The original manuscript of the whipping boy’s story is lost; this edition reproduces the episode as it appeared in the Hartford Bazar Budget, 4 June 1880, pp. corr: 1 –2. It has also been published in Kenneth R. Andrews’ Nook Farm (pp. 243–246) and was privately printed by Merle Johnson in 1928. Mark Twain included a similar story, sometimes called “The Bull and the Bees,” in Book II, chapter 36, of Joan of Arc.

Since there is no sequence of pages missing from the original pagination scheme of The Prince and the Pauper, Clemens’ claim, in the introductory paragraph for the Bazar Budget, that this episode was extracted from “the twenty—second chapter” of the book is apocryphal. Although he wrote the whipping boy’s story in May or June 1880 when he was at the mid—point of his manuscript, he made no attempt to use it until after he had completed his first draft of the entire book in mid—September 1880. He then apparently made another draft of the whipping boy episode and inserted it as part of chapter 15 in the course of renumbering the whole manuscript. After Howells’ condemnation of the story as “poor fun” in December 1880, Mark Twain withdrew it, leaving a hiatus (manuscript pages 314 through 342) in the second pagination scheme. The only surviving page (314) of the story is reproduced below. It is written in blue ink (ink 3) on a torn half—sheet of the wove paper used in the second half of the manuscript. On the verso of the page the number “6A” is written and canceled in ink 3.


add: This chapter withdrawn & canceled. 

The “entertainment” which add: he  got out of it consisted mainly of an absurd bit of Master Humphrey’s private history. This sable—clad & solemn boy had dropped a maxim, the evening before, in answer to something the lady Elizabeth had said; & del: imme  straightway had colored so violently, that Tom’s curiosity was piqued, & he told Humphrey to repeat the & del: odd m  quaint maxim, & then asked why he had blushed.

“There’s naught to blush at in the maxim,” said Humphrey, “but it doth remind me of a so stupid folly of mine, that the recollection of it always scorches my cheeks with shame.”

Here the principals in the scene are Tom Canty and the whipping boy, Humphrey Marlow. For the Bazar Budget version, however, Clemens apparently judged it expedient to substitute Prince Edward for Tom Canty. For further discussion of the story, see ref: MTHL  , 2:873–874. div:

A Boy’s Adventure

corr: As I haven’t a miscellaneous article at hand, nor a subject to make one of, nor time to write the article if I had a subject, I beg to offer the following as a substitute. I take it from the twenty—second chapter of a tale for boys which I have been engaged upon, at intervals during the past three years, and which I hope to finish, yet, before all the boys grow up. I will explain, for the reader’s benefit, as follows: The lad who is talking is a slim, gentle, smileless creature, void of all sense of humor, and given over to melancholy from his birth. He is speaking to little Edward VI., King of England, in a room in the palace; the two are by themselves; the speaker was “whipping—boy” to the king when the latter was Prince of Wales. James I. and Charles II. had whipping—boys when they were little fellows, to take their punishment for them when they fell short in their lessons, so I have ventured to furnish my small prince with one, for my own purposes. The time of this scene is early in the year 1548, consequently Edward VI. is about ten years of age; the other lad is fourteen or fifteen. 

I will tell it, my liege, seeing thou hast so commanded (said the whipping—boy, with a sigh which was manifestly well freighted with painful recollections), though it will open the sore afresh, and I shall suffer again the miseries of that misbegotten day.

It was last midsummer—Sunday, in the afternoon—and drowsy, hot and breathless; all the green country—side gasped and panted with the heat. I was at home, alone; alone, and burdened with the solitude. But first it is best that I say somewhat of the old knight my father—Sir Humphrey. He was just turned of forty, in the time of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and was a brave and gallant subject. He was rich, too, albeit he grew poor enough before he died. At the Field he was in the great cardinal’s suite, and shone with the best. In a famous Masque, there, he clothed himself in a marvelous dress of most outlandish sort, imaginary raiment of some fabled prince of goblins, or spirits, or I know not what; but this I know, that it was a ninedays’ wonder, even there, where the art of the broad world had been taxed in the invention of things gorgeous, strange and memorable. Even the king thy father said it was a triumph, and swore it with his great oath, “By the Splendor of God!” What a king hath praised is precious, though it were dirt before; so my father brought home this dress to England, and kept it always laid up in herbs to guard it from injurious insects and decay. When his wealth vanished, he clung to it still.

