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Chapter 29 To London

  • When Hendon's term of service in the stocks was finished, he was released an_rdered to quit the region and come back no more. His sword was restored t_im, and also his mule and his donkey. He mounted and rode off, followed b_he King, the crowd opening with quiet respectfulness to let them pass, an_hen dispersing when they were gone.
  • Hendon was soon absorbed in thought.  There were questions of high import t_e answered.  What should he do?  Whither should he go? Powerful help must b_ound somewhere, or he must relinquish his inheritance and remain under th_mputation of being an impostor besides.  Where could he hope to find thi_owerful help?  Where, indeed!  It was a knotty question. By-and-by a though_ccurred to him which pointed to a possibility—the slenderest of slende_ossibilities, certainly, but still worth considering, for lack of any othe_hat promised anything at all.  He remembered what old Andrews had said abou_he young King's goodness and his generous championship of the wronged an_nfortunate.  Why not go and try to get speech of him and beg for justice?
  • Ah, yes, but could so fantastic a pauper get admission to the august presenc_f a monarch? Never mind—let that matter take care of itself; it was a bridg_hat would not need to be crossed till he should come to it.  He was an ol_ampaigner, and used to inventing shifts and expedients:  no doubt he would b_ble to find a way.  Yes, he would strike for the capital. Maybe his father'_ld friend Sir Humphrey Marlow would help him—'good old Sir Humphrey, Hea_ieutenant of the late King's kitchen, or stables, or something'—Miles coul_ot remember just what or which.  Now that he had something to turn hi_nergies to, a distinctly defined object to accomplish, the fog of humiliatio_nd depression which had settled down upon his spirits lifted and blew away,
  • and he raised his head and looked about him.  He was surprised to see how fa_e had come; the village was away behind him.  The King was jogging along i_is wake, with his head bowed; for he, too, was deep in plans and thinkings.
  • A sorrowful misgiving clouded Hendon's new-born cheerfulness:  would the bo_e willing to go again to a city where, during all his brief life, he ha_ever known anything but ill-usage and pinching want?  But the question mus_e asked; it could not be avoided; so Hendon reined up, and called out—
  • "I had forgotten to inquire whither we are bound.  Thy commands, my liege!"
  • "To London!"
  • Hendon moved on again, mightily contented with the answer—but astounded at i_oo.
  • The whole journey was made without an adventure of importance. But it ende_ith one.  About ten o'clock on the night of the 19th of February they steppe_pon London Bridge, in the midst of a writhing, struggling jam of howling an_urrahing people, whose beer-jolly faces stood out strongly in the glare fro_anifold torches—and at that instant the decaying head of some former duke o_ther grandee tumbled down between them, striking Hendon on the elbow and the_ounding off among the hurrying confusion of feet. So evanescent and unstabl_re men's works in this world!—the late good King is but three weeks dead an_hree days in his grave, and already the adornments which he took such pain_o select from prominent people for his noble bridge are falling.  A citize_tumbled over that head, and drove his own head into the back of somebody i_ront of him, who turned and knocked down the first person that came handy,
  • and was promptly laid out himself by that person's friend.  It was the righ_ipe time for a free fight, for the festivities of the morrow—Coronatio_ay—were already beginning; everybody was full of strong drink and patriotism;
  • within five minutes the free fight was occupying a good deal of ground; withi_en or twelve it covered an acre of so, and was become a riot.  By this tim_endon and the King were hopelessly separated from each other and lost in th_ush and turmoil of the roaring masses of humanity.  And so we leave them.