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

XXVII "It is the Lost Prince! It Is Ivor!"

Page 3 of 5

Table Of Contents: The Lost Prince

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

``Don't kill him! Don't kill him!'' yelled The Rat, struggling forward. ``Stand back, you fools! I'm his aide-de-camp! Let me pass!''

And though no one understood his English, one or two suddenly remembered they had seen him enter with the priest and so gave way. But just then the old priest lifted his hand above the crowd, and spoke in a voice of stern command.

``Stand back, my children!'' he cried. ``Madness is not the homage you must bring to the son of Stefan Loristan. Obey! Obey!'' His voice had a power in it that penetrated even the wildest herdsmen. The frenzied mass swayed back and left space about Marco, whose face The Rat could at last see. It was very white with emotion, and in his eyes there was a look which was like awe.

The Rat pushed forward until he stood beside him. He did not know that he almost sobbed as he spoke.

``I'm your aide-de-camp,'' he said. ``I'm going to stand here! Your father sent me! I'm under orders! I thought they'd crush you to death.''

He glared at the circle about them as if, instead of worshippers distraught with adoration, they had been enemies. The old priest seeing him, touched Marco's arm.

``Tell him he need not fear,'' he said. ``It was only for the first few moments. The passion of their souls drove them wild. They are your slaves.''

``Those at the back might have pushed the front ones on until they trampled you under foot in spite of themselves!'' The Rat persisted.

``No,'' said Marco. ``They would have stopped if I had spoken.''

``Why didn't you speak then?'' snapped The Rat.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

``All they felt was for Samavia, and for my father,'' Marco said, ``and for the Sign. I felt as they did.''

The Rat was somewhat softened. It was true, after all. How could he have tried to quell the outbursts of their worship of Loristan-- of the country he was saving for them--of the Sign which called them to freedom? He could not.

Then followed a strange and picturesque ceremonial. The priest went about among the encircling crowd and spoke to one man after another--sometimes to a group. A larger circle was formed. As the pale old man moved about, The Rat felt as if some religious ceremony were going to be performed. Watching it from first to last, he was thrilled to the core.

At the end of the cavern a block of stone had been cut out to look like an altar. It was covered with white, and against the wall above it hung a large picture veiled by a curtain. From the roof there swung before it an ancient lamp of metal suspended by chains. In front of the altar was a sort of stone dais. There the priest asked Marco to stand, with his aide-de-camp on the lower level in attendance. A knot of the biggest herdsmen went out and returned. Each carried a huge sword which had perhaps been of the earliest made in the dark days gone by. The bearers formed themselves into a line on either side of Marco. They raised their swords and formed a pointed arch above his head and a passage twelve men long. When the points first clashed together The Rat struck himself hard upon his breast. His exultation was too keen to endure. He gazed at Marco standing still--in that curiously splendid way in which both he and his father COULD stand still--and wondered how he could do it. He looked as if he were prepared for any strange thing which could happen to him--because he was ``under orders.'' The Rat knew that he was doing whatsoever he did merely for his father's sake. It was as if he felt that he was representing his father, though he was a mere boy; and that because of this, boy as he was, he must bear himself nobly and remain outwardly undisturbed.

Page 3 of 5 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