The Prince and the Pauper Chapters 5-6 Summary
by Mark Twain

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Chapters 5-6 Summary

Tom continues to admire his appearance in the mirror and wanders around the room, examining the rich articles displayed there. After some time, he begins to worry since Edward has not returned.

Soon Lady Jane Grey arrives and sees that the boy she believes is her cousin is not as he usually is. Tom tells her that he is Tom Canty and wants to go back to his humble home. Lady Jane thinks that he is truly ill and rushes out of the room.

The rumor quickly spreads throughout the palace that the Prince of Wales has gone mad. Tom leaves the room and walks through the palace, eventually coming to a room filled with courtiers and a large man sitting on a chair. He soon discovers that this is King Henry the Eighth, Edward’s father.

The king beckons him and questions him, having heard the rumors of his son’s madness. He speaks in Latin, and Tom answers him. This relieves the king somewhat as it is a sign to him that he is not completely mad. When Tom does not understand French, however, he once more becomes concerned.

King Henry announces that his son’s madness is only temporary and is not to be spoken of. He tells Lord Hertford, Edward’s uncle, to prepare for Edward’s installation as Prince of Wales. Lord Hertford mentions the coming execution of the Duke of Norfolk, which bothers Tom. The king recognizes the gentle spirit of his son in Tom, who reflects that this royal reality is completely different from the dreams he used to have of being a prince.

Lord Hertford takes Tom back to Edward’s chambers. They are joined by Lord St. John, who tells Tom that he must hide his madness and make no mention of it. Since the king has decided that the prince’s illness is due to overstudy, Tom is to avoid books as much as possible.

Lady Jane Grey and Lady Elizabeth enter and try to act normally. Tom decides to speak as the princes in his books speak. He successfully fools the other characters.

Lord Hertford and Lord St. John discuss this situation, both concerned that the king is near death, which will leave a mad boy on the throne of England. St. John suggests that this may not be madness but a totally different boy who has assumed the identity of the prince. Hertford assures him that he would know his nephew anywhere.

When St. John leaves, however, Hertford begins to wonder if it is possible that the prince is not really Edward. He dismisses this since it would be more likely if the imposter would insist he were the prince, but this boy insists he is not.