[Puddn'head Wilson is of course set in the world Sam Clemens grew up in, and involves the extremes of race and caste, "black" and "white," master and slave. MT's first version of switched doubles was set in Renaissance England, and involved the extremes of class, a prince and a pauper. The picture below is from the end of that novel, when the rightful identities are being restored -- although in the picture the brilliantly clad boy is actually the pauper, Tom Canty, and the Prince is in rags. The excerpted passage is from the beginning, when the two first realize they are twinned and within minutes find themselves lost in each other's identities. The first speaker is the Prince. It is interesting to note that when it comes to Elizabethan England, MT apparently felt a prince and a pauper from the poorest section of London would speak the same version of Elizabethan English.]


From The Prince and the Pauper
Chapter 3

"...But tell me of thy Offal Court. Hast thou a pleasant life there?"

"In truth, yes, so please you, sir, save when one is hungry. There be Punch-and-Judy shows, and monkeys--oh, such antic creatures! and so bravely dressed!--and there be plays wherein they that play do shout and fight till all are slain, and 'tis so fine to see, and costeth but a farthing--albeit 'tis main hard to get the farthing, please your worship."

"Tell me more."

"We lads of Offal Court do strive against each other with the cudgel, like to the fashion of the 'prentices, sometimes."

The prince's eyes flashed. Said he, "Marry, that would I not mislike. Tell me more."

"We strive in races, sir, to see who of us shall be fleetest."

"That would I like also. Speak on."

"In summer, sir, we wade and swim in the canals and in the river, and each doth duck his neighbor, and spatter him with water, and dive and shout and tumble and"--

"'Twould be worth my father's kingdom but to enjoy it once! Prithee go on."

"We dance and sing about the Maypole in Cheapside; we play in the sand, each covering his neighbor up; and times we make mud pastry--oh, the lovely mud, it hath not its like for delightfulness in all the world!--we do fairly wallow in the mud, sir, saving your worship's presence."

"Oh, prithee, say no more, 'tis glorious! If that I could but clothe me in raiment like to thine, and strip my feet, and revel in the mud once, just once, with none to rebuke me or forbid, meseemeth I could forego the crown!"

"And if that I could clothe me once, sweet sir, as thou art clad--just once"--

"Oho, wouldst like it? Then so shall it be. Doff thy rags, and don these splendors, lad! It is a brief happiness, but will be not less keen for that. We will have it while we may, and change again before any come to molest."

A few minutes later the little Prince of Wales was garlanded with Tom's fluttering odds and ends, and the little Prince of Pauperdom was tricked out in the gaudy plumage of royalty. The two went and stood side by side before a great mirror, and lo, a miracle: there did not seem to have been any change made! They stared at each other, then at the glass, then at each other again. At last the puzzled princeling said,

"What dost thou make of this?"

"Ah, good your worship, require me not to answer. It is not meet that one of my degree should utter the thing."

"Then will I utter it. Thou hast the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and countenance, that I bear. Fared we forth naked, there is none could say which was you, and which the Prince of Wales. And, now that I am clothed as thou wert clothed, it seemeth I should be able the more nearly to feel as thou didst when the brute soldier--Hark ye, is not this a bruise upon your hand?"

"Yes, but it is a slight thing, and your worship knoweth that the poor man-at-arms"--

"Peace! It was a shameful thing and a cruel!" cried the little prince, stamping his bare foot. "If the king--Stir not a step still I come again! It is a command!"

In a moment he had snatched up and put away an article of national importance that lay upon a table, and was out at the door and flying through the palace grounds in his bannered rags, with a hot face and glowing eyes. As soon as he reached the great gate, he seized the bars, and tried to shake them, shouting.

"Open! Unbar the gates!"

The soldier that had maltreated Tom obeyed promptly, and as the prince burst through the portal, half-smothered with royal wrath, the soldier fetched him a sounding box on the ear that sent him whirling to the roadway, and said,

"Take that, thou beggar's spawn, for what thou got'st me from his highness!

The crowd roared with laughter. The prince picked himself out of the mud, and made fiercely at the sentry, shouting,

"I am the Prince of Wales; my person is sacred; and thou shalt hang for laying thy hand upon me!"

The soldier brought his halberd to a present-arms and said mockingly, "I salute your gracious highness." Then angrily, "Be off, thou crazy rubbish!"

Here the jeering crowd closed around the poor little prince, and hustled him far down the road, hooting him, and shouting, "Way for his royal Highness! Way for the Prince of Wales!"

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