Matthew Carter entered the darkness which was Captain Forstall’s house, and was shown into a small wainscotted room. In a large chair placed across one corner, a young man sat with his hands on the arms.
‘Your Highness, Mr. Matthew Carter,’ the lackey announced him grandly.
Just in case it was the prince, for he found it difficult to see in the darkness, Matthew made a leg and a low bow to the youth who sat in state on the chair. Rising from his bow, Matthew’s eyes, now adjusted to the change from bright sunlight to the dim room, looked at the young man in front of him. Instantly he knew that the handsome young man with the light brown hair, looking more regal than the King himself, was not the Prince of Wales.
‘Mr. Carter, is it?’ the youth asked in condescending accents. He stood up and extended a hand for Matthew to kiss, which Matthew ignored.
Outrage surged through Matthew. ‘You are an impostor!’ he shouted out, forgetting his orders to continue quietly and report back to his Colonels. ‘You are not the Prince of Wales!’
The ‘prince’ stared at him, shocked, then, regaining his composure said imperiously, ‘Who is this fellow?’
‘Were you the Prince, you would not need to ask,’ Matthew retorted. ‘The real prince knows me, and I know him.’
The ‘prince’ made an exaggerated yawn. ‘This is so tiresome. First that man the other day and now this fellow.’
‘You look nothing like the Prince!’ Righteous anger made Matthew reckless, and he could not help but bellow. He shook off Captain Forstall’s restraining hand from his arm. ‘’Tis well known that the prince is over six feet tall. You, sir, are not five feet ten inches. The prince has black hair and eyes, and you have brown. I do not know what your game is, but I know for a fact you are not the Prince.’
When the ‘prince’ did not reply, Captain Forstall retorted uncertainly, ‘You are mistaken, sir.’
The ‘prince’ sat down again, imperiously waving Matthew away. ‘Captain, remove this fellow from my presence,’ he said with another flick of his hand.
Captain Forstall grabbed Matthew’s upper arm and force-marched him outside.
‘I am not mistaken,’ Matthew insisted desperately, turning to Forstall. ‘I know the prince well. I can assure you, captain, this is not he. You have an impostor here. The real prince is darker, and much taller, being over two yards high. He has his mother the Queen’s dark looks. Everyone knows these things.’
Captain Forstall fixed his eyes on Matthew. ‘If you do not desist in this, sir, I shall call upon the Mayor to lock you up.’ Yet Matthew saw a flicker of doubt cross his face.
He pressed his advantage. ‘Like you did poor Sir Thomas Dishington?’ Matthew shook his head. ‘You have been duped, all of you. He has taken your money and your hospitality and left you with nothing.’
‘Be gone, sir!’ Captain Forstall bellowed. It was a bitter thing to be told one had wasted good money on a mere impostor.
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