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Miles Hendon and Tom Canty were favorites of the king, all through his brief
reign, and his sincere mourners when he died. The good Earl of Kent had too
much good sense to abuse his peculiar privilege; but he exercised it twice after
the instance we have seen of it before he was called from the world; once at the
accession of Queen Mary, and once at the accession of Queen Elizabeth. A
descendant of his exercised it at the accession of James I. Before this one’s son
chose to use the privilege, near a quarter of a century had elapsed, and the
‘privilege of the Kents’ had faded out of most people’s memories; so, when the
Kent of that day appeared before Charles I and his court and sat down in the
sovereign’s presence to assert and perpetuate the right of his house, there was a
fine stir, indeed! But the matter was soon explained and the right confirmed. The
last earl of the line fell in the wars of the Commonwealth fighting for the king,
and the odd privilege ended with him.

Tom Canty lived to be a very old man, a handsome, white-haired old fellow, of
grave and benignant aspect. As long as he lasted he was honored; and he was
also reverenced, for his striking and peculiar costume kept the people reminded
that ‘in his time he had been royal’; so, wherever he appeared the crowd fell
apart, making way for him, and whispering, one to another, ‘Doff thy hat, it is
the King’s Ward!’- and so they saluted, and got his kindly smile in return-and
they valued it, too, for his was an honorable history.

Yes, King Edward VI lived only a few years, poor boy, but he lived them
worthily. More than once, when some great dignitary, some gilded vassal of the
crown, made argument against his leniency, and urged that some law which he
was bent upon amending was gentle enough for its purpose, and wrought no
suffering or oppression which any one need mightily mind, the young king
turned the mournful eloquence of his great compassionate eyes upon him and
answered: ‘What dost thou know of suffering and oppression! I and my people
know, but not thou.’ The reign of Edward VI was a singularly merciful one for
those harsh times.

Now that we are taking leave of him let us try to keep this in our minds, to his
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