The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper

Series: Mark Twain Library
Copyright Date: 1983
Edition: 2
Pages: 342
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    The Prince and the Pauper
    Book Description:

    "What am I writing? A historical tale of 300 years ago, simply for the love of it." Mark Twain's "tale" became his first historical novel,The Prince and the Pauper,published in 1881. Intricately plotted, it was intended to have the feel of history even though it was only the stuff of legend. In sixteenth-century England, young Prince Edward (son of Henry VIII) and Tom Canty, a pauper boy who looks exactly like him, are suddenly forced to change places. The prince endures "rags & hardships" while the pauper suffers the "horrible miseries of princedom." Mark Twain called his book a "tale for young people of all ages," and it has become a classic of American literature. The first edition in 1881 was fully illustrated by Frank Merrill, John Harley, and L. S. Ipsen. The boys in these illustrations, Mark Twain said, "look and dress exactly as I used to see them cast in my mind. . . . It is a vast pleasure to see them cast in the flesh, so to speak." This Mark Twain Library edition exactly reproduces the text of the California scholarly edition, including all of the 192 illustrations that so pleased the author.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94958-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. ix-x)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. FOREWORD (pp. xv-xx)
    Victor Fischer

    The Prince and the Pauperwas published on 12 December 1881 when Mark Twain was forty-six and at the height of his powers. It is unlike any of his other books. Set in sixteenth-century England, with great attention to historical detail, it has all the grace, charm, and unreasoned violence of an ancient folk tale. A prince and a pauper boy, exact doubles, meet and are suddenly thrust into each other’s places; neither is believed when he tries to right matters; both are hurled along from one unexpected trial to another until each learns a lesson; finally they come together...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper (pp. 1-2)

    In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him. All England wanted him, too. England had so longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him, that now that he was really come, the people went nearly mad for joy. Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed each other...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Tom’s Early Life (pp. 3-10)

    Let us skip a number of years.

    London was fifteen hundred years old, and was a great town—for that day. It had a hundred thousand inhabitants—some think double as many. The streets were very narrow, and crooked, and dirty, especially in the part where Tom Canty lived, which was not far from London Bridge. The houses were of wood, with the second story projecting over the first, and the third sticking its elbows out beyond the second. The higher the houses grew, the broader they grew. They were skeletons of strong criss-cross beams, with solid material between, coated...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Tom’s Meeting with the Prince (pp. 11-20)

    Tom got up hungry and sauntered hungry away but with his thoughts busy with the shadowy splendors of his night’s dreams. He wandered here and there in the city, hardly noticing where he was going or what was happening around him. People jostled him, and some gave him rough speech, but it was all lost on the musing boy. By and by he found himself at Temple Bar—the furthest from home he had ever traveled in that direction. He stopped and considered a moment, then fell into his imaginings again and passed on, outside the walls of London. The...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The Prince’s Troubles Begin (pp. 21-26)

    After hours of persistent pursuit and persecution, the little prince was at last deserted by the rabble and left to himself. As long as he had been able to rage against the mob, and threaten it royally, and royally utter commands that were good stuff to laugh at, he was very entertaining; but when weariness finally forced him to be silent, he was no longer of use to his tormentors, and they sought amusement elsewhere. He looked about him, now, but could not recognize the locality. He was within the city of London—that was all he knew. He moved...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Tom as a Patrician (pp. 27-38)

    Tom Canty, left alone in the prince’s cabinet, made good use of his opportunity. He turned himself this way and that, before the great mirror, admiring his finery; then walked away, imitating the prince’s high-bred carriage, and still observing results in the glass. Next he drew the beautiful sword, and bowed, kissing the blade and laying it across his breast, as he had seen a noble knight do, by way of salute to the Lieutenant of the Tower, five or six weeks before, when delivering the great lords of Norfolk and Surrey into his hands for captivity. Tom played with...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Tom Receives Instructions (pp. 39-50)

    Tom was conducted to the principal apartment of a noble suite, and made to sit down—a thing which he was loth to do, since there were elderly men and men of high degree about him. He begged them to be seated, also, but they only bowed their thanks or murmured them, and remained standing. He would have insisted, but his “uncle” the Earl of Hertford whispered in his ear—

    “Prithee, insist not, my lord; it is not meet that they sit in thy presence.”

    The lord St. John was announced, and after making obeisance to Tom, he said—


  11. CHAPTER 7 Tom’s First Royal Dinner (pp. 51-56)

    Somewhat after one in the afternoon, Tom resignedly underwent the ordeal of being dressed for dinner. He found himself as finely clothed as before, but everything different, everything changed, from his ruff to his stockings. He was presently conducted with much state to a spacious and ornate apartment where a table was already set—for one. Its furniture was all of massy gold, and beautified with designs which well nigh made it priceless, since they were the work of Benvenuto. The room was half filled with noble servitors. A chaplain said grace, and Tom was about to fall to, for...

