DESIYyOUS naving condescended to
meet the Kine’s Minister, Hank Mor-
gan, the which is surnamed ‘ae Boss,
for satisfgctiou uf offences auciently given,
these WIL engage 11 the dists
by Cameiot about the fourth
hour of the morming us the
sixteenth dav of this next suc-
”. ceeding month. ‘The bettle
wiil be A Youtrance, sith the
said offence was ofa deadly
sort, admitting ~“ no com-
Position.

DE PAK "E yOL

495
496

Clarence’s ed

chdrew.
wok maintained
there since, soon
listic have wity
oked interest
wpon the eap-
ve been m &d
oy the apg’ .s,
ent out ch@fy by
yterian BM i, and
c some ywug men
of our under the
i guidance of tho
for aiu in agknown
he great enterprise
oi .2aking pure;

esen}

~uovement haa its
origin in preven-
has ever heen a
sions i our
on of jis-
Other one
ospel,
by-
€
The
cha sawe
co represent
iwzed.. thirty of

aeeds and hear-|

which,fyears ago!
soresgn was OSg1n-
ing, the mussions,

sso that both had

+9 withdraw‘ and

much to their

grief,

THE VANKEE'S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

itorial reference to this affair was to this effect:
1

|
|
|

It will be observed, by a gl7nceat our
advertising columns, that the commu-
nity is to be favored mith a treat of un-
usual interest in the tournament line.
The names of the artists are warrant of
good enterrainment. The box-office
will be open at noon of the 13th; ad-
mission 3 cents, reserved seats 5; Pro-
ceeds to go to the hospital fund he
royal pair and all the Court will be pres-
ent. With taese exceptions, and the
press and the clergy, tne free list is strict-
iy sus*jended. Parties are hereby warn-
edagainst buying tickets of speculators;
thev will not be good at the door.
Everybody knows aud hikes The Boss,
evervbodv knows ana likes Sir Sag.;
come, iet us give tne lads a good send-
off. ReMember, tne proceeds go toa
great and free chaniy, and one whose
broad begevolence suretcnes out its help-
ing hand, warm witn the blood of a lov-
ing heari, to all that suger, regatdless of
race, creed, condition or color-—the
only charity yet established in the earth
which has no politico-religious stop-
cock on its compassion, but says Here
flows the stream. ler a2 come and
drink! yurn out, al). hands! fetch along
‘|your doughnuts and your gum drops
and have a good time. Pie for sale on
the grounds, and rocks to crack it with;
also circus-lemonade—three drops of
lime juice to a barrel of water.

NM. B. This is the jerst tournameng
under the new law, whidh allows each
combatant to use any weapon he may pre-
fer. You want to make a. note of -yeu4

our disappointn.
qromptly ana ~ t
two of their felo
erlain, and ot.
‘ers havezaliead~

| spoken, yor >
(furnisned fo~

their use, “1

make and

the yind

letters

oj introa

duction wh1

they are uma
ing friends to us
ried, and leave the
thotikind words ena
which you, m, joy-
hind ; and it is a
home matter ~* b
itis our durp
direct them tc

now under the ¢

g fields as arc
Tnesegyouns men
are warm-hearteu
azirl, regions beé
not to “build —
ond,’, and_ the
der instructi

ons of our

another man
founhati’s on.,
ociety, which

They go un-

say tyat “inr
ionaries to mon
say sanding miss

i






THE YANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. 497

Up to the day set, there was no talk in all Britain of anything but
this combat. All other topics sank into insignificance and passed out
of men’s thoughts and interest. It was not because a tournament was
a great matter; it was not because Sir Sagramour had found the Holy
Grail, for he had not, but had failed; it was not because the second
(official) personage in the kingdom was one of the duellists; no, all
these features were commonplace. Yet there was abundant reason
for the extraordinary interest which this coming fight was creating.
It was born of the fact that all the nation knew that this was not to be
a duel between mere men, so to speak, but a duel between two mighty
magicians; a duel not of muscle but of mind, not of human skill but of
superhuman art and craft; a final struggle for supremacy between the
two master enchanters of the age. It was realized that the most
prodigious achievements of the most renowned knights could not be
worthy of comparison with a spectacle like this; they could be but
child's play, contrasted with this mysterious and awful battle of the
gods. Yes, all the world knew it was going to be in reality a duel
between Merlin and me, a measuring of his magic powers against mine.
It was known that Merlin had been busy whole days and nights to-
gether, imbuing Sir Sagramour’s arms and armor with supernal pow-
ers of offence and defence, and that he had procured for him from the
spirits of the air a fleecy veil which would render the wearer invisible
to his antagonist while still visible to other men. Against Sir Sagra-
mour, so weaponed and protected, a thousand knights could accom-
plish nothing; against him no known enchantments could prevail.
These facts were sure; regarding them there was no doubt, no reason
for doubt. There was but one question: might there be still other en-
chantments, wzkuown to Merlin, which could render Sir Sagramour’s
veil transparent to me, and make his enchanted mail vulnerable to my
weapons? This was the one thing to be decided in the lists. Until

then the world must remain in suspense.
32
498 THE VANKEE'S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

So the world thought there was a vast matter at stake here, and
the world was right, but it was not the one they had in their minds.
No, a far vaster one was upon the cast of this die: che life of knight-
errantry. Iwas achampion, it was true, but not the champion of the
frivolous black arts, I was the champion of hard unsentimental com-
mon-sense and reason. I was entering the lists to either destroy
knight-errantry or be its victim.

Vast as the show-grounds were, there were no vacant spaces in
them outside of the lists, at ten o’clock on the morning of the 16th.
The mammoth grand stand was clothed in flags, streamers, and rich
tapestries, and packed with several acres of small-fry tributary kings,
their suites, and the British aristocracy; with our own royal gang in
the chief place, and each and every individual a flashing prism of gaudy
silks and velvets—well, I never saw anything to begin with it buta
fight between an Upper Mississippi sunset and the aurora borealis.
The huge camp of beflagged and gay-colored tents at one end of the
lists, with a stiff-standing sentinel at every door anda shining shield _
hanging by him for challenge, was another fine sight. You see, every
knight was there who had any ambition or any caste feeling; for my
feeling toward their order was not much ofa secret, and so here was
their chance. If I won my fight with Sir Sagramour, others would
have the right to call me out as long as I might be willing to respond.

Down at our end there were but two tents; one for me, and another
for my servants. At the appointed hour the king made a sign, and the
heralds, in their tabards, appeared and made proclamation, naming
the combatants and stating the cause of quarrel. There was a pause,
then aringing bugle blast, which was the signal for us to come forth.
All the multitude caught their breath, and an eager curiosity flashed
into every face.

Out from his tent rode great Sir Sagramour, an imposing tower of
iron, stately and rigid, his huge spear standing upright in its socket
THE YANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. 499

and grasped in his strong hand, his grand horse’s face and breast
cased in steel, his body clothed in rich trappings that almost dragged
the ground—oh, a most noble picture. A great shout went up, of
welcome and admiration.

And then out I came. But I didn’t get any shout. There was a
wondering and eloquent silence, for a moment, then a great wave of
laughter began to sweep along that human sea, but a warning bugle-
blast cut its career short. I was in the simplest





and comfortablest of gymnast costumes— flesh-
colored tights from neck to heel, with
blue silk puffings about my

loins, and bare-
headed. My horse
was not above
medium size, but



he was alert, slen-

‘GO IT, SLIM JIM!”

der-limbed, muscled
with watch-springs, and just a greyhound to go. He was a beauty,
glossy as silk, and naked as he was when he was born, except for
bridle and ranger-saddle.

The iron tower and the gorgeous bed-quilt came cumbrously
but gracefully pirouetting down the lists, and we tripped lightly
up to meet them. We halted; the tower saluted, I responded;
then we wheeled and rode side by side to the grand stand and
500 THE VANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

faced our king and queen, to whom we made obeisance. The queen
exclaimed:

“ Alack, Sir Boss, wilt fight naked, and without lance or sword or—’”

But the king checked her and made her understand, with a polite
phrase or two, that this was none of her business. The bugles rang
again; and we separated and rode to the ends of the lists, and took
position. Now old Merlin stepped into view and cast a dainty web of
gossamer threads over Sir Sagramour which turned him into Hamlet’s
ghost; the king made a sign, the bugles blew, Sir Sagramour laid his
great lance in rest, and the next moment here he came thundering
down the course with his veil flying out behind, and I went whistling
through the air like an arrow to meet him—cocking my ear, the while,
as if noting the invisible knight’s position and progress by hearing, not
sight. A chorus of encouraging shouts burst out for him, and one
brave voice flung out a heartening word for me—said:

‘Go it, slim Jim!”

It was an even bet that Clarence had procured that favor for me—
and furnished the language, too. When that formidable lance-point
was within a yard and a half of my breast I twitched my horse aside
without an effort and the big knight swept by, scoring a blank. I got
plenty of applause that time. We turned, braced up, and down we
came again. Another blank for the knight, a roar of applause for
me. This same thing was repeated once more; and it fetched such a
whirlwind of applause that Sir Sagramour lost his temper, and at once
changed his tactics and set himself the task of chasing me down.
Why, he hadn’t any show in the world at that, it was a game of tag,
with all the advantage on my side; I whirled out of his path with ease
whenever I chose, and once I slapped him on the back as I went to
the rear. Finally I took the chase into my own hands; and after that,
turn, or twist, or do what he would, he was never able to get behind
me again; he found himself always in front, at the end of his maneuvre.












4 ti ;

1] willl yal a oat
bie rata |

etl ‘ ANG

4
ey Me
pelle: om







it . s
ih (
a
Fl! iy






*“GREAT SCOTT, BUT THERE WAS A-SENSATION!”
502 THE VANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

So he gave up that business and retired to his end of the lists. His
temper was clear gone, now, and he forgot himself and flung an insult
at me which disposed of mine. I slipped my lasso from the horn of
my saddle, and grasped the coil in my right hand. This time you
should have seen him come!—it was a business trip, sure; by his gait.
there was blood in hiseye. I was sitting my horse at ease, and swing-
ing the great loop of my lasso in wide circles about my head; the
moment he was under way, I started for him; when the space between
us had narrowed to forty feet, I sent the snaky spirals of the rope
a-cleaving through the air, then darted aside and faced about and
brought my trained animal to a halt with all his feet braced under
him fora surge. The next moment the rope sprang taut and yanked
Sir Sagramour out of the saddle! Great Scott, but there was a sensa-
tion!

Unquestionably the popular thing in this world is novelty. These
people had never seen anything of that cow-boy business before, and
it carried them clear off their feet with delight. From all around and
everywhere, the shout went up—

“Encore! encore!”

I wondered where they got the word, but there was no time to
cipher on philological matters, because the whole knight-errantry hive
was just humming, now, and my prospect for trade couldn't have been
better. The moment my lasso was released and Sir Sagramour had
been assisted to his tent, I hauled in the slack, took my station and
began to swing my loop around my head again. I was sure to have
use for it as soon as they could elect a successor for Sir Sagramour,
and that couldn’t take long where there were so many hungry candi-
dates. Indeed, they elected one straight off—Sir Hervis de Revel.

Bzz! Here he came, like'a house afire; I dodged; he passed like
a flash, with my horse-hair coils settling around his neck; a second or

so later, fs¢/ his saddle was empty.
THE YANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. 503

I got another encore; and another, and another, and still another.
When I had snaked five men out, things began to look serious to the
tron-clads, and they stopped and consulted together. Asa result, they
decided that it was time to waive etiquette and send their greatest and
best against me. To the astonishment of that little world, I lassoed
Sir Lamorak de Galis, and after him Sir Galahad. So you see there
was siinply nothing to be done, now, but play their right bower—bring
out the superbest of the superb, the mightiest of the mighty, the great
Sir Launcelot himself!

_ A proud moment for me? Ishould think so. Yonder was Arthur,
King of Britain; yonder was Guenever; yes, and whole tribes of little
provincial kings and kinglets; and in the tented camp yonder, re-
nowned knights from many lands; and likewise the selectest body
known to chivalry, the Knights of the Table Round, the most illus-
trious in Christendom; and biggest fact of all, the very sun of their
shining system was yonder couching his lance, the focal point of forty
thousand adoring eyes; and all by myself, here was I laying for him.
Across my mind flitted the dear image of a certain hello-girl of West
Hartford, and I wished she could see me now. In that moment, down
came the Invincible, with the rush of a whirlwind—the courtly world
rose to its feet and bent forward—the fateful coils went circling through
the air, and before you could wink I was towing Sir Launcelot across
the field on his back, and kissing my hand to the storm of waving ker-
chiefs and the thunder-crash of applause that greeted me!

Said I to myself, as I coiled my lariat and hung it on my saddle-
horn, and sat there drunk with glory, ‘The victory is perfect—no
other will venture against me—knight-errantry is dead.” Now imagine
my astonishment—and everybody else’s too—to hear the peculiar
bugle-call which announces that another competitor is about to enter
the lists!’ There was a mystery here; I couldn't account for this thing.
Next, I noticed Merlin gliding away from me; and then I noticed that
504 THE YANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

my lasso was gone! The old sleight-of-hand expert had stolen it,
sure, and slipped it under his robe.

The bugle blew again. I looked, and down came Sagramour riding
again, with his dust brushed off and his veil nicely re-arranged. I trot-
ted up to meet him, and pretended to find him by the sound of his
horse’s hoofs. He said:

‘““Thou'rt quick of ear, but it will not save thee from this!” and he
touched the hilt of his great sword. ‘An ye are not able to see it,
because of the influence of the veil, know that it is no cumbrous lance, ©

but a sword—and I
ween ye will: not be
able to avoid it.”

His visor was up;
there was death in his
smile. I should never
be able to dodge his
sword, that was plain.
Somebody was - going
‘to die, this time. If
he got the drop on



me, I could name the

BRER MERLIN STEALS THE LARIAT.

corpse. We rode for-

ward together, and saluted the royalties. This time the king was dis-
turbed. He said:

‘Where is thy strange weapon?”

‘Tt is stolen, sire.”

“Hast another at hand?”

“No, sire, I brought only the one.”

Then Merlin mixed in:

‘““He brought but the one because there was but the one to bring.
There exists none other but that one. It belongeth to the king of the
THE YANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. 505

Demons of the Sea. This man isa pretender, and ignorant; else he
had known that that weapon can be used in but eight bouts only, and
then it vanisheth away to its home under the sea.”

“Then is he weaponless,” said the king. ‘Sir Sagramour, ye will
grant him leave to borrow.”

“And I will lend!” said Sir Launcelot, limping up. “He is as
brave a knight of his hands as any that be on live, and he shall have
mine.”

He put his hand on his sword to draw it, but Sir Sagramour said:

“Stay, it may not be. He shall fight with his own weapons; it was
his privilege to choose them and bring them. If he has erred, on his
head be it.”

“Knight!” said the king. ‘ Thou’rt overwrought with passion; it
disorders thy mind. Wouldst kill a naked man?”

‘‘An he do it, he shall answer it to me,” said Sir Launcelot.

“ T will answer it to any he that desireth!” retorted Sir Sagramour
hotly.

Merlin broke in, rubbing his hands and smiling his lowdownest
smile of malicious gratification:

“Tis well said, right well said! And ’tis enough of parleying, let .
my lord the king deliver the battle signal.”

The king had to yield. The bugle made proclamation, and we
turned apart and rode to our stations. There we stood, a hundred
yards apart, facing each other, rigid and motionless, like horsed
statues. And so we remained, in a soundless hush, as much as a full
minute, everybody gazing, nobody stirring. It secmed as if the king
could not take heart to give the signal. But at last he lifted his hand,
the clear note of the bugle followed, Sir Sagramour’s long blade de-
scribed a flashing curve in the air, and it was superb to see him come.
I sat still. Onhe came. I did not move. People got so excited that
they shouted to me:
506 THE VANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

“Fly, fly! Save thyself! This is murther!”

I never budged so much as an inch, till that thundering apparition
had got within fifteen paces of me; then I snatched a dragoon revolver
out of my holster, there was a flash and a roar, and the revolver was
back in the holster before anybody could tell what had happened.

Here was a riderless horse plunging by, and yonder lay Sir Sagra-
mour, stone dead.

The people that ran to him were stricken dumb to find that the life
was actually gone out of the man and no reason for it visible, no hurt
upon his body, nothing like-a wound. There was a hole through the
breast of his chain-mail, but they attached no importance to a little
thing like that; and as a bullet-wound there produces but little blood,
none came in sight because of the clothing and swaddlings under the
armor. The body was dragged over to let the king and the swells
look down upon it. They were stupefied with astonishment, naturally.
I was requested to come and explain the miracle. But I remained in
my tracks, like a statue, and said:

“Tfit is a command, I will come, but my lord the king knows that
Iam where the laws of combat require me to remain while any desire
to come against me.”

I waited. Nobody challenged. Then I said:

“Jf there are any who doubt that this field is well and fairly won,
I do not wait for them to challenge me, I challenge them.”

“Tt is a gallant offer,” said the king, ‘and well beseems you.
Whom will you name, first?”

“IT name none, I challenge all! Here I stand, and dare the chiv-
alry of England to come against me—not by individuals, but in mass!”

“What!” shouted a score of knights.

“You have heard the challenge. Take it, or I proclaim you rec-
reant knights and vanquished, every one!”

It was a “bluff” you know. At such a time it is sound judgment
THE VANKEES FIGHT WITH THE KNIGATS. 507

to put on a bold face and play your hand for a hundred times what it
is worth; forty-nine times out of fifty nobody dares to “call,” and you
rake in the chips. But just this once—well, things looked squally!
In just no time, five hundred knights were scrambling into their sad-
dies, and before you could wink a widely scattering drove were under
way and clattering down upon me. I snatched both revolvers from
the holsters and began to measure distances and calculate chances.
Bang! One saddle empty. Bang! another one. Bang — bang!
and I bagged two. Well it was nip and tuck with

wo

us, and I knew it. If I spent the















eleventh shot without con-
vincing these people,
the twelfth man

woule 4G Dyess 5 i ee ay
kill me, ( * ee z se 4 NE We ge
sure. N ; Ce Pe i
Y ; Po. VS ye P , a = Z
never did feel so
happy as I did when my
"G2" ninth downed its man and I

detected the wavering in the

CHARGE OF THE 500 KNIGHTS.

crowd which is premonitory of panic. An instant lost now, could
knock out my last chance. But I didn’t lose it. I raised both revol-
vers and pointed them—the halted host stood their ground just about
one good square moment, then broke and fled.

The day was mine. Knight-errantry was a doomed institution.
The march of civilization was begun. How did I feel? Ah you never
could imagine it. ,

And Brer Merlin? His stock was flat again. Somehow, every
time the magic of fol-de-rol tried conclusions with the magic of science,
the magic of fol-de-rol got left.




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CHAPTER XL.

THREE YEARS LATER.






J. HEN I broke the back of knight-
errantry that time, I no longer felt
obliged to work in secret. So, the very
next day I exposed my hidden schools,
my mines, and my vast system of clandes-
tine factories and work-shops to an
astonished world. That is to say, I
exposed the nineteenth century to
the inspection of the sixth.






—

Well it is always a good plan
to follow up an advantage

[ae ( promptly. The knights
ad Nw ae were temporarily down, but
¢ “ SS if I would keep them
: WSS so I must just

| simply par- y SY alyze them—

nothing short of that would an-
swer. You see, I was “bluffing” that

ural for them to work around to that
conclusion, if I gave them a chance.



So I must not give them time:
and I didn’t.

» R= 1
| ee” Le I renewed my challenge,
. Were. engraved it on
eta brass, posted it

grr
512 _ THREE VEARS LATER.

up where any priest could read it to them, and also kept it standing,
in the advertising columns of the paper.

I not only renewed it, but added to its proportions. I said, name
the day, and I would take fifty assistants and stand up agazust the
massed chivalry of the whole earth and destroy tt. .

I was not bluffing this time. I meant what I said; I could do what
I promised. There wasn’t any way to misunderstand the language of
that challenge. Even the dullest of the chivalry perceived that this
was a plain case of “ put up, or shut up.” They were wise and did the



THREE YEARS LATER.

latter. In all the next three years they gave me no trouble worth
mentioning.

Consider the three years sped. Now look around on England. A
happy and prosperous country, and strangely altered. Schools every-
where, and several colleges; a number of pretty good newspapers.
Even authorship was taking a start; Sir Dinadan the Humorist was
first in the field, with a volume of gray-headed jokes which I had been
familiar with during thirteen centuries. If he had left out that old ran-
cid one about the lecturer I wouldn’t have said anything; but I could-
n't stand that one. I suppressed the book and hanged the author.
THREE VEARS LATER. 513

Slavery was dead and gone; all men were equal before the law; tax-
ation had been equalized. The telegraph, the telephone, the phono-
graph, the type-writer, the sewing machine, and all the thousand will-
ing and handy servants of steam and electricity were working their
way into favor. We had a steamboat or two on the Thames, we had
steam war-ships, and the beginnings of a steam commercial marine; I
was getting ready to send out an expedition to discover America.

We were building several lines of railway, and our line from Camelot
to London was already finished and in operation. I was shrewd enough
to make all offices connected with the passenger service places of
high and distinguished honor. My idea was to attract the chivalry and
nobility, and make them useful and keep them out of mischief. The
plan worked very well, the competition for the places was hot. The
conductor of the 4.33 express was a duke, there wasn’t a passenger
conductor onthe line below the degree of earl. They were good men,
every one, but they had two defects which I couldn’t cure, and so had
to wink at: they wouldn't lay aside their armor, and they would
“knock down” fares—I mean rob the company.

There was hardly a knight in all the land who wasn’t in some use-
ful employment. They were going from end to end of the country in
all manner of useful missionary capacities; their penchant for wander-
ing, and their experience in it, made them altogether the most effect-
ive spreaders of civilization we had. They went clothed in steel and
equipped with sword and lance and battle axé, and if they couldn't
persuade a person to try a sewing machine on the instalment plan, or
a melodeon, or a barbed wire fence, or a prohibition journal, or any of
the other thousand and one things they canvassed for, they removed
him and passed on.

I was very happy. Things were working steadily toward a secretly
longed-for point. You see, I had two schemes in my head which were

the vastest of all my projects. The one was, to overthrow the Cath-
33
514 | THREE YEARS LATER.

olic Church and set up the Protestant faith on its ruins—not as an
Established Church, but a go-as-you-please one; and the other pro-
ject was, to get a decree issued by and by, commanding that upon
Arthur’s death unlimited suffrage should be introduced, and given to
men and women alike—at any rate to all men, wise or unwise, and
to all mothers who at middle age should be found to know nearly as
much as their sons at twenty-one. Arthur was good for thirty years
yet, he being about my own age—that is to say, forty—and I believed
that in that time I could easily have the active part of the population
of that day ready and eager for an event which should be the first of
"its kind in the history of the world—a rounded and complete govern-
mental revolution without bloodshed. The result to be a republic.
Well, I may as well confess, though I do feel ashamed when I think
of it: I was beginning to have a base hankering to be its first presi-
dent myself. Yes, there was more or less human nature in me; I
found that out.

Clarence was with me as concerned the revolution, but in a modi-
fied way. His idea was a republic, without privileged orders but with
a hereditary royal family at the head of it instead of an elective chief
magistrate. He believed that no nation that had ever known the joy

‘of worshiping a royal family could ever be robbed of it and not fade
away and die of melancholy. I urged that kings were dangerous. He
said, then have cats. He was sure that a royal family of cats would
answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal
family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues
‘and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with
other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never
know it, they would be wholly inexpensive; finally, they would have
as sound a divine right as any other royal house, and “Tom VII, or
Tom XI, or Tom XIV by the grace of God King,” would sound as well
as it would when applied to the ordinary royal tomcat with tights on.
THREE YEARS LATER. 515

“And as a rule,” said he, in his neat modern English, “the character
of these cats would be considerably above the character of the average
king, and this would be an immense moral advantage to the nation,
for the reason that a nation always models its morals after its mon-
arch’s. The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these grace-
ful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other roy-
alties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that
they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted
no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper
love and reverence than the customary human king, and would cer-
tainly get it. The eyes of the whole harried world would soon be fixed
upon this humane and gentle system, and royal butchers would pres-
ently begin to disappear; their subjects would fill the vacancies with
catlings from our own royal house; we should become a factory; we
should supply the thrones of the world; within forty years all Europe
would be governed by cats, and we should furnish the cats. The reign
of universal peace would begin then, to end no more forever. .... .
Me-e-e-yow-ow-ow-ow—fzt!—wow!”

Hang him, I supposed he was in earnest, and was beginning to be
persuaded by him, until he exploded that cat-howl and startled me
almost out of my clothes. But he never could be in earnest. He didn’t
know what it was. He had pictured a distinct and perfectly rational
and feasible improvement upon constitutional monarchy, but he was
too feather-headed to know it, or care anything about it, either. I was
going to give him a scolding, but Sandy came flying in at that moment,
wild with terror, and so choked with sobs that for a minute she could
not get her voice. Iran and took her in my arms, and lavished caresses
upon her and said, beseechingly:

‘Speak, darling, speak! What is it?”

Her head fell limp upon my bosom, and she gasped, almost inau-
dibly:
516 THREE YEARS LATER.

“ HELLO, CENTRAL!”

“ Quick!” I shouted to Clarence; ‘‘ telephone the king’s homeopath
to come!”

In two minutes I was kneeling by the child’s crib, and Sandy was
dispatching servants here, there and everywhere, all over the palace.
I took in the situation almost at a glance—membraneous croup! I bent
down and whispered: _

“ Wake up, sweetheart! Hello-Central !”

She opened her soft eyes languidly, and made out to say—

“Papa.”

That was a comfort. She was far from dead, yet. I sent for prep-
arations of sulphur, I rousted out the croup-kettle myself; for I don’t
sit down and wait for doctors when Sandy or the child is sick. I knew
how to nurse both of them, and had had experience. This little chap
had lived in my arms a good part of its small life, and often I could
soothe away its troubles and get it to laugh through the tear-dews on
its eye-lashes when even its mother couldn't.

Sir Launcelot, in his richest armor, came striding along the great
hall, now, on his way to the stock-board; he was president of the stock-
board, and occupied the Siege Perilous, which he had bought of Sir
Galahad; for the stock-board consisted of the Knights of the Round
Table, and they used the Round Table for business purposes, now.
Seats at it were worth—well, you would never believe the figure, so it
is no use to state it. Sir Launcelot was a bear, and he had put upa
corner in one of the new lines, and was just getting ready to squeeze
the shorts to-day; but what of that? He was the same old Launcelot,
and when he glanced in as he was passing the door and found out that
his pet was sick, that was enough for him; bulls and bears might fight
it out their own way for all him, he would come right in here and stand
by little Hello-Central for all he was worth. And that was what he
did. He shied his helmet into the corner, and in half a minute he had
THREE YEARS LATER. 517

a new wick in the alcohol lamp and was firing up on the croup-kettle.
By this time Sandy had built a blanket canopy over the crib, and every-
thing was ready.

Sir Launcelot got up steam, he and I loaded up the kettle with un-
slaked lime and carbolic acid, with a touch of lactic acid added thereto,
then filled the thing up with water and inserted the steam-spout under
the canopy. Everything was ship-shape, now, and we sat down on
either side of the crib to stand our watch. Sandy was so grateful and



*“SO WE TOOK A MAN-OF-WAR.”

so comforted that she charged a couple of church-wardens with willow-
bark and sumach-tobacco for us, and told us to smoke as much as we
pleased, it couldn’t get under the canopy, and she was used to smoke,
being the first lady in ‘the land who had ever seen a cloud blown.
Well, there couldn’t be a more contented or comfortable sight than Sir
Launcelot in his noble armor sitting in gracious serenity at the end of
a yard of snowy church-warden. He was a beautiful man, a lovely
man, and was just intended to make a wife and children happy. But
518 THREE VEARS LATER.

of course, Guenever—however, it’s no use to cry over what’s done and
can’t be helped. \

Well, he stood watch-and-watch with me, right straight through,
for three days and nights, till the child was out of danger; then he took
her up in his great arms and kissed her, with his plumes falling about
her golden head, then laid her softly in Sandy’s lap again and took his
stately way down the vast hall, between the ranks of admiring men-
at-arms and menials, and so disappeared. And no instinct warned me
that I should never look upon him again in this world! Lord, what a
world of heart-break it is.

The doctors said we must take the child away, if we would coax her
back to health and strength again. And she must have sea air. So we
took a man-of-war, and a suite of two hundred and sixty persons, and
went cruising about, and after a fortnight of this we stepped ashore on
the French coast, and the doctors thought it would be a good idea to
make something of a stay there. The little king of that region offered
us his hospitalities, and we were glad to accept. If he had had as many
conveniences as he lacked, we should have been plenty comfortable
enough; even as it was, we made out very well, in his queer old castle,
by the help of comforts and luxuries from the ship.

At the end of a month I sent the vessel home for fresh supplies, and
for news. We expected her back in three or four days. She would bring
me, along with other news, the result of a certain experiment which I
had been starting. It was a project of mine to replace the tournament
with something which might furnish an escape for the extra steam of
the chivalry, keep those bucks entertained and out of mischief, and at
the same time preserve the best thing in them, which was their hardy
spirit of emulation. I had had a choice band of them in private train-
. ing for some time, and the date was now arriving for their first public
effort.

This experiment was base-ball. In order to give the thing vogue
THREE YEARS LATER, 519

from the start, and place it out of the reach of criticism, I chose my
nines by rank, not capacity. There wasn’t a knight in either team who
wasn’t a sceptred sovereign. As for material of this sort, there was a
glut of it, always, around Arthur. You couldn't throw a brick in any
direction and not cripple a king. Of course I couldn't get these people
to leave off their armor; they wouldn’t do that when they bathed.
They consented to differentiate the armor so that a body could tell one














team from the other, but that was the most they would
do. So, one of the teams ( 4) wore chain-mail ulsters, and
the other wore plate-armor made of my new Bessemer
steel. Their practice in the field was the most fantastic
thing I ever saw. Being
of the way, but stood still
when a Bessemer was at
hit him, it would bound

fifty yards, sometimes.

ball-proof, they never skipped out
7 and took the result;
the bat and a ball

‘was running, and threw him- self on his stomach

to slide to his base, it was like an iron-clad com-

ing into port. At



first I appointed
men of no rank

to act as umpires, but I had to Set

‘ PS
discontinue that. These peo- 12D

ple were no easier to please CATCHER OF THE ULSTER NINE,

than other nines. The umpire’s first decision was usually his last;
they broke him in two with a bat, and his friends toted him home on
a shutter. When it was noticed that no umpire ever survived a
game, umpiring got to be unpopular. So I was obliged to appoint
somebody whose rank and lofty position under the government would
protect him.

Here are the names of the nines:
520 THREE YEARS LATER.

BESSEMERS.

Kine ARTHUR.

Kine Lot oF Loruran.
Kine oF NORTHGALIS.
KInG MarsIL.

Kine oF LITTLE BriTAIn,
Kine Lazor.

