may be so bold."


Once the giddy little Lady Jane fired a simple Greek phrase at Tom.  The

Princess Elizabeth's quick eye saw by the serene blankness of the

target's front that the shaft was overshot; so she tranquilly delivered a

return volley of sounding Greek on Tom's behalf, and then straightway

changed the talk to other matters.


Time wore on pleasantly, and likewise smoothly, on the whole. Snags and

sandbars grew less and less frequent, and Tom grew more and more at his

ease, seeing that all were so lovingly bent upon helping him and

overlooking his mistakes.  When it came out that the little ladies were

to accompany him to the Lord Mayor's banquet in the evening, his heart

gave a bound of relief and delight, for he felt that he should not be

friendless, now, among that multitude of strangers; whereas, an hour

earlier, the idea of their going with him would have been an

insupportable terror to him.


Tom's guardian angels, the two lords, had had less comfort in the

interview than the other parties to it.  They felt much as if they were

piloting a great ship through a dangerous channel; they were on the alert

constantly, and found their office no child's play. Wherefore, at last,

when the ladies' visit was drawing to a close and the Lord Guilford

Dudley was announced, they not only felt that their charge had been

sufficiently taxed for the present, but also that they themselves were

not in the best condition to take their ship back and make their anxious

voyage all over again.  So they respectfully advised Tom to excuse

himself, which he was very glad to do, although a slight shade of

disappointment might have been observed upon my Lady Jane's face when she

heard the splendid stripling denied admittance.


There was a pause now, a sort of waiting silence which Tom could not

understand.  He glanced at Lord Hertford, who gave him a sign--but he

failed to understand that also.  The ready Elizabeth came to the rescue

with her usual easy grace.  She made reverence and said--


"Have we leave of the prince's grace my brother to go?"


Tom said--


"Indeed your ladyships can have whatsoever of me they will, for the

asking; yet would I rather give them any other thing that in my poor

power lieth, than leave to take the light and blessing of their presence

hence.  Give ye good den, and God be with ye!" Then he smiled inwardly at

the thought, "'Tis not for nought I have dwelt but among princes in my

reading, and taught my tongue some slight trick of their broidered and

gracious speech withal!"


When the illustrious maidens were gone, Tom turned wearily to his keepers

and said--


"May it please your lordships to grant me leave to go into some corner

and rest me?"


Lord Hertford said--


"So please your highness, it is for you to command, it is for us to obey.

That thou should'st rest is indeed a needful thing, since thou must

journey to the city presently."


He touched a bell, and a page appeared, who was ordered to desire the

presence of Sir William Herbert.  This gentleman came straightway, and

conducted Tom to an inner apartment.  Tom's first movement there was to

reach for a cup of water; but a silk-and-velvet servitor seized it,

dropped upon one knee, and offered it to him on a golden salver.


Next the tired captive sat down and was going to take off his buskins,

timidly asking leave with his eye, but another silk-and-velvet

discomforter went down upon his knees and took the office from him.  He

made two or three further efforts to help himself, but being promptly

forestalled each time, he finally gave up, with a sigh of resignation and

a murmured "Beshrew me, but I marvel they do not require to breathe for

me also!"  Slippered, and wrapped in a sumptuous robe, he laid himself

down at last to rest, but not to sleep, for his head was too full of

thoughts and the room too full of people.  He could not dismiss the

former, so they stayed; he did not know enough to dismiss the latter, so

they stayed also, to his vast regret--and theirs.



Tom's departure had left his two noble guardians alone.  They mused a

while, with much head-shaking and walking the floor, then Lord St. John



"Plainly, what dost thou think?"


"Plainly, then, this.  The King is near his end; my nephew is mad--mad

will mount the throne, and mad remain.  God protect England, since she

will need it!"


"Verily it promiseth so, indeed.  But . . . have you no misgivings as to

. . . as to . . ."


The speaker hesitated, and finally stopped.  He evidently felt that he

was upon delicate ground.  Lord Hertford stopped before him, looked into

his face with a clear, frank eye, and said--


"Speak on--there is none to hear but me.  Misgivings as to what?"


"I am full loth to word the thing that is in my mind, and thou so near to

him in blood, my lord.  But craving pardon if I do offend, seemeth it not

strange that madness could so change his port and manner?--not but that

his port and speech are princely still, but that they DIFFER, in one

unweighty trifle or another, from what his custom was aforetime.  Seemeth

it not strange that madness should filch from his memory his father's

very lineaments; the customs and observances that are his due from such

as be about him; and, leaving him his Latin, strip him of his Greek and

French?  My lord, be not offended, but ease my mind of its disquiet and

receive my grateful thanks.  It haunteth me, his saying he was not the

prince, and so--"


"Peace, my lord, thou utterest treason!  Hast forgot the King's command?

Remember I am party to thy crime if I but listen."


St. John paled, and hastened to say--


"I was in fault, I do confess it.  Betray me not, grant me this grace out

of thy courtesy, and I will neither think nor speak of this thing more.

Deal not hardly with me, sir, else am I ruined."


"I am content, my lord.  So thou offend not again, here or in the ears of

others, it shall be as though thou hadst not spoken.  But thou need'st

not have misgivings.  He is my sister's son; are not his voice, his face,

his form, familiar to me from his cradle? Madness can do all the odd

conflicting things thou seest in him, and more.  Dost not recall how that

the old Baron Marley, being mad, forgot the favour of his own countenance

that he had known for sixty years, and held it was another's; nay, even

claimed he was the son of Mary Magdalene, and that his head was made of

Spanish glass; and, sooth to say, he suffered none to touch it, lest by

mischance some heedless hand might shiver it?  Give thy misgivings

easement, good my lord.  This is the very prince--I know him well--and

soon will be thy king; it may advantage thee to bear this in mind, and

more dwell upon it than the other."


After some further talk, in which the Lord St. John covered up his

mistake as well as he could by repeated protests that his faith was

thoroughly grounded now, and could not be assailed by doubts again, the

Lord Hertford relieved his fellow-keeper, and sat down to keep watch and

ward alone.  He was soon deep in meditation, and evidently the longer he

thought, the more he was bothered.  By-and-by he began to pace the floor

and mutter.


"Tush, he MUST be the prince!  Will any be in all the land maintain there

can be two, not of one blood and birth, so marvellously twinned?  And

even were it so, 'twere yet a stranger miracle that chance should cast

the one into the other's place. Nay, 'tis folly, folly, folly!"


Presently he said--


"Now were he impostor and called himself prince, look you THAT would be

natural; that would be reasonable.  But lived ever an impostor yet, who,

being called prince by the king, prince by the court, prince by all,

DENIED his dignity and pleaded against his exaltation?  NO!  By the soul

of St. Swithin, no!  This is the true prince, gone mad!"




Chapter VII. Tom's first royal dinner.


Somewhat after one in the afternoon, Tom resignedly underwent the ordeal

of being dressed for dinner.  He found himself as finely clothed as

before, but everything different, everything changed, from his ruff to

his stockings.  He was presently conducted with much state to a spacious

and ornate apartment, where a table was already set for one.  Its

furniture was all of massy gold, and beautified with designs which

well-nigh made it priceless, since they were the work of Benvenuto.  The

room was half-filled with noble servitors.  A chaplain said grace, and

Tom was about to fall to, for hunger had long been constitutional with

him, but was interrupted by my lord the Earl of Berkeley, who fastened a

napkin about his neck; for the great post of Diaperers to the Prince of

Wales was hereditary in this nobleman's family.  Tom's cupbearer was

present, and forestalled all his attempts to help himself to wine.  The

Taster to his highness the Prince of Wales was there also, prepared to

taste any suspicious dish upon requirement, and run the risk of being

poisoned.  He was only an ornamental appendage at this time, and was

seldom called upon to exercise his function; but there had been times,

not many generations past, when the office of taster had its perils, and

was not a grandeur to be desired.  Why they did not use a dog or a

plumber seems strange; but all the ways of royalty are strange.  My Lord

d'Arcy, First Groom of the Chamber, was there, to do goodness knows what;

but there he was--let that suffice.  The Lord Chief Butler was there, and

stood behind Tom's chair, overseeing the solemnities, under command of

the Lord Great Steward and the Lord Head Cook, who stood near.  Tom had

three hundred and eighty-four servants beside these; but they were not

all in that room, of course, nor the quarter of them; neither was Tom

aware yet that they existed.


All those that were present had been well drilled within the hour to

remember that the prince was temporarily out of his head, and to be

careful to show no surprise at his vagaries.  These 'vagaries' were soon

on exhibition before them; but they only moved their compassion and their

sorrow, not their mirth.  It was a heavy affliction to them to see the

beloved prince so stricken.


Poor Tom ate with his fingers mainly; but no one smiled at it, or even

seemed to observe it.  He inspected his napkin curiously, and with deep

interest, for it was of a very dainty and beautiful fabric, then said

with simplicity--


"Prithee, take it away, lest in mine unheedfulness it be soiled."


The Hereditary Diaperer took it away with reverent manner, and without

word or protest of any sort.


Tom examined the turnips and the lettuce with interest, and asked what

they were, and if they were to be eaten; for it was only recently that

men had begun to raise these things in England in place of importing them

as luxuries from Holland. {1}  His question was answered with grave

respect, and no surprise manifested.  When he had finished his dessert,

he filled his pockets with nuts; but nobody appeared to be aware of it,

or disturbed by it.  But the next moment he was himself disturbed by it,

and showed discomposure; for this was the only service he had been

permitted to do with his own hands during the meal, and he did not doubt

that he had done a most improper and unprincely thing.  At that moment

the muscles of his nose began to twitch, and the end of that organ to

lift and wrinkle.  This continued, and Tom began to evince a growing

distress.  He looked appealingly, first at one and then another of the

lords about him, and tears came into his eyes.  They sprang forward with

dismay in their faces, and begged to know his trouble.  Tom said with

genuine anguish--


"I crave your indulgence:  my nose itcheth cruelly.  What is the custom

and usage in this emergence?  Prithee, speed, for 'tis but a little time

that I can bear it."


None smiled; but all were sore perplexed, and looked one to the other in

deep tribulation for counsel.  But behold, here was a dead wall, and

nothing in English history to tell how to get over it.  The Master of

Ceremonies was not present:  there was no one who felt safe to venture

upon this uncharted sea, or risk the attempt to solve this solemn

problem.  Alas! there was no Hereditary Scratcher.  Meantime the tears

had overflowed their banks, and begun to trickle down Tom's cheeks.  His

twitching nose was pleading more urgently than ever for relief.  At last

nature broke down the barriers of etiquette:  Tom lifted up an inward

prayer for pardon if he was doing wrong, and brought relief to the

burdened hearts of his court by scratching his nose himself.


His meal being ended, a lord came and held before him a broad, shallow,

golden dish with fragrant rosewater in it, to cleanse his mouth and

fingers with; and my lord the Hereditary Diaperer stood by with a napkin

for his use.  Tom gazed at the dish a puzzled moment or two, then raised

it to his lips, and gravely took a draught.  Then he returned it to the

waiting lord, and said--


"Nay, it likes me not, my lord:  it hath a pretty flavour, but it wanteth



This new eccentricity of the prince's ruined mind made all the hearts

about him ache; but the sad sight moved none to merriment.


Tom's next unconscious blunder was to get up and leave the table just

when the chaplain had taken his stand behind his chair, and with uplifted

hands, and closed, uplifted eyes, was in the act of beginning the

blessing.  Still nobody seemed to perceive that the prince had done a

thing unusual.


By his own request our small friend was now conducted to his private

cabinet, and left there alone to his own devices.  Hanging upon hooks in

the oaken wainscoting were the several pieces of a suit of shining steel

armour, covered all over with beautiful designs exquisitely inlaid in

gold.  This martial panoply belonged to the true prince--a recent present

from Madam Parr the Queen. Tom put on the greaves, the gauntlets, the

plumed helmet, and such other pieces as he could don without assistance,

and for a while was minded to call for help and complete the matter, but

bethought him of the nuts he had brought away from dinner, and the joy it

would be to eat them with no crowd to eye him, and no Grand Hereditaries

to pester him with undesired services; so he restored the pretty things

to their several places, and soon was cracking nuts, and feeling almost

naturally happy for the first time since God for his sins had made him a

prince.  When the nuts were all gone, he stumbled upon some inviting

books in a closet, among them one about the etiquette of the English

court.  This was a prize. He lay down upon a sumptuous divan, and

proceeded to instruct himself with honest zeal.  Let us leave him there

for the present.




Chapter VIII. The question of the Seal.


About five o'clock Henry VIII. awoke out of an unrefreshing nap, and

muttered to himself, "Troublous dreams, troublous dreams! Mine end is now

at hand:  so say these warnings, and my failing pulses do confirm it."

Presently a wicked light flamed up in his eye, and he muttered, "Yet will

not I die till HE go before."


His attendants perceiving that he was awake, one of them asked his

pleasure concerning the Lord Chancellor, who was waiting without.


"Admit him, admit him!" exclaimed the King eagerly.


The Lord Chancellor entered, and knelt by the King's couch, saying--


"I have given order, and, according to the King's command, the peers of

the realm, in their robes, do now stand at the bar of the House, where,

having confirmed the Duke of Norfolk's doom, they humbly wait his

majesty's further pleasure in the matter."


The King's face lit up with a fierce joy.  Said he--


"Lift me up!  In mine own person will I go before my Parliament, and with

mine own hand will I seal the warrant that rids me of--"


His voice failed; an ashen pallor swept the flush from his cheeks; and

the attendants eased him back upon his pillows, and hurriedly assisted

him with restoratives.  Presently he said sorrowfully--


"Alack, how have I longed for this sweet hour! and lo, too late it

cometh, and I am robbed of this so coveted chance.  But speed ye, speed

ye! let others do this happy office sith 'tis denied to me. I put my

Great Seal in commission:  choose thou the lords that shall compose it,

and get ye to your work.  Speed ye, man!  Before the sun shall rise and

set again, bring me his head that I may see it."


"According to the King's command, so shall it be.  Will't please your

majesty to order that the Seal be now restored to me, so that I may forth

upon the business?"


"The Seal?  Who keepeth the Seal but thou?"


"Please your majesty, you did take it from me two days since, saying it

should no more do its office till your own royal hand should use it upon

the Duke of Norfolk's warrant."


"Why, so in sooth I did:  I do remember. . . . What did I with it? . . . I

am very feeble. . . . So oft these days doth my memory play the traitor

with me. . . . 'Tis strange, strange--"


The King dropped into inarticulate mumblings, shaking his grey head

weakly from time to time, and gropingly trying to recollect what he had

done with the Seal.  At last my Lord Hertford ventured to kneel and offer



"Sire, if that I may be so bold, here be several that do remember with me

how that you gave the Great Seal into the hands of his highness the

Prince of Wales to keep against the day that--"


"True, most true!" interrupted the King.  "Fetch it!  Go:  time flieth!"


Lord Hertford flew to Tom, but returned to the King before very long,

troubled and empty-handed.  He delivered himself to this effect--


"It grieveth me, my lord the King, to bear so heavy and unwelcome

tidings; but it is the will of God that the prince's affliction abideth

still, and he cannot recall to mind that he received the Seal.  So came I

quickly to report, thinking it were waste of precious time, and little

worth withal, that any should attempt to search the long array of

chambers and saloons that belong unto his royal high--"


A groan from the King interrupted the lord at this point.  After a little

while his majesty said, with a deep sadness in his tone--


"Trouble him no more, poor child.  The hand of God lieth heavy upon him,

and my heart goeth out in loving compassion for him, and sorrow that I

may not bear his burden on mine old trouble-weighted shoulders, and so

bring him peace."


He closed his eyes, fell to mumbling, and presently was silent. After a

time he opened his eyes again, and gazed vacantly around until his glance

rested upon the kneeling Lord Chancellor. Instantly his face flushed with



"What, thou here yet!  By the glory of God, an' thou gettest not about

that traitor's business, thy mitre shall have holiday the morrow for lack

of a head to grace withal!"


The trembling Chancellor answered--


"Good your Majesty, I cry you mercy!  I but waited for the Seal."


"Man, hast lost thy wits?  The small Seal which aforetime I was wont to

take with me abroad lieth in my treasury.  And, since the Great Seal hath

flown away, shall not it suffice?  Hast lost thy wits?  Begone!  And hark

ye--come no more till thou do bring his head."


The poor Chancellor was not long in removing himself from this dangerous

vicinity; nor did the commission waste time in giving the royal assent to

the work of the slavish Parliament, and appointing the morrow for the

beheading of the premier peer of England, the luckless Duke of Norfolk.





Chapter IX. The river pageant.


At nine in the evening the whole vast river-front of the palace was

blazing with light.  The river itself, as far as the eye could reach

citywards, was so thickly covered with watermen's boats and with

pleasure-barges, all fringed with coloured lanterns, and gently agitated

by the waves, that it resembled a glowing and limitless garden of flowers

stirred to soft motion by summer winds.  The grand terrace of stone steps

leading down to the water, spacious enough to mass the army of a German

principality upon, was a picture to see, with its ranks of royal

halberdiers in polished armour, and its troops of brilliantly costumed

servitors flitting up and down, and to and fro, in the hurry of



Presently a command was given, and immediately all living creatures

vanished from the steps.  Now the air was heavy with the hush of suspense

and expectancy.  As far as one's vision could carry, he might see the

myriads of people in the boats rise up, and shade their eyes from the

glare of lanterns and torches, and gaze toward the palace.


A file of forty or fifty state barges drew up to the steps.  They were

richly gilt, and their lofty prows and sterns were elaborately carved.

Some of them were decorated with banners and streamers; some with

cloth-of-gold and arras embroidered with coats-of-arms; others with

silken flags that had numberless little silver bells fastened to them,

which shook out tiny showers of joyous music whenever the breezes

fluttered them; others of yet higher pretensions, since they belonged to

nobles in the prince's immediate service, had their sides picturesquely

fenced with shields gorgeously emblazoned with armorial bearings.  Each

state barge was towed by a tender.  Besides the rowers, these tenders

carried each a number of men-at-arms in glossy helmet and breastplate,

and a company of musicians.


The advance-guard of the expected procession now appeared in the great

gateway, a troop of halberdiers.  'They were dressed in striped hose of

black and tawny, velvet caps graced at the sides with silver roses, and

doublets of murrey and blue cloth, embroidered on the front and back with

the three feathers, the prince's blazon, woven in gold.  Their halberd

staves were covered with crimson velvet, fastened with gilt nails, and

ornamented with gold tassels.  Filing off on the right and left, they

formed two long lines, extending from the gateway of the palace to the

water's edge.  A thick rayed cloth or carpet was then unfolded, and laid

down between them by attendants in the gold-and-crimson liveries of the

prince.  This done, a flourish of trumpets resounded from within.  A

lively prelude arose from the musicians on the water; and two ushers with

white wands marched with a slow and stately pace from the portal.  They

were followed by an officer bearing the civic mace, after whom came

another carrying the city's sword; then several sergeants of the city

guard, in their full accoutrements, and with badges on their sleeves;

then the Garter King-at-arms, in his tabard; then several Knights of the

Bath, each with a white lace on his sleeve; then their esquires; then the

judges, in their robes of scarlet and coifs; then the Lord High

Chancellor of England, in a robe of scarlet, open before, and purfled

with minever; then a deputation of aldermen, in their scarlet cloaks; and

then the heads of the different civic companies, in their robes of state.

Now came twelve French gentlemen, in splendid habiliments, consisting

of pourpoints of white damask barred with gold, short mantles of

crimson velvet lined with violet taffeta, and carnation coloured

hauts-de-chausses, and took their way down the steps.  They were of the

suite of the French ambassador, and were followed by twelve cavaliers of

the suite of the Spanish ambassador, clothed in black velvet, unrelieved

by any ornament.  Following these came several great English nobles with

their attendants.'


There was a flourish of trumpets within; and the Prince's uncle, the

future great Duke of Somerset, emerged from the gateway, arrayed in a

'doublet of black cloth-of-gold, and a cloak of crimson satin flowered

with gold, and ribanded with nets of silver.'  He turned, doffed his

plumed cap, bent his body in a low reverence, and began to step backward,

bowing at each step.  A prolonged trumpet-blast followed, and a

proclamation, "Way for the high and mighty the Lord Edward, Prince of

Wales!"  High aloft on the palace walls a long line of red tongues of

flame leapt forth with a thunder-crash; the massed world on the river

burst into a mighty roar of welcome; and Tom Canty, the cause and hero of

it all, stepped into view and slightly bowed his princely head.


He was 'magnificently habited in a doublet of white satin, with a

front-piece of purple cloth-of-tissue, powdered with diamonds, and edged

with ermine.  Over this he wore a mantle of white cloth-of-gold, pounced

with the triple-feathered crest, lined with blue satin, set with pearls

and precious stones, and fastened with a clasp of brilliants.  About his

neck hung the order of the Garter, and several princely foreign orders;'

and wherever light fell upon him jewels responded with a blinding flash.

O Tom Canty, born in a hovel, bred in the gutters of London, familiar

with rags and dirt and misery, what a spectacle is this!




Chapter X. The Prince in the toils.


We left John Canty dragging the rightful prince into Offal Court, with a

noisy and delighted mob at his heels.  There was but one person in it who

offered a pleading word for the captive, and he was not heeded; he was

hardly even heard, so great was the turmoil.  The Prince continued to

struggle for freedom, and to rage against the treatment he was suffering,

until John Canty lost what little patience was left in him, and raised

his oaken cudgel in a sudden fury over the Prince's head.  The single

pleader for the lad sprang to stop the man's arm, and the blow descended

upon his own wrist.  Canty roared out--


"Thou'lt meddle, wilt thou?  Then have thy reward."


His cudgel crashed down upon the meddler's head:  there was a groan, a

dim form sank to the ground among the feet of the crowd, and the next

moment it lay there in the dark alone.  The mob pressed on, their

enjoyment nothing disturbed by this episode.


Presently the Prince found himself in John Canty's abode, with the door

closed against the outsiders.  By the vague light of a tallow candle

which was thrust into a bottle, he made out the main features of the

loathsome den, and also the occupants of it.  Two frowsy girls and a

middle-aged woman cowered against the wall in one corner, with the aspect

of animals habituated to harsh usage, and expecting and dreading it now.

From another corner stole a withered hag with streaming grey hair and

malignant eyes.  John Canty said to this one--


"Tarry!  There's fine mummeries here.  Mar them not till thou'st enjoyed

them:  then let thy hand be heavy as thou wilt.  Stand forth, lad.  Now

say thy foolery again, an thou'st not forgot it. Name thy name.  Who art



The insulted blood mounted to the little prince's cheek once more, and he

lifted a steady and indignant gaze to the man's face and said--


"'Tis but ill-breeding in such as thou to command me to speak.  I tell

thee now, as I told thee before, I am Edward, Prince of Wales, and none



The stunning surprise of this reply nailed the hag's feet to the floor

where she stood, and almost took her breath.  She stared at the Prince in

stupid amazement, which so amused her ruffianly son, that he burst into a

roar of laughter.  But the effect upon Tom Canty's mother and sisters was

different.  Their dread of bodily injury gave way at once to distress of

a different sort.  They ran forward with woe and dismay in their faces,



"Oh, poor Tom, poor lad!"


The mother fell on her knees before the Prince, put her hands upon his

shoulders, and gazed yearningly into his face through her rising tears.

Then she said--


"Oh, my poor boy!  Thy foolish reading hath wrought its woeful work at

last, and ta'en thy wit away.  Ah! why did'st thou cleave to it when I so

warned thee 'gainst it?  Thou'st broke thy mother's heart."


The Prince looked into her face, and said gently--


"Thy son is well, and hath not lost his wits, good dame.  Comfort thee:

let me to the palace where he is, and straightway will the King my father

restore him to thee."


"The King thy father!  Oh, my child! unsay these words that be freighted

with death for thee, and ruin for all that be near to thee.  Shake of

this gruesome dream.  Call back thy poor wandering memory.  Look upon me.

Am not I thy mother that bore thee, and loveth thee?"


The Prince shook his head and reluctantly said--


"God knoweth I am loth to grieve thy heart; but truly have I never looked

upon thy face before."


The woman sank back to a sitting posture on the floor, and, covering her

eyes with her hands, gave way to heart-broken sobs and wailings.


"Let the show go on!" shouted Canty.  "What, Nan!--what, Bet! mannerless

wenches! will ye stand in the Prince's presence?  Upon your knees, ye

pauper scum, and do him reverence!"


He followed this with another horse-laugh.  The girls began to plead

timidly for their brother; and Nan said--


"An thou wilt but let him to bed, father, rest and sleep will heal his

madness:  prithee, do."


"Do, father," said Bet; "he is more worn than is his wont.  To-morrow

will he be himself again, and will beg with diligence, and come not empty

home again."


This remark sobered the father's joviality, and brought his mind to

business.  He turned angrily upon the Prince, and said--


"The morrow must we pay two pennies to him that owns this hole; two

pennies, mark ye--all this money for a half-year's rent, else out of this

we go.  Show what thou'st gathered with thy lazy begging."


The Prince said--


"Offend me not with thy sordid matters.  I tell thee again I am the

King's son."


A sounding blow upon the Prince's shoulder from Canty's broad palm sent

him staggering into goodwife Canty's arms, who clasped him to her breast,

and sheltered him from a pelting rain of cuffs and slaps by interposing

her own person.  The frightened girls retreated to their corner; but the

grandmother stepped eagerly forward to assist her son.  The Prince sprang

away from Mrs. Canty, exclaiming--


"Thou shalt not suffer for me, madam.  Let these swine do their will upon

me alone."


This speech infuriated the swine to such a degree that they set about

their work without waste of time.  Between them they belaboured the boy

right soundly, and then gave the girls and their mother a beating for

showing sympathy for the victim.


"Now," said Canty, "to bed, all of ye.  The entertainment has tired me."


The light was put out, and the family retired.  As soon as the snorings

of the head of the house and his mother showed that they were asleep, the

young girls crept to where the Prince lay, and covered him tenderly from

the cold with straw and rags; and their mother crept to him also, and

stroked his hair, and cried over him, whispering broken words of comfort

and compassion in his ear the while.  She had saved a morsel for him to

eat, also; but the boy's pains had swept away all appetite--at least for

black and tasteless crusts.  He was touched by her brave and costly

defence of him, and by her commiseration; and he thanked her in very

noble and princely words, and begged her to go to her sleep and try to

forget her sorrows.  And he added that the King his father would not let

her loyal kindness and devotion go unrewarded.  This return to his

'madness' broke her heart anew, and she strained him to her breast again

and again, and then went back, drowned in tears, to her bed.


As she lay thinking and mourning, the suggestion began to creep into her

mind that there was an undefinable something about this boy that was

lacking in Tom Canty, mad or sane.  She could not describe it, she could

not tell just what it was, and yet her sharp mother-instinct seemed to

detect it and perceive it.  What if the boy were really not her son,

after all?  Oh, absurd!  She almost smiled at the idea, spite of her

griefs and troubles.  No matter, she found that it was an idea that would

not 'down,' but persisted in haunting her.  It pursued her, it harassed

her, it clung to her, and refused to be put away or ignored.  At last she

perceived that there was not going to be any peace for her until she

should devise a test that should prove, clearly and without question,

whether this lad was her son or not, and so banish these wearing and

worrying doubts.  Ah, yes, this was plainly the right way out of the

difficulty; therefore she set her wits to work at once to contrive that

test.  But it was an easier thing to propose than to accomplish.  She

turned over in her mind one promising test after another, but was obliged

to relinquish them all--none of them were absolutely sure, absolutely

perfect; and an imperfect one could not satisfy her.  Evidently she was

racking her head in vain--it seemed manifest that she must give the

matter up.  While this depressing thought was passing through her mind,

her ear caught the regular breathing of the boy, and she knew he had

fallen asleep.  And while she listened, the measured breathing was broken

by a soft, startled cry, such as one utters in a troubled dream.  This

chance occurrence furnished her instantly with a plan worth all her

laboured tests combined.  She at once set herself feverishly, but

noiselessly, to work to relight her candle, muttering to herself, "Had I

but seen him THEN, I should have known!  Since that day, when he was

little, that the powder burst in his face, he hath never been startled of

a sudden out of his dreams or out of his thinkings, but he hath cast his

hand before his eyes, even as he did that day; and not as others would do

it, with the palm inward, but always with the palm turned outward--I have

seen it a hundred times, and it hath never varied nor ever failed.  Yes,

I shall soon know, now!"


By this time she had crept to the slumbering boy's side, with the candle,

shaded, in her hand.  She bent heedfully and warily over him, scarcely

breathing in her suppressed excitement, and suddenly flashed the light in

his face and struck the floor by his ear with her knuckles.  The

sleeper's eyes sprang wide open, and he cast a startled stare about him

--but he made no special movement with his hands.


The poor woman was smitten almost helpless with surprise and grief; but

she contrived to hide her emotions, and to soothe the boy to sleep again;

then she crept apart and communed miserably with herself upon the

disastrous result of her experiment.  She tried to believe that her Tom's

madness had banished this habitual gesture of his; but she could not do

it.  "No," she said, "his HANDS are not mad; they could not unlearn so

old a habit in so brief a time.  Oh, this is a heavy day for me!"


Still, hope was as stubborn now as doubt had been before; she could not

bring herself to accept the verdict of the test; she must try the thing

again--the failure must have been only an accident; so she startled the

boy out of his sleep a second and a third time, at intervals--with the

same result which had marked the first test; then she dragged herself to

bed, and fell sorrowfully asleep, saying, "But I cannot give him up--oh

no, I cannot, I cannot--he MUST be my boy!"


The poor mother's interruptions having ceased, and the Prince's pains

having gradually lost their power to disturb him, utter weariness at last

sealed his eyes in a profound and restful sleep. Hour after hour slipped

away, and still he slept like the dead. Thus four or five hours passed.

Then his stupor began to lighten. Presently, while half asleep and half

awake, he murmured--


"Sir William!"


After a moment--


"Ho, Sir William Herbert!  Hie thee hither, and list to the strangest

dream that ever . . . Sir William! dost hear?  Man, I did think me

changed to a pauper, and . . . Ho there!  Guards! Sir William!  What! is

there no groom of the chamber in waiting? Alack! it shall go hard with--"


"What aileth thee?" asked a whisper near him.  "Who art thou calling?"


"Sir William Herbert.  Who art thou?"


"I?  Who should I be, but thy sister Nan?  Oh, Tom, I had forgot! Thou'rt

mad yet--poor lad, thou'rt mad yet:  would I had never woke to know it

again!  But prithee master thy tongue, lest we be all beaten till we



The startled Prince sprang partly up, but a sharp reminder from his

stiffened bruises brought him to himself, and he sank back among his foul

straw with a moan and the ejaculation--


"Alas! it was no dream, then!"


In a moment all the heavy sorrow and misery which sleep had banished were

upon him again, and he realised that he was no longer a petted prince in

a palace, with the adoring eyes of a nation upon him, but a pauper, an

outcast, clothed in rags, prisoner in a den fit only for beasts, and

consorting with beggars and thieves.


In the midst of his grief he began to be conscious of hilarious noises

and shoutings, apparently but a block or two away.  The next moment there

were several sharp raps at the door; John Canty ceased from snoring and



"Who knocketh?  What wilt thou?"


A voice answered--


"Know'st thou who it was thou laid thy cudgel on?"


"No.  Neither know I, nor care."


"Belike thou'lt change thy note eftsoons.  An thou would save thy neck,

nothing but flight may stead thee.  The man is this moment delivering up

the ghost.  'Tis the priest, Father Andrew!"


"God-a-mercy!" exclaimed Canty.  He roused his family, and hoarsely

commanded, "Up with ye all and fly--or bide where ye are and perish!"


Scarcely five minutes later the Canty household were in the street and

flying for their lives.  John Canty held the Prince by the wrist, and

hurried him along the dark way, giving him this caution in a low voice--


"Mind thy tongue, thou mad fool, and speak not our name.  I will choose

me a new name, speedily, to throw the law's dogs off the scent.  Mind thy

tongue, I tell thee!"


He growled these words to the rest of the family--


"If it so chance that we be separated, let each make for London Bridge;

whoso findeth himself as far as the last linen-draper's shop on the

bridge, let him tarry there till the others be come, then will we flee

into Southwark together."


At this moment the party burst suddenly out of darkness into light; and

not only into light, but into the midst of a multitude of singing,

dancing, and shouting people, massed together on the river frontage.

There was a line of bonfires stretching as far as one could see, up and

down the Thames; London Bridge was illuminated; Southwark Bridge

likewise; the entire river was aglow with the flash and sheen of coloured

lights; and constant explosions of fireworks filled the skies with an

intricate commingling of shooting splendours and a thick rain of dazzling

sparks that almost turned night into day; everywhere were crowds of

revellers; all London seemed to be at large.


John Canty delivered himself of a furious curse and commanded a retreat;

but it was too late.  He and his tribe were swallowed up in that swarming

hive of humanity, and hopelessly separated from each other in an instant.

We are not considering that the Prince was one of his tribe; Canty still

kept his grip upon him.  The Prince's heart was beating high with hopes

of escape, now.  A burly waterman, considerably exalted with liquor,

found himself rudely shoved by Canty in his efforts to plough through the

crowd; he laid his great hand on Canty's shoulder and said--


"Nay, whither so fast, friend?  Dost canker thy soul with sordid business

when all that be leal men and true make holiday?"


"Mine affairs are mine own, they concern thee not," answered Canty,

roughly; "take away thy hand and let me pass."


"Sith that is thy humour, thou'lt NOT pass, till thou'st drunk to the

Prince of Wales, I tell thee that," said the waterman, barring the way



"Give me the cup, then, and make speed, make speed!"


Other revellers were interested by this time.  They cried out--


"The loving-cup, the loving-cup! make the sour knave drink the

loving-cup, else will we feed him to the fishes."


So a huge loving-cup was brought; the waterman, grasping it by one of its

handles, and with the other hand bearing up the end of an imaginary

napkin, presented it in due and ancient form to Canty, who had to grasp

the opposite handle with one of his hands and take off the lid with the

other, according to ancient custom. {1} This left the Prince hand-free

for a second, of course.  He wasted no time, but dived among the forest

of legs about him and disappeared.  In another moment he could not have

been harder to find, under that tossing sea of life, if its billows had

been the Atlantic's and he a lost sixpence.


He very soon realised this fact, and straightway busied himself about his

own affairs without further thought of John Canty.  He quickly realised

another thing, too.  To wit, that a spurious Prince of Wales was being

feasted by the city in his stead.  He easily concluded that the pauper

lad, Tom Canty, had deliberately taken advantage of his stupendous

opportunity and become a usurper.


Therefore there was but one course to pursue--find his way to the

Guildhall, make himself known, and denounce the impostor.  He also made

up his mind that Tom should be allowed a reasonable time for spiritual

preparation, and then be hanged, drawn and quartered, according to the

law and usage of the day in cases of high treason.




Chapter XI. At Guildhall.


The royal barge, attended by its gorgeous fleet, took its stately way

down the Thames through the wilderness of illuminated boats. The air was

laden with music; the river banks were beruffled with joy-flames; the

distant city lay in a soft luminous glow from its countless invisible

bonfires; above it rose many a slender spire into the sky, incrusted with

sparkling lights, wherefore in their remoteness they seemed like jewelled

lances thrust aloft; as the fleet swept along, it was greeted from the

banks with a continuous hoarse roar of cheers and the ceaseless flash and

boom of artillery.


To Tom Canty, half buried in his silken cushions, these sounds and this

spectacle were a wonder unspeakably sublime and astonishing. To his

little friends at his side, the Princess Elizabeth and the Lady Jane

Grey, they were nothing.


