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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

VII "The Lamp Is Lighted!"

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He jumped out of bed and went to a table near the window. There was paper and a pencil lying on it. A street lamp exactly opposite threw into the room quite light enough for him to see by. He half knelt by the table and began to draw. He worked for about twenty minutes steadily, and he tore up two or three unsatisfactory sketches. The poor drawing would not matter if he could catch that subtle look which was not slyness but something more dignified and important. It was not difficult to get the marked, aristocratic outline of the features. A common-looking man with less pronounced profile would have been less easy to draw in one sense. He gave his mind wholly to the recalling of every detail which had photographed itself on his memory through its trained habit. Gradually he saw that the likeness was becoming clearer. It was not long before it was clear enough to be a striking one. Any one who knew the man would recognize it. He got up, drawing a long and joyful breath.

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He did not put on his shoes, but crossed his room as noiselessly as possible, and as noiselessly opened the door. He made no ghost of a sound when he went down the stairs. The woman who kept the lodging-house had gone to bed, and so had the other lodgers and the maid of all work. All the lights were out except the one he saw a glimmer of under the door of his father's room. When he had been a mere baby, he had been taught to make a special sign on the door when he wished to speak to Loristan. He stood still outside the back sitting-room and made it now. It was a low scratching sound--two scratches and a soft tap. Lazarus opened the door and looked troubled.

``It is not yet time, sir,'' he said very low.

``I know,'' Marco answered. ``But I must show something to my father.'' Lazarus let him in, and Loristan turned round from his writing-table questioningly.

Marco went forward and laid the sketch down before him.

``Look at it,'' he said. ``I remember him well enough to draw that. I thought of it all at once--that I could make a sort of picture. Do you think it is like him?'' Loristan examined it closely.

``It is very like him,'' he answered. ``You have made me feel entirely safe. Thanks, Comrade. It was a good idea.''

There was relief in the grip he gave the boy's hand, and Marco turned away with an exultant feeling. Just as he reached the door, Loristan said to him:

``Make the most of this gift. It is a gift. And it is true your mind has had good training. The more you draw, the better. Draw everything you can.''

Neither the street lamps, nor the noises, nor his thoughts kept Marco awake when he went back to bed. But before he settled himself upon his pillow he gave himself certain orders. He had both read, and heard Loristan say, that the mind can control the body when people once find out that it can do so. He had tried experiments himself, and had found out some curious things. One was that if he told himself to remember a certain thing at a certain time, he usually found that he DID remember it. Something in his brain seemed to remind him. He had often tried the experiment of telling himself to awaken at a particular hour, and had awakened almost exactly at the moment by the clock.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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