KING PELLAM OF LISTENGESE.

Kinc BAGDEMAGUS.
KING TOLLEME LA FEINTES.

ULSTERS.

Emperor Lucius.

Kine Loeris. /
KinGc MARHALT OF IRELAND.
KING MORGANORE,

KinG MARK oF CORNWALL.
Kinc NENTRES OF GARLOT.
Kinc MELIoDAS OF LIONES.
KING OF THE LAKE.

THE SOWDAN OF SyRIA,

Umpire—CLARENCE.

The first public game would certainly draw fifty thousand people;
and for solid fun would be worth going around the world to see. Every-

thing would be favorable; it was balmy and beautiful spring weather,

now, and Nature was all tailored out in her new clothes.
SD ao
a Ler > rod
ae Be | ee

ae <= \ SEE ores
aw Saw ~X SS

el

SAAS

SS ON

w=}


CHAPTER XLI.




THE INTERDICT.




















to go to sitting up
with her, her case be-
came so serious. We
couldn’t bear to allow
anybody to help, in this
service, so we two stood
watch-and-watch, day in and
day out. Ah, Sandy, what a
right heart she had, how sim-
ple, and genuine, and good she
was! She was a flawless wife
and mother; and yet I had married
her for no particular reason, except
that by the fry customs of chiv-
alry she was my
property until
- some knight should

ro. —-Fbce—+—> Win her from me
ue Ae Gieothier Bald. . Gi

had hunted Britain over
for me; had found me at the hanging-bout outside of London, and had

straightway resumed her old place at my side in the placidest way
523


524 THE INTERDICT.

and as of right. I was a New Englander, and in my opinion this sort
of partnership would compromise her, sooner or later. She couldn't
see how, but I cut argument short and we had a wedding.

Now I didn’t know I was drawing a prize, yet that was what I did
draw. Within the twelvemonth I became her worshiper; and ours
was the dearest and perfectest comradeship that ever was. People
talk about beautiful friendships between two persons of the same sex.
What is the best of that sort, as compared with the friendship of man
and wife, where the best impulses and highest ideals of both are the
same? There is no place for comparison between the two friendships;
the one is earthly, the other divine.

In my dreams, along at first, I still wandered thirteen centuries
away, and my unsatisfied spirit went calling and harking all up and
down the unreplying vacancies of a vanished world. Many a time
Sandy heard that imploring cry come from my lips in my sleep. With
1 grand magnanimity she saddled that cry of mine upon our child,
conceiving it to be the name of some lost darling of mine. It touched
me to tears, and it also nearly knocked me off my feet, too, when she
smiled up in my face for an earned reward, and played her quaint and
pretty surprise upon me:

“‘The name of one who was dear to thee is here preserved, here
made holy, and the music. of it will abide alway in our ears. Now
thou'lt kiss me, as knowing the name I have given the child.”

But I didn’t know it, all the same. I hadn’t an idea in the world;
but it would have been cruel to confess it and spoil her pretty game;
so I never let on, but said:

“Ves, I know, sweetheart—how dear and good it is of you, too!
But I want to hear these lips of yours, which are also mine, utter it
first—then its music will be perfect.”

Pleased to the marrow, she murmured—

“ HELLO-CENTRAL!”
~— Sr

==, ey BPS i
(Gv Brass.
Guy AoM

z ¥

aa

AY
\\

NY:
QE
NY (il

ie

\ .

INS
Ra



‘* HELLO-CENTRAL!”
526 - THE INTERDICT.

I didn’t laugh—I am always thankful for that—but the strain rup-
tured every cartilage in me, and for weeks afterward I could hear my
bones clack when I walked. She never found out her mistake. The
first time she heard that form of salute used at the telephone she was
surprised, and not pleased; but I told her I had given order for it: that
henceforth and forever the telephone must always be invoked with that
reverent formality, in perpetual honor and remembrance of my lost
friend and her small namesake. This was not true. But it answered,

Well, during two weeks and a half we watched by the crib, and in
our deep solicitude we were unconscious of any world outside of that
sick-room. Then our reward came: the centre of the universe turned
the corner and began to mend. Grateful? It isn’t the term. There
zsm’t any term for it. You know that, yourself, if you've watched your
child through the Valley of the-Shadow-and seen it come back to life
and sweep night out of the earth with one all-illuminating smile that
you could cover with your hand.

Why, we were back in this world in one instant! Then we looked
the same startled thought into each other’s eyes at the same moment:
more than two weeks gone, and that ship not back yet!

In another minute I appeared in the presence of my train. They
had been steeped in troubled bodings all this time—their faces showed
it. I called an escort and we galloped five miles to a hill-top over-
looking the sea. Where was my great commerce that so lately had
made these glistering expanses populous and’ beautiful with its white-
winged flocks? Vanished, every one! Nota sail, from verge to verge,
not a smoke-bank—just a dead and empty solitude, in place of all that
brisk and breezy life. ;

I went swiftly back, saying not a word to anybody. I told Sandy
this ghastly news. We could imagine no explanation that would be-
gin to explain. Had there been an invasion? an earthquake? a pesti-
lence? Had the nation been swept out of existence? But guessing
THE INTERDICT. . 527

was profitless. I must go—at once. I borrowed the king’s navy—a
“ship” no bigger than a steam launch—and was soon ready.

The parting—ah, yes, that was hard. As I was devouring the child
with last kisses, it brisked up and jabbered out its vocabulary!—the
first time in more than two weeks, and it made fools of us for joy. The
darling mispronunciations of childhood! —dear me, there’s no music
‘that can touch it; and how



one grieves when it wastes
away and dissolves into cor-
rectness, knowing it will
never visit his bereaved ear
again. Well, how good it
was to be able to carry that
gracious memory away
with me! ries coed
_ I approached England
the next morning, with the
wide highway of salt water
all to myself. There were
ships in the harbor, at Dover,
but they were naked

Ly
as to sails, and there é



was no sign of life Doe
about them. It was ‘(WHERE WAS MY GREAT COMMERCE?”

Sunday; yet at Canterbury the streets were empty; ‘strangest of all,
there was not even a priest in sight, and no stroke of a bell fell upon
my ear. The mournfulness of death was everywhere. I couldn't
understand it. At last, in the further edge of that town I saw a
small funeral procession—just a family and a few friends following a
coffin—no priest; a funeral without bell, book or candle; there was

a church there, close at hand, but they passed it by, weeping, and
528 THE INTERDICT.

did not enter it; I glanced up at the belfry, and there hung the bell,
shrouded in black, and its tongue tied back. NowI knew! Now!
understood the stupendous calamity that had overtaken England. In-
vasion? Invasion is a triviality to it. It was the INTERDICT!

I asked no questions; I didn’t need to ask any. The Church had
struck; the thing for me to do was to get into a disguise, and go warily,
One of my servants gave me a suit of his clothes, and when we were
safe beyond the town I put them on, and from that time I traveled
alone; I could not risk the embarrassment of company.

A miserable journey. A desolate silence everywhere. Even in
London itself. Traffic had ceased; men did not talk or laugh, or go
in groups, or even in couples; they moved aimlessly about, each man
by himself, with his head down, and woe and terror at his heart. The
Tower showed recent war-scars. Verily, much had been happening.

Of course I meant to take the train for Camelot. Train! Why, the
station was as vacant as acavern. Imovedon. Thejourney to Came-
lot was a repetition of what I had already seen. The Monday and the
Tuesday differed in no way from the Sunday. I arrived, far in the
night. From being the best electric-lighted town in the kingdom and
the most like a recumbent sun of anything you ever saw, it was become
simply a blot—a blot upon darkness—that is to say, it was darker and
solider than the rest of the darkness, and so you could see it a little
better; it made me feel as if maybe it was symbolical—a sort of sign
that the Church was going to keep the upper hand, now, and snuff out
all my beautiful civilization just like that. I found no life stirring in
the sombre streets. I groped my way with a heavy heart. The vast
castle loomed black upon the hill-top, not a spark visible about it.
The drawbridge was down, the great gate stood wide, I entered with-
out challenge, my own heels making the only sound I heard—and it
was sepulchral enough, in those huge vacant courts.


34
CHAPTER XLII.












WAR!

FOUND Clarence, alone in his quarters, drowned

in melancholy; and in place of the electric

light, he had re-instituted the ancient rag-
lamp, and sat there in a grisly twilight with all
curtains drawn tight. He sprang up and rushed

i for me eagerly, saying:

Var ‘Oh, it’s worth a billion milrays to look upon a live

person again!”

_ Heknew me as easily as if I hadn’t been disguised at
all. Which frightened me; one may easily believe that.
“Quick, now, tell me the meaning of this fearful

disaster,” I said. ‘‘ How did it come about 2”

‘Well, if there hadn’t been any queen Guen-
ever, it wouldn’t have come so early; but it
would have come, anyway. It would have come
on your own account, by and by; by luck, it
happened to come on the queen’s.”

“ And Sir Launcelot’s?”

‘Just so.”

“Give me the details.”

“T reckon you will grant that during some years

iz there has been only one pair of eyes in these

athe kingdoms that has not been looking steadily
askance at the queen and Sir Launcelot—”

531
532 WAR!

“Yes, King Arthur’s.”

—‘‘and only one heart that was without suspicion—”

‘““Yes—the king’s; a heart that isn’t capable of thinking evil of a

friend.” : :
“Well, the king might have gone on, still happy and unsuspecting,
to the end of his days, but for one of your modern improvements—the
stock-board. When you left, three miles of the London, Canterbury
and Dover were ready for the rails, and also ready and ripe for manipu-
lation in the stock market. It was wildcat, and everybody knew it.
The stock was for sale at a give-away. What does Sir Launcelot do,
but—”

‘Yes, I know; he quietly. picked up nearly all of it, for a song;
then he bought about twice as much more, deliverable upon call; and
he was about to call when I left.”

“Very well, he did call. The boys couldn’t deliver. Oh, he had
them—and he just settled his grip and squeezed them. They were
laughing in their sleeves over their smartness in selling stock to him
at 15 and 16 and along there, that wasn’t worth to. Well, when they
had laughed long enough on that side of their mouths, they rested-up
that side by shifting the laugh to the other side. That was when they
compromised with the Invincible at 283 !”

‘Good land !”

‘He skinned them alive, and they deserved it—anyway, the whole
kingdom rejoiced. Well, among the flayed were Sir Agravaine and
Sir Mordred, nephews to the king. End of the first act. Act second,
scene first, an apartment in Carlisle castle, where the court had gone
for a few day's hunting. Persons present, the whole tribe of the king’s
nephews. Mordred and Agravaine propose to call the guileless
Arthur’s attention to Guenever and Sir Launcelot. Sir Gawaine, Sir
Gareth, and Sir Gaheris will have nothing to do with it. A dispute
ensues, with loud talk; in the midst of it, enter the king. Mordred
WAR! 533

and Agravaine spring their devastating tale upon him. Tadleau. A
trap is laid for Launcelot, by the king’s command, and Sir Launcelot
walks into it. He made it sufficiently uncomfortable for the ambushed
witnesses—to-wit, Mordred, Agravaine, and twelve knights of lesser
rank, for he killed every one of them but Mordred; but of course that
couldn't straighten matters between Launcelot and the king, and didn’t.”
““Qh, dear, only one thing could result—I see that. War, and the
knights of the realm
divided into a king’s
party and a Sir Laun-
celot’s party.”
“Yes—that was the
way of it. The king
sent the queen to the
stake, proposing to
purify her with fire.
Launcelot and_ his
knights rescued her,
and in doing it slew
certain good old friends
of yours and mine—in



fact, some of the best

DECIDING AN ARGUMENT.

we ever had; to-wit,
Sir Belias le Orgulous, Sir Segwarides, Sir Griflet le Fils de Dieu, Sir
Brandiles, Sir Aglovale—”

‘Oh, you tear out my heartstrings.”

‘wait, ’'m not done yet—Sir Tor, Sir Gauter, Sir Gillimer—”

‘The very best man in my subordinate nine. What a handy right-
fielder he was!”

—‘ Sir Reynold’s three brothers, Sir Damus, Sir Priamus, Sir Kay
the Stranger—”
534 WAR!

‘“‘My peerless short-stop! I've seen him catch a daisy-cutter in
his teeth. Come, I can't stand this!”

— Sir Driant, Sir Lambegus, Sir Herminde, Sir Pertilope, Sir Peri-
mones, and—whom do you think?”

‘Rush! Go on.”

“Sir Gaheris, and Sir Gareth—both!”

“©Oh, incredible! Their love for Launcelot was indestructible.”

‘“Well, it was an accident. They were simply on-lookers; they
were unarmed, and were merely there to witness the queen’s punish-
ment. Sir Launcelot smote down whoever came in the way. of his
blind fury, and he killed these without noticing who they were. Here
‘is an instantaneous photograph one of our boys got of the battle; it’s
for sale on every news stand. There—the figures nearest the queen
are Sir Launcelot with his sword up, and Sir Gareth gasping his latest
breath. You can catch the agony in the queen’s face through the
curling smoke. It’s a rattling battle-picture.”

“Indeed it is. We must take good care of it; its historical value
is incalculable. Go on.”

‘Well, the rest of the tale is just war, pure and simple. Launcelot
retreated to his town and castle of Joyous Gard, and gathered there a
great following of knights. The king, with a great host, went there,
and there was desperate fighting during several days, and as a result,
all the plain around was paved with corpses and cast iron. Then the
Church patched up a peace between Arthur and Launcelot and the
queen and everybody—everybody but Sir Gawaine. He was bitter
about the slaying of his brothers, Gareth and Gaheris, and would not
be appeased. He notified Launcelot to get him thence, and make
swift preparation, and look to be soon attacked. So Launcelot sailed
to his Duchy of Guienne, with his following, and Gawaine soon fol-
lowed, with an army, and he beguiled Arthur to go with him. Arthur
left the kingdom in Sir Mordred’s hands until you should return—’
WAR! 535

«“ Ah—a king’s customary wisdom!”

‘Yes. Sir Mordred set himself at once to work to make his king-
ship permanent. He was going to marry Guenever, as a first move;
but she fled and shut herself up in the Tower of London. Mordred
attacked; the Bishop of Canterbury dropped down on him with the
Interdict. The king returned; Mordred fought him at Dover, at Can-
terbury, and again at Barham Down. Then there was talk of peace



“THE REST OF THE TALE IS JUST WAR, PURE AND SIMPLE.”

and a composition. Terms, Mordred to have Cornwall and Kent dur-
ing Arthur's life, and the whole kingdom afterward.”

“Well, upon my word! My dream of a republic to dea dream, and
so remain.”

“Ves. The two armies lay near Salisbury. Gawaine—Gawaine’s
head is at Dover Castle, he fell in the fight there—Gawaine appeared
to Arthur in a dream, at least his ghost did, and warned him to refrain
from conflict for a month, let the delay cost what it might. But bat-
tle was precipitated by an accident. Arthur had given order that if a
536 WAR!

sword was raised during the consultation over the proposed treaty
with Mordred, sound the trumpet and fall on! for he had no confidence
in Mordred. Mordred had given a similar order to Azs people. Well,
by and by an adder bit a knight’s heel; the knight forgot all about the
order, and made a slash at the adder with his sword. Inside of halfa
minute those two prodigious hosts came together with a crash! They
butchered away all day. Then the king—however, we have started
something fresh since you left—our paper has.”

“No? What is that ?”

‘‘War correspondence!”

“Why, that’s good.”

‘Yes, the paper was booming right along, for the Interdict made
no impression, got no grip, while the war lasted. I had war corre-
spondents with both armies. I will finish that battle by reading you
what one of the boys says: _

Then the king looked about him, and then was he ware of all his host and of all his
good knights were left no more on live but two knights, that was Sir Lucan de Butlere,
and his brother Sir Bedivere: and they were full sore wounded. Jesu mercy, said the
king, where are all my noble knights becomen? Alas that ever I should see this doleful
day. For now, said Arthur, ] am come to mine end. But wouid to God that I wist
where were that traitor Sir Mordred, that hath caused all this mischief. Then was King
Arthur ware where Sir Mordred leaned upon his sword among a great heap of dead men.
Now give me my spear, said Arthur unto Sir Lucan, for yonder I have espied the traitor
that all this woe hath wrought. Sir, let him be, said Sir Lucan, for he is unhappy; and
if ye pass this unhappy day, ye shall be right well revenged upon him. Good lord, re-
member ye of your night’s dream, and what the spirit of Sir Gawaine told you this night,
yet God of his great goodness hath preserved you hitherto. Therefore, for God’s sake,
my lord, leave off by this. For blessed be God ye have won the field: for here we be
three on live, and with Sir Mordred is none on live. And if ye leave off now, this wicked.
day of destiny is past. Tide me death, betide me life, saith the king, now I see him yon-
der alone, he shall never escape mine hands, for at a better avail shall I never have him.
God speed you well, said Sir Bedivere. Then the king gat his spear in both his hands,
and ran toward Sir Mordred, crying, Traitor, now is thy death day come. And when Sir
Mordred heard Sir Arthur, he ran until him with his sword drawn in his hand. And
then King Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield, with a foin ‘of his spear through-
out the body more than a fathom. And when Sir Mordred felt that he had his death’s
wound, he thrust himself, with the might that he had, up to the but of King Arthur’s
WAR! 537

spear, And right so he smote his father Arthur with his sword holden in both his hands,
on the side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the brain-pan, and there-
withal Sir Mordred fell stark dead to the earth. And the noble Arthur fell in a swoon to
the earth, and there he swooned oft-times.”

“That is a good piece of war correspondence, Clarence; you are
a first-rate newspaper man. Well—is the king all right? Did he get
well?”

“Poor soul, no. He is dead.”



“TRAITOR, NOW IS THY DEATH DAY COME.”

Iwas utterly stunned; it had not seemed to me that any wound
could be mortal to him.

“ And the queen, Clarence?”

“« She is a nun, in Almesbury.”

“What changes! and in such a short while. It is inconceivable.
What next, I wonder?”

“T can tell you what next.”

“Well?”
538 WAR!
“Stake our lives and stand by them!”

“What do you mean by that?”

“The Church is master, now. The Interdict included you with
Mordred; it is not to be removed while you remain alive. The clans
Citation
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court

Material Information

Title:
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court
Creator:
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Beard, Daniel Carter, 1850-1941 ( Illustrator )
Charles L. Webster and Company ( Publisher )
Jenkins & McCowan ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Charles L. Webster & Company
Manufacturer:
Jenkins & McCowan
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1889
Language:
English
Physical Description:
575 [4] p. : ill. ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Wit and humor, Juvenile ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Arthurian romances -- Adaptations -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Chivalry -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Time travel -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Britons -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Eclipses -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Slaves -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Magicians -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
War -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- 1891 ( gsafd )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1891 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1891
Genre:
fantasy fiction ( aat )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note:
Illustrations by after Daniel Beard.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mark Twain.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
002239001 ( ALEPH )
ALH9525 ( NOTIS )
01072802 ( OCLC )

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Full Text
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‘“©T SAW HE MEANT BUSINESS.



A CONNECTICUT YANKEE

IN .

KING ARTHUR’S COURT.

BY

MARK TWAIN.

NEW YORK:
CHARLES L. WEBSTER & COMPANY,
. 1891. ,



Copyrighted, 1889,
By S. L. CLEMENS.
(All rights reserved.)

PRESS OF
Jenxins & McCowan,
224-228 Centre St.



CONTENTS.

PAGE

PREFACE... cc ce cece cece cee reek ee eee eee eee ee nese eee eee eee eee ees eee tereee I5

A WORD OF EXPLANATION. cose ceceee cree cece enna cee en eae ee eee eee nanan 17-23
CHAPTER I.

CAMELOT. cece ce cece nce e en eee eae eee ene e een e acess ee een eee e ere eeeeee 27-30
CHAPTER II.

KING ARTHUR’S COURT. cece cece ie cece eee eee ee ee ee ere eee eeeceee enn + 33-40
CHAPTER Iil.

KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND........ cee eeeeeeeeees Po ee es souesveasveessees 43-49
CHAPTER IV.

Sin DINADAN THE HUMORIST... cece ce eee ce eee ene ae ea ene an ea eneee 53-57
CHAPTER V.

AN INSPIRATION. cece cece ee cece cece ee ten eee eee ee etree eee este bees eee enene 61-68
CHAPTER VI.

THE ECLIPSE. cee. sce ce eect e cee eee eee een eee nn cence tee e nee e en eee anes 71-79
CHAPTER VII.

MERLIN’S TOWER... cece eee ete ee cee eee teen ne eee ne sence eases eeenennes 83-91
CHAPTER VIII

THE BOSS... cece cect ccc se eee e erence ernst cee esaeeeenens ccc race ee eeeeens 95-103
CHAPTER IX.

THE TOURNAMENT... cece ce ee ce cece eee cee tee eee eee seen ee teen eneeeeeeeee 107-113



vi : . CONTENTS.

CHAPTER X. PAGE

BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION. cc ses esse cee cscs eseeescecesnes soruib se 6 4's0 eaves II7-123

CHAPTER XI

THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. 1... .secccuatcccceccsentsaveeceese 127-137

SLOW TORTURE, cc cece cece ce cece ee eee ere eee cee ee weet eam eeee tee ee scene I4I~147

CHAPTER XIII.

CHAPTER XIV.

** DEFEND THEE, LORD!” 0... ccc cece cece een tee eee eeceeeenneeeeeeseeeeave 105-171
CHAPTER XV.

SANDY’S TALE... cece ccc cece ee cence ee cence ee eee etree eeeeenneaeeaeeees I75-185

MORGAN LE FAY. 1... cece cece ete eee een eee ee nee e tee eeeeeeeeennaee 189-197

A ROYAL BANQUET. 0... cece ec ce cee cee eee teen tee en ne ee ee tneepeceeeens 201-212

IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS. ..... 00sec cee eee cece cence ee eeeeeeeenneeenees 215-227
CHAPTER XIX.

KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE. ..... cc ecccecaccceseececencesvenetesevevees 231-235

THE OGRE’s CASTLE.........05 Desens annssteeancerues. bis Sin dow e'e'e toes ae, 239-247

THE PILGRIMS... .. ccc ce cece cece ccc cnc n ne cece ce en esaneeneeeeneeesesenees 251-265

THE HOLY FOUNTAIN coc ccce eee cece cect ee ee ee eee cent tte eeesessrttarees 269-282



CONTENTS.

vil

CHAPTER XXIII. PAGE

RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN... .-. cc cece cree ener eee tenes 285-295
CHAPTER XXIV.

A. RIVAL MAGICIAN. 0. ccc e cee cece ee ee ence ene cena sense enenes 299-311
CHAPTER XXV.

A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. 0... cee ee cece ee ee eee nee eee eens 315-330
/ CHAPTER XXVI.

THE First NEWSPAPER......-++++ Pee een een cree een eee eee es 333-344.
CHAPTER XXVIIL.

Tue YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO... 6... cece eee eee eee ee eens 347-357
CHAPTER XXVIII.

DRILLING THE KING. 0... e cece cence ee eee ed cee e een e ee eee e ee ee eaae » 361-366
CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SMALL-POX HUT... ccc ec see eect tenet eee ene eens Venere ees 369-376
CHAPTER XXX.

Tue TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-Housz...........55 cate nitoicncss 379-391
CHAPTER XXXI.

MARCO... cc cece cece ee erence ee ee ete e ee te ene eet seen eee eeeaes 395-404
CHAPTER XXXII

DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION... cece cee ee eee e eee enes Venda ee ok teal 407-416
CHAPTER XXXIII.

SIxTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY... sees ee ee cee rer cece cneees 419-433
CHAPTER XXXIV.

THe YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.... seeeeeeseeeeees 437-451
CHAPTER XXXV.

A PITIFUL INCIDENT. oo cece ee ee eee eee ence nner n tee eeeee ces 455-464



Vill CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXVI. PAGE

AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK... 2... cece ccc e eee et eee cena eee eens eeeeeneee 467-472

AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 0... cc cce cere cere eee tence eee e eee nee teen eee ennes 475-484

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Sir LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE. ...... cece e cece ecee css cereee 487-491

CHAPTER XXXIX.

Tue YANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. ..... cece cece cece teen ee ee eeace —50
* 495-5

CHAPTER XL.

THREE YEARS LATER... ccc cece ee cece ee cen e eee e eee teen en ee nee caer ens eeane 511-520

THE INTERDICT.. cs cece cece cree eee eee cece ee ee nee eee eee ene een nent ees 523-528

CHAPTER XLII.
WAR] cc cece ccc cece cece cee eee tee ence eens tee eee sees sees ens e esse erseceses K3IM545

CHAPTER XLIII.

Tue BATTLE OF THE SAND-BELT... csc cee eee ee eee eens Wha eased ees ueree ns 549-565

CHAPTER XLIV.

A POSTSCRIPT BY CLARENCE. .ccccev reece teeter n cee eerereeteteees sev eeweees 569-575



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

. PAGE
“‘T saw he meant business.” (Fromtispiece.) .. 6. ccc cae cece eee e cece ee eee ee eenes
Initial Letter. (4 Word of Explamation.). 0.0.0 cc cccc cee cent cee een ene teens L7
The Stranger’s Story. cc cane cele ee ede oSee on peta oie ad we ce eens eee eee ees 21
Pails piece a ope sct ls ese: ciet wie See 4 tate Dea nan Saas eo teens ogee Geuten eae eee ele 23
‘The Tale: of the. Lost: Latidive. a. sic cade le fire okie vise Sie 0s le win ie 0 A ogee dba we celete 8 25
Initial Letter, (Chapter L.)occ cece cece cence cece eee cence ean e eee tena nee n eee 27
“The head of the cavalcade swept forward... .. 6... cece cece cece ee tenet e teens 29
The Round Table;s.os9o.4\ eu eyicceete se win Ge aes 6 eae eae ek eS ey 31
Initial Letter. (Chapter IL)... Db eialereueeate ease ieseaeae rca aeeetouaranaa sovaen aaa: 35
“That will do,” I said, ‘‘I ee you are a patient” Vetus Nedeiets eatate vee cae eee 35
‘*Go ’long,” I said, ‘‘ you ain’t more than a paragraph.”......... ccc eee eee eee 38
MS rN th eso cepa oeal ais ered deb a: incase one ore care opera ts Seite S Wane Saab enon 's Mae ele Seas aa ters 4
Initial Letter. (Chapter LLL.). cc ce ccc ccc cece ce eee ce eee eee teen te eeeeanee 43
“The flies buzzed and bit unmolested.”. 0... i. cece ce cece ee eee eee nee » 46
“Sir Arthur took it up by the handles.”.. 2.0.0... ccc eee eee ee eee ee nes 47°
“*This horrible sky-towering monster.”......... cee cece ee cee eee eee cee eeeeees 51
Initial Letter. (Chapter [Vi)icc cc ccc cece cee cece nee cee nena eee ee ene eeneee 53
The Practical Joker’s Joke... 0... ccc ccc cece cece e eee ete teen en eneennene 54
‘*Queen Guenever was as naively interested as the rest.”........... seen eens 56
PG RINGS iosics aratcehaly Crea eee ba ia as Whe Wale ela baw le oe bares walls « Hanae o SER eS 4 Gales a 59
Initial Letter. (Chapter Vi)icccccccccccccreccecceneneseeeneee Pat elec re niapeaeaysts 61
“Oh, beware! These are awful words!”..........05 cece eee eee ee cece eee eeenees 63
‘He was frighted even to the marrow.”.. 0... .. sce cece ce eee eee nee ee eens 66
DAT BOSS is 30% scsiierdeaislatjet ava’ pradoversieynisne tia biero-ei pie atlecene aisuesGi sia ie Wus@iuverolarel w-Weieietdle'w mares GG 69
Initial Letter. (Chapter. VL.)o cece cs ccn cnet een n cent ee ee eee ee ee eee eee ene eben ee 71
S©lts wasva noble ettects ei44.25c 0 eli cia 6 ae Sw ote ee ey: seed aig aa Sateen es 74
‘*Smothered with blessings.” . 2.0... ccc sce cece ce cece eee ee cette ence eee e anaes 78
One of the People i siciees ca enede tin 05 wie ieee wie Weenie wine lel 'g Si0ib nce Sepee se vine iese eas 81
Initial Letter. (Chapter VID)... ls ciiah ord ousvouess Sub varus Gea shat bo: aco eusieura susan water aon inate Ghent a's 83
‘‘There was no soap, no matches, no looking-glass.”........0+ cecee eee eee ences 84
“The reverent and awe-stricken multitudes.”.......0..ceeee ec eee ee crete ee eens 86
“That old tower leaped into the sky in chunks.”........05 aaaee eve Sele Chea cee:
ix



x LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
‘That was the Church.?... ccc cece eee nee ee ene eee cece etree ener ee neers e ens 93
Initial Letter. (Chapter VIIL.)..ccscccsen sc ceeeee nese ee teen se ere ne rrn senses 95
‘Why, they were nothing but rabbits!".......-+-e eee ee reece ere terres rete e ees 97
“‘Inherited ideas are a curious thing.”....... cece ee eee cee eee renee ae en eens 99
The Earth Belongs to the People...... 00. ssee cece ects eee e tte tee te nee e ee ee ees IOI
All Men are Born Free and Equal... .... cee ere ccc e eee renee een e ce en eee eecenes 102
Sir Sagramor le Desirous.....---eseece erence eter rete rete ee eet n nee een antes IO5_
Initial Letter. (Chapter [X.)ec cece cece seen nee eee e eee nen nner ene e ene n ees 107
‘Sing, dance, carouse every night.”...... 6 cece cece eee e ree t ene eee e nee eran nee 108
“Detailed an intelligent priest, and ordered him to report Its Peuinna setts [aes 109
Some of the Boys Going a Grailing.........-essee cere re erent tenet ee ee tenn ees 113
‘Por I was afraid of the Church.”. 2... cis cee cee eee ce eee e enone sah uae getece II5
Initial Letter. (Chapter X.)occcccce cece ncn een n een e een ene nen ee nee teen ne anaes 117
‘©The nineteenth century booming under its VETY NOSE.” .. eee cece eee eee eens IIg
A West Pointer. 2.2... cece cee ee cere cee ee eee nee ene e eee nee nen enean teen ne renes I2I
A Middy from My Naval Academy. ....... ese ceer cere rete eect e teeter ee eeenees 122
Sandy... ccc ee cee eee cece ee ee ee ee cece eee ee ere eeen rene nseneseeresecene ress en een es 125
‘““The boys helped me, or I never could have got in.” (Chapter XJ.).....+0++++ 127
The Three Brothers, as Described by Sandy.......seee eee e eeeeeee Aa comeh ers 128
“Great Scott, can’t you understand a little thing Vike thats 0) aed sede arene, ance wk eins 131
© And So We Started... ccc cece ee cee ee eee tee eee eben beeen rene enee Boe Sa 136
Ve Tron Dude... ec cece ccc c ccc ce eee ee eee tbe renee eee n een ee seen ee teneer aes 139
Initial Letter. (Chapter XIL.). ..cccc cece cence h eee tenn nee cee tenet n tenn es 141
The Journey. .... ccc eee cece ee entre teen en ence eee een teens eea esac tresses es 142
Effect of the Sun on the Iron Clothes.........6 cee ee eee ee cee eee ene eee e eens 144
“She continued to fetch and pour until I was well soaked.”.........-seee errors 146
Audi Alteram..... ccc ccc eee cee eee eee ee rene nee enone renner eae e ree eeeete 149
Initial Letter. (Chapter XITL.).cccccc cent cnet eee een nee nn ene nent anes ISI
“By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen.” ..... cece ccc ee eee I54
‘“©To subtract the nation and leave behind some dregs.”.........0 eee seer ners 155
Burial of a Freeman. .... ccc cece cee ce ee ee eee enero es cee e eae eeee eee seenes 156
Two of a Kind... ccc cece ce cee ce eee ene ene eee ee ene tenn ee nee sense ann ees 159
“ They thought I was one of those fire-belching dragons... 0c. cece eee eee eee es 163
Initial Letter. (Chapter XIV.)ecc cece verse rece eee ennans i ngewNe penises TOS
Effect of the Pipe on the Freemen........ css eee e cere eee e eee e eee eee tener enes 166
Effect of the Pipe on Sandy....... ccc cece cece cece eee e teen eee nent etn t en ees 167
“Defend thee, Lord! Peril of life is toward !’...... ccc eee cece eee teen ene ees 168
‘‘They came in a body, they came with a whirr.”........6ee seer cerns Pelee 169
The Three Maids... cc. ccc cece cece tee e een e een en eee ee eee cee ee ena teen enee 173
Initial Letter. (Chapter XV.)iccccce cece cee e reece eee nen nee er ene Vase slebee a 175
Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine...... ccc cece ce cee eee eee rene ene e ene renee ae neeeees 177
“Look out and hold on tight... 0... ..s eee e cece e ere eee ere ee rent een ee tenes 179