Arrived at the Dowgate, the fleet was towed up the limpid Walbrook (whose

channel has now been for two centuries buried out of sight under acres of

buildings) to Bucklersbury, past houses and under bridges populous with

merry-makers and brilliantly lighted, and at last came to a halt in a

basin where now is Barge Yard, in the centre of the ancient city of

London.  Tom disembarked, and he and his gallant procession crossed

Cheapside and made a short march through the Old Jewry and Basinghall

Street to the Guildhall.


Tom and his little ladies were received with due ceremony by the Lord

Mayor and the Fathers of the City, in their gold chains and scarlet robes

of state, and conducted to a rich canopy of state at the head of the

great hall, preceded by heralds making proclamation, and by the Mace and

the City Sword.  The lords and ladies who were to attend upon Tom and his

two small friends took their places behind their chairs.


At a lower table the Court grandees and other guests of noble degree were

seated, with the magnates of the city; the commoners took places at a

multitude of tables on the main floor of the hall.  From their lofty

vantage-ground the giants Gog and Magog, the ancient guardians of the

city, contemplated the spectacle below them with eyes grown familiar to

it in forgotten generations.  There was a bugle-blast and a proclamation,

and a fat butler appeared in a high perch in the leftward wall, followed

by his servitors bearing with impressive solemnity a royal baron of beef,

smoking hot and ready for the knife.


After grace, Tom (being instructed) rose--and the whole house with him

--and drank from a portly golden loving-cup with the Princess Elizabeth;

from her it passed to the Lady Jane, and then traversed the general

assemblage.  So the banquet began.


By midnight the revelry was at its height.  Now came one of those

picturesque spectacles so admired in that old day.  A description of it

is still extant in the quaint wording of a chronicler who witnessed it:


'Space being made, presently entered a baron and an earl appareled after

the Turkish fashion in long robes of bawdkin powdered with gold; hats on

their heads of crimson velvet, with great rolls of gold, girded with two

swords, called scimitars, hanging by great bawdricks of gold.  Next came

yet another baron and another earl, in two long gowns of yellow satin,

traversed with white satin, and in every bend of white was a bend of

crimson satin, after the fashion of Russia, with furred hats of gray on

their heads; either of them having an hatchet in their hands, and boots

with pykes' (points a foot long), 'turned up.  And after them came a

knight, then the Lord High Admiral, and with him five nobles, in doublets

of crimson velvet, voyded low on the back and before to the cannell-bone,

laced on the breasts with chains of silver; and over that, short cloaks

of crimson satin, and on their heads hats after the dancers' fashion,

with pheasants' feathers in them.  These were appareled after the fashion

of Prussia.  The torchbearers, which were about an hundred, were

appareled in crimson satin and green, like Moors, their faces black.

Next came in a mommarye. Then the minstrels, which were disguised,

danced; and the lords and ladies did wildly dance also, that it was a

pleasure to behold.'


And while Tom, in his high seat, was gazing upon this 'wild' dancing,

lost in admiration of the dazzling commingling of kaleidoscopic colours

which the whirling turmoil of gaudy figures below him presented, the

ragged but real little Prince of Wales was proclaiming his rights and his

wrongs, denouncing the impostor, and clamouring for admission at the

gates of Guildhall! The crowd enjoyed this episode prodigiously, and

pressed forward and craned their necks to see the small rioter.

Presently they began to taunt him and mock at him, purposely to goad him

into a higher and still more entertaining fury.  Tears of mortification

sprang to his eyes, but he stood his ground and defied the mob right

royally.  Other taunts followed, added mockings stung him, and he



"I tell ye again, you pack of unmannerly curs, I am the Prince of Wales!

And all forlorn and friendless as I be, with none to give me word of

grace or help me in my need, yet will not I be driven from my ground, but

will maintain it!"


"Though thou be prince or no prince, 'tis all one, thou be'st a gallant

lad, and not friendless neither!  Here stand I by thy side to prove it;

and mind I tell thee thou might'st have a worser friend than Miles Hendon

and yet not tire thy legs with seeking. Rest thy small jaw, my child; I

talk the language of these base kennel-rats like to a very native."


The speaker was a sort of Don Caesar de Bazan in dress, aspect, and

bearing.  He was tall, trim-built, muscular.  His doublet and trunks were

of rich material, but faded and threadbare, and their gold-lace

adornments were sadly tarnished; his ruff was rumpled and damaged; the

plume in his slouched hat was broken and had a bedraggled and

disreputable look; at his side he wore a long rapier in a rusty iron

sheath; his swaggering carriage marked him at once as a ruffler of the

camp.  The speech of this fantastic figure was received with an explosion

of jeers and laughter.  Some cried, "'Tis another prince in disguise!"

"'Ware thy tongue, friend:  belike he is dangerous!"  "Marry, he looketh

it--mark his eye!"  "Pluck the lad from him--to the horse-pond wi' the



Instantly a hand was laid upon the Prince, under the impulse of this

happy thought; as instantly the stranger's long sword was out and the

meddler went to the earth under a sounding thump with the flat of it.

The next moment a score of voices shouted, "Kill the dog!  Kill him!

Kill him!" and the mob closed in on the warrior, who backed himself

against a wall and began to lay about him with his long weapon like a

madman.  His victims sprawled this way and that, but the mob-tide poured

over their prostrate forms and dashed itself against the champion with

undiminished fury.  His moments seemed numbered, his destruction certain,

when suddenly a trumpet-blast sounded, a voice shouted, "Way for the

King's messenger!" and a troop of horsemen came charging down upon the

mob, who fled out of harm's reach as fast as their legs could carry them.

The bold stranger caught up the Prince in his arms, and was soon far away

from danger and the multitude.


Return we within the Guildhall.  Suddenly, high above the jubilant roar

and thunder of the revel, broke the clear peal of a bugle-note.  There

was instant silence--a deep hush; then a single voice rose--that of the

messenger from the palace--and began to pipe forth a proclamation, the

whole multitude standing listening.


The closing words, solemnly pronounced, were--


"The King is dead!"


The great assemblage bent their heads upon their breasts with one accord;

remained so, in profound silence, a few moments; then all sank upon their

knees in a body, stretched out their hands toward Tom, and a mighty shout

burst forth that seemed to shake the building--


"Long live the King!"


Poor Tom's dazed eyes wandered abroad over this stupefying spectacle, and

finally rested dreamily upon the kneeling princesses beside him, a

moment, then upon the Earl of Hertford. A sudden purpose dawned in his

face.  He said, in a low tone, at Lord Hertford's ear--


"Answer me truly, on thy faith and honour!  Uttered I here a command, the

which none but a king might hold privilege and prerogative to utter,

would such commandment be obeyed, and none rise up to say me nay?"


"None, my liege, in all these realms.  In thy person bides the majesty of

England.  Thou art the king--thy word is law."


Tom responded, in a strong, earnest voice, and with great animation--


"Then shall the king's law be law of mercy, from this day, and never more

be law of blood!  Up from thy knees and away!  To the Tower, and say the

King decrees the Duke of Norfolk shall not die!" {1}


The words were caught up and carried eagerly from lip to lip far and wide

over the hall, and as Hertford hurried from the presence, another

prodigious shout burst forth--


"The reign of blood is ended!  Long live Edward, King of England!"




Chapter XII. The Prince and his deliverer.


As soon as Miles Hendon and the little prince were clear of the mob, they

struck down through back lanes and alleys toward the river.  Their way

was unobstructed until they approached London Bridge; then they ploughed

into the multitude again, Hendon keeping a fast grip upon the Prince's

--no, the King's--wrist.  The tremendous news was already abroad, and the

boy learned it from a thousand voices at once--"The King is dead!"  The

tidings struck a chill to the heart of the poor little waif, and sent a

shudder through his frame.  He realised the greatness of his loss, and

was filled with a bitter grief; for the grim tyrant who had been such a

terror to others had always been gentle with him.  The tears sprang to

his eyes and blurred all objects.  For an instant he felt himself the

most forlorn, outcast, and forsaken of God's creatures--then another cry

shook the night with its far-reaching thunders:  "Long live King Edward

the Sixth!" and this made his eyes kindle, and thrilled him with pride to

his fingers' ends. "Ah," he thought, "how grand and strange it seems--I



Our friends threaded their way slowly through the throngs upon the

bridge.  This structure, which had stood for six hundred years, and had

been a noisy and populous thoroughfare all that time, was a curious

affair, for a closely packed rank of stores and shops, with family

quarters overhead, stretched along both sides of it, from one bank of the

river to the other.  The Bridge was a sort of town to itself; it had its

inn, its beer-houses, its bakeries, its haberdasheries, its food markets,

its manufacturing industries, and even its church.  It looked upon the

two neighbours which it linked together--London and Southwark--as being

well enough as suburbs, but not otherwise particularly important.  It was

a close corporation, so to speak; it was a narrow town, of a single

street a fifth of a mile long, its population was but a village

population and everybody in it knew all his fellow-townsmen intimately,

and had known their fathers and mothers before them--and all their little

family affairs into the bargain.  It had its aristocracy, of course--its

fine old families of butchers, and bakers, and what-not, who had occupied

the same old premises for five or six hundred years, and knew the great

history of the Bridge from beginning to end, and all its strange legends;

and who always talked bridgy talk, and thought bridgy thoughts, and lied

in a long, level, direct, substantial bridgy way.  It was just the sort

of population to be narrow and ignorant and self-conceited. Children were

born on the Bridge, were reared there, grew to old age, and finally died

without ever having set a foot upon any part of the world but London

Bridge alone.  Such people would naturally imagine that the mighty and

interminable procession which moved through its street night and day,

with its confused roar of shouts and cries, its neighings and bellowing

and bleatings and its muffled thunder-tramp, was the one great thing in

this world, and themselves somehow the proprietors of it.  And so they

were, in effect--at least they could exhibit it from their windows, and

did--for a consideration--whenever a returning king or hero gave it a

fleeting splendour, for there was no place like it for affording a long,

straight, uninterrupted view of marching columns.


Men born and reared upon the Bridge found life unendurably dull and inane

elsewhere.  History tells of one of these who left the Bridge at the age

of seventy-one and retired to the country.  But he could only fret and

toss in his bed; he could not go to sleep, the deep stillness was so

painful, so awful, so oppressive.  When he was worn out with it, at last,

he fled back to his old home, a lean and haggard spectre, and fell

peacefully to rest and pleasant dreams under the lulling music of the

lashing waters and the boom and crash and thunder of London Bridge.


In the times of which we are writing, the Bridge furnished 'object

lessons' in English history for its children--namely, the livid and

decaying heads of renowned men impaled upon iron spikes atop of its

gateways.  But we digress.


Hendon's lodgings were in the little inn on the Bridge.  As he neared the

door with his small friend, a rough voice said--


"So, thou'rt come at last!  Thou'lt not escape again, I warrant thee; and

if pounding thy bones to a pudding can teach thee somewhat, thou'lt not

keep us waiting another time, mayhap."--and John Canty put out his hand to

seize the boy.


Miles Hendon stepped in the way and said--


"Not too fast, friend.  Thou art needlessly rough, methinks.  What is the

lad to thee?"


"If it be any business of thine to make and meddle in others' affairs, he

is my son."


"'Tis a lie!" cried the little King, hotly.


"Boldly said, and I believe thee, whether thy small headpiece be sound or

cracked, my boy.  But whether this scurvy ruffian be thy father or no,

'tis all one, he shall not have thee to beat thee and abuse, according to

his threat, so thou prefer to bide with me."


"I do, I do--I know him not, I loathe him, and will die before I will go

with him."


"Then 'tis settled, and there is nought more to say."


"We will see, as to that!" exclaimed John Canty, striding past Hendon to

get at the boy; "by force shall he--"


"If thou do but touch him, thou animated offal, I will spit thee like a

goose!" said Hendon, barring the way and laying his hand upon his sword

hilt.  Canty drew back.  "Now mark ye," continued Hendon, "I took this

lad under my protection when a mob of such as thou would have mishandled

him, mayhap killed him; dost imagine I will desert him now to a worser

fate?--for whether thou art his father or no--and sooth to say, I think

it is a lie--a decent swift death were better for such a lad than life in

such brute hands as thine.  So go thy ways, and set quick about it, for I

like not much bandying of words, being not over-patient in my nature."


John Canty moved off, muttering threats and curses, and was swallowed

from sight in the crowd.  Hendon ascended three flights of stairs to his

room, with his charge, after ordering a meal to be sent thither.  It was

a poor apartment, with a shabby bed and some odds and ends of old

furniture in it, and was vaguely lighted by a couple of sickly candles.

The little King dragged himself to the bed and lay down upon it, almost

exhausted with hunger and fatigue.  He had been on his feet a good part

of a day and a night (for it was now two or three o'clock in the

morning), and had eaten nothing meantime.  He murmured drowsily--


"Prithee call me when the table is spread," and sank into a deep sleep



A smile twinkled in Hendon's eye, and he said to himself--


"By the mass, the little beggar takes to one's quarters and usurps one's

bed with as natural and easy a grace as if he owned them--with never a

by-your-leave or so-please-it-you, or anything of the sort.  In his

diseased ravings he called himself the Prince of Wales, and bravely doth

he keep up the character.  Poor little friendless rat, doubtless his mind

has been disordered with ill-usage.  Well, I will be his friend; I have

saved him, and it draweth me strongly to him; already I love the

bold-tongued little rascal.  How soldier-like he faced the smutty rabble

and flung back his high defiance!  And what a comely, sweet and gentle

face he hath, now that sleep hath conjured away its troubles and its

griefs. I will teach him; I will cure his malady; yea, I will be his

elder brother, and care for him and watch over him; and whoso would shame

him or do him hurt may order his shroud, for though I be burnt for it he

shall need it!"


He bent over the boy and contemplated him with kind and pitying interest,

tapping the young cheek tenderly and smoothing back the tangled curls

with his great brown hand.  A slight shiver passed over the boy's form.

Hendon muttered--


"See, now, how like a man it was to let him lie here uncovered and fill

his body with deadly rheums.  Now what shall I do? 'twill wake him to

take him up and put him within the bed, and he sorely needeth sleep."


He looked about for extra covering, but finding none, doffed his doublet

and wrapped the lad in it, saying, "I am used to nipping air and scant

apparel, 'tis little I shall mind the cold!"--then walked up and down the

room, to keep his blood in motion, soliloquising as before.


"His injured mind persuades him he is Prince of Wales; 'twill be odd to

have a Prince of Wales still with us, now that he that WAS the prince is

prince no more, but king--for this poor mind is set upon the one fantasy,

and will not reason out that now it should cast by the prince and call

itself the king. . . If my father liveth still, after these seven years

that I have heard nought from home in my foreign dungeon, he will welcome

the poor lad and give him generous shelter for my sake; so will my good

elder brother, Arthur; my other brother, Hugh--but I will crack his crown

an HE interfere, the fox-hearted, ill-conditioned animal! Yes, thither

will we fare--and straightway, too."


A servant entered with a smoking meal, disposed it upon a small deal

table, placed the chairs, and took his departure, leaving such cheap

lodgers as these to wait upon themselves.  The door slammed after him,

and the noise woke the boy, who sprang to a sitting posture, and shot a

glad glance about him; then a grieved look came into his face and he

murmured to himself, with a deep sigh, "Alack, it was but a dream, woe is

me!"  Next he noticed Miles Hendon's doublet--glanced from that to

Hendon, comprehended the sacrifice that had been made for him, and said,



"Thou art good to me, yes, thou art very good to me.  Take it and put it

on--I shall not need it more."


Then he got up and walked to the washstand in the corner and stood there,

waiting.  Hendon said in a cheery voice--


"We'll have a right hearty sup and bite, now, for everything is savoury

and smoking hot, and that and thy nap together will make thee a little

man again, never fear!"


The boy made no answer, but bent a steady look, that was filled with

grave surprise, and also somewhat touched with impatience, upon the tall

knight of the sword.  Hendon was puzzled, and said--


"What's amiss?"


"Good sir, I would wash me."


"Oh, is that all?  Ask no permission of Miles Hendon for aught thou

cravest.  Make thyself perfectly free here, and welcome, with all that

are his belongings."


Still the boy stood, and moved not; more, he tapped the floor once or

twice with his small impatient foot.  Hendon was wholly perplexed.  Said



"Bless us, what is it?"


"Prithee pour the water, and make not so many words!"


Hendon, suppressing a horse-laugh, and saying to himself, "By all the

saints, but this is admirable!" stepped briskly forward and did the small

insolent's bidding; then stood by, in a sort of stupefaction, until the

command, "Come--the towel!" woke him sharply up.  He took up a towel,

from under the boy's nose, and handed it to him without comment.  He now

proceeded to comfort his own face with a wash, and while he was at it his

adopted child seated himself at the table and prepared to fall to.

Hendon despatched his ablutions with alacrity, then drew back the other

chair and was about to place himself at table, when the boy said,



"Forbear!  Wouldst sit in the presence of the King?"


This blow staggered Hendon to his foundations.  He muttered to himself,

"Lo, the poor thing's madness is up with the time!  It hath changed with

the great change that is come to the realm, and now in fancy is he KING!

Good lack, I must humour the conceit, too--there is no other way--faith,

he would order me to the Tower, else!"


And pleased with this jest, he removed the chair from the table, took his

stand behind the King, and proceeded to wait upon him in the courtliest

way he was capable of.


While the King ate, the rigour of his royal dignity relaxed a little, and

with his growing contentment came a desire to talk. He said--"I think

thou callest thyself Miles Hendon, if I heard thee aright?"


"Yes, Sire," Miles replied; then observed to himself, "If I MUST humour

the poor lad's madness, I must 'Sire' him, I must 'Majesty' him, I must

not go by halves, I must stick at nothing that belongeth to the part I

play, else shall I play it ill and work evil to this charitable and

kindly cause."


The King warmed his heart with a second glass of wine, and said--"I would

know thee--tell me thy story.  Thou hast a gallant way with thee, and a

noble--art nobly born?"


"We are of the tail of the nobility, good your Majesty.  My father is a

baronet--one of the smaller lords by knight service {2}--Sir Richard

Hendon of Hendon Hall, by Monk's Holm in Kent."


"The name has escaped my memory.  Go on--tell me thy story."


"'Tis not much, your Majesty, yet perchance it may beguile a short

half-hour for want of a better.  My father, Sir Richard, is very rich,

and of a most generous nature.  My mother died whilst I was yet a boy.  I

have two brothers:  Arthur, my elder, with a soul like to his father's;

and Hugh, younger than I, a mean spirit, covetous, treacherous, vicious,

underhanded--a reptile.  Such was he from the cradle; such was he ten

years past, when I last saw him--a ripe rascal at nineteen, I being

twenty then, and Arthur twenty-two.  There is none other of us but the

Lady Edith, my cousin--she was sixteen then--beautiful, gentle, good, the

daughter of an earl, the last of her race, heiress of a great fortune and

a lapsed title.  My father was her guardian.  I loved her and she loved

me; but she was betrothed to Arthur from the cradle, and Sir Richard

would not suffer the contract to be broken.  Arthur loved another maid,

and bade us be of good cheer and hold fast to the hope that delay and

luck together would some day give success to our several causes.  Hugh

loved the Lady Edith's fortune, though in truth he said it was herself he

loved--but then 'twas his way, alway, to say the one thing and mean the

other.  But he lost his arts upon the girl; he could deceive my father,

but none else.  My father loved him best of us all, and trusted and

believed him; for he was the youngest child, and others hated him--these

qualities being in all ages sufficient to win a parent's dearest love;

and he had a smooth persuasive tongue, with an admirable gift of lying

--and these be qualities which do mightily assist a blind affection to

cozen itself.  I was wild--in troth I might go yet farther and say VERY

wild, though 'twas a wildness of an innocent sort, since it hurt none but

me, brought shame to none, nor loss, nor had in it any taint of crime or

baseness, or what might not beseem mine honourable degree.


"Yet did my brother Hugh turn these faults to good account--he seeing

that our brother Arthur's health was but indifferent, and hoping the

worst might work him profit were I swept out of the path--so--but 'twere

a long tale, good my liege, and little worth the telling.  Briefly, then,

this brother did deftly magnify my faults and make them crimes; ending

his base work with finding a silken ladder in mine apartments--conveyed

thither by his own means--and did convince my father by this, and

suborned evidence of servants and other lying knaves, that I was minded

to carry off my Edith and marry with her in rank defiance of his will.


"Three years of banishment from home and England might make a soldier and

a man of me, my father said, and teach me some degree of wisdom.  I

fought out my long probation in the continental wars, tasting sumptuously

of hard knocks, privation, and adventure; but in my last battle I was

taken captive, and during the seven years that have waxed and waned since

then, a foreign dungeon hath harboured me.  Through wit and courage I won

to the free air at last, and fled hither straight; and am but just

arrived, right poor in purse and raiment, and poorer still in knowledge

of what these dull seven years have wrought at Hendon Hall, its people

and belongings.  So please you, sir, my meagre tale is told."


"Thou hast been shamefully abused!" said the little King, with a flashing

eye.  "But I will right thee--by the cross will I!  The King hath said



Then, fired by the story of Miles's wrongs, he loosed his tongue and

poured the history of his own recent misfortunes into the ears of his

astonished listener.  When he had finished, Miles said to himself--


"Lo, what an imagination he hath!  Verily, this is no common mind; else,

crazed or sane, it could not weave so straight and gaudy a tale as this

out of the airy nothings wherewith it hath wrought this curious romaunt.

Poor ruined little head, it shall not lack friend or shelter whilst I

bide with the living.  He shall never leave my side; he shall be my pet,

my little comrade.  And he shall be cured!--ay, made whole and sound

--then will he make himself a name--and proud shall I be to say, 'Yes, he

is mine--I took him, a homeless little ragamuffin, but I saw what was in

him, and I said his name would be heard some day--behold him, observe

him--was I right?'"


The King spoke--in a thoughtful, measured voice--


"Thou didst save me injury and shame, perchance my life, and so my crown.

Such service demandeth rich reward.  Name thy desire, and so it be within

the compass of my royal power, it is thine."


This fantastic suggestion startled Hendon out of his reverie.  He was

about to thank the King and put the matter aside with saying he had only

done his duty and desired no reward, but a wiser thought came into his

head, and he asked leave to be silent a few moments and consider the

gracious offer--an idea which the King gravely approved, remarking that

it was best to be not too hasty with a thing of such great import.


Miles reflected during some moments, then said to himself, "Yes, that is

the thing to do--by any other means it were impossible to get at it--and

certes, this hour's experience has taught me 'twould be most wearing and

inconvenient to continue it as it is. Yes, I will propose it; 'twas a

happy accident that I did not throw the chance away."  Then he dropped

upon one knee and said--


"My poor service went not beyond the limit of a subject's simple duty,

and therefore hath no merit; but since your Majesty is pleased to hold it

worthy some reward, I take heart of grace to make petition to this

effect.  Near four hundred years ago, as your grace knoweth, there being

ill blood betwixt John, King of England, and the King of France, it was

decreed that two champions should fight together in the lists, and so

settle the dispute by what is called the arbitrament of God.  These two

kings, and the Spanish king, being assembled to witness and judge the

conflict, the French champion appeared; but so redoubtable was he, that

our English knights refused to measure weapons with him.  So the matter,

which was a weighty one, was like to go against the English monarch by

default.  Now in the Tower lay the Lord de Courcy, the mightiest arm in

England, stripped of his honours and possessions, and wasting with long

captivity.  Appeal was made to him; he gave assent, and came forth

arrayed for battle; but no sooner did the Frenchman glimpse his huge

frame and hear his famous name but he fled away, and the French king's

cause was lost.  King John restored De Courcy's titles and possessions,

and said, 'Name thy wish and thou shalt have it, though it cost me half

my kingdom;' whereat De Courcy, kneeling, as I do now, made answer,

'This, then, I ask, my liege; that I and my successors may have and hold

the privilege of remaining covered in the presence of the kings of

England, henceforth while the throne shall last.' The boon was granted,

as your Majesty knoweth; and there hath been no time, these four hundred

years, that that line has failed of an heir; and so, even unto this day,

the head of that ancient house still weareth his hat or helm before the

King's Majesty, without let or hindrance, and this none other may do. {3}

Invoking this precedent in aid of my prayer, I beseech the King to grant

to me but this one grace and privilege--to my more than sufficient

reward--and none other, to wit:  that I and my heirs, for ever, may SIT

in the presence of the Majesty of England!"


"Rise, Sir Miles Hendon, Knight," said the King, gravely--giving the

accolade with Hendon's sword--"rise, and seat thyself.  Thy petition is

granted.  Whilst England remains, and the crown continues, the privilege

shall not lapse."


His Majesty walked apart, musing, and Hendon dropped into a chair at

table, observing to himself, "'Twas a brave thought, and hath wrought me

a mighty deliverance; my legs are grievously wearied. An I had not

thought of that, I must have had to stand for weeks, till my poor lad's

wits are cured."  After a little, he went on, "And so I am become a

knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows! A most odd and strange

position, truly, for one so matter-of-fact as I.  I will not laugh--no,

God forbid, for this thing which is so substanceless to me is REAL to

him.  And to me, also, in one way, it is not a falsity, for it reflects

with truth the sweet and generous spirit that is in him."  After a pause:

"Ah, what if he should call me by my fine title before folk!--there'd be

a merry contrast betwixt my glory and my raiment!  But no matter, let him

call me what he will, so it please him; I shall be content."




Chapter XIII. The disappearance of the Prince.


A heavy drowsiness presently fell upon the two comrades.  The King said--


"Remove these rags."--meaning his clothing.


Hendon disapparelled the boy without dissent or remark, tucked him up in

bed, then glanced about the room, saying to himself, ruefully, "He hath

taken my bed again, as before--marry, what shall _I_ do?"  The little

King observed his perplexity, and dissipated it with a word.  He said,



"Thou wilt sleep athwart the door, and guard it."  In a moment more he

was out of his troubles, in a deep slumber.


"Dear heart, he should have been born a king!" muttered Hendon,

admiringly; "he playeth the part to a marvel."


Then he stretched himself across the door, on the floor, saying



"I have lodged worse for seven years; 'twould be but ill gratitude to Him

above to find fault with this."


He dropped asleep as the dawn appeared.  Toward noon he rose, uncovered

his unconscious ward--a section at a time--and took his measure with a

string.  The King awoke, just as he had completed his work, complained of

the cold, and asked what he was doing.


"'Tis done, now, my liege," said Hendon; "I have a bit of business

outside, but will presently return; sleep thou again--thou needest it.

There--let me cover thy head also--thou'lt be warm the sooner."


The King was back in dreamland before this speech was ended. Miles

slipped softly out, and slipped as softly in again, in the course of

thirty or forty minutes, with a complete second-hand suit of boy's

clothing, of cheap material, and showing signs of wear; but tidy, and

suited to the season of the year.  He seated himself, and began to

overhaul his purchase, mumbling to himself--


"A longer purse would have got a better sort, but when one has not the

long purse one must be content with what a short one may do--


"'There was a woman in our town, In our town did dwell--'


"He stirred, methinks--I must sing in a less thunderous key; 'tis not

good to mar his sleep, with this journey before him, and he so wearied

out, poor chap . . . This garment--'tis well enough--a stitch here and

another one there will set it aright.  This other is better, albeit a

stitch or two will not come amiss in it, likewise . . . THESE be very

good and sound, and will keep his small feet warm and dry--an odd new

thing to him, belike, since he has doubtless been used to foot it bare,

winters and summers the same . . . Would thread were bread, seeing one

getteth a year's sufficiency for a farthing, and such a brave big needle

without cost, for mere love.  Now shall I have the demon's own time to

thread it!"


And so he had.  He did as men have always done, and probably always will

do, to the end of time--held the needle still, and tried to thrust the

thread through the eye, which is the opposite of a woman's way.  Time and

time again the thread missed the mark, going sometimes on one side of the

needle, sometimes on the other, sometimes doubling up against the shaft;

but he was patient, having been through these experiences before, when he

was soldiering.  He succeeded at last, and took up the garment that had

lain waiting, meantime, across his lap, and began his work.


"The inn is paid--the breakfast that is to come, included--and there is

wherewithal left to buy a couple of donkeys and meet our little costs for

the two or three days betwixt this and the plenty that awaits us at

Hendon Hall--


"'She loved her hus--'


"Body o' me!  I have driven the needle under my nail! . . . It matters

little--'tis not a novelty--yet 'tis not a convenience, neither. . . .

We shall be merry there, little one, never doubt it! Thy troubles will

vanish there, and likewise thy sad distemper--


"'She loved her husband dearilee, But another man--'


"These be noble large stitches!"--holding the garment up and viewing it

admiringly--"they have a grandeur and a majesty that do cause these small

stingy ones of the tailor-man to look mightily paltry and plebeian--


"'She loved her husband dearilee, But another man he loved she,--'


"Marry, 'tis done--a goodly piece of work, too, and wrought with

expedition.  Now will I wake him, apparel him, pour for him, feed him,

and then will we hie us to the mart by the Tabard Inn in Southwark and

--be pleased to rise, my liege!--he answereth not--what ho, my liege!--of a

truth must I profane his sacred person with a touch, sith his slumber is

deaf to speech.  What!"


He threw back the covers--the boy was gone!


He stared about him in speechless astonishment for a moment; noticed for

the first time that his ward's ragged raiment was also missing; then he

began to rage and storm and shout for the innkeeper.  At that moment a

servant entered with the breakfast.


"Explain, thou limb of Satan, or thy time is come!" roared the man of

war, and made so savage a spring toward the waiter that this latter could

not find his tongue, for the instant, for fright and surprise.  "Where is

the boy?"


In disjointed and trembling syllables the man gave the information



"You were hardly gone from the place, your worship, when a youth came

running and said it was your worship's will that the boy come to you

straight, at the bridge-end on the Southwark side.  I brought him hither;

and when he woke the lad and gave his message, the lad did grumble some

little for being disturbed 'so early,' as he called it, but straightway

trussed on his rags and went with the youth, only saying it had been

better manners that your worship came yourself, not sent a stranger--and



"And so thou'rt a fool!--a fool and easily cozened--hang all thy breed!

Yet mayhap no hurt is done.  Possibly no harm is meant the boy.  I will

go fetch him.  Make the table ready.  Stay! the coverings of the bed were

disposed as if one lay beneath them--happened that by accident?"


"I know not, good your worship.  I saw the youth meddle with them--he

that came for the boy."


"Thousand deaths!  'Twas done to deceive me--'tis plain 'twas done to

gain time.  Hark ye!  Was that youth alone?"


"All alone, your worship."


"Art sure?"


"Sure, your worship."


"Collect thy scattered wits--bethink thee--take time, man."


After a moment's thought, the servant said--


"When he came, none came with him; but now I remember me that as the two

stepped into the throng of the Bridge, a ruffian-looking man plunged out

from some near place; and just as he was joining them--"


"What THEN?--out with it!" thundered the impatient Hendon, interrupting.


"Just then the crowd lapped them up and closed them in, and I saw no

more, being called by my master, who was in a rage because a joint that

the scrivener had ordered was forgot, though I take all the saints to

witness that to blame ME for that miscarriage were like holding the

unborn babe to judgment for sins com--"


"Out of my sight, idiot!  Thy prating drives me mad!  Hold! Whither art

flying?  Canst not bide still an instant?  Went they toward Southwark?"


"Even so, your worship--for, as I said before, as to that detestable

joint, the babe unborn is no whit more blameless than--"


"Art here YET!  And prating still!  Vanish, lest I throttle thee!" The

servitor vanished.  Hendon followed after him, passed him, and plunged

down the stairs two steps at a stride, muttering, "'Tis that scurvy

villain that claimed he was his son.  I have lost thee, my poor little

mad master--it is a bitter thought--and I had come to love thee so!  No!

by book and bell, NOT lost!  Not lost, for I will ransack the land till I

find thee again.  Poor child, yonder is his breakfast--and mine, but I

have no hunger now; so, let the rats have it--speed, speed! that is the

word!"  As he wormed his swift way through the noisy multitudes upon the

Bridge he several times said to himself--clinging to the thought as if it

were a particularly pleasing one--"He grumbled, but he WENT--he went,

yes, because he thought Miles Hendon asked it, sweet lad--he would ne'er

have done it for another, I know it well."




Chapter XIV. 'Le Roi est mort--vive le Roi.'


Toward daylight of the same morning, Tom Canty stirred out of a heavy

sleep and opened his eyes in the dark.  He lay silent a few moments,

trying to analyse his confused thoughts and impressions, and get some

sort of meaning out of them; then suddenly he burst out in a rapturous

but guarded voice--


"I see it all, I see it all!  Now God be thanked, I am indeed awake at

last!  Come, joy! vanish, sorrow!  Ho, Nan! Bet! kick off your straw and

hie ye hither to my side, till I do pour into your unbelieving ears the

wildest madcap dream that ever the spirits of night did conjure up to

astonish the soul of man withal! . . . Ho, Nan, I say!  Bet!"


A dim form appeared at his side, and a voice said--


"Wilt deign to deliver thy commands?"


"Commands? . . . O, woe is me, I know thy voice!  Speak thou--who am I?"


"Thou?  In sooth, yesternight wert thou the Prince of Wales; to-day art

thou my most gracious liege, Edward, King of England."


Tom buried his head among his pillows, murmuring plaintively--


"Alack, it was no dream!  Go to thy rest, sweet sir--leave me to my



Tom slept again, and after a time he had this pleasant dream.  He thought

it was summer, and he was playing, all alone, in the fair meadow called

Goodman's Fields, when a dwarf only a foot high, with long red whiskers

and a humped back, appeared to him suddenly and said, "Dig by that

stump."  He did so, and found twelve bright new pennies--wonderful

riches!  Yet this was not the best of it; for the dwarf said--


"I know thee.  Thou art a good lad, and a deserving; thy distresses shall

end, for the day of thy reward is come.  Dig here every seventh day, and

thou shalt find always the same treasure, twelve bright new pennies.

Tell none--keep the secret."


Then the dwarf vanished, and Tom flew to Offal Court with his prize,

saying to himself, "Every night will I give my father a penny; he will

think I begged it, it will glad his heart, and I shall no more be beaten.

One penny every week the good priest that teacheth me shall have; mother,

Nan, and Bet the other four. We be done with hunger and rags, now, done

with fears and frets and savage usage."


In his dream he reached his sordid home all out of breath, but with eyes

dancing with grateful enthusiasm; cast four of his pennies into his

mother's lap and cried out--


"They are for thee!--all of them, every one!--for thee and Nan and Bet

--and honestly come by, not begged nor stolen!"


The happy and astonished mother strained him to her breast and exclaimed--


"It waxeth late--may it please your Majesty to rise?"


Ah! that was not the answer he was expecting.  The dream had snapped

asunder--he was awake.


He opened his eyes--the richly clad First Lord of the Bedchamber was

kneeling by his couch.  The gladness of the lying dream faded away--the

poor boy recognised that he was still a captive and a king.  The room was

filled with courtiers clothed in purple mantles--the mourning colour--and

with noble servants of the monarch.  Tom sat up in bed and gazed out from

the heavy silken curtains upon this fine company.


The weighty business of dressing began, and one courtier after another

knelt and paid his court and offered to the little King his condolences

upon his heavy loss, whilst the dressing proceeded.  In the beginning, a

shirt was taken up by the Chief Equerry in Waiting, who passed it to the

First Lord of the Buckhounds, who passed it to the Second Gentleman of

the Bedchamber, who passed it to the Head Ranger of Windsor Forest, who

passed it to the Third Groom of the Stole, who passed it to the

Chancellor Royal of the Duchy of Lancaster, who passed it to the Master

of the Wardrobe, who passed it to Norroy King-at-Arms, who passed it to

the Constable of the Tower, who passed it to the Chief Steward of the

Household, who passed it to the Hereditary Grand Diaperer, who passed it

to the Lord High Admiral of England, who passed it to the Archbishop of

Canterbury, who passed it to the First Lord of the Bedchamber, who took

what was left of it and put it on Tom.  Poor little wondering chap, it

reminded him of passing buckets at a fire.


