“O my lord the King, an’ thou canst pity the lost, have pity upon me! I am innocent—neither hath that wherewith I am charged been more than but lamely proved—yet I speak not of that; the judgment is gone forth against me and may not suffer alteration; yet in mine extremity I beg a boon, for my doom is more than I can bear. A grace, a grace, my lord the King! in thy royal compassion grant my prayer—give commandment that I be hanged!”
Tom was amazed. This was not the outcome he had looked for.
“Odds my life, a strange boon! Was it not the fate intended thee?”
“O good my liege, not so! It is ordered that I be boiled alive!”
The hideous surprise of these words almost made Tom spring from his chair. As soon as he could recover his wits he cried out—