The Prince and the Pauper
The Prince and the Pauper is a novel by American author Mark Twain. It was first published in 1881 in Canada, before its 1882 publication in the United States. The novel represents Twain’s first attempt at historical fiction. Set in 1547, it tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII.Tom Canty, youngest son of a poor family living in Offal Court, London, has always aspired to a better life, encouraged by the local priest (who has taught him to read and write). Loitering around the palace gates one day, he sees a prince (the Prince of Wales – Edward VI). Coming too close in his intense excitement, Tom is nearly caught and beaten by the Royal Guards; however, Edward stops them and invites Tom into his palace chamber. There the two boys get to know one another, fascinated by each other’s life and their uncanny resemblance; they were born on the same day. They decide to switch clothes “temporarily”. The Prince momentarily goes outside, quickly hiding an article of national importance (which the reader later learns is the Great Seal of England), but dressed as he is in Tom’s rags, he is not recognized by the guards, who drive him from the palace, and he eventually finds his way through the streets to the Canty home. There he is subjected to the brutality of Tom’s abusive father, from whom he manages to escape, and meets one Miles Hendon, a soldier and nobleman returning from war. Although Miles does not believe Edward’s claims to royalty, he humors him and becomes his protector. Meanwhile, news reaches them that King Henry VIII has died and Edward is now the king.
I love the movie so decided to get the Kindle book. This version was free, so I downloaded it. It didn’t take long for me to throw up my hands at all the run-together words. How do some publishers have such low standards? All they need is a decent scanner. Do they even look at the finished product before putting it on the market?
So, I found another version for a whopping 99 cents that doesn’t have that problem. Below is a short example of the first, free version:
“Bet and Nan were fifteen years old-twins. They weregoodhearted girls, unclean, clothed in rags, and profoundlyignorant. Their mother was like them. But the fatherand the grandmother were a couple of fiends. They got drunkwhenever they could; then they fought each other or anybody elsewho came in the way; they cursed and swore always, drunk or sober;John Canty was a thief, and his mother a beggar. They madebeggars of the children, but failed to make thieves of them. Among, but not of, the dreadful rabble that inhabited thehouse, was a good old priest whom the King had turned out of houseand home with a pension of a few farthings, and he used to get thechildren aside and teach them right ways secretly. Father Andrewalso taught Tom a little Latin, and how to read and write; andwould have done the same with the girls, but they were afraid ofthe jeers of their friends, who could not have endured such a queeraccomplishment in them.”