Each garment in its turn had to go through this slow and solemn process;

consequently Tom grew very weary of the ceremony; so weary that he felt

an almost gushing gratefulness when he at last saw his long silken hose

begin the journey down the line and knew that the end of the matter was

drawing near.  But he exulted too soon.  The First Lord of the Bedchamber

received the hose and was about to encase Tom's legs in them, when a

sudden flush invaded his face and he hurriedly hustled the things back

into the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury with an astounded look and

a whispered, "See, my lord!" pointing to a something connected with the

hose.  The Archbishop paled, then flushed, and passed the hose to the

Lord High Admiral, whispering, "See, my lord!"  The Admiral passed the

hose to the Hereditary Grand Diaperer, and had hardly breath enough in

his body to ejaculate, "See, my lord!"  The hose drifted backward along

the line, to the Chief Steward of the Household, the Constable of the

Tower, Norroy King-at-Arms, the Master of the Wardrobe, the Chancellor

Royal of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Third Groom of the Stole, the Head

Ranger of Windsor Forest, the Second Gentleman of the Bedchamber, the

First Lord of the Buckhounds,--accompanied always with that amazed and

frightened "See! see!"--till they finally reached the hands of the Chief

Equerry in Waiting, who gazed a moment, with a pallid face, upon what had

caused all this dismay, then hoarsely whispered, "Body of my life, a tag

gone from a truss-point!--to the Tower with the Head Keeper of the King's

Hose!"--after which he leaned upon the shoulder of the First Lord of the

Buckhounds to regather his vanished strength whilst fresh hose, without

any damaged strings to them, were brought.


But all things must have an end, and so in time Tom Canty was in a

condition to get out of bed.  The proper official poured water, the

proper official engineered the washing, the proper official stood by with

a towel, and by-and-by Tom got safely through the purifying stage and was

ready for the services of the Hairdresser-royal.  When he at length

emerged from this master's hands, he was a gracious figure and as pretty

as a girl, in his mantle and trunks of purple satin, and purple-plumed

cap.  He now moved in state toward his breakfast-room, through the midst

of the courtly assemblage; and as he passed, these fell back, leaving his

way free, and dropped upon their knees.


After breakfast he was conducted, with regal ceremony, attended by his

great officers and his guard of fifty Gentlemen Pensioners bearing gilt

battle-axes, to the throne-room, where he proceeded to transact business

of state.  His 'uncle,' Lord Hertford, took his stand by the throne, to

assist the royal mind with wise counsel.


The body of illustrious men named by the late King as his executors

appeared, to ask Tom's approval of certain acts of theirs--rather a form,

and yet not wholly a form, since there was no Protector as yet.  The

Archbishop of Canterbury made report of the decree of the Council of

Executors concerning the obsequies of his late most illustrious Majesty,

and finished by reading the signatures of the Executors, to wit:  the

Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lord Chancellor of England; William Lord

St. John; John Lord Russell; Edward Earl of Hertford; John Viscount

Lisle; Cuthbert Bishop of Durham--


Tom was not listening--an earlier clause of the document was puzzling

him.  At this point he turned and whispered to Lord Hertford--


"What day did he say the burial hath been appointed for?"


"The sixteenth of the coming month, my liege."


"'Tis a strange folly.  Will he keep?"


Poor chap, he was still new to the customs of royalty; he was used to

seeing the forlorn dead of Offal Court hustled out of the way with a very

different sort of expedition.  However, the Lord Hertford set his mind at

rest with a word or two.


A secretary of state presented an order of the Council appointing the

morrow at eleven for the reception of the foreign ambassadors, and

desired the King's assent.


Tom turned an inquiring look toward Hertford, who whispered--


"Your Majesty will signify consent.  They come to testify their royal

masters' sense of the heavy calamity which hath visited your Grace and

the realm of England."


Tom did as he was bidden.  Another secretary began to read a preamble

concerning the expenses of the late King's household, which had amounted

to 28,000 pounds during the preceding six months--a sum so vast that it

made Tom Canty gasp; he gasped again when the fact appeared that 20,000

pounds of this money was still owing and unpaid; {4} and once more when

it appeared that the King's coffers were about empty, and his twelve

hundred servants much embarrassed for lack of the wages due them.  Tom

spoke out, with lively apprehension--


"We be going to the dogs, 'tis plain.  'Tis meet and necessary that we

take a smaller house and set the servants at large, sith they be of no

value but to make delay, and trouble one with offices that harass the

spirit and shame the soul, they misbecoming any but a doll, that hath nor

brains nor hands to help itself withal.  I remember me of a small house

that standeth over against the fish-market, by Billingsgate--"


A sharp pressure upon Tom's arm stopped his foolish tongue and sent a

blush to his face; but no countenance there betrayed any sign that this

strange speech had been remarked or given concern.


A secretary made report that forasmuch as the late King had provided in

his will for conferring the ducal degree upon the Earl of Hertford and

raising his brother, Sir Thomas Seymour, to the peerage, and likewise

Hertford's son to an earldom, together with similar aggrandisements to

other great servants of the Crown, the Council had resolved to hold a

sitting on the 16th of February for the delivering and confirming of

these honours, and that meantime, the late King not having granted, in

writing, estates suitable to the support of these dignities, the Council,

knowing his private wishes in that regard, had thought proper to grant to

Seymour '500 pound lands,' and to Hertford's son '800 pound lands, and

300 pound of the next bishop's lands which should fall vacant,'--his

present Majesty being willing. {5}


Tom was about to blurt out something about the propriety of paying the

late King's debts first, before squandering all this money, but a timely

touch upon his arm, from the thoughtful Hertford, saved him this

indiscretion; wherefore he gave the royal assent, without spoken comment,

but with much inward discomfort.  While he sat reflecting a moment over

the ease with which he was doing strange and glittering miracles, a happy

thought shot into his mind:  why not make his mother Duchess of Offal

Court, and give her an estate?  But a sorrowful thought swept it

instantly away: he was only a king in name, these grave veterans and

great nobles were his masters; to them his mother was only the creature

of a diseased mind; they would simply listen to his project with

unbelieving ears, then send for the doctor.


The dull work went tediously on.  Petitions were read, and proclamations,

patents, and all manner of wordy, repetitious, and wearisome papers

relating to the public business; and at last Tom sighed pathetically and

murmured to himself, "In what have I offended, that the good God should

take me away from the fields and the free air and the sunshine, to shut

me up here and make me a king and afflict me so?"  Then his poor muddled

head nodded a while and presently drooped to his shoulder; and the

business of the empire came to a standstill for want of that august

factor, the ratifying power.  Silence ensued around the slumbering child,

and the sages of the realm ceased from their deliberations.


During the forenoon, Tom had an enjoyable hour, by permission of his

keepers, Hertford and St. John, with the Lady Elizabeth and the little

Lady Jane Grey; though the spirits of the princesses were rather subdued

by the mighty stroke that had fallen upon the royal house; and at the end

of the visit his 'elder sister'--afterwards the 'Bloody Mary' of history

--chilled him with a solemn interview which had but one merit in his eyes,

its brevity.  He had a few moments to himself, and then a slim lad of

about twelve years of age was admitted to his presence, whose clothing,

except his snowy ruff and the laces about his wrists, was of black,

--doublet, hose, and all.  He bore no badge of mourning but a knot of

purple ribbon on his shoulder.  He advanced hesitatingly, with head bowed

and bare, and dropped upon one knee in front of Tom. Tom sat still and

contemplated him soberly a moment.  Then he said--


"Rise, lad.  Who art thou.  What wouldst have?"


The boy rose, and stood at graceful ease, but with an aspect of concern

in his face.  He said--


"Of a surety thou must remember me, my lord.  I am thy whipping-boy."


"My WHIPPING-boy?"


"The same, your Grace.  I am Humphrey--Humphrey Marlow."


Tom perceived that here was someone whom his keepers ought to have posted

him about.  The situation was delicate.  What should he do?--pretend he

knew this lad, and then betray by his every utterance that he had never

heard of him before?  No, that would not do.  An idea came to his relief:

accidents like this might be likely to happen with some frequency, now

that business urgencies would often call Hertford and St. John from his

side, they being members of the Council of Executors; therefore perhaps

it would be well to strike out a plan himself to meet the requirements of

such emergencies.  Yes, that would be a wise course--he would practise on

this boy, and see what sort of success he might achieve.  So he stroked

his brow perplexedly a moment or two, and presently said--


"Now I seem to remember thee somewhat--but my wit is clogged and dim with



"Alack, my poor master!" ejaculated the whipping-boy, with feeling;

adding, to himself, "In truth 'tis as they said--his mind is gone--alas,

poor soul!  But misfortune catch me, how am I forgetting!  They said one

must not seem to observe that aught is wrong with him."


"'Tis strange how my memory doth wanton with me these days," said Tom.

"But mind it not--I mend apace--a little clue doth often serve to bring

me back again the things and names which had escaped me.  (And not they,

only, forsooth, but e'en such as I ne'er heard before--as this lad shall

see.)  Give thy business speech."


"'Tis matter of small weight, my liege, yet will I touch upon it, an' it

please your Grace.  Two days gone by, when your Majesty faulted thrice in

your Greek--in the morning lessons,--dost remember it?"


"Y-e-s--methinks I do.  (It is not much of a lie--an' I had meddled with

the Greek at all, I had not faulted simply thrice, but forty times.)

Yes, I do recall it, now--go on."


"The master, being wroth with what he termed such slovenly and doltish

work, did promise that he would soundly whip me for it--and--"


"Whip THEE!" said Tom, astonished out of his presence of mind. "Why

should he whip THEE for faults of mine?"


"Ah, your Grace forgetteth again.  He always scourgeth me when thou dost

fail in thy lessons."


"True, true--I had forgot.  Thou teachest me in private--then if I fail,

he argueth that thy office was lamely done, and--"


"Oh, my liege, what words are these?  I, the humblest of thy servants,

presume to teach THEE?"


"Then where is thy blame?  What riddle is this?  Am I in truth gone mad,

or is it thou?  Explain--speak out."


"But, good your Majesty, there's nought that needeth simplifying.--None

may visit the sacred person of the Prince of Wales with blows; wherefore,

when he faulteth, 'tis I that take them; and meet it is and right, for

that it is mine office and my livelihood." {1}


Tom stared at the tranquil boy, observing to himself, "Lo, it is a

wonderful thing,--a most strange and curious trade; I marvel they have

not hired a boy to take my combings and my dressings for me--would heaven

they would!--an' they will do this thing, I will take my lashings in mine

own person, giving God thanks for the change." Then he said aloud--


"And hast thou been beaten, poor friend, according to the promise?"


"No, good your Majesty, my punishment was appointed for this day, and

peradventure it may be annulled, as unbefitting the season of mourning

that is come upon us; I know not, and so have made bold to come hither

and remind your Grace about your gracious promise to intercede in my



"With the master?  To save thee thy whipping?"


"Ah, thou dost remember!"


"My memory mendeth, thou seest.  Set thy mind at ease--thy back shall go

unscathed--I will see to it."


"Oh, thanks, my good lord!" cried the boy, dropping upon his knee again.

"Mayhap I have ventured far enow; and yet--"


Seeing Master Humphrey hesitate, Tom encouraged him to go on, saying he

was "in the granting mood."


"Then will I speak it out, for it lieth near my heart.  Sith thou art no

more Prince of Wales but King, thou canst order matters as thou wilt,

with none to say thee nay; wherefore it is not in reason that thou wilt

longer vex thyself with dreary studies, but wilt burn thy books and turn

thy mind to things less irksome. Then am I ruined, and mine orphan

sisters with me!"


"Ruined?  Prithee how?"


"My back is my bread, O my gracious liege! if it go idle, I starve.  An'

thou cease from study mine office is gone thou'lt need no whipping-boy.

Do not turn me away!"


Tom was touched with this pathetic distress.  He said, with a right royal

burst of generosity--


"Discomfort thyself no further, lad.  Thine office shall be permanent in

thee and thy line for ever."  Then he struck the boy a light blow on the

shoulder with the flat of his sword, exclaiming, "Rise, Humphrey Marlow,

Hereditary Grand Whipping-Boy to the Royal House of England!  Banish

sorrow--I will betake me to my books again, and study so ill that they

must in justice treble thy wage, so mightily shall the business of thine

office be augmented."


The grateful Humphrey responded fervidly--


"Thanks, O most noble master, this princely lavishness doth far surpass

my most distempered dreams of fortune.  Now shall I be happy all my days,

and all the house of Marlow after me."


Tom had wit enough to perceive that here was a lad who could be useful to

him.  He encouraged Humphrey to talk, and he was nothing loath.  He was

delighted to believe that he was helping in Tom's 'cure'; for always, as

soon as he had finished calling back to Tom's diseased mind the various

particulars of his experiences and adventures in the royal school-room

and elsewhere about the palace, he noticed that Tom was then able to

'recall' the circumstances quite clearly.  At the end of an hour Tom

found himself well freighted with very valuable information concerning

personages and matters pertaining to the Court; so he resolved to draw

instruction from this source daily; and to this end he would give order

to admit Humphrey to the royal closet whenever he might come, provided

the Majesty of England was not engaged with other people.  Humphrey had

hardly been dismissed when my Lord Hertford arrived with more trouble for



He said that the Lords of the Council, fearing that some overwrought

report of the King's damaged health might have leaked out and got abroad,

they deemed it wise and best that his Majesty should begin to dine in

public after a day or two--his wholesome complexion and vigorous step,

assisted by a carefully guarded repose of manner and ease and grace of

demeanour, would more surely quiet the general pulse--in case any evil

rumours HAD gone about--than any other scheme that could be devised.


Then the Earl proceeded, very delicately, to instruct Tom as to the

observances proper to the stately occasion, under the rather thin

disguise of 'reminding' him concerning things already known to him; but

to his vast gratification it turned out that Tom needed very little help

in this line--he had been making use of Humphrey in that direction, for

Humphrey had mentioned that within a few days he was to begin to dine in

public; having gathered it from the swift-winged gossip of the Court.

Tom kept these facts to himself, however.


Seeing the royal memory so improved, the Earl ventured to apply a few

tests to it, in an apparently casual way, to find out how far its

amendment had progressed.  The results were happy, here and there, in

spots--spots where Humphrey's tracks remained--and on the whole my lord

was greatly pleased and encouraged.  So encouraged was he, indeed, that

he spoke up and said in a quite hopeful voice--


"Now am I persuaded that if your Majesty will but tax your memory yet a

little further, it will resolve the puzzle of the Great Seal--a loss

which was of moment yesterday, although of none to-day, since its term of

service ended with our late lord's life. May it please your Grace to make

the trial?"


Tom was at sea--a Great Seal was something which he was totally

unacquainted with.  After a moment's hesitation he looked up innocently

and asked--


"What was it like, my lord?"


The Earl started, almost imperceptibly, muttering to himself, "Alack, his

wits are flown again!--it was ill wisdom to lead him on to strain them"

--then he deftly turned the talk to other matters, with the purpose of

sweeping the unlucky seal out of Tom's thoughts--a purpose which easily





Chapter XV. Tom as King.


The next day the foreign ambassadors came, with their gorgeous trains;

and Tom, throned in awful state, received them.  The splendours of the

scene delighted his eye and fired his imagination at first, but the

audience was long and dreary, and so were most of the addresses

--wherefore, what began as a pleasure grew into weariness and home-sickness

by-and-by.  Tom said the words which Hertford put into his mouth from

time to time, and tried hard to acquit himself satisfactorily, but he was

too new to such things, and too ill at ease to accomplish more than a

tolerable success.  He looked sufficiently like a king, but he was ill

able to feel like one.  He was cordially glad when the ceremony was



The larger part of his day was 'wasted'--as he termed it, in his own

mind--in labours pertaining to his royal office.  Even the two hours

devoted to certain princely pastimes and recreations were rather a burden

to him than otherwise, they were so fettered by restrictions and

ceremonious observances.  However, he had a private hour with his

whipping-boy which he counted clear gain, since he got both entertainment

and needful information out of it.


The third day of Tom Canty's kingship came and went much as the others

had done, but there was a lifting of his cloud in one way--he felt less

uncomfortable than at first; he was getting a little used to his

circumstances and surroundings; his chains still galled, but not all the

time; he found that the presence and homage of the great afflicted and

embarrassed him less and less sharply with every hour that drifted over

his head.


But for one single dread, he could have seen the fourth day approach

without serious distress--the dining in public; it was to begin that day.

There were greater matters in the programme--for on that day he would

have to preside at a council which would take his views and commands

concerning the policy to be pursued toward various foreign nations

scattered far and near over the great globe; on that day, too, Hertford

would be formally chosen to the grand office of Lord Protector; other

things of note were appointed for that fourth day, also; but to Tom they

were all insignificant compared with the ordeal of dining all by himself

with a multitude of curious eyes fastened upon him and a multitude of

mouths whispering comments upon his performance,--and upon his mistakes,

if he should be so unlucky as to make any.


Still, nothing could stop that fourth day, and so it came.  It found poor

Tom low-spirited and absent-minded, and this mood continued; he could not

shake it off.  The ordinary duties of the morning dragged upon his hands,

and wearied him.  Once more he felt the sense of captivity heavy upon



Late in the forenoon he was in a large audience-chamber, conversing with

the Earl of Hertford and dully awaiting the striking of the hour

appointed for a visit of ceremony from a considerable number of great

officials and courtiers.


After a little while, Tom, who had wandered to a window and become

interested in the life and movement of the great highway beyond the

palace gates--and not idly interested, but longing with all his heart to

take part in person in its stir and freedom--saw the van of a hooting and

shouting mob of disorderly men, women, and children of the lowest and

poorest degree approaching from up the road.


"I would I knew what 'tis about!" he exclaimed, with all a boy's

curiosity in such happenings.


"Thou art the King!" solemnly responded the Earl, with a reverence.

"Have I your Grace's leave to act?"


"O blithely, yes!  O gladly, yes!" exclaimed Tom excitedly, adding to

himself with a lively sense of satisfaction, "In truth, being a king is

not all dreariness--it hath its compensations and conveniences."


The Earl called a page, and sent him to the captain of the guard with the



"Let the mob be halted, and inquiry made concerning the occasion of its

movement.  By the King's command!"


A few seconds later a long rank of the royal guards, cased in flashing

steel, filed out at the gates and formed across the highway in front of

the multitude.  A messenger returned, to report that the crowd were

following a man, a woman, and a young girl to execution for crimes

committed against the peace and dignity of the realm.


Death--and a violent death--for these poor unfortunates!  The thought

wrung Tom's heart-strings.  The spirit of compassion took control of him,

to the exclusion of all other considerations; he never thought of the

offended laws, or of the grief or loss which these three criminals had

inflicted upon their victims; he could think of nothing but the scaffold

and the grisly fate hanging over the heads of the condemned.  His concern

made him even forget, for the moment, that he was but the false shadow of

a king, not the substance; and before he knew it he had blurted out the



"Bring them here!"


Then he blushed scarlet, and a sort of apology sprung to his lips; but

observing that his order had wrought no sort of surprise in the Earl or

the waiting page, he suppressed the words he was about to utter.  The

page, in the most matter-of-course way, made a profound obeisance and

retired backwards out of the room to deliver the command.  Tom

experienced a glow of pride and a renewed sense of the compensating

advantages of the kingly office. He said to himself, "Truly it is like

what I was used to feel when I read the old priest's tales, and did

imagine mine own self a prince, giving law and command to all, saying 'Do

this, do that,' whilst none durst offer let or hindrance to my will."


Now the doors swung open; one high-sounding title after another was

announced, the personages owning them followed, and the place was quickly

half-filled with noble folk and finery.  But Tom was hardly conscious of

the presence of these people, so wrought up was he and so intensely

absorbed in that other and more interesting matter.  He seated himself

absently in his chair of state, and turned his eyes upon the door with

manifestations of impatient expectancy; seeing which, the company forbore

to trouble him, and fell to chatting a mixture of public business and

court gossip one with another.


In a little while the measured tread of military men was heard

approaching, and the culprits entered the presence in charge of an

under-sheriff and escorted by a detail of the king's guard.  The civil

officer knelt before Tom, then stood aside; the three doomed persons

knelt, also, and remained so; the guard took position behind Tom's chair.

Tom scanned the prisoners curiously. Something about the dress or

appearance of the man had stirred a vague memory in him.  "Methinks I

have seen this man ere now . . . but the when or the where fail me."--

Such was Tom's thought. Just then the man glanced quickly up and quickly

dropped his face again, not being able to endure the awful port of

sovereignty; but the one full glimpse of the face which Tom got was

sufficient.  He said to himself: "Now is the matter clear; this is the

stranger that plucked Giles Witt out of the Thames, and saved his life,

that windy, bitter, first day of the New Year--a brave good deed--pity he

hath been doing baser ones and got himself in this sad case . . . I have

not forgot the day, neither the hour; by reason that an hour after, upon

the stroke of eleven, I did get a hiding by the hand of Gammer Canty

which was of so goodly and admired severity that all that went before or

followed after it were but fondlings and caresses by comparison."


Tom now ordered that the woman and the girl be removed from the presence

for a little time; then addressed himself to the under-sheriff, saying--


"Good sir, what is this man's offence?"


The officer knelt, and answered--


"So please your Majesty, he hath taken the life of a subject by poison."


Tom's compassion for the prisoner, and admiration of him as the daring

rescuer of a drowning boy, experienced a most damaging shock.


"The thing was proven upon him?" he asked.


"Most clearly, sire."


Tom sighed, and said--


"Take him away--he hath earned his death.  'Tis a pity, for he was a

brave heart--na--na, I mean he hath the LOOK of it!"


The prisoner clasped his hands together with sudden energy, and wrung

them despairingly, at the same time appealing imploringly to the 'King'

in broken and terrified phrases--


"O my lord the King, an' thou canst pity the lost, have pity upon me!  I

am innocent--neither hath that wherewith I am charged been more than but

lamely proved--yet I speak not of that; the judgment is gone forth

against me and may not suffer alteration; yet in mine extremity I beg a

boon, for my doom is more than I can bear. A grace, a grace, my lord the

King! in thy royal compassion grant my prayer--give commandment that I be



Tom was amazed.  This was not the outcome he had looked for.


"Odds my life, a strange BOON!  Was it not the fate intended thee?"


"O good my liege, not so!  It is ordered that I be BOILED ALIVE!"


The hideous surprise of these words almost made Tom spring from his

chair.  As soon as he could recover his wits he cried out--


"Have thy wish, poor soul! an' thou had poisoned a hundred men thou

shouldst not suffer so miserable a death."


The prisoner bowed his face to the ground and burst into passionate

expressions of gratitude--ending with--


"If ever thou shouldst know misfortune--which God forefend!--may thy

goodness to me this day be remembered and requited!"


Tom turned to the Earl of Hertford, and said--


"My lord, is it believable that there was warrant for this man's

ferocious doom?"


"It is the law, your Grace--for poisoners.  In Germany coiners be boiled

to death in OIL--not cast in of a sudden, but by a rope let down into the

oil by degrees, and slowly; first the feet, then the legs, then--"


"O prithee no more, my lord, I cannot bear it!" cried Tom, covering his

eyes with his hands to shut out the picture.  "I beseech your good

lordship that order be taken to change this law--oh, let no more poor

creatures be visited with its tortures."


The Earl's face showed profound gratification, for he was a man of

merciful and generous impulses--a thing not very common with his class in

that fierce age.  He said--


"These your Grace's noble words have sealed its doom.  History will

remember it to the honour of your royal house."


The under-sheriff was about to remove his prisoner; Tom gave him a sign

to wait; then he said--


"Good sir, I would look into this matter further.  The man has said his

deed was but lamely proved.  Tell me what thou knowest."


"If the King's grace please, it did appear upon the trial that this man

entered into a house in the hamlet of Islington where one lay sick--three

witnesses say it was at ten of the clock in the morning, and two say it

was some minutes later--the sick man being alone at the time, and

sleeping--and presently the man came forth again and went his way.  The

sick man died within the hour, being torn with spasms and retchings."


"Did any see the poison given?  Was poison found?"


"Marry, no, my liege."


"Then how doth one know there was poison given at all?"


"Please your Majesty, the doctors testified that none die with such

symptoms but by poison."


Weighty evidence, this, in that simple age.  Tom recognised its

formidable nature, and said--


"The doctor knoweth his trade--belike they were right.  The matter hath

an ill-look for this poor man."


"Yet was not this all, your Majesty; there is more and worse. Many

testified that a witch, since gone from the village, none know whither,

did foretell, and speak it privately in their ears, that the sick man

WOULD DIE BY POISON--and more, that a stranger would give it--a stranger

with brown hair and clothed in a worn and common garb; and surely this

prisoner doth answer woundily to the bill.  Please your Majesty to give

the circumstance that solemn weight which is its due, seeing it was



This was an argument of tremendous force in that superstitious day.  Tom

felt that the thing was settled; if evidence was worth anything, this

poor fellow's guilt was proved.  Still he offered the prisoner a chance,



"If thou canst say aught in thy behalf, speak."


"Nought that will avail, my King.  I am innocent, yet cannot I make it

appear.  I have no friends, else might I show that I was not in Islington

that day; so also might I show that at that hour they name I was above a

league away, seeing I was at Wapping Old Stairs; yea more, my King, for I

could show, that whilst they say I was TAKING life, I was SAVING it.  A

drowning boy--"


"Peace!  Sheriff, name the day the deed was done!"


"At ten in the morning, or some minutes later, the first day of the New

Year, most illustrious--"


"Let the prisoner go free--it is the King's will!"


Another blush followed this unregal outburst, and he covered his

indecorum as well as he could by adding--


"It enrageth me that a man should be hanged upon such idle, hare-brained



A low buzz of admiration swept through the assemblage.  It was not

admiration of the decree that had been delivered by Tom, for the

propriety or expediency of pardoning a convicted poisoner was a thing

which few there would have felt justified in either admitting or

admiring--no, the admiration was for the intelligence and spirit which

Tom had displayed.  Some of the low-voiced remarks were to this effect--


"This is no mad king--he hath his wits sound."


"How sanely he put his questions--how like his former natural self was

this abrupt imperious disposal of the matter!"


"God be thanked, his infirmity is spent!  This is no weakling, but a

king.  He hath borne himself like to his own father."


The air being filled with applause, Tom's ear necessarily caught a little

of it.  The effect which this had upon him was to put him greatly at his

ease, and also to charge his system with very gratifying sensations.


However, his juvenile curiosity soon rose superior to these pleasant

thoughts and feelings; he was eager to know what sort of deadly mischief

the woman and the little girl could have been about; so, by his command,

the two terrified and sobbing creatures were brought before him.


"What is it that these have done?" he inquired of the sheriff.


"Please your Majesty, a black crime is charged upon them, and clearly

proven; wherefore the judges have decreed, according to the law, that

they be hanged.  They sold themselves to the devil--such is their crime."


Tom shuddered.  He had been taught to abhor people who did this wicked

thing.  Still, he was not going to deny himself the pleasure of feeding

his curiosity for all that; so he asked--


"Where was this done?--and when?"


"On a midnight in December, in a ruined church, your Majesty."


Tom shuddered again.


"Who was there present?"


"Only these two, your grace--and THAT OTHER."


"Have these confessed?"


"Nay, not so, sire--they do deny it."


"Then prithee, how was it known?"


"Certain witness did see them wending thither, good your Majesty; this

bred the suspicion, and dire effects have since confirmed and justified

it.  In particular, it is in evidence that through the wicked power so

obtained, they did invoke and bring about a storm that wasted all the

region round about.  Above forty witnesses have proved the storm; and

sooth one might have had a thousand, for all had reason to remember it,

sith all had suffered by it."


"Certes this is a serious matter."  Tom turned this dark piece of

scoundrelism over in his mind a while, then asked--


"Suffered the woman also by the storm?"


Several old heads among the assemblage nodded their recognition of the

wisdom of this question.  The sheriff, however, saw nothing consequential

in the inquiry; he answered, with simple directness--


"Indeed did she, your Majesty, and most righteously, as all aver. Her

habitation was swept away, and herself and child left shelterless."


"Methinks the power to do herself so ill a turn was dearly bought. She

had been cheated, had she paid but a farthing for it; that she paid her

soul, and her child's, argueth that she is mad; if she is mad she knoweth

not what she doth, therefore sinneth not."


The elderly heads nodded recognition of Tom's wisdom once more, and one

individual murmured, "An' the King be mad himself, according to report,

then is it a madness of a sort that would improve the sanity of some I

wot of, if by the gentle providence of God they could but catch it."


"What age hath the child?" asked Tom.


"Nine years, please your Majesty."


"By the law of England may a child enter into covenant and sell itself,

my lord?" asked Tom, turning to a learned judge.


"The law doth not permit a child to make or meddle in any weighty matter,

good my liege, holding that its callow wit unfitteth it to cope with the

riper wit and evil schemings of them that are its elders.  The DEVIL may

buy a child, if he so choose, and the child agree thereto, but not an

Englishman--in this latter case the contract would be null and void."


"It seemeth a rude unchristian thing, and ill contrived, that English law

denieth privileges to Englishmen to waste them on the devil!" cried Tom,

with honest heat.


This novel view of the matter excited many smiles, and was stored away in

many heads to be repeated about the Court as evidence of Tom's

originality as well as progress toward mental health.


The elder culprit had ceased from sobbing, and was hanging upon Tom's

words with an excited interest and a growing hope.  Tom noticed this, and

it strongly inclined his sympathies toward her in her perilous and

unfriended situation.  Presently he asked--


"How wrought they to bring the storm?"




This astonished Tom, and also fired his curiosity to fever heat. He said,



"It is wonderful!  Hath it always this dread effect?"


"Always, my liege--at least if the woman desire it, and utter the needful

words, either in her mind or with her tongue."


Tom turned to the woman, and said with impetuous zeal--


"Exert thy power--I would see a storm!"


There was a sudden paling of cheeks in the superstitious assemblage, and

a general, though unexpressed, desire to get out of the place--all of

which was lost upon Tom, who was dead to everything but the proposed

cataclysm.  Seeing a puzzled and astonished look in the woman's face, he

added, excitedly--


"Never fear--thou shalt be blameless.  More--thou shalt go free--none

shall touch thee.  Exert thy power."


"Oh, my lord the King, I have it not--I have been falsely accused."


"Thy fears stay thee.  Be of good heart, thou shalt suffer no harm.  Make

a storm--it mattereth not how small a one--I require nought great or

harmful, but indeed prefer the opposite--do this and thy life is spared

--thou shalt go out free, with thy child, bearing the King's pardon, and

safe from hurt or malice from any in the realm."


The woman prostrated herself, and protested, with tears, that she had no

power to do the miracle, else she would gladly win her child's life

alone, and be content to lose her own, if by obedience to the King's

command so precious a grace might be acquired.


Tom urged--the woman still adhered to her declarations.  Finally he said--


"I think the woman hath said true.  An' MY mother were in her place and

gifted with the devil's functions, she had not stayed a moment to call

her storms and lay the whole land in ruins, if the saving of my forfeit

life were the price she got!  It is argument that other mothers are made

in like mould.  Thou art free, goodwife--thou and thy child--for I do

think thee innocent.  NOW thou'st nought to fear, being pardoned--pull

off thy stockings!--an' thou canst make me a storm, thou shalt be rich!"


The redeemed creature was loud in her gratitude, and proceeded to obey,

whilst Tom looked on with eager expectancy, a little marred by

apprehension; the courtiers at the same time manifesting decided

discomfort and uneasiness.  The woman stripped her own feet and her

little girl's also, and plainly did her best to reward the King's

generosity with an earthquake, but it was all a failure and a

disappointment.  Tom sighed, and said--


"There, good soul, trouble thyself no further, thy power is departed out

of thee.  Go thy way in peace; and if it return to thee at any time,

forget me not, but fetch me a storm." {13}




Chapter XVI. The State Dinner.


The dinner hour drew near--yet strangely enough, the thought brought but

slight discomfort to Tom, and hardly any terror.  The morning's

experiences had wonderfully built up his confidence; the poor little

ash-cat was already more wonted to his strange garret, after four days'

habit, than a mature person could have become in a full month.  A child's

facility in accommodating itself to circumstances was never more

strikingly illustrated.


Let us privileged ones hurry to the great banqueting-room and have a

glance at matters there whilst Tom is being made ready for the imposing

occasion.  It is a spacious apartment, with gilded pillars and pilasters,

and pictured walls and ceilings.  At the door stand tall guards, as rigid

as statues, dressed in rich and picturesque costumes, and bearing

halberds.  In a high gallery which runs all around the place is a band of

musicians and a packed company of citizens of both sexes, in brilliant

attire.  In the centre of the room, upon a raised platform, is Tom's

table. Now let the ancient chronicler speak:


"A gentleman enters the room bearing a rod, and along with him another

bearing a tablecloth, which, after they have both kneeled three times

with the utmost veneration, he spreads upon the table, and after kneeling

again they both retire; then come two others, one with the rod again, the

other with a salt-cellar, a plate, and bread; when they have kneeled as

the others had done, and placed what was brought upon the table, they too

retire with the same ceremonies performed by the first; at last come two

nobles, richly clothed, one bearing a tasting-knife, who, after

prostrating themselves three times in the most graceful manner, approach

and rub the table with bread and salt, with as much awe as if the King

had been present." {6}


So end the solemn preliminaries.  Now, far down the echoing corridors we

hear a bugle-blast, and the indistinct cry, "Place for the King!  Way for

the King's most excellent majesty!"  These sounds are momently repeated

--they grow nearer and nearer--and presently, almost in our faces, the

martial note peals and the cry rings out, "Way for the King!"  At this

instant the shining pageant appears, and files in at the door, with a

measured march. Let the chronicler speak again:--


"First come Gentlemen, Barons, Earls, Knights of the Garter, all richly

dressed and bareheaded; next comes the Chancellor, between two, one of

which carries the royal sceptre, the other the Sword of State in a red

scabbard, studded with golden fleurs-de-lis, the point upwards; next

comes the King himself--whom, upon his appearing, twelve trumpets and

many drums salute with a great burst of welcome, whilst all in the

galleries rise in their places, crying 'God save the King!'  After him

come nobles attached to his person, and on his right and left march his

guard of honour, his fifty Gentlemen Pensioners, with gilt battle-axes."


This was all fine and pleasant.  Tom's pulse beat high, and a glad light

was in his eye.  He bore himself right gracefully, and all the more so

because he was not thinking of how he was doing it, his mind being

charmed and occupied with the blithe sights and sounds about him--and

besides, nobody can be very ungraceful in nicely-fitting beautiful

clothes after he has grown a little used to them--especially if he is for

the moment unconscious of them. Tom remembered his instructions, and

acknowledged his greeting with a slight inclination of his plumed head,

and a courteous "I thank ye, my good people."


He seated himself at table, without removing his cap; and did it without

the least embarrassment; for to eat with one's cap on was the one

solitary royal custom upon which the kings and the Cantys met upon common

ground, neither party having any advantage over the other in the matter

of old familiarity with it.  The pageant broke up and grouped itself

picturesquely, and remained bareheaded.


Now to the sound of gay music the Yeomen of the Guard entered,--"the

tallest and mightiest men in England, they being carefully selected in

this regard,"--but we will let the chronicler tell about it:--


"The Yeomen of the Guard entered, bareheaded, clothed in scarlet, with

golden roses upon their backs; and these went and came, bringing in each

turn a course of dishes, served in plate.  These dishes were received by

a gentleman in the same order they were brought, and placed upon the

table, while the taster gave to each guard a mouthful to eat of the

particular dish he had brought, for fear of any poison."


