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‘Le Roi est Mort - Vive le Roi’

TOWARD daylight of the same morning, Tom Canty stirred out of a heavy sleep
and opened his eyes in the dark. He lay silent a few moments, trying to analyze
his confused thoughts and impressions, and get some sort of meaning out of
them, then suddenly he burst out in a rapturous but guarded voice: ‘I see it all, I
see it all! Now God be thanked, I am, indeed, awake at last! Come, joy! vanish,
sorrow! Ho, Nan! Bet! kick off your straw and hie ye hither to my side, till I do
pour into your unbelieving ears the wildest madcap dream that ever the spirits
of night did conjure up to astonish the soul of man withal!... Ho, Nan, I say!

A dim form appeared at his side, and a voice said: ‘Wilt deign to deliver thy
commands?’ ‘Commands?... Oh, woe is me, I know thy voice! Speak, thou-who
am I?’ ‘Thou? In sooth, yesternight wert thou the Prince of Wales, to-day art thou
my most gracious liege, Edward, king of England.’ Tom buried his head among
his pillows, murmuring plaintively: ‘Alack, it was no dream! Go to thy rest,
sweet sir-leave me to my sorrows.’

Tom slept again, and after a time he had this pleasant dream. He thought it was
summer and he was playing, all alone, in the fair meadow called Goodman’s
Fields, when a dwarf only a foot high, with long red whiskers and a humped
back, appeared to him suddenly and said, ‘Dig, by that stump.’ He did so, and
found twelve bright new pennies-wonderful riches! Yet this was not the best of
it; for the dwarf said: ‘I know thee. Thou art a good lad and deserving; thy
distresses shall end, for the day of thy reward is come. Dig here every seventh
day, and thou shalt find always the same treasure, twelve bright new pennies.
Tell none-keep the secret.’ Then the dwarf vanished, and Tom flew to Offal
Court with his prize, saying to himself, ‘Every night will I give my father a
penny; he will think I begged it, it will glad his heart, and I shall no more be
beaten. One penny every week the good priest that teacheth me shall have;
mother, Nan, and Bet the other four. We be done with hunger and rags now,
done with fears and frets and savage usage.’ In his dream he reached his sordid
home all out of breath, but with eyes dancing with grateful enthusiasm; cast four
of his pennies into his mother’s lap and cried out: ‘They are for thee!- all of them,
every one!- for thee and Nan and Bet-and honestly come by, not begged nor
stolen!’ The happy and astonished mother strained him to her breast and
exclaimed: ‘It waxeth late-may it please your majesty to rise?’

Ah, that was not the answer he was expecting. The dream had snapped asunder-
he was awake.

He opened his eyes-the richly clad First Lord of the Bedchamber was kneeling
by his couch. The gladness of the lying dream faded away-the poor boy
recognized that he was still a captive and a king. The room was filled with
courtiers clothed in purple mantles-the mourning color-and with noble servants
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