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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XIII Loristan Attends a Drill of the Squad

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ended, with a pretty, kind laugh, ``and I believe I know where you got them from.''

``You are very kind to me,'' Marco answered, wondering if he did not redden a little. ``But I must go because my father will--''

``Your father would let you stay and talk to me,'' she said, with even a prettier kindliness than before. ``It is from him you have inherited your beautiful manner. He was once a friend of mine. I hope he is my friend still, though perhaps he has forgotten me.''

All that Marco had ever learned and all that he had ever trained himself to remember, quickly rushed back upon him now, because he had a clear and rapidly working brain, and had not lived the ordinary boy's life. Here was a beautiful lady of whom he knew nothing at all but that she had twisted her foot in the street and he had helped her back into her house. If silence was still the order, it was not for him to know things or ask questions or answer them. She might be the loveliest lady in the world and his father her dearest friend, but, even if this were so, he could best serve them both by obeying her friend's commands with all courtesy, and forgetting no instruction he had given.

``I do not think my father ever forgets any one,'' he answered.

``No, I am sure he does not,'' she said softly. ``Has he been to Samavia during the last three years?''

Marco paused a moment.

``Perhaps I am not the boy you think I am,'' he said. ``My father has never been to Samavia.''

``He has not? But--you are Marco Loristan?''

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``Yes. That is my name.''

Suddenly she leaned forward and her long lovely eyes filled with fire.

``Then you are a Samavian, and you know of the disasters overwhelming us. You know all the hideousness and barbarity of what is being done. Your father's son must know it all!''

``Every one knows it,'' said Marco.

``But it is your country--your own! Your blood must burn in your veins!''

Marco stood quite still and looked at her. His eyes told whether his blood burned or not, but he did not speak. His look was answer enough, since he did not wish to say anything.

``What does your father think? I am a Samavian myself, and I think night and day. What does he think of the rumor about the descendant of the Lost Prince? Does he believe it?''

Marco was thinking very rapidly. Her beautiful face was glowing with emotion, her beautiful voice trembled. That she should be a Samavian, and love Samavia, and pour her feeling forth even to a boy, was deeply moving to him. But howsoever one was moved, one must remember that silence was still the order. When one was very young, one must remember orders first of all.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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