. Marhaus, Son of the King of Ireland, from an Effigy found in the Castle........ I8r
“‘Tt was the largest castle we had seen.”.........+- La oe eohce ide tata eee wan ee 85



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. xi

PAGE
Mrsic Lee Bayi riacais saa iiew i ieeilee aaa delete Galo Wan eerie a ele kode ah seeliteds dg es Gate ated 187
Initial: Letter. (Chapter XU L) oie cise Ge 8s Be sk Week Ao ne Si RG LG SOLER EN ele LETS 189
“This would undermine the Church.?. .... 0... ec ce cee cece ce eee ee eee een nee Igo
Site Cote: Male. Taile sc secaien atieevters wales cise oy .gie: vavecadeleiee: wes (ake garenerele Caw ole Deena 192
‘“We were challenged by the warders, and after parley admitted.”.............. 194
Hino UT CMS exe ricer nie Whe sa ese Ga Re aren ak. Pas neeigie Sig relat econt Heats ACS MON Sect ane eet. Ss 199
Initial Letter. (Chapter XVIL.).... 0-0 cece cece ee eee eee ee eee ee tee eens 201
“After ‘prayers: we had! Cinnere cots vteiactia wee iene the Me retested Seta e ae bale Gites 202
“Original (AS OMY. 255055 'ate oe, tralalecn anace Seestcele ACOA o aywia nulolecarere Sais, Pactual cep Len apase,-0 Sra feue:’ ates ed 203
“JT caught a picture that will not go from Me.”.... 6... cece eee eee ee eens 208
‘““They have a right to their view. I only stand to this.”.................000 0. 213
Initial Letter. (Chapter XVIIZ).. ‘ S264 Weed KAW RG Reena g 215:
The Church, the King, the Noblemens id ae Teenie. AS eee Nha ela a a tase, Saaghe BA 218
The. Queen's OWN icei dias ans anievictiaciaiente danced gel eaisas Oto leaden vavsls ae vi 223
‘Children of Monarchy by the Grace of God and the Established Church.”..... 226
‘“‘ How old are VOUS Dan ye Ss soe shoes Sette rs aD Wooo ese Slater a dc euoue @ofgualshane ao See aad 229
Initial: Letter, (Chapter? XLX.) ies eric ees ews ieee td v5 88 hid Cee cae ee ks eae ae 231
“Then Sir Marhaus ran to the duke, and smote him with his spear.”.......... 233
«The troublesomest old sow of the lot’... . ccc cece ee cece ee te ete ee nes 237
Initial’ Letters Sandy “with: -Royaltys sees Ga reGe ite caked weed eed da oP e eek ie gees Gna Re 243
Wie 9Ot: ENE NOGS NOME eink eal aceite elias she Ie -clatuti ye Sagat eter ale aeet audits, alets 246
Supreme Head of the Church, and Some Other Heads...... 0... cece eee ence eee 249
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXL). on vic cece cece ere ce cen eae cone new ee tee ceanees 251
Sandy and The Boss at the Second Table... .... 0... cece cece eee ee eee eens 253

“It had in it a sample of about all the upper occupations and professions.”.... 257
Ay Bands Of) Slaves oicsiciats: disveteseie dle, took 6. dsb awa bre Feb le aa etels Save aoe dre'o reid wie ge 2OO

Ac MOUMG li gion sees arse so a leereve rele adcctate meebo areed 0.8 SOT eye. daa dr kce a Oh Sale SO Neelys 207
Initial Letters, «(Chapter ANIL Yeisen pies Getieee ee else ad ate Sneha ENE wes 269
‘* There are ways to persuade him to abandon it.”....... ee. cee cee cee ee ene 273
‘At the twelfth repetition they fell apart in chunks.”..... 0... .. 0. ce cece ee eee 275
‘He unlimbered his tongue and cursed like a bishop.”........ ee ece cece ere eee 279
‘he Spiritof the Churehy sasiesenmiod sina dia Seale sere dees wo Sele awe, enon angele ape eae 283
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXLIL.). ccc ccc ccc ence eee cet nee ee tena nes 285
‘The Abbot’s solemn procession.” ... 2... ccc ce cece eee ee eee e eee ene tee tenets 290
‘* That fellow on the pillar, standing ae SapGad shad areia, du Svs anata Besnaatecastell howe ea pee 292
“ Bewjjilligkkk!!7....... Vale dedeaMoaideae tear ood dO oy ore vase Seana fade oO S
“What is it you call it? Chacidebeads,” Ned aarer saeaeiaresateiesacs tergteutve mantyrg encugi oa. ake ee 7.
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXIV .). ccc cc cece eee e ee eee ne teen e ene nnn ee nents 299
‘Sandy was worn out with nursing.?.... 6... cece eee eee ee ete ene ene ee ene es 302
Overbalanced ........e ccc e cece cece eens Sang eons Ae Be Neanoes vias d oashenr a diagd Soadasevan ghee s 305
The False Prophet going to Meet the King......... ese ce cece cece net eeeeeene 310
‘CA child’s affair for simpleness.”.. 0... 6... cece eee ten ene ee ete eet eee nee 313

Initial Letter, (Chapter XXV.)occ ccc ccc cece cee eee ene te eens 315



Xil - LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
** Next !7...... wed pe hSla Ae WARS Ga RT Tk wi aed SER ie Vas eee es bred disss 319
“*Not a word of it could these catfish make head or tall Of) Wikanaea se Bare kane oe 322
Decorations of Sixth Century Aristocracy.......seee cere cree testes seer eese rece 326
“Latest eruption, only two cents.” ..... se cece eee eee en tree cere rset eres steers ses 331
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXVL.).cccrcccn cece ee ene eee nen teen eee ee eee ee 333
“Where Launcelot is, she noteth not the going forth of the king.”.....-+.e0ees 334
“ Hast seen Sir Launcelot about? ”...... cece eee cree eee erence tree cate ne reteset 337
“Tt was delicious to see a NMEWSPAPer MAIN... cece eee cece eee e ree eeee sere reese 338
Solid Comfort. . cece cccc cece ere e cee cece ee cee eer eee nee enn eee casera esas seen 343,
Barber to H. M., the King ....... cece cece eee cece eee eee en ee ne te een cee nec ennes 345
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXVIL.).ccccre cece nee nen eee eee 347
‘““Why do you not warn me to CEASE PL. cee cee eee eee ence eer eters Si ousiesoeeee 351
Another Miracle... ccc ccc cc ccc ee cee cee ene ee teen cena ana nee eee se sees (++ 356
The Spirit that Goeth with Burdens that have not Honor.......-.eseeeceerreee 359
Initial Letter. (Chapter XX VILL)... ccec cece cen re ener eee n nen ee rere es 361
“« Varlet, serve to me what cheer ye have.”.......se++eee> er 362
“Brother to dirt like this? ”...... 6. cee ee cere ee rene tenet ee eee en er teen rte es 363
“‘ Armor is heavy, yet it is a proud burden, and a man standeth straight in it.”.. 365
He was Great Now. ..cccee cence eee erence eee een e teen e tees eeaeenes nen e ree eas 367
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXIX.). ccc ec cec cen ee ene eee nee e nnn ree en en ee ees 369
Some Manhood even in a King... ... cece eee cee teen eee renee eee eens ene ae snees 373
Under the Curse of Rome....... cece cece cere ec eee reece eee cece rere er en tenes 375
The Tree and the Fruit... ... cece cece eee ee ene ener erent ee ne nena ne en et aes 377
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXK.).ccccse cree eee nee ee eee ernest ene eee ee ere ee 379
The Fire... ccc cece ccc cee ee cere re eee ee ener nese ea renee Siete Ears Ce ES 382
PU rst cco coke ie kik wee Saha be ese wun sien eS alas da Bp Wesel eS a eee Sem Ne eee Fe ee 384
“A tree is known by its fruits.7.. 2... ..e cece eee eee reece erence eee ers ees ree es 389
“To the gentleman he was abject.”.....+.seeeee seer eerste ner te ttn erence sees 393
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXL.). ccc cece eee e nce e erence ere eee re eens ee tenes 395
“ Toward the monk the coal-burner was deeply reverent.”.........-+seeereeeees 397
“When a slave passed he couldn’t see Wim.”.... 0. +-ee seer sees eee cee rece e te ces 400
“ Presently we struck an incident.”......sseeeee ects cece seen een e reer tenses ertes 403
** Walking on air, she was so PLOUd."... cece cere eee cee eter e teen erent etn s tees 405
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIL.)..cccveveeceeeerereeeeens obs Reeder d tes iees 407
‘ And were soon as sociable as old acquaintances.”......6- sees ee eee reece reeee 409
THE Feastie go eicsccarctece sae ele ea aeca Be RG Gehan ae FONE SRR Ree Ree eG Pe es EET 413
Rah for Protection !...ccceccceccceceeccedeceeesseceateneeesseeseesecerencoeecs ALT
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXII). cescceceeveecceenees *Y seed arate asete earadye se aes oe See 419
“ Starving, eh? Why don’t you grow a nose like fon (et ac 42
PEvolution occa e-dg becow sob een ce oe 0b ble ree LSE Se OE 8 aS Salas S Sa Sinaia ee aan eg Cg er eies 425
Discrepancy in Noses makes no Difference.......+.++++++++- le Silas ous'd aeate Neale ahem 429
My Lord, the Earl Grip... .. ses cence eee reece rere tere cee ene eee esses cree eee ee eee 435

Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIV i)scccecc severe reece ne re ee een eee erences ee ees 437
‘“*He was hungry for a fight.”......-. 4 de elaheteunse chats tote aaa aati en see eae Ve teees cheese Ado



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Xlil

PAGE
“Ves, sire, that is about it, I am afraid... 2.2... eee ee ee eee teen nee eee erences 443
The Orator. ccc cc eee ee cee een eee tee eee een enter nnn ee ane ences asa eree re aas 447
We Constituted the Rear of his Procession,........+sscee eres eee crete tere ceees 450
He was a Man...cc ee cece cece tee eee te eee teen een ene ee en ene eee nese ee eeees 453
Initial Letter. (Chapter ees) ee ae eee re ee eee eee ee ie 455
On the Tramp .... cece cece cece re eee eee eee teen teen ena cen ene tea sane n cee eaes 457
Slaves Warming Themselves... .... ccs sees cee e eee terete eee een e ence ee en nes 460
‘© A sample of one sort of London eka ee eer te ee ee 462
The Slave Driver.. Ling od the (abe eA iboed Sad ealeliateues nee wat 405
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXVI) uedaaeleriinis ki aleae hate aale sat ohne ee new aks 467
“Merely a great big village.”.. 00... sc seee eee cere eee tre ete en entre een ness 468
Sandy Rode by on a Mule..... ss ceeee eee teeter e ett eee eee teen etn ee nnn: 469
The Newsboy... .cceeee eee e eens rene eneee NeoGeo ta Sacsa go tons erate naseiat die’ ahah alacant Sng y 471
Sister, Your Blind is Disarranged........:s cess sence eee e renee te eee ene e eens 473
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXVIL.)... +. cece ce cece eee n ere eeee ee nes Hondas siens 475
"Tt lay there all battered to pulp.”.......-sceee reer eects ecee secre nett eens cers 476
Streets of London. .... cece eee eee eee eee teen eee enn e teen eee enna ee ne ceees 479
‘‘He gave me a sudden look that bit right through into my marrow.”.........- 481
Launcelot Swept In... .. cece cece ence eee ee eee renner ete ee ene n ene eenenees 485
Sir Galahad takes a Header........ cece cece ee eee eee cence ee tee enna e te eeeeces 487
Knights Practicing on the Quiet. ......seeeseee tense eee ee eect eee e etter eer ees 489
“‘Who fails shall sup in Hell to-night.”..........---+-+-++- maaan ate 12 BAG ceaet Dee ats 4go
Slim Jim... cece cece eee eee eee ee ee ene een e cece nese eens see eens ce sens cats 493
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIX.)..ccccce cece eceee ees fall ea aN teh lal aan Sed 495
Go it, Slim Jiml?... cece eee eee ee eee eee ete e cere t ene ee nese renee 499
“Great Scott, but there was a sensation.” ........ eee cece eect cece eee cence tees Sor
Brer Merlin Steals the Lariat......... cece cece eee ener ee eee teen ete e tere rn eens 504
Charge of the 500 Knights .......... sees eee c cette renee eee e teen ene eens 507
A Yard of Snowy Church- WATKEN 224 Soe iteewae Meets tee ese pes Meee eee 509
Initial Letter. (Chapter XL.).cccecee cence cence een eee eeees Uisgwsuen ein eae gee tee 511
Three Vears After.... 2... ccc cece etter eee e ence ee neees dig ad Dep zadic is agave 512
“So we took a man-of-war.”... ccc cere eee eee renee ne tee ene ee ames re sare tees 517
Catcher of the Ulster Nine....... cece ee ccc eee e eee ee cece eter eee en cence tenes 519
Snuffing the Candle......... cece ee eee cere nent n center nen e nee sn ncn cess e es 521
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLL). cc ccccce cece cece nen n enn e eee e ence enn tren ees 523
© Fello-Central! oc... cee cee ce eee eee een ee etree eee eee eee er ene enn sree eenes 525
‘Where was my great commerce?” ..... see eee eee eect eee ete e teeter e tenet es 527
Sir Mordred.... ccc cc cece ee cece eee cere renee eee e eters seen e ee ee sere ce eer enenes 529
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLIL.)..ccccece cece cee renee ener ence rene en nena rene ess 531
Deciding an Argument .........ee seer ence eee ence e cence teen nen en ste e een ees 533
“The rest of the tale is just war, pure and simple.” ........ eee eee e eee eee ees 535
“Traitor, now is thy death day come.” .... cc eeee eee eee reese sree terete ee reces 537
“The Church is master Mow... ccc cece cree cece eee e erence cece rete ee teas ee aens 539

One of the 52... cc cece cee eee ee cece ne eee ete n enna eens nena ne recs ceca sees eens 547



XIV LIST OF ILLUSTRA TIONS.

PAGE
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLILD. Jove cece cc cccae cee ee cn cnes cucuseeeeneeesnenseas 549
“‘T could imagine the baby goo-gooing.”. 2.2... . ccc ccc cee ec cece te ceceeseaucecs 550
‘“The sun struck the sea of armor and set it all aflash.”............... cc cuee 555
High Church... scsi ee eece cece eee eee ee eee e tee tbe eee te eee teen teen te eaees “559
After the Explosion... 0... cc. ccc cee cece eee ecb ee ee een eee sete eeenaneeeeus 562
The Church puts its Foot in It........... cc ccc ees eee ce ceeas eee ee ee eens 565
Transformation. .... cc ccc ccc e cece ee ete eect ence cuneeeeeaees pee pe vein eee tease 567
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLIV.). ccc ccc cece ence ee ec nese eee cee eneeenaeencees 569
Tailpiece... cece cece cece ence ee een en nee ee eee enneenneeenasetucewnnees 571
** Delirium, of course, but so real!” Coe nets abe s was aest ee ededcienrevecuivuts 572
“Hands off! my person is sacred.”......... ccc cee cect cece eee e ceeeeeeneeeenes 573



PREFACE.

THE ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are his-
torical, and the episodes which are used to illustrate them are also
historical. It is not pretended that these laws and customs existed in
England in the sixth century ; no, it is only pretended that inasmuch
as they existed in the English and other civilizations of far later times,
it is safe to consider that it is no libel upon the sixth century to sup-
pose them to have been in practice in that day also. One is quite
justified in inferring that wherever one of these laws or customs was
lacking in that remote time, its place was competently filled by a
worse one.

The question as to whether there is such a thing as divine right of
kings is not settled in this book. It was found too difficult. That the
executive head of a nation should be a person of lofty character and
extraordinary ability, was manifest and indisputable; that none but
the Deity could select that head unerringly, was also manifest and
indisputable ; that the Deity ought to make that selection, then, was
likewise manifest and indisputable ; consequently, that He does make
it, as claimed, was an: unavoidable deduction. I mean, until the author
of this book encountered the Pompadour, and Lady Castlemaine and
some other executive heads of that kind; these were found so difficult
to work into the scheme, that it was judged better to take the other
tack in this book, (which must be issued this fall,) and then go into
training and settle the question in another book. It is of course a
thing which ought to be settled, and I am not going to have anything
particular to do next winter anyway.

MARK TWAIN.

HARTFORD, July 21, 1889.
: ; XV






A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S Court



A WORD OF EXPLANATION.




T was in Warwick Castle that I came across the curi-
ous stranger whom I am going to talk about. He
attracted me by three things: his candid simplic-
ity, his marvelous familiarity with ancient armor,
and the restfulness of his company—for he did all
the talking. We fell together, as modest people
will, in the tail of the herd that was being shown
through, and he at once began to say things
which interested me. As he talked along, softly,
pleasantly, flowingly, he seemed to drift away
» imperceptibly out of this world and time, and
into some remote era and old forgotten country;
and so he gradually wove such a spell about me
that I seemed to move among the spectres and
shadows and dust and mold ofa gray antiquity,
holding speech with a relic of it! Exactly as I
would speak of my nearest personal friends or
enemies, or my most familiar neighbors, he spoke
of Sir Bedivere, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Launcelot
a of the Lake, Sir Galahad, and all the other great

seee=—. names of the Table Round—and how old, old,
unspeakably old and faded and dry and musty and ancient he came to
look as he went on! Presently he turned to me and said, just as one

might speak of the weather, or any other common matter—
2 : 17



18 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

“You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about
. transposition of epochs—and bodies ?”

I said I had not heard of it. He was so little interested—just as
when people speak of the weather—that he did not notice whether I
made him any answer or not. There was half a moment of silence,
immediately interrupted by the droning voice of the salaried cicerone :

_ “Ancient hauberk, date of the sixth century, time of King Arthur
and the Round Table ; said to have belonged to the knight Sir Sagra-
more le Desirous; observe the round hole through the chain-mail in
the left breast ; can’t be accounted for ; supposed to have been done
with a bullet since invention of firearms—perhaps maliciously by
Cromwell’s soldiers.”

My acquaintance smiled—not a modern smile, but one that must
have gone out of general use many, many centuries ago—and muttered
apparently to himself:

“Wit ye well, J saw zt done.” Then, after a pause, added: ‘I did
it myself.”

By the time I had recovered from the electric surprise of this re-
mark, he was gone.

All that evening I sat by my fire at the Warwick Arms, steeped in
a dream of the olden time, while the rain beat upon the windows, and
the wind roared about the eaves and corners. From time to time I
dipped into old Sir Thomas Malory’s enchanting book, and fed at its
rich feast of prodigies and adventures, breathed-in the fragrance
of its obsolete names, and dreamed again. Midnight being come
at length, I read another tale, for a night-cap—this which here follows,
to-wit :

HOW SIR LAUNCELOT SLEW TWO GIANTS, AND MADE A CASTLE FREE.

Anon withal came there upon him two great giants, well armed, all save the heads,

with two horrible clubs in their hands. Sir Launcelot put his shield afore him, and put
the stroke away of the one giant, and with his sword he clave his head asunder. When his



A WORD OF EXPLANATION. I9

fellow saw that, he ran away as he were wood,* for fear of the horrible strokes, and Sir
Launcelot after him with all his might, and smote him on the shoulder, and clave him to
the middle. Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came afore him three score
ladies and damsels, and all kneeled unto him, and thanked God and him of their deliver-
ance. For, sir, said they, the most. part of us have been here this seven year their
prisoners, and we have worked all manner of silk works for our meat, and we are all great
gentlewomen born, and blessed be the time, knight, that ever thou wert born; for thou
hast done the most worship that ever did knight in the world, that will we bear record, and
we all pray you to tell us your name, that we may tell our friends who delivered us out
of prison, Fair damsels, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. And so he
departed from them and betaught them unto God. And then he mounted upon his
horse, and rode into many strange and wild countries, and through many waters and val-
leys, and evil was he lodged. And at the last by fortune him happened against a night
to come to a fair courtelage, and therein he found an old gentlewoman that lodged him
with a good will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse. And when time
was, his host brought him into a fair garret over the gate to his bed. There Sir Launcelot
unarmed him, and set his harness by him, and went to bed, and anon he fell on sleep. So,
soon after there came one on horseback, and knocked at the gate in great haste. And
when Sir Launcelot heard this he arose up, and looked out at the window, and saw by
the moon-light three knights come riding after that one man, and all three lashed on him
at once with swords, and that one knight turned on them knightly again and defended
him. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, yonder one knight shall I help, for it were shame
for me to see three knights on one, and if he be slain I am partner. of his death. And
therewith he took his harness and went out ata window by a sheet down to the four
knights, and then Sir Launcelot said on high, Turn you knights unto me, and leave
your fighting with that knight. And then they all three left Sir Kay, and turned unto
Sir Launcelot, and there began great battle, for they alight all three, and strake many
strokes at Sir Launcelot, and assailed him on every side. Then Sir Kay dressed him for
to have holpen Sir Launcelot. Nay, sir, said he, I will none of your help, there-
fore as ye will have my help let me alone with them. Sir Kay for the pleasure of the
knight suffered him for to do his will, and so stood aside. And then anon within six
strokes Sir Launcelot had stricken them to the earth.

And then they all three cried, Sir knight, we yield us unto you as man of might
matchless. As to that, said Sir Launcelot, I will not take your yielding unto me,
but so that ye yield you unto Sir Kay the seneschal, on that covenant I will save your
lives and else not. Fair knight, said they; that were we loth to do; for as for Sir
Kay we chased him hither, and had overcome him had ye not been; therefore, to yield
us unto him it were no reason. Well, as to that, said Sir Launcelot, advise you
well, for ye may choose whether ye will die or live, for an ye be yielden, it shall be
unto Sir Kay. Fair knight, then they said, in saving our lives we will do as thou
commandest us. Then shall ye, said Sir Launcelot, on Whitsunday next coming
go unto the court of King Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever,
and put you all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you thither to

* Demented.



20 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

be her prisoners. On the morn Sir Launcelot arose early, and left Sir Kay sleeping: and
Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay’s armour and his shield and armed him, and so he went to
the stable and took his horse, and took his leave of his host, and so he departed. Then
soon after arose Sir Kay and missed Sir Launcelot: and then he espied that he had his
armour and his horse. Now by my faith I know'well that he will grieve some of
the court of King Arthur: for on him knights will be bold, and deem that it is I, and
that will beguile them; and because of his armour and shield I am sure I shall ride in
peace. And then soon after departed Sir Kay, and thanked his host.

As I laid the book down there was a knock at the door, and my
stranger came in. I gave him a pipe and a chair, and made him wel-
come. I also comforted him with a hot Scotch whiskey; gave him
another one; then still another—hoping always for his story. After
a fourth persuader, he drifted into it himself, in a quite simple and
natural way:

THE STRANGER’S HISTORY.

Taman American. I was born and reared in Hartford, in the State
of Connecticut—anyway, just over the river, inthe country. Solama
Yankee of the Yankees—and practical; yes, and nearly barren of senti-
ment, I suppose—or poetry, in other words. My father was a black-
smith, my uncle was a horse doctor, and I was both, along at first. Then
I went over to the great arms factory and learned my real trade; learned
all there was to it; learned to make everything; guns, revolvers,
cannon, boilers, engines, all sorts of labor-saving machinery. Why, I
could make anything a body wanted—anything in the world, it didn’t
make any difference what; and if there wasn’t any quick new-fangled
way to make a thing, I could invent one—and do it as easy as rolling
offalog. I became head superintendent; had a couple of thousand
men under me.

Well, a man like that is a man that is full of fight—that goes with-
out saying. With a couple of thousand rough men under one, one has
plenty of that sort of amusement. I had, anyway. At last I met my
match, and I got my dose. It was during a misunderstanding con-
ducted with crowbars with a fellow we used to call Hercules. He laid



A WORD OF EXPLANATION. 21







me out with a crusher alongside the head that

made everything crack, and seemed to spring
every joint in my skull and
its neighbor. Then the world went

ness, and I didn't feel anything

make it overlap
out in dark-
2 more, and didn't
“yey while.

When I came to again, I was sitting under (ERS an oak tree, on
the grass, with a whole beautiful and broad $2

know anything at all—at least for a

country land-
scape all to myself—nearly. Not entirely; for there was a

fellow fresh out



fellow ona horse, looking down at me—a














of a picture-book. He was in old-time iron ~ Xe
armor from head to heel, with a helmet on SIN 1 i:
his head the shape of a nail- oi fo pas a) 1

lh

keg with slits in it; and he
had a shield, and a sword,

ii



and a prodigious spear; and
his horse had armor on, too,

and a steel horn projecting a
from his forehead, and gor- 7%

geous red and green silk
trappings that hung down all
around him like a bed-quilt,
nearly to the ground. = Za
“Fair sir, will ye just?” =

said this fellow. THE STRANGER’S STORY.



22 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

“Will I which 2”

‘Will ye try a passage of arms for land or lady or for—”

‘What are you giving me?” I said. “Get along back to your cir-
cus, or I'll report you.”

Now what does this man do but fall back a couple of hundred
yards and then come rushing at me as hard as he could tear, with his
nail-keg bent down nearly to his horse’s neck and his long spear
pointed straight ahead. I saw he meant business, so I was up the tree
when he arrived. —

He allowed that I was his property, the captive of his spear. There
was argument on his side—and the bulk of the advantage—so I judged
it best to humor him. We fixed up an agreement whereby I was to go
with him and he was not to hurt me. I came down, and we started
away, I walking by the side of his horse. We marched comfortably
along, through glades and over brooks which I could not remember to
have seen before—which puzzled me and made me wonder—and yet
we did not come to any circus or sign of a circus. So I gave up the
idea of a circus, and concluded he was from anasylum. But we never
came to any asylum—so I was up a stump, as you may say. I asked
him how far we were from Hartford. He said he had never heard of
the place; which I took to be a lie, but allowed it to go at that. At
the end of an hour we saw a far-away town sleeping ina valley by a
winding river; and beyond it on a hill, a vast gray fortress, with tow-
ers and turrets, the first I had ever seen out of a picture.

“ Bridgeport ?” said I, pointing.

“Camelot,” said he.

My stranger had been showing signs of sleepiness. He caught him-
self nodding, now, and smiled one of those pathetic, obsolete smiles of
his, and said:



A WORD OF EXPLANATION. 23

“T find I can’t go on; but come with me, I've got it all written out,
and you can read it if you like.”

In his chamber, he said: “First, I kept a journal; then by and by,
after years, I took the journal and turned it into a book. How long
ago that was!”

He handed me his manuscript, and pointed out the place where I
should begin:

“Begin here—I've already told you what goes before.” He was
steeped in drowsiness by this time. As I went out at his door I heard
him murmur sleepily: ‘‘ Give you good den, fair sir.”

I sat down by my fire and examined my treasure. The first part
of it—the great bulk of it—was parchment, and yellow with age. I
scanned a leaf particularly and saw that it was a palimpsest. Under
the old dim writing of the Yankee historian appeared traces of a pen-
manship which was older and dimmer still—Latin words and sentences:
fragments from old monkish legends, evidently. I turned to the place
indicated by my stranger and began to read—as follows.





o












CHAPTER I.
CAMELOT.

AMELOT—Camelot,” said I to myself. ‘‘I
don’t seem to remember hearing of it be-



fore. Name of the asylum, likely.”

It was a soft, reposeful summer land-
scape, as lovely as a dream, and as lone-
some as Sunday. The air was full of the
smell of flowers, and the buzzing of in-
sects, and the twittering of birds, and:
there were no people, no wagons, there
was no stir of life, nothing going on. The
road was mainly a winding path with hoof-
prints in it, and now and then a faint trace
of wheels on either side in the grass—
wheels that apparently had a tire as
e é fe1 broad as one’s hand.
ees, Ta ih [2 Presently a fair slip of a girl, about ten

se ee ~:" years old, with a cataract of golden hair
streaming down over her shoulders, came along. Around her head
she wore a hoop of flame-red poppies. It was as sweet an outfit as
ever I saw, what there was of it. She walked indolently along, with
a mind at rest, its peace reflected in her innocent face. The circus
man paid no attention to her; didn’t even seem to see her. And she
—she was no more startled at his fantastic make-up than if she was
used to his like every day of her life. She was going by as indiffer-

27



28 CAMELOT.

ently as she might have gone by a couple of cows; but when she
happened to notice me, ¢hen there was a change! Up went her
hands, and she was turned to stone; her mouth dropped open, her
eyes stared wide and timorously, she was the picture of astonished
curiosity touched with fear. And there she stood gazing, in a sort
of stupefied fascination, till we turned a corner of the wood and
were lost to her view. That she should be startled at me instead
of at the other man, was too many for me; I couldn’t make head or
tail of it. And that she should seem to consider me a spectacle, and
totally overlook her own merits in that respect, was another puzzling
thing, and a display of magnanimity, too, that was surprising in one so
young. There was food for thought here. I moved along as one ina
dream.