Tom made a good dinner, notwithstanding he was conscious that hundreds of

eyes followed each morsel to his mouth and watched him eat it with an

interest which could not have been more intense if it had been a deadly

explosive and was expected to blow him up and scatter him all about the

place.  He was careful not to hurry, and equally careful not to do

anything whatever for himself, but wait till the proper official knelt

down and did it for him.  He got through without a mistake--flawless and

precious triumph.


When the meal was over at last and he marched away in the midst of his

bright pageant, with the happy noises in his ears of blaring bugles,

rolling drums, and thundering acclamations, he felt that if he had seen

the worst of dining in public it was an ordeal which he would be glad to

endure several times a day if by that means he could but buy himself free

from some of the more formidable requirements of his royal office.




Chapter XVII. Foo-foo the First.


Miles Hendon hurried along toward the Southwark end of the bridge,

keeping a sharp look-out for the persons he sought, and hoping and

expecting to overtake them presently.  He was disappointed in this,

however.  By asking questions, he was enabled to track them part of the

way through Southwark; then all traces ceased, and he was perplexed as to

how to proceed.  Still, he continued his efforts as best he could during

the rest of the day.  Nightfall found him leg-weary, half-famished, and

his desire as far from accomplishment as ever; so he supped at the Tabard

Inn and went to bed, resolved to make an early start in the morning, and

give the town an exhaustive search.  As he lay thinking and planning, he

presently began to reason thus:  The boy would escape from the ruffian,

his reputed father, if possible; would he go back to London and seek his

former haunts?  No, he would not do that, he would avoid recapture.

What, then, would he do?  Never having had a friend in the world, or a

protector, until he met Miles Hendon, he would naturally try to find that

friend again, provided the effort did not require him to go toward London

and danger.  He would strike for Hendon Hall, that is what he would do,

for he knew Hendon was homeward bound and there he might expect to find

him.  Yes, the case was plain to Hendon--he must lose no more time in

Southwark, but move at once through Kent, toward Monk's Holm, searching

the wood and inquiring as he went.  Let us return to the vanished little

King now.


The ruffian whom the waiter at the inn on the bridge saw 'about to join'

the youth and the King did not exactly join them, but fell in close

behind them and followed their steps.  He said nothing. His left arm was

in a sling, and he wore a large green patch over his left eye; he limped

slightly, and used an oaken staff as a support.  The youth led the King a

crooked course through Southwark, and by-and-by struck into the high road

beyond.  The King was irritated, now, and said he would stop here--it was

Hendon's place to come to him, not his to go to Hendon.  He would not

endure such insolence; he would stop where he was.  The youth said--


"Thou'lt tarry here, and thy friend lying wounded in the wood yonder?  So

be it, then."


The King's manner changed at once.  He cried out--


"Wounded?  And who hath dared to do it?  But that is apart; lead on, lead

on!  Faster, sirrah!  Art shod with lead?  Wounded, is he?  Now though

the doer of it be a duke's son he shall rue it!"


It was some distance to the wood, but the space was speedily traversed.

The youth looked about him, discovered a bough sticking in the ground,

with a small bit of rag tied to it, then led the way into the forest,

watching for similar boughs and finding them at intervals; they were

evidently guides to the point he was aiming at.  By-and-by an open place

was reached, where were the charred remains of a farm-house, and near

them a barn which was falling to ruin and decay.  There was no sign of

life anywhere, and utter silence prevailed.  The youth entered the barn,

the King following eagerly upon his heels.  No one there! The King shot a

surprised and suspicious glance at the youth, and asked--


"Where is he?"


A mocking laugh was his answer.  The King was in a rage in a moment; he

seized a billet of wood and was in the act of charging upon the youth

when another mocking laugh fell upon his ear.  It was from the lame

ruffian who had been following at a distance. The King turned and said



"Who art thou?  What is thy business here?"


"Leave thy foolery," said the man, "and quiet thyself.  My disguise is

none so good that thou canst pretend thou knowest not thy father through



"Thou art not my father.  I know thee not.  I am the King.  If thou hast

hid my servant, find him for me, or thou shalt sup sorrow for what thou

hast done."


John Canty replied, in a stern and measured voice--


"It is plain thou art mad, and I am loath to punish thee;  but if thou

provoke me, I must.  Thy prating doth no harm here, where there are no

ears that need to mind thy follies; yet it is well to practise thy tongue

to wary speech, that it may do no hurt when our quarters change.  I have

done a murder, and may not tarry at home--neither shalt thou, seeing I

need thy service.  My name is changed, for wise reasons; it is Hobbs

--John Hobbs; thine is Jack--charge thy memory accordingly.  Now, then,

speak.  Where is thy mother?  Where are thy sisters?  They came not to

the place appointed--knowest thou whither they went?"


The King answered sullenly--


"Trouble me not with these riddles.  My mother is dead; my sisters are in

the palace."


The youth near by burst into a derisive laugh, and the King would have

assaulted him, but Canty--or Hobbs, as he now called himself--prevented

him, and said--


"Peace, Hugo, vex him not; his mind is astray, and thy ways fret him.

Sit thee down, Jack, and quiet thyself; thou shalt have a morsel to eat,



Hobbs and Hugo fell to talking together, in low voices, and the King

removed himself as far as he could from their disagreeable company.  He

withdrew into the twilight of the farther end of the barn, where he found

the earthen floor bedded a foot deep with straw.  He lay down here, drew

straw over himself in lieu of blankets, and was soon absorbed in

thinking.  He had many griefs, but the minor ones were swept almost into

forgetfulness by the supreme one, the loss of his father.  To the rest of

the world the name of Henry VIII. brought a shiver, and suggested an ogre

whose nostrils breathed destruction and whose hand dealt scourgings and

death; but to this boy the name brought only sensations of pleasure; the

figure it invoked wore a countenance that was all gentleness and

affection.  He called to mind a long succession of loving passages

between his father and himself, and dwelt fondly upon them, his unstinted

tears attesting how deep and real was the grief that possessed his heart.

As the afternoon wasted away, the lad, wearied with his troubles, sank

gradually into a tranquil and healing slumber.


After a considerable time--he could not tell how long--his senses

struggled to a half-consciousness, and as he lay with closed eyes vaguely

wondering where he was and what had been happening, he noted a murmurous

sound, the sullen beating of rain upon the roof. A snug sense of comfort

stole over him, which was rudely broken, the next moment, by a chorus of

piping cackles and coarse laughter.  It startled him disagreeably, and he

unmuffled his head to see whence this interruption proceeded.  A grim and

unsightly picture met his eye.  A bright fire was burning in the middle

of the floor, at the other end of the barn; and around it, and lit

weirdly up by the red glare, lolled and sprawled the motliest company of

tattered gutter-scum and ruffians, of both sexes, he had ever read or

dreamed of.  There were huge stalwart men, brown with exposure,

long-haired, and clothed in fantastic rags; there were middle-sized

youths, of truculent countenance, and similarly clad; there were blind

mendicants, with patched or bandaged eyes; crippled ones, with wooden

legs and crutches; diseased ones, with running sores peeping from

ineffectual wrappings; there was a villain-looking pedlar with his pack;

a knife-grinder, a tinker, and a barber-surgeon, with the implements of

their trades; some of the females were hardly-grown girls, some were at

prime, some were old and wrinkled hags, and all were loud, brazen,

foul-mouthed; and all soiled and slatternly; there were three sore-faced

babies; there were a couple of starveling curs, with strings about their

necks, whose office was to lead the blind.


The night was come, the gang had just finished feasting, an orgy was

beginning; the can of liquor was passing from mouth to mouth. A general

cry broke forth--


"A song! a song from the Bat and Dick and Dot-and-go-One!"


One of the blind men got up, and made ready by casting aside the patches

that sheltered his excellent eyes, and the pathetic placard which recited

the cause of his calamity.  Dot-and-go-One disencumbered himself of his

timber leg and took his place, upon sound and healthy limbs, beside his

fellow-rascal; then they roared out a rollicking ditty, and were

reinforced by the whole crew, at the end of each stanza, in a rousing

chorus.  By the time the last stanza was reached, the half-drunken

enthusiasm had risen to such a pitch, that everybody joined in and sang

it clear through from the beginning, producing a volume of villainous

sound that made the rafters quake.  These were the inspiring words:--


'Bien Darkman's then, Bouse Mort and Ken, The bien Coves bings awast, On

Chates to trine by Rome Coves dine For his long lib at last. Bing'd out

bien Morts and toure, and toure, Bing out of the Rome vile bine, And

toure the Cove that cloy'd your duds, Upon the Chates to trine.' (From

'The English Rogue.' London, 1665.)


Conversation followed; not in the thieves' dialect of the song, for that

was only used in talk when unfriendly ears might be listening.  In the

course of it, it appeared that 'John Hobbs' was not altogether a new

recruit, but had trained in the gang at some former time.  His later

history was called for, and when he said he had 'accidentally' killed a

man, considerable satisfaction was expressed; when he added that the man

was a priest, he was roundly applauded, and had to take a drink with

everybody.  Old acquaintances welcomed him joyously, and new ones were

proud to shake him by the hand.  He was asked why he had 'tarried away so

many months.'  He answered--


"London is better than the country, and safer, these late years, the laws

be so bitter and so diligently enforced.  An' I had not had that

accident, I had stayed there.  I had resolved to stay, and never more

venture country-wards--but the accident has ended that."


He inquired how many persons the gang numbered now.  The 'ruffler,' or

chief, answered--


"Five and twenty sturdy budges, bulks, files, clapperdogeons and

maunders, counting the dells and doxies and other morts. {7}  Most are

here, the rest are wandering eastward, along the winter lay. We follow at



"I do not see the Wen among the honest folk about me.  Where may he be?"


"Poor lad, his diet is brimstone, now, and over hot for a delicate taste.

He was killed in a brawl, somewhere about midsummer."


"I sorrow to hear that; the Wen was a capable man, and brave."


"That was he, truly.  Black Bess, his dell, is of us yet, but absent on

the eastward tramp; a fine lass, of nice ways and orderly conduct, none

ever seeing her drunk above four days in the seven."


"She was ever strict--I remember it well--a goodly wench and worthy all

commendation.  Her mother was more free and less particular; a

troublesome and ugly-tempered beldame, but furnished with a wit above the



"We lost her through it.  Her gift of palmistry and other sorts of

fortune-telling begot for her at last a witch's name and fame. The law

roasted her to death at a slow fire.  It did touch me to a sort of

tenderness to see the gallant way she met her lot--cursing and reviling

all the crowd that gaped and gazed around her, whilst the flames licked

upward toward her face and catched her thin locks and crackled about her

old gray head--cursing them! why an' thou should'st live a thousand years

thoud'st never hear so masterful a cursing.  Alack, her art died with

her.  There be base and weakling imitations left, but no true blasphemy."


The Ruffler sighed; the listeners sighed in sympathy; a general

depression fell upon the company for a moment, for even hardened outcasts

like these are not wholly dead to sentiment, but are able to feel a

fleeting sense of loss and affliction at wide intervals and under

peculiarly favouring circumstances--as in cases like to this, for

instance, when genius and culture depart and leave no heir.  However, a

deep drink all round soon restored the spirits of the mourners.


"Have any others of our friends fared hardly?" asked Hobbs.


"Some--yes.  Particularly new comers--such as small husbandmen turned

shiftless and hungry upon the world because their farms were taken from

them to be changed to sheep ranges.  They begged, and were whipped at the

cart's tail, naked from the girdle up, till the blood ran; then set in

the stocks to be pelted; they begged again, were whipped again, and

deprived of an ear; they begged a third time--poor devils, what else

could they do?--and were branded on the cheek with a red-hot iron, then

sold for slaves; they ran away, were hunted down, and hanged.  'Tis a

brief tale, and quickly told.  Others of us have fared less hardly. Stand

forth, Yokel, Burns, and Hodge--show your adornments!"


These stood up and stripped away some of their rags, exposing their

backs, criss-crossed with ropy old welts left by the lash; one turned up

his hair and showed the place where a left ear had once been; another

showed a brand upon his shoulder--the letter V--and a mutilated ear; the

third said--


"I am Yokel, once a farmer and prosperous, with loving wife and kids--now

am I somewhat different in estate and calling; and the wife and kids are

gone; mayhap they are in heaven, mayhap in--in the other place--but the

kindly God be thanked, they bide no more in ENGLAND!  My good old

blameless mother strove to earn bread by nursing the sick; one of these

died, the doctors knew not how, so my mother was burnt for a witch,

whilst my babes looked on and wailed.  English law!--up, all, with your

cups!--now all together and with a cheer!--drink to the merciful English

law that delivered HER from the English hell!  Thank you, mates, one and

all.  I begged, from house to house--I and the wife--bearing with us the

hungry kids--but it was crime to be hungry in England--so they stripped

us and lashed us through three towns.  Drink ye all again to the merciful

English law!--for its lash drank deep of my Mary's blood and its blessed

deliverance came quick.  She lies there, in the potter's field, safe from

all harms.  And the kids--well, whilst the law lashed me from town to

town, they starved. Drink, lads--only a drop--a drop to the poor kids,

that never did any creature harm.  I begged again--begged, for a crust,

and got the stocks and lost an ear--see, here bides the stump; I begged

again, and here is the stump of the other to keep me minded of it. And

still I begged again, and was sold for a slave--here on my cheek under

this stain, if I washed it off, ye might see the red S the branding-iron

left there!  A SLAVE!  Do you understand that word?  An English SLAVE!

--that is he that stands before ye.  I have run from my master, and when I

am found--the heavy curse of heaven fall on the law of the land that hath

commanded it!--I shall hang!" {1}


A ringing voice came through the murky air--


"Thou shalt NOT!--and this day the end of that law is come!"


All turned, and saw the fantastic figure of the little King approaching

hurriedly; as it emerged into the light and was clearly revealed, a

general explosion of inquiries broke out--


"Who is it?  WHAT is it?  Who art thou, manikin?"


The boy stood unconfused in the midst of all those surprised and

questioning eyes, and answered with princely dignity--


"I am Edward, King of England."


A wild burst of laughter followed, partly of derision and partly of

delight in the excellence of the joke.  The King was stung.  He said



"Ye mannerless vagrants, is this your recognition of the royal boon I

have promised?"


He said more, with angry voice and excited gesture, but it was lost in a

whirlwind of laughter and mocking exclamations.  'John Hobbs' made

several attempts to make himself heard above the din, and at last



"Mates, he is my son, a dreamer, a fool, and stark mad--mind him not--he

thinketh he IS the King."


"I AM the King," said Edward, turning toward him, "as thou shalt know to

thy cost, in good time.  Thou hast confessed a murder--thou shalt swing

for it."


"THOU'LT betray me?--THOU?  An' I get my hands upon thee--"


"Tut-tut!" said the burley Ruffler, interposing in time to save the King,

and emphasising this service by knocking Hobbs down with his fist, "hast

respect for neither Kings NOR Rufflers?  An' thou insult my presence so

again, I'll hang thee up myself."  Then he said to his Majesty, "Thou

must make no threats against thy mates, lad; and thou must guard thy

tongue from saying evil of them elsewhere.  BE King, if it please thy mad

humour, but be not harmful in it.  Sink the title thou hast uttered--'tis

treason; we be bad men in some few trifling ways, but none among us is so

base as to be traitor to his King; we be loving and loyal hearts, in that

regard.  Note if I speak truth.  Now--all together:  'Long live Edward,

King of England!'"




The response came with such a thundergust from the motley crew that the

crazy building vibrated to the sound.  The little King's face lighted

with pleasure for an instant, and he slightly inclined his head, and said

with grave simplicity--


"I thank you, my good people."


This unexpected result threw the company into convulsions of merriment.

When something like quiet was presently come again, the Ruffler said,

firmly, but with an accent of good nature--


"Drop it, boy, 'tis not wise, nor well.  Humour thy fancy, if thou must,

but choose some other title."


A tinker shrieked out a suggestion--


"Foo-foo the First, King of the Mooncalves!"


The title 'took,' at once, every throat responded, and a roaring shout

went up, of--


"Long live Foo-foo the First, King of the Mooncalves!" followed by

hootings, cat-calls, and peals of laughter.


"Hale him forth, and crown him!"


"Robe him!"


"Sceptre him!"


"Throne him!"


These and twenty other cries broke out at once! and almost before the

poor little victim could draw a breath he was crowned with a tin basin,

robed in a tattered blanket, throned upon a barrel, and sceptred with the

tinker's soldering-iron.  Then all flung themselves upon their knees

about him and sent up a chorus of ironical wailings, and mocking

supplications, whilst they swabbed their eyes with their soiled and

ragged sleeves and aprons--


"Be gracious to us, O sweet King!"


"Trample not upon thy beseeching worms, O noble Majesty!"


"Pity thy slaves, and comfort them with a royal kick!"


"Cheer us and warm us with thy gracious rays, O flaming sun of



"Sanctify the ground with the touch of thy foot, that we may eat the dirt

and be ennobled!"


"Deign to spit upon us, O Sire, that our children's children may tell of

thy princely condescension, and be proud and happy for ever!"


But the humorous tinker made the 'hit' of the evening and carried off the

honours.  Kneeling, he pretended to kiss the King's foot, and was

indignantly spurned; whereupon he went about begging for a rag to paste

over the place upon his face which had been touched by the foot, saying

it must be preserved from contact with the vulgar air, and that he should

make his fortune by going on the highway and exposing it to view at the

rate of a hundred shillings a sight.  He made himself so killingly funny

that he was the envy and admiration of the whole mangy rabble.


Tears of shame and indignation stood in the little monarch's eyes; and

the thought in his heart was, "Had I offered them a deep wrong they could

not be more cruel--yet have I proffered nought but to do them a kindness

--and it is thus they use me for it!"




Chapter XVIII. The Prince with the tramps.


The troop of vagabonds turned out at early dawn, and set forward on their

march.  There was a lowering sky overhead, sloppy ground under foot, and

a winter chill in the air.  All gaiety was gone from the company; some

were sullen and silent, some were irritable and petulant, none were

gentle-humoured, all were thirsty.


The Ruffler put 'Jack' in Hugo's charge, with some brief instructions,

and commanded John Canty to keep away from him and let him alone; he also

warned Hugo not to be too rough with the lad.


After a while the weather grew milder, and the clouds lifted somewhat.

The troop ceased to shiver, and their spirits began to improve.  They

grew more and more cheerful, and finally began to chaff each other and

insult passengers along the highway.  This showed that they were awaking

to an appreciation of life and its joys once more.  The dread in which

their sort was held was apparent in the fact that everybody gave them the

road, and took their ribald insolences meekly, without venturing to talk

back. They snatched linen from the hedges, occasionally in full view of

the owners, who made no protest, but only seemed grateful that they did

not take the hedges, too.


By-and-by they invaded a small farmhouse and made themselves at home

while the trembling farmer and his people swept the larder clean to

furnish a breakfast for them.  They chucked the housewife and her

daughters under the chin whilst receiving the food from their hands, and

made coarse jests about them, accompanied with insulting epithets and

bursts of horse-laughter.  They threw bones and vegetables at the farmer

and his sons, kept them dodging all the time, and applauded uproariously

when a good hit was made. They ended by buttering the head of one of the

daughters who resented some of their familiarities.  When they took their

leave they threatened to come back and burn the house over the heads of

the family if any report of their doings got to the ears of the



About noon, after a long and weary tramp, the gang came to a halt behind

a hedge on the outskirts of a considerable village.  An hour was allowed

for rest, then the crew scattered themselves abroad to enter the village

at different points to ply their various trades--'Jack' was sent with

Hugo.  They wandered hither and thither for some time, Hugo watching for

opportunities to do a stroke of business, but finding none--so he finally



"I see nought to steal; it is a paltry place.  Wherefore we will beg."


"WE, forsooth!  Follow thy trade--it befits thee.  But _I_ will not beg."


"Thou'lt not beg!" exclaimed Hugo, eyeing the King with surprise.

"Prithee, since when hast thou reformed?"


"What dost thou mean?"


"Mean?  Hast thou not begged the streets of London all thy life?"


"I?  Thou idiot!"


"Spare thy compliments--thy stock will last the longer.  Thy father says

thou hast begged all thy days.  Mayhap he lied. Peradventure you will

even make so bold as to SAY he lied," scoffed Hugo.


"Him YOU call my father?  Yes, he lied."


"Come, play not thy merry game of madman so far, mate; use it for thy

amusement, not thy hurt.  An' I tell him this, he will scorch thee finely

for it."


"Save thyself the trouble.  I will tell him."


"I like thy spirit, I do in truth; but I do not admire thy judgment.

Bone-rackings and bastings be plenty enow in this life, without going out

of one's way to invite them.  But a truce to these matters; _I_ believe

your father.  I doubt not he can lie; I doubt not he DOTH lie, upon

occasion, for the best of us do that; but there is no occasion here.  A

wise man does not waste so good a commodity as lying for nought.  But

come; sith it is thy humour to give over begging, wherewithal shall we

busy ourselves?  With robbing kitchens?"


The King said, impatiently--


"Have done with this folly--you weary me!"


Hugo replied, with temper--


"Now harkee, mate; you will not beg, you will not rob; so be it. But I

will tell you what you WILL do.  You will play decoy whilst _I_ beg.

Refuse, an' you think you may venture!"


The King was about to reply contemptuously, when Hugo said, interrupting--


"Peace!  Here comes one with a kindly face.  Now will I fall down in a

fit.  When the stranger runs to me, set you up a wail, and fall upon your

knees, seeming to weep; then cry out as all the devils of misery were in

your belly, and say, 'Oh, sir, it is my poor afflicted brother, and we be

friendless; o' God's name cast through your merciful eyes one pitiful

look upon a sick, forsaken, and most miserable wretch; bestow one little

penny out of thy riches upon one smitten of God and ready to perish!'

--and mind you, keep you ON wailing, and abate not till we bilk him of his

penny, else shall you rue it."


Then immediately Hugo began to moan, and groan, and roll his eyes, and

reel and totter about; and when the stranger was close at hand, down he

sprawled before him, with a shriek, and began to writhe and wallow in the

dirt, in seeming agony.


"O, dear, O dear!" cried the benevolent stranger, "O poor soul, poor

soul, how he doth suffer!  There--let me help thee up."


"O noble sir, forbear, and God love you for a princely gentleman--but it

giveth me cruel pain to touch me when I am taken so.  My brother there

will tell your worship how I am racked with anguish when these fits be

upon me.  A penny, dear sir, a penny, to buy a little food; then leave me

to my sorrows."


"A penny! thou shalt have three, thou hapless creature,"--and he fumbled

in his pocket with nervous haste and got them out. "There, poor lad, take

them and most welcome.  Now come hither, my boy, and help me carry thy

stricken brother to yon house, where--"


"I am not his brother," said the King, interrupting.


"What! not his brother?"


"Oh, hear him!" groaned Hugo, then privately ground his teeth. "He denies

his own brother--and he with one foot in the grave!"


"Boy, thou art indeed hard of heart, if this is thy brother.  For shame!

--and he scarce able to move hand or foot.  If he is not thy brother, who

is he, then?"


"A beggar and a thief!  He has got your money and has picked your pocket

likewise.  An' thou would'st do a healing miracle, lay thy staff over his

shoulders and trust Providence for the rest."


But Hugo did not tarry for the miracle.  In a moment he was up and off

like the wind, the gentleman following after and raising the hue and cry

lustily as he went.  The King, breathing deep gratitude to Heaven for his

own release, fled in the opposite direction, and did not slacken his pace

until he was out of harm's reach.  He took the first road that offered,

and soon put the village behind him.  He hurried along, as briskly as he

could, during several hours, keeping a nervous watch over his shoulder

for pursuit; but his fears left him at last, and a grateful sense of

security took their place.  He recognised, now, that he was hungry, and

also very tired.  So he halted at a farmhouse; but when he was about to

speak, he was cut short and driven rudely away.  His clothes were against



He wandered on, wounded and indignant, and was resolved to put himself in

the way of like treatment no more.  But hunger is pride's master; so, as

the evening drew near, he made an attempt at another farmhouse; but here

he fared worse than before; for he was called hard names and was promised

arrest as a vagrant except he moved on promptly.


The night came on, chilly and overcast; and still the footsore monarch

laboured slowly on.  He was obliged to keep moving, for every time he sat

down to rest he was soon penetrated to the bone with the cold.  All his

sensations and experiences, as he moved through the solemn gloom and the

empty vastness of the night, were new and strange to him.  At intervals

he heard voices approach, pass by, and fade into silence; and as he saw

nothing more of the bodies they belonged to than a sort of formless

drifting blur, there was something spectral and uncanny about it all that

made him shudder.  Occasionally he caught the twinkle of a light--always

far away, apparently--almost in another world; if he heard the tinkle of

a sheep's bell, it was vague, distant, indistinct; the muffled lowing of

the herds floated to him on the night wind in vanishing cadences, a

mournful sound; now and then came the complaining howl of a dog over

viewless expanses of field and forest; all sounds were remote; they made

the little King feel that all life and activity were far removed from

him, and that he stood solitary, companionless, in the centre of a

measureless solitude.


He stumbled along, through the gruesome fascinations of this new

experience, startled occasionally by the soft rustling of the dry leaves

overhead, so like human whispers they seemed to sound; and by-and-by he

came suddenly upon the freckled light of a tin lantern near at hand.  He

stepped back into the shadows and waited.  The lantern stood by the open

door of a barn.  The King waited some time--there was no sound, and

nobody stirring.  He got so cold, standing still, and the hospitable barn

looked so enticing, that at last he resolved to risk everything and

enter. He started swiftly and stealthily, and just as he was crossing the

threshold he heard voices behind him.  He darted behind a cask, within

the barn, and stooped down.  Two farm-labourers came in, bringing the

lantern with them, and fell to work, talking meanwhile.  Whilst they

moved about with the light, the King made good use of his eyes and took

the bearings of what seemed to be a good-sized stall at the further end

of the place, purposing to grope his way to it when he should be left to

himself.  He also noted the position of a pile of horse blankets, midway

of the route, with the intent to levy upon them for the service of the

crown of England for one night.


By-and-by the men finished and went away, fastening the door behind them

and taking the lantern with them.  The shivering King made for the

blankets, with as good speed as the darkness would allow; gathered them

up, and then groped his way safely to the stall.  Of two of the blankets

he made a bed, then covered himself with the remaining two.  He was a

glad monarch, now, though the blankets were old and thin, and not quite

warm enough; and besides gave out a pungent horsey odour that was almost

suffocatingly powerful.


Although the King was hungry and chilly, he was also so tired and

so drowsy that these latter influences soon began to get the

advantage of the former, and he presently dozed off into a state of

semi-consciousness.  Then, just as he was on the point of losing himself

wholly, he distinctly felt something touch him!  He was broad awake in a

moment, and gasping for breath.  The cold horror of that mysterious touch

in the dark almost made his heart stand still.  He lay motionless, and

listened, scarcely breathing. But nothing stirred, and there was no

sound.  He continued to listen, and wait, during what seemed a long time,

but still nothing stirred, and there was no sound.  So he began to drop

into a drowse once more, at last; and all at once he felt that mysterious

touch again!  It was a grisly thing, this light touch from this noiseless

and invisible presence; it made the boy sick with ghostly fears.  What

should he do?  That was the question; but he did not know how to answer

it.  Should he leave these reasonably comfortable quarters and fly from

this inscrutable horror?  But fly whither?  He could not get out of the

barn; and the idea of scurrying blindly hither and thither in the dark,

within the captivity of the four walls, with this phantom gliding after

him, and visiting him with that soft hideous touch upon cheek or shoulder

at every turn, was intolerable.  But to stay where he was, and endure

this living death all night--was that better?  No.  What, then, was there

left to do?  Ah, there was but one course; he knew it well--he must put

out his hand and find that thing!


It was easy to think this; but it was hard to brace himself up to try it.

Three times he stretched his hand a little way out into the dark,

gingerly; and snatched it suddenly back, with a gasp--not because it had

encountered anything, but because he had felt so sure it was just GOING

to.  But the fourth time, he groped a little further, and his hand

lightly swept against something soft and warm.  This petrified him,

nearly, with fright; his mind was in such a state that he could imagine

the thing to be nothing else than a corpse, newly dead and still warm.

He thought he would rather die than touch it again.  But he thought this

false thought because he did not know the immortal strength of human

curiosity. In no long time his hand was tremblingly groping again

--against his judgment, and without his consent--but groping persistently

on, just the same.  It encountered a bunch of long hair; he shuddered,

but followed up the hair and found what seemed to be a warm rope;

followed up the rope and found an innocent calf!--for the rope was not a

rope at all, but the calf's tail.


The King was cordially ashamed of himself for having gotten all that

fright and misery out of so paltry a matter as a slumbering calf; but he

need not have felt so about it, for it was not the calf that frightened

him, but a dreadful non-existent something which the calf stood for; and

any other boy, in those old superstitious times, would have acted and

suffered just as he had done.


The King was not only delighted to find that the creature was only a

calf, but delighted to have the calf's company; for he had been feeling

so lonesome and friendless that the company and comradeship of even this

humble animal were welcome.  And he had been so buffeted, so rudely

entreated by his own kind, that it was a real comfort to him to feel that

he was at last in the society of a fellow-creature that had at least a

soft heart and a gentle spirit, whatever loftier attributes might be

lacking.  So he resolved to waive rank and make friends with the calf.


While stroking its sleek warm back--for it lay near him and within easy

reach--it occurred to him that this calf might be utilised in more ways

than one.  Whereupon he re-arranged his bed, spreading it down close to

the calf; then he cuddled himself up to the calf's back, drew the covers

up over himself and his friend, and in a minute or two was as warm and

comfortable as he had ever been in the downy couches of the regal palace

of Westminster.


Pleasant thoughts came at once; life took on a cheerfuller seeming.  He

was free of the bonds of servitude and crime, free of the companionship

of base and brutal outlaws; he was warm; he was sheltered; in a word, he

was happy.  The night wind was rising; it swept by in fitful gusts that

made the old barn quake and rattle, then its forces died down at

intervals, and went moaning and wailing around corners and projections

--but it was all music to the King, now that he was snug and comfortable:

let it blow and rage, let it batter and bang, let it moan and wail, he

minded it not, he only enjoyed it.  He merely snuggled the closer to his

friend, in a luxury of warm contentment, and drifted blissfully out of

consciousness into a deep and dreamless sleep that was full of serenity

and peace.  The distant dogs howled, the melancholy kine complained, and

the winds went on raging, whilst furious sheets of rain drove along the

roof; but the Majesty of England slept on, undisturbed, and the calf did

the same, it being a simple creature, and not easily troubled by storms

or embarrassed by sleeping with a king.




Chapter XIX. The Prince with the peasants.


When the King awoke in the early morning, he found that a wet but

thoughtful rat had crept into the place during the night and made a cosy

bed for itself in his bosom.  Being disturbed now, it scampered away.

The boy smiled, and said, "Poor fool, why so fearful?  I am as forlorn as

thou.  'Twould be a sham in me to hurt the helpless, who am myself so

helpless.  Moreover, I owe you thanks for a good omen; for when a king

has fallen so low that the very rats do make a bed of him, it surely

meaneth that his fortunes be upon the turn, since it is plain he can no

lower go."


He got up and stepped out of the stall, and just then he heard the sound

of children's voices.  The barn door opened and a couple of little girls

came in.  As soon as they saw him their talking and laughing ceased, and

they stopped and stood still, gazing at him with strong curiosity; they

presently began to whisper together, then they approached nearer, and

stopped again to gaze and whisper.  By-and-by they gathered courage and

began to discuss him aloud.  One said--


"He hath a comely face."


The other added--


"And pretty hair."


"But is ill clothed enow."


"And how starved he looketh."


They came still nearer, sidling shyly around and about him, examining him

minutely from all points, as if he were some strange new kind of animal,

but warily and watchfully the while, as if they half feared he might be a

sort of animal that would bite, upon occasion.  Finally they halted

before him, holding each other's hands for protection, and took a good

satisfying stare with their innocent eyes; then one of them plucked up

all her courage and inquired with honest directness--


"Who art thou, boy?"


"I am the King," was the grave answer.


The children gave a little start, and their eyes spread themselves wide

open and remained so during a speechless half minute.  Then curiosity

broke the silence--


"The KING?  What King?"


"The King of England."


The children looked at each other--then at him--then at each other again

--wonderingly, perplexedly; then one said--


"Didst hear him, Margery?--he said he is the King.  Can that be true?"


"How can it be else but true, Prissy?  Would he say a lie?  For look you,

Prissy, an' it were not true, it WOULD be a lie.  It surely would be.

Now think on't.  For all things that be not true, be lies--thou canst

make nought else out of it."


It was a good tight argument, without a leak in it anywhere; and it left

Prissy's half-doubts not a leg to stand on.  She considered a moment,

then put the King upon his honour with the simple remark--


"If thou art truly the King, then I believe thee."


"I am truly the King."


This settled the matter.  His Majesty's royalty was accepted without

further question or discussion, and the two little girls began at once to

inquire into how he came to be where he was, and how he came to be so

unroyally clad, and whither he was bound, and all about his affairs.  It

was a mighty relief to him to pour out his troubles where they would not

be scoffed at or doubted; so he told his tale with feeling, forgetting

even his hunger for the time; and it was received with the deepest and

tenderest sympathy by the gentle little maids.  But when he got down to

his latest experiences and they learned how long he had been without

food, they cut him short and hurried him away to the farmhouse to find a

breakfast for him.


The King was cheerful and happy now, and said to himself, "When I am come

to mine own again, I will always honour little children, remembering how

that these trusted me and believed in me in my time of trouble; whilst

they that were older, and thought themselves wiser, mocked at me and held

me for a liar."


The children's mother received the King kindly, and was full of pity; for

his forlorn condition and apparently crazed intellect touched her womanly

heart.  She was a widow, and rather poor; consequently she had seen

trouble enough to enable her to feel for the unfortunate.  She imagined

that the demented boy had wandered away from his friends or keepers; so

she tried to find out whence he had come, in order that she might take

measures to return him; but all her references to neighbouring towns and

villages, and all her inquiries in the same line went for nothing--the

boy's face, and his answers, too, showed that the things she was talking

of were not familiar to him.  He spoke earnestly and simply about court

matters, and broke down, more than once, when speaking of the late King

'his father'; but whenever the conversation changed to baser topics, he

lost interest and became silent.


The woman was mightily puzzled; but she did not give up.  As she

proceeded with her cooking, she set herself to contriving devices to

surprise the boy into betraying his real secret.  She talked about

cattle--he showed no concern; then about sheep--the same result:  so her

guess that he had been a shepherd boy was an error; she talked about

mills; and about weavers, tinkers, smiths, trades and tradesmen of all

sorts; and about Bedlam, and jails, and charitable retreats:  but no

matter, she was baffled at all points.  Not altogether, either; for she

argued that she had narrowed the thing down to domestic service.  Yes,

she was sure she was on the right track, now; he must have been a house

servant.  So she led up to that.  But the result was discouraging. The

subject of sweeping appeared to weary him; fire-building failed to stir

him; scrubbing and scouring awoke no enthusiasm. The goodwife touched,

with a perishing hope, and rather as a matter of form, upon the subject

of cooking.  To her surprise, and her vast delight, the King's face

lighted at once!  Ah, she had hunted him down at last, she thought; and

she was right proud, too, of the devious shrewdness and tact which had

accomplished it.


Her tired tongue got a chance to rest, now; for the King's, inspired by

gnawing hunger and the fragrant smells that came from the sputtering pots

and pans, turned itself loose and delivered itself up to such an eloquent

dissertation upon certain toothsome dishes, that within three minutes the

woman said to herself, "Of a truth I was right--he hath holpen in a

kitchen!"  Then he broadened his bill of fare, and discussed it with such

appreciation and animation, that the goodwife said to herself, "Good

lack! how can he know so many dishes, and so fine ones withal?  For these

belong only upon the tables of the rich and great.  Ah, now I see! ragged

outcast as he is, he must have served in the palace before his reason

went astray; yes, he must have helped in the very kitchen of the King

himself!  I will test him."


