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Chapter VI
 In the meantime all kinds of things of which Tell had no suspicion had been happening in the town. The fact that there were no newspapers in Switzerland at that time often made him a little behindhand as regarded the latest events. He had to depend, as a rule, on visits from his friends, who would sit in his kitchen and tell him all about everything that had been going on for the last few days. And, of course, when there was anything very exciting happening in the town, nobody had time to up the hill to Tell's châlet. They all wanted to be in the town enjoying the fun.  
What had happened now was this. It was the chief amusement of the Governor, Gessler (who, you will remember, was not a nice man), when he had a few moments to spare from the cares of governing, to sit down and think out some new way of annoying the Swiss people. He was one of those persons who
            "only do it to annoy,
     Because they know it teases."
What he liked chiefly was to forbid something. He would find out what the people most enjoyed doing, and then he would send a to say that he was very sorry, but it must stop. He found that this annoyed the Swiss more than anything. But now he was rather puzzled what to do, for he had forbidden everything he could think of. He had forbidden dancing and singing, and playing on any sort of musical instrument, on the ground that these things made such a noise, and disturbed people who wanted to work. He had forbidden the eating of everything except bread and the simplest sorts of meat, because he said that anything else upset people, and made them unfit to do anything except sit still and say how ill they were. And he had forbidden all sorts of games, because he said they were a waste of time.
So that now, though he wanted dreadfully to forbid something else, he could not think of anything.
Then he had an idea, and this was it:
He told his servants to cut a long pole. And they cut a very long pole. Then he said to them, "Go into the hall and bring me one of my hats. Not my best hat, which I wear on Sundays and on State occasions; nor yet my second-best, which I wear every day; nor yet, again, the one I wear when I am out hunting, for all these I need. Fetch me, rather, the oldest of my hats." And they fetched him the very oldest of his hats. Then he said, "Put it on top of the pole." And they put it right on top of the pole. And, last of all, he said, "Go and set up the pole in the middle of the meadow just outside the gates of the town." And they went and set up the pole in the very middle of the meadow just outside the gates of the town.
Then he sent his out to north and south and east and west to summon the people together, because he said he had something very important and special to say to them. And the people came in tens, and fifties, and hundreds, men, women, and children; and they stood waiting in front of the Palace steps till Gessler the Governor should come out and say something very important and special to them.
And punctually at eleven o'clock, Gessler, having finished a capital breakfast, came out on to the top step and to them.
"Ladies and gentlemen,"--he began. (A voice from the crowd: "Speak up!")
"Ladies and gentlemen," he began again, in a louder voice, "if I could catch the man who said 'Speak up!' I would have him bitten in the neck by wild elephants. (Applause.) I have called you to this place to-day to explain to you my reason for putting up a pole, on the top of which is one of my caps, in the meadow just outside the city gates. It is this: You all, I know, respect and love me." Here he paused for the audience to cheer, but as they remained quite silent he went on: "You would all, I know, like to come to my Palace every day and do to me. (A voice: 'No, no!') If I could catch the man who said 'No, no!' I would have him stung on the soles of the feet by pink ; and if he was the same man who said 'Speak up!' a little while ago, the number of scorpions should be doubled. (Loud applause.) As I was saying before I was interrupted, I know you would like to come to my Palace and do reverence to me there. But, as you are many and space is limited, I am obliged to refuse you that pleasure. However, being anxious not to disappoint you, I have set up my cap in the meadow, and you may do reverence to that. In fact, you must. Everybody is to look on that cap as if it were me. (A voice: 'It ain't so ugly as you!') If I could catch the man who made that remark I would have him tied up and teased by trained bluebottles. (Deafening applause.) In fact, to put the matter , if anybody crosses that meadow without bowing down before that cap, my soldiers will arrest him, and I will have him pecked on the nose by infuriated blackbirds. So there! Soldiers, move that crowd on!"
And Gessler disappeared indoors again, just as a volley of eggs and cabbages whistled through the air. And the soldiers began to the crowd down the various streets till the open space in front of the Palace gates was quite cleared of them. All this happened the day before Tell and Walter set out for the town.

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