As we approached the town, signs of life began to appear. At
intervals we passed a wretched cabin, with a thatched roof, and about
it small fields and garden patches in an indifferent state of cultivation.
There were people, too; brawny men, with long, coarse, uncombed
hair that hung down over their faces and made them look like
animals. They and the women, as a rule, wore a coarse tow-linen
robe that came well below the knee, and a rude sort of sandals, and
many wore an iron collar. The small boys and girls were always
naked; but nobody seemed to know it. All of these people stared at
me, talked about me, ran into the huts and fetched out their families
to gape at me; but nobody ever noticed that other fellow, except to
make him humble salutation and get no response for their pains.

In the town were some substantial windowless houses of stone
scattered among a wilderness of thatched cabins; the streets were
mere crooked alleys, and unpaved; troops of dogs and nude children
played in the sun and made life and noise; hogs roamed and rooted
contentedly about, and one of them lay in a reeking wallow in the
middle of the main thoroughfare and suckled her family. Presently



CAMELOT. 29

there was a distant blare of military music ; it came nearer, still
nearer, and soon a noble cavalcade wound into view, glorious with
plumed helmets and flashing mail and flaunting ban-
ners and rich doublets and horse-cloths and gilded

spearheads; andthrough -







the muck and swine, and













oN
FQyla
wie

o



-naked brats, and joyous dogs, and



shabby huts it took its gallant way,
and in its wake we followed. Fol-
lowed through one winding alley and
then another,—and climbing, always
climbing—till at last we gained the
breezy height where the huge castle
stood. There was an ex-
change of bugle blasts; then

») a parley from the walls,

S=(z¢ ys where men-at-arms, in
pS 99
2 BIND

hauberk and morion
C marched back and forth
Dy =
‘
“C~PHE HEAD OF THE CAVALCADE SWEPT FORWARD.”
with halberd at shoulder under flapping banners with the rude figure

of a dragon displayed upon them; and then the great gates were flung



30 CAMELOT.

open, the drawbridge was lowered, and the head of the cavalcade
swept forward under the frowning arches; and we, following, soon
found ourselves ina great paved court, with towers and turrets stretch-
ing up into the blue air on all the four sides; and all about us the
dismount was going on, and much greeting and ceremony, and run-
ning to and fro, and a gay display of moving and intermingling colors,
and an altogether pleasant stir and noise and confusion.










CHAPTER II.
KING ARTHUR’S COURT.

HE moment I got a chance I slipped aside privately




and touched an ancient common looking man on the ©
a shoulder and said, in an insinuating,









a a“
confidential way—

‘Friend, do me a kindness. Do
Yi. you belong to the asylum, or are you
just here on a visit or some-
thing like that?”

He looked me over stu-
pidly, and said—

“Marry, fair sir,
me seemeth—”

“That will do,” J
said; “TI reckon you
are a patient.”

I moved away,
cogitating, and at the
same time keeping an
eye out for any chance
passenger in his right
mind that might come along and give me some light. I judged I had
found one, presently; so I drew him aside and said in his ear—

“If I could see the head keeper a minute—only just a minute—”

“Prithee do. not let me.”
3 : 33



34 KING ARTHUR'S COURT,

“Let you what ?”

‘« Hinder me, then, if the word please thee better.” Then he went
on to say he was an under-cook and could not stop to gossip, though
he would like it another time; for it would comfort his very liver to
know where I got my clothes. As he started away he pointed and
said yonder was one who was idle enough for my purpose, and was
seeking me besides, no doubt. This was an airy slim boy in shrimp-
colored tights that made him look like a forked carrot; the rest of his
. gear was blue silk and dainty laces and ruffles; and he had long yel-
low curls, and wore a plumed pink satin cap tilted complacently over
his ear. By his look, he was good-natured; by his gait, he was satis-
fied with himself. He was pretty enough to frame. He arrived, looked
me over with a smiling and impudent curiosity; said he had come for
me, and informed me that he was a page.

“Go long,” I said; “you ain’t more than a paragraph.”

It was pretty severe, but I was nettled. However, it never phazed
him; he didn’t appear to know he was hurt. He began to talk and
laugh, in happy, thoughtless, boyish fashion, as we walked along, and
made himself old friends with me at once; asked me all sorts of ques-
tions about myself and about my clothes, but never waited for an
answer—always chattered straight ahead, as if he didn’t know he had
asked a question and wasn’t expecting any reply, until at last he hap-
pened to mention that he was born in the beginning of the year 513.

It made the cold chillscreep over me! I stopped, and said, a little
faintly:

‘Maybe I didn’t hear you just right. Say it again—and say it slow.
What year was it?”

(ORT 3

“213! You don’t look it! Come, my boy, I ama stranger and
friendless: be honest and honorable with me. Are you in your right
mind?”



KING ARTHURS COURT. 35

He said he was.

“ Are these other people in their right minds?”

He said they were.

“And this isn’t an asylum? I mean, it isn’t a place where they
cure crazy people?”
He said it wasn't.








“Well, then,” I said, ‘either I am a lunatic, or something
just as awful has happened. Now

:

tell me, honest and true, where

Pop | ae am [?”
Am “In Kinc Ar-
ai ean THUR’S COURT.”
' aay l i I waited a ai
yy fh ute, to let that idea

nT





shudder its way
home, and then
i said: ;
“And accord-
,ing to your no-









eu
bee
Bey
Gol AM CHE
" : 4 HAN ei
DMN a
ee ean

=
AT



tions, what year is





‘it now?”



‘*528—nine-
teenth of June.”



=

<2 I felt a mourn-
5 FO ca a 2
Tsai" L RECKON * ZZ ful sinking at the
PAT

AP. pee mene)
an Rowe “heart, and mutter-

ed: “I shall never see my friends again—never, never again. They
will not be born for more than thirteen hundred years yet.”

I seemed to believe the boy, I didn’t know why. Something in me
seemed to believe him—my consciousness, as you may say; but my
reason didn’t. My reason straightway began to clamor; that was



36 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

natural. I didn’t know how to go about satisfying it, because I knew
that the testimony of men wouldn't serve—my reason would say they
were lunatics, and throw out their evidence. But all of a sudden I
stumbled on the very thing, just by luck. I knew that the only total.
eclipse of the sun in the first half of the sixth century occurred on the
21st of June, A. D. 528, 0. S., and began at 3 minutes after 12 noon. I
also knew that no total eclipse of the sun was due in what to me was
the present year—z. ¢., 1879. So, if I could keep my anxiety and
curiosity from eating the heart out of me for forty-eight hours, I should
then find out for certain whether this boy was telling me the truth or
not.

Wherefore, being a practical Connecticut man, I now shoved this
whole problem clear out of my mind till its appointed day and hour
should come, in order that I might turn all my attention to the cir-
cumstances of the present moment, and be alert and ready to make
the most out of them that could be made. One thing at a time, is my
motto—and just play that thing for all it is worth, even if it’s only two
pair and a jack. I made up my mind to two things; if it was still the
nineteenth century and I was among lunatics and couldn’t get away,
I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why; and if
on the other hand it was really the sixth century, all right, I didn’t
want any softer thing: I would boss the whole country inside of three
months; for I judged I would have the start of the best-educated man
in the kingdom by a matter of thirteen hundred years and upwards.
I’m not a man to waste time after my mind’s made up and there’s
work on hand; so I said to the page—-

“Now, Clarence, my boy—if that might happen to be your name—
T'll get you to post me up a little if you don’t mind. What is the
name of that apparition that brought me here?”

“My master and thine? That is the good knight and great lord
Sir Kay the Seneschal, foster brother to our liege the king.”



KING ARTHUR'S COURT. 37

“Very good; go on, tell me everything.”

He made a long ‘story of it; but the part that had immediate
interest for me was this. He said I was Sir Kay’s prisoner, and that
in the due course of custom I would be flung into a dungeon and left
there on scant commons until my friends ransomed me—unless I
chanced to rot, first. I saw that the last chance had the best show,
but I didn’t waste any bother about that; time was too precious.
The page said, further, that dinner was about ended in the great hall
by this time, and that as soon as the sociability and the heavy drink-
ing should begin, Sir Kay would have me in and exhibit me before
King Arthur and his illustrious knights seated at the Table Round,
and would brag about his exploit in capturing me, and would probably
exaggerate the facts a little, but it wouldn't be good form for me to
correct him, and not over safe, either; and when I was done being
exhibited, then ho for the dungeon; but he, Clarence, would find a
way to come and see me every now and then, and cheer me up, and
help me get word to my friends.

Get word to my friends! I thanked him; I couldn’t do less; and
about this time a lackey came to say I was wanted; so Clarence led
me in and took me off to one side and sat down by me.

Well, it was a curious kind of spectacle, and interesting. It was an
immense place, and rather naked—yes, and full of loud contrasts. It
was very, very lofty; so lofty that the banners depending from the
arched beams and girders away up there floated in a sort of twilight;
there was a stone-railed gallery at each end, high up, with musicians
in the one, and’ women, clothed in stunning colors, in the other. The
floor was of big stone flags laid in black and white squares, rather bat-
tered by age and use, and needing repair. As to ornament, there
wasn’t any, strictly speaking; though on the walls hung some huge
tapestries which were probably taxed as works of art; battle-pieces,
they were, with horses shaped like those which children cut out of



38 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

paper or create in gingerbread; with men on them in scale armor
whose scales are represented by round holes—so that the man’s coat
looks as if it had been done with a biscuit-punch. There was a fire-
place big enough to camp in; and its projecting sides and hood, of



“GO 'LONG,” I SAID; ‘‘ YOU AIN’T MORE THAN A PARAGRAPH.”

carved and pillared stone-work, had the look of a cathe-
dral door. Along the walls stood men-at-arms, in breast-
_ plate and morion, with halberds for their only weapon—
rigid as statues; and that is what they looked like.
In the middle of this groined and vaulted public square was an



KING ARTHURS COURT. 39

oaken table which they called the Table Round. It was as large as a
circus ring; and around it sat a great company of men dressed in such
various and splendid colors that it hurt one’s eyes to look at them.
They wore their plumed hats, right along, except that whenever one
addressed himself directly to the king, he lifted his hat a trifle just as
ne was beginning his remark.

Mainly they were drinking—from entire ox horns; but a few were
still munching bread or gnawing beef bones. There was about an
average of two dogs to one man; and these sat in expectant attitudes
till a spent bone was flung to them, and then they went for it by bri-
gades and divisions, with a rush, and there ensued a fight which filled
the prospect with a tumultuous chaos of plunging heads and bodies
and flashing tails, and the storm of howlings and barkings deafened all
speech for the time; but that was no matter, for the dog-fight was
always a bigger interest anyway; the men rose, sometimes, to observe
it the better and bet on it, and the ladies and the musicians stretched
themselves out over their balusters with the same object; and all
broke into delighted ejaculations from time to time. In the end, the
winning dog stretched himself out comfortably with his bone between
his paws, and proceeded to growl over it, and gnaw it, and grease the
floor with it, just as fifty others were already doing; and the rest of
the court resumed their previous industries and entertainments.

Asarule the speech and behavior of these people were gracious
and courtly; and I noticed that they were good and serious listeners
when anybody was telling anything—I mean in a dog-fightless inter-
val. And plainly, too, they were a childlike and innocent lot; tell-
ing lies of the stateliest pattern with a most gentle and winning
naivety, and ready and willing to listen to anybody else’s lie, and
believe it, too. It was hard to associate them with anything cruel or
dreadful; and yet they dealt in tales of blood and suffering with a
guileless relish that made me almost forget to shudder.



40 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

I was not the only prisoner present. There were twenty or more.
Poor devils, many of them were maimed, hacked, carved, in a fright-
ful way; and their hair, their faces, their clothing, were caked with
black and stiffened drenchings of blood. They were suffering sharp
physical pain, of course; and weariness, and hunger and thirst, no
doubt; and at least none had given them the comfort of a wash, or
even the poor charity of a lotion for their wounds; yet you never
heard them utter a moan or a groan, or saw them show any sign of
restlessness, or any disposition to complain. The thought was forced
upon me: ‘‘ The rascals—they have served other people so in their
day; it being their oivn turn, now, they were not expecting any better
treatment than this; so their philosophical bearing is not an outcome
of mental training, intellectual fortitude, reasoning; it is mere animal
training; they are white Indians.”










Ray tee Pe ee ep





4

~






CHAPTER III.
KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

AINLY the Round Table talk was
monologues—narrative accounts of
the adventures in which these pris-
oners were captured and their friends
and backers killed and stripped of
their steeds and armor. As a gen-

7 eral thing—as far as I could make out—these murder-

ous adventures were not forays undertaken to avenge
injuries, nor to settle old disputes or sudden fallings
out; no, as a rule they were simply duels between
strangers—duels between people who had never even
been introduced to each other, and between whom
existed no cause of offense whatever. Many a time I
had seen a couple of boys, strangers, meet by chance,
and say simultaneously, “I can lick you,” and go at it
on the spot; but I had always imagined until now,
that that sort of thing belonged to children only, and
was a sign and mark of childhood; but here were these
big boobies sticking to it and taking pride in it clear

# “7 up into full age and beyond. Vet there
yo aa
Aig.

-£¢2—. Was something very engaging about these

great simple-hearted creatures, something. attractive and lovable.
There did not seem to be brains enough in the entire nursery, so to
speak, to bait a fish-hook with; but you didn’t seem to mind that, after

43



44. KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

a little, because you soon saw that brains were not needed in a society
like that, and, indeed would have marred it, hindered it, spoiled its
symmetry—perhaps rendered its existence impossible.

There was a fine manliness observable in almost every face; and
in some a certain loftiness and sweetness that rebuked your belittling
criticisms and stilled them. A most noble benignity and purity
reposed in the countenance of him they called Sir Galahad, and like-
wise in the king’s also; and there was majesty and greatness in the
giant frame and high bearing of Sir Launcelot of the Lake.

There was presently an incident which centred the general interest
upon this Sir Launcelot. Ata sign from a sort of master of ceremo-
nies, six or eight of the prisoners rose and came forward in a body and
knelt on the floor and lifted up their hands toward the ladies’ gallery and
begged the grace of a word with the queen. The most conspicuously
situated lady in that massed flower-bed of feminine show and finery in-
clined her head by way of assent, and then the spokesman of the prison-
ers delivered himself and his fellows into her hands for free pardon, ran-
som, captivity or death, as she in her good pleasure might elect; and
this, as he said, he was doing by command of Sir Kay the Seneschal,
whose prisoners they were, he having vanquished them by his single
might and prowess in sturdy conflict in the field.

Suprise and astonishment flashed from face to face all over the
house; the queen’s gratified smile faded out at the name of Sir Kay,
and she looked disappointed; and the page whispered in my ear with
an accent and manner expressive of extravagant derision—

“Sir Kay, forsooth! Oh, call me pet names, dearest, call me a
marine! In twice a thousand years shall the unholy invention of
man labor at odds to beget the fellow to this majestic lie!”

Every eye was fastened with severe inquiry upon Sir Kay. But he
was equal to the occasion. He got up and played his hand like a
major—and took every trick. He said he would state the case, exactly



KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 45

according to the facts; he would tell the simple straightforward tale,
without comment of his own; ‘‘and then,” said he, “if ye find glory
and honor due, ye will give it unto him who is the mightiest man of
his hands that ever bare shield or strake with sword in the ranks of
Christian battle—even him that sitteth there!” and he pointed to Sir
Launcelot. Ah, he fetched them; it was a rattling good stroke. Then
he went on and told how Sir Launcelot, seeking adventures, some brief
time gone by, killed seven giants at one sweep of his sword, and set
a hundred and forty-two captive maidens free; and then went further,
still seeking adventures, and found him (Sir Kay) fighting a desperate
fight against nine foreign knights, and straightway took the battle
solely into his own hands, and conquered the nine; and that night Sir
Launcelot rose quietly, and dressed him in Sir Kay’s armor and took
Sir Kay’s horse and gat him away into distant lands, and vanquished
sixteen knights in one pitched battle and thirty-four in another; and
all these and the former nine he made to swear that about Whitsun-
tide they would ride to Arthur’s court and yield them to Queen Guen-
ever’s hands as captives of Sir Kay the Seneschal, spoil of his knightly
prowess; and now here were these half dozen, and the rest would be
along as soon as they might be healed of their desperate wounds.

Well, it was touching to see the queen blush and smile, and look
embarrassed and happy, and fling furtive glances at Sir Launcelot that
would have got him shot in Arkansas, to a dead certainty.

Everybody praised the valor and magnanimity of Sir Launcelot;
and as for me, I was perfectly amazed, that one man, all by himself,
should have been able to beat down and capture such battalions
of practiced fighters. I said as much to Clarence; but this mocking
featherhead only said—

‘An Sir Kay had had time to get another skin of sour wine into
him, ye had seen the accompt doubled.”

I looked at the boy in sorrow; and as I looked I saw the cloud of a



46 KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

deep despondency settle upon his countenance. I followed the direc-
tion of his eye, and saw that a very old and white-bearded man,
clothed in a flowing black gown, had risen and was standing at the
table upon unsteady legs, and feebly swaying his ancient head and
surveying the company with his watery and wandering eye. The
same suffering look that was in the page’s face was observable in all



‘*THE FLIES BUZZED AND BIT UNMOLESTED.”

the faces around—the look of dumb creatures who know that they
must endure and make no moan.

‘“‘ Marry, we shall have it again,” sighed the boy; ‘that same old
weary tale that he hath told a thousand times in the same words, and
that he zzé/ tell till he dieth, every time he hath gotten his barrel full
and feeleth his exaggeration-mill a-working. Would God I had died
or I saw this day!”



KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 47

“Who is it?”

“Merlin, the mighty liar and magician, perdition singe him for
the weariness he worketh with his one tale! But that men fear him
for that he hath the storms and the lightnings and all the devils that
be in hell at his beck and call, they would have dug his entrails out
these many years ago to get at that tale and squelch it. He telleth
it always in the third person, making
believe he is too modest to glorify
himself—maledictions light upon him,






misfortune be his dole!
Good friend, prithee
call me for evensong.” \
The boy nestled
himself upon my
shoulder and pretend-
ed to go to sleep. The




old man began his ( sworn | = ies a

Ss.

SA cay

ovate SWAY

tale; and presently the |
lad was asleep in real-

ity; so also were the 3

dogs, and the court, *,

the lackeys, and the a ae

files of men-at-arms. ‘“sIR ARTHUR TOOK IT UP BY THE HANDLES.”

The droning voice droned on; a soft snoring arose on all sides and
supported it like a deep and subdued accompaniment of wind instru-
ments. Some heads were bowed upon folded arms, some lay back
with open mouths that issued unconscious music; the flies buzzed and
bit, unmolested, the rats swarmed softly out from a hundred holes, ‘and
pattered about, and made themselves at home everywhere; and one
of them sat up like a squirrel on the king’s head and held a bit of
cheese in its hands and nibbled it, and dribbled the crumbs in the



48 KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

king’s face with naive and impudent irreverence. It was a tranquil
scene, and restful to the weary eye and the jaded spirit.

This was the old man’s tale. He said:

‘Right so the king and Merlin departed, and went until an hermit
that was a good man anda great leech. So the hermit searched all
his wounds and gave him good salves; so the king was there three
days, and then were his wounds well amended that he might ride and
go, and so departed. And as they rode, Arthur said, I have no
sword. No force,* said Merlin, hereby is a sword that shall be
yours and I may. So they rode till they came toa lake, the which
was a fair water and broad, and in the midst of the lake Arthur was
ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in that
hand. Lo, said Merlin, yonder is that sword that I spake of.
With that they saw a damsel going upon the lake. What damsel is
that? said Arthur. That is the Lady of the lake, said Merlin; and
within that lake is a rock, and therein is as fair a place as any on
earth, and richly beseen, and this damsel will come to you anon, and
then speak ye fair to her that she will give you that sword. Anon
withal came the damsel unto Arthur and saluted him, and he her
again. Damsel, said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the
arm holdeth above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no
sword. Sir Arthur King, said the damsel, that sword is mine, and
if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it. By my
faith, said Arthur, I will give you what gift ye will ask.- Well, said
the damsel, go ye into yonder barge and row yourself to the sword,
and take it and the scabbard with you, and I will ask my gift when I
see my time. So Sir Arthur and Merlin alight, and tied their horses
to two trees, and so they went into the ship, and when they came to
the sword that the hand held, Sir Arthur took it up by the handles,
and took it with him. And the arm and the hand went under the

* No matter.



KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 49

water; and so they came unto the land and rode forth. And then Sir
Arthur saw arich pavilion. What signifieth yonder pavilion? It is
the knight’s pavilion, said Merlin, that ye fought with last, Sir Pelli-
nore, but he is out, he is not there; he hath ado with a knight of
yours, that hight Egglame, and they have fought together, but at the
last Egglame fled, and else he had been dead, and he hath chased
him even to Carlion, and we shall meet with him anon in the highway.
That is well said, said Arthur, now have I a sword, now will I wage
battle with him, and be avenged on him. Sir, ye shall not so, said
Merlin, for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing, so that ye
shall have no worship to have ado with him; also, he will not lightly
be matched of one knight living; and therefore it is my counsel, let
him pass, for he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons,
after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space ye shall be
right glad to give him your sister to wed. When I see him, I will do
as ye advise me, said Arthur. Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword,
and liked it passing well. Whether liketh you better, said Merlin,
the sword or the scabbard? Me liketh better the sword, said
Arthur. Ye are more unwise, said Merlin, for the scabbard is worth
ten of the sword, for while ye have the scabbard upon you ye shall
never lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore, keep well
the scabbard always with you. So they rode unto Carlion, and by
the way they met with Sir Pellinore; but Merlin had done such a craft
that Pellinore saw not Arthur, and he passed by without any words.
I marvel, said Arthur, that the knight would not speak. Sir, said
Merlin, he saw you not; for and he had seen you ye had not lightly
departed. So they came unto Carlion, whereof his knights were pass-
ing glad. And when they heard of his adventures they marveled that
he would jeopard his person so alone. But all men of worship said
it was merry to be under such a chieftain that would put his person in

adventure as other poor knights did.”
‘












CHAPTER IV.




SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.

T seemed to me that this quaint lie was most
simply and beautifully told; but then
I had heard it only once, and that
makes a difference; it was pleasant to
the others when it was fresh, no doubt.
i Sir Dinadan the Humorist was the first to awake, and

he soon roused the rest with a practical joke of a suffi-
ciently poor quality. He tied some
metal mugs to a dog’s tail and turned
him loose, and he tore around and
around the place in a frenzy of fright,
with all the other dogs bellowing after
him and battering and crashing against
everything that came in their way and
making altogether a chaos of confusion
and a most deafening din and turmoil;
at which every man and woman of the
y _ multitude laughed till the tears flowed,
/ and some fell out of their chairs and
wallowed on the floor in ecstasy. It

was just like so many children. Sir





Dinadan was so proud of his exploit
that he could not keep from telling over and over again, to weariness,
how the immortal idea happened to occur to him; and as is the way
with humorists of his breed, he was still laughing at it after every-
body else had got through. He was so set up that he conclud- ~

~ 33



54 SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.

ed to make a crue, SPeech—of course a humorous speech. I think
no ;
I never heard ye so many old played-out jokes strung together

in my life. He was worse than the minstrels, worse than the























clown in the circus. It seemed peculiarly sad to sit here,

thirteen hun- dred years before I was born and listen again
to poor, flat, worm-eaten jokes that had given me the dry
gripes when I was a boy thirteen hundred years afterwards.
It about con- ie vinced me that there isn’t any such
thing as a y new joke possible. Everybody
laughed at these antiquities—but then they
always do; I had no- ticed that, centuries later. How-
ever, of course the
boy. No, he scoffed;

thing he wouldn’t scoff

scoffer didn’t laugh—I mean the
there wasn’t any-
at. He said the

most of Sir Dinadan’s

jokes were _. rotten and
the rest ” were petri-
fied. I said “ petrified”

was good; as I believed, myself, that the
only right way to classify the majestic
ages of some of those jokes was by geo-
logic periods. But that neat idea hit the
boy in a’ blank
place, for geol-
ogy hadn’t
been invented
yet. However,



THE PRACTICAL JOKER’S Joxr,
- 1 made a note of the remark, and calculated to educate the
commonwealth up to it if I pulled through. It is no use to





4

SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST. 55

throw a good thing away merely because the market isn’t ripe
yet.

Now. Sir Kay arose and began to fire up on his history-mill, with
me for fuel. -It was time for me to feel serious, and I did. Sir Kay
told how he had encountered me in a far land of barbarians, who all
wore the same ridiculous garb that I did—a garb that was a work of
enchantment, and intended to make the wearer secure from hurt by
human hands. However, he had nullified the force of the enchant-
ment by prayer, and had killed my thirteen knights in a three-hours’
battle, and taken me prisoner, sparing my life in order that so strange
a curiosity as I was might be exhibited to the wonder and admira-
tion of the king and the court. He spoke of me all the time, in the
blandest way, as “this prodigious giant,” and “this horrible sky-

’

towering monster,” and “this tusked and taloned man-devouring
ogre;” and everybody took in all this bosh in the naivest way, and
never smiled or seemed to notice that there was any discrepancy
between these watered statistics and me. He said that in trying
to escape from him I sprang into the top of a tree two hundred
cubits high at a single bound, but he dislodged me with a stone
the size of a cow, which ‘all-to brast” the most of my bones, and
then swore me to appear at Arthur’s court for sentence. He
ended by condemning me to die at noon on the 2Ist; and was
so little concerned about it that-he stopped to yawn before he named
the date. .

I was in a dismal state by this time; indeed, I was hardly enough
in my right mind to keep the run of a dispute that sprung up as to
how I had better be killed, the possibility of the killing being doubted
by some, because of the enchantment in my clothes. And yet it was
nothing but an ordinary suit of fifteen-dollar slop-shops. Still, I was
sane enough to notice this detail, to-wit: many of the terms used in
the most. matter-of-fact way by this great assemblage of the first



56 SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.



ladies and gentlemen in the land would have
made a Comanche blush. Indelicacy is too mild
a term to convey the idea. However, I had read ee
“Tom Jones,” and ‘Roderick Random,” and
other books of that kind, and knew that the-
highest and first ladies and gentlemen in Eng-









land had remained little or no cleaner
in their talk, and in the morals and
conduct which such talk implies, clear
up to a hundred years ago; in fact clear
into our own nineteenth century—in
which century, broadly speaking, the
earliest samples of the real lady and



<——,

real gentleman dis- 2.
“ee



coverable in English
history—or in Euro-
pean history, for that
matter—may be said
to have made their



appearance. Suppose

f We

Sir Walter, instead of i Wy
-§ =)"

putting the conversa- | aF | \

Gy

tions into the mouths CZ eo











of his characters, had Zs
allowed the charac- Ale
ters to speak for (4% ee
themselves? We
should have had talk
from Rachel and Ivan-
hoe and the soft lady

Rowena which would ‘QUEEN GUENEVER WAS AS NAIVELY INTERESTED AS THE REST.”







I ean og AEN ENDL LT OR REE PEND





SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST. 57

embarrass a tramp in our day. However, to the unconsciously indeli-
cate all things are delicate. King Arthur’s people were not aware
that they were indecent, and I had presence of mind enough not to
mention it.

They were so troubled about my enchanted clothes that they were
mightily relieved, at last, when old Merlin swept the difficulty away
for them with a common-sense hint. He asked them why they were
so dull—why didn’t it occur to them to strip me. In half a minute I
was as naked as a pair of tongs! And dear, dear, to think of it: I



was the only embarrassed person there. Everybody discussed me;
and did it as unconcernedly as if I had been a cabbage. Queen
Guenever was as naively interested as the rest, and said she had
never seen anybody with legs just like mine before. It was the only
compliment I got—if it was a compliment.

Finally I was carried off in one direction, and my perilous clothes
in another. I was shoved into a dark and narrow cell in a dungeon,
with some scant remnants for dinner, some moldy straw for a bed,
and no end of rats for company.





















nd fell to
“AIL right,” I said resignedly, “let the dream go on; I’m in no

light-hearted way, a

CHAPTER V.

AN INSPIRATION.

i

\



on
oot



WAS so tired that even my fears were
li. not able to keep me awake long.

When I next came to myself, I
seemed to have been asleep a very
long time. My first thought was,
“Well, what an astonishing dream
I've had! I reckon I’ve waked
only just in time to keep from be-
ing hanged or drowned or burned,
or something. . . . [ll nap
again till the whistle blows, and
then I'll go down to the arms fac-
tory and have it out with Hercules.”

But just then I heard the harsh
music of rusty chains and bolts, a
light flashed in my eyes, and that
butterfly, Clarence, stood before
me! I gasped with surprise; my
breath almost got away from me.

“What!” I said, “you here
yet? Go along with the rest of the
dream! scatter!”

But he only laughed, in his

making fun of my sorry plight.

. 61



62 AN INSPIRATION.

‘‘Prithee what dream?” |

“What dream? Why, the dream that I am in Arthur’s court—a
person who never existed; and that I am talking to you, who are
nothing but a work of the imagination.”

“Oh, la, indeed! and is it a dream that you're to be burned to-
morrow? ‘Ho-ho—answer me that!”

The shock that went through me was distressing. JI now began to
reason that my situation was in the last degree serious, dream or no
dream; for I knew by past experience of the life-like intensity of
dreams, that to be burned to death, even in a dream, would be very
far from being a jest, and was a thing to be avoided, by any means,
fair or foul, that I could contrive. So I said beseechingly:

“Ah, Clarence, good boy, only friend Pve got,—for you are my
friend, aren't you?——don’t fail me; help me to devise some way of
escaping from this place !”

‘Now do but hear thyself! Escape? Why, man, the corridors
are in guard and keep of men-at-arms.”

‘No doubt, no doubt. But how many, Clarence? Not many, I
hope?”

“Full a score. One may not hope to escape.” After a pause—
hesitatingly: ‘‘and there be other reasons—and weightier.”

“Other ones? What are they?” /

‘‘Well, they say—oh, but I daren’t, indeed I daren’t!”

“Why, poor lad, what is the matter? Whydo you blench? Why
do you tremble so?”

‘‘Oh, in sooth, there is need! Ido want to tell you, but—’

“Come, come, be brave, be a man—speak out, there’s a good lad!”

He hesitated, pulled one way by desire, the other way by fear;
then he stole to the door and peeped out, listening; and finally crept
close to me and put his mouth to my ear and told me his fearful news
in a whisper, and with all the cowering apprehension of one who was





AN INSPIRATION. 63






venturing upon awful ground and speaking of things whose very men-
tion might be freighted with death.

‘Merlin, in his malice, has woven a spell about this dungeon, and
_there bides not the man in these kingdoms that would be desperate
- enough to essay to cross its lines. with you! Now God pity me, I have
told it! Ah, be kind to me,
be merciful to a poor boy who







means thee well; for an thou

_ betray me I am lost!”

I laughed the only really
gan




refreshing laugh I
had had for some
time; and shouted—

‘“‘Merlin has
wrought a spell!
Merlin, forsooth!
That cheap old
humbug, that maun-
dering old ass?
Bosh, pure bosh,the
silliest bosh in the
world! Why, it does
seem to me that of all
the childish, idiotic, : : : :
chuckle-headed,chick- ‘OH, BEWARE! THESE ARE AWFUL WORDS!”
en-livered superstitions that ev—oh, damn Merlin!”

