Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

for him; he must either take this punishment or beg for its remission. Hard
conditions; he would take the stripes-a king might do that, but a king could not

But meantime, Miles Hendon was resolving the difficulty. ‘Let the child go,’ said
he; ‘ye heartless dogs, do ye not see how young and frail he is? Let him go-I will
take his lashes.’ ‘Marry, a good thought-and thanks for it,’ said Sir Hugh, his
face lighting with a sardonic satisfaction. ‘Let the little beggar go, and give this
fellow a dozen in his place-an honest dozen, well laid on.’ The king was in the
act of entering a fierce protest, but Sir Hugh silenced him with the potent
remark, ‘Yes, speak up, do, and free thy mind-only, mark ye, that for each word
you utter he shall get six strokes the more.’ Hendon was removed from the
stocks, and his back laid bare; and while the lash was applied the poor little king
turned away his face and allowed unroyal tears to channel his cheeks
unchecked. ‘Ah, brave good heart,’ he said to himself, ‘this loyal deed shall
never perish out of my memory. I will not forget it-and neither shall they!’ he
added, with passion. While he mused, his appreciation of Hendon’s
magnanimous conduct grew to greater and still greater dimensions in his mind,
and so also did his gratefulness for it. Presently he said to himself, ‘Who saves
his prince from wounds and possible death-and this he did for me-performs
high service; but it is little-it is nothing! -oh, less than nothing!- when ‘tis
weighed against the act of him who saves his prince from SHAME!’

Hendon made no outcry under the scourge, but bore the heavy blows with
soldierly fortitude. This, together with his redeeming the boy by taking his
stripes for him, compelled the respect of even that forlorn and degraded mob
that was gathered there; and its gibes and hootings died away, and no sound
remained but the sound of the falling blows. The stillness that pervaded the
place when Hendon found himself once more in the stocks, was in strong
contrast with the insulting clamour which had prevailed there so little a while
before. The king came softly to Hendon’s side, and whispered in his ear: ‘Kings
cannot ennoble thee, thou good, great soul, for One who is higher than kings
hath done that for thee; but a king can confirm thy nobility to men.’ He picked
up the scourge from the ground, touched Hendon’s bleeding shoulders lightly
with it, and whispered, ‘Edward of England dubs thee earl!’ Hendon was
touched. The water welled to his eyes, yet at the same time the grisly humor of
the situation and circumstances so undermined his gravity that it was all he
could do to keep some sign of his inward mirth from showing outside.

To be suddenly hoisted, naked and gory, from the common stocks to the Alpine
altitude and splendor of an earldom, seemed to him the last possibility in the
line of the grotesque. He said to himself, ‘Now am I finely tinseled, indeed! The
specterknight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows is become a specter-earl!-
a dizzy flight for a callow wing! An this go on, I shall presently be hung like a
very Maypole with fantastic gauds and make-believe honors. But I shall value
them, all valueless as they are, for the love that doth bestow them. Better these
poor mock dignities of mine, that come unasked from a clean hand and a right
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with