Full of eagerness to prove her sagacity, she told the King to mind the

cooking a moment--hinting that he might manufacture and add a dish or

two, if he chose; then she went out of the room and gave her children a

sign to follow after.  The King muttered--


"Another English king had a commission like to this, in a bygone time--it

is nothing against my dignity to undertake an office which the great

Alfred stooped to assume.  But I will try to better serve my trust than

he; for he let the cakes burn."


The intent was good, but the performance was not answerable to it, for

this King, like the other one, soon fell into deep thinkings concerning

his vast affairs, and the same calamity resulted--the cookery got burned.

The woman returned in time to save the breakfast from entire destruction;

and she promptly brought the King out of his dreams with a brisk and

cordial tongue-lashing. Then, seeing how troubled he was over his

violated trust, she softened at once, and was all goodness and gentleness

toward him.


The boy made a hearty and satisfying meal, and was greatly refreshed and

gladdened by it.  It was a meal which was distinguished by this curious

feature, that rank was waived on both sides; yet neither recipient of the

favour was aware that it had been extended.  The goodwife had intended to

feed this young tramp with broken victuals in a corner, like any other

tramp or like a dog; but she was so remorseful for the scolding she had

given him, that she did what she could to atone for it by allowing him to

sit at the family table and eat with his betters, on ostensible terms of

equality with them; and the King, on his side, was so remorseful for

having broken his trust, after the family had been so kind to him, that

he forced himself to atone for it by humbling himself to the family

level, instead of requiring the woman and her children to stand and wait

upon him, while he occupied their table in the solitary state due to his

birth and dignity.  It does us all good to unbend sometimes.  This good

woman was made happy all the day long by the applauses which she got out

of herself for her magnanimous condescension to a tramp; and the King was

just as self-complacent over his gracious humility toward a humble

peasant woman.


When breakfast was over, the housewife told the King to wash up the

dishes.  This command was a staggerer, for a moment, and the King came

near rebelling; but then he said to himself, "Alfred the Great watched

the cakes; doubtless he would have washed the dishes too--therefore will

I essay it."


He made a sufficiently poor job of it; and to his surprise too, for the

cleaning of wooden spoons and trenchers had seemed an easy thing to do.

It was a tedious and troublesome piece of work, but he finished it at

last.  He was becoming impatient to get away on his journey now; however,

he was not to lose this thrifty dame's society so easily.  She furnished

him some little odds and ends of employment, which he got through with

after a fair fashion and with some credit.  Then she set him and the

little girls to paring some winter apples; but he was so awkward at this

service that she retired him from it and gave him a butcher knife to

grind. Afterwards she kept him carding wool until he began to think he

had laid the good King Alfred about far enough in the shade for the

present in the matter of showy menial heroisms that would read

picturesquely in story-books and histories, and so he was half-minded to

resign.  And when, just after the noonday dinner, the goodwife gave him a

basket of kittens to drown, he did resign.  At least he was just going to

resign--for he felt that he must draw the line somewhere, and it seemed

to him that to draw it at kitten-drowning was about the right thing--when

there was an interruption.  The interruption was John Canty--with a

peddler's pack on his back--and Hugo.


The King discovered these rascals approaching the front gate before they

had had a chance to see him; so he said nothing about drawing the line,

but took up his basket of kittens and stepped quietly out the back way,

without a word.  He left the creatures in an out-house, and hurried on,

into a narrow lane at the rear.




Chapter XX. The Prince and the hermit.


The high hedge hid him from the house, now; and so, under the impulse of

a deadly fright, he let out all his forces and sped toward a wood in the

distance.  He never looked back until he had almost gained the shelter of

the forest; then he turned and descried two figures in the distance.

That was sufficient; he did not wait to scan them critically, but hurried

on, and never abated his pace till he was far within the twilight depths

of the wood. Then he stopped; being persuaded that he was now tolerably

safe. He listened intently, but the stillness was profound and solemn

--awful, even, and depressing to the spirits.  At wide intervals his

straining ear did detect sounds, but they were so remote, and hollow, and

mysterious, that they seemed not to be real sounds, but only the moaning

and complaining ghosts of departed ones.  So the sounds were yet more

dreary than the silence which they interrupted.


It was his purpose, in the beginning, to stay where he was the rest of

the day; but a chill soon invaded his perspiring body, and he was at last

obliged to resume movement in order to get warm. He struck straight

through the forest, hoping to pierce to a road presently, but he was

disappointed in this.  He travelled on and on; but the farther he went,

the denser the wood became, apparently.  The gloom began to thicken,

by-and-by, and the King realised that the night was coming on.  It made

him shudder to think of spending it in such an uncanny place; so he tried

to hurry faster, but he only made the less speed, for he could not now

see well enough to choose his steps judiciously; consequently he kept

tripping over roots and tangling himself in vines and briers.


And how glad he was when at last he caught the glimmer of a light! He

approached it warily, stopping often to look about him and listen.  It

came from an unglazed window-opening in a shabby little hut.  He heard a

voice, now, and felt a disposition to run and hide; but he changed his

mind at once, for this voice was praying, evidently.  He glided to the

one window of the hut, raised himself on tiptoe, and stole a glance

within.  The room was small; its floor was the natural earth, beaten hard

by use; in a corner was a bed of rushes and a ragged blanket or two; near

it was a pail, a cup, a basin, and two or three pots and pans; there was

a short bench and a three-legged stool; on the hearth the remains of a

faggot fire were smouldering; before a shrine, which was lighted by a

single candle, knelt an aged man, and on an old wooden box at his side

lay an open book and a human skull.  The man was of large, bony frame;

his hair and whiskers were very long and snowy white; he was clothed in a

robe of sheepskins which reached from his neck to his heels.


"A holy hermit!" said the King to himself; "now am I indeed fortunate."


The hermit rose from his knees; the King knocked.  A deep voice



"Enter!--but leave sin behind, for the ground whereon thou shalt stand is



The King entered, and paused.  The hermit turned a pair of gleaming,

unrestful eyes upon him, and said--


"Who art thou?"


"I am the King," came the answer, with placid simplicity.


"Welcome, King!" cried the hermit, with enthusiasm.  Then, bustling about

with feverish activity, and constantly saying, "Welcome, welcome," he

arranged his bench, seated the King on it, by the hearth, threw some

faggots on the fire, and finally fell to pacing the floor with a nervous



"Welcome!  Many have sought sanctuary here, but they were not worthy, and

were turned away.  But a King who casts his crown away, and despises the

vain splendours of his office, and clothes his body in rags, to devote

his life to holiness and the mortification of the flesh--he is worthy, he

is welcome!--here shall he abide all his days till death come."  The King

hastened to interrupt and explain, but the hermit paid no attention to

him--did not even hear him, apparently, but went right on with his talk,

with a raised voice and a growing energy.  "And thou shalt be at peace

here.  None shall find out thy refuge to disquiet thee with supplications

to return to that empty and foolish life which God hath moved thee to

abandon.  Thou shalt pray here; thou shalt study the Book; thou shalt

meditate upon the follies and delusions of this world, and upon the

sublimities of the world to come; thou shalt feed upon crusts and herbs,

and scourge thy body with whips, daily, to the purifying of thy soul.

Thou shalt wear a hair shirt next thy skin; thou shalt drink water only;

and thou shalt be at peace; yes, wholly at peace; for whoso comes to seek

thee shall go his way again, baffled; he shall not find thee, he shall

not molest thee."


The old man, still pacing back and forth, ceased to speak aloud, and

began to mutter.  The King seized this opportunity to state his case; and

he did it with an eloquence inspired by uneasiness and apprehension.  But

the hermit went on muttering, and gave no heed.  And still muttering, he

approached the King and said impressively--


"'Sh!  I will tell you a secret!"  He bent down to impart it, but checked

himself, and assumed a listening attitude.  After a moment or two he went

on tiptoe to the window-opening, put his head out, and peered around in

the gloaming, then came tiptoeing back again, put his face close down to

the King's, and whispered--


"I am an archangel!"


The King started violently, and said to himself, "Would God I were with

the outlaws again; for lo, now am I the prisoner of a madman!"  His

apprehensions were heightened, and they showed plainly in his face.  In a

low excited voice the hermit continued--


"I see you feel my atmosphere!  There's awe in your face!  None may be in

this atmosphere and not be thus affected; for it is the very atmosphere

of heaven.  I go thither and return, in the twinkling of an eye.  I was

made an archangel on this very spot, it is five years ago, by angels sent

from heaven to confer that awful dignity.  Their presence filled this

place with an intolerable brightness.  And they knelt to me, King! yes,

they knelt to me! for I was greater than they.  I have walked in the

courts of heaven, and held speech with the patriarchs.  Touch my hand--be

not afraid--touch it.  There--now thou hast touched a hand which has been

clasped by Abraham and Isaac and Jacob!  For I have walked in the golden

courts; I have seen the Deity face to face!"  He paused, to give this

speech effect; then his face suddenly changed, and he started to his feet

again saying, with angry energy, "Yes, I am an archangel; A MERE

ARCHANGEL!--I that might have been pope!  It is verily true.  I was told

it from heaven in a dream, twenty years ago; ah, yes, I was to be pope!

--and I SHOULD have been pope, for Heaven had said it--but the King

dissolved my religious house, and I, poor obscure unfriended monk, was

cast homeless upon the world, robbed of my mighty destiny!" Here he began

to mumble again, and beat his forehead in futile rage, with his fist; now

and then articulating a venomous curse, and now and then a pathetic

"Wherefore I am nought but an archangel--I that should have been pope!"


So he went on, for an hour, whilst the poor little King sat and suffered.

Then all at once the old man's frenzy departed, and he became all

gentleness.  His voice softened, he came down out of his clouds, and fell

to prattling along so simply and so humanly, that he soon won the King's

heart completely.  The old devotee moved the boy nearer to the fire and

made him comfortable; doctored his small bruises and abrasions with a

deft and tender hand; and then set about preparing and cooking a supper

--chatting pleasantly all the time, and occasionally stroking the lad's

cheek or patting his head, in such a gently caressing way that in a

little while all the fear and repulsion inspired by the archangel were

changed to reverence and affection for the man.


This happy state of things continued while the two ate the supper; then,

after a prayer before the shrine, the hermit put the boy to bed, in a

small adjoining room, tucking him in as snugly and lovingly as a mother

might; and so, with a parting caress, left him and sat down by the fire,

and began to poke the brands about in an absent and aimless way.

Presently he paused; then tapped his forehead several times with his

fingers, as if trying to recall some thought which had escaped from his

mind.  Apparently he was unsuccessful.  Now he started quickly up, and

entered his guest's room, and said--


"Thou art King?"


"Yes," was the response, drowsily uttered.


"What King?"


"Of England."


"Of England?  Then Henry is gone!"


"Alack, it is so.  I am his son."


A black frown settled down upon the hermit's face, and he clenched his

bony hands with a vindictive energy.  He stood a few moments, breathing

fast and swallowing repeatedly, then said in a husky voice--


"Dost know it was he that turned us out into the world houseless and



There was no response.  The old man bent down and scanned the boy's

reposeful face and listened to his placid breathing.  "He sleeps--sleeps

soundly;" and the frown vanished away and gave place to an expression of

evil satisfaction.  A smile flitted across the dreaming boy's features.

The hermit muttered, "So--his heart is happy;" and he turned away.  He

went stealthily about the place, seeking here and there for something;

now and then halting to listen, now and then jerking his head around and

casting a quick glance toward the bed; and always muttering, always

mumbling to himself.  At last he found what he seemed to want--a rusty

old butcher knife and a whetstone.  Then he crept to his place by the

fire, sat himself down, and began to whet the knife softly on the stone,

still muttering, mumbling, ejaculating.  The winds sighed around the

lonely place, the mysterious voices of the night floated by out of the

distances.  The shining eyes of venturesome mice and rats peered out at

the old man from cracks and coverts, but he went on with his work, rapt,

absorbed, and noted none of these things.


At long intervals he drew his thumb along the edge of his knife, and

nodded his head with satisfaction.  "It grows sharper," he said; "yes, it

grows sharper."


He took no note of the flight of time, but worked tranquilly on,

entertaining himself with his thoughts, which broke out occasionally in

articulate speech--


"His father wrought us evil, he destroyed us--and is gone down into the

eternal fires!  Yes, down into the eternal fires!  He escaped us--but it

was God's will, yes it was God's will, we must not repine.  But he hath

not escaped the fires!  No, he hath not escaped the fires, the consuming,

unpitying, remorseless fires--and THEY are everlasting!"


And so he wrought, and still wrought--mumbling, chuckling a low rasping

chuckle at times--and at times breaking again into words--


"It was his father that did it all.  I am but an archangel; but for him I

should be pope!"


The King stirred.  The hermit sprang noiselessly to the bedside, and went

down upon his knees, bending over the prostrate form with his knife

uplifted.  The boy stirred again; his eyes came open for an instant, but

there was no speculation in them, they saw nothing; the next moment his

tranquil breathing showed that his sleep was sound once more.


The hermit watched and listened, for a time, keeping his position and

scarcely breathing; then he slowly lowered his arms, and presently crept

away, saying,--


"It is long past midnight; it is not best that he should cry out, lest by

accident someone be passing."


He glided about his hovel, gathering a rag here, a thong there, and

another one yonder; then he returned, and by careful and gentle handling

he managed to tie the King's ankles together without waking him.  Next he

essayed to tie the wrists; he made several attempts to cross them, but

the boy always drew one hand or the other away, just as the cord was

ready to be applied; but at last, when the archangel was almost ready to

despair, the boy crossed his hands himself, and the next moment they were

bound. Now a bandage was passed under the sleeper's chin and brought up

over his head and tied fast--and so softly, so gradually, and so deftly

were the knots drawn together and compacted, that the boy slept

peacefully through it all without stirring.




Chapter XXI. Hendon to the rescue.


The old man glided away, stooping, stealthy, cat-like, and brought the

low bench.  He seated himself upon it, half his body in the dim and

flickering light, and the other half in shadow; and so, with his craving

eyes bent upon the slumbering boy, he kept his patient vigil there,

heedless of the drift of time, and softly whetted his knife, and mumbled

and chuckled; and in aspect and attitude he resembled nothing so much as

a grizzly, monstrous spider, gloating over some hapless insect that lay

bound and helpless in his web.


After a long while, the old man, who was still gazing,--yet not seeing,

his mind having settled into a dreamy abstraction,--observed, on a

sudden, that the boy's eyes were open! wide open and staring!--staring up

in frozen horror at the knife.  The smile of a gratified devil crept over

the old man's face, and he said, without changing his attitude or his



"Son of Henry the Eighth, hast thou prayed?"


The boy struggled helplessly in his bonds, and at the same time forced a

smothered sound through his closed jaws, which the hermit chose to

interpret as an affirmative answer to his question.


"Then pray again.  Pray the prayer for the dying!"


A shudder shook the boy's frame, and his face blenched.  Then he

struggled again to free himself--turning and twisting himself this way

and that; tugging frantically, fiercely, desperately--but uselessly--to

burst his fetters; and all the while the old ogre smiled down upon him,

and nodded his head, and placidly whetted his knife; mumbling, from time

to time, "The moments are precious, they are few and precious--pray the

prayer for the dying!"


The boy uttered a despairing groan, and ceased from his struggles,

panting.  The tears came, then, and trickled, one after the other, down

his face; but this piteous sight wrought no softening effect upon the

savage old man.


The dawn was coming now; the hermit observed it, and spoke up sharply,

with a touch of nervous apprehension in his voice--


"I may not indulge this ecstasy longer!  The night is already gone.  It

seems but a moment--only a moment; would it had endured a year!  Seed of

the Church's spoiler, close thy perishing eyes, an' thou fearest to look



The rest was lost in inarticulate mutterings.  The old man sank upon his

knees, his knife in his hand, and bent himself over the moaning boy.


Hark!  There was a sound of voices near the cabin--the knife dropped from

the hermit's hand; he cast a sheepskin over the boy and started up,

trembling.  The sounds increased, and presently the voices became rough

and angry; then came blows, and cries for help; then a clatter of swift

footsteps, retreating.  Immediately came a succession of thundering

knocks upon the cabin door, followed by--


"Hullo-o-o!  Open!  And despatch, in the name of all the devils!"


Oh, this was the blessedest sound that had ever made music in the King's

ears; for it was Miles Hendon's voice!


The hermit, grinding his teeth in impotent rage, moved swiftly out of the

bedchamber, closing the door behind him; and straightway the King heard a

talk, to this effect, proceeding from the 'chapel':--


"Homage and greeting, reverend sir!  Where is the boy--MY boy?"


"What boy, friend?"


"What boy!  Lie me no lies, sir priest, play me no deceptions!--I am not

in the humour for it.  Near to this place I caught the scoundrels who I

judged did steal him from me, and I made them confess; they said he was

at large again, and they had tracked him to your door.  They showed me

his very footprints.  Now palter no more; for look you, holy sir, an'

thou produce him not--Where is the boy?"


"O good sir, peradventure you mean the ragged regal vagrant that tarried

here the night.  If such as you take an interest in such as he, know,

then, that I have sent him of an errand.  He will be back anon."


"How soon?  How soon?  Come, waste not the time--cannot I overtake him?

How soon will he be back?"


"Thou need'st not stir; he will return quickly."


"So be it, then.  I will try to wait.  But stop!--YOU sent him of an

errand?--you!  Verily this is a lie--he would not go.  He would pull thy

old beard, an' thou didst offer him such an insolence. Thou hast lied,

friend; thou hast surely lied!  He would not go for thee, nor for any



"For any MAN--no; haply not.  But I am not a man."


"WHAT!  Now o' God's name what art thou, then?"


"It is a secret--mark thou reveal it not.  I am an archangel!"


There was a tremendous ejaculation from Miles Hendon--not altogether

unprofane--followed by--


"This doth well and truly account for his complaisance!  Right well I

knew he would budge nor hand nor foot in the menial service of any

mortal; but, lord, even a king must obey when an archangel gives the word

o' command!  Let me--'sh!  What noise was that?"


All this while the little King had been yonder, alternately quaking with

terror and trembling with hope; and all the while, too, he had thrown all

the strength he could into his anguished moanings, constantly expecting

them to reach Hendon's ear, but always realising, with bitterness, that

they failed, or at least made no impression.  So this last remark of his

servant came as comes a reviving breath from fresh fields to the dying;

and he exerted himself once more, and with all his energy, just as the

hermit was saying--


"Noise?  I heard only the wind."


"Mayhap it was.  Yes, doubtless that was it.  I have been hearing it

faintly all the--there it is again!  It is not the wind!  What an odd

sound!  Come, we will hunt it out!"


Now the King's joy was nearly insupportable.  His tired lungs did their

utmost--and hopefully, too--but the sealed jaws and the muffling

sheepskin sadly crippled the effort.  Then the poor fellow's heart sank,

to hear the hermit say--


"Ah, it came from without--I think from the copse yonder.  Come, I will

lead the way."


The King heard the two pass out, talking; heard their footsteps die

quickly away--then he was alone with a boding, brooding, awful silence.


It seemed an age till he heard the steps and voices approaching again

--and this time he heard an added sound,--the trampling of hoofs,

apparently.  Then he heard Hendon say--


"I will not wait longer.  I CANNOT wait longer.  He has lost his way in

this thick wood.  Which direction took he?  Quick--point it out to me."


"He--but wait; I will go with thee."


"Good--good!  Why, truly thou art better than thy looks.  Marry I do not

think there's not another archangel with so right a heart as thine.  Wilt

ride?  Wilt take the wee donkey that's for my boy, or wilt thou fork thy

holy legs over this ill-conditioned slave of a mule that I have provided

for myself?--and had been cheated in too, had he cost but the indifferent

sum of a month's usury on a brass farthing let to a tinker out of work."


"No--ride thy mule, and lead thine ass; I am surer on mine own feet, and

will walk."


"Then prithee mind the little beast for me while I take my life in my

hands and make what success I may toward mounting the big one."


Then followed a confusion of kicks, cuffs, tramplings and plungings,

accompanied by a thunderous intermingling of volleyed curses, and finally

a bitter apostrophe to the mule, which must have broken its spirit, for

hostilities seemed to cease from that moment.


With unutterable misery the fettered little King heard the voices and

footsteps fade away and die out.  All hope forsook him, now, for the

moment, and a dull despair settled down upon his heart. "My only friend

is deceived and got rid of," he said; "the hermit will return and--"  He

finished with a gasp; and at once fell to struggling so frantically with

his bonds again, that he shook off the smothering sheepskin.


And now he heard the door open!  The sound chilled him to the marrow

--already he seemed to feel the knife at his throat.  Horror made him close

his eyes; horror made him open them again--and before him stood John

Canty and Hugo!


He would have said "Thank God!" if his jaws had been free.


A moment or two later his limbs were at liberty, and his captors, each

gripping him by an arm, were hurrying him with all speed through the





Chapter XXII. A victim of treachery.


Once more 'King Foo-foo the First' was roving with the tramps and

outlaws, a butt for their coarse jests and dull-witted railleries, and

sometimes the victim of small spitefulness at the hands of Canty and Hugo

when the Ruffler's back was turned.  None but Canty and Hugo really

disliked him.  Some of the others liked him, and all admired his pluck

and spirit.  During two or three days, Hugo, in whose ward and charge the

King was, did what he covertly could to make the boy uncomfortable; and

at night, during the customary orgies, he amused the company by putting

small indignities upon him--always as if by accident.  Twice he stepped

upon the King's toes--accidentally--and the King, as became his royalty,

was contemptuously unconscious of it and indifferent to it; but the third

time Hugo entertained himself in that way, the King felled him to the

ground with a cudgel, to the prodigious delight of the tribe.  Hugo,

consumed with anger and shame, sprang up, seized a cudgel, and came at

his small adversary in a fury.  Instantly a ring was formed around the

gladiators, and the betting and cheering began.  But poor Hugo stood no

chance whatever.  His frantic and lubberly 'prentice-work found but a

poor market for itself when pitted against an arm which had been trained

by the first masters of Europe in single-stick, quarter-staff, and every

art and trick of swordsmanship.  The little King stood, alert but at

graceful ease, and caught and turned aside the thick rain of blows with a

facility and precision which set the motley on-lookers wild with

admiration; and every now and then, when his practised eye detected an

opening, and a lightning-swift rap upon Hugo's head followed as a result,

the storm of cheers and laughter that swept the place was something

wonderful to hear.  At the end of fifteen minutes, Hugo, all battered,

bruised, and the target for a pitiless bombardment of ridicule, slunk

from the field; and the unscathed hero of the fight was seized and borne

aloft upon the shoulders of the joyous rabble to the place of honour

beside the Ruffler, where with vast ceremony he was crowned King of the

Game-Cocks; his meaner title being at the same time solemnly cancelled

and annulled, and a decree of banishment from the gang pronounced against

any who should thenceforth utter it.


All attempts to make the King serviceable to the troop had failed. He had

stubbornly refused to act; moreover, he was always trying to escape.  He

had been thrust into an unwatched kitchen, the first day of his return;

he not only came forth empty-handed, but tried to rouse the housemates.

He was sent out with a tinker to help him at his work; he would not work;

moreover, he threatened the tinker with his own soldering-iron; and

finally both Hugo and the tinker found their hands full with the mere

matter of keeping his from getting away.  He delivered the thunders of

his royalty upon the heads of all who hampered his liberties or tried to

force him to service.  He was sent out, in Hugo's charge, in company with

a slatternly woman and a diseased baby, to beg; but the result was not

encouraging--he declined to plead for the mendicants, or be a party to

their cause in any way.


Thus several days went by; and the miseries of this tramping life, and

the weariness and sordidness and meanness and vulgarity of it, became

gradually and steadily so intolerable to the captive that he began at

last to feel that his release from the hermit's knife must prove only a

temporary respite from death, at best.


But at night, in his dreams, these things were forgotten, and he was on

his throne, and master again.  This, of course, intensified the

sufferings of the awakening--so the mortifications of each succeeding

morning of the few that passed between his return to bondage and the

combat with Hugo, grew bitterer and bitterer, and harder and harder to



The morning after that combat, Hugo got up with a heart filled with

vengeful purposes against the King.  He had two plans, in particular.

One was to inflict upon the lad what would be, to his proud spirit and

'imagined' royalty, a peculiar humiliation; and if he failed to

accomplish this, his other plan was to put a crime of some kind upon the

King, and then betray him into the implacable clutches of the law.


In pursuance of the first plan, he purposed to put a 'clime' upon the

King's leg; rightly judging that that would mortify him to the last and

perfect degree; and as soon as the clime should operate, he meant to get

Canty's help, and FORCE the King to expose his leg in the highway and beg

for alms.  'Clime' was the cant term for a sore, artificially created.

To make a clime, the operator made a paste or poultice of unslaked lime,

soap, and the rust of old iron, and spread it upon a piece of leather,

which was then bound tightly upon the leg.  This would presently fret off

the skin, and make the flesh raw and angry-looking; blood was then rubbed

upon the limb, which, being fully dried, took on a dark and repulsive

colour.  Then a bandage of soiled rags was put on in a cleverly careless

way which would allow the hideous ulcer to be seen, and move the

compassion of the passer-by. {8}


Hugo got the help of the tinker whom the King had cowed with the

soldering-iron; they took the boy out on a tinkering tramp, and as soon

as they were out of sight of the camp they threw him down and the tinker

held him while Hugo bound the poultice tight and fast upon his leg.


The King raged and stormed, and promised to hang the two the moment the

sceptre was in his hand again; but they kept a firm grip upon him and

enjoyed his impotent struggling and jeered at his threats.  This

continued until the poultice began to bite; and in no long time its work

would have been perfected, if there had been no interruption.  But there

was; for about this time the 'slave' who had made the speech denouncing

England's laws, appeared on the scene, and put an end to the enterprise,

and stripped off the poultice and bandage.


The King wanted to borrow his deliverer's cudgel and warm the jackets of

the two rascals on the spot; but the man said no, it would bring trouble

--leave the matter till night; the whole tribe being together, then, the

outside world would not venture to interfere or interrupt.  He marched

the party back to camp and reported the affair to the Ruffler, who

listened, pondered, and then decided that the King should not be again

detailed to beg, since it was plain he was worthy of something higher and

better--wherefore, on the spot he promoted him from the mendicant rank

and appointed him to steal!


Hugo was overjoyed.  He had already tried to make the King steal, and

failed; but there would be no more trouble of that sort, now, for of

course the King would not dream of defying a distinct command delivered

directly from head-quarters.  So he planned a raid for that very

afternoon, purposing to get the King in the law's grip in the course of

it; and to do it, too, with such ingenious strategy, that it should seem

to be accidental and unintentional; for the King of the Game-Cocks was

popular now, and the gang might not deal over-gently with an unpopular

member who played so serious a treachery upon him as the delivering him

over to the common enemy, the law.


Very well.  All in good time Hugo strolled off to a neighbouring village

with his prey; and the two drifted slowly up and down one street after

another, the one watching sharply for a sure chance to achieve his evil

purpose, and the other watching as sharply for a chance to dart away and

get free of his infamous captivity for ever.


Both threw away some tolerably fair-looking opportunities; for both, in

their secret hearts, were resolved to make absolutely sure work this

time, and neither meant to allow his fevered desires to seduce him into

any venture that had much uncertainty about it.


Hugo's chance came first.  For at last a woman approached who carried a

fat package of some sort in a basket.  Hugo's eyes sparkled with sinful

pleasure as he said to himself, "Breath o' my life, an' I can but put

THAT upon him, 'tis good-den and God keep thee, King of the Game-Cocks!"

He waited and watched--outwardly patient, but inwardly consuming with

excitement--till the woman had passed by, and the time was ripe; then

said, in a low voice--


"Tarry here till I come again," and darted stealthily after the prey.


The King's heart was filled with joy--he could make his escape, now, if

Hugo's quest only carried him far enough away.


But he was to have no such luck.  Hugo crept behind the woman, snatched

the package, and came running back, wrapping it in an old piece of

blanket which he carried on his arm.  The hue and cry was raised in a

moment, by the woman, who knew her loss by the lightening of her burden,

although she had not seen the pilfering done.  Hugo thrust the bundle

into the King's hands without halting, saying--


"Now speed ye after me with the rest, and cry 'Stop thief!' but mind ye

lead them astray!"


The next moment Hugo turned a corner and darted down a crooked alley--and

in another moment or two he lounged into view again, looking innocent and

indifferent, and took up a position behind a post to watch results.


The insulted King threw the bundle on the ground; and the blanket fell

away from it just as the woman arrived, with an augmenting crowd at her

heels; she seized the King's wrist with one hand, snatched up her bundle

with the other, and began to pour out a tirade of abuse upon the boy

while he struggled, without success, to free himself from her grip.


Hugo had seen enough--his enemy was captured and the law would get him,

now--so he slipped away, jubilant and chuckling, and wended campwards,

framing a judicious version of the matter to give to the Ruffler's crew

as he strode along.


The King continued to struggle in the woman's strong grasp, and now and

then cried out in vexation--


"Unhand me, thou foolish creature; it was not I that bereaved thee of thy

paltry goods."


The crowd closed around, threatening the King and calling him names; a

brawny blacksmith in leather apron, and sleeves rolled to his elbows,

made a reach for him, saying he would trounce him well, for a lesson; but

just then a long sword flashed in the air and fell with convincing force

upon the man's arm, flat side down, the fantastic owner of it remarking

pleasantly, at the same time--


"Marry, good souls, let us proceed gently, not with ill blood and

uncharitable words.  This is matter for the law's consideration, not

private and unofficial handling.  Loose thy hold from the boy, goodwife."


The blacksmith averaged the stalwart soldier with a glance, then went

muttering away, rubbing his arm; the woman released the boy's wrist

reluctantly; the crowd eyed the stranger unlovingly, but prudently closed

their mouths.  The King sprang to his deliverer's side, with flushed

cheeks and sparkling eyes, exclaiming--


"Thou hast lagged sorely, but thou comest in good season, now, Sir Miles;

carve me this rabble to rags!"




Chapter XXIII. The Prince a prisoner.


Hendon forced back a smile, and bent down and whispered in the King's



"Softly, softly, my prince, wag thy tongue warily--nay, suffer it not to

wag at all.  Trust in me--all shall go well in the end." Then he added to

himself:  "SIR Miles!  Bless me, I had totally forgot I was a knight!

Lord, how marvellous a thing it is, the grip his memory doth take upon

his quaint and crazy fancies! . . . An empty and foolish title is mine,

and yet it is something to have deserved it; for I think it is more

honour to be held worthy to be a spectre-knight in his Kingdom of Dreams

and Shadows, than to be held base enough to be an earl in some of the

REAL kingdoms of this world."


The crowd fell apart to admit a constable, who approached and was about

to lay his hand upon the King's shoulder, when Hendon said--


"Gently, good friend, withhold your hand--he shall go peaceably; I am

responsible for that.  Lead on, we will follow."


The officer led, with the woman and her bundle; Miles and the King

followed after, with the crowd at their heels.  The King was inclined to

rebel; but Hendon said to him in a low voice--


"Reflect, Sire--your laws are the wholesome breath of your own royalty;

shall their source resist them, yet require the branches to respect them?

Apparently one of these laws has been broken; when the King is on his

throne again, can it ever grieve him to remember that when he was

seemingly a private person he loyally sank the king in the citizen and

submitted to its authority?"


"Thou art right; say no more; thou shalt see that whatsoever the King of

England requires a subject to suffer, under the law, he will himself

suffer while he holdeth the station of a subject."


When the woman was called upon to testify before the justice of the

peace, she swore that the small prisoner at the bar was the person who

had committed the theft; there was none able to show the contrary, so the

King stood convicted.  The bundle was now unrolled, and when the contents

proved to be a plump little dressed pig, the judge looked troubled,

whilst Hendon turned pale, and his body was thrilled with an electric

shiver of dismay; but the King remained unmoved, protected by his

ignorance.  The judge meditated, during an ominous pause, then turned to

the woman, with the question--


"What dost thou hold this property to be worth?"


The woman courtesied and replied--


"Three shillings and eightpence, your worship--I could not abate a penny

and set forth the value honestly."


The justice glanced around uncomfortably upon the crowd, then nodded to

the constable, and said--


"Clear the court and close the doors."


It was done.  None remained but the two officials, the accused, the

accuser, and Miles Hendon.  This latter was rigid and colourless, and on

his forehead big drops of cold sweat gathered, broke and blended

together, and trickled down his face.  The judge turned to the woman

again, and said, in a compassionate voice--


"'Tis a poor ignorant lad, and mayhap was driven hard by hunger, for

these be grievous times for the unfortunate; mark you, he hath not an

evil face--but when hunger driveth--Good woman! dost know that when one

steals a thing above the value of thirteenpence ha'penny the law saith he

shall HANG for it?"


The little King started, wide-eyed with consternation, but controlled

himself and held his peace; but not so the woman.  She sprang to her

feet, shaking with fright, and cried out--


"Oh, good lack, what have I done!  God-a-mercy, I would not hang the poor

thing for the whole world!  Ah, save me from this, your worship--what

shall I do, what CAN I do?"


The justice maintained his judicial composure, and simply said--


"Doubtless it is allowable to revise the value, since it is not yet writ

upon the record."


"Then in God's name call the pig eightpence, and heaven bless the day

that freed my conscience of this awesome thing!"


Miles Hendon forgot all decorum in his delight; and surprised the King

and wounded his dignity, by throwing his arms around him and hugging him.

The woman made her grateful adieux and started away with her pig; and

when the constable opened the door for her, he followed her out into the

narrow hall.  The justice proceeded to write in his record book.  Hendon,

always alert, thought he would like to know why the officer followed the

woman out; so he slipped softly into the dusky hall and listened.  He

heard a conversation to this effect--


"It is a fat pig, and promises good eating; I will buy it of thee; here

is the eightpence."


"Eightpence, indeed!  Thou'lt do no such thing.  It cost me three

shillings and eightpence, good honest coin of the last reign, that old

Harry that's just dead ne'er touched or tampered with.  A fig for thy



"Stands the wind in that quarter?  Thou wast under oath, and so swore

falsely when thou saidst the value was but eightpence.  Come straightway

back with me before his worship, and answer for the crime!--and then the

lad will hang."


"There, there, dear heart, say no more, I am content.  Give me the

eightpence, and hold thy peace about the matter."


The woman went off crying:  Hendon slipped back into the court room, and

the constable presently followed, after hiding his prize in some

convenient place.  The justice wrote a while longer, then read the King a

wise and kindly lecture, and sentenced him to a short imprisonment in the

common jail, to be followed by a public flogging.  The astounded King

opened his mouth, and was probably going to order the good judge to be

beheaded on the spot; but he caught a warning sign from Hendon, and

succeeded in closing his mouth again before he lost anything out of it.

Hendon took him by the hand, now, made reverence to the justice, and the

two departed in the wake of the constable toward the jail.  The moment

the street was reached, the inflamed monarch halted, snatched away his

hand, and exclaimed--


"Idiot, dost imagine I will enter a common jail ALIVE?"


Hendon bent down and said, somewhat sharply--


"WILL you trust in me?  Peace! and forbear to worsen our chances with

dangerous speech.  What God wills, will happen; thou canst not hurry it,

thou canst not alter it; therefore wait, and be patient--'twill be time

enow to rail or rejoice when what is to happen has happened." {1}




Chapter XXIV. The escape.


The short winter day was nearly ended.  The streets were deserted, save

for a few random stragglers, and these hurried straight along, with the

intent look of people who were only anxious to accomplish their errands

as quickly as possible, and then snugly house themselves from the rising

wind and the gathering twilight. They looked neither to the right nor to

the left; they paid no attention to our party, they did not even seem to

see them. Edward the Sixth wondered if the spectacle of a king on his way

to jail had ever encountered such marvellous indifference before.