Age crept upon him, trouble wrought strangenesses in him, delusions ate into his mind. He was of so uncomfortable a piety, and so hot—spirited withal, that when he prayed, one wished he might give over, he so filled the heart with glooms of hell and the nose with the stink of brimstone; yet when he was done, his weather straightway changed, and he so raged and swore and laid about him, right and left, that one’s thought was, “Would God he would pray again.”

In time was he affected with a fancy that he could cast out devils—wo worth the day! This very Sunday, whereof I have spoken to your grace, he was gone, with the household, on this sort of godly mission, to Hengist’s Wood, a mile and more away, where all the gaping fools in Bilton parish were gathered to hear him pray a most notorious and pestilent devil out of the carcase of Gammer Hooker, an evil—minded beldame that had been long and grievously oppressed with that devil’s presence, and in truth a legion more, God pardon me if I wrong the poor old ash—cat in so charging her.

As I did advertise your grace in the beginning, the afternoon was come, and I was sore wearied with the loneliness. Being scarce out of my thirteenth year, I was ill stocked with love for solitude, or patience to endure it. I cast about me for a pastime, and in an evil hour my thought fell upon that old gala—suit my father had brought from the Field of the Cloth of Gold near thirty years bygone. It was sacred; one might not touch it and live, an my father found him in the act. But I said within myself, ‘tis a stubborn devil that bides in Gammer Hooker, my father cannot harry him forth with one prayer, nor yet a hundred—there is time enow—I will have a look, though I perish for the trespass.

I dragged the marvel out from its hiding, and fed my soul with the sight. O, thou shouldst have seen it flame and flash in the sun, my liege! It had all colors, and none were dull. The hose of shining green,—lovely, silken things; the high buskins, red—heeled, and great golden spurs, jeweled, and armed with rowels a whole span long, and the strangest trunks, the strangest odd—fashioned doublet man ever saw, and so many—colored, so rich of fabric and so bespangled; and then the robe! it was crimson satin, banded and barred from top to hem with a webbed glory of precious gems, if haply they were not false—and mark ye, my lord, this robe was all of a piece, and covered the head, with holes to breath and spy through; and it had long, wide sleeves, of a most curious pattern; then there was a belt and a great sword, and a shining golden helmet, full three spans high, out of whose top sprung a mighty spray of plumes, dyed red as fire. A most gallant and barbaric dress— evil befall the day I saw it!

When I was sated with gazing at it, and would have hid it in its place again, the devil of misfortune prompted me to put it on. It was there that my sorrow and my shame began. I clothed myself in it, and girt on the sword, and fixed on the great spurs. Naught fitted—all was a world too large—yet was I content, and filled with windy vanity. The helmet sunk down and promised to smother me, like to a cat with its head fast in a flagon, but I stuffed it out with rags, and so mended the defect. The robe dragged the ground, wherefore was I forced to hold it up when I desired to walk with freedom. Marching hither and yonder before the mirror, the grand plumes gladdened my heart and the crimson splendors of the robe made my foolish soul to sing for joy, albeit, to speak plain truth, my first glimpse of mine array did well nigh fright the breath out of my lank body, so like a moving conflagration did I seem.

Now, forsooth, could I not be content with private and secluded happiness, but must go forth from the house, and see the full sun flash upon my majesty. I looked warily abroad on every side; no human creature was in sight; I passed down the stairs and stepped upon the greensward.