  12. CHAPTER 8 The Question of the Seal (pp. 57-60)

    About five o’clock Henry VIII awoke out of an unrefreshing nap, and muttered to himself, “Troublous dreams, troublous dreams! Mine end is now at hand—so say these warnings, and my failing pulses do confirm it.” Presently a wicked light flamed up in his eye, and he muttered, “Yet will not I die tillhego before!”

    His attendants perceiving that he was awake, one of them asked his pleasure concerning the Lord Chancellor, who was waiting without.

    “Admit him! admit him!” exclaimed the king, eagerly.

    The Lord Chancellor entered and knelt by the king’s couch, saying—

    “I have given...

  13. CHAPTER 9 The River Pageant (pp. 61-64)

    At nine in the evening the whole vast river-front of the palace was blazing with light. The river itself, as far as the eye could reach, citywards, was so thickly covered with watermen’s boats and with pleasure-barges, all fringed with colored lanterns, and gently agitated by the waves, that it resembled a glowing and limitless garden of flowers stirred to soft motion by summer winds. The grand terrace of stone steps leading down to the water—spacious enough to mass the army of a German principality upon—was a picture to see, with its ranks of royal halberdiers in polished...

  14. CHAPTER 10 The Prince in the Toils (pp. 65-76)

    We left John Canty dragging the rightful prince into Offal Court, with a noisy and delighted mob at his heels. There was but one person in it who offered a pleading word for the captive, and he was not heeded; he was hardly even heard, so great was the turmoil. The prince continued to struggle for freedom and to rage against the treatment he was suffering, until John Canty lost what little patience was left in him, and raised his oaken cudgel in a sudden fury over the prince’s head. The single pleader for the lad sprang to stop the...

  15. CHAPTER 11 At Guildhall (pp. 77-84)

    The royal barge, attended by its gorgeous fleet, took its stately way down the Thames through the wilderness of illuminated boats. The air was laden with music; the river banks were beruffled with joy-flames; the distant city lay in a soft luminous glow from its countless invisible bonfires; above it rose many a slender spire into the sky, encrusted with sparkling lights, wherefore in their remoteness they seemed like jeweled lances thrust aloft; as the fleet swept along, it was greeted from the banks with a continuous hoarse roar of cheers and the ceaseless flash and boom of artillery.


  16. CHAPTER 12 The Prince and His Deliverer (pp. 85-100)

    As soon as Miles Hendon and the little prince were clear of the mob, they struck down through back lanes and alleys toward the river. Their way was unobstructed until they approached London Bridge; then they plowed into the multitude again, Hendon keeping a fast grip upon the prince’s—no, the king’s—wrist. The tremendous news was already abroad, and the boy learned it from a thousand voices at once—”The king is dead!” The tidings struck a chill to the heart of the poor little waif and sent a shudder through his frame. He realized the greatness of his...

  17. CHAPTER 13 The Disappearance of the Prince (pp. 101-108)

    A heavy drowsiness presently fell upon the two comrades. The king said—

    “Remove these rags”—meaning his clothing.

    Hendon disappareled the boy without dissent or remark, tucked him up in bed, then glanced about the room, saying to himself, ruefully, “He hath taken my bed again, as before—marry, what shallIdo?” The little king observed his perplexity, and dissipated it with a word. He said, sleepily—

    “Thou wilt sleep athwart the door, and guard it.” In a moment more he was out of his troubles, in a deep slumber.

    “Dear heart, he should have been born a king!”...

  18. CHAPTER 14 “Le Roi Est Mort—Vive le Roi” (pp. 109-122)

    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...

  19. CHAPTER 15 Tom as King (pp. 123-134)

    The next day the foreign ambassadors came, with their gorgeous trains; and Tom, throned in awful state, received them. The splendors of the scene delighted his eye and fired his imagination, at first, but the audience was long and dreary, and so were most of the addresses—wherefore, what began as a pleasure, grew into weariness and homesickness by and by. Tom said the words which Hertford put into his mouth from time to time, and tried hard to acquit himself satisfactorily, but he was too new to such things, and too ill at ease to accomplish more than a...

  20. CHAPTER 16 The State Dinner (pp. 135-140)

    The dinner hour drew near—yet strangely enough, the thought brought but slight discomfort to Tom, and hardly any terror. The morning’s experiences had wonderfully built up his confidence; the poor little ash-cat was already more wonted to his strange garret, after four days’ habit, than a mature person could have become in a full month. A child’s facility in accommodating itself to circumstances was never more strikingly illustrated.