By-and-by the constable arrived at a deserted market-square, and

proceeded to cross it.  When he had reached the middle of it, Hendon

laid his hand upon his arm, and said in a low voice--


"Bide a moment, good sir, there is none in hearing, and I would say a

word to thee."


"My duty forbids it, sir; prithee hinder me not, the night comes on."


"Stay, nevertheless, for the matter concerns thee nearly.  Turn thy back

a moment and seem not to see:  LET THIS POOR LAD ESCAPE."


"This to me, sir!  I arrest thee in--"


"Nay, be not too hasty.  See thou be careful and commit no foolish

error,"--then he shut his voice down to a whisper, and said in the man's

ear--"the pig thou hast purchased for eightpence may cost thee thy neck,



The poor constable, taken by surprise, was speechless, at first, then

found his tongue and fell to blustering and threatening; but Hendon was

tranquil, and waited with patience till his breath was spent; then said--


"I have a liking to thee, friend, and would not willingly see thee come

to harm.  Observe, I heard it all--every word.  I will prove it to thee."

Then he repeated the conversation which the officer and the woman had had

together in the hall, word for word, and ended with--


"There--have I set it forth correctly?  Should not I be able to set it

forth correctly before the judge, if occasion required?"


The man was dumb with fear and distress, for a moment; then he rallied,

and said with forced lightness--


"'Tis making a mighty matter, indeed, out of a jest; I but plagued the

woman for mine amusement."


"Kept you the woman's pig for amusement?"


The man answered sharply--


"Nought else, good sir--I tell thee 'twas but a jest."


"I do begin to believe thee," said Hendon, with a perplexing mixture of

mockery and half-conviction in his tone; "but tarry thou here a moment

whilst I run and ask his worship--for nathless, he being a man

experienced in law, in jests, in--"


He was moving away, still talking; the constable hesitated, fidgeted,

spat out an oath or two, then cried out--


"Hold, hold, good sir--prithee wait a little--the judge!  Why, man, he

hath no more sympathy with a jest than hath a dead corpse!--come, and we

will speak further.  Ods body!  I seem to be in evil case--and all for an

innocent and thoughtless pleasantry. I am a man of family; and my wife

and little ones--List to reason, good your worship: what wouldst thou

of me?"


"Only that thou be blind and dumb and paralytic whilst one may count a

hundred thousand--counting slowly," said Hendon, with the expression of a

man who asks but a reasonable favour, and that a very little one.


"It is my destruction!" said the constable despairingly.  "Ah, be

reasonable, good sir; only look at this matter, on all its sides, and see

how mere a jest it is--how manifestly and how plainly it is so.  And even

if one granted it were not a jest, it is a fault so small that e'en the

grimmest penalty it could call forth would be but a rebuke and warning

from the judge's lips."


Hendon replied with a solemnity which chilled the air about him--


"This jest of thine hath a name, in law,--wot you what it is?"


"I knew it not!  Peradventure I have been unwise.  I never dreamed it had

a name--ah, sweet heaven, I thought it was original."


"Yes, it hath a name.  In the law this crime is called Non compos mentis

lex talionis sic transit gloria mundi."


"Ah, my God!"


"And the penalty is death!"


"God be merciful to me a sinner!"


"By advantage taken of one in fault, in dire peril, and at thy mercy,

thou hast seized goods worth above thirteenpence ha'penny, paying but a

trifle for the same; and this, in the eye of the law, is constructive

barratry, misprision of treason, malfeasance in office, ad hominem

expurgatis in statu quo--and the penalty is death by the halter, without

ransom, commutation, or benefit of clergy."


"Bear me up, bear me up, sweet sir, my legs do fail me!  Be thou

merciful--spare me this doom, and I will turn my back and see nought that

shall happen."


"Good! now thou'rt wise and reasonable.  And thou'lt restore the pig?"


"I will, I will indeed--nor ever touch another, though heaven send it and

an archangel fetch it.  Go--I am blind for thy sake--I see nothing.  I

will say thou didst break in and wrest the prisoner from my hands by

force.  It is but a crazy, ancient door--I will batter it down myself

betwixt midnight and the morning."


"Do it, good soul, no harm will come of it; the judge hath a loving

charity for this poor lad, and will shed no tears and break no jailer's

bones for his escape."




Chapter XXV. Hendon Hall.


As soon as Hendon and the King were out of sight of the constable, his

Majesty was instructed to hurry to a certain place outside the town, and

wait there, whilst Hendon should go to the inn and settle his account.

Half an hour later the two friends were blithely jogging eastward on

Hendon's sorry steeds.  The King was warm and comfortable, now, for he

had cast his rags and clothed himself in the second-hand suit which

Hendon had bought on London Bridge.


Hendon wished to guard against over-fatiguing the boy; he judged that

hard journeys, irregular meals, and illiberal measures of sleep would be

bad for his crazed mind; whilst rest, regularity, and moderate exercise

would be pretty sure to hasten its cure; he longed to see the stricken

intellect made well again and its diseased visions driven out of the

tormented little head; therefore he resolved to move by easy stages

toward the home whence he had so long been banished, instead of obeying

the impulse of his impatience and hurrying along night and day.


When he and the King had journeyed about ten miles, they reached a

considerable village, and halted there for the night, at a good inn.

The former relations were resumed; Hendon stood behind the King's chair,

while he dined, and waited upon him; undressed him when he was ready for

bed; then took the floor for his own quarters, and slept athwart the

door, rolled up in a blanket.


The next day, and the day after, they jogged lazily along talking over

the adventures they had met since their separation, and mightily enjoying

each other's narratives.  Hendon detailed all his wide wanderings in

search of the King, and described how the archangel had led him a fool's

journey all over the forest, and taken him back to the hut, finally, when

he found he could not get rid of him.  Then--he said--the old man went

into the bedchamber and came staggering back looking broken-hearted, and

saying he had expected to find that the boy had returned and laid down in

there to rest, but it was not so.  Hendon had waited at the hut all day;

hope of the King's return died out, then, and he departed upon the quest



"And old Sanctum Sanctorum WAS truly sorry your highness came not back,"

said Hendon; "I saw it in his face."


"Marry I will never doubt THAT!" said the King--and then told his own

story; after which, Hendon was sorry he had not destroyed the archangel.


During the last day of the trip, Hendon's spirits were soaring. His

tongue ran constantly.  He talked about his old father, and his brother

Arthur, and told of many things which illustrated their high and generous

characters; he went into loving frenzies over his Edith, and was so

glad-hearted that he was even able to say some gentle and brotherly

things about Hugh.  He dwelt a deal on the coming meeting at Hendon Hall;

what a surprise it would be to everybody, and what an outburst of

thanksgiving and delight there would be.


It was a fair region, dotted with cottages and orchards, and the road led

through broad pasture lands whose receding expanses, marked with gentle

elevations and depressions, suggested the swelling and subsiding

undulations of the sea.  In the afternoon the returning prodigal made

constant deflections from his course to see if by ascending some hillock

he might not pierce the distance and catch a glimpse of his home.  At

last he was successful, and cried out excitedly--


"There is the village, my Prince, and there is the Hall close by! You may

see the towers from here; and that wood there--that is my father's park.

Ah, NOW thou'lt know what state and grandeur be! A house with seventy

rooms--think of that!--and seven and twenty servants!  A brave lodging

for such as we, is it not so?  Come, let us speed--my impatience will not

brook further delay."


All possible hurry was made; still, it was after three o'clock before the

village was reached.  The travellers scampered through it, Hendon's

tongue going all the time.  "Here is the church--covered with the same

ivy--none gone, none added."  "Yonder is the inn, the old Red Lion,--and

yonder is the market-place."  "Here is the Maypole, and here the pump

--nothing is altered; nothing but the people, at any rate; ten years make a

change in people; some of these I seem to know, but none know me."  So

his chat ran on. The end of the village was soon reached; then the

travellers struck into a crooked, narrow road, walled in with tall

hedges, and hurried briskly along it for half a mile, then passed into a

vast flower garden through an imposing gateway, whose huge stone pillars

bore sculptured armorial devices.  A noble mansion was before them.


"Welcome to Hendon Hall, my King!" exclaimed Miles.  "Ah, 'tis a great

day!  My father and my brother, and the Lady Edith will be so mad with

joy that they will have eyes and tongue for none but me in the first

transports of the meeting, and so thou'lt seem but coldly welcomed--but

mind it not; 'twill soon seem otherwise; for when I say thou art my ward,

and tell them how costly is my love for thee, thou'lt see them take thee

to their breasts for Miles Hendon's sake, and make their house and hearts

thy home for ever after!"


The next moment Hendon sprang to the ground before the great door, helped

the King down, then took him by the hand and rushed within. A few steps

brought him to a spacious apartment; he entered, seated the King with

more hurry than ceremony, then ran toward a young man who sat at a

writing-table in front of a generous fire of logs.


"Embrace me, Hugh," he cried, "and say thou'rt glad I am come again! and

call our father, for home is not home till I shall touch his hand, and

see his face, and hear his voice once more!"


But Hugh only drew back, after betraying a momentary surprise, and bent a

grave stare upon the intruder--a stare which indicated somewhat of

offended dignity, at first, then changed, in response to some inward

thought or purpose, to an expression of marvelling curiosity, mixed with

a real or assumed compassion.  Presently he said, in a mild voice--


"Thy wits seem touched, poor stranger; doubtless thou hast suffered

privations and rude buffetings at the world's hands; thy looks and dress

betoken it.  Whom dost thou take me to be?"


"Take thee?  Prithee for whom else than whom thou art?  I take thee to be

Hugh Hendon," said Miles, sharply.


The other continued, in the same soft tone--


"And whom dost thou imagine thyself to be?"


"Imagination hath nought to do with it!  Dost thou pretend thou knowest

me not for thy brother Miles Hendon?"


An expression of pleased surprise flitted across Hugh's face, and he



"What! thou art not jesting? can the dead come to life?  God be praised

if it be so!  Our poor lost boy restored to our arms after all these

cruel years!  Ah, it seems too good to be true, it IS too good to be

true--I charge thee, have pity, do not trifle with me!  Quick--come to

the light--let me scan thee well!"


He seized Miles by the arm, dragged him to the window, and began to

devour him from head to foot with his eyes, turning him this way and

that, and stepping briskly around him and about him to prove him from all

points of view; whilst the returned prodigal, all aglow with gladness,

smiled, laughed, and kept nodding his head and saying--


"Go on, brother, go on, and fear not; thou'lt find nor limb nor feature

that cannot bide the test.  Scour and scan me to thy content, my good old

Hugh--I am indeed thy old Miles, thy same old Miles, thy lost brother,

is't not so?  Ah, 'tis a great day--I SAID 'twas a great day!  Give me

thy hand, give me thy cheek--lord, I am like to die of very joy!"


He was about to throw himself upon his brother; but Hugh put up his hand

in dissent, then dropped his chin mournfully upon his breast, saying with



"Ah, God of his mercy give me strength to bear this grievous



Miles, amazed, could not speak for a moment; then he found his tongue,

and cried out--


"WHAT disappointment?  Am I not thy brother?"


Hugh shook his head sadly, and said--


"I pray heaven it may prove so, and that other eyes may find the

resemblances that are hid from mine.  Alack, I fear me the letter spoke

but too truly."


"What letter?"


"One that came from over sea, some six or seven years ago.  It said my

brother died in battle."


"It was a lie!  Call thy father--he will know me."


"One may not call the dead."


"Dead?" Miles's voice was subdued, and his lips trembled.  "My father

dead!--oh, this is heavy news.  Half my new joy is withered now.  Prithee

let me see my brother Arthur--he will know me; he will know me and

console me."


"He, also, is dead."


"God be merciful to me, a stricken man!  Gone,--both gone--the worthy

taken and the worthless spared, in me!  Ah! I crave your mercy!--do not

say the Lady Edith--"


"Is dead?  No, she lives."


"Then, God be praised, my joy is whole again!  Speed thee, brother--let

her come to me!  An' SHE say I am not myself--but she will not; no, no,

SHE will know me, I were a fool to doubt it. Bring her--bring the old

servants; they, too, will know me."


"All are gone but five--Peter, Halsey, David, Bernard, and Margaret."


So saying, Hugh left the room.  Miles stood musing a while, then began to

walk the floor, muttering--


"The five arch-villains have survived the two-and-twenty leal and honest

--'tis an odd thing."


He continued walking back and forth, muttering to himself; he had

forgotten the King entirely.  By-and-by his Majesty said gravely, and

with a touch of genuine compassion, though the words themselves were

capable of being interpreted ironically--


"Mind not thy mischance, good man; there be others in the world whose

identity is denied, and whose claims are derided.  Thou hast company."


"Ah, my King," cried Hendon, colouring slightly, "do not thou condemn me

--wait, and thou shalt see.  I am no impostor--she will say it; you shall

hear it from the sweetest lips in England.  I an impostor?  Why, I know

this old hall, these pictures of my ancestors, and all these things that

are about us, as a child knoweth its own nursery.  Here was I born and

bred, my lord; I speak the truth; I would not deceive thee; and should

none else believe, I pray thee do not THOU doubt me--I could not bear



"I do not doubt thee," said the King, with a childlike simplicity and



"I thank thee out of my heart!" exclaimed Hendon with a fervency which

showed that he was touched.  The King added, with the same gentle



"Dost thou doubt ME?"


A guilty confusion seized upon Hendon, and he was grateful that the door

opened to admit Hugh, at that moment, and saved him the necessity of



A beautiful lady, richly clothed, followed Hugh, and after her came

several liveried servants.  The lady walked slowly, with her head bowed

and her eyes fixed upon the floor.  The face was unspeakably sad.  Miles

Hendon sprang forward, crying out--


"Oh, my Edith, my darling--"


But Hugh waved him back, gravely, and said to the lady--


"Look upon him.  Do you know him?"


At the sound of Miles's voice the woman had started slightly, and her

cheeks had flushed; she was trembling now.  She stood still, during an

impressive pause of several moments; then slowly lifted up her head and

looked into Hendon's eyes with a stony and frightened gaze; the blood

sank out of her face, drop by drop, till nothing remained but the grey

pallor of death; then she said, in a voice as dead as the face, "I know

him not!" and turned, with a moan and a stifled sob, and tottered out of

the room.


Miles Hendon sank into a chair and covered his face with his hands.

After a pause, his brother said to the servants--


"You have observed him.  Do you know him?"


They shook their heads; then the master said--


"The servants know you not, sir.  I fear there is some mistake. You have

seen that my wife knew you not."


"Thy WIFE!"  In an instant Hugh was pinned to the wall, with an iron grip

about his throat.  "Oh, thou fox-hearted slave, I see it all!  Thou'st

writ the lying letter thyself, and my stolen bride and goods are its

fruit.  There--now get thee gone, lest I shame mine honourable

soldiership with the slaying of so pitiful a mannikin!"


Hugh, red-faced, and almost suffocated, reeled to the nearest chair, and

commanded the servants to seize and bind the murderous stranger.  They

hesitated, and one of them said--


"He is armed, Sir Hugh, and we are weaponless."


"Armed!  What of it, and ye so many?  Upon him, I say!"


But Miles warned them to be careful what they did, and added--


"Ye know me of old--I have not changed; come on, an' it like you."


This reminder did not hearten the servants much; they still held back.


"Then go, ye paltry cowards, and arm yourselves and guard the doors,

whilst I send one to fetch the watch!" said Hugh.  He turned at the

threshold, and said to Miles, "You'll find it to your advantage to offend

not with useless endeavours at escape."


"Escape?  Spare thyself discomfort, an' that is all that troubles thee.

For Miles Hendon is master of Hendon Hall and all its belongings.  He

will remain--doubt it not."




Chapter XXVI. Disowned.


The King sat musing a few moments, then looked up and said--


"'Tis strange--most strange.  I cannot account for it."


"No, it is not strange, my liege.  I know him, and this conduct is but

natural.  He was a rascal from his birth."


"Oh, I spake not of HIM, Sir Miles."


"Not of him?  Then of what?  What is it that is strange?"


"That the King is not missed."


"How?  Which?  I doubt I do not understand."


"Indeed?  Doth it not strike you as being passing strange that the land

is not filled with couriers and proclamations describing my person and

making search for me?  Is it no matter for commotion and distress that

the Head of the State is gone; that I am vanished away and lost?"


"Most true, my King, I had forgot."  Then Hendon sighed, and muttered to

himself, "Poor ruined mind--still busy with its pathetic dream."


"But I have a plan that shall right us both--I will write a paper, in

three tongues--Latin, Greek and English--and thou shalt haste away with

it to London in the morning.  Give it to none but my uncle, the Lord

Hertford; when he shall see it, he will know and say I wrote it.  Then he

will send for me."


"Might it not be best, my Prince, that we wait here until I prove myself

and make my rights secure to my domains?  I should be so much the better

able then to--"


The King interrupted him imperiously--


"Peace!  What are thy paltry domains, thy trivial interests, contrasted

with matters which concern the weal of a nation and the integrity of a

throne?"  Then, he added, in a gentle voice, as if he were sorry for his

severity, "Obey, and have no fear; I will right thee, I will make thee

whole--yes, more than whole.  I shall remember, and requite."


So saying, he took the pen, and set himself to work.  Hendon contemplated

him lovingly a while, then said to himself--


"An' it were dark, I should think it WAS a king that spoke; there's no

denying it, when the humour's upon on him he doth thunder and lighten

like your true King; now where got he that trick?  See him scribble and

scratch away contentedly at his meaningless pot-hooks, fancying them to

be Latin and Greek--and except my wit shall serve me with a lucky device

for diverting him from his purpose, I shall be forced to pretend to post

away to-morrow on this wild errand he hath invented for me."


The next moment Sir Miles's thoughts had gone back to the recent episode.

So absorbed was he in his musings, that when the King presently handed

him the paper which he had been writing, he received it and pocketed it

without being conscious of the act. "How marvellous strange she acted,"

he muttered.  "I think she knew me--and I think she did NOT know me.

These opinions do conflict, I perceive it plainly; I cannot reconcile

them, neither can I, by argument, dismiss either of the two, or even

persuade one to outweigh the other.  The matter standeth simply thus:

she MUST have known my face, my figure, my voice, for how could it be

otherwise?  Yet she SAID she knew me not, and that is proof perfect, for

she cannot lie.  But stop--I think I begin to see. Peradventure he hath

influenced her, commanded her, compelled her to lie.  That is the

solution.  The riddle is unriddled.  She seemed dead with fear--yes, she

was under his compulsion.  I will seek her; I will find her; now that he

is away, she will speak her true mind.  She will remember the old times

when we were little playfellows together, and this will soften her heart,

and she will no more betray me, but will confess me.  There is no

treacherous blood in her--no, she was always honest and true.  She has

loved me, in those old days--this is my security; for whom one has loved,

one cannot betray."


He stepped eagerly toward the door; at that moment it opened, and the

Lady Edith entered.  She was very pale, but she walked with a firm step,

and her carriage was full of grace and gentle dignity. Her face was as

sad as before.


Miles sprang forward, with a happy confidence, to meet her, but she

checked him with a hardly perceptible gesture, and he stopped where he

was.  She seated herself, and asked him to do likewise. Thus simply did

she take the sense of old comradeship out of him, and transform him into

a stranger and a guest.  The surprise of it, the bewildering

unexpectedness of it, made him begin to question, for a moment, if he WAS

the person he was pretending to be, after all.  The Lady Edith said--


"Sir, I have come to warn you.  The mad cannot be persuaded out of their

delusions, perchance; but doubtless they may be persuaded to avoid

perils.  I think this dream of yours hath the seeming of honest truth to

you, and therefore is not criminal--but do not tarry here with it; for

here it is dangerous."  She looked steadily into Miles's face a moment,

then added, impressively, "It is the more dangerous for that you ARE much

like what our lost lad must have grown to be if he had lived."


"Heavens, madam, but I AM he!"


"I truly think you think it, sir.  I question not your honesty in that; I

but warn you, that is all.  My husband is master in this region; his

power hath hardly any limit; the people prosper or starve, as he wills.

If you resembled not the man whom you profess to be, my husband might bid

you pleasure yourself with your dream in peace; but trust me, I know him

well; I know what he will do; he will say to all that you are but a mad

impostor, and straightway all will echo him."  She bent upon Miles that

same steady look once more, and added:  "If you WERE Miles Hendon, and he

knew it and all the region knew it--consider what I am saying, weigh it

well--you would stand in the same peril, your punishment would be no less

sure; he would deny you and denounce you, and none would be bold enough

to give you countenance."


"Most truly I believe it," said Miles, bitterly.  "The power that can

command one life-long friend to betray and disown another, and be obeyed,

may well look to be obeyed in quarters where bread and life are on the

stake and no cobweb ties of loyalty and honour are concerned."


A faint tinge appeared for a moment in the lady's cheek, and she dropped

her eyes to the floor; but her voice betrayed no emotion when she



"I have warned you--I must still warn you--to go hence.  This man will

destroy you, else.  He is a tyrant who knows no pity.  I, who am his

fettered slave, know this.  Poor Miles, and Arthur, and my dear guardian,

Sir Richard, are free of him, and at rest:  better that you were with

them than that you bide here in the clutches of this miscreant.  Your

pretensions are a menace to his title and possessions; you have assaulted

him in his own house:  you are ruined if you stay.  Go--do not hesitate.

If you lack money, take this purse, I beg of you, and bribe the servants

to let you pass. Oh, be warned, poor soul, and escape while you may."


Miles declined the purse with a gesture, and rose up and stood before



"Grant me one thing," he said.  "Let your eyes rest upon mine, so that I

may see if they be steady.  There--now answer me.  Am I Miles Hendon?"


"No.  I know you not."


"Swear it!"


The answer was low, but distinct--


"I swear."


"Oh, this passes belief!"


"Fly!  Why will you waste the precious time?  Fly, and save yourself."


At that moment the officers burst into the room, and a violent struggle

began; but Hendon was soon overpowered and dragged away. The King was

taken also, and both were bound and led to prison.




Chapter XXVII. In prison.


The cells were all crowded; so the two friends were chained in a large

room where persons charged with trifling offences were commonly kept.

They had company, for there were some twenty manacled and fettered

prisoners here, of both sexes and of varying ages,--an obscene and noisy

gang.  The King chafed bitterly over the stupendous indignity thus put

upon his royalty, but Hendon was moody and taciturn.  He was pretty

thoroughly bewildered; he had come home, a jubilant prodigal, expecting

to find everybody wild with joy over his return; and instead had got the

cold shoulder and a jail.  The promise and the fulfilment differed so

widely that the effect was stunning; he could not decide whether it was

most tragic or most grotesque.  He felt much as a man might who had

danced blithely out to enjoy a rainbow, and got struck by lightning.


But gradually his confused and tormenting thoughts settled down into some

sort of order, and then his mind centred itself upon Edith.  He turned

her conduct over, and examined it in all lights, but he could not make

anything satisfactory out of it.  Did she know him--or didn't she know

him?  It was a perplexing puzzle, and occupied him a long time; but he

ended, finally, with the conviction that she did know him, and had

repudiated him for interested reasons.  He wanted to load her name with

curses now; but this name had so long been sacred to him that he found he

could not bring his tongue to profane it.


Wrapped in prison blankets of a soiled and tattered condition, Hendon and

the King passed a troubled night.  For a bribe the jailer had furnished

liquor to some of the prisoners; singing of ribald songs, fighting,

shouting, and carousing was the natural consequence.  At last, a while

after midnight, a man attacked a woman and nearly killed her by beating

her over the head with his manacles before the jailer could come to the

rescue.  The jailer restored peace by giving the man a sound clubbing

about the head and shoulders--then the carousing ceased; and after that,

all had an opportunity to sleep who did not mind the annoyance of the

moanings and groanings of the two wounded people.


During the ensuing week, the days and nights were of a monotonous

sameness as to events; men whose faces Hendon remembered more or less

distinctly, came, by day, to gaze at the 'impostor' and repudiate and

insult him; and by night the carousing and brawling went on with

symmetrical regularity.  However, there was a change of incident at last.

The jailer brought in an old man, and said to him--


"The villain is in this room--cast thy old eyes about and see if thou

canst say which is he."


Hendon glanced up, and experienced a pleasant sensation for the first

time since he had been in the jail.  He said to himself, "This is Blake

Andrews, a servant all his life in my father's family--a good honest

soul, with a right heart in his breast. That is, formerly.  But none are

true now; all are liars.  This man will know me--and will deny me, too,

like the rest."


The old man gazed around the room, glanced at each face in turn, and

finally said--


"I see none here but paltry knaves, scum o' the streets.  Which is he?"


The jailer laughed.


"Here," he said; "scan this big animal, and grant me an opinion."


The old man approached, and looked Hendon over, long and earnestly, then

shook his head and said--


"Marry, THIS is no Hendon--nor ever was!"


"Right!  Thy old eyes are sound yet.  An' I were Sir Hugh, I would take

the shabby carle and--"


The jailer finished by lifting himself a-tip-toe with an imaginary

halter, at the same time making a gurgling noise in his throat suggestive

of suffocation.  The old man said, vindictively--


"Let him bless God an' he fare no worse.  An' _I_ had the handling o' the

villain he should roast, or I am no true man!"


The jailer laughed a pleasant hyena laugh, and said--


"Give him a piece of thy mind, old man--they all do it.  Thou'lt find it

good diversion."


Then he sauntered toward his ante-room and disappeared.  The old man

dropped upon his knees and whispered--


"God be thanked, thou'rt come again, my master!  I believed thou wert

dead these seven years, and lo, here thou art alive!  I knew thee the

moment I saw thee; and main hard work it was to keep a stony countenance

and seem to see none here but tuppenny knaves and rubbish o' the streets.

I am old and poor, Sir Miles; but say the word and I will go forth and

proclaim the truth though I be strangled for it."


"No," said Hendon; "thou shalt not.  It would ruin thee, and yet help but

little in my cause.  But I thank thee, for thou hast given me back

somewhat of my lost faith in my kind."


The old servant became very valuable to Hendon and the King; for he

dropped in several times a day to 'abuse' the former, and always smuggled

in a few delicacies to help out the prison bill of fare; he also

furnished the current news.  Hendon reserved the dainties for the King;

without them his Majesty might not have survived, for he was not able to

eat the coarse and wretched food provided by the jailer.  Andrews was

obliged to confine himself to brief visits, in order to avoid suspicion;

but he managed to impart a fair degree of information each time

--information delivered in a low voice, for Hendon's benefit, and

interlarded with insulting epithets delivered in a louder voice for the

benefit of other hearers.


So, little by little, the story of the family came out.  Arthur had been

dead six years.  This loss, with the absence of news from Hendon,

impaired the father's health; he believed he was going to die, and he

wished to see Hugh and Edith settled in life before he passed away; but

Edith begged hard for delay, hoping for Miles's return; then the letter

came which brought the news of Miles's death; the shock prostrated Sir

Richard; he believed his end was very near, and he and Hugh insisted upon

the marriage; Edith begged for and obtained a month's respite, then

another, and finally a third; the marriage then took place by the

death-bed of Sir Richard.  It had not proved a happy one.  It was

whispered about the country that shortly after the nuptials the bride

found among her husband's papers several rough and incomplete drafts of

the fatal letter, and had accused him of precipitating the marriage--and

Sir Richard's death, too--by a wicked forgery. Tales of cruelty to the

Lady Edith and the servants were to be heard on all hands; and since the

father's death Sir Hugh had thrown off all soft disguises and become a

pitiless master toward all who in any way depended upon him and his

domains for bread.


There was a bit of Andrew's gossip which the King listened to with a

lively interest--


"There is rumour that the King is mad.  But in charity forbear to say _I_

mentioned it, for 'tis death to speak of it, they say."


His Majesty glared at the old man and said--


"The King is NOT mad, good man--and thou'lt find it to thy advantage to

busy thyself with matters that nearer concern thee than this seditious



"What doth the lad mean?" said Andrews, surprised at this brisk assault

from such an unexpected quarter.  Hendon gave him a sign, and he did not

pursue his question, but went on with his budget--


"The late King is to be buried at Windsor in a day or two--the 16th of

the month--and the new King will be crowned at Westminster the 20th."


"Methinks they must needs find him first," muttered his Majesty; then

added, confidently, "but they will look to that--and so also shall I."


"In the name of--"


But the old man got no further--a warning sign from Hendon checked his

remark.  He resumed the thread of his gossip--


"Sir Hugh goeth to the coronation--and with grand hopes.  He confidently

looketh to come back a peer, for he is high in favour with the Lord



"What Lord Protector?" asked his Majesty.


"His Grace the Duke of Somerset."


"What Duke of Somerset?"


"Marry, there is but one--Seymour, Earl of Hertford."


The King asked sharply--


"Since when is HE a duke, and Lord Protector?"


"Since the last day of January."


"And prithee who made him so?"


"Himself and the Great Council--with help of the King."


His Majesty started violently.  "The KING!" he cried.  "WHAT king, good



"What king, indeed! (God-a-mercy, what aileth the boy?)  Sith we have but

one, 'tis not difficult to answer--his most sacred Majesty King Edward

the Sixth--whom God preserve!  Yea, and a dear and gracious little urchin

is he, too; and whether he be mad or no--and they say he mendeth daily

--his praises are on all men's lips; and all bless him, likewise, and offer

prayers that he may be spared to reign long in England; for he began

humanely with saving the old Duke of Norfolk's life, and now is he bent

on destroying the cruellest of the laws that harry and oppress the



This news struck his Majesty dumb with amazement, and plunged him into so

deep and dismal a reverie that he heard no more of the old man's gossip.

He wondered if the 'little urchin' was the beggar-boy whom he left

dressed in his own garments in the palace.  It did not seem possible that

this could be, for surely his manners and speech would betray him if he

pretended to be the Prince of Wales--then he would be driven out, and

search made for the true prince.  Could it be that the Court had set up

some sprig of the nobility in his place?  No, for his uncle would not

allow that--he was all-powerful and could and would crush such a

movement, of course.  The boy's musings profited him nothing; the more he

tried to unriddle the mystery the more perplexed he became, the more his

head ached, and the worse he slept.  His impatience to get to London grew

hourly, and his captivity became almost unendurable.


Hendon's arts all failed with the King--he could not be comforted; but a

couple of women who were chained near him succeeded better. Under their

gentle ministrations he found peace and learned a degree of patience.  He

was very grateful, and came to love them dearly and to delight in the

sweet and soothing influence of their presence.  He asked them why they

were in prison, and when they said they were Baptists, he smiled, and



"Is that a crime to be shut up for in a prison?  Now I grieve, for I

shall lose ye--they will not keep ye long for such a little thing."


They did not answer; and something in their faces made him uneasy. He

said, eagerly--


"You do not speak; be good to me, and tell me--there will be no other

punishment?  Prithee tell me there is no fear of that."


They tried to change the topic, but his fears were aroused, and he

pursued it--


"Will they scourge thee?  No, no, they would not be so cruel!  Say they

would not.  Come, they WILL not, will they?"


The women betrayed confusion and distress, but there was no avoiding an

answer, so one of them said, in a voice choked with emotion--


"Oh, thou'lt break our hearts, thou gentle spirit!--God will help us to

bear our--"


"It is a confession!" the King broke in.  "Then they WILL scourge thee,

the stony-hearted wretches!  But oh, thou must not weep, I cannot bear

it.  Keep up thy courage--I shall come to my own in time to save thee

from this bitter thing, and I will do it!"


When the King awoke in the morning, the women were gone.


"They are saved!" he said, joyfully; then added, despondently, "but woe

is me!--for they were my comforters."


Each of them had left a shred of ribbon pinned to his clothing, in token

of remembrance.  He said he would keep these things always; and that soon

he would seek out these dear good friends of his and take them under his



Just then the jailer came in with some subordinates, and commanded that

the prisoners be conducted to the jail-yard.  The King was overjoyed--it

would be a blessed thing to see the blue sky and breathe the fresh air

once more.  He fretted and chafed at the slowness of the officers, but

his turn came at last, and he was released from his staple and ordered to

follow the other prisoners with Hendon.


The court or quadrangle was stone-paved, and open to the sky.  The

prisoners entered it through a massive archway of masonry, and were

placed in file, standing, with their backs against the wall. A rope was

stretched in front of them, and they were also guarded by their officers.

It was a chill and lowering morning, and a light snow which had fallen

during the night whitened the great empty space and added to the general

dismalness of its aspect. Now and then a wintry wind shivered through the

place and sent the snow eddying hither and thither.


In the centre of the court stood two women, chained to posts.  A glance

showed the King that these were his good friends.  He shuddered, and said

to himself, "Alack, they are not gone free, as I had thought.  To think

that such as these should know the lash!--in England!  Ay, there's the

shame of it--not in Heathennesse, Christian England!  They will be

scourged; and I, whom they have comforted and kindly entreated, must look

on and see the great wrong done; it is strange, so strange, that I, the

very source of power in this broad realm, am helpless to protect them.

But let these miscreants look well to themselves, for there is a day

coming when I will require of them a heavy reckoning for this work.  For

every blow they strike now, they shall feel a hundred then."


A great gate swung open, and a crowd of citizens poured in.  They flocked

around the two women, and hid them from the King's view. A clergyman

entered and passed through the crowd, and he also was hidden.  The King

now heard talking, back and forth, as if questions were being asked and

answered, but he could not make out what was said.  Next there was a deal

of bustle and preparation, and much passing and repassing of officials

through that part of the crowd that stood on the further side of the

women; and whilst this proceeded a deep hush gradually fell upon the



Now, by command, the masses parted and fell aside, and the King saw a

spectacle that froze the marrow in his bones.  Faggots had been piled

about the two women, and a kneeling man was lighting them!


The women bowed their heads, and covered their faces with their hands;

the yellow flames began to climb upward among the snapping and crackling

faggots, and wreaths of blue smoke to stream away on the wind; the

clergyman lifted his hands and began a prayer--just then two young girls

came flying through the great gate, uttering piercing screams, and threw

themselves upon the women at the stake.  Instantly they were torn away by

the officers, and one of them was kept in a tight grip, but the other

broke loose, saying she would die with her mother; and before she could

be stopped she had flung her arms about her mother's neck again.  She was

torn away once more, and with her gown on fire.  Two or three men held

her, and the burning portion of her gown was snatched off and thrown

flaming aside, she struggling all the while to free herself, and saying

she would be alone in the world, now; and begging to be allowed to die

with her mother.  Both the girls screamed continually, and fought for

freedom; but suddenly this tumult was drowned under a volley of

heart-piercing shrieks of mortal agony--the King glanced from the frantic

girls to the stake, then turned away and leaned his ashen face against

the wall, and looked no more.  He said, "That which I have seen, in that

one little moment, will never go out from my memory, but will abide

there; and I shall see it all the days, and dream of it all the nights,

till I die.  Would God I had been blind!"


Hendon was watching the King.  He said to himself, with satisfaction,

"His disorder mendeth; he hath changed, and groweth gentler.  If he had

followed his wont, he would have stormed at these varlets, and said he

was King, and commanded that the women be turned loose unscathed.  Soon

his delusion will pass away and be forgotten, and his poor mind will be

whole again.  God speed the day!"


That same day several prisoners were brought in to remain over night, who

were being conveyed, under guard, to various places in the kingdom, to

undergo punishment for crimes committed.  The King conversed with these

--he had made it a point, from the beginning, to instruct himself for the

kingly office by questioning prisoners whenever the opportunity offered

--and the tale of their woes wrung his heart.  One of them was a poor

half-witted woman who had stolen a yard or two of cloth from a weaver

--she was to be hanged for it.  Another was a man who had been accused of

stealing a horse; he said the proof had failed, and he had imagined that

he was safe from the halter; but no--he was hardly free before he was

arraigned for killing a deer in the King's park; this was proved against

him, and now he was on his way to the gallows.  There was a tradesman's

apprentice whose case particularly distressed the King; this youth said

he found a hawk, one evening, that had escaped from its owner, and he

took it home with him, imagining himself entitled to it; but the court

convicted him of stealing it, and sentenced him to death.


