The Prince and The Pauper
by Mark Twain
Excerpt from Chapter 32
A deep hush pervaded the Abbey. At this impressive moment, a startling apparition intruded upon the scene - an apparition observed by none in the absorbed multitude, until it suddenly appeared, moving up the great central aisle. It was a boy, bareheaded, ill shod, and clothed in coarse plebeian garments that were falling to rags. He raised his hand with a solemnity which ill comported with his soiled and sorry aspect, and delivered this note of warning -
"I forbid you to set the crown of England upon that forfeited head. I am the King!"
In an instant several indignant hands were laid upon the boy; but in the same instant Tom Canty, in his regal vestments, made a swift step forward, and cried out in a ringing voice -
"Loose him and forbear! He IS the King!"
A sort of panic of astonishment swept the assemblage, and they partly rose in their places and stared in a bewildered way at one another and at the chief figures in this scene, like persons who wondered whether they were awake and in their senses, or asleep and dreaming.
The Lord Protector was as amazed as the rest, but quickly recovered himself, and exclaimed in a voice of authority -
"Mind not his Majesty, his malady is upon him againseize the vagabond!"
He would have been obeyed, but the mock-King stamped his foot and cried out
"On your peril! Touch him not, he is the King!"