"Yes, monsieur. Will you please to close the shutter?"
I went to it, and, leaning out, managed, with a little difficulty, to comply. Meanwhile, the King, gazing curiously at the curtains, gradually approached the alcove. He hesitated long, he told me afterwards, before he touched the hangings; but at length, feeling sure that there was something more in the business than appeared, he did so. Drawing one gently aside, as I turned from the window, he peered in; and saw just what he had been led to expect--a huddled form covered with dingy bed-clothes and a grey head lying on a ragged, yellow pillow. The man's face was turned to the wall; but, as the light fell on him, he sighed and, with a shiver, began to move. The King dropped the curtain.
The adventure had not turned out as well as he had hoped; and, with a whimsical look at me, he laid a crown on the table, said a kind word to the boy, and we went out. In a moment we were in the street.
It was my turn now to rally him, and I did so without mercy; asking if he knew of any other beauteous damsel who wanted her shutter closed, and whether this was the usual end of his adventures. He took the jest in good part, laughing fully as loudly at himself as I laughed; and in this way we had gone a hundred paces or so very merrily, when, on a sudden, he stopped.
"Hola!" he said, "The boy was clean."
"Yes; hands, face, clothes. All clean."
"How could he be? His father in bed, no one even to close the shutter. How could he be clean?"
For answer Henry seized me by the arm, turned me round without a word, and in a moment was hurrying me back to the house. I thought that he was going thither again, and followed reluctantly; but twenty paces short of the door he crossed the street, and drew me into a doorway. "Can you see the shutter?" he said. "Yes? Then watch it, my friend."
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