The King was furious over these inhumanities, and wanted Hendon to break

jail and fly with him to Westminster, so that he could mount his throne

and hold out his sceptre in mercy over these unfortunate people and save

their lives.  "Poor child," sighed Hendon, "these woeful tales have

brought his malady upon him again; alack, but for this evil hap, he would

have been well in a little time."


Among these prisoners was an old lawyer--a man with a strong face and a

dauntless mien.  Three years past, he had written a pamphlet against the

Lord Chancellor, accusing him of injustice, and had been punished for it

by the loss of his ears in the pillory, and degradation from the bar, and

in addition had been fined 3,000 pounds and sentenced to imprisonment for

life.  Lately he had repeated his offence; and in consequence was now

under sentence to lose WHAT REMAINED OF HIS EARS, pay a fine of 5,000

pounds, be branded on both cheeks, and remain in prison for life.


"These be honourable scars," he said, and turned back his grey hair and

showed the mutilated stubs of what had once been his ears.


The King's eye burned with passion.  He said--


"None believe in me--neither wilt thou.  But no matter--within the

compass of a month thou shalt be free; and more, the laws that have

dishonoured thee, and shamed the English name, shall be swept from the

statute books.  The world is made wrong; kings should go to school to

their own laws, at times, and so learn mercy." {1}




Chapter XXVIII. The sacrifice.


Meantime Miles was growing sufficiently tired of confinement and

inaction.  But now his trial came on, to his great gratification, and he

thought he could welcome any sentence provided a further imprisonment

should not be a part of it.  But he was mistaken about that.  He was in a

fine fury when he found himself described as a 'sturdy vagabond' and

sentenced to sit two hours in the stocks for bearing that character and

for assaulting the master of Hendon Hall.  His pretensions as to

brothership with his prosecutor, and rightful heirship to the Hendon

honours and estates, were left contemptuously unnoticed, as being not

even worth examination.


He raged and threatened on his way to punishment, but it did no good; he

was snatched roughly along by the officers, and got an occasional cuff,

besides, for his irreverent conduct.


The King could not pierce through the rabble that swarmed behind; so he

was obliged to follow in the rear, remote from his good friend and

servant.  The King had been nearly condemned to the stocks himself for

being in such bad company, but had been let off with a lecture and a

warning, in consideration of his youth.  When the crowd at last halted,

he flitted feverishly from point to point around its outer rim, hunting a

place to get through; and at last, after a deal of difficulty and delay,

succeeded.  There sat his poor henchman in the degrading stocks, the

sport and butt of a dirty mob--he, the body servant of the King of

England!  Edward had heard the sentence pronounced, but he had not

realised the half that it meant.  His anger began to rise as the sense of

this new indignity which had been put upon him sank home; it jumped to

summer heat, the next moment, when he saw an egg sail through the air and

crush itself against Hendon's cheek, and heard the crowd roar its

enjoyment of the episode.  He sprang across the open circle and

confronted the officer in charge, crying--


"For shame!  This is my servant--set him free!  I am the--"


"Oh, peace!" exclaimed Hendon, in a panic, "thou'lt destroy thyself.

Mind him not, officer, he is mad."


"Give thyself no trouble as to the matter of minding him, good man, I

have small mind to mind him; but as to teaching him somewhat, to that I

am well inclined."  He turned to a subordinate and said, "Give the little

fool a taste or two of the lash, to mend his manners."


"Half a dozen will better serve his turn," suggested Sir Hugh, who had

ridden up, a moment before, to take a passing glance at the proceedings.


The King was seized.  He did not even struggle, so paralysed was he with

the mere thought of the monstrous outrage that was proposed to be

inflicted upon his sacred person.  History was already defiled with the

record of the scourging of an English king with whips--it was an

intolerable reflection that he must furnish a duplicate of that shameful

page.  He was in the toils, there was no help for him; he must either

take this punishment or beg for its remission.  Hard conditions; he would

take the stripes--a king might do that, but a king could not beg.


But meantime, Miles Hendon was resolving the difficulty.  "Let the child

go," said he; "ye heartless dogs, do ye not see how young and frail he

is?  Let him go--I will take his lashes."


"Marry, a good thought--and thanks for it," said Sir Hugh, his face

lighting with a sardonic satisfaction.  "Let the little beggar go, and

give this fellow a dozen in his place--an honest dozen, well laid on."

The King was in the act of entering a fierce protest, but Sir Hugh

silenced him with the potent remark, "Yes, speak up, do, and free thy

mind--only, mark ye, that for each word you utter he shall get six

strokes the more."


Hendon was removed from the stocks, and his back laid bare; and whilst

the lash was applied the poor little King turned away his face and

allowed unroyal tears to channel his cheeks unchecked. "Ah, brave good

heart," he said to himself, "this loyal deed shall never perish out of my

memory.  I will not forget it--and neither shall THEY!" he added, with

passion.  Whilst he mused, his appreciation of Hendon's magnanimous

conduct grew to greater and still greater dimensions in his mind, and so

also did his gratefulness for it.  Presently he said to himself, "Who

saves his prince from wounds and possible death--and this he did for me

--performs high service; but it is little--it is nothing--oh, less than

nothing!--when 'tis weighed against the act of him who saves his prince

from SHAME!"


Hendon made no outcry under the scourge, but bore the heavy blows with

soldierly fortitude.  This, together with his redeeming the boy by taking

his stripes for him, compelled the respect of even that forlorn and

degraded mob that was gathered there; and its gibes and hootings died

away, and no sound remained but the sound of the falling blows.  The

stillness that pervaded the place, when Hendon found himself once more in

the stocks, was in strong contrast with the insulting clamour which had

prevailed there so little a while before.  The King came softly to

Hendon's side, and whispered in his ear--


"Kings cannot ennoble thee, thou good, great soul, for One who is higher

than kings hath done that for thee; but a king can confirm thy nobility

to men."  He picked up the scourge from the ground, touched Hendon's

bleeding shoulders lightly with it, and whispered, "Edward of England

dubs thee Earl!"


Hendon was touched.  The water welled to his eyes, yet at the same time

the grisly humour of the situation and circumstances so undermined his

gravity that it was all he could do to keep some sign of his inward mirth

from showing outside.  To be suddenly hoisted, naked and gory, from the

common stocks to the Alpine altitude and splendour of an Earldom, seemed

to him the last possibility in the line of the grotesque.  He said to

himself, "Now am I finely tinselled, indeed!  The spectre-knight of the

Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows is become a spectre-earl--a dizzy flight

for a callow wing!  An' this go on, I shall presently be hung like a very

maypole with fantastic gauds and make-believe honours.  But I shall value

them, all valueless as they are, for the love that doth bestow them.

Better these poor mock dignities of mine, that come unasked, from a clean

hand and a right spirit, than real ones bought by servility from grudging

and interested power."


The dreaded Sir Hugh wheeled his horse about, and as he spurred away, the

living wall divided silently to let him pass, and as silently closed

together again.  And so remained; nobody went so far as to venture a

remark in favour of the prisoner, or in compliment to him; but no matter

--the absence of abuse was a sufficient homage in itself.  A late comer

who was not posted as to the present circumstances, and who delivered a

sneer at the 'impostor,' and was in the act of following it with a dead

cat, was promptly knocked down and kicked out, without any words, and

then the deep quiet resumed sway once more.




Chapter XXIX. To London.


When Hendon's term of service in the stocks was finished, he was released

and ordered to quit the region and come back no more. His sword was

restored to him, and also his mule and his donkey. He mounted and rode

off, followed by the King, the crowd opening with quiet respectfulness to

let them pass, and then dispersing when they were gone.


Hendon was soon absorbed in thought.  There were questions of high import

to be answered.  What should he do?  Whither should he go? Powerful help

must be found somewhere, or he must relinquish his inheritance and remain

under the imputation of being an impostor besides.  Where could he hope

to find this powerful help?  Where, indeed!  It was a knotty question.

By-and-by a thought occurred to him which pointed to a possibility--the

slenderest of slender possibilities, certainly, but still worth

considering, for lack of any other that promised anything at all.  He

remembered what old Andrews had said about the young King's goodness and

his generous championship of the wronged and unfortunate.  Why not go and

try to get speech of him and beg for justice?  Ah, yes, but could so

fantastic a pauper get admission to the august presence of a monarch?

Never mind--let that matter take care of itself; it was a bridge that

would not need to be crossed till he should come to it.  He was an old

campaigner, and used to inventing shifts and expedients:  no doubt he

would be able to find a way.  Yes, he would strike for the capital.

Maybe his father's old friend Sir Humphrey Marlow would help him--'good

old Sir Humphrey, Head Lieutenant of the late King's kitchen, or stables,

or something'--Miles could not remember just what or which.  Now that he

had something to turn his energies to, a distinctly defined object to

accomplish, the fog of humiliation and depression which had settled down

upon his spirits lifted and blew away, and he raised his head and looked

about him.  He was surprised to see how far he had come; the village was

away behind him.  The King was jogging along in his wake, with his head

bowed; for he, too, was deep in plans and thinkings.  A sorrowful

misgiving clouded Hendon's new-born cheerfulness:  would the boy be

willing to go again to a city where, during all his brief life, he had

never known anything but ill-usage and pinching want?  But the question

must be asked; it could not be avoided; so Hendon reined up, and called



"I had forgotten to inquire whither we are bound.  Thy commands, my



"To London!"


Hendon moved on again, mightily contented with the answer--but astounded

at it too.


The whole journey was made without an adventure of importance. But it

ended with one.  About ten o'clock on the night of the 19th of February

they stepped upon London Bridge, in the midst of a writhing, struggling

jam of howling and hurrahing people, whose beer-jolly faces stood out

strongly in the glare from manifold torches--and at that instant the

decaying head of some former duke or other grandee tumbled down between

them, striking Hendon on the elbow and then bounding off among the

hurrying confusion of feet. So evanescent and unstable are men's works in

this world!--the late good King is but three weeks dead and three days in

his grave, and already the adornments which he took such pains to select

from prominent people for his noble bridge are falling.  A citizen

stumbled over that head, and drove his own head into the back of somebody

in front of him, who turned and knocked down the first person that came

handy, and was promptly laid out himself by that person's friend.  It was

the right ripe time for a free fight, for the festivities of the morrow

--Coronation Day--were already beginning; everybody was full of strong

drink and patriotism; within five minutes the free fight was occupying a

good deal of ground; within ten or twelve it covered an acre of so, and

was become a riot.  By this time Hendon and the King were hopelessly

separated from each other and lost in the rush and turmoil of the roaring

masses of humanity.  And so we leave them.




Chapter XXX. Tom's progress.


Whilst the true King wandered about the land poorly clad, poorly fed,

cuffed and derided by tramps one while, herding with thieves and

murderers in a jail another, and called idiot and impostor by all

impartially, the mock King Tom Canty enjoyed quite a different



When we saw him last, royalty was just beginning to have a bright side

for him.  This bright side went on brightening more and more every day:

in a very little while it was become almost all sunshine and

delightfulness.  He lost his fears; his misgivings faded out and died;

his embarrassments departed, and gave place to an easy and confident

bearing.  He worked the whipping-boy mine to ever-increasing profit.


He ordered my Lady Elizabeth and my Lady Jane Grey into his presence when

he wanted to play or talk, and dismissed them when he was done with them,

with the air of one familiarly accustomed to such performances.  It no

longer confused him to have these lofty personages kiss his hand at



He came to enjoy being conducted to bed in state at night, and dressed

with intricate and solemn ceremony in the morning.  It came to be a proud

pleasure to march to dinner attended by a glittering procession of

officers of state and gentlemen-at-arms; insomuch, indeed, that he

doubled his guard of gentlemen-at-arms, and made them a hundred.  He

liked to hear the bugles sounding down the long corridors, and the

distant voices responding, "Way for the King!"


He even learned to enjoy sitting in throned state in council, and seeming

to be something more than the Lord Protector's mouthpiece. He liked to

receive great ambassadors and their gorgeous trains, and listen to the

affectionate messages they brought from illustrious monarchs who called

him brother.  O happy Tom Canty, late of Offal Court!


He enjoyed his splendid clothes, and ordered more:  he found his four

hundred servants too few for his proper grandeur, and trebled them.  The

adulation of salaaming courtiers came to be sweet music to his ears.  He

remained kind and gentle, and a sturdy and determined champion of all

that were oppressed, and he made tireless war upon unjust laws:  yet upon

occasion, being offended, he could turn upon an earl, or even a duke, and

give him a look that would make him tremble.  Once, when his royal

'sister,' the grimly holy Lady Mary, set herself to reason with him

against the wisdom of his course in pardoning so many people who would

otherwise be jailed, or hanged, or burned, and reminded him that their

august late father's prisons had sometimes contained as high as sixty

thousand convicts at one time, and that during his admirable reign he had

delivered seventy-two thousand thieves and robbers over to death by the

executioner, {9} the boy was filled with generous indignation, and

commanded her to go to her closet, and beseech God to take away the stone

that was in her breast, and give her a human heart.


Did Tom Canty never feel troubled about the poor little rightful prince

who had treated him so kindly, and flown out with such hot zeal to avenge

him upon the insolent sentinel at the palace-gate? Yes; his first royal

days and nights were pretty well sprinkled with painful thoughts about

the lost prince, and with sincere longings for his return, and happy

restoration to his native rights and splendours.  But as time wore on,

and the prince did not come, Tom's mind became more and more occupied

with his new and enchanting experiences, and by little and little the

vanished monarch faded almost out of his thoughts; and finally, when he

did intrude upon them at intervals, he was become an unwelcome spectre,

for he made Tom feel guilty and ashamed.


Tom's poor mother and sisters travelled the same road out of his mind.

At first he pined for them, sorrowed for them, longed to see them, but

later, the thought of their coming some day in their rags and dirt, and

betraying him with their kisses, and pulling him down from his lofty

place, and dragging him back to penury and degradation and the slums,

made him shudder.  At last they ceased to trouble his thoughts almost

wholly.  And he was content, even glad:  for, whenever their mournful and

accusing faces did rise before him now, they made him feel more

despicable than the worms that crawl.


At midnight of the 19th of February, Tom Canty was sinking to sleep in

his rich bed in the palace, guarded by his loyal vassals, and surrounded

by the pomps of royalty, a happy boy; for tomorrow was the day appointed

for his solemn crowning as King of England. At that same hour, Edward,

the true king, hungry and thirsty, soiled and draggled, worn with travel,

and clothed in rags and shreds--his share of the results of the riot--was

wedged in among a crowd of people who were watching with deep interest

certain hurrying gangs of workmen who streamed in and out of Westminster

Abbey, busy as ants:  they were making the last preparation for the royal





Chapter XXXI. The Recognition procession.


When Tom Canty awoke the next morning, the air was heavy with a

thunderous murmur:  all the distances were charged with it.  It was music

to him; for it meant that the English world was out in its strength to

give loyal welcome to the great day.


Presently Tom found himself once more the chief figure in a wonderful

floating pageant on the Thames; for by ancient custom the 'recognition

procession' through London must start from the Tower, and he was bound



When he arrived there, the sides of the venerable fortress seemed

suddenly rent in a thousand places, and from every rent leaped a red

tongue of flame and a white gush of smoke; a deafening explosion

followed, which drowned the shoutings of the multitude, and made the

ground tremble; the flame-jets, the smoke, and the explosions, were

repeated over and over again with marvellous celerity, so that in a few

moments the old Tower disappeared in the vast fog of its own smoke, all

but the very top of the tall pile called the White Tower; this, with its

banners, stood out above the dense bank of vapour as a mountain-peak

projects above a cloud-rack.


Tom Canty, splendidly arrayed, mounted a prancing war-steed, whose rich

trappings almost reached to the ground; his 'uncle,' the Lord Protector

Somerset, similarly mounted, took place in his rear; the King's Guard

formed in single ranks on either side, clad in burnished armour; after

the Protector followed a seemingly interminable procession of resplendent

nobles attended by their vassals; after these came the lord mayor and the

aldermanic body, in crimson velvet robes, and with their gold chains

across their breasts; and after these the officers and members of all the

guilds of London, in rich raiment, and bearing the showy banners of the

several corporations.  Also in the procession, as a special guard of

honour through the city, was the Ancient and Honourable Artillery

Company--an organisation already three hundred years old at that time,

and the only military body in England possessing the privilege (which it

still possesses in our day) of holding itself independent of the commands

of Parliament.  It was a brilliant spectacle, and was hailed with

acclamations all along the line, as it took its stately way through the

packed multitudes of citizens. The chronicler says, 'The King, as he

entered the city, was received by the people with prayers, welcomings,

cries, and tender words, and all signs which argue an earnest love of

subjects toward their sovereign; and the King, by holding up his glad

countenance to such as stood afar off, and most tender language to those

that stood nigh his Grace, showed himself no less thankful to receive the

people's goodwill than they to offer it.  To all that wished him well, he

gave thanks.  To such as bade "God save his Grace," he said in return,

"God save you all!" and added that "he thanked them with all his heart."

Wonderfully transported were the people with the loving answers and

gestures of their King.'


In Fenchurch Street a 'fair child, in costly apparel,' stood on a stage

to welcome his Majesty to the city.  The last verse of his greeting was

in these words--


'Welcome, O King! as much as hearts can think; Welcome, again, as much as

tongue can tell,--Welcome to joyous tongues, and hearts that will not

shrink: God thee preserve, we pray, and wish thee ever well.'


The people burst forth in a glad shout, repeating with one voice what the

child had said.  Tom Canty gazed abroad over the surging sea of eager

faces, and his heart swelled with exultation; and he felt that the one

thing worth living for in this world was to be a king, and a nation's

idol.  Presently he caught sight, at a distance, of a couple of his

ragged Offal Court comrades--one of them the lord high admiral in his

late mimic court, the other the first lord of the bedchamber in the same

pretentious fiction; and his pride swelled higher than ever.  Oh, if they

could only recognise him now!  What unspeakable glory it would be, if

they could recognise him, and realise that the derided mock king of the

slums and back alleys was become a real King, with illustrious dukes and

princes for his humble menials, and the English world at his feet!  But

he had to deny himself, and choke down his desire, for such a recognition

might cost more than it would come to:  so he turned away his head, and

left the two soiled lads to go on with their shoutings and glad

adulations, unsuspicious of whom it was they were lavishing them upon.


Every now and then rose the cry, "A largess! a largess!" and Tom

responded by scattering a handful of bright new coins abroad for the

multitude to scramble for.


The chronicler says, 'At the upper end of Gracechurch Street, before the

sign of the Eagle, the city had erected a gorgeous arch, beneath which

was a stage, which stretched from one side of the street to the other.

This was an historical pageant, representing the King's immediate

progenitors.  There sat Elizabeth of York in the midst of an immense

white rose, whose petals formed elaborate furbelows around her; by her

side was Henry VII., issuing out of a vast red rose, disposed in the same

manner:  the hands of the royal pair were locked together, and the

wedding-ring ostentatiously displayed.  From the red and white roses

proceeded a stem, which reached up to a second stage, occupied by Henry

VIII., issuing from a red and white rose, with the effigy of the new

King's mother, Jane Seymour, represented by his side.  One branch sprang

from this pair, which mounted to a third stage, where sat the effigy of

Edward VI. himself, enthroned in royal majesty; and the whole pageant was

framed with wreaths of roses, red and white.'


This quaint and gaudy spectacle so wrought upon the rejoicing people,

that their acclamations utterly smothered the small voice of the child

whose business it was to explain the thing in eulogistic rhymes.  But Tom

Canty was not sorry; for this loyal uproar was sweeter music to him than

any poetry, no matter what its quality might be.  Whithersoever Tom

turned his happy young face, the people recognised the exactness of his

effigy's likeness to himself, the flesh and blood counterpart; and new

whirlwinds of applause burst forth.


The great pageant moved on, and still on, under one triumphal arch after

another, and past a bewildering succession of spectacular and symbolical

tableaux, each of which typified and exalted some virtue, or talent, or

merit, of the little King's.  'Throughout the whole of Cheapside, from

every penthouse and window, hung banners and streamers; and the richest

carpets, stuffs, and cloth-of-gold tapestried the streets--specimens of

the great wealth of the stores within; and the splendour of this

thoroughfare was equalled in the other streets, and in some even



"And all these wonders and these marvels are to welcome me--me!" murmured

Tom Canty.


The mock King's cheeks were flushed with excitement, his eyes were

flashing, his senses swam in a delirium of pleasure.  At this point, just

as he was raising his hand to fling another rich largess, he caught sight

of a pale, astounded face, which was strained forward out of the second

rank of the crowd, its intense eyes riveted upon him.  A sickening

consternation struck through him; he recognised his mother! and up flew

his hand, palm outward, before his eyes--that old involuntary gesture,

born of a forgotten episode, and perpetuated by habit.  In an instant

more she had torn her way out of the press, and past the guards, and was

at his side.  She embraced his leg, she covered it with kisses, she

cried, "O my child, my darling!" lifting toward him a face that was

transfigured with joy and love.  The same instant an officer of the

King's Guard snatched her away with a curse, and sent her reeling back

whence she came with a vigorous impulse from his strong arm.  The words

"I do not know you, woman!" were falling from Tom Canty's lips when this

piteous thing occurred; but it smote him to the heart to see her treated

so; and as she turned for a last glimpse of him, whilst the crowd was

swallowing her from his sight, she seemed so wounded, so broken-hearted,

that a shame fell upon him which consumed his pride to ashes, and

withered his stolen royalty.  His grandeurs were stricken valueless:

they seemed to fall away from him like rotten rags.


The procession moved on, and still on, through ever augmenting splendours

and ever augmenting tempests of welcome; but to Tom Canty they were as if

they had not been.  He neither saw nor heard.  Royalty had lost its grace

and sweetness; its pomps were become a reproach.  Remorse was eating his

heart out.  He said, "Would God I were free of my captivity!"


He had unconsciously dropped back into the phraseology of the first days

of his compulsory greatness.


The shining pageant still went winding like a radiant and interminable

serpent down the crooked lanes of the quaint old city, and through the

huzzaing hosts; but still the King rode with bowed head and vacant eyes,

seeing only his mother's face and that wounded look in it.


"Largess, largess!"  The cry fell upon an unheeding ear.


"Long live Edward of England!"  It seemed as if the earth shook with the

explosion; but there was no response from the King.  He heard it only as

one hears the thunder of the surf when it is blown to the ear out of a

great distance, for it was smothered under another sound which was still

nearer, in his own breast, in his accusing conscience--a voice which kept

repeating those shameful words, "I do not know you, woman!"


The words smote upon the King's soul as the strokes of a funeral bell

smite upon the soul of a surviving friend when they remind him of secret

treacheries suffered at his hands by him that is gone.


New glories were unfolded at every turning; new wonders, new marvels,

sprang into view; the pent clamours of waiting batteries were released;

new raptures poured from the throats of the waiting multitudes:  but the

King gave no sign, and the accusing voice that went moaning through his

comfortless breast was all the sound he heard.


By-and-by the gladness in the faces of the populace changed a little, and

became touched with a something like solicitude or anxiety:  an abatement

in the volume of the applause was observable too.  The Lord Protector was

quick to notice these things:  he was as quick to detect the cause.  He

spurred to the King's side, bent low in his saddle, uncovered, and said--


"My liege, it is an ill time for dreaming.  The people observe thy

downcast head, thy clouded mien, and they take it for an omen.  Be

advised:  unveil the sun of royalty, and let it shine upon these boding

vapours, and disperse them.  Lift up thy face, and smile upon the



So saying, the Duke scattered a handful of coins to right and left, then

retired to his place.  The mock King did mechanically as he had been

bidden.  His smile had no heart in it, but few eyes were near enough or

sharp enough to detect that.  The noddings of his plumed head as he

saluted his subjects were full of grace and graciousness; the largess

which he delivered from his hand was royally liberal:  so the people's

anxiety vanished, and the acclamations burst forth again in as mighty a

volume as before.


Still once more, a little before the progress was ended, the Duke was

obliged to ride forward, and make remonstrance.  He whispered--


"O dread sovereign! shake off these fatal humours; the eyes of the world

are upon thee."  Then he added with sharp annoyance, "Perdition catch

that crazy pauper! 'twas she that hath disturbed your Highness."


The gorgeous figure turned a lustreless eye upon the Duke, and said in a

dead voice--


"She was my mother!"


"My God!" groaned the Protector as he reined his horse backward to his

post, "the omen was pregnant with prophecy.  He is gone mad again!"




Chapter XXXII. Coronation Day.


Let us go backward a few hours, and place ourselves in Westminster Abbey,

at four o'clock in the morning of this memorable Coronation Day.  We are

not without company; for although it is still night, we find the

torch-lighted galleries already filling up with people who are well

content to sit still and wait seven or eight hours till the time shall

come for them to see what they may not hope to see twice in their lives

--the coronation of a King.  Yes, London and Westminster have been astir

ever since the warning guns boomed at three o'clock, and already crowds

of untitled rich folk who have bought the privilege of trying to find

sitting-room in the galleries are flocking in at the entrances reserved

for their sort.


The hours drag along tediously enough.  All stir has ceased for some

time, for every gallery has long ago been packed.  We may sit, now, and

look and think at our leisure.  We have glimpses, here and there and

yonder, through the dim cathedral twilight, of portions of many galleries

and balconies, wedged full with other people, the other portions of these

galleries and balconies being cut off from sight by intervening pillars

and architectural projections.  We have in view the whole of the great

north transept--empty, and waiting for England's privileged ones.  We see

also the ample area or platform, carpeted with rich stuffs, whereon the

throne stands.  The throne occupies the centre of the platform, and is

raised above it upon an elevation of four steps. Within the seat of the

throne is enclosed a rough flat rock--the stone of Scone--which many

generations of Scottish kings sat on to be crowned, and so it in time

became holy enough to answer a like purpose for English monarchs.  Both

the throne and its footstool are covered with cloth of gold.


Stillness reigns, the torches blink dully, the time drags heavily. But at

last the lagging daylight asserts itself, the torches are extinguished,

and a mellow radiance suffuses the great spaces. All features of the

noble building are distinct now, but soft and dreamy, for the sun is

lightly veiled with clouds.


At seven o'clock the first break in the drowsy monotony occurs; for on

the stroke of this hour the first peeress enters the transept, clothed

like Solomon for splendour, and is conducted to her appointed place by an

official clad in satins and velvets, whilst a duplicate of him gathers up

the lady's long train, follows after, and, when the lady is seated,

arranges the train across her lap for her.  He then places her footstool

according to her desire, after which he puts her coronet where it will be

convenient to her hand when the time for the simultaneous coroneting of

the nobles shall arrive.


By this time the peeresses are flowing in in a glittering stream, and the

satin-clad officials are flitting and glinting everywhere, seating them

and making them comfortable.  The scene is animated enough now.  There is

stir and life, and shifting colour everywhere.  After a time, quiet

reigns again; for the peeresses are all come and are all in their places,

a solid acre or such a matter, of human flowers, resplendent in

variegated colours, and frosted like a Milky Way with diamonds.  There

are all ages here: brown, wrinkled, white-haired dowagers who are able to

go back, and still back, down the stream of time, and recall the crowning

of Richard III. and the troublous days of that old forgotten age; and

there are handsome middle-aged dames; and lovely and gracious young

matrons; and gentle and beautiful young girls, with beaming eyes and

fresh complexions, who may possibly put on their jewelled coronets

awkwardly when the great time comes; for the matter will be new to them,

and their excitement will be a sore hindrance. Still, this may not

happen, for the hair of all these ladies has been arranged with a special

view to the swift and successful lodging of the crown in its place when

the signal comes.


We have seen that this massed array of peeresses is sown thick with

diamonds, and we also see that it is a marvellous spectacle--but now we

are about to be astonished in earnest.  About nine, the clouds suddenly

break away and a shaft of sunshine cleaves the mellow atmosphere, and

drifts slowly along the ranks of ladies; and every rank it touches flames

into a dazzling splendour of many-coloured fires, and we tingle to our

finger-tips with the electric thrill that is shot through us by the

surprise and the beauty of the spectacle!  Presently a special envoy from

some distant corner of the Orient, marching with the general body of

foreign ambassadors, crosses this bar of sunshine, and we catch our

breath, the glory that streams and flashes and palpitates about him is so

overpowering; for he is crusted from head to heel with gems, and his

slightest movement showers a dancing radiance all around him.


Let us change the tense for convenience.  The time drifted along--one

hour--two hours--two hours and a half; then the deep booming of artillery

told that the King and his grand procession had arrived at last; so the

waiting multitude rejoiced.  All knew that a further delay must follow,

for the King must be prepared and robed for the solemn ceremony; but this

delay would be pleasantly occupied by the assembling of the peers of the

realm in their stately robes.  These were conducted ceremoniously to

their seats, and their coronets placed conveniently at hand; and

meanwhile the multitude in the galleries were alive with interest, for

most of them were beholding for the first time, dukes, earls, and barons,

whose names had been historical for five hundred years.  When all were

finally seated, the spectacle from the galleries and all coigns of

vantage was complete; a gorgeous one to look upon and to remember.


Now the robed and mitred great heads of the church, and their attendants,

filed in upon the platform and took their appointed places; these were

followed by the Lord Protector and other great officials, and these again

by a steel-clad detachment of the Guard.


There was a waiting pause; then, at a signal, a triumphant peal of music

burst forth, and Tom Canty, clothed in a long robe of cloth of gold,

appeared at a door, and stepped upon the platform.  The entire multitude

rose, and the ceremony of the Recognition ensued.


Then a noble anthem swept the Abbey with its rich waves of sound; and

thus heralded and welcomed, Tom Canty was conducted to the throne.  The

ancient ceremonies went on, with impressive solemnity, whilst the

audience gazed; and as they drew nearer and nearer to completion, Tom

Canty grew pale, and still paler, and a deep and steadily deepening woe

and despondency settled down upon his spirits and upon his remorseful



At last the final act was at hand.  The Archbishop of Canterbury lifted

up the crown of England from its cushion and held it out over the

trembling mock-King's head.  In the same instant a rainbow-radiance

flashed along the spacious transept; for with one impulse every

individual in the great concourse of nobles lifted a coronet and poised

it over his or her head--and paused in that attitude.


A deep hush pervaded the Abbey.  At this impressive moment, a startling

apparition intruded upon the scene--an apparition observed by none in the

absorbed multitude, until it suddenly appeared, moving up the great

central aisle.  It was a boy, bareheaded, ill shod, and clothed in coarse

plebeian garments that were falling to rags.  He raised his hand with a

solemnity which ill comported with his soiled and sorry aspect, and

delivered this note of warning--


"I forbid you to set the crown of England upon that forfeited head.  I am

the King!"


In an instant several indignant hands were laid upon the boy; but in the

same instant Tom Canty, in his regal vestments, made a swift step

forward, and cried out in a ringing voice--


"Loose him and forbear!  He IS the King!"


A sort of panic of astonishment swept the assemblage, and they partly

rose in their places and stared in a bewildered way at one another and at

the chief figures in this scene, like persons who wondered whether they

were awake and in their senses, or asleep and dreaming.  The Lord

Protector was as amazed as the rest, but quickly recovered himself, and

exclaimed in a voice of authority--


"Mind not his Majesty, his malady is upon him again--seize the vagabond!"


He would have been obeyed, but the mock-King stamped his foot and cried



"On your peril!  Touch him not, he is the King!"


The hands were withheld; a paralysis fell upon the house; no one moved,

no one spoke; indeed, no one knew how to act or what to say, in so

strange and surprising an emergency.  While all minds were struggling to

right themselves, the boy still moved steadily forward, with high port

and confident mien; he had never halted from the beginning; and while the

tangled minds still floundered helplessly, he stepped upon the platform,

and the mock-King ran with a glad face to meet him; and fell on his knees

before him and said--


"Oh, my lord the King, let poor Tom Canty be first to swear fealty to

thee, and say, 'Put on thy crown and enter into thine own again!'"


The Lord Protector's eye fell sternly upon the new-comer's face; but

straightway the sternness vanished away, and gave place to an expression

of wondering surprise.  This thing happened also to the other great

officers.  They glanced at each other, and retreated a step by a common

and unconscious impulse.  The thought in each mind was the same:  "What a

strange resemblance!"


The Lord Protector reflected a moment or two in perplexity, then he said,

with grave respectfulness--


"By your favour, sir, I desire to ask certain questions which--"


"I will answer them, my lord."


The Duke asked him many questions about the Court, the late King, the

prince, the princesses--the boy answered them correctly and without

hesitating.  He described the rooms of state in the palace, the late

King's apartments, and those of the Prince of Wales.


It was strange; it was wonderful; yes, it was unaccountable--so all said

that heard it.  The tide was beginning to turn, and Tom Canty's hopes to

run high, when the Lord Protector shook his head and said--


"It is true it is most wonderful--but it is no more than our lord the

King likewise can do."  This remark, and this reference to himself as

still the King, saddened Tom Canty, and he felt his hopes crumbling from

under him.  "These are not PROOFS," added the Protector.


The tide was turning very fast now, very fast indeed--but in the wrong

direction; it was leaving poor Tom Canty stranded on the throne, and

sweeping the other out to sea.  The Lord Protector communed with himself

--shook his head--the thought forced itself upon him, "It is perilous to

the State and to us all, to entertain so fateful a riddle as this; it

could divide the nation and undermine the throne."  He turned and said--


"Sir Thomas, arrest this--No, hold!"  His face lighted, and he confronted

the ragged candidate with this question--


"Where lieth the Great Seal?  Answer me this truly, and the riddle is

unriddled; for only he that was Prince of Wales CAN so answer! On so

trivial a thing hang a throne and a dynasty!"


It was a lucky thought, a happy thought.  That it was so considered by

the great officials was manifested by the silent applause that shot from

eye to eye around their circle in the form of bright approving glances.

Yes, none but the true prince could dissolve the stubborn mystery of the

vanished Great Seal--this forlorn little impostor had been taught his

lesson well, but here his teachings must fail, for his teacher himself

could not answer THAT question--ah, very good, very good indeed; now we

shall be rid of this troublesome and perilous business in short order!

And so they nodded invisibly and smiled inwardly with satisfaction, and

looked to see this foolish lad stricken with a palsy of guilty confusion.

How surprised they were, then, to see nothing of the sort happen--how

they marvelled to hear him answer up promptly, in a confident and

untroubled voice, and say--


"There is nought in this riddle that is difficult."  Then, without so

much as a by-your-leave to anybody, he turned and gave this command, with

the easy manner of one accustomed to doing such things: "My Lord St.

John, go you to my private cabinet in the palace--for none knoweth the

place better than you--and, close down to the floor, in the left corner

remotest from the door that opens from the ante-chamber, you shall find

in the wall a brazen nail-head; press upon it and a little jewel-closet

will fly open which not even you do know of--no, nor any soul else in

all the world but me and the trusty artisan that did contrive it for me.

The first thing that falleth under your eye will be the Great Seal--fetch

it hither."


All the company wondered at this speech, and wondered still more to see

the little mendicant pick out this peer without hesitancy or apparent

fear of mistake, and call him by name with such a placidly convincing air

of having known him all his life.  The peer was almost surprised into

obeying.  He even made a movement as if to go, but quickly recovered his

tranquil attitude and confessed his blunder with a blush.  Tom Canty

turned upon him and said, sharply--


"Why dost thou hesitate?  Hast not heard the King's command?  Go!"


The Lord St. John made a deep obeisance--and it was observed that it was

a significantly cautious and non-committal one, it not being delivered at

either of the kings, but at the neutral ground about half-way between the

two--and took his leave.


