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In Chapter 7 of Prince and the Pauper, why did the two lords assigned to Tom feel that...

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ivynudo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2009 at 7:00 PM via web

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In Chapter 7 of Prince and the Pauper, why did the two lords assigned to Tom feel that he was not the real Prince?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2009 at 9:05 AM (Answer #1)

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The two lords assigned to Prince Tom, Lord St. John and Lord Hertford, actually discuss their misgivings as to whether Tom is really the prince in Chapter 6.  Lord St. John thinks it is "strange" that Tom's madness "could so change his port and manner".  Lord St. John cannot understand how madness could "filch from (Tom"s) memory...the customs and observances that are his due...and, leaving him his Latin, strip him of his Greek and French".   Lord Hertford silences Lord St. John immediately, telling that his doubts are treasonous, but upon further meditation, Lord Hertford experiences some uncertainties of his own about Tom's strange behavior.  Lord Hertford reconciles the situation in his mind, however, reasoning that if Tom were an "imposter and called himself prince...that would be natural", but since Tom is called a prince by everyone else yet denies it himself, he is truly acting out of madness (Chapter 6).

Although the two lords are not mentioned in Chapter 7, Tom's behavior gives a marvelous illustration as to why they may have doubts that he is the real prince.  Tom attends his first royal dinner, and makes gaffe after gaffe, being totally unfamiliar with the ceremony involved with seemingly his every move.  He is unaware that before he eats, a servant must fasten a napkin about his neck, and that when he wants to drink, a royal cupbearer must bring the cup to his lips.  When he is given a very ornate napkin, he asks that it be taken away, lest he should dirty something so fine, and when he is brought a bowl of rose water to wash with after the meal, he "gravely" takes a sip out of it, having no idea what it is for.  Trying his best to understand and conform to the formalities involved in virtually everything he does, he refrains from scratching his nose when it itches until he has sought the advice of his entourage, assuming that some ornate "custom and usage" must be followed in this situation as well (Chapter 7).

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