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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

V "Silence Is Still the Order"

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``He wants to hear about wars--he wants to talk about them,'' Marco answered. ``If he could stand and were old enough, he would go and fight for Samavia himself.''

``It is a blood-drenched and sad place now!'' said Loristan. ``The people are mad when they are not heartbroken and terrified.''

Suddenly Marco struck the table with a sounding slap of his boy's hand. He did it before he realized any intention in his own mind.

``Why should either one of the Iarovitch or one of the Maranovitch be king!'' he cried. ``They were only savage peasants when they first fought for the crown hundreds of years ago. The most savage one got it, and they have been fighting ever since. Only the Fedorovitch were born kings. There is only one man in the world who has the right to the throne--and I don't know whether he is in the world or not. But I believe he is! I do!''

Loristan looked at his hot twelve-year-old face with a reflective curiousness. He saw that the flame which had leaped up in him had leaped without warning--just as a fierce heart-beat might have shaken him.

``You mean--?'' he suggested softly.

``Ivor Fedorovitch. King Ivor he ought to be. And the people would obey him, and the good days would come again.''

``It is five hundred years since Ivor Fedorovitch left the good monks.'' Loristan still spoke softly.

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``But, Father,'' Marco protested, ``even The Rat said what you said--that he was too young to be able to come back while the Maranovitch were in power. And he would have to work and have a home, and perhaps he is as poor as we are. But when he had a son he would call him Ivor and TELL him--and his son would call HIS son Ivor and tell HIM--and it would go on and on. They could never call their eldest sons anything but Ivor. And what you said about the training would be true. There would always be a king being trained for Samavia, and ready to be called.'' In the fire of his feelings he sprang from his chair and stood upright. ``Why! There may be a king of Samavia in some city now who knows he is king, and, when he reads about the fighting among his people, his blood gets red-hot. They're his own people--his very own! He ought to go to them--he ought to go and tell them who he is! Don't you think he ought, Father?''

``It would not be as easy as it seems to a boy,'' Loristan answered. ``There are many countries which would have something to say-- Russia would have her word, and Austria, and Germany; and England never is silent. But, if he were a strong man and knew how to make strong friends in silence, he might sometime be able to declare himself openly.''

``But if he is anywhere, some one--some Samavian--ought to go and

look for him. It ought to be a Samavian who is very clever and a patriot--'' He stopped at a flash of recognition. ``Father!'' he cried out. ``Father! You--you are the one who could find him if any one in the world could. But perhaps--'' and he stopped a moment again because new thoughts rushed through his mind. ``Have YOU ever looked for him?'' he asked hesitating.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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