The Prince and The Pauper
by Mark Twain
Excerpt from Chapter 11
Suddenly, high above the jubilant roar and thunder of the revel, broke the clear peal of a bugle-note. There was instant silence-a deep hush; then a single voice rose-that of the messenger from the palace-and began to pipe forth a proclamation, the whole multitude standing listening.
The closing words, solemnly pronounced, were-
"The King is dead!"
The great assemblage bent their heads upon their breasts with one accord; remained so, in profound silence, a few moments; then all sank upon their knees in a body, stretched out their hands toward Tom, and a mighty shout burst forth that seemed to shake the building-
"Long live the King!"
Poor Tom's dazed eyes wandered abroad over this stupefying spectacle, and finally rested dreamily upon the kneeling princesses beside him, a moment, then upon the Earl of Hertford. A sudden purpose dawned in his face. He said, in a low tone, at Lord Hertford's ear-
"Answer me truly, on thy faith and honour! Uttered I here a command, the which none but a king might hold privilege and prerogative to utter, would such commandment be obeyed, and none rise up to say me nay?"
"None, my liege, in all these realms. In thy person bides the majesty of England. Thou art the kingthy word is law."