_ But Clarence had slumped to his knees before I had half finished,

and he was like to go out of his mind with fright.

“Oh, beware! These are awful words! Any moment these walls

may crumble upon us if you say such things. Oh call them back be-
fore it is too late!”



64 AN INSPIRATION.

Now this strange exhibition gave me a good idea and set me to
thinking. If everybody about here was so honestly and sincerely
afraid of Merlin’s pretended magic as Clarence was, certainly a supe-
rior man like me ought to be shrewd enough to contrive some way to
take advantage of such a state of things. I went on thinking, and
worked out a plan. Then I said:

“Get up. Pull yourself together; look me in the eye. Do you
know why I laughed?” _

‘‘No—but for our blessed Lady’s sake, do it no more.”

“Well, Pil tell you why I laughed. Because I’m a magician my-
self.”

“Thou!” The boy recoiled a step, and caught his breath, for the
thing hit him rather sudden; but the aspect which he took on was
very, very respectful. I took quick note of that; it indicated that a
humbug didn’t need to have a reputation in this asylum; people stood
ready to take him at his word, without that. I resumed:

“Tve known Merlin seven hundred years, and he—’

«Seven hun—” ,

‘Don’t interrupt me. He has died and come alive again thirteen
times, and traveled under a new name every time: Smith, Jones,
Robinson, Jackson, Peters, Haskins, Merlin—a new alias every time
he turns up. I knew him in Egypt three hundred years ago; I knew
him in India five hundred years ago—he is always blethering around
in my way, everywhere I go; he makes me tired. He don’t amount to
shucks, as a magician; knows some of the old common tricks, but has
never got beyond the rudiments, and never will. He is well enough
for the provinces—one- night stands and that sort of thing, you
know—but dear me, 4e oughtn’t to set up for an expert—anyway not
where there’s a real artist. Now look here, Clarence, Iam going to
stand your friend, right along, and in return you must be mine. 1
want you to do mea favor. I want you to get word to the king that







AN INSPIRATION. 65

I am a magician myself—and the Supreme Grand High-yu-Mucka-
muck and head of the tribe, at that; and I want him to be made
to understand that I am just quietly arranging a little calamity
here that will make the fur fly in these realms if Sir Kay’s project
is carried out and any harm comes to me. Will you get that to the
king for me?”

The poor boy was in sucha state that he could hardly answer me.
It was pitiful to see a creature so terrified, so unnerved, so demoralized.
But he promised everything; and on my side he made me promise
over and over again that I would remain his friend, and never turn
against him or cast any enchantments upon him. Then he worked
his way out, staying himself with his hand. along the wall, like a sick
person.

Presently this thought occurred to me: how heedless I have been!
When the boy gets calm, he will wonder why a great magician like
me should have begged a boy like him to help me get out of this place;
he will put this and that together, and will see that I am a humbug.

I worried over that heedless blunder for an hour, and called myself
a great many hard names, meantime. But finally it occurred to me
all of a sudden that these animals didn't reason; that ¢hey never put
this and that together; that all their talk showed that they didn’t
know a discrepancy when they saw it. I was at rest, then.

But as soon as one is at rest, in this world, off he goes on some-
thing else to worry about. It occurred to me that I had made
another blunder: I had sent the boy off to alarm his betters with a
threat—I intending to invent a calamity at my leisure; now the
people who are the readiest and eagerest and willingest to swallow
miracles are the very ones who are the hungriest to see you perform
them; suppose I should be called on for a sample? Suppose I should
be asked to name my calamity? Yes, I had made a blunder; I ought

to have invented my calamity first. ‘What shall I do? what can I
5



66 AN INSPIRATION..

say, to gain a little time?” Iwas in trouble again; in the deepest
kind of trouble: . . . ‘‘ There’s a footstep!—they’re coming. If I had
only just a moment to think. .... Good, I’ve got it. Tm all right.”

You see, it was the eclipse. It came into my mind, in the nick of
time, how Columbus, or Cortez, or one of those people, played an
eclipse as a saving trump once, on some savages, and I saw my
chance. I could play it myself, now; and it wouldn't be any plagiar- ,













‘HE WAS FRIGHTED EVEN TO THE MARROW.”

ism, either, because I should get it in nearly a thousand years ahead
of those parties. 7

Clarence came in, subdued, distressed, and said:

‘“‘T hasted the message to our liege the king, and straightway he
had me to his presence. He was frighted even to the marrow, and was
minded to give order for your instant enlargement, and that you be
clothed in fine raiment and lodged as befitted one so great; but then



AN INSPIRATION. 6 7

came Merlin and spoiled all; for he persuaded the king that you are
mad, and know not whereof you speak; and said your threat is but
foolishness and idle vaporing. They disputed long, but in the end,
Merlin, scoffing, said, ‘Wherefore hath he not zamed his brave
calamity? Verily it is because he cannot.’ This thrust did in a most
sudden sort close the king’s mouth, and he could offer naught to turn
the argument; and so, reluctant, and full loth to do you the dis-
courtesy, he yet prayeth you to consider his perplexed case, as
noting how the matter stands, and name the calamity—if so be you
have determined the nature of it and the time of its coming. Oh,
prithee delay not; to delay at such a time were to double and treble
the perils that already compass thee about. Oh, be thou wise—name
the calamity!”

I allowed silence to accumulate while I got my impressiveness
together, and then said:

“How long have I been shut up in this hole?”

“ Ye were a up when yesterday was well spent. It is 9 of the
morning now.’

“No! Then I have slept well, sure enough. Nine in the morning
now! And yet it is the very complexion of midnight, to a shade.
This is the 20th, then?”

“ The 20th—yes.”

“And I am to be burned alive to-morrow.” The boy shuddered.

“ At what hour?”

“At high noon.”

“Now then, I will tell you what to say.” I paused, and stood
over that cowering lad a whole minute in awful silence; then in a
voice deep, measured, charged with doom, I began, and rose by
dramatically graded stages to my colossal climax, which I delivered
in as sublime and noble a way as ever I did such a thing in my life:
“Go back and tell the king that at that hour I will smother the



68 AN INSPIRATION.

whole world in the dead blackness of midnight; I will blot out the
sun, and he shall never shine again; the fruits of the earth shall rot
for lack of light and warmth, and the peoples of the earth shall famish
and die, to the last man!”

I had to carry the boy out myself, he sunk into such a collapse. I

handed him over to the soldiers, and went back.





[= ;

Me" 2 yp,

—(4f








CHAPTER VI.

THE ECLIPSE.
















mere knowledge of a fact is pale; but when
you come to realize your fact, it takes on color.
It is all the difference between hearing of a
man being stabbed to the heart, and seeing it

done. - In the stillness and the darkness, the

=

===

a

knowledge that I was in deadly danger took

——————
Sa

to itself deeper and deeper meaning all the
time; a something which was realization
crept inch by inch through my veins and
turned me cold.
But it is a blessed provision of nature
that at times like these, as soon as a
man’s mercury has got down to a cer-
tain point there comes a revulsion,
and he rallies. Hope springs up, and
cheerfulness along with it, and then
he is in good shape to do something
for himself, if anything can be done.
When my rally came, it came with
a bound. I said to myself that my
eclipse would be sure to save me, and make me the greatest man in

the kingdom besides; and straightway my mercury went up to the
7

tH qe
a

PU
a

fie

HH
He
Hy]



72 THE ECLIPSE,

top of the tube, and my solicitudes all vanished. I was as happy a
man-as there was in the world. I was even impatient for to-morrow
to come, I so wanted to gather-in that great triumph and be the cen-
tre of all the nation’s wonder and reverence. Besides, in a business
way it would be the making of me; I knew that.

Meantime there was one thing which had got pushed into the
background of my mind. That was the half-conviction that when the
nature of my proposed calamity should be reported to those supersti-
tious. people, it would have such an effect that they would want to
compromise. So, by and by when I heard footsteps coming, that
thought was recalled to me, and I said to myself, ‘‘As sure as any-
thing, it’s the compromise. Well, if it is good, all right, I will accept;
but if it isn’t, I mean to stand my ground and play my hand forall it
is worth.” :

The door opened, and some men-at-arms appeared. ‘The leader
said—

“ The stake is ready. Come!”

The stake! The strength went out of me, and I almost fell down.
It is hard. to get one’s breath at such a time, such lumps come into
one’s throat, and such gaspings; but as soon as I could speak, I said:

“But this is a mistake—the execution is to-morrow.”

‘“‘Order changed; been set forward a day. Haste thee!”

Iwas lost. There was no help for me. I was dazed, stupefied; I
had no command over myself; I only wandered purposelessly about,
like one out of his mind; so the soldiers took hold of me, and pulled me
along with them, out of the cell and along the maze of underground
corridors, and finally into the fierce glare of daylight and the upper
world. As we stepped into the vast inclosed court of the castle I got
a shock; for the first thing I saw was the stake, standing in the centre,
and near it the piled fagots and a monk. On all four sides of the
cour the seated multitudes rose rank above rank, forming sloping ter-





THE ECLIPSE. 73

races that were rich with color. The king and the queen sat in their
thrones, the most conspicuous figures there, of course.

To note all this, occupied but a second. The next second Clar-
ence had slipped from some place of concealment and was pouring
news into my ear, his eyes beaming with triumph and gladness. He
said:

‘Tis through me the change was wrought! And main hard have I
worked to do it, too. But when IJ revealed to them the calamity in store,
and saw how mighty was the terror it did engender, then saw I also
that this was the time to strike! Wherefore I diligently pretended,
unto this and that and the other one, that your power against the sun
could not reach its full until the morrow; and so if any would
save the sun and the world, you must be slain to-day, whilst your
enchantments are but in the weaving and lack potency. Odsbodi-
kins, it was but a dull lie, a most indifferent invention, but you
should have seen them seize it and swallow it, in the frenzy of their
fright, as it were salvation sent from heaven; and all the while was J
laughing in my sleeve the one moment, to see them so cheaply deceived,
and glorifying God the next, that He was content to let the meanest
of His creatures be His instrument to the saving of thy life. Ah, how
happy has the matter sped! You will not need to do the suna real
hurt—ah, forget not that, on your soul forget it not! Only make a
little darkness—only the littlest little darkness, mind, and cease with
_ that. . It will be sufficient. They will see that I spoke falsely,—being
ignorant, as they will fancy—and with the falling of the first shadow
of that darkness you shall see them go mad with fear; and they will
set you free and make you great! Go to thy triumph, now! But remem-
ber—ah, good friend; I implore thee remember my supplication, and
do the blessed sun no hurt. For my sake, thy true friend.”

I choked out some words through my grief and misery; as muchas
to say I would spare the sun; for which the lad’s eyes paid me back



74 THE ECLIPSE.

with such deep and loving gratitude that I had not the heart to tell him
his good-hearted foolishness had ruined me and sent me to my death.
As the soldiers assisted me across the court ME

FEBS

the stillness was so profound that if I had been
blindfold I should have sup-






ea
=e
posed I was in a soli-

y) tude instead of walled
yin by four thousand people.
There was not a movement
perceptible in those masses
of humanity; they were as
rigid as stone images, and
ww as pale; and dread sat upon
=wsp every countenance. This
a
ae hush continu-

X ie oe ag
YF

ey

ce

‘*IT WAS A NOBLE EFFECT.”

being chained to the stake; it still continued while the fagots were
carefully and tediously piled about my ankles, my knees, my thighs,







| THE ECLIPSE. 75

my body. Then there was a pause, and a deeper hush, if possible,
and a man knelt down at my feet with a blazing torch; the multitude
strained forward, gazing, and parting slightly from their seats with-
out knowing it; the monk raised his hands above my head, and his
eyes toward the blue sky, and began some words in Latin; in this
attitude he droned on and on, a little while, and then stopped. I
waited two or three moments: then looked up; he was standing there
| petrified. With a common impulse the multitude rose slowly up and
stared into the sky. I followed their eyes; as sure as guns, there was
my eclipse beginning! The life went boiling through my veins; I was
anew man! The rim of black spread slowly into the sun’s disk, my
heart beat higher and higher, and still the assemblage and the priest
stared into the sky, motionless. I knew that this gaze would be
turned upon me, next. When it was, 1 was ready. I was in one of
the most grand attitudes I ever struck, with my arm stretched up
pointing to the sun. It was a noble effect. You could see the shudder
sweep the mass like a wave. Two shouts rang out, one close upon
the heels of the other:

« Apply the torch!”

“T forbid it!”

The one was from Merlin, the other from the king. Merlin start~
ed from his place—to apply the torch himself, I judged. I said:

“Stay where you are. If any man moves—even the king—before
I give him leave, I will blast him with thunder, I will consume him
with lightnings! ”

The multitude sank meekly into their seats, and I was just expect-
ing they would. Merlin hesitated a moment or two, and I was on pins
and needles during that little while. Then he sat down, and I took a
good breath; for I knew I was master of the situation now. The king
said:

“Be merciful, fair sir, and essay no further in this perilous matter,



76 THE ECLIPSE.

lest disaster follow. It was reported to us that your powers could not
attain unto their full strength until the morrow; but—

“Your Majesty thinks the report may have been a lie? It was
a lie.”

That made an immense effect; up went appealing hands every-
where, and the king was assailed with a storm of supplications that I
might be bought off at any price, and the calamity stayed. The king
was eager to comply. . He said: ,

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom;
but banish this calamity, spare the sun!

My fortune was made. I would have taken him up ina minute, but
I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question. Sol
asked time to consider. The king said—

‘““How long—ah, how long, good sir? Be merciful; look, it grow-
eth darker, moment by moment. Prithee how long?”

‘Not long. Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up
any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts. I was in
a puzzled condition, anyway, and wanted to think. Something was
wrong about that eclipse, and the fact was very unsettling. If this
wasn’t the one I was after, how was I to tell whether this was the
sixth century, or nothing but a dream? Dear me, if I could only
prove it was the latter! Here was a glad new hope. ‘If the boy was
right about the date, and this was surely the 20th, it was’t the sixth
century. I reached for the monk’s sleeve, in considerable excitement,
and asked him what day of the month it was.

Hang him, he said it was the twenty-first! It made me turn cold
to hear him. I begged him not to make any mistake about it; but
he was sure; he knew it was the 21st. So, that feather-headed boy
had botched things again! The time of the day was right for the
eclipse; I had seen that for myself, in the beginning, by the dial that







THE ECLIPSE. 77

was near by. Yes, I was in King Arthur’s court, and I might as well
make the most out of it I could.

The darkness was steadily growing, the people becoming more
and more distressed. I now said:

“T have reflected, Sir King. For a lesson, I will let this darkness
proceed, and spread night in the world; but whether I blot out the
sun for good, or restore it, shall rest with you. These are the terms,
to wit: You shall remain king over all your dominions, and receive
all the glories and honors that belong to the kingship; but you shall
appoint:-me your perpetual minister and executive, and give me for
my services one per cent of such actual increase of revenue over and
above its present amount as I may succeed in creating for the state.
IfI can’t live on that, [ sha’n’t ask anybody to give mea lift. Is it
satisfactory ?”

There was a prodigious roar of applause, and out of the midst of it
the king’s voice rose, saying:

“Away with his bonds, and set him free! and do him homage,
high and low, rich and poor, for he is become the king’s right hand,
is clothed with power and authority, and his seat is upon the highest
step of the throne! Now sweep away this creeping night, and bring
the light and cheer again, that all the world may bless thee.”

But I said: >: a 3

“That a common man should be shamed before the world, is noth-
ing; but it were dishonor to the Ang if any that saw his minister
naked should not also see him delivered from his shame. If I might
ask that my clothes be brought again—”

“They are not meet,” the king broke in. ‘Fetch raiment of
another sort; clothe him like a prince!”

My idea worked. I wanted to keep things as they were till the
eclipse was total, otherwise they would be trying again to get me to
dismiss the darkness, and of course I couldn’t do it. Sending for the



78 THE ECLIPSE.

clothes gained some delay, but not enough. So I had to make
another excuse. I said it would be but natural if the king should
change his mind and repent to some extent of what he had done
under excitement; therefore I would let the darkness grow a while,
and if at the end of a reasonable time the king had kept his mind the
same, the darkness should be dismissed. Neither the king nor any-
body else was satisfied with that arrange-
ment, but I had to stick

It grew darker and -
and blacker, while I
awkward sixth-century
be pitch dark, at last,
groaned with horror to










to my point.

darker and blacker
struggled with those
clothes. It got to
and the multitude |
feel the cold uncan-



‘* SMOTHERED WITH BLESSINGS.”

ny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out
and twinkle in the sky. At last the eclipse was total, and I was
very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite
natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.” Then I
lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the



THE ECLIPSE. 79

most awful solemnity: ‘‘Let the enchantment dissolve and pass
harmless away !”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and
that graveyard hush. But when the silver rim of the sun pushed
itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a
vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with
blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash,

be sure.















CHAPTER VII.

MERLIN’S TOWER.



~|NASMUCH as I was now the second person-
age in the Kingdom, as far as political power
and authority were concerned, much was
made of me. My raiment was of silks and
velvets and cloth of gold, and by conse-
quence was very showy, also uncomfortable.
But habit would soon reconcile me to my
‘, clothes; I was aware of that. I was given
g “the choicest suite of apartments in the cas-
z+ c-tle, after the king’s. They were aglow with

floors had nothing but rushes on them for a
carpet, and they were misfit rushes at that,
being not all of one breed. As for conven-
iences, properly speaking, there weren't any.
I mean “téle conveniences; it is the little
conveniences that make the real comfort of
life. The big oaken chairs, graced with rude
carvings, were well enough, but that was the
stopping-place. There was no soap, no
matches, no looking-glass—except a metal
one, about as powerful as a pail of water. And not a chromo. I
had been used to chromos for years, and I saw now that without my

suspecting it a passion for art had got worked into the fabric of my
83



34. MERLIN’S TOWER.
being, and was become a part of me.
around over this proud and gaudy but heartless barrenness and remem-
ber that in our house in East Hartford, all unpretending as it was, you

It made me homesick to look











tal
Zong

if Pale a
head WY)

id






ul





















ENR

















‘ THERE WAS NO SOAP, NO MATCHES,
NO LOOKING-GLASS.’















gee

couldn’t go into a room but you wouid find an insurance-chromo, or at
least a three-color God-Bless-Our-Home over the door; and in the
parlor we had nine. But here, even in my grand room of state, there



MERLIN’S TOWER. 85

wasn’t anything in the nature of a picture except a thing the size of a
bed-quilt, which was either woven or knitted, (it had darned places in
it,) and nothing in it was the right color or the right shape; and as
for proportions, even Raphael himself couldn’t have botched them
more formidably, after all his practice on those nightmares they call
his ‘celebrated Hampton Court cartoons.” Raphael was a bird. We
had several of his chromos; one was his ‘‘ Miraculous Draught of
Fishes,” where he puts in a miracle of his own—puts three men into
a canoe which wouldn’t have held a dog without upsetting. I always
admired to study R.’s art, it was so fresh and unconventional.

There wasn’t even a bell or a speaking-tube in the castle. I hada
great many servants, and those that were on duty lolled in the ante-
room; and when I wanted one of them I had to go and call for him.
There was no gas, there were no candles; a bronze dish half full of
boarding-house butter with a blazing rag floating in it was the thing
that produced what was regarded as light. A lot of these hung along
the walls and modified the dark, just toned it down enough to make
it dismal. If you went out at night, your servants carried torches.
There were no books, pens, paper, or ink; and no glass in the openings
they believed to be windows. It is a little thing—glass is—until it is
absent, then it becomes a big thing. But perhaps the worst of all was,
that there wasn’t any sugar, coffee, tea or tobacco. I saw that I was
just another Robinson Crusoe cast away on an uninhabited island, with
no society but some more or less tame animals, and if I wanted to
make life bearable I must do as he did—invent, contrive, create, reor-
ganize things; set brain and hand to work, and keep them busy.
Well, that was in my line.

One thing troubled me along at first —the immense interest which
people took in me. Apparently the whole nation wanted a look at
me. It soon transpired that the eclipse had scared the British world
almost to death: that while it lasted the whole country, from one end



86 MERLIN’S TOWER.

to the other, was in a pitiable state of panic, and the churches, her-
mitages, and monkeries overflowed with praying and weeping poor
creatures who thought the end of the world was come. Then had
followed the news that the producer of this awful event was a stranger,
a mighty magician at Arthur’s court; that he could have blown out
the sun like a candle, and was just going to do it when his mercy was
purchased, and he then dissolved his enchantments, and was now
recognized and honored as the man who had by his unaided might
saved the globe from destruction and its peo-










ples from extinction. Now if you consider
that everybody believed that, and

not only believed it but never even
: dreamed of doubting it, you
will easily understand that
there was not a person in all
Â¥{ Britain that would not have
walked fifty miles to
get a sight of me. Of
_course I was all the
talk—all other sub-
jects were dropped;
even the king be-

‘“THE REVERENT AND AWE-STRICKEN MULTITUDES.”

came suddenly a per-
son of minor interest and notoriety. Within twenty-four hours the
delegations began to arrive, and from that time onward for a fortnight
they kept coming. The village was crowded, and all the countryside.
I had to go out a dozen times a day and show myself to these reverent
and awe-stricken multitudes. It came to be a great burden, as to
time and trouble, but of course it was at the same time compensat-
ingly agreeable to be so celebrated and such a centre of homage. It
turned Brer Merlin green with envy and spite, which was a great satis-





MERLIN’S TOWER. 87

faction tome. But there was one thing I couldn't understand; nobody
had asked for an autograph. I spoke to Clarence aboutit. By George,
I had to explain to him what it was. Then he said nobody in the
country could read or write but a few dozen priests. Land! think
of that.

There was another thing that troubled me a little. Those multi-
tudes presently began to agitate for another miracle. That was nat-
ural. To be able to carry back to their far homes the boast that they
had seen the man who could command the sun, riding in the
heavens, and be obeyed, would make them great in the eyes of their
neighbors, and envied by them all; but to be able to also say
they had seen him work a miracle themselves—why, people would
come a distance to see them. The pressure got to be pretty strong.
There was going to be an eclipse of the moon, and I knew the date
and hour, but it was too far away. Two years. I would have given
a good deal for license to hurry it up and use it now when there was
a big market for it. It seemed a great pity to have it wasted, so, and
come lagging along at a time when a body wouldn’t have any use for
it as like as not. If it had been booked for only a month away, I
could have sold it short; but as matters stood, I couldn’t seem to
cipher out any way to make it do me any good, so I gave up trying.
Next, Clarence found that old Merlin was making himself busy on the
sly among those people. He was spreading a report,that I was a
humbug, and that the reason I didn’t accommodate the people with a
miracle was because I couldn’t. I saw that I must do something. I
presently thought out a plan.

By my authority as executive I threw Merlin into prison—the same
cell I had occupied myself. Then I gave public notice by herald and
trumpet that I should be busy with affairs of state for a fortnight, but
about the end of that time I would take a moment’s leisure and blow
up Merlin’s stone tower by fires from heaven; in the meantime, whoso



88 MERLIN’S TOWER.

listened to evil reports about me, let him beware. Furthermore, |
would perform but this one miracle at this time, and no more; if it
failed to satisfy and any murmured, I would turn the murmurers into
horses, and make them useful. Quiet ensued.

I took Clarence into my confidence, to a certain degree, and we
went to work privately. I told him that this was a sort of miracle that
required a trifle of preparation; and that it would be sudden death to
ever talk about these preparations to anybody. That made his mouth
safe enough. Clandestinely we made a few bushels of first-rate blast-
ing-powder, and I superintended my armorers while they constructed
a lightning rod and some wires. This old stone tower was very mas-
sive—and rather ruinous, too, for it was Roman, and four hundred years
old. Yes, and handsome, after a rude fashion, and clothed with ivy
from base to summit, as with a shirt of scale mail. It stood ona lonely
eminence, in good view from the castle, and about half a mile away.

Working by night, we stowed the powder in the tower—dug stones
out, on the inside, and buried the powder in the walls themselves,
which were fifteen feet thick at the base. We put in a peck at a time,
inadozen places. We could have blown up the Tower of London with
these charges. When the thirteenth night was come we put up our
lightning rod, bedded it in one of the batches of powder, and ran wires
from it to the other batches. Everybody had shunned that locality
from the day of my proclamation, but on the morning of the fourteenth
I thought best to warn the people, through the heralds, to keep clear
away—a quarter of a mileaway. Then added, by command, that at
some time during the twenty-four hours I would consummate the
miracle, but would first give a brief notice; by flags on the castle
towers, if in the day-time, by torch-baskets in the same places if at
night.

Thunder-showers had been tolerably frequent, of late, and I was
not much afraid of a failure; still, 1 shouldn’t have cared for a delay





MERLIN’S TOWER. 89

of a day or two; I should have explained that I was busy with affairs
of state, yet, and the people must wait.

Of course we had a blazing sunny day—almost the first one without
a cloud for three weeks; things always happen so. I kept secluded,
and watched the weather. Clarence dropped in from time to time and
said the public excitement was growing and growing all the time, and
the whole country filling up with human masses as far as one could
see from the battlements. At last the wind sprang up and a cloud
appeared—in the right quarter, too, and just at nightfall. For a little
while I watched that distant cloud spread and blacken, then I judged
it was time for me to appear. I ordered the torch-baskets to be lit,
and ‘Merlin liberated and sent to me. A quarter of an hour later I
ascended the parapet and thére found the king and the court assem-
bled and gazing offin the darkness toward Merlin’s tower. - Already
the darkness was so heavy that one could not see far; these people,
and the old turrets, being partly in deep shadow and partly in the red
glow from the great torch-baskets overhead, made a good deal of a
picture. .

Merlin arrived in a gloomy mood. I said:

“ You wanted to burn me alive when I had not done you any harm,
and latterly you have been trying to injure my professional reputation.
Therefore I am going to call down fire and blow up your tower, but
it is only fair to give you a chance; now if you think you can break
my enchantments and ward off the fires, step to the bat, it’s your
innings.”

“T can, fair sir, and I will. Doubt it not.”

He drew an imaginary circle on the stones of the roof, and burnt a
pinch of powder in it which sent up a small cloud of aromatic smoke,
whereat everybody fell back, and began to cross themselves and get
uncomfortable. Then he began to mutter and make passes in the air
with his hands. He worked himself up slowly and gradually into a



go MERLIN’S TOWER.

sort of frenzy, and got to thrashing















arms like the sails
this time the
reached us; the

around with his
ofa windmill. By
storm had about
gusts of wind were flaring the
torches and mak- ing the shadows
first heavy drops

the world abroad

swash about, the
of rain were falling,
was black as pitch, the
lightning began to
wink fitfully. Ofcourse

<< \

loading itself now.
In fact, things were
imminent. Sol
said :

“You have had time enough.
have given you every advantage,
and not interfered. It is plain your
magic is weak. It is only fair that I
begin now.” ‘“THAT OLD TOWER GEARED: INTO THE

I made about three passes in the SRY IN CHUNKS
air, and then there was an awful crash and that old tower leaped
into the sky in chunks, along with a vast volcanic fountain of fire that



MERLIN’S TOWER. gI

turned night to noonday, and showed a thousand acres of human
beings groveling on the ground in a general collapse of consternation.
Well, it rained mortar and masonry the rest of the week. This was the
report; but probably the facts would have modified it.

It was an effective miracle. The great bothersome temporary
population vanished. There were a good many thousand tracks in the
mud the next morning, but they were all outward bound. If I had
advertised another miracle I couldn't have raised an audience with a
sheriff. .

Merlin’s stock was flat. The king wanted to stop his wages; he
even wanted to banish him, but I interfered. I said he would be use-
ful to work the weather, and attend to small matters like that, and I
would give him a lift now and then when his poor little parlor-magic
soured on him. There wasn’t a rag of his tower left, but I had the
government rebuild it for him, and advised him to take boarders; but
he was too high-toned for that. And as for being grateful, he never
even said thank-you. He was a rather hard lot, take him how you
might; but then you couldn't fairly expect a man to be sweet that had
been set back so.













CHAPTER VIII.

THE BOSS.















. ity is a fine thing; but to have

We the on-looking world consent to
ae

ip
of . * .
BTA ayy) it is a finer. The tower episode
Wig a
Ug Cy,

i
y)
Li mi), solidified my power, and made it

y impregnable. If any were per-
chance disposed to be jealous and crit-
ical before that, they experienced a
change of heart, now.. There was not
any one in the kingdom who would have
considered it good judgment to meddle

with my matters.



I was fast getting adjusted to my situa-
tion and circumstances. For a time, I used
to wake up, mornings, and smile at my
“dream,” and listen for the Colt’s factory
whistle; but that sort of thing played itself
out, gradually, and at last I was fully able
to realize that I was actually living
in the sixth century, and in Arthur's

Se court, not a lunatic asylum. After
m—w———>- that, I was just as much at home in
that century as I could have been in any other; and as for preference,

I wouldn’t have traded it for the twentieth. Look at the opportuni-
95



y6 THE BOSS.

ties here for a man of knowledge, brains, pluck and enterprise to sail
in and grow up with the country. The grandest field that ever was;
and all my own; not a competitor; not a man who wasn’t a baby to
me in acquirements and capacities; whereas, what would I amount to
in the twentieth century? I should be foreman of a factory, that is
about all; and could drag a seine down-street any day and catch a
hundred better men than myself.

What a jump I had made! I couldn't keep from thinking about
it, and contemplating it, just as one does who has struck oil. There
was nothing back of me that could approach it, unless it might be
Joseph’s case; and Joseph’s only approached it, it didn’t equal it,
quite. For it stands to reason that as Joseph’s splendid financial in-
genuities advantaged nobody but the king, the general public must
have regarded him with a good deal of disfavor, whereas I had done -
my entire public a kindness in sparing the sun, and was popular by
reason of it.

I was no shadow of a king; I was the substance; the king himself
was the shadow. My power was colossal; and it was not a mere
name, as such things have generally been, it was the genuine article.
I stood here, at the very spring and source of the second great period
of the world’s history; and could see the trickling stream of that his-
tory gather, and deepen and broaden, and roll its mighty tides down
the far centuries; and I could note the upspringing of adventurers
like myself in the shelter of its long array of thrones: De Montforts,
Gavestons, Mortimers, Villierses; the war-making, campaign-direct-
ing wantons of France, and Charles the Second’s sceptre - wielding
drabs; but nowhere in the procession was my full-sized fellow visible.
I was a Unique; and glad to know that that fact could not be dis-
lodged or challenged for thirteen centuries and a half, for sure.

Yes, in power I was equal to the king. At the same time there
was another power that was a trifle stronger. than both of us put



THE BOSS. 97

together. That’ was the Church. I do not wish to disguise that fact.
1 couldn’t, if I wanted to. But never mind about that, now; it will
show up, in its proper place, later on. It didn’t cause me any trouble
in the beginning—at least any of consequence.

