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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 said: ‘And prithee, why not? Who helpeth them undress at night? who
attireth them when they rise?’ ‘None, sir. Wouldst 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 marvelous 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 learned?’ ‘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 scantily, 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 shouldst hear
those damsels at it! But tell me of thy Offal Court. Hast thou a pleasant life

‘In truth, yes, so please you, sir, save when one is hungry. There be Punchand-
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 worship.’ ‘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 I not 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 neighbor, and spatter him with water, and dive and shout
and tumble and-’ ‘’Twould be worth my father’s kingdom but to enjoy it once!
Prithee go on.’ ‘We dance and sing about the Maypole in Cheapside; we play in
the sand, each covering his neighbor 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 crown!’ ‘And if that I
could clothe me once, sweet sir, as thou art clad-just once-’ ‘Oho, wouldst like
it? Then so shall it be. Doff thy rags, and don these splendors, 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
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