The Prince and the Pauper

“Yes, it hath a name. In the law this crime is called Non compos mentis lex talionis sic transit gloria mundi.”

“Ah, my God!”

“And the penalty is death!”

“God be merciful to me a sinner!”

“By advantage taken of one in fault, in dire peril, and at thy mercy, thou hast seized goods worth above thirteenpence ha’penny, paying but a trifle for the same; and this, in the eye of the law, is constructive barratry, misprision of treason, malfeasance in office, ad hominem expurgatis in statu quo—and the penalty is death by the halter, without ransom, commutation, or benefit of clergy.”

“Bear me up, bear me up, sweet sir, my legs do fail me! Be thou merciful—spare me this doom, and I will turn my back and see nought that shall happen.”

“Good! now thou’rt wise and reasonable. And

← Page-437 p.438 Page-439 →