    Let us privileged ones hurry to the great banqueting room and have a glance at matters there whilst Tom is being made ready for the imposing occasion. It is a spacious...

  21. CHAPTER 17 Foo-Foo the First (pp. 141-156)

    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 legweary, half famished, and his desire as far from accomplishment as ever; so he supped at the Tabard inn and...

  22. CHAPTER 18 The Prince with the Tramps (pp. 157-168)

    The troop of vagabonds turned out at early dawn, and set forward on their march. There was a lowering sky overhead, sloppy ground under foot, and a winter chill in the air. All gaiety was gone from the company; some were sullen and silent, some were irritable and petulant, none were gentle-humored, all were thirsty.

    The Ruffler put “Jack” in Hugo’s charge, with some brief instructions, and commanded John Canty to keep away from him and let him alone; he also warned Hugo not to be too rough with the lad.

    After a while the weather grew milder, and the...

  23. CHAPTER 19 The Prince with the Peasants (pp. 169-176)

    When the king awoke in the early morning, he found that a wet but thoughtful rat had crept into the place during the night and made a cosy bed for itself in his bosom. Being disturbed, now, it scampered away. The boy smiled, and said, “Poor fool, why so fearful? I am as forlorn as thou. ‘Twould be shame in me to hurt the helpless, who am myself so helpless. Moreover, I owe you thanks for a good omen; for when a king has fallen so low that the very rats do make a bed of him, it surely meaneth...

  24. CHAPTER 20 The Prince and the Hermit (pp. 177-186)

    The high hedge hid him from the house, now; and so, under the impulse of a deadly fright, he let out all his forces and sped toward a wood in the distance. He never looked back until he had almost gained the shelter of the forest; then he turned and descried two figures in the distance. That was sufficient; he did not wait to scan them critically, but hurried on, and never abated his pace till he was far within the twilight depths of the wood. Then he stopped; being persuaded that he was now tolerably safe. He listened intently,...

  25. CHAPTER 21 Hendon to the Rescue (pp. 187-192)

    The old man glided away, stooping, stealthy, cat-like, and brought the low bench. He seated himself upon it, half his body in the dim and flickering light, and the other half in shadow; and so, with his craving eyes bent upon the slumbering boy, he kept his patient vigil there, heedless of the drift of time, and softly whetted his knife, and mumbled and chuckled; and in aspect and attitude he resembled nothing so much as a grisly, monstrous spider, gloating over some hapless insect that lay bound and helpless in his web.

    After a long while, the old man,...

  26. CHAPTER 22 A Victim of Treachery (pp. 193-200)

    Once more “King Foo-foo the First” was roving with the tramps and outlaws, a butt for their coarse jests and dull-witted railleries, and sometimes the victim of small spitefulnesses at the hands of Canty and Hugo when the Ruffler’s back was turned. None but Canty and Hugo really disliked him. Some of the others liked him, and all admired his pluck and spirit. During two or three days, Hugo, in whose ward and charge the king was, did what he covertly could to make the boy uncomfortable; and at night, during the customary orgies, he amused the company by putting...

  27. CHAPTER 23 The Prince a Prisoner (pp. 201-206)

    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:“SirMiles! 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...

  28. CHAPTER 24 The Escape (pp. 207-210)

    The short winter day was nearly ended. The streets were deserted, save for a few random stragglers, and these hurried straight along, with the intent look of people who were only anxious to accomplish their errands as quickly as possible and then snugly house themselves from the rising wind and the gathering twilight. They looked neither to the right nor the left; they paid no attention to our party, they did not even seem to see them. Edward the Sixth wondered if the spectacle of a king on his way to jail had ever encountered such marvelous indifference before. By...

  29. CHAPTER 25 Hendon Hall (pp. 211-220)

    As soon as Hendon and the king were out of sight of the constable, his majesty was instructed to hurry to a certain place outside the town, and wait there, whilst Hendon should go to the inn and settle his account. Half an hour later the two friends were blithely jogging eastward on Hendon’s sorry steeds. The king was warm and comfortable, now, for he had cast his rags and clothed himself in the second-hand suit which Hendon had bought on London Bridge.

    Hendon wished to guard against over-fatiguing the boy; he judged that hard journeys, irregular meals, and illiberal...

  30. CHAPTER 26 Disowned (pp. 221-226)

    The king sat musing a few moments, then looked up and said—

    “ ‘Tis strange—most strange. I cannot account for it.”

    “No, it is not strange, my liege. I know him, and this conduct is but natural. He was a rascal from his birth.”

    “O, I spake not ofhim, Sir Miles.”

    “Not of him? Then of what? What is it that is strange?”

    “That the king is not missed.”

    “How? Which? I doubt I do not understand.”

