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straightway, and conducted Tom to an inner apartment. Tom’s first movement
there was to reach for a cup of water; but a silk-and-velvet servitor seized it,
dropped upon one knee, and offered it to him on a golden salver.

Next, the tired captive sat down and was going to take off his buskins, timidly
asking leave with his eye, but another silk-and-velvet discomforter went down
upon his knees and took the office from him. He made two or three further
efforts to help himself, but being promptly forestalled each time, he finally gave
up, with a sigh of resignation and a murmured ‘Beshrew me, but I marvel they
do not require to breathe for me also!’ Slippered, and wrapped in a sumptuous
robe, he laid himself down at last to rest, but not to sleep, for his head was too
full of thoughts and the room too full of people. He could not dismiss the
former, so they stayed; he did not know enough to dismiss the latter, so they
stayed also, to his vast regret-and theirs.

Tom’s departure had left his two noble guardians alone. They mused awhile,
with much headshaking and walking the floor, then Lord St. John said: ‘Plainly,
what dost thou think?’ ‘Plainly, then, this. The king is near his end, my nephew
is mad, mad will mount the throne, and mad remain. God protect England, since
she will need it!’ ‘Verily it promiseth so, indeed. But... have you no misgivings as
to... as to...’ The speaker hesitated, and finally stopped. He evidently felt that he
was upon delicate ground. Lord Hertford stopped before him, looked into his
face with a clear, frank eye, and said: ‘Speak on-there is none to hear but me.
Misgivings as to what?’

‘I am loath to word the thing that is in my mind, and thou so near to him in
blood, my lord. But craving pardon if I do offend, seemeth it not strange that
madness could so change his port and manner!- not but that his port and speech
are princely still, but that they differ in one unweighty trifle or another, from
what his custom was aforetime. Seemeth it not strange that madness should filch
from his memory his father’s very lineaments; the customs and observances that
are his due from such as be about him; and, leaving him his Latin, strip him of
his Greek and French? My lord, be not offended, but ease my mind of its
disquiet and receive my grateful thanks. It haunteth me, his saying he was not
the prince, and so’ ‘Peace, my lord, thou utterest treason! Hast forgot the king’s
command? Remember I am party to thy crime, if I but listen.’ St. John paled, and
hastened to say: ‘I was in fault, I do confess it. Betray me not, grant me this grace
out of thy courtesy, and I will neither think nor speak of this thing more. Deal
not hardly with me, sir, else am I ruined.’ ‘I am content, my lord. So thou offend
not again, here or in the ears of others, it shall be as though thou hadst not
spoken. But thou needst not have misgivings.

He is my sister’s son; are not his voice, his face, his form, familiar to me from his
cradle? Madness can do all the odd conflicting things thou seest in him, and
more. Dost not recall how that the old Baron Marley, being mad, forgot the favor
of his own countenance that he had known for sixty years, and held it was
another’s; nay, even claimed he was the son of Mary Magdalene, and that his
head was made of Spanish glass; and sooth to say, he suffered none to touch it,
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