TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain

< BACK    NEXT >



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 exclaimed--

"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 cub!"

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!"



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room The Prince and the Pauper





Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 






Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA