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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain


flowers, resplendent in variegated colors, and frosted like a Milky Way with
diamonds.

There are all ages here: brown, wrinkled, white-haired dowagers who are able to
go back, and still back, down the stream of time, and recall the crowning of
Richard III and the troublous days of that old forgotten age; and there are
handsome middle-aged dames; and lovely and gracious young matrons; and
gentle and beautiful young girls, with beaming eyes and fresh complexions, who
may possibly put on their jeweled coronets awkwardly when the great time
comes; for the matter will be new to them, and their excitement will be a sore
hindrance. Still, this may not happen, for the hair of all these ladies has been
arranged with a special view to the swift and successful lodging of the crown in
its place when the signal comes.

We have seen that this massed array of peeresses is sown thick with diamonds,
and we also see that it is a marvelous spectacle-but now we are about to be
astonished in earnest. About nine, the clouds suddenly break away and a shaft
of sunshine cleaves the mellow atmosphere, and drifts slowly along the ranks of
ladies; and every rank it touches flames into a dazzling splendor of many-
colored fires, and we tingle to our finger-tips with the electric thrill that is shot
through us by the surprise and the beauty of the spectacle! Presently a special
envoy from some distant corner of the Orient, marching with the general body of
foreign ambassadors, crosses this bar of sunshine, and we catch our breath, the
glory that streams and flashes and palpitates about him is so overpowering; for
he is crusted from head to heels with gems, and his slightest movement showers
a dancing radiance all around him.

Let us change the tense for convenience. The time drifted along-one hourtwo
hours-two hours and a half; then the deep booming of artillery told that the king
and his grand procession had arrived at last; so the waiting multitude rejoiced.
All knew that a further delay must follow, for the king must be prepared and
robed for the solemn ceremony; but this delay would be pleasantly occupied by
the assembling of the peers of the realm in their stately robes. These were
conducted ceremoniously to their seats, and their coronets placed conveniently
at hand; and meanwhile the multitude in the galleries were alive with interest,
for most of them were beholding for the first time, dukes, earls, and barons,
whose names had been historical for five hundred years. When all were finally
seated, the spectacle from the galleries and all coigns of vantage was complete; a
gorgeous one to look upon and to remember.

Now the robed and mitered great heads of the church, and their attendants, filed
in upon the platform and took their appointed places; these were followed by
the Lord Protector and other great officials, and these again by a steel-clad
detachment of the Guard.

There was a waiting pause; then, at a signal, a triumphant peal of music burst
forth, and Tom Canty, dothed in a long robe of cloth-of-gold, appeared at a door,
and stepped upon the platform. The entire multitude rose, and the ceremony of
the Recognition ensued.
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain



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