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The Prince a Prisoner

HENDON forced back a smile, and bent down and whispered in the king’s ear:
‘Softly, softly my prince, wag thy tongue warily-nay, suffer it not to wag at all.
Trust in me-all shall go well in the end.’ Then he added, to himself: ‘Sir Miles!
Bless me, I had totally forgot I was a knight! Lord how marvelous a thing it is,
the grip his memory doth take upon his quaint and crazy fancies!... An empty
and foolish title is mine, and yet it is something to have deserved it, for I think it
is more honor to be held worthy to be a specter-knight in his Kingdom of
Dreams and Shadows, than to be held base enough to be an earl in some of the
real kingdoms of this world.’ The crowd fell apart to admit a constable, who
approached and was about to lay his hand upon the king’s shoulder, when
Hendon said:
‘Gently, good friend, withhold your hand-he shall go peaceably; I am
responsible for that. Lead on, we will follow.’ The officer led, with the woman
and her bundle; Miles and the king followed after, with the crowd at their heels.
The king was inclined to rebel; but Hendon said to him in a low voice: ‘Reflect,
sire-your laws are the wholesome breath of your own royalty; shall their source
reject them, yet require the branches to respect them? Apparently, one of these
laws has been broken; when the king is on his throne again, can it ever grieve
him to remember that when he was seemingly a private person he loyally sunk
the king in the citizen and submitted to its authority?’ ‘Thou art right; say no
more; thou shalt see that whatsoever the king of England requires a subject to
suffer under the law, he will himself suffer while he holdeth the station of a
subject.’ When the woman was called upon to testify before the justice of the
peace, she swore that the small prisoner at the bar was the person who had
committed the theft; there was none able to show the contrary, so the king stood

The bundle was now unrolled, and when the contents proved to be a plump
little dressed pig, the judge looked troubled, while Hendon turned pale, and his
body was thrilled with an electric shiver of dismay; but the king remained
unmoved, protected by his ignorance. The judge meditated, during an ominous
pause, then turned to the woman, with question: ‘What dost thou hold this
property to be worth?’ The woman courtesied and replied: ‘Three shillings and
eightpence, your worship-I could not abate a penny and set forth the value

The justice glanced around uncomfortably upon the crowd, then nodded to the
constable and said: ‘Clear the court and close the doors.’ It was done. None
remained but the two officials, the accused, the accuser, and Miles Hendon. This
latter was rigid and colorless, and on his forehead big drops of cold sweat
gathered, broke and blended together, and trickled down his face. The judge
turned to the woman again, and said, in a compassionate voice: ‘’Tis a poor
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