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The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain
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"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 not."

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 in!"

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 said—

"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.



FOOTNOTES AND TWAIN'S NOTES

{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 reign.

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. 20.



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 him.



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 world.'

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.

GENERAL NOTE.

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 they were about the first SWEEPING DEPARTURE FROM JUDICIAL ATROCITY which 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.

THE END

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