The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 33 and Conclusion Summary
by Mark Twain

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Chapter 33 and Conclusion Summary

Before he can get across London Bridge, Miles Hendon is the victim of pickpockets and is left with nothing but his sword. Rather than pawn his only weapon, Miles tramps along with the coronation procession. Afterward he finds himself in the countryside, where he lies down to sleep.

The next morning, he decides to go to the palace and sue for aid. He encounters the former prince’s whipping boy and asks if Sir Humphrey Marlowe is within. Since Sir Humphrey is the whipping boy’s father, Miles is allowed in. He carries the letter Edward had written and is thus shown into the presence of the king.

Miles is shocked to see his former traveling companion sitting on the royal throne. To test the truth of what he sees, Miles grabs a chair and sits in the presence of the king. As the soldiers grab him, the king calls out for him to be released, saying that Miles has that privilege for saving his life during his disappearance.

Edward names Miles the Earl of Kent and gives him great wealth and property. Sir Hugh and Edith arrive, and Edward orders that Hugh be stripped of his property and led away. Tom Canty also arrives, telling Edward that he has found his mother and sisters. Edward promises Tom that his father will be hanged, if that is what he chooses, and names Tom as King’s Ward.

King Edward rewards the people who helped him on his journey as a pauper. Hugh is released from prison since neither Miles nor Edith will testify against him, although Hugh had told Edith that if she did not deny Miles’ identity, he would have him killed. Hugh escapes to the continent (Europe) where he dies, thus freeing Edith at last to marry Miles.

John Canty is never heard from again. Tom and Miles remain friends of King Edward for the few remaining years of Edward’s short life. Miles’ descendants retain the honor of sitting in the king’s presence until the line dies out during the days of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.

Tom lives to be an old man, always honored wherever he goes. King Edward the Sixth is known as a kind and magnanimous monarch who rejects suggestions that he amend any law to be more harsh and oppressive, saying that he and his people know what suffering is. He always enjoys telling people the story of the time when the prince became a pauper.