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The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain

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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 parting.

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 coronation.



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