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proprietors of it. And so they were in effect-at least they could exhibit it from
their windows, and did-for a consideration-whenever a returning king or hero
gave it a fleeting splendor, for there was no place like it for affording a long,
straight, uninterrupted view of marching columns.

Men born and reared upon the Bridge found life unendurably dull and inane
elsewhere. History tells of one of these who left the Bridge at the age of
seventyone and retired to the country. But he could only fret and toss in his bed;
he could not go to sleep, the deep stillness was so painful, so awful, so
oppressive. When he was worn out with it, at last, he fled back to his old home,
a lean and haggard specter, and fell peacefully to rest and pleasant dreams
under the lulling music of the lashing waters and the boom and crash and
thunder of London Bridge.

In the times of which we are writing, the Bridge furnished ‘object lessons’ in
English history, for its children-namely, the livid and decaying heads of
renowned men impaled upon iron spikes atop of its gateways. But we digress.
Hendon’s lodgings were in the little inn on the Bridge. As he neared the door
with his small friend, a rough voice said: ‘So, thou’rt come at last! Thou’lt not
escape again. I warrant thee; and if pounding thy bones to a pudding can teach
thee somewhat, thou’lt not keep us waiting another time, mayhap’- and John
Canty put out his hand to seize the boy.

Miles Hendon stepped in the way, and said: ‘Not too fast, friend. Thou art
needlessly rough, methinks. What is the lad to thee?’ ‘If it be any business of
thine to make and meddle in others’ affairs, he is my son.’ ‘’Tis a lie!’ cried the
little king, hotly.

‘Boldly said, and I believe thee, whether thy small head-piece be sound or
cracked, my boy. But whether this scurvy ruffian be thy father or no, ‘tis all one,
he shall not have thee to beat thee and abuse, according to his threat, so thou
prefer to abide with me.’ ‘I do, I do-I know him not, I loathe him, and will die
before I will go with him.’ ‘Then ‘tis settled, and there is naught more to say.’
‘We will see, as to that!’ exclaimed John Canty, striding past Hendon to get at the
boy; ‘by force shall he-’ ‘If thou do but touch him, thou animated offal, I will spit
thee like a goose!’ said Hendon, barring the way and laying his hand upon his
sword-hilt. Canty drew back. ‘Now mark ye,’ continued Hendon, ‘I took this lad
under my protection when a mob such as thou would have mishandled him,
mayhap killed him; dost imagine I will desert him now to a worser fate?- for
whether thou art his father or no-and sooth to say, I think it is a lie-a decent
swift death were better for such a lad than life in such brute hands as thine. So
go thy ways, and set quick about it, for I like not much bandying of words, being
not overpatient in my nature.’ John Canty moved off, muttering threats and
curses, and was swallowed from sight in the crowd. Hendon ascended three
flights of stairs to his room, with his charge, after ordering a meal to be sent
thither. It was a poor apartment, with a shabby bed and some odds and ends of
old furniture in it, and was vaguely lighted by a couple of sickly candles. The
little king dragged himself to the bed and lay down upon it, almost exhausted
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