Well, it was a curious country, and full of interest. And the
people! They were the
quaintest and simplest and






















trustingest race; why, they
were nothing but rabbits.
It was pitiful for a person
born in a wholesome free
atmosphere to listen to
their humble and hearty
outpourings of loyalty

toward their king and
Church and
nobility; as
if they had
any more
occasion to
love and-

‘“ WHY, THEY WERE NOTHING BUT RABBITS.”

honor king and Church and noble
than a slave has to love and honor
the lash, or a dog has to love‘and honor the stranger that kicks him!.
Why, dear me, any kind of royalty, howsoever modified, any kind of
aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born
and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never
find it out for yourself, and don’t believe it when somebody else tells

you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of
;



98 THE BOSS.

the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones*without shadow
of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always fig-
ured as its aristocracies—a company of monarchs and nobles who, as
a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like
their betters, to their own exertions.

The most of King Arthur’s British nation were slaves, pure and
simple, and bore that name, and wore the iron collar on their necks;
and the rest were slaves in fact, but without the name; they imagined
themselves men and freemen, and called themselves so. The truth
was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one
only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them,
sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they
might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go.
naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might
be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrad-
ing language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride
and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the
thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were
they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.

Inherited ideas are a curious thing, and interesting to observe and
examine. I had mine, the king and his people had theirs. In both
cases they flowed in ruts worn deep by time and habit, and the man
who should have proposed to divert them by reason and argument
would have hada long contract on his hands. For instance, those
people had inherited the idea that all men without title and a long
pedigree, whether they had great natural gifts and acquirements or
hadn’t, were creatures of no more consideration than so many animals,
bugs, insects; whereas I had inherited the idea that human daws who
can consent to masquerade in the peacock-shams of inherited digni-
ties and unearned titles, are of no good but to be laughed at. The
way I was looked upon was odd, but it was natural. You know how



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”

‘“©T SAW HE MEANT BUSINESS.
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE

IN .

KING ARTHUR’S COURT.

BY

MARK TWAIN.

NEW YORK:
CHARLES L. WEBSTER & COMPANY,
. 1891. ,
Copyrighted, 1889,
By S. L. CLEMENS.
(All rights reserved.)

PRESS OF
Jenxins & McCowan,
224-228 Centre St.
CONTENTS.

PAGE

PREFACE... cc ce cece cece cee reek ee eee eee eee ee nese eee eee eee eee ees eee tereee I5

A WORD OF EXPLANATION. cose ceceee cree cece enna cee en eae ee eee eee nanan 17-23
CHAPTER I.

CAMELOT. cece ce cece nce e en eee eae eee ene e een e acess ee een eee e ere eeeeee 27-30
CHAPTER II.

KING ARTHUR’S COURT. cece cece ie cece eee eee ee ee ee ere eee eeeceee enn + 33-40
CHAPTER Iil.

KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND........ cee eeeeeeeeees Po ee es souesveasveessees 43-49
CHAPTER IV.

Sin DINADAN THE HUMORIST... cece ce eee ce eee ene ae ea ene an ea eneee 53-57
CHAPTER V.

AN INSPIRATION. cece cece ee cece cece ee ten eee eee ee etree eee este bees eee enene 61-68
CHAPTER VI.

THE ECLIPSE. cee. sce ce eect e cee eee eee een eee nn cence tee e nee e en eee anes 71-79
CHAPTER VII.

MERLIN’S TOWER... cece eee ete ee cee eee teen ne eee ne sence eases eeenennes 83-91
CHAPTER VIII

THE BOSS... cece cect ccc se eee e erence ernst cee esaeeeenens ccc race ee eeeeens 95-103
CHAPTER IX.

THE TOURNAMENT... cece ce ee ce cece eee cee tee eee eee seen ee teen eneeeeeeeee 107-113
vi : . CONTENTS.

CHAPTER X. PAGE

BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION. cc ses esse cee cscs eseeescecesnes soruib se 6 4's0 eaves II7-123

CHAPTER XI

THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. 1... .secccuatcccceccsentsaveeceese 127-137

SLOW TORTURE, cc cece cece ce cece ee eee ere eee cee ee weet eam eeee tee ee scene I4I~147

CHAPTER XIII.

CHAPTER XIV.

** DEFEND THEE, LORD!” 0... ccc cece cece een tee eee eeceeeenneeeeeeseeeeave 105-171
CHAPTER XV.

SANDY’S TALE... cece ccc cece ee cence ee cence ee eee etree eeeeenneaeeaeeees I75-185

MORGAN LE FAY. 1... cece cece ete eee een eee ee nee e tee eeeeeeeeennaee 189-197

A ROYAL BANQUET. 0... cece ec ce cee cee eee teen tee en ne ee ee tneepeceeeens 201-212

IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS. ..... 00sec cee eee cece cence ee eeeeeeeenneeenees 215-227
CHAPTER XIX.

KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE. ..... cc ecccecaccceseececencesvenetesevevees 231-235

THE OGRE’s CASTLE.........05 Desens annssteeancerues. bis Sin dow e'e'e toes ae, 239-247

THE PILGRIMS... .. ccc ce cece cece ccc cnc n ne cece ce en esaneeneeeeneeesesenees 251-265

THE HOLY FOUNTAIN coc ccce eee cece cect ee ee ee eee cent tte eeesessrttarees 269-282
CONTENTS.

vil

CHAPTER XXIII. PAGE

RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN... .-. cc cece cree ener eee tenes 285-295
CHAPTER XXIV.

A. RIVAL MAGICIAN. 0. ccc e cee cece ee ee ence ene cena sense enenes 299-311
CHAPTER XXV.

A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. 0... cee ee cece ee ee eee nee eee eens 315-330
/ CHAPTER XXVI.

THE First NEWSPAPER......-++++ Pee een een cree een eee eee es 333-344.
CHAPTER XXVIIL.

Tue YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO... 6... cece eee eee eee ee eens 347-357
CHAPTER XXVIII.

DRILLING THE KING. 0... e cece cence ee eee ed cee e een e ee eee e ee ee eaae » 361-366
CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SMALL-POX HUT... ccc ec see eect tenet eee ene eens Venere ees 369-376
CHAPTER XXX.

Tue TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-Housz...........55 cate nitoicncss 379-391
CHAPTER XXXI.

MARCO... cc cece cece ee erence ee ee ete e ee te ene eet seen eee eeeaes 395-404
CHAPTER XXXII

DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION... cece cee ee eee e eee enes Venda ee ok teal 407-416
CHAPTER XXXIII.

SIxTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY... sees ee ee cee rer cece cneees 419-433
CHAPTER XXXIV.

THe YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.... seeeeeeseeeeees 437-451
CHAPTER XXXV.

A PITIFUL INCIDENT. oo cece ee ee eee eee ence nner n tee eeeee ces 455-464
Vill CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXVI. PAGE

AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK... 2... cece ccc e eee et eee cena eee eens eeeeeneee 467-472

AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 0... cc cce cere cere eee tence eee e eee nee teen eee ennes 475-484

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Sir LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE. ...... cece e cece ecee css cereee 487-491

CHAPTER XXXIX.

Tue YANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS. ..... cece cece cece teen ee ee eeace —50
* 495-5

CHAPTER XL.

THREE YEARS LATER... ccc cece ee cece ee cen e eee e eee teen en ee nee caer ens eeane 511-520

THE INTERDICT.. cs cece cece cree eee eee cece ee ee nee eee eee ene een nent ees 523-528

CHAPTER XLII.
WAR] cc cece ccc cece cece cee eee tee ence eens tee eee sees sees ens e esse erseceses K3IM545

CHAPTER XLIII.

Tue BATTLE OF THE SAND-BELT... csc cee eee ee eee eens Wha eased ees ueree ns 549-565

CHAPTER XLIV.

A POSTSCRIPT BY CLARENCE. .ccccev reece teeter n cee eerereeteteees sev eeweees 569-575
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

. PAGE
“‘T saw he meant business.” (Fromtispiece.) .. 6. ccc cae cece eee e cece ee eee ee eenes
Initial Letter. (4 Word of Explamation.). 0.0.0 cc cccc cee cent cee een ene teens L7
The Stranger’s Story. cc cane cele ee ede oSee on peta oie ad we ce eens eee eee ees 21
Pails piece a ope sct ls ese: ciet wie See 4 tate Dea nan Saas eo teens ogee Geuten eae eee ele 23
‘The Tale: of the. Lost: Latidive. a. sic cade le fire okie vise Sie 0s le win ie 0 A ogee dba we celete 8 25
Initial Letter, (Chapter L.)occ cece cece cence cece eee cence ean e eee tena nee n eee 27
“The head of the cavalcade swept forward... .. 6... cece cece cece ee tenet e teens 29
The Round Table;s.os9o.4\ eu eyicceete se win Ge aes 6 eae eae ek eS ey 31
Initial Letter. (Chapter IL)... Db eialereueeate ease ieseaeae rca aeeetouaranaa sovaen aaa: 35
“That will do,” I said, ‘‘I ee you are a patient” Vetus Nedeiets eatate vee cae eee 35
‘*Go ’long,” I said, ‘‘ you ain’t more than a paragraph.”......... ccc eee eee eee 38
MS rN th eso cepa oeal ais ered deb a: incase one ore care opera ts Seite S Wane Saab enon 's Mae ele Seas aa ters 4
Initial Letter. (Chapter LLL.). cc ce ccc ccc cece ce eee ce eee eee teen te eeeeanee 43
“The flies buzzed and bit unmolested.”. 0... i. cece ce cece ee eee eee nee » 46
“Sir Arthur took it up by the handles.”.. 2.0.0... ccc eee eee ee eee ee nes 47°
“*This horrible sky-towering monster.”......... cee cece ee cee eee eee cee eeeeees 51
Initial Letter. (Chapter [Vi)icc cc ccc cece cee cece nee cee nena eee ee ene eeneee 53
The Practical Joker’s Joke... 0... ccc ccc cece cece e eee ete teen en eneennene 54
‘*Queen Guenever was as naively interested as the rest.”........... seen eens 56
PG RINGS iosics aratcehaly Crea eee ba ia as Whe Wale ela baw le oe bares walls « Hanae o SER eS 4 Gales a 59
Initial Letter. (Chapter Vi)icccccccccccccreccecceneneseeeneee Pat elec re niapeaeaysts 61
“Oh, beware! These are awful words!”..........05 cece eee eee ee cece eee eeenees 63
‘He was frighted even to the marrow.”.. 0... .. sce cece ce eee eee nee ee eens 66
DAT BOSS is 30% scsiierdeaislatjet ava’ pradoversieynisne tia biero-ei pie atlecene aisuesGi sia ie Wus@iuverolarel w-Weieietdle'w mares GG 69
Initial Letter. (Chapter. VL.)o cece cs ccn cnet een n cent ee ee eee ee ee eee eee ene eben ee 71
S©lts wasva noble ettects ei44.25c 0 eli cia 6 ae Sw ote ee ey: seed aig aa Sateen es 74
‘*Smothered with blessings.” . 2.0... ccc sce cece ce cece eee ee cette ence eee e anaes 78
One of the People i siciees ca enede tin 05 wie ieee wie Weenie wine lel 'g Si0ib nce Sepee se vine iese eas 81
Initial Letter. (Chapter VID)... ls ciiah ord ousvouess Sub varus Gea shat bo: aco eusieura susan water aon inate Ghent a's 83
‘‘There was no soap, no matches, no looking-glass.”........0+ cecee eee eee ences 84
“The reverent and awe-stricken multitudes.”.......0..ceeee ec eee ee crete ee eens 86
“That old tower leaped into the sky in chunks.”........05 aaaee eve Sele Chea cee:
ix
x LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
‘That was the Church.?... ccc cece eee nee ee ene eee cece etree ener ee neers e ens 93
Initial Letter. (Chapter VIIL.)..ccscccsen sc ceeeee nese ee teen se ere ne rrn senses 95
‘Why, they were nothing but rabbits!".......-+-e eee ee reece ere terres rete e ees 97
“‘Inherited ideas are a curious thing.”....... cece ee eee cee eee renee ae en eens 99
The Earth Belongs to the People...... 00. ssee cece ects eee e tte tee te nee e ee ee ees IOI
All Men are Born Free and Equal... .... cee ere ccc e eee renee een e ce en eee eecenes 102
Sir Sagramor le Desirous.....---eseece erence eter rete rete ee eet n nee een antes IO5_
Initial Letter. (Chapter [X.)ec cece cece seen nee eee e eee nen nner ene e ene n ees 107
‘Sing, dance, carouse every night.”...... 6 cece cece eee e ree t ene eee e nee eran nee 108
“Detailed an intelligent priest, and ordered him to report Its Peuinna setts [aes 109
Some of the Boys Going a Grailing.........-essee cere re erent tenet ee ee tenn ees 113
‘Por I was afraid of the Church.”. 2... cis cee cee eee ce eee e enone sah uae getece II5
Initial Letter. (Chapter X.)occcccce cece ncn een n een e een ene nen ee nee teen ne anaes 117
‘©The nineteenth century booming under its VETY NOSE.” .. eee cece eee eee eens IIg
A West Pointer. 2.2... cece cee ee cere cee ee eee nee ene e eee nee nen enean teen ne renes I2I
A Middy from My Naval Academy. ....... ese ceer cere rete eect e teeter ee eeenees 122
Sandy... ccc ee cee eee cece ee ee ee ee cece eee ee ere eeen rene nseneseeresecene ress en een es 125
‘““The boys helped me, or I never could have got in.” (Chapter XJ.).....+0++++ 127
The Three Brothers, as Described by Sandy.......seee eee e eeeeeee Aa comeh ers 128
“Great Scott, can’t you understand a little thing Vike thats 0) aed sede arene, ance wk eins 131
© And So We Started... ccc cece ee cee ee eee tee eee eben beeen rene enee Boe Sa 136
Ve Tron Dude... ec cece ccc c ccc ce eee ee eee tbe renee eee n een ee seen ee teneer aes 139
Initial Letter. (Chapter XIL.). ..cccc cece cence h eee tenn nee cee tenet n tenn es 141
The Journey. .... ccc eee cece ee entre teen en ence eee een teens eea esac tresses es 142
Effect of the Sun on the Iron Clothes.........6 cee ee eee ee cee eee ene eee e eens 144
“She continued to fetch and pour until I was well soaked.”.........-seee errors 146
Audi Alteram..... ccc ccc eee cee eee eee ee rene nee enone renner eae e ree eeeete 149
Initial Letter. (Chapter XITL.).cccccc cent cnet eee een nee nn ene nent anes ISI
“By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen.” ..... cece ccc ee eee I54
‘“©To subtract the nation and leave behind some dregs.”.........0 eee seer ners 155
Burial of a Freeman. .... ccc cece cee ce ee ee eee enero es cee e eae eeee eee seenes 156
Two of a Kind... ccc cece ce cee ce eee ene ene eee ee ene tenn ee nee sense ann ees 159
“ They thought I was one of those fire-belching dragons... 0c. cece eee eee eee es 163
Initial Letter. (Chapter XIV.)ecc cece verse rece eee ennans i ngewNe penises TOS
Effect of the Pipe on the Freemen........ css eee e cere eee e eee e eee eee tener enes 166
Effect of the Pipe on Sandy....... ccc cece cece cece eee e teen eee nent etn t en ees 167
“Defend thee, Lord! Peril of life is toward !’...... ccc eee cece eee teen ene ees 168
‘‘They came in a body, they came with a whirr.”........6ee seer cerns Pelee 169
The Three Maids... cc. ccc cece cece tee e een e een en eee ee eee cee ee ena teen enee 173
Initial Letter. (Chapter XV.)iccccce cece cee e reece eee nen nee er ene Vase slebee a 175
Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine...... ccc cece ce cee eee eee rene ene e ene renee ae neeeees 177
“Look out and hold on tight... 0... ..s eee e cece e ere eee ere ee rent een ee tenes 179

. Marhaus, Son of the King of Ireland, from an Effigy found in the Castle........ I8r
“‘Tt was the largest castle we had seen.”.........+- La oe eohce ide tata eee wan ee 85
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. xi

PAGE
Mrsic Lee Bayi riacais saa iiew i ieeilee aaa delete Galo Wan eerie a ele kode ah seeliteds dg es Gate ated 187
Initial: Letter. (Chapter XU L) oie cise Ge 8s Be sk Week Ao ne Si RG LG SOLER EN ele LETS 189
“This would undermine the Church.?. .... 0... ec ce cee cece ce eee ee eee een nee Igo
Site Cote: Male. Taile sc secaien atieevters wales cise oy .gie: vavecadeleiee: wes (ake garenerele Caw ole Deena 192
‘“We were challenged by the warders, and after parley admitted.”.............. 194
Hino UT CMS exe ricer nie Whe sa ese Ga Re aren ak. Pas neeigie Sig relat econt Heats ACS MON Sect ane eet. Ss 199
Initial Letter. (Chapter XVIL.).... 0-0 cece cece ee eee eee ee eee ee tee eens 201
“After ‘prayers: we had! Cinnere cots vteiactia wee iene the Me retested Seta e ae bale Gites 202
“Original (AS OMY. 255055 'ate oe, tralalecn anace Seestcele ACOA o aywia nulolecarere Sais, Pactual cep Len apase,-0 Sra feue:’ ates ed 203
“JT caught a picture that will not go from Me.”.... 6... cece eee eee ee eens 208
‘““They have a right to their view. I only stand to this.”.................000 0. 213
Initial Letter. (Chapter XVIIZ).. ‘ S264 Weed KAW RG Reena g 215:
The Church, the King, the Noblemens id ae Teenie. AS eee Nha ela a a tase, Saaghe BA 218
The. Queen's OWN icei dias ans anievictiaciaiente danced gel eaisas Oto leaden vavsls ae vi 223
‘Children of Monarchy by the Grace of God and the Established Church.”..... 226
‘“‘ How old are VOUS Dan ye Ss soe shoes Sette rs aD Wooo ese Slater a dc euoue @ofgualshane ao See aad 229
Initial: Letter, (Chapter? XLX.) ies eric ees ews ieee td v5 88 hid Cee cae ee ks eae ae 231
“Then Sir Marhaus ran to the duke, and smote him with his spear.”.......... 233
«The troublesomest old sow of the lot’... . ccc cece ee cece ee te ete ee nes 237
Initial’ Letters Sandy “with: -Royaltys sees Ga reGe ite caked weed eed da oP e eek ie gees Gna Re 243
Wie 9Ot: ENE NOGS NOME eink eal aceite elias she Ie -clatuti ye Sagat eter ale aeet audits, alets 246
Supreme Head of the Church, and Some Other Heads...... 0... cece eee ence eee 249
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXL). on vic cece cece ere ce cen eae cone new ee tee ceanees 251
Sandy and The Boss at the Second Table... .... 0... cece cece eee ee eee eens 253

“It had in it a sample of about all the upper occupations and professions.”.... 257
Ay Bands Of) Slaves oicsiciats: disveteseie dle, took 6. dsb awa bre Feb le aa etels Save aoe dre'o reid wie ge 2OO

Ac MOUMG li gion sees arse so a leereve rele adcctate meebo areed 0.8 SOT eye. daa dr kce a Oh Sale SO Neelys 207
Initial Letters, «(Chapter ANIL Yeisen pies Getieee ee else ad ate Sneha ENE wes 269
‘* There are ways to persuade him to abandon it.”....... ee. cee cee cee ee ene 273
‘At the twelfth repetition they fell apart in chunks.”..... 0... .. 0. ce cece ee eee 275
‘He unlimbered his tongue and cursed like a bishop.”........ ee ece cece ere eee 279
‘he Spiritof the Churehy sasiesenmiod sina dia Seale sere dees wo Sele awe, enon angele ape eae 283
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXLIL.). ccc ccc ccc ence eee cet nee ee tena nes 285
‘The Abbot’s solemn procession.” ... 2... ccc ce cece eee ee eee e eee ene tee tenets 290
‘* That fellow on the pillar, standing ae SapGad shad areia, du Svs anata Besnaatecastell howe ea pee 292
“ Bewjjilligkkk!!7....... Vale dedeaMoaideae tear ood dO oy ore vase Seana fade oO S
“What is it you call it? Chacidebeads,” Ned aarer saeaeiaresateiesacs tergteutve mantyrg encugi oa. ake ee 7.
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXIV .). ccc cc cece eee e ee eee ne teen e ene nnn ee nents 299
‘Sandy was worn out with nursing.?.... 6... cece eee eee ee ete ene ene ee ene es 302
Overbalanced ........e ccc e cece cece eens Sang eons Ae Be Neanoes vias d oashenr a diagd Soadasevan ghee s 305
The False Prophet going to Meet the King......... ese ce cece cece net eeeeeene 310
‘CA child’s affair for simpleness.”.. 0... 6... cece eee ten ene ee ete eet eee nee 313

Initial Letter, (Chapter XXV.)occ ccc ccc cece cee eee ene te eens 315
Xil - LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE
** Next !7...... wed pe hSla Ae WARS Ga RT Tk wi aed SER ie Vas eee es bred disss 319
“*Not a word of it could these catfish make head or tall Of) Wikanaea se Bare kane oe 322
Decorations of Sixth Century Aristocracy.......seee cere cree testes seer eese rece 326
“Latest eruption, only two cents.” ..... se cece eee eee en tree cere rset eres steers ses 331
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXVL.).cccrcccn cece ee ene eee nen teen eee ee eee ee 333
“Where Launcelot is, she noteth not the going forth of the king.”.....-+.e0ees 334
“ Hast seen Sir Launcelot about? ”...... cece eee cree eee erence tree cate ne reteset 337
“Tt was delicious to see a NMEWSPAPer MAIN... cece eee cece eee e ree eeee sere reese 338
Solid Comfort. . cece cccc cece ere e cee cece ee cee eer eee nee enn eee casera esas seen 343,
Barber to H. M., the King ....... cece cece eee cece eee eee en ee ne te een cee nec ennes 345
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXVIL.).ccccre cece nee nen eee eee 347
‘““Why do you not warn me to CEASE PL. cee cee eee eee ence eer eters Si ousiesoeeee 351
Another Miracle... ccc ccc cc ccc ee cee cee ene ee teen cena ana nee eee se sees (++ 356
The Spirit that Goeth with Burdens that have not Honor.......-.eseeeceerreee 359
Initial Letter. (Chapter XX VILL)... ccec cece cen re ener eee n nen ee rere es 361
“« Varlet, serve to me what cheer ye have.”.......se++eee> er 362
“Brother to dirt like this? ”...... 6. cee ee cere ee rene tenet ee eee en er teen rte es 363
“‘ Armor is heavy, yet it is a proud burden, and a man standeth straight in it.”.. 365
He was Great Now. ..cccee cence eee erence eee een e teen e tees eeaeenes nen e ree eas 367
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXIX.). ccc ec cec cen ee ene eee nee e nnn ree en en ee ees 369
Some Manhood even in a King... ... cece eee cee teen eee renee eee eens ene ae snees 373
Under the Curse of Rome....... cece cece cere ec eee reece eee cece rere er en tenes 375
The Tree and the Fruit... ... cece cece eee ee ene ener erent ee ne nena ne en et aes 377
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXK.).ccccse cree eee nee ee eee ernest ene eee ee ere ee 379
The Fire... ccc cece ccc cee ee cere re eee ee ener nese ea renee Siete Ears Ce ES 382
PU rst cco coke ie kik wee Saha be ese wun sien eS alas da Bp Wesel eS a eee Sem Ne eee Fe ee 384
“A tree is known by its fruits.7.. 2... ..e cece eee eee reece erence eee ers ees ree es 389
“To the gentleman he was abject.”.....+.seeeee seer eerste ner te ttn erence sees 393
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXL.). ccc cece eee e nce e erence ere eee re eens ee tenes 395
“ Toward the monk the coal-burner was deeply reverent.”.........-+seeereeeees 397
“When a slave passed he couldn’t see Wim.”.... 0. +-ee seer sees eee cee rece e te ces 400
“ Presently we struck an incident.”......sseeeee ects cece seen een e reer tenses ertes 403
** Walking on air, she was so PLOUd."... cece cere eee cee eter e teen erent etn s tees 405
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIL.)..cccveveeceeeerereeeeens obs Reeder d tes iees 407
‘ And were soon as sociable as old acquaintances.”......6- sees ee eee reece reeee 409
THE Feastie go eicsccarctece sae ele ea aeca Be RG Gehan ae FONE SRR Ree Ree eG Pe es EET 413
Rah for Protection !...ccceccceccceceeccedeceeesseceateneeesseeseesecerencoeecs ALT
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXII). cescceceeveecceenees *Y seed arate asete earadye se aes oe See 419
“ Starving, eh? Why don’t you grow a nose like fon (et ac 42
PEvolution occa e-dg becow sob een ce oe 0b ble ree LSE Se OE 8 aS Salas S Sa Sinaia ee aan eg Cg er eies 425
Discrepancy in Noses makes no Difference.......+.++++++++- le Silas ous'd aeate Neale ahem 429
My Lord, the Earl Grip... .. ses cence eee reece rere tere cee ene eee esses cree eee ee eee 435

Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIV i)scccecc severe reece ne re ee een eee erences ee ees 437
‘“*He was hungry for a fight.”......-. 4 de elaheteunse chats tote aaa aati en see eae Ve teees cheese Ado
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Xlil

PAGE
“Ves, sire, that is about it, I am afraid... 2.2... eee ee ee eee teen nee eee erences 443
The Orator. ccc cc eee ee cee een eee tee eee een enter nnn ee ane ences asa eree re aas 447
We Constituted the Rear of his Procession,........+sscee eres eee crete tere ceees 450
He was a Man...cc ee cece cece tee eee te eee teen een ene ee en ene eee nese ee eeees 453
Initial Letter. (Chapter ees) ee ae eee re ee eee eee ee ie 455
On the Tramp .... cece cece cece re eee eee eee teen teen ena cen ene tea sane n cee eaes 457
Slaves Warming Themselves... .... ccs sees cee e eee terete eee een e ence ee en nes 460
‘© A sample of one sort of London eka ee eer te ee ee 462
The Slave Driver.. Ling od the (abe eA iboed Sad ealeliateues nee wat 405
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXVI) uedaaeleriinis ki aleae hate aale sat ohne ee new aks 467
“Merely a great big village.”.. 00... sc seee eee cere eee tre ete en entre een ness 468
Sandy Rode by on a Mule..... ss ceeee eee teeter e ett eee eee teen etn ee nnn: 469
The Newsboy... .cceeee eee e eens rene eneee NeoGeo ta Sacsa go tons erate naseiat die’ ahah alacant Sng y 471
Sister, Your Blind is Disarranged........:s cess sence eee e renee te eee ene e eens 473
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXVIL.)... +. cece ce cece eee n ere eeee ee nes Hondas siens 475
"Tt lay there all battered to pulp.”.......-sceee reer eects ecee secre nett eens cers 476
Streets of London. .... cece eee eee eee eee teen eee enn e teen eee enna ee ne ceees 479
‘‘He gave me a sudden look that bit right through into my marrow.”.........- 481
Launcelot Swept In... .. cece cece ence eee ee eee renner ete ee ene n ene eenenees 485
Sir Galahad takes a Header........ cece cece ee eee eee cence ee tee enna e te eeeeces 487
Knights Practicing on the Quiet. ......seeeseee tense eee ee eect eee e etter eer ees 489
“‘Who fails shall sup in Hell to-night.”..........---+-+-++- maaan ate 12 BAG ceaet Dee ats 4go
Slim Jim... cece cece eee eee eee ee ee ene een e cece nese eens see eens ce sens cats 493
Initial Letter. (Chapter XXXIX.)..ccccce cece eceee ees fall ea aN teh lal aan Sed 495
Go it, Slim Jiml?... cece eee eee ee eee eee ete e cere t ene ee nese renee 499
“Great Scott, but there was a sensation.” ........ eee cece eect cece eee cence tees Sor
Brer Merlin Steals the Lariat......... cece cece eee ener ee eee teen ete e tere rn eens 504
Charge of the 500 Knights .......... sees eee c cette renee eee e teen ene eens 507
A Yard of Snowy Church- WATKEN 224 Soe iteewae Meets tee ese pes Meee eee 509
Initial Letter. (Chapter XL.).cccecee cence cence een eee eeees Uisgwsuen ein eae gee tee 511
Three Vears After.... 2... ccc cece etter eee e ence ee neees dig ad Dep zadic is agave 512
“So we took a man-of-war.”... ccc cere eee eee renee ne tee ene ee ames re sare tees 517
Catcher of the Ulster Nine....... cece ee ccc eee e eee ee cece eter eee en cence tenes 519
Snuffing the Candle......... cece ee eee cere nent n center nen e nee sn ncn cess e es 521
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLL). cc ccccce cece cece nen n enn e eee e ence enn tren ees 523
© Fello-Central! oc... cee cee ce eee eee een ee etree eee eee eee er ene enn sree eenes 525
‘Where was my great commerce?” ..... see eee eee eect eee ete e teeter e tenet es 527
Sir Mordred.... ccc cc cece ee cece eee cere renee eee e eters seen e ee ee sere ce eer enenes 529
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLIL.)..ccccece cece cee renee ener ence rene en nena rene ess 531
Deciding an Argument .........ee seer ence eee ence e cence teen nen en ste e een ees 533
“The rest of the tale is just war, pure and simple.” ........ eee eee e eee eee ees 535
“Traitor, now is thy death day come.” .... cc eeee eee eee reese sree terete ee reces 537
“The Church is master Mow... ccc cece cree cece eee e erence cece rete ee teas ee aens 539

One of the 52... cc cece cee eee ee cece ne eee ete n enna eens nena ne recs ceca sees eens 547
XIV LIST OF ILLUSTRA TIONS.

PAGE
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLILD. Jove cece cc cccae cee ee cn cnes cucuseeeeneeesnenseas 549
“‘T could imagine the baby goo-gooing.”. 2.2... . ccc ccc cee ec cece te ceceeseaucecs 550
‘“The sun struck the sea of armor and set it all aflash.”............... cc cuee 555
High Church... scsi ee eece cece eee eee ee eee e tee tbe eee te eee teen teen te eaees “559
After the Explosion... 0... cc. ccc cee cece eee ecb ee ee een eee sete eeenaneeeeus 562
The Church puts its Foot in It........... cc ccc ees eee ce ceeas eee ee ee eens 565
Transformation. .... cc ccc ccc e cece ee ete eect ence cuneeeeeaees pee pe vein eee tease 567
Initial Letter. (Chapter XLIV.). ccc ccc cece ence ee ec nese eee cee eneeenaeencees 569
Tailpiece... cece cece cece ence ee een en nee ee eee enneenneeenasetucewnnees 571
** Delirium, of course, but so real!” Coe nets abe s was aest ee ededcienrevecuivuts 572
“Hands off! my person is sacred.”......... ccc cee cect cece eee e ceeeeeeneeeenes 573
PREFACE.

THE ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are his-
torical, and the episodes which are used to illustrate them are also
historical. It is not pretended that these laws and customs existed in
England in the sixth century ; no, it is only pretended that inasmuch
as they existed in the English and other civilizations of far later times,
it is safe to consider that it is no libel upon the sixth century to sup-
pose them to have been in practice in that day also. One is quite
justified in inferring that wherever one of these laws or customs was
lacking in that remote time, its place was competently filled by a
worse one.

