The Prince and the Pauper eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 204 pages of information about The Prince and the Pauper.

“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.”

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The Prince and the Pauper from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.