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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XXIV "How Shall We Find Him?

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The Rat's image of the world had grown until it seemed to know no boundaries which could hold its wealth of wonders. He wanted to go on and on and see them all.

When Marco opened his eyes in the morning, he found The Rat lying looking at him. Then they both sat up in bed at the same time.

``I believe we are both thinking the same thing,'' Marco said.

They frequently discovered that they were thinking the same things.

``So do I,'' answered The Rat. ``It shows how tired we were that we didn't think of it last night.''

``Yes, we are thinking the same thing,'' said Marco. ``We have both remembered what we heard about his shutting himself up alone with his pictures and making people believe he had gone away.''

``He's in his palace now,'' The Rat announced.

``Do you feel sure of that, too?'' asked Marco. ``Did you wake up and feel sure of it the first thing?''

``Yes,'' answered The Rat. ``As sure as if I'd heard him say it himself.''

``So did I,'' said Marco.

``That's what our thoughts brought back to us,'' said The Rat, ``when we `let go' and sent them off last night.'' He sat up hugging his knees and looking straight before him for some time after this, and Marco did not interrupt his meditations.

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The day was a brilliant one, and, though their attic had only one window, the sun shone in through it as they ate their breakfast. After it, they leaned on the window's ledge and talked about the Prince's garden. They talked about it because it was a place open to the public and they had walked round it more than once. The palace, which was not a large one, stood in the midst of it. The Prince was good-natured enough to allow quiet and well-behaved people to saunter through. It was not a fashionable promenade but a pleasant retreat for people who sometimes took their work or books and sat on the seats placed here and there among the shrubs and flowers.

``When we were there the first time, I noticed two things,'' Marco said. ``There is a stone balcony which juts out from the side of the palace which looks on the Fountain Garden. That day there were chairs on it as if the Prince and his visitors sometimes sat there. Near it, there was a very large evergreen shrub and I saw that there was a hollow place inside it. If some one wanted to stay in the gardens all night to watch the windows when they were lighted and see if any one came out alone upon the balcony, he could hide himself in the hollow place and stay there until the morning.''

``Is there room for two inside the shrub?'' The Rat asked.

``No. I must go alone,'' said Marco.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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