The question as to whether there is such a thing as divine right of
kings is not settled in this book. It was found too difficult. That the
executive head of a nation should be a person of lofty character and
extraordinary ability, was manifest and indisputable; that none but
the Deity could select that head unerringly, was also manifest and
indisputable ; that the Deity ought to make that selection, then, was
likewise manifest and indisputable ; consequently, that He does make
it, as claimed, was an: unavoidable deduction. I mean, until the author
of this book encountered the Pompadour, and Lady Castlemaine and
some other executive heads of that kind; these were found so difficult
to work into the scheme, that it was judged better to take the other
tack in this book, (which must be issued this fall,) and then go into
training and settle the question in another book. It is of course a
thing which ought to be settled, and I am not going to have anything
particular to do next winter anyway.

MARK TWAIN.

HARTFORD, July 21, 1889.
: ; XV
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S Court



A WORD OF EXPLANATION.




T was in Warwick Castle that I came across the curi-
ous stranger whom I am going to talk about. He
attracted me by three things: his candid simplic-
ity, his marvelous familiarity with ancient armor,
and the restfulness of his company—for he did all
the talking. We fell together, as modest people
will, in the tail of the herd that was being shown
through, and he at once began to say things
which interested me. As he talked along, softly,
pleasantly, flowingly, he seemed to drift away
» imperceptibly out of this world and time, and
into some remote era and old forgotten country;
and so he gradually wove such a spell about me
that I seemed to move among the spectres and
shadows and dust and mold ofa gray antiquity,
holding speech with a relic of it! Exactly as I
would speak of my nearest personal friends or
enemies, or my most familiar neighbors, he spoke
of Sir Bedivere, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Launcelot
a of the Lake, Sir Galahad, and all the other great

seee=—. names of the Table Round—and how old, old,
unspeakably old and faded and dry and musty and ancient he came to
look as he went on! Presently he turned to me and said, just as one

might speak of the weather, or any other common matter—
2 : 17
18 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

“You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about
. transposition of epochs—and bodies ?”

I said I had not heard of it. He was so little interested—just as
when people speak of the weather—that he did not notice whether I
made him any answer or not. There was half a moment of silence,
immediately interrupted by the droning voice of the salaried cicerone :

_ “Ancient hauberk, date of the sixth century, time of King Arthur
and the Round Table ; said to have belonged to the knight Sir Sagra-
more le Desirous; observe the round hole through the chain-mail in
the left breast ; can’t be accounted for ; supposed to have been done
with a bullet since invention of firearms—perhaps maliciously by
Cromwell’s soldiers.”

My acquaintance smiled—not a modern smile, but one that must
have gone out of general use many, many centuries ago—and muttered
apparently to himself:

“Wit ye well, J saw zt done.” Then, after a pause, added: ‘I did
it myself.”

By the time I had recovered from the electric surprise of this re-
mark, he was gone.

All that evening I sat by my fire at the Warwick Arms, steeped in
a dream of the olden time, while the rain beat upon the windows, and
the wind roared about the eaves and corners. From time to time I
dipped into old Sir Thomas Malory’s enchanting book, and fed at its
rich feast of prodigies and adventures, breathed-in the fragrance
of its obsolete names, and dreamed again. Midnight being come
at length, I read another tale, for a night-cap—this which here follows,
to-wit :

HOW SIR LAUNCELOT SLEW TWO GIANTS, AND MADE A CASTLE FREE.

Anon withal came there upon him two great giants, well armed, all save the heads,

with two horrible clubs in their hands. Sir Launcelot put his shield afore him, and put
the stroke away of the one giant, and with his sword he clave his head asunder. When his
A WORD OF EXPLANATION. I9

fellow saw that, he ran away as he were wood,* for fear of the horrible strokes, and Sir
Launcelot after him with all his might, and smote him on the shoulder, and clave him to
the middle. Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came afore him three score
ladies and damsels, and all kneeled unto him, and thanked God and him of their deliver-
ance. For, sir, said they, the most. part of us have been here this seven year their
prisoners, and we have worked all manner of silk works for our meat, and we are all great
gentlewomen born, and blessed be the time, knight, that ever thou wert born; for thou
hast done the most worship that ever did knight in the world, that will we bear record, and
we all pray you to tell us your name, that we may tell our friends who delivered us out
of prison, Fair damsels, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. And so he
departed from them and betaught them unto God. And then he mounted upon his
horse, and rode into many strange and wild countries, and through many waters and val-
leys, and evil was he lodged. And at the last by fortune him happened against a night
to come to a fair courtelage, and therein he found an old gentlewoman that lodged him
with a good will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse. And when time
was, his host brought him into a fair garret over the gate to his bed. There Sir Launcelot
unarmed him, and set his harness by him, and went to bed, and anon he fell on sleep. So,
soon after there came one on horseback, and knocked at the gate in great haste. And
when Sir Launcelot heard this he arose up, and looked out at the window, and saw by
the moon-light three knights come riding after that one man, and all three lashed on him
at once with swords, and that one knight turned on them knightly again and defended
him. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, yonder one knight shall I help, for it were shame
for me to see three knights on one, and if he be slain I am partner. of his death. And
therewith he took his harness and went out ata window by a sheet down to the four
knights, and then Sir Launcelot said on high, Turn you knights unto me, and leave
your fighting with that knight. And then they all three left Sir Kay, and turned unto
Sir Launcelot, and there began great battle, for they alight all three, and strake many
strokes at Sir Launcelot, and assailed him on every side. Then Sir Kay dressed him for
to have holpen Sir Launcelot. Nay, sir, said he, I will none of your help, there-
fore as ye will have my help let me alone with them. Sir Kay for the pleasure of the
knight suffered him for to do his will, and so stood aside. And then anon within six
strokes Sir Launcelot had stricken them to the earth.

And then they all three cried, Sir knight, we yield us unto you as man of might
matchless. As to that, said Sir Launcelot, I will not take your yielding unto me,
but so that ye yield you unto Sir Kay the seneschal, on that covenant I will save your
lives and else not. Fair knight, said they; that were we loth to do; for as for Sir
Kay we chased him hither, and had overcome him had ye not been; therefore, to yield
us unto him it were no reason. Well, as to that, said Sir Launcelot, advise you
well, for ye may choose whether ye will die or live, for an ye be yielden, it shall be
unto Sir Kay. Fair knight, then they said, in saving our lives we will do as thou
commandest us. Then shall ye, said Sir Launcelot, on Whitsunday next coming
go unto the court of King Arthur, and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenever,
and put you all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you thither to

* Demented.
20 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

be her prisoners. On the morn Sir Launcelot arose early, and left Sir Kay sleeping: and
Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay’s armour and his shield and armed him, and so he went to
the stable and took his horse, and took his leave of his host, and so he departed. Then
soon after arose Sir Kay and missed Sir Launcelot: and then he espied that he had his
armour and his horse. Now by my faith I know'well that he will grieve some of
the court of King Arthur: for on him knights will be bold, and deem that it is I, and
that will beguile them; and because of his armour and shield I am sure I shall ride in
peace. And then soon after departed Sir Kay, and thanked his host.

As I laid the book down there was a knock at the door, and my
stranger came in. I gave him a pipe and a chair, and made him wel-
come. I also comforted him with a hot Scotch whiskey; gave him
another one; then still another—hoping always for his story. After
a fourth persuader, he drifted into it himself, in a quite simple and
natural way:

THE STRANGER’S HISTORY.

Taman American. I was born and reared in Hartford, in the State
of Connecticut—anyway, just over the river, inthe country. Solama
Yankee of the Yankees—and practical; yes, and nearly barren of senti-
ment, I suppose—or poetry, in other words. My father was a black-
smith, my uncle was a horse doctor, and I was both, along at first. Then
I went over to the great arms factory and learned my real trade; learned
all there was to it; learned to make everything; guns, revolvers,
cannon, boilers, engines, all sorts of labor-saving machinery. Why, I
could make anything a body wanted—anything in the world, it didn’t
make any difference what; and if there wasn’t any quick new-fangled
way to make a thing, I could invent one—and do it as easy as rolling
offalog. I became head superintendent; had a couple of thousand
men under me.

Well, a man like that is a man that is full of fight—that goes with-
out saying. With a couple of thousand rough men under one, one has
plenty of that sort of amusement. I had, anyway. At last I met my
match, and I got my dose. It was during a misunderstanding con-
ducted with crowbars with a fellow we used to call Hercules. He laid
A WORD OF EXPLANATION. 21







me out with a crusher alongside the head that

made everything crack, and seemed to spring
every joint in my skull and
its neighbor. Then the world went

ness, and I didn't feel anything

make it overlap
out in dark-
2 more, and didn't
“yey while.

When I came to again, I was sitting under (ERS an oak tree, on
the grass, with a whole beautiful and broad $2

know anything at all—at least for a

country land-
scape all to myself—nearly. Not entirely; for there was a

fellow fresh out



fellow ona horse, looking down at me—a














of a picture-book. He was in old-time iron ~ Xe
armor from head to heel, with a helmet on SIN 1 i:
his head the shape of a nail- oi fo pas a) 1

lh

keg with slits in it; and he
had a shield, and a sword,

ii



and a prodigious spear; and
his horse had armor on, too,

and a steel horn projecting a
from his forehead, and gor- 7%

geous red and green silk
trappings that hung down all
around him like a bed-quilt,
nearly to the ground. = Za
“Fair sir, will ye just?” =

said this fellow. THE STRANGER’S STORY.
22 A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

“Will I which 2”

‘Will ye try a passage of arms for land or lady or for—”

‘What are you giving me?” I said. “Get along back to your cir-
cus, or I'll report you.”

Now what does this man do but fall back a couple of hundred
yards and then come rushing at me as hard as he could tear, with his
nail-keg bent down nearly to his horse’s neck and his long spear
pointed straight ahead. I saw he meant business, so I was up the tree
when he arrived. —

He allowed that I was his property, the captive of his spear. There
was argument on his side—and the bulk of the advantage—so I judged
it best to humor him. We fixed up an agreement whereby I was to go
with him and he was not to hurt me. I came down, and we started
away, I walking by the side of his horse. We marched comfortably
along, through glades and over brooks which I could not remember to
have seen before—which puzzled me and made me wonder—and yet
we did not come to any circus or sign of a circus. So I gave up the
idea of a circus, and concluded he was from anasylum. But we never
came to any asylum—so I was up a stump, as you may say. I asked
him how far we were from Hartford. He said he had never heard of
the place; which I took to be a lie, but allowed it to go at that. At
the end of an hour we saw a far-away town sleeping ina valley by a
winding river; and beyond it on a hill, a vast gray fortress, with tow-
ers and turrets, the first I had ever seen out of a picture.

“ Bridgeport ?” said I, pointing.

“Camelot,” said he.

My stranger had been showing signs of sleepiness. He caught him-
self nodding, now, and smiled one of those pathetic, obsolete smiles of
his, and said:
A WORD OF EXPLANATION. 23

“T find I can’t go on; but come with me, I've got it all written out,
and you can read it if you like.”

In his chamber, he said: “First, I kept a journal; then by and by,
after years, I took the journal and turned it into a book. How long
ago that was!”

He handed me his manuscript, and pointed out the place where I
should begin:

“Begin here—I've already told you what goes before.” He was
steeped in drowsiness by this time. As I went out at his door I heard
him murmur sleepily: ‘‘ Give you good den, fair sir.”

I sat down by my fire and examined my treasure. The first part
of it—the great bulk of it—was parchment, and yellow with age. I
scanned a leaf particularly and saw that it was a palimpsest. Under
the old dim writing of the Yankee historian appeared traces of a pen-
manship which was older and dimmer still—Latin words and sentences:
fragments from old monkish legends, evidently. I turned to the place
indicated by my stranger and began to read—as follows.


o



CHAPTER I.
CAMELOT.

AMELOT—Camelot,” said I to myself. ‘‘I
don’t seem to remember hearing of it be-



fore. Name of the asylum, likely.”

It was a soft, reposeful summer land-
scape, as lovely as a dream, and as lone-
some as Sunday. The air was full of the
smell of flowers, and the buzzing of in-
sects, and the twittering of birds, and:
there were no people, no wagons, there
was no stir of life, nothing going on. The
road was mainly a winding path with hoof-
prints in it, and now and then a faint trace
of wheels on either side in the grass—
wheels that apparently had a tire as
e é fe1 broad as one’s hand.
ees, Ta ih [2 Presently a fair slip of a girl, about ten

se ee ~:" years old, with a cataract of golden hair
streaming down over her shoulders, came along. Around her head
she wore a hoop of flame-red poppies. It was as sweet an outfit as
ever I saw, what there was of it. She walked indolently along, with
a mind at rest, its peace reflected in her innocent face. The circus
man paid no attention to her; didn’t even seem to see her. And she
—she was no more startled at his fantastic make-up than if she was
used to his like every day of her life. She was going by as indiffer-

27
28 CAMELOT.

ently as she might have gone by a couple of cows; but when she
happened to notice me, ¢hen there was a change! Up went her
hands, and she was turned to stone; her mouth dropped open, her
eyes stared wide and timorously, she was the picture of astonished
curiosity touched with fear. And there she stood gazing, in a sort
of stupefied fascination, till we turned a corner of the wood and
were lost to her view. That she should be startled at me instead
of at the other man, was too many for me; I couldn’t make head or
tail of it. And that she should seem to consider me a spectacle, and
totally overlook her own merits in that respect, was another puzzling
thing, and a display of magnanimity, too, that was surprising in one so
young. There was food for thought here. I moved along as one ina
dream.

As we approached the town, signs of life began to appear. At
intervals we passed a wretched cabin, with a thatched roof, and about
it small fields and garden patches in an indifferent state of cultivation.
There were people, too; brawny men, with long, coarse, uncombed
hair that hung down over their faces and made them look like
animals. They and the women, as a rule, wore a coarse tow-linen
robe that came well below the knee, and a rude sort of sandals, and
many wore an iron collar. The small boys and girls were always
naked; but nobody seemed to know it. All of these people stared at
me, talked about me, ran into the huts and fetched out their families
to gape at me; but nobody ever noticed that other fellow, except to
make him humble salutation and get no response for their pains.

In the town were some substantial windowless houses of stone
scattered among a wilderness of thatched cabins; the streets were
mere crooked alleys, and unpaved; troops of dogs and nude children
played in the sun and made life and noise; hogs roamed and rooted
contentedly about, and one of them lay in a reeking wallow in the
middle of the main thoroughfare and suckled her family. Presently
CAMELOT. 29

there was a distant blare of military music ; it came nearer, still
nearer, and soon a noble cavalcade wound into view, glorious with
plumed helmets and flashing mail and flaunting ban-
ners and rich doublets and horse-cloths and gilded

spearheads; andthrough -







the muck and swine, and













oN
FQyla
wie

o



-naked brats, and joyous dogs, and



shabby huts it took its gallant way,
and in its wake we followed. Fol-
lowed through one winding alley and
then another,—and climbing, always
climbing—till at last we gained the
breezy height where the huge castle
stood. There was an ex-
change of bugle blasts; then

») a parley from the walls,

S=(z¢ ys where men-at-arms, in
pS 99
2 BIND

hauberk and morion
C marched back and forth
Dy =
‘
“C~PHE HEAD OF THE CAVALCADE SWEPT FORWARD.”
with halberd at shoulder under flapping banners with the rude figure

of a dragon displayed upon them; and then the great gates were flung
30 CAMELOT.

open, the drawbridge was lowered, and the head of the cavalcade
swept forward under the frowning arches; and we, following, soon
found ourselves ina great paved court, with towers and turrets stretch-
ing up into the blue air on all the four sides; and all about us the
dismount was going on, and much greeting and ceremony, and run-
ning to and fro, and a gay display of moving and intermingling colors,
and an altogether pleasant stir and noise and confusion.

CHAPTER II.
KING ARTHUR’S COURT.

HE moment I got a chance I slipped aside privately




and touched an ancient common looking man on the ©
a shoulder and said, in an insinuating,









a a“
confidential way—

‘Friend, do me a kindness. Do
Yi. you belong to the asylum, or are you
just here on a visit or some-
thing like that?”

He looked me over stu-
pidly, and said—

“Marry, fair sir,
me seemeth—”

“That will do,” J
said; “TI reckon you
are a patient.”

I moved away,
cogitating, and at the
same time keeping an
eye out for any chance
passenger in his right
mind that might come along and give me some light. I judged I had
found one, presently; so I drew him aside and said in his ear—

“If I could see the head keeper a minute—only just a minute—”

“Prithee do. not let me.”
3 : 33
34 KING ARTHUR'S COURT,

“Let you what ?”

‘« Hinder me, then, if the word please thee better.” Then he went
on to say he was an under-cook and could not stop to gossip, though
he would like it another time; for it would comfort his very liver to
know where I got my clothes. As he started away he pointed and
said yonder was one who was idle enough for my purpose, and was
seeking me besides, no doubt. This was an airy slim boy in shrimp-
colored tights that made him look like a forked carrot; the rest of his
. gear was blue silk and dainty laces and ruffles; and he had long yel-
low curls, and wore a plumed pink satin cap tilted complacently over
his ear. By his look, he was good-natured; by his gait, he was satis-
fied with himself. He was pretty enough to frame. He arrived, looked
me over with a smiling and impudent curiosity; said he had come for
me, and informed me that he was a page.

“Go long,” I said; “you ain’t more than a paragraph.”

It was pretty severe, but I was nettled. However, it never phazed
him; he didn’t appear to know he was hurt. He began to talk and
laugh, in happy, thoughtless, boyish fashion, as we walked along, and
made himself old friends with me at once; asked me all sorts of ques-
tions about myself and about my clothes, but never waited for an
answer—always chattered straight ahead, as if he didn’t know he had
asked a question and wasn’t expecting any reply, until at last he hap-
pened to mention that he was born in the beginning of the year 513.

It made the cold chillscreep over me! I stopped, and said, a little
faintly:

‘Maybe I didn’t hear you just right. Say it again—and say it slow.
What year was it?”

(ORT 3

“213! You don’t look it! Come, my boy, I ama stranger and
friendless: be honest and honorable with me. Are you in your right
mind?”
KING ARTHURS COURT. 35

He said he was.

“ Are these other people in their right minds?”

He said they were.

“And this isn’t an asylum? I mean, it isn’t a place where they
cure crazy people?”
He said it wasn't.








“Well, then,” I said, ‘either I am a lunatic, or something
just as awful has happened. Now

:

tell me, honest and true, where

Pop | ae am [?”
Am “In Kinc Ar-
ai ean THUR’S COURT.”
' aay l i I waited a ai
yy fh ute, to let that idea

nT





shudder its way
home, and then
i said: ;
“And accord-
,ing to your no-









eu
bee
Bey
Gol AM CHE
" : 4 HAN ei
DMN a
ee ean

=
AT



tions, what year is





‘it now?”



‘*528—nine-
teenth of June.”



=

<2 I felt a mourn-
5 FO ca a 2
Tsai" L RECKON * ZZ ful sinking at the
PAT

AP. pee mene)
an Rowe “heart, and mutter-

ed: “I shall never see my friends again—never, never again. They
will not be born for more than thirteen hundred years yet.”

I seemed to believe the boy, I didn’t know why. Something in me
seemed to believe him—my consciousness, as you may say; but my
reason didn’t. My reason straightway began to clamor; that was
36 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

natural. I didn’t know how to go about satisfying it, because I knew
that the testimony of men wouldn't serve—my reason would say they
were lunatics, and throw out their evidence. But all of a sudden I
stumbled on the very thing, just by luck. I knew that the only total.
eclipse of the sun in the first half of the sixth century occurred on the
21st of June, A. D. 528, 0. S., and began at 3 minutes after 12 noon. I
also knew that no total eclipse of the sun was due in what to me was
the present year—z. ¢., 1879. So, if I could keep my anxiety and
curiosity from eating the heart out of me for forty-eight hours, I should
then find out for certain whether this boy was telling me the truth or
not.

Wherefore, being a practical Connecticut man, I now shoved this
whole problem clear out of my mind till its appointed day and hour
should come, in order that I might turn all my attention to the cir-
cumstances of the present moment, and be alert and ready to make
the most out of them that could be made. One thing at a time, is my
motto—and just play that thing for all it is worth, even if it’s only two
pair and a jack. I made up my mind to two things; if it was still the
nineteenth century and I was among lunatics and couldn’t get away,
I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why; and if
on the other hand it was really the sixth century, all right, I didn’t
want any softer thing: I would boss the whole country inside of three
months; for I judged I would have the start of the best-educated man
in the kingdom by a matter of thirteen hundred years and upwards.
I’m not a man to waste time after my mind’s made up and there’s
work on hand; so I said to the page—-

“Now, Clarence, my boy—if that might happen to be your name—
T'll get you to post me up a little if you don’t mind. What is the
name of that apparition that brought me here?”

“My master and thine? That is the good knight and great lord
Sir Kay the Seneschal, foster brother to our liege the king.”
KING ARTHUR'S COURT. 37

“Very good; go on, tell me everything.”

He made a long ‘story of it; but the part that had immediate
interest for me was this. He said I was Sir Kay’s prisoner, and that
in the due course of custom I would be flung into a dungeon and left
there on scant commons until my friends ransomed me—unless I
chanced to rot, first. I saw that the last chance had the best show,
but I didn’t waste any bother about that; time was too precious.
The page said, further, that dinner was about ended in the great hall
by this time, and that as soon as the sociability and the heavy drink-
ing should begin, Sir Kay would have me in and exhibit me before
King Arthur and his illustrious knights seated at the Table Round,
and would brag about his exploit in capturing me, and would probably
exaggerate the facts a little, but it wouldn't be good form for me to
correct him, and not over safe, either; and when I was done being
exhibited, then ho for the dungeon; but he, Clarence, would find a
way to come and see me every now and then, and cheer me up, and
help me get word to my friends.

Get word to my friends! I thanked him; I couldn’t do less; and
about this time a lackey came to say I was wanted; so Clarence led
me in and took me off to one side and sat down by me.

Well, it was a curious kind of spectacle, and interesting. It was an
immense place, and rather naked—yes, and full of loud contrasts. It
was very, very lofty; so lofty that the banners depending from the
arched beams and girders away up there floated in a sort of twilight;
there was a stone-railed gallery at each end, high up, with musicians
in the one, and’ women, clothed in stunning colors, in the other. The
floor was of big stone flags laid in black and white squares, rather bat-
tered by age and use, and needing repair. As to ornament, there
wasn’t any, strictly speaking; though on the walls hung some huge
tapestries which were probably taxed as works of art; battle-pieces,
they were, with horses shaped like those which children cut out of
38 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

paper or create in gingerbread; with men on them in scale armor
whose scales are represented by round holes—so that the man’s coat
looks as if it had been done with a biscuit-punch. There was a fire-
place big enough to camp in; and its projecting sides and hood, of



“GO 'LONG,” I SAID; ‘‘ YOU AIN’T MORE THAN A PARAGRAPH.”

carved and pillared stone-work, had the look of a cathe-
dral door. Along the walls stood men-at-arms, in breast-
_ plate and morion, with halberds for their only weapon—
rigid as statues; and that is what they looked like.
In the middle of this groined and vaulted public square was an
KING ARTHURS COURT. 39

oaken table which they called the Table Round. It was as large as a
circus ring; and around it sat a great company of men dressed in such
various and splendid colors that it hurt one’s eyes to look at them.
They wore their plumed hats, right along, except that whenever one
addressed himself directly to the king, he lifted his hat a trifle just as
ne was beginning his remark.

Mainly they were drinking—from entire ox horns; but a few were
still munching bread or gnawing beef bones. There was about an
average of two dogs to one man; and these sat in expectant attitudes
till a spent bone was flung to them, and then they went for it by bri-
gades and divisions, with a rush, and there ensued a fight which filled
the prospect with a tumultuous chaos of plunging heads and bodies
and flashing tails, and the storm of howlings and barkings deafened all
speech for the time; but that was no matter, for the dog-fight was
always a bigger interest anyway; the men rose, sometimes, to observe
it the better and bet on it, and the ladies and the musicians stretched
themselves out over their balusters with the same object; and all
broke into delighted ejaculations from time to time. In the end, the
winning dog stretched himself out comfortably with his bone between
his paws, and proceeded to growl over it, and gnaw it, and grease the
floor with it, just as fifty others were already doing; and the rest of
the court resumed their previous industries and entertainments.

Asarule the speech and behavior of these people were gracious
and courtly; and I noticed that they were good and serious listeners
when anybody was telling anything—I mean in a dog-fightless inter-
val. And plainly, too, they were a childlike and innocent lot; tell-
ing lies of the stateliest pattern with a most gentle and winning
naivety, and ready and willing to listen to anybody else’s lie, and
believe it, too. It was hard to associate them with anything cruel or
dreadful; and yet they dealt in tales of blood and suffering with a
guileless relish that made me almost forget to shudder.
40 KING ARTHUR'S COURT.

I was not the only prisoner present. There were twenty or more.
Poor devils, many of them were maimed, hacked, carved, in a fright-
ful way; and their hair, their faces, their clothing, were caked with
black and stiffened drenchings of blood. They were suffering sharp
physical pain, of course; and weariness, and hunger and thirst, no
doubt; and at least none had given them the comfort of a wash, or
even the poor charity of a lotion for their wounds; yet you never
heard them utter a moan or a groan, or saw them show any sign of
restlessness, or any disposition to complain. The thought was forced
upon me: ‘‘ The rascals—they have served other people so in their
day; it being their oivn turn, now, they were not expecting any better
treatment than this; so their philosophical bearing is not an outcome
of mental training, intellectual fortitude, reasoning; it is mere animal
training; they are white Indians.”

Ray tee Pe ee ep





4

~






CHAPTER III.
KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

AINLY the Round Table talk was
monologues—narrative accounts of
the adventures in which these pris-
oners were captured and their friends
and backers killed and stripped of
their steeds and armor. As a gen-

7 eral thing—as far as I could make out—these murder-

ous adventures were not forays undertaken to avenge
injuries, nor to settle old disputes or sudden fallings
out; no, as a rule they were simply duels between
strangers—duels between people who had never even
been introduced to each other, and between whom
existed no cause of offense whatever. Many a time I
had seen a couple of boys, strangers, meet by chance,
and say simultaneously, “I can lick you,” and go at it
on the spot; but I had always imagined until now,
that that sort of thing belonged to children only, and
was a sign and mark of childhood; but here were these
big boobies sticking to it and taking pride in it clear

# “7 up into full age and beyond. Vet there
yo aa
Aig.

-£¢2—. Was something very engaging about these

great simple-hearted creatures, something. attractive and lovable.
There did not seem to be brains enough in the entire nursery, so to
speak, to bait a fish-hook with; but you didn’t seem to mind that, after

43
44. KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

a little, because you soon saw that brains were not needed in a society
like that, and, indeed would have marred it, hindered it, spoiled its
symmetry—perhaps rendered its existence impossible.

There was a fine manliness observable in almost every face; and
in some a certain loftiness and sweetness that rebuked your belittling
criticisms and stilled them. A most noble benignity and purity
reposed in the countenance of him they called Sir Galahad, and like-
wise in the king’s also; and there was majesty and greatness in the
giant frame and high bearing of Sir Launcelot of the Lake.

There was presently an incident which centred the general interest
upon this Sir Launcelot. Ata sign from a sort of master of ceremo-
nies, six or eight of the prisoners rose and came forward in a body and
knelt on the floor and lifted up their hands toward the ladies’ gallery and
begged the grace of a word with the queen. The most conspicuously
situated lady in that massed flower-bed of feminine show and finery in-
clined her head by way of assent, and then the spokesman of the prison-
ers delivered himself and his fellows into her hands for free pardon, ran-
som, captivity or death, as she in her good pleasure might elect; and
this, as he said, he was doing by command of Sir Kay the Seneschal,
whose prisoners they were, he having vanquished them by his single
might and prowess in sturdy conflict in the field.

Suprise and astonishment flashed from face to face all over the
house; the queen’s gratified smile faded out at the name of Sir Kay,
and she looked disappointed; and the page whispered in my ear with
an accent and manner expressive of extravagant derision—

“Sir Kay, forsooth! Oh, call me pet names, dearest, call me a
marine! In twice a thousand years shall the unholy invention of
man labor at odds to beget the fellow to this majestic lie!”

Every eye was fastened with severe inquiry upon Sir Kay. But he
was equal to the occasion. He got up and played his hand like a
major—and took every trick. He said he would state the case, exactly
KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 45

according to the facts; he would tell the simple straightforward tale,
without comment of his own; ‘‘and then,” said he, “if ye find glory
and honor due, ye will give it unto him who is the mightiest man of
his hands that ever bare shield or strake with sword in the ranks of
Christian battle—even him that sitteth there!” and he pointed to Sir
Launcelot. Ah, he fetched them; it was a rattling good stroke. Then
he went on and told how Sir Launcelot, seeking adventures, some brief
time gone by, killed seven giants at one sweep of his sword, and set
a hundred and forty-two captive maidens free; and then went further,
still seeking adventures, and found him (Sir Kay) fighting a desperate
fight against nine foreign knights, and straightway took the battle
solely into his own hands, and conquered the nine; and that night Sir
Launcelot rose quietly, and dressed him in Sir Kay’s armor and took
Sir Kay’s horse and gat him away into distant lands, and vanquished
sixteen knights in one pitched battle and thirty-four in another; and
all these and the former nine he made to swear that about Whitsun-
tide they would ride to Arthur’s court and yield them to Queen Guen-
ever’s hands as captives of Sir Kay the Seneschal, spoil of his knightly
prowess; and now here were these half dozen, and the rest would be
along as soon as they might be healed of their desperate wounds.

Well, it was touching to see the queen blush and smile, and look
embarrassed and happy, and fling furtive glances at Sir Launcelot that
would have got him shot in Arkansas, to a dead certainty.

Everybody praised the valor and magnanimity of Sir Launcelot;
and as for me, I was perfectly amazed, that one man, all by himself,
should have been able to beat down and capture such battalions
of practiced fighters. I said as much to Clarence; but this mocking
featherhead only said—

‘An Sir Kay had had time to get another skin of sour wine into
him, ye had seen the accompt doubled.”

I looked at the boy in sorrow; and as I looked I saw the cloud of a
46 KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

deep despondency settle upon his countenance. I followed the direc-
tion of his eye, and saw that a very old and white-bearded man,
clothed in a flowing black gown, had risen and was standing at the
table upon unsteady legs, and feebly swaying his ancient head and
surveying the company with his watery and wandering eye. The
same suffering look that was in the page’s face was observable in all



‘*THE FLIES BUZZED AND BIT UNMOLESTED.”

the faces around—the look of dumb creatures who know that they
must endure and make no moan.

‘“‘ Marry, we shall have it again,” sighed the boy; ‘that same old
weary tale that he hath told a thousand times in the same words, and
that he zzé/ tell till he dieth, every time he hath gotten his barrel full
and feeleth his exaggeration-mill a-working. Would God I had died
or I saw this day!”
KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 47

“Who is it?”

