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stolen a yard or two of cloth from a weaver-she was to be hanged for it. Another
was a man who had been accused of stealing a horse; he said the proof had
failed, and he had imagined that he was safe from the halter; but no-he was
hardly free before he was arraigned for killing a deer in the king’s park; this was
proved against him, and now he was on his way to the gallows. There was a
tradesman’s apprentice whose case particularly distressed the king; this youth
said he found a hawk one evening that had escaped from its owner, and he took
it home with him, imagining himself entitled to it; but the court convicted him of
stealing it, and sentenced him to death.

The king was furious over these inhumanities, and wanted Hendon to break jail
and fly with him to Westminster, so that he could mount his throne and hold out
his scepter in mercy over these unfortunate people and save their lives. ‘Poor
child,’ sighed Hendon, ‘these woeful tales have brought his malady upon him
again-alack, but for this evil hap, he would have been well in a little time.’
Among these prisoners was an old lawyer-a man with a strong face and a
dauntless mien, Three years past, he had written a pamphlet against the Lord
Chancellor, accusing him of injustice, and had been punished for it by the loss of
his ears in the pillory and degradation from the bar, and in addition had been
fined L3,000 and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Lately he had repeated his
offense; and in consequence was now under sentence to lose what remained of
his ears, pay a fine of L5,000, be branded on both cheeks, and remain in prison
for life.

‘These be honorable scars,’ he said, and turned back his gray hair and showed
the mutilated stubs of what had once been his ears.

The king’s eye burned with passion. He said: ‘None believe in me-neither wilt
thou. But no matter-within the compass of a month thou shalt be free; and more,
the laws that have dishonored thee, and shamed the English name, shall be
swept from the statute-books. The world is made wrong, kings should go to
school to their own laws at times, and so learn mercy.’*(20)
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