    “Indeed? Doth it not strike you as being passing strange that the land is not filled with couriers and proclamations describing...

  31. CHAPTER 27 In Prison (pp. 227-238)

    The cells were all crowded; so the two friends were chained in a large room where persons charged with trifling offenses were commonly kept. They had company, for there were some twenty manacled and fettered prisoners here, of both sexes and of varying ages,—an obscene and noisy gang. The king chafed bitterly over the stupendous indignity thus put upon his royalty, but Hendon was moody and taciturn. He was pretty thoroughly bewildered. He had come home, a jubilant prodigal, expecting to find everybody wild with joy over his return; and instead had got the cold shoulder and a jail....

  32. CHAPTER 28 The Sacrifice (pp. 239-244)

    Meantime Miles was growing sufficiently tired of confinement and inaction. But now his trial came on, to his great gratification, and he thought he could welcome any sentence provided a further imprisonment should not be a part of it. But he was mistaken about that. He was in a fine fury when he found himself described as a “sturdy vagabond” and sentenced to sit two hours in the pillory for bearing that character and for assaulting the master of Hendon Hall. His pretensions as to brothership with his prosecutor, and rightful heirship to the Hendon honors and estates, Were left...

  33. CHAPTER 29 To London (pp. 245-248)

    When Hendon’s term of service in the stocks was finished, he was released and ordered to quit the region and come back no more. His sword was restored to him, and also his mule and his donkey. He mounted and rode off, followed by the king, the crowd opening with quiet respectfulness to let them pass, and then dispersing when they were gone.

    Hendon was soon absorbed in thought. There were questions of high import to be answered. What should he do? Whither should he go? Powerful help must be found, somewhere, or he must relinquish his inheritance and remain...

  34. CHAPTER 30 Tom’s Progress (pp. 249-252)

    Whilst the true king wandered about the land; poorly clad, poorly fed; cuffed and derided by tramps, one while; herding with thieves and murderers in a jail, another; and called idiot and impostor by all, impartially, the mock king, Tom Canty, enjoyed a quite different experience.

    When we saw him last, royalty was just beginning to have a bright side for him. This bright side went on brightening more and more, every day; in a very little while it was become almost all sunshine and delightfulness. He lost his fears; his misgivings faded out and died; his embarrassments departed and...

  35. CHAPTER 31 The Recognition Procession (pp. 253-262)

    When Tom Canty awoke, the next morning, the air was heavy with a thunderous murmur—all the distances were charged with it. It was music to him, for it meant that the English world was out in its strength to give loyal welcome to the great day.

    Presently Tom found himself once more the chief figure in a wonderful floating pageant on the Thames—for, by ancient custom, the “recognition-procession” through London must start from the Tower, and he was bound thither.

    When he arrived there, the sides of the venerable fortress seemed suddenly rent in a thousand places; and...

  36. CHAPTER 32 Coronation Day (pp. 263-276)

    Let us go backward a few hours, and place ourselves in Westminster Abbey, at four o’clock in the morning of this memorable Coronation Day. We are not without company; for although it is still night, we find the torch-lighted galleries already filling up with people who are well content to sit still and wait seven or eight hours till the time shall come for them to see what they may not hope to see twice in their lives—the coronation of a king. Yes, London and Westminster have been astir ever since the warning guns boomed at three o’clock, and...

  37. CHAPTER 33 Edward as King (pp. 277-286)

    Miles Hendon was picturesque enough before he got into the riot on London Bridge—he was more so when he got out of it. He had but little money when he got in, none at all when he got out. The pickpockets had stripped him of his last farthing.

    But no matter, so he found his boy. Being a soldier, he did not go at his task in a random way, but set to work, first of all, to arrange his campaign.

    What would the boy naturally do? Where would he naturally go? Well—argued Miles—he would naturally go...

  38. CONCLUSION: Justice and Retribution (pp. 287-290)

    When the mysteries were all cleared up, it came out, by confession of Hugh Hendon, that his wife had repudiated Miles by his command, that day at Hendon Hall—a command assisted and supported by the perfectly trustworthy promise that if she did not deny that he was Miles Hendon, and stand firmly to it, he would have her life; whereupon she said take it, she did not value it—and she would not repudiate Miles; then the husband said he would spare her life but have Miles assassinated! This was a different matter; so she gave her word and...

  39. Notes (pp. 291-296)
  40. MAP OF LONDON (pp. 298-300)
    V. F. and M.B.F.
  41. REFERENCES (pp. 301-302)
  42. EXPLANATORY NOTES (pp. 303-318)
  43. NOTE ON THE TEXT (pp. 319-321)
    Robert H. Hirst
  44. Back Matter (pp. 322-324)

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