I beheld a something, then, that in one little fleeting instant whisked all thought of the finery out of my head, and brimmed it with a hot new interest. It was our bull,—a brisk young creature that I had tried to mount a hundred times, and failed; now was he grazing, all peacefully and quiet, with his back to me. I crept toward him, stealthily and slow, and O, so eager and so anxiously, scarce breathing lest I should betray myself—then with one master bound I lit astride his back! Ah, dear my liege, it was but a woful triumph. He ran, he bellowed, he plunged here and there and yonder, and flung his heels aloft in so mad a fashion that I was sore put to it to stick where I was, and fain to forget it was a jaunt of pleasure, and busy my mind with expedients to the saving of my neck. Wherefore, to this end, I did take a so deadly grip upon his sides with those galling spurs that the pain of it banished the slim remnant of his reason that was left, and so forsook he all semblance of reserve, and set himself the task of tearing the general world to rags, if so be, in the good providence of God, his heels might last out the evil purpose of his heart. Being thus resolved, he fell to raging in wide circles round and round the place, bowing his head and tossing it, with bellowings that froze my blood, lashing the air with his tail, and plunging and prancing, and launching his accursed heels, full freighted with destruction, at each perishable thing his fortune gave him for a prey, till in the end he erred, to his own hurt no less than mine, delivering a random kick that did stave a beehive to shreds and tatters, and empty its embittered host upon us.

In good sooth, my liege, all that went before was but holiday pastime to that that followed after. In briefer time than a burdened man might take to breath a sigh, the fierce insects did clothe us like a garment, whilst their mates, a singing swarm, encompassed us as with a cloud, and waited for any vacancy that might appear upon our bodies. An I had been cast naked into a hedge of nettles, it had been a blessed compromise, forasmuch as nettlestings grow not so near together as did these bee—stings compact themselves. Now, being moved by the anguish of this new impulse, the bull did surpass himself. He raged thrice around the circuit in the time he had consumed to do it once, before, and wrought final wreck and desolation upon such scattering matters as he had aforetime overlooked and spared; then, perceiving that the swarm still clouded the air about us, he was minded to fly the place, and leave the creatures behind—wherefore, uplifting his tail, and bowing his head, he went storming down the road, praising God with a loud voice, and in a shorter space than a wholesome pulse might take to beat a hundred was a mile upon his way—but alack, so also were the bees. I noted not whither he tended, I was dead to all things but the bees and the miserable torment; the first admonishment I had that my true trouble was but now at hand, was a wild, affrighted murmur that broke upon my ear, then through those satin eye—holes I shot a glance, and beheld my father’s devout multitude of fools scrambling and skurrying to right and left with the terrors of perdition in their souls; and one little instant after, I, helmeted, sworded, plumed, and blazing in that strange unearthly panoply of red—hot satin, tore into the midst, on my roaring bull,—and my father and his ancient witch being in the way, we struck them, full and fair, and all the four went down together, Sir Humphrey crying out, in the joy of his heart, “See, ‘tis the master devil himself, and ‘twas I that haled him forth!”

I marvel your majesty should laugh; I see naught in it of a merry sort, but only bitterness. Lord, it was pitiful to see how the wrathful bees did assault the holy congregation and harry them, turning their meek and godly prayers into profane cursings and blasphemous execrations, whilst the whole multitude, even down to the aged mothers in Israel and frosty—headed patriarchs did wildly skip and prance in the buzzing air, and thrash their arms about, and tumble and sprawl over one another in mad endeavor to flee the horrid place. And there, in the grass, my good father rolled and tossed, hither and thither, and everywhere,—being sore beset with the bees—delivering a howl of rage with every prod he got,—ah, good my liege, thou shouldst have heard him curse and pray!—and yet, amidst all his woes, still found his immortal vanity room and opportunity to vent itself; and so, from time to time shouted he with a glad voice, saying, “I wrought to bring forth one devil, and lo, have I emptied the courts of hell!”

I was found out, my prince—ah, prithee spare me the telling what happened to me then; I smart with the bare hint of it. My tale is done, my lord. When thou didst ask me yesterday, what I could mean by the strange reply I made to the lady Elizabeth, I humbly begged thee to await another time, and privacy. The thing I said to her grace was this—a maxim which I did build out of mine own head: “All superfluity is not wealth; if bee—stings were farthings, there was a day when Bilton parish had been rich.”

Hartford, June, 1880.

Mark Twain. </span>