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Foo-foo the First

MILES Hendon hurried along toward the Southwark end of the bridge, keeping
a sharp lookout for the persons he sought, and hoping and expecting to overtake
them presently. He was disappointed in this, however. By asking questions, he
was enabled to track them part of the way through Southwark; then all traces
ceased, and he was perplexed as to how to proceed. Still, he continued his efforts
as best he could during the rest of the day. Nightfall found him leg-weary, half
famished, and his desire as far from accomplishment as ever; so he supped at the
Tabard inn and went to bed, resolved to make an early start in the morning, and
give the town an exhaustive search. As he lay thinking and planning, he
presently began to reason thus: The boy would escape from the ruffian, his
reputed father, if possible; would he go back to London and seek his former
haunts? No, he would not do that, he would avoid recapture. What, then, would
he do? Never having had a friend in the world, or a protector, until he met Miles
Hendon, he would naturally try to find that friend again, provided the effort did
not require him to go toward London and danger. He would strike for Hendon
Hall, that is what he would do, for he knew Hendon was homeward bound, and
there he might expect to find him. Yes, the case was plain to Hendon-he must
lose no more time in Southwark, but move at once through Kent, toward Monk’s
Holm, searching the wood and inquiring as he went. Let us return to the
vanished little king now.

The ruffian, whom the waiter at the inn on the bridge saw ‘about to join’ the
youth and the king, did not exactly join them, but fell in close behind them and
followed their steps. He said nothing. His left arm was in a sling, and he wore a
large green patch over his left eye; he limped slightly, and used an oaken staff as
a support. The youth led the king a crooked course through Southwark, and by
and by struck into the highroad beyond. The king was irritated now, and said he
would stop here-it was Hendon’s place to come to him, not his to go to Hendon.
He would not endure such insolence; he would stop where he was. The youth
said: ‘Thou’lt tarry here, and thy friend lying wounded in the wood yonder? So
be it, then.’ The king’s manner changed at once. He cried out: ‘Wounded? And
who hath dared to do it? But that is apart; lead on, lead on! Faster, sirrah! art
shod with lead? Wounded, is he? Now though the doer of it be a duke’s son, he
shall rue it!’ It was some distance to the wood, but the space was speedily
traversed. The youth looked about him, discovered a bough sticking in the
ground, with a small bit of rag tied to it, then led the way into the forest,
watching for similar boughs and finding them at intervals; they were evidently
guides to the point he was aiming at. By and by an open place was reached,
where were the charred remains of a farmhouse, and near them a barn which
was falling to ruin and decay. There was no sign of life anywhere, and utter
silence prevailed. The youth entered the barn, the king following eagerly upon
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