Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

IV The Rat

Page 4 of 9

Table Of Contents: The Lost Prince

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

``The Maranovitch. The Maranovitch and the Iarovitch have been fighting with each other for five hundred years. First one dynasty rules, and then the other gets in when it has killed somebody as it killed King Maran,'' Marco answered without hesitation.

``What was the name of the dynasty that ruled before they began fighting? The first Maranovitch assassinated the last of them,'' The Rat asked him.

``The Fedorovitch,'' said Marco. ``The last one was a bad king.''

``His son was the one they never found again,'' said The Rat. ``The one they call the Lost Prince.''

Marco would have started but for his long training in exterior self-control. It was so strange to hear his dream-hero spoken of in this back alley in a slum, and just after he had been thinking of him.

``What do you know about him?'' he asked, and, as he did so, he saw the group of vagabond lads draw nearer.

``Not much. I only read something about him in a torn magazine I found in the street,'' The Rat answered. ``The man that wrote about him said he was only part of a legend, and he laughed at people for believing in him. He said it was about time that he should turn up again if he intended to. I've invented things about him because these chaps like to hear me tell them. They're only stories.''

``We likes 'im,'' a voice called out, ``becos 'e wos the right sort; 'e'd fight, 'e would, if 'e was in Samavia now.''

Marco rapidly asked himself how much he might say. He decided and spoke to them all.

``He is not part of a legend. He's part of Samavian history,'' he said. ``I know something about him too.''

``How did you find it out?'' asked The Rat.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

``Because my father's a writer, he's obliged to have books and papers, and he knows things. I like to read, and I go into the free libraries. You can always get books and papers there. Then I ask my father questions. All the newspapers are full of things about Samavia just now.'' Marco felt that this was an explanation which betrayed nothing. It was true that no one could open a newspaper at this period without seeing news and stories of Samavia.

The Rat saw possible vistas of information opening up before him.

``Sit down here,'' he said, ``and tell us what you know about him. Sit down, you fellows.''

There was nothing to sit on but the broken flagged pavement, but that was a small matter. Marco himself had sat on flags or bare ground often enough before, and so had the rest of the lads. He took his place near The Rat, and the others made a semicircle in front of them. The two leaders had joined forces, so to speak, and the followers fell into line at ``attention.''

Then the new-comer began to talk. It was a good story, that of the Lost Prince, and Marco told it in a way which gave it reality. How could he help it? He knew, as they could not, that it was real. He who had pored over maps of little Samavia since his seventh year, who had studied them with his father, knew it as a country he could have found his way to any part of if he had been dropped in any forest or any mountain of it. He knew every highway and byway, and in the capital city of Melzarr could almost have made his way blindfolded. He knew the palaces and the forts, the churches, the poor streets and the rich ones. His father had once shown him a plan of the royal palace which they had studied together until the boy knew each apartment and corridor in it by heart. But this he did not speak of. He knew it was one of the things to be silent about. But of the mountains and the emerald velvet meadows climbing their sides and only ending where huge bare crags and peaks began, he could speak. He could make pictures of the wide fertile plains where herds of wild horses fed, or raced and sniffed the air; he could describe the fertile valleys where clear rivers ran and flocks of sheep pastured on deep sweet grass. He could speak of them because he could offer a good enough reason for his knowledge of them. It was not the only reason he had for his knowledge, but it was one which would serve well enough.

Page 4 of 9 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004