The Prince and the Pauper Chapters 11-12 Summary

Mark Twain

Chapters 11-12 Summary

Tom, along with Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey, is carried by barge to the Guildhall, where their arrival is celebrated with great ceremony. 

In the meantime, Edward is trying to enter the Guildhall but is held back, obviously being a pauper. He is trying to reach Tom, who he has decided has usurped his place as the Prince of Wales and must be arrested. As he berates the guards, a friend arrives, bearing the name of Miles Hendon. Miles himself looks to be a faded prince and is also the butt of the crowd's jokes.

As the crowd advances on Edward, a mounted messenger rides through the mob to proclaim that King Henry is dead. As the people inside the Guildhall react by kneeling before Tom, the poor boy is struck with an idea. He asks the Earl of Hertford, who is standing next to him, if he is allowed to give a command. The Earl tells him that, now that he is the king, his word is law.

Tom declares to the assembly that there will be no more law of blood. He orders guards to the Tower to release the Duke of Norfolk from his sentence of death. The crowd rejoices that the “reign of blood” is ended.

As Miles pulls the prince through the crowd, Edward hears the news that his father is dead. His grief is soon replaced by the realization that he is now the king. Miles and Edward encounter John Canty, who tries to capture “Tom” once again. Miles refuses to let go of him, and the two of them escape.

Miles takes Edward to his lodgings on London Bridge, which is a small village all its own. The shops, church, and homes are the entire world of the inhabitants, who do not often leave the Bridge to go to the rest of London.

At Miles’ home, Edward falls asleep and Miles tenderly covers him with his own doublet. He wonders at the consistency of Edward’s story. When Edward awakens, he demands that Miles bring him some water to wash and prepare his meal. He also objects to Miles’ sitting in the presence of a king. Miles plays along with him, although he thinks that he is simply a mad boy.

Miles tells him of his history. He is the son of a rich knight and had fallen in love with his cousin Edith. Although Miles’ brothers poisoned their father’s mind against him, Miles vowed to marry Edith anyway. His father exiled him and Miles joined the army, where he was caught and imprisoned until his recent release.

Edward asks Miles what reward he can give him in payment for his rescue. Miles asks that he may be given the privilege of sitting in the king’s presence, which Edward grants him.