Now began a movement of the gorgeous particles of that official group

which was slow, scarcely perceptible, and yet steady and persistent--a

movement such as is observed in a kaleidoscope that is turned slowly,

whereby the components of one splendid cluster fall away and join

themselves to another--a movement which, little by little, in the present

case, dissolved the glittering crowd that stood about Tom Canty and

clustered it together again in the neighbourhood of the new-comer.  Tom

Canty stood almost alone. Now ensued a brief season of deep suspense and

waiting--during which even the few faint hearts still remaining near Tom

Canty gradually scraped together courage enough to glide, one by one,

over to the majority.  So at last Tom Canty, in his royal robes and

jewels, stood wholly alone and isolated from the world, a conspicuous

figure, occupying an eloquent vacancy.


Now the Lord St. John was seen returning.  As he advanced up the

mid-aisle the interest was so intense that the low murmur of conversation

in the great assemblage died out and was succeeded by a profound hush, a

breathless stillness, through which his footfalls pulsed with a dull and

distant sound.  Every eye was fastened upon him as he moved along.  He

reached the platform, paused a moment, then moved toward Tom Canty with a

deep obeisance, and said--


"Sire, the Seal is not there!"


A mob does not melt away from the presence of a plague-patient with more

haste than the band of pallid and terrified courtiers melted away from

the presence of the shabby little claimant of the Crown.  In a moment he

stood all alone, without friend or supporter, a target upon which was

concentrated a bitter fire of scornful and angry looks.  The Lord

Protector called out fiercely--


"Cast the beggar into the street, and scourge him through the town--the

paltry knave is worth no more consideration!"


Officers of the guard sprang forward to obey, but Tom Canty waved them

off and said--


"Back!  Whoso touches him perils his life!"


The Lord Protector was perplexed in the last degree.  He said to the Lord

St. John--


"Searched you well?--but it boots not to ask that.  It doth seem passing

strange.  Little things, trifles, slip out of one's ken, and one does not

think it matter for surprise; but how so bulky a thing as the Seal of

England can vanish away and no man be able to get track of it again--a

massy golden disk--"


Tom Canty, with beaming eyes, sprang forward and shouted--


"Hold, that is enough!  Was it round?--and thick?--and had it letters and

devices graved upon it?--yes?  Oh, NOW I know what this Great Seal is

that there's been such worry and pother about. An' ye had described it to

me, ye could have had it three weeks ago.  Right well I know where it

lies; but it was not I that put it there--first."


"Who, then, my liege?" asked the Lord Protector.


"He that stands there--the rightful King of England.  And he shall tell

you himself where it lies--then you will believe he knew it of his own

knowledge.  Bethink thee, my King--spur thy memory--it was the last, the

very LAST thing thou didst that day before thou didst rush forth from the

palace, clothed in my rags, to punish the soldier that insulted me."


A silence ensued, undisturbed by a movement or a whisper, and all eyes

were fixed upon the new-comer, who stood, with bent head and corrugated

brow, groping in his memory among a thronging multitude of valueless

recollections for one single little elusive fact, which, found, would

seat him upon a throne--unfound, would leave him as he was, for good and

all--a pauper and an outcast.  Moment after moment passed--the moments

built themselves into minutes--still the boy struggled silently on, and

gave no sign.  But at last he heaved a sigh, shook his head slowly, and

said, with a trembling lip and in a despondent voice--


"I call the scene back--all of it--but the Seal hath no place in it."  He

paused, then looked up, and said with gentle dignity, "My lords and

gentlemen, if ye will rob your rightful sovereign of his own for lack of

this evidence which he is not able to furnish, I may not stay ye, being

powerless.  But--"


"Oh, folly, oh, madness, my King!" cried Tom Canty, in a panic, "wait!

--think!  Do not give up!--the cause is not lost!  Nor SHALL be, neither!

List to what I say--follow every word--I am going to bring that morning

back again, every hap just as it happened.  We talked--I told you of my

sisters, Nan and Bet--ah, yes, you remember that; and about mine old

grandam--and the rough games of the lads of Offal Court--yes, you

remember these things also; very well, follow me still, you shall recall

everything.  You gave me food and drink, and did with princely courtesy

send away the servants, so that my low breeding might not shame me before

them--ah, yes, this also you remember."


As Tom checked off his details, and the other boy nodded his head in

recognition of them, the great audience and the officials stared in

puzzled wonderment; the tale sounded like true history, yet how could

this impossible conjunction between a prince and a beggar-boy have come

about?  Never was a company of people so perplexed, so interested, and so

stupefied, before.


"For a jest, my prince, we did exchange garments.  Then we stood before a

mirror; and so alike were we that both said it seemed as if there had

been no change made--yes, you remember that.  Then you noticed that the

soldier had hurt my hand--look! here it is, I cannot yet even write with

it, the fingers are so stiff.  At this your Highness sprang up, vowing

vengeance upon that soldier, and ran towards the door--you passed a

table--that thing you call the Seal lay on that table--you snatched it up

and looked eagerly about, as if for a place to hide it--your eye caught

sight of--"


"There, 'tis sufficient!--and the good God be thanked!" exclaimed the

ragged claimant, in a mighty excitement.  "Go, my good St. John--in an

arm-piece of the Milanese armour that hangs on the wall, thou'lt find the



"Right, my King! right!" cried Tom Canty; "NOW the sceptre of England is

thine own; and it were better for him that would dispute it that he had

been born dumb!  Go, my Lord St. John, give thy feet wings!"


The whole assemblage was on its feet now, and well-nigh out of its mind

with uneasiness, apprehension, and consuming excitement.  On the floor

and on the platform a deafening buzz of frantic conversation burst forth,

and for some time nobody knew anything or heard anything or was

interested in anything but what his neighbour was shouting into his ear,

or he was shouting into his neighbour's ear.  Time--nobody knew how much

of it--swept by unheeded and unnoted.  At last a sudden hush fell upon

the house, and in the same moment St. John appeared upon the platform,

and held the Great Seal aloft in his hand.  Then such a shout went up--


"Long live the true King!"


For five minutes the air quaked with shouts and the crash of musical

instruments, and was white with a storm of waving handkerchiefs; and

through it all a ragged lad, the most conspicuous figure in England,

stood, flushed and happy and proud, in the centre of the spacious

platform, with the great vassals of the kingdom kneeling around him.


Then all rose, and Tom Canty cried out--


"Now, O my King, take these regal garments back, and give poor Tom, thy

servant, his shreds and remnants again."


The Lord Protector spoke up--


"Let the small varlet be stripped and flung into the Tower."


But the new King, the true King, said--


"I will not have it so.  But for him I had not got my crown again--none

shall lay a hand upon him to harm him.  And as for thee, my good uncle,

my Lord Protector, this conduct of thine is not grateful toward this poor

lad, for I hear he hath made thee a duke"--the Protector blushed--"yet he

was not a king; wherefore what is thy fine title worth now?  To-morrow

you shall sue to me, THROUGH HIM, for its confirmation, else no duke, but

a simple earl, shalt thou remain."


Under this rebuke, his Grace the Duke of Somerset retired a little from

the front for the moment.  The King turned to Tom, and said kindly--"My

poor boy, how was it that you could remember where I hid the Seal when I

could not remember it myself?"


"Ah, my King, that was easy, since I used it divers days."


"Used it--yet could not explain where it was?"


"I did not know it was THAT they wanted.  They did not describe it, your



"Then how used you it?"


The red blood began to steal up into Tom's cheeks, and he dropped his

eyes and was silent.


"Speak up, good lad, and fear nothing," said the King.  "How used you the

Great Seal of England?"


Tom stammered a moment, in a pathetic confusion, then got it out--


"To crack nuts with!"


Poor child, the avalanche of laughter that greeted this nearly swept him

off his feet.  But if a doubt remained in any mind that Tom Canty was not

the King of England and familiar with the august appurtenances of

royalty, this reply disposed of it utterly.


Meantime the sumptuous robe of state had been removed from Tom's

shoulders to the King's, whose rags were effectually hidden from sight

under it.  Then the coronation ceremonies were resumed; the true King was

anointed and the crown set upon his head, whilst cannon thundered the

news to the city, and all London seemed to rock with applause.




Chapter XXXIII. Edward as King.


Miles Hendon was picturesque enough before he got into the riot on London

Bridge--he was more so when he got out of it.  He had but little money

when he got in, none at all when he got out.  The pickpockets had

stripped him of his last farthing.


But no matter, so he found his boy.  Being a soldier, he did not go at

his task in a random way, but set to work, first of all, to arrange his



What would the boy naturally do?  Where would he naturally go? Well

--argued Miles--he would naturally go to his former haunts, for that is the

instinct of unsound minds, when homeless and forsaken, as well as of

sound ones.  Whereabouts were his former haunts?  His rags, taken

together with the low villain who seemed to know him and who even claimed

to be his father, indicated that his home was in one or another of the

poorest and meanest districts of London.  Would the search for him be

difficult, or long?  No, it was likely to be easy and brief.  He would

not hunt for the boy, he would hunt for a crowd; in the centre of a big

crowd or a little one, sooner or later, he should find his poor little

friend, sure; and the mangy mob would be entertaining itself with

pestering and aggravating the boy, who would be proclaiming himself King,

as usual.  Then Miles Hendon would cripple some of those people, and

carry off his little ward, and comfort and cheer him with loving words,

and the two would never be separated any more.


So Miles started on his quest.  Hour after hour he tramped through back

alleys and squalid streets, seeking groups and crowds, and finding no end

of them, but never any sign of the boy.  This greatly surprised him, but

did not discourage him.  To his notion, there was nothing the matter with

his plan of campaign; the only miscalculation about it was that the

campaign was becoming a lengthy one, whereas he had expected it to be



When daylight arrived, at last, he had made many a mile, and canvassed

many a crowd, but the only result was that he was tolerably tired, rather

hungry and very sleepy.  He wanted some breakfast, but there was no way

to get it.  To beg for it did not occur to him; as to pawning his sword,

he would as soon have thought of parting with his honour; he could spare

some of his clothes--yes, but one could as easily find a customer for a

disease as for such clothes.


At noon he was still tramping--among the rabble which followed after the

royal procession, now; for he argued that this regal display would

attract his little lunatic powerfully.  He followed the pageant through

all its devious windings about London, and all the way to Westminster and

the Abbey.  He drifted here and there amongst the multitudes that were

massed in the vicinity for a weary long time, baffled and perplexed, and

finally wandered off, thinking, and trying to contrive some way to better

his plan of campaign.  By-and-by, when he came to himself out of his

musings, he discovered that the town was far behind him and that the day

was growing old.  He was near the river, and in the country; it was a

region of fine rural seats--not the sort of district to welcome clothes

like his.


It was not at all cold; so he stretched himself on the ground in the lee

of a hedge to rest and think.  Drowsiness presently began to settle upon

his senses; the faint and far-off boom of cannon was wafted to his ear,

and he said to himself, "The new King is crowned," and straightway fell

asleep.  He had not slept or rested, before, for more than thirty hours.

He did not wake again until near the middle of the next morning.


He got up, lame, stiff, and half famished, washed himself in the river,

stayed his stomach with a pint or two of water, and trudged off toward

Westminster, grumbling at himself for having wasted so much time.  Hunger

helped him to a new plan, now; he would try to get speech with old Sir

Humphrey Marlow and borrow a few marks, and--but that was enough of a

plan for the present; it would be time enough to enlarge it when this

first stage should be accomplished.


Toward eleven o'clock he approached the palace; and although a host of

showy people were about him, moving in the same direction, he was not

inconspicuous--his costume took care of that.  He watched these people's

faces narrowly, hoping to find a charitable one whose possessor might be

willing to carry his name to the old lieutenant--as to trying to get into

the palace himself, that was simply out of the question.


Presently our whipping-boy passed him, then wheeled about and scanned his

figure well, saying to himself, "An' that is not the very vagabond his

Majesty is in such a worry about, then am I an ass--though belike I was

that before.  He answereth the description to a rag--that God should make

two such would be to cheapen miracles by wasteful repetition.  I would I

could contrive an excuse to speak with him."


Miles Hendon saved him the trouble; for he turned about, then, as a man

generally will when somebody mesmerises him by gazing hard at him from

behind; and observing a strong interest in the boy's eyes, he stepped

toward him and said--


"You have just come out from the palace; do you belong there?"


"Yes, your worship."


"Know you Sir Humphrey Marlow?"


The boy started, and said to himself, "Lord! mine old departed father!"

Then he answered aloud, "Right well, your worship."


"Good--is he within?"


"Yes," said the boy; and added, to himself, "within his grave."


"Might I crave your favour to carry my name to him, and say I beg to say

a word in his ear?"


"I will despatch the business right willingly, fair sir."


"Then say Miles Hendon, son of Sir Richard, is here without--I shall be

greatly bounden to you, my good lad."


The boy looked disappointed.  "The King did not name him so," he said to

himself; "but it mattereth not, this is his twin brother, and can give

his Majesty news of t'other Sir-Odds-and-Ends, I warrant."  So he said to

Miles, "Step in there a moment, good sir, and wait till I bring you



Hendon retired to the place indicated--it was a recess sunk in the palace

wall, with a stone bench in it--a shelter for sentinels in bad weather.

He had hardly seated himself when some halberdiers, in charge of an

officer, passed by.  The officer saw him, halted his men, and commanded

Hendon to come forth.  He obeyed, and was promptly arrested as a

suspicious character prowling within the precincts of the palace.  Things

began to look ugly.  Poor Miles was going to explain, but the officer

roughly silenced him, and ordered his men to disarm him and search him.


"God of his mercy grant that they find somewhat," said poor Miles; "I

have searched enow, and failed, yet is my need greater than theirs."


Nothing was found but a document.  The officer tore it open, and Hendon

smiled when he recognised the 'pot-hooks' made by his lost little friend

that black day at Hendon Hall.  The officer's face grew dark as he read

the English paragraph, and Miles blenched to the opposite colour as he



"Another new claimant of the Crown!" cried the officer.  "Verily they

breed like rabbits, to-day.  Seize the rascal, men, and see ye keep him

fast whilst I convey this precious paper within and send it to the King."


He hurried away, leaving the prisoner in the grip of the halberdiers.


"Now is my evil luck ended at last," muttered Hendon, "for I shall dangle

at a rope's end for a certainty, by reason of that bit of writing.  And

what will become of my poor lad!--ah, only the good God knoweth."


By-and-by he saw the officer coming again, in a great hurry; so he

plucked his courage together, purposing to meet his trouble as became a

man.  The officer ordered the men to loose the prisoner and return his

sword to him; then bowed respectfully, and said--


"Please you, sir, to follow me."


Hendon followed, saying to himself, "An' I were not travelling to death

and judgment, and so must needs economise in sin, I would throttle this

knave for his mock courtesy."


The two traversed a populous court, and arrived at the grand entrance of

the palace, where the officer, with another bow, delivered Hendon into

the hands of a gorgeous official, who received him with profound respect

and led him forward through a great hall, lined on both sides with rows

of splendid flunkeys (who made reverential obeisance as the two passed

along, but fell into death-throes of silent laughter at our stately

scarecrow the moment his back was turned), and up a broad staircase,

among flocks of fine folk, and finally conducted him into a vast room,

clove a passage for him through the assembled nobility of England, then

made a bow, reminded him to take his hat off, and left him standing in

the middle of the room, a mark for all eyes, for plenty of indignant

frowns, and for a sufficiency of amused and derisive smiles.


Miles Hendon was entirely bewildered.  There sat the young King, under a

canopy of state, five steps away, with his head bent down and aside,

speaking with a sort of human bird of paradise--a duke, maybe.  Hendon

observed to himself that it was hard enough to be sentenced to death in

the full vigour of life, without having this peculiarly public

humiliation added.  He wished the King would hurry about it--some of the

gaudy people near by were becoming pretty offensive.  At this moment the

King raised his head slightly, and Hendon caught a good view of his face.

The sight nearly took his breath away!--He stood gazing at the fair young

face like one transfixed; then presently ejaculated--


"Lo, the Lord of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows on his throne!"


He muttered some broken sentences, still gazing and marvelling; then

turned his eyes around and about, scanning the gorgeous throng and the

splendid saloon, murmuring, "But these are REAL--verily these are REAL

--surely it is not a dream."


He stared at the King again--and thought, "IS it a dream . . . or IS he

the veritable Sovereign of England, and not the friendless poor Tom o'

Bedlam I took him for--who shall solve me this riddle?"


A sudden idea flashed in his eye, and he strode to the wall, gathered up

a chair, brought it back, planted it on the floor, and sat down in it!


A buzz of indignation broke out, a rough hand was laid upon him and a

voice exclaimed--


"Up, thou mannerless clown! would'st sit in the presence of the King?"


The disturbance attracted his Majesty's attention, who stretched forth

his hand and cried out--


"Touch him not, it is his right!"


The throng fell back, stupefied.  The King went on--


"Learn ye all, ladies, lords, and gentlemen, that this is my trusty and

well-beloved servant, Miles Hendon, who interposed his good sword and

saved his prince from bodily harm and possible death--and for this he is

a knight, by the King's voice.  Also learn, that for a higher service, in

that he saved his sovereign stripes and shame, taking these upon himself,

he is a peer of England, Earl of Kent, and shall have gold and lands meet

for the dignity.  More--the privilege which he hath just exercised is his

by royal grant; for we have ordained that the chiefs of his line shall

have and hold the right to sit in the presence of the Majesty of England

henceforth, age after age, so long as the crown shall endure.  Molest him



Two persons, who, through delay, had only arrived from the country during

this morning, and had now been in this room only five minutes, stood

listening to these words and looking at the King, then at the scarecrow,

then at the King again, in a sort of torpid bewilderment.  These were Sir

Hugh and the Lady Edith.  But the new Earl did not see them.  He was

still staring at the monarch, in a dazed way, and muttering--


"Oh, body o' me!  THIS my pauper!  This my lunatic!  This is he whom _I_

would show what grandeur was, in my house of seventy rooms and

seven-and-twenty servants!  This is he who had never known aught but rags

for raiment, kicks for comfort, and offal for diet!  This is he whom _I_

adopted and would make respectable! Would God I had a bag to hide my head



Then his manners suddenly came back to him, and he dropped upon his

knees, with his hands between the King's, and swore allegiance and did

homage for his lands and titles.  Then he rose and stood respectfully

aside, a mark still for all eyes--and much envy, too.


Now the King discovered Sir Hugh, and spoke out with wrathful voice and

kindling eye--


"Strip this robber of his false show and stolen estates, and put him

under lock and key till I have need of him."


The late Sir Hugh was led away.


There was a stir at the other end of the room, now; the assemblage fell

apart, and Tom Canty, quaintly but richly clothed, marched down, between

these living walls, preceded by an usher.  He knelt before the King, who



"I have learned the story of these past few weeks, and am well pleased

with thee.  Thou hast governed the realm with right royal gentleness and

mercy.  Thou hast found thy mother and thy sisters again?  Good; they

shall be cared for--and thy father shall hang, if thou desire it and the

law consent.  Know, all ye that hear my voice, that from this day, they

that abide in the shelter of Christ's Hospital and share the King's

bounty shall have their minds and hearts fed, as well as their baser

parts; and this boy shall dwell there, and hold the chief place in its

honourable body of governors, during life.  And for that he hath been a

king, it is meet that other than common observance shall be his due;

wherefore note this his dress of state, for by it he shall be known, and

none shall copy it; and wheresoever he shall come, it shall remind the

people that he hath been royal, in his time, and none shall deny him his

due of reverence or fail to give him salutation.  He hath the throne's

protection, he hath the crown's support, he shall be known and called by

the honourable title of the King's Ward."


The proud and happy Tom Canty rose and kissed the King's hand, and was

conducted from the presence.  He did not waste any time, but flew to his

mother, to tell her and Nan and Bet all about it and get them to help him

enjoy the great news. {1}




Conclusion. Justice and retribution.


When the mysteries were all cleared up, it came out, by confession of

Hugh Hendon, that his wife had repudiated Miles by his command, that day

at Hendon Hall--a command assisted and supported by the perfectly

trustworthy promise that if she did not deny that he was Miles Hendon,

and stand firmly to it, he would have her life; whereupon she said, "Take

it!"--she did not value it--and she would not repudiate Miles; then the

husband said he would spare her life but have Miles assassinated!  This

was a different matter; so she gave her word and kept it.


Hugh was not prosecuted for his threats or for stealing his brother's

estates and title, because the wife and brother would not testify against

him--and the former would not have been allowed to do it, even if she had

wanted to.  Hugh deserted his wife and went over to the continent, where

he presently died; and by-and-by the Earl of Kent married his relict.

There were grand times and rejoicings at Hendon village when the couple

paid their first visit to the Hall.


Tom Canty's father was never heard of again.


The King sought out the farmer who had been branded and sold as a slave,

and reclaimed him from his evil life with the Ruffler's gang, and put him

in the way of a comfortable livelihood.


He also took that old lawyer out of prison and remitted his fine. He

provided good homes for the daughters of the two Baptist women whom he

saw burned at the stake, and roundly punished the official who laid the

undeserved stripes upon Miles Hendon's back.


He saved from the gallows the boy who had captured the stray falcon, and

also the woman who had stolen a remnant of cloth from a weaver; but he

was too late to save the man who had been convicted of killing a deer in

the royal forest.


He showed favour to the justice who had pitied him when he was supposed

to have stolen a pig, and he had the gratification of seeing him grow in

the public esteem and become a great and honoured man.


As long as the King lived he was fond of telling the story of his

adventures, all through, from the hour that the sentinel cuffed him away

from the palace gate till the final midnight when he deftly mixed himself

into a gang of hurrying workmen and so slipped into the Abbey and climbed

up and hid himself in the Confessor's tomb, and then slept so long, next

day, that he came within one of missing the Coronation altogether.  He

said that the frequent rehearsing of the precious lesson kept him strong

in his purpose to make its teachings yield benefits to his people; and

so, whilst his life was spared he should continue to tell the story, and

thus keep its sorrowful spectacles fresh in his memory and the springs of

pity replenished in his heart.


Miles Hendon and Tom Canty were favourites of the King, all through his

brief reign, and his sincere mourners when he died. The good Earl of Kent

had too much sense to abuse his peculiar privilege; but he exercised it

twice after the instance we have seen of it before he was called from

this world--once at the accession of Queen Mary, and once at the

accession of Queen Elizabeth.  A descendant of his exercised it at the

accession of James I.  Before this one's son chose to use the privilege,

near a quarter of a century had elapsed, and the 'privilege of the Kents'

had faded out of most people's memories; so, when the Kent of that day

appeared before Charles I. and his court and sat down in the sovereign's

presence to assert and perpetuate the right of his house, there was a

fine stir indeed!  But the matter was soon explained, and the right

confirmed.  The last Earl of the line fell in the wars of the

Commonwealth fighting for the King, and the odd privilege ended with him.


Tom Canty lived to be a very old man, a handsome, white-haired old

fellow, of grave and benignant aspect.  As long as he lasted he was

honoured; and he was also reverenced, for his striking and peculiar

costume kept the people reminded that 'in his time he had been royal;'

so, wherever he appeared the crowd fell apart, making way for him, and

whispering, one to another, "Doff thy hat, it is the King's Ward!"--and

so they saluted, and got his kindly smile in return--and they valued it,

too, for his was an honourable history.


Yes, King Edward VI. lived only a few years, poor boy, but he lived them

worthily.  More than once, when some great dignitary, some gilded vassal

of the crown, made argument against his leniency, and urged that some law

which he was bent upon amending was gentle enough for its purpose, and

wrought no suffering or oppression which any one need mightily mind, the

young King turned the mournful eloquence of his great compassionate eyes

upon him and answered--


"What dost THOU know of suffering and oppression?  I and my people know,

but not thou."


The reign of Edward VI. was a singularly merciful one for those harsh

times.  Now that we are taking leave of him, let us try to keep this in

our minds, to his credit.







{1}  For Mark Twain's note see below under the relevant chapter heading.


{2}  He refers to the order of baronets, or baronettes; the barones

minores, as distinct from the parliamentary barons--not, it need hardly

be said, to the baronets of later creation.


{3}  The lords of Kingsale, descendants of De Courcy, still enjoy this

curious privilege.


{4}  Hume.


{5}  Ib.


{6}  Leigh Hunt's 'The Town,' p.408, quotation from an early tourist.


{7}  Canting terms for various kinds of thieves, beggars and vagabonds,

and their female companions.


{8}  From 'The English Rogue.'  London, 1665.


{9}  Hume's England.


{10}  See Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p. 11.




NOTE 1, Chapter IV. Christ's Hospital Costume.


It is most reasonable to regard the dress as copied from the costume of

the citizens of London of that period, when long blue coats were the

common habit of apprentices and serving-men, and yellow stockings were

generally worn; the coat fits closely to the body, but has loose sleeves,

and beneath is worn a sleeveless yellow under-coat; around the waist is a

red leathern girdle; a clerical band around the neck, and a small flat

black cap, about the size of a saucer, completes the costume.--Timbs'

Curiosities of London.




NOTE 2, Chapter IV.


It appears that Christ's Hospital was not originally founded as a SCHOOL;

its object was to rescue children from the streets, to shelter, feed,

clothe them.--Timbs' Curiosities of London.




NOTE 3, Chapter V. The Duke of Norfolk's Condemnation commanded.


The King was now approaching fast towards his end; and fearing lest

Norfolk should escape him, he sent a message to the Commons, by which he

desired them to hasten the Bill, on pretence that Norfolk enjoyed the

dignity of Earl Marshal, and it was necessary to appoint another, who

might officiate at the ensuing ceremony of installing his son Prince of

Wales.--Hume's History of England, vol. iii. p. 307.




NOTE 4, Chapter VII.


It was not till the end of this reign (Henry VIII.) that any salads,

carrots, turnips, or other edible roots were produced in England.  The

little of these vegetables that was used was formerly imported from

Holland and Flanders.  Queen Catherine, when she wanted a salad, was

obliged to despatch a messenger thither on purpose.--Hume's History of

England, vol. iii. p. 314.




NOTE 5, Chapter VIII. Attainder of Norfolk.


The House of Peers, without examining the prisoner, without trial or

evidence, passed a Bill of Attainder against him and sent it down to the

Commons . . . The obsequious Commons obeyed his (the King's) directions;

and the King, having affixed the Royal assent to the Bill by

commissioners, issued orders for the execution of Norfolk on the morning

of January 29 (the next day).--Hume's History of England, vol iii. p 306.




NOTE 6, Chapter X. The Loving-cup.


The loving-cup, and the peculiar ceremonies observed in drinking from it,

are older than English history.  It is thought that both are Danish

importations.  As far back as knowledge goes, the loving-cup has always

been drunk at English banquets.  Tradition explains the ceremonies in

this way.  In the rude ancient times it was deemed a wise precaution to

have both hands of both drinkers employed, lest while the pledger pledged

his love and fidelity to the pledgee, the pledgee take that opportunity

to slip a dirk into him!




NOTE 7, Chapter XI. The Duke of Norfolk's narrow Escape.


Had Henry VIII. survived a few hours longer, his order for the duke's

execution would have been carried into effect. 'But news being carried to

the Tower that the King himself had expired that night, the lieutenant

deferred obeying the warrant; and it was not thought advisable by the

Council to begin a new reign by the death of the greatest nobleman in the

kingdom, who had been condemned by a sentence so unjust and tyrannical.'

--Hume's History of England, vol. iii, p. 307.




NOTE 8, Chapter XIV. The Whipping-boy.


James I. and Charles II. had whipping-boys, when they were little

fellows, to take their punishment for them when they fell short in their

lessons; so I have ventured to furnish my small prince with one, for my

own purposes.




NOTES to Chapter XV.


Character of Hertford.


The young King discovered an extreme attachment to his uncle, who was, in

the main, a man of moderation and probity.--Hume's History of England,

vol. iii, p324.


But if he (the Protector) gave offence by assuming too much state, he

deserves great praise on account of the laws passed this session, by

which the rigour of former statutes was much mitigated, and some security

given to the freedom of the constitution.  All laws were repealed which

extended the crime of treason beyond the statute of the twenty-fifth of

Edward III.; all laws enacted during the late reign extending the crime

of felony; all the former laws against Lollardy or heresy, together with

the statute of the Six Articles.  None were to be accused for words, but

within a month after they were spoken.  By these repeals several of the

most rigorous laws that ever had passed in England were annulled; and

some dawn, both of civil and religious liberty, began to appear to the

people.  A repeal also passed of that law, the destruction of all laws,

by which the King's proclamation was made of equal force with a statute.

--Ibid. vol. iii. p. 339.




Boiling to Death.


In the reign of Henry VIII. poisoners were, by Act of Parliament,

condemned to be BOILED TO DEATH.  This Act was repealed in the following



In Germany, even in the seventeenth century, this horrible punishment was

inflicted on coiners and counterfeiters.  Taylor, the Water Poet,

describes an execution he witnessed in Hamburg in 1616.  The judgment

pronounced against a coiner of false money was that he should 'BE BOILED

TO DEATH IN OIL; not thrown into the vessel at once, but with a pulley or

rope to be hanged under the armpits, and then let down into the oil BY

DEGREES; first the feet, and next the legs, and so to boil his flesh from

his bones alive.'--Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False,

p. 13.




The Famous Stocking Case.


A woman and her daughter, NINE YEARS OLD, were hanged in Huntingdon for

selling their souls to the devil, and raising a storm by pulling off

their stockings!--Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, p.





NOTE 10, Chapter XVII. Enslaving.


So young a King and so ignorant a peasant were likely to make mistakes;

and this is an instance in point.  This peasant was suffering from this

law BY ANTICIPATION; the King was venting his indignation against a law

which was not yet in existence; for this hideous statute was to have

birth in this little King's OWN REIGN. However, we know, from the

humanity of his character, that it could never have been suggested by





NOTES to Chapter XXIII. Death for Trifling Larcenies.


When Connecticut and New Haven were framing their first codes, larceny

above the value of twelve pence was a capital crime in England--as it had

been since the time of Henry I.--Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws,

True and False, p. 17.


The curious old book called The English Rogue makes the limit thirteen

pence ha'penny:  death being the portion of any who steal a thing 'above

the value of thirteen pence ha'penny.'




NOTES to Chapter XXVII.


From many descriptions of larceny the law expressly took away the benefit

of clergy:  to steal a horse, or a HAWK, or woollen cloth from the

weaver, was a hanging matter.  So it was to kill a deer from the King's

forest, or to export sheep from the kingdom.--Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull's

Blue Laws, True and False, p.13.


William Prynne, a learned barrister, was sentenced (long after Edward

VI.'s time) to lose both his ears in the pillory, to degradation from the

bar, a fine of 3,000 pounds, and imprisonment for life.  Three years

afterwards he gave new offence to Laud by publishing a pamphlet against

the hierarchy.  He was again prosecuted, and was sentenced to lose WHAT

REMAINED OF HIS EARS, to pay a fine of 5,000 pounds, to be BRANDED ON

BOTH HIS CHEEKS with the letters S. L. (for Seditious Libeller), and to

remain in prison for life.  The severity of this sentence was equalled by

the savage rigour of its execution.--Ibid. p. 12.




NOTES to Chapter XXXIII.


Christ's Hospital, or Bluecoat School, 'the noblest institution in the



The ground on which the Priory of the Grey Friars stood was conferred by

Henry VIII. on the Corporation of London (who caused the institution

there of a home for poor boys and girls). Subsequently, Edward VI. caused

the old Priory to be properly repaired, and founded within it that noble

establishment called the Bluecoat School, or Christ's Hospital, for the

EDUCATION and maintenance of orphans and the children of indigent persons

. . . Edward would not let him (Bishop Ridley) depart till the letter was

written (to the Lord Mayor), and then charged him to deliver it himself,

and signify his special request and commandment that no time might be

lost in proposing what was convenient, and apprising him of the

proceedings.  The work was zealously undertaken, Ridley himself engaging

in it; and the result was the founding of Christ's Hospital for the

education of poor children. (The King endowed several other charities at

the same time.) "Lord God," said he, "I yield Thee most hearty thanks

that Thou hast given me life thus long to finish this work to the glory

of Thy name!"  That innocent and most exemplary life was drawing rapidly

to its close, and in a few days he rendered up his spirit to his Creator,

praying God to defend the realm from Papistry.--J. Heneage Jesse's

London:  its Celebrated Characters and Places.


In the Great Hall hangs a large picture of King Edward VI. seated on his

throne, in a scarlet and ermined robe, holding the sceptre in his left

hand, and presenting with the other the Charter to the kneeling Lord

Mayor.  By his side stands the Chancellor, holding the seals, and next to

him are other officers of state.  Bishop Ridley kneels before him with

uplifted hands, as if supplicating a blessing on the event; whilst the

Aldermen, etc., with the Lord Mayor, kneel on both sides, occupying the

middle ground of the picture; and lastly, in front, are a double row of

boys on one side and girls on the other, from the master and matron down

to the boy and girl who have stepped forward from their respective rows,

and kneel with raised hands before the King.--Timbs' Curiosities of

London, p. 98.


Christ's Hospital, by ancient custom, possesses the privilege of

addressing the Sovereign on the occasion of his or her coming into the

City to partake of the hospitality of the Corporation of London.--Ibid.


The Dining Hall, with its lobby and organ-gallery, occupies the entire

storey, which is 187 feet long, 51 feet wide, and 47 feet high; it is lit

by nine large windows, filled with stained glass on the south side; and

is, next to Westminster Hall, the noblest room in the metropolis.  Here

the boys, now about 800 in number, dine; and here are held the 'Suppings

in Public,' to which visitors are admitted by tickets issued by the

Treasurer and by the Governors of Christ's Hospital.  The tables are laid

with cheese in wooden bowls, beer in wooden piggins, poured from leathern

jacks, and bread brought in large baskets.  The official company enter;

the Lord Mayor, or President, takes his seat in a state chair made of oak

from St. Catherine's Church, by the Tower; a hymn is sung, accompanied by

the organ; a 'Grecian,' or head boy, reads the prayers from the pulpit,

silence being enforced by three drops of a wooden hammer.  After prayer

the supper commences, and the visitors walk between the tables.  At its

close the 'trade-boys' take up the baskets, bowls, jacks, piggins, and

candlesticks, and pass in procession, the bowing to the Governors being

curiously formal.  This spectacle was witnessed by Queen Victoria and

Prince Albert in 1845.


Among the more eminent Bluecoat boys are Joshua Barnes, editor of

Anacreon and Euripides; Jeremiah Markland, the eminent critic,

particularly in Greek Literature; Camden, the antiquary; Bishop

Stillingfleet; Samuel Richardson, the novelist; Thomas Mitchell, the

translator of Aristophanes; Thomas Barnes, many years editor of the

London Times; Coleridge, Charles Lamb, and Leigh Hunt.


No boy is admitted before he is seven years old, or after he is nine; and

no boy can remain in the school after he is fifteen, King's boys and

'Grecians' alone excepted.  There are about 500 Governors, at the head of

whom are the Sovereign and the Prince of Wales.  The qualification for a

Governor is payment of 500 pounds.--Ibid.






One hears much about the 'hideous Blue Laws of Connecticut,' and is

accustomed to shudder piously when they are mentioned.  There are people

in America--and even in England!--who imagine that they were a very

monument of malignity, pitilessness, and inhumanity; whereas in reality


the 'civilised' world had seen.  This humane and kindly Blue Law Code, of

two hundred and forty years ago, stands all by itself, with ages of

bloody law on the further side of it, and a century and three-quarters of

bloody English law on THIS side of it.


There has never been a time--under the Blue Laws or any other--when above

FOURTEEN crimes were punishable by death in Connecticut.  But in England,

within the memory of men who are still hale in body and mind, TWO HUNDRED

AND TWENTY-THREE crimes were punishable by death! {10}  These facts are

worth knowing--and worth thinking about, too.