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Prince Prospero secluded himself alongwith a thousand friends of his from the aristocracy of his court. Poe describes his friends in the following manner:
"When his dominions were half depopulated, he (Prince Prospero) summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys."
The word "hale" means 'very healthy', and "light-hearted" means 'cheerful, not being worried about anything.'
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