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The mob had already assembled when the confession terminated. The king's children next arrived -- the Princess Charlotte, a beautiful, fair-haired child, with tears in her eyes, and the Duke of Gloucester, a boy eight or nine years old, whose tearless eyes and curling lip revealed a growing pride. He had wept all night long, but would not show his grief before the people.
Charles's heart melted within him at the sight of those two children, whom he had not seen for two years and whom he now met at the moment of death. He turned to brush away a tear, and then, summoning up all his firmness, drew his daughter toward him, recommending her to be pious and resigned. Then he took the boy upon his knee.
"My son," he said to him, "you saw a great number of people in the streets as you came here. These men are going to behead your father. Do not forget that. Perhaps some day they will want to make you king, instead of the Prince of Wales, or the Duke of York, your elder brothers. But you are not the king, my son, and can never be so while they are alive. Swear to me, then, never to let them put a crown upon your head unless you have a legal right to the crown. For one day -- listen, my son -- one day, if you do so, they will doom you to destruction, head and crown, too, and then you will not be able to die with a calm conscience, as I die. Swear, my son."
The child stretched out his little hand toward that of his father and said, "I swear to your majesty."
"Henry," said Charles, "call me your father."
"Father," replied the child, "I swear to you that they shall kill me sooner than make me king."
"Good, my child. Now kiss me; and you, too, Charlotte. Never forget me."
"Oh! never, never!" cried both the children, throwing their arms around their father's neck.
"Farewell," said Charles, "farewell, my children. Take them away, Juxon; their tears will deprive me of the courage to die."
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