“Merlin, the mighty liar and magician, perdition singe him for
the weariness he worketh with his one tale! But that men fear him
for that he hath the storms and the lightnings and all the devils that
be in hell at his beck and call, they would have dug his entrails out
these many years ago to get at that tale and squelch it. He telleth
it always in the third person, making
believe he is too modest to glorify
himself—maledictions light upon him,






misfortune be his dole!
Good friend, prithee
call me for evensong.” \
The boy nestled
himself upon my
shoulder and pretend-
ed to go to sleep. The




old man began his ( sworn | = ies a

Ss.

SA cay

ovate SWAY

tale; and presently the |
lad was asleep in real-

ity; so also were the 3

dogs, and the court, *,

the lackeys, and the a ae

files of men-at-arms. ‘“sIR ARTHUR TOOK IT UP BY THE HANDLES.”

The droning voice droned on; a soft snoring arose on all sides and
supported it like a deep and subdued accompaniment of wind instru-
ments. Some heads were bowed upon folded arms, some lay back
with open mouths that issued unconscious music; the flies buzzed and
bit, unmolested, the rats swarmed softly out from a hundred holes, ‘and
pattered about, and made themselves at home everywhere; and one
of them sat up like a squirrel on the king’s head and held a bit of
cheese in its hands and nibbled it, and dribbled the crumbs in the
48 KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND.

king’s face with naive and impudent irreverence. It was a tranquil
scene, and restful to the weary eye and the jaded spirit.

This was the old man’s tale. He said:

‘Right so the king and Merlin departed, and went until an hermit
that was a good man anda great leech. So the hermit searched all
his wounds and gave him good salves; so the king was there three
days, and then were his wounds well amended that he might ride and
go, and so departed. And as they rode, Arthur said, I have no
sword. No force,* said Merlin, hereby is a sword that shall be
yours and I may. So they rode till they came toa lake, the which
was a fair water and broad, and in the midst of the lake Arthur was
ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in that
hand. Lo, said Merlin, yonder is that sword that I spake of.
With that they saw a damsel going upon the lake. What damsel is
that? said Arthur. That is the Lady of the lake, said Merlin; and
within that lake is a rock, and therein is as fair a place as any on
earth, and richly beseen, and this damsel will come to you anon, and
then speak ye fair to her that she will give you that sword. Anon
withal came the damsel unto Arthur and saluted him, and he her
again. Damsel, said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the
arm holdeth above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no
sword. Sir Arthur King, said the damsel, that sword is mine, and
if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it. By my
faith, said Arthur, I will give you what gift ye will ask.- Well, said
the damsel, go ye into yonder barge and row yourself to the sword,
and take it and the scabbard with you, and I will ask my gift when I
see my time. So Sir Arthur and Merlin alight, and tied their horses
to two trees, and so they went into the ship, and when they came to
the sword that the hand held, Sir Arthur took it up by the handles,
and took it with him. And the arm and the hand went under the

* No matter.
KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND. 49

water; and so they came unto the land and rode forth. And then Sir
Arthur saw arich pavilion. What signifieth yonder pavilion? It is
the knight’s pavilion, said Merlin, that ye fought with last, Sir Pelli-
nore, but he is out, he is not there; he hath ado with a knight of
yours, that hight Egglame, and they have fought together, but at the
last Egglame fled, and else he had been dead, and he hath chased
him even to Carlion, and we shall meet with him anon in the highway.
That is well said, said Arthur, now have I a sword, now will I wage
battle with him, and be avenged on him. Sir, ye shall not so, said
Merlin, for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing, so that ye
shall have no worship to have ado with him; also, he will not lightly
be matched of one knight living; and therefore it is my counsel, let
him pass, for he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons,
after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space ye shall be
right glad to give him your sister to wed. When I see him, I will do
as ye advise me, said Arthur. Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword,
and liked it passing well. Whether liketh you better, said Merlin,
the sword or the scabbard? Me liketh better the sword, said
Arthur. Ye are more unwise, said Merlin, for the scabbard is worth
ten of the sword, for while ye have the scabbard upon you ye shall
never lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore, keep well
the scabbard always with you. So they rode unto Carlion, and by
the way they met with Sir Pellinore; but Merlin had done such a craft
that Pellinore saw not Arthur, and he passed by without any words.
I marvel, said Arthur, that the knight would not speak. Sir, said
Merlin, he saw you not; for and he had seen you ye had not lightly
departed. So they came unto Carlion, whereof his knights were pass-
ing glad. And when they heard of his adventures they marveled that
he would jeopard his person so alone. But all men of worship said
it was merry to be under such a chieftain that would put his person in

adventure as other poor knights did.”
‘
CHAPTER IV.




SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.

T seemed to me that this quaint lie was most
simply and beautifully told; but then
I had heard it only once, and that
makes a difference; it was pleasant to
the others when it was fresh, no doubt.
i Sir Dinadan the Humorist was the first to awake, and

he soon roused the rest with a practical joke of a suffi-
ciently poor quality. He tied some
metal mugs to a dog’s tail and turned
him loose, and he tore around and
around the place in a frenzy of fright,
with all the other dogs bellowing after
him and battering and crashing against
everything that came in their way and
making altogether a chaos of confusion
and a most deafening din and turmoil;
at which every man and woman of the
y _ multitude laughed till the tears flowed,
/ and some fell out of their chairs and
wallowed on the floor in ecstasy. It

was just like so many children. Sir





Dinadan was so proud of his exploit
that he could not keep from telling over and over again, to weariness,
how the immortal idea happened to occur to him; and as is the way
with humorists of his breed, he was still laughing at it after every-
body else had got through. He was so set up that he conclud- ~

~ 33
54 SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.

ed to make a crue, SPeech—of course a humorous speech. I think
no ;
I never heard ye so many old played-out jokes strung together

in my life. He was worse than the minstrels, worse than the























clown in the circus. It seemed peculiarly sad to sit here,

thirteen hun- dred years before I was born and listen again
to poor, flat, worm-eaten jokes that had given me the dry
gripes when I was a boy thirteen hundred years afterwards.
It about con- ie vinced me that there isn’t any such
thing as a y new joke possible. Everybody
laughed at these antiquities—but then they
always do; I had no- ticed that, centuries later. How-
ever, of course the
boy. No, he scoffed;

thing he wouldn’t scoff

scoffer didn’t laugh—I mean the
there wasn’t any-
at. He said the

most of Sir Dinadan’s

jokes were _. rotten and
the rest ” were petri-
fied. I said “ petrified”

was good; as I believed, myself, that the
only right way to classify the majestic
ages of some of those jokes was by geo-
logic periods. But that neat idea hit the
boy in a’ blank
place, for geol-
ogy hadn’t
been invented
yet. However,



THE PRACTICAL JOKER’S Joxr,
- 1 made a note of the remark, and calculated to educate the
commonwealth up to it if I pulled through. It is no use to


4

SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST. 55

throw a good thing away merely because the market isn’t ripe
yet.

Now. Sir Kay arose and began to fire up on his history-mill, with
me for fuel. -It was time for me to feel serious, and I did. Sir Kay
told how he had encountered me in a far land of barbarians, who all
wore the same ridiculous garb that I did—a garb that was a work of
enchantment, and intended to make the wearer secure from hurt by
human hands. However, he had nullified the force of the enchant-
ment by prayer, and had killed my thirteen knights in a three-hours’
battle, and taken me prisoner, sparing my life in order that so strange
a curiosity as I was might be exhibited to the wonder and admira-
tion of the king and the court. He spoke of me all the time, in the
blandest way, as “this prodigious giant,” and “this horrible sky-

’

towering monster,” and “this tusked and taloned man-devouring
ogre;” and everybody took in all this bosh in the naivest way, and
never smiled or seemed to notice that there was any discrepancy
between these watered statistics and me. He said that in trying
to escape from him I sprang into the top of a tree two hundred
cubits high at a single bound, but he dislodged me with a stone
the size of a cow, which ‘all-to brast” the most of my bones, and
then swore me to appear at Arthur’s court for sentence. He
ended by condemning me to die at noon on the 2Ist; and was
so little concerned about it that-he stopped to yawn before he named
the date. .

I was in a dismal state by this time; indeed, I was hardly enough
in my right mind to keep the run of a dispute that sprung up as to
how I had better be killed, the possibility of the killing being doubted
by some, because of the enchantment in my clothes. And yet it was
nothing but an ordinary suit of fifteen-dollar slop-shops. Still, I was
sane enough to notice this detail, to-wit: many of the terms used in
the most. matter-of-fact way by this great assemblage of the first
56 SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST.



ladies and gentlemen in the land would have
made a Comanche blush. Indelicacy is too mild
a term to convey the idea. However, I had read ee
“Tom Jones,” and ‘Roderick Random,” and
other books of that kind, and knew that the-
highest and first ladies and gentlemen in Eng-









land had remained little or no cleaner
in their talk, and in the morals and
conduct which such talk implies, clear
up to a hundred years ago; in fact clear
into our own nineteenth century—in
which century, broadly speaking, the
earliest samples of the real lady and



<——,

real gentleman dis- 2.
“ee



coverable in English
history—or in Euro-
pean history, for that
matter—may be said
to have made their



appearance. Suppose

f We

Sir Walter, instead of i Wy
-§ =)"

putting the conversa- | aF | \

Gy

tions into the mouths CZ eo











of his characters, had Zs
allowed the charac- Ale
ters to speak for (4% ee
themselves? We
should have had talk
from Rachel and Ivan-
hoe and the soft lady

Rowena which would ‘QUEEN GUENEVER WAS AS NAIVELY INTERESTED AS THE REST.”




I ean og AEN ENDL LT OR REE PEND





SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST. 57

embarrass a tramp in our day. However, to the unconsciously indeli-
cate all things are delicate. King Arthur’s people were not aware
that they were indecent, and I had presence of mind enough not to
mention it.

They were so troubled about my enchanted clothes that they were
mightily relieved, at last, when old Merlin swept the difficulty away
for them with a common-sense hint. He asked them why they were
so dull—why didn’t it occur to them to strip me. In half a minute I
was as naked as a pair of tongs! And dear, dear, to think of it: I



was the only embarrassed person there. Everybody discussed me;
and did it as unconcernedly as if I had been a cabbage. Queen
Guenever was as naively interested as the rest, and said she had
never seen anybody with legs just like mine before. It was the only
compliment I got—if it was a compliment.

Finally I was carried off in one direction, and my perilous clothes
in another. I was shoved into a dark and narrow cell in a dungeon,
with some scant remnants for dinner, some moldy straw for a bed,
and no end of rats for company.









nd fell to
“AIL right,” I said resignedly, “let the dream go on; I’m in no

light-hearted way, a

CHAPTER V.

AN INSPIRATION.

i

\



on
oot



WAS so tired that even my fears were
li. not able to keep me awake long.

When I next came to myself, I
seemed to have been asleep a very
long time. My first thought was,
“Well, what an astonishing dream
I've had! I reckon I’ve waked
only just in time to keep from be-
ing hanged or drowned or burned,
or something. . . . [ll nap
again till the whistle blows, and
then I'll go down to the arms fac-
tory and have it out with Hercules.”

But just then I heard the harsh
music of rusty chains and bolts, a
light flashed in my eyes, and that
butterfly, Clarence, stood before
me! I gasped with surprise; my
breath almost got away from me.

“What!” I said, “you here
yet? Go along with the rest of the
dream! scatter!”

But he only laughed, in his

making fun of my sorry plight.

. 61
62 AN INSPIRATION.

‘‘Prithee what dream?” |

“What dream? Why, the dream that I am in Arthur’s court—a
person who never existed; and that I am talking to you, who are
nothing but a work of the imagination.”

“Oh, la, indeed! and is it a dream that you're to be burned to-
morrow? ‘Ho-ho—answer me that!”

The shock that went through me was distressing. JI now began to
reason that my situation was in the last degree serious, dream or no
dream; for I knew by past experience of the life-like intensity of
dreams, that to be burned to death, even in a dream, would be very
far from being a jest, and was a thing to be avoided, by any means,
fair or foul, that I could contrive. So I said beseechingly:

“Ah, Clarence, good boy, only friend Pve got,—for you are my
friend, aren't you?——don’t fail me; help me to devise some way of
escaping from this place !”

‘Now do but hear thyself! Escape? Why, man, the corridors
are in guard and keep of men-at-arms.”

‘No doubt, no doubt. But how many, Clarence? Not many, I
hope?”

“Full a score. One may not hope to escape.” After a pause—
hesitatingly: ‘‘and there be other reasons—and weightier.”

“Other ones? What are they?” /

‘‘Well, they say—oh, but I daren’t, indeed I daren’t!”

“Why, poor lad, what is the matter? Whydo you blench? Why
do you tremble so?”

‘‘Oh, in sooth, there is need! Ido want to tell you, but—’

“Come, come, be brave, be a man—speak out, there’s a good lad!”

He hesitated, pulled one way by desire, the other way by fear;
then he stole to the door and peeped out, listening; and finally crept
close to me and put his mouth to my ear and told me his fearful news
in a whisper, and with all the cowering apprehension of one who was


AN INSPIRATION. 63






venturing upon awful ground and speaking of things whose very men-
tion might be freighted with death.

‘Merlin, in his malice, has woven a spell about this dungeon, and
_there bides not the man in these kingdoms that would be desperate
- enough to essay to cross its lines. with you! Now God pity me, I have
told it! Ah, be kind to me,
be merciful to a poor boy who







means thee well; for an thou

_ betray me I am lost!”

I laughed the only really
gan




refreshing laugh I
had had for some
time; and shouted—

‘“‘Merlin has
wrought a spell!
Merlin, forsooth!
That cheap old
humbug, that maun-
dering old ass?
Bosh, pure bosh,the
silliest bosh in the
world! Why, it does
seem to me that of all
the childish, idiotic, : : : :
chuckle-headed,chick- ‘OH, BEWARE! THESE ARE AWFUL WORDS!”
en-livered superstitions that ev—oh, damn Merlin!”

_ But Clarence had slumped to his knees before I had half finished,

and he was like to go out of his mind with fright.

“Oh, beware! These are awful words! Any moment these walls

may crumble upon us if you say such things. Oh call them back be-
fore it is too late!”
64 AN INSPIRATION.

Now this strange exhibition gave me a good idea and set me to
thinking. If everybody about here was so honestly and sincerely
afraid of Merlin’s pretended magic as Clarence was, certainly a supe-
rior man like me ought to be shrewd enough to contrive some way to
take advantage of such a state of things. I went on thinking, and
worked out a plan. Then I said:

“Get up. Pull yourself together; look me in the eye. Do you
know why I laughed?” _

‘‘No—but for our blessed Lady’s sake, do it no more.”

“Well, Pil tell you why I laughed. Because I’m a magician my-
self.”

“Thou!” The boy recoiled a step, and caught his breath, for the
thing hit him rather sudden; but the aspect which he took on was
very, very respectful. I took quick note of that; it indicated that a
humbug didn’t need to have a reputation in this asylum; people stood
ready to take him at his word, without that. I resumed:

“Tve known Merlin seven hundred years, and he—’

«Seven hun—” ,

‘Don’t interrupt me. He has died and come alive again thirteen
times, and traveled under a new name every time: Smith, Jones,
Robinson, Jackson, Peters, Haskins, Merlin—a new alias every time
he turns up. I knew him in Egypt three hundred years ago; I knew
him in India five hundred years ago—he is always blethering around
in my way, everywhere I go; he makes me tired. He don’t amount to
shucks, as a magician; knows some of the old common tricks, but has
never got beyond the rudiments, and never will. He is well enough
for the provinces—one- night stands and that sort of thing, you
know—but dear me, 4e oughtn’t to set up for an expert—anyway not
where there’s a real artist. Now look here, Clarence, Iam going to
stand your friend, right along, and in return you must be mine. 1
want you to do mea favor. I want you to get word to the king that




AN INSPIRATION. 65

I am a magician myself—and the Supreme Grand High-yu-Mucka-
muck and head of the tribe, at that; and I want him to be made
to understand that I am just quietly arranging a little calamity
here that will make the fur fly in these realms if Sir Kay’s project
is carried out and any harm comes to me. Will you get that to the
king for me?”

The poor boy was in sucha state that he could hardly answer me.
It was pitiful to see a creature so terrified, so unnerved, so demoralized.
But he promised everything; and on my side he made me promise
over and over again that I would remain his friend, and never turn
against him or cast any enchantments upon him. Then he worked
his way out, staying himself with his hand. along the wall, like a sick
person.

Presently this thought occurred to me: how heedless I have been!
When the boy gets calm, he will wonder why a great magician like
me should have begged a boy like him to help me get out of this place;
he will put this and that together, and will see that I am a humbug.

I worried over that heedless blunder for an hour, and called myself
a great many hard names, meantime. But finally it occurred to me
all of a sudden that these animals didn't reason; that ¢hey never put
this and that together; that all their talk showed that they didn’t
know a discrepancy when they saw it. I was at rest, then.

But as soon as one is at rest, in this world, off he goes on some-
thing else to worry about. It occurred to me that I had made
another blunder: I had sent the boy off to alarm his betters with a
threat—I intending to invent a calamity at my leisure; now the
people who are the readiest and eagerest and willingest to swallow
miracles are the very ones who are the hungriest to see you perform
them; suppose I should be called on for a sample? Suppose I should
be asked to name my calamity? Yes, I had made a blunder; I ought

to have invented my calamity first. ‘What shall I do? what can I
5
66 AN INSPIRATION..

say, to gain a little time?” Iwas in trouble again; in the deepest
kind of trouble: . . . ‘‘ There’s a footstep!—they’re coming. If I had
only just a moment to think. .... Good, I’ve got it. Tm all right.”

You see, it was the eclipse. It came into my mind, in the nick of
time, how Columbus, or Cortez, or one of those people, played an
eclipse as a saving trump once, on some savages, and I saw my
chance. I could play it myself, now; and it wouldn't be any plagiar- ,













‘HE WAS FRIGHTED EVEN TO THE MARROW.”

ism, either, because I should get it in nearly a thousand years ahead
of those parties. 7

Clarence came in, subdued, distressed, and said:

‘“‘T hasted the message to our liege the king, and straightway he
had me to his presence. He was frighted even to the marrow, and was
minded to give order for your instant enlargement, and that you be
clothed in fine raiment and lodged as befitted one so great; but then
AN INSPIRATION. 6 7

came Merlin and spoiled all; for he persuaded the king that you are
mad, and know not whereof you speak; and said your threat is but
foolishness and idle vaporing. They disputed long, but in the end,
Merlin, scoffing, said, ‘Wherefore hath he not zamed his brave
calamity? Verily it is because he cannot.’ This thrust did in a most
sudden sort close the king’s mouth, and he could offer naught to turn
the argument; and so, reluctant, and full loth to do you the dis-
courtesy, he yet prayeth you to consider his perplexed case, as
noting how the matter stands, and name the calamity—if so be you
have determined the nature of it and the time of its coming. Oh,
prithee delay not; to delay at such a time were to double and treble
the perils that already compass thee about. Oh, be thou wise—name
the calamity!”

I allowed silence to accumulate while I got my impressiveness
together, and then said:

“How long have I been shut up in this hole?”

“ Ye were a up when yesterday was well spent. It is 9 of the
morning now.’

“No! Then I have slept well, sure enough. Nine in the morning
now! And yet it is the very complexion of midnight, to a shade.
This is the 20th, then?”

“ The 20th—yes.”

“And I am to be burned alive to-morrow.” The boy shuddered.

“ At what hour?”

“At high noon.”

“Now then, I will tell you what to say.” I paused, and stood
over that cowering lad a whole minute in awful silence; then in a
voice deep, measured, charged with doom, I began, and rose by
dramatically graded stages to my colossal climax, which I delivered
in as sublime and noble a way as ever I did such a thing in my life:
“Go back and tell the king that at that hour I will smother the
68 AN INSPIRATION.

whole world in the dead blackness of midnight; I will blot out the
sun, and he shall never shine again; the fruits of the earth shall rot
for lack of light and warmth, and the peoples of the earth shall famish
and die, to the last man!”

I had to carry the boy out myself, he sunk into such a collapse. I

handed him over to the soldiers, and went back.


[= ;

Me" 2 yp,

—(4f


CHAPTER VI.

THE ECLIPSE.
















mere knowledge of a fact is pale; but when
you come to realize your fact, it takes on color.
It is all the difference between hearing of a
man being stabbed to the heart, and seeing it

done. - In the stillness and the darkness, the

=

===

a

knowledge that I was in deadly danger took

——————
Sa

to itself deeper and deeper meaning all the
time; a something which was realization
crept inch by inch through my veins and
turned me cold.
But it is a blessed provision of nature
that at times like these, as soon as a
man’s mercury has got down to a cer-
tain point there comes a revulsion,
and he rallies. Hope springs up, and
cheerfulness along with it, and then
he is in good shape to do something
for himself, if anything can be done.
When my rally came, it came with
a bound. I said to myself that my
eclipse would be sure to save me, and make me the greatest man in

the kingdom besides; and straightway my mercury went up to the
7

tH qe
a

PU
a

fie

HH
He
Hy]
72 THE ECLIPSE,

top of the tube, and my solicitudes all vanished. I was as happy a
man-as there was in the world. I was even impatient for to-morrow
to come, I so wanted to gather-in that great triumph and be the cen-
tre of all the nation’s wonder and reverence. Besides, in a business
way it would be the making of me; I knew that.

Meantime there was one thing which had got pushed into the
background of my mind. That was the half-conviction that when the
nature of my proposed calamity should be reported to those supersti-
tious. people, it would have such an effect that they would want to
compromise. So, by and by when I heard footsteps coming, that
thought was recalled to me, and I said to myself, ‘‘As sure as any-
thing, it’s the compromise. Well, if it is good, all right, I will accept;
but if it isn’t, I mean to stand my ground and play my hand forall it
is worth.” :

The door opened, and some men-at-arms appeared. ‘The leader
said—

“ The stake is ready. Come!”

The stake! The strength went out of me, and I almost fell down.
It is hard. to get one’s breath at such a time, such lumps come into
one’s throat, and such gaspings; but as soon as I could speak, I said:

“But this is a mistake—the execution is to-morrow.”

‘“‘Order changed; been set forward a day. Haste thee!”

Iwas lost. There was no help for me. I was dazed, stupefied; I
had no command over myself; I only wandered purposelessly about,
like one out of his mind; so the soldiers took hold of me, and pulled me
along with them, out of the cell and along the maze of underground
corridors, and finally into the fierce glare of daylight and the upper
world. As we stepped into the vast inclosed court of the castle I got
a shock; for the first thing I saw was the stake, standing in the centre,
and near it the piled fagots and a monk. On all four sides of the
cour the seated multitudes rose rank above rank, forming sloping ter-


THE ECLIPSE. 73

races that were rich with color. The king and the queen sat in their
thrones, the most conspicuous figures there, of course.

To note all this, occupied but a second. The next second Clar-
ence had slipped from some place of concealment and was pouring
news into my ear, his eyes beaming with triumph and gladness. He
said:

‘Tis through me the change was wrought! And main hard have I
worked to do it, too. But when IJ revealed to them the calamity in store,
and saw how mighty was the terror it did engender, then saw I also
that this was the time to strike! Wherefore I diligently pretended,
unto this and that and the other one, that your power against the sun
could not reach its full until the morrow; and so if any would
save the sun and the world, you must be slain to-day, whilst your
enchantments are but in the weaving and lack potency. Odsbodi-
kins, it was but a dull lie, a most indifferent invention, but you
should have seen them seize it and swallow it, in the frenzy of their
fright, as it were salvation sent from heaven; and all the while was J
laughing in my sleeve the one moment, to see them so cheaply deceived,
and glorifying God the next, that He was content to let the meanest
of His creatures be His instrument to the saving of thy life. Ah, how
happy has the matter sped! You will not need to do the suna real
hurt—ah, forget not that, on your soul forget it not! Only make a
little darkness—only the littlest little darkness, mind, and cease with
_ that. . It will be sufficient. They will see that I spoke falsely,—being
ignorant, as they will fancy—and with the falling of the first shadow
of that darkness you shall see them go mad with fear; and they will
set you free and make you great! Go to thy triumph, now! But remem-
ber—ah, good friend; I implore thee remember my supplication, and
do the blessed sun no hurt. For my sake, thy true friend.”

I choked out some words through my grief and misery; as muchas
to say I would spare the sun; for which the lad’s eyes paid me back
74 THE ECLIPSE.

with such deep and loving gratitude that I had not the heart to tell him
his good-hearted foolishness had ruined me and sent me to my death.
As the soldiers assisted me across the court ME

FEBS

the stillness was so profound that if I had been
blindfold I should have sup-






ea
=e
posed I was in a soli-

y) tude instead of walled
yin by four thousand people.
There was not a movement
perceptible in those masses
of humanity; they were as
rigid as stone images, and
ww as pale; and dread sat upon
=wsp every countenance. This
a
ae hush continu-

X ie oe ag
YF

ey

ce

‘*IT WAS A NOBLE EFFECT.”

being chained to the stake; it still continued while the fagots were
carefully and tediously piled about my ankles, my knees, my thighs,




| THE ECLIPSE. 75

my body. Then there was a pause, and a deeper hush, if possible,
and a man knelt down at my feet with a blazing torch; the multitude
strained forward, gazing, and parting slightly from their seats with-
out knowing it; the monk raised his hands above my head, and his
eyes toward the blue sky, and began some words in Latin; in this
attitude he droned on and on, a little while, and then stopped. I
waited two or three moments: then looked up; he was standing there
| petrified. With a common impulse the multitude rose slowly up and
stared into the sky. I followed their eyes; as sure as guns, there was
my eclipse beginning! The life went boiling through my veins; I was
anew man! The rim of black spread slowly into the sun’s disk, my
heart beat higher and higher, and still the assemblage and the priest
stared into the sky, motionless. I knew that this gaze would be
turned upon me, next. When it was, 1 was ready. I was in one of
the most grand attitudes I ever struck, with my arm stretched up
pointing to the sun. It was a noble effect. You could see the shudder
sweep the mass like a wave. Two shouts rang out, one close upon
the heels of the other:

« Apply the torch!”

“T forbid it!”

The one was from Merlin, the other from the king. Merlin start~
ed from his place—to apply the torch himself, I judged. I said:

“Stay where you are. If any man moves—even the king—before
I give him leave, I will blast him with thunder, I will consume him
with lightnings! ”

The multitude sank meekly into their seats, and I was just expect-
ing they would. Merlin hesitated a moment or two, and I was on pins
and needles during that little while. Then he sat down, and I took a
good breath; for I knew I was master of the situation now. The king
said:

“Be merciful, fair sir, and essay no further in this perilous matter,
76 THE ECLIPSE.

lest disaster follow. It was reported to us that your powers could not
attain unto their full strength until the morrow; but—

“Your Majesty thinks the report may have been a lie? It was
a lie.”

That made an immense effect; up went appealing hands every-
where, and the king was assailed with a storm of supplications that I
might be bought off at any price, and the calamity stayed. The king
was eager to comply. . He said: ,

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom;
but banish this calamity, spare the sun!

My fortune was made. I would have taken him up ina minute, but
I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question. Sol
asked time to consider. The king said—

‘““How long—ah, how long, good sir? Be merciful; look, it grow-
eth darker, moment by moment. Prithee how long?”

‘Not long. Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up
any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts. I was in
a puzzled condition, anyway, and wanted to think. Something was
wrong about that eclipse, and the fact was very unsettling. If this
wasn’t the one I was after, how was I to tell whether this was the
sixth century, or nothing but a dream? Dear me, if I could only
prove it was the latter! Here was a glad new hope. ‘If the boy was
right about the date, and this was surely the 20th, it was’t the sixth
century. I reached for the monk’s sleeve, in considerable excitement,
and asked him what day of the month it was.

Hang him, he said it was the twenty-first! It made me turn cold
to hear him. I begged him not to make any mistake about it; but
he was sure; he knew it was the 21st. So, that feather-headed boy
had botched things again! The time of the day was right for the
eclipse; I had seen that for myself, in the beginning, by the dial that




THE ECLIPSE. 77

was near by. Yes, I was in King Arthur’s court, and I might as well
make the most out of it I could.

The darkness was steadily growing, the people becoming more
and more distressed. I now said:

“T have reflected, Sir King. For a lesson, I will let this darkness
proceed, and spread night in the world; but whether I blot out the
sun for good, or restore it, shall rest with you. These are the terms,
to wit: You shall remain king over all your dominions, and receive
all the glories and honors that belong to the kingship; but you shall
appoint:-me your perpetual minister and executive, and give me for
my services one per cent of such actual increase of revenue over and
above its present amount as I may succeed in creating for the state.
IfI can’t live on that, [ sha’n’t ask anybody to give mea lift. Is it
satisfactory ?”

There was a prodigious roar of applause, and out of the midst of it
the king’s voice rose, saying:

“Away with his bonds, and set him free! and do him homage,
high and low, rich and poor, for he is become the king’s right hand,
is clothed with power and authority, and his seat is upon the highest
step of the throne! Now sweep away this creeping night, and bring
the light and cheer again, that all the world may bless thee.”

But I said: >: a 3

“That a common man should be shamed before the world, is noth-
ing; but it were dishonor to the Ang if any that saw his minister
naked should not also see him delivered from his shame. If I might
ask that my clothes be brought again—”

“They are not meet,” the king broke in. ‘Fetch raiment of
another sort; clothe him like a prince!”

My idea worked. I wanted to keep things as they were till the
eclipse was total, otherwise they would be trying again to get me to
dismiss the darkness, and of course I couldn’t do it. Sending for the
78 THE ECLIPSE.

clothes gained some delay, but not enough. So I had to make
another excuse. I said it would be but natural if the king should
change his mind and repent to some extent of what he had done
under excitement; therefore I would let the darkness grow a while,
and if at the end of a reasonable time the king had kept his mind the
same, the darkness should be dismissed. Neither the king nor any-
body else was satisfied with that arrange-
ment, but I had to stick

It grew darker and -
and blacker, while I
awkward sixth-century
be pitch dark, at last,
groaned with horror to










to my point.

darker and blacker
struggled with those
clothes. It got to
and the multitude |
feel the cold uncan-



‘* SMOTHERED WITH BLESSINGS.”

ny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out
and twinkle in the sky. At last the eclipse was total, and I was
very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite
natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.” Then I
lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the
THE ECLIPSE. 79

most awful solemnity: ‘‘Let the enchantment dissolve and pass
harmless away !”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and
that graveyard hush. But when the silver rim of the sun pushed
itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a
vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with
blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash,

be sure.



CHAPTER VII.

MERLIN’S TOWER.



~|NASMUCH as I was now the second person-
age in the Kingdom, as far as political power
and authority were concerned, much was
made of me. My raiment was of silks and
velvets and cloth of gold, and by conse-
quence was very showy, also uncomfortable.
But habit would soon reconcile me to my
‘, clothes; I was aware of that. I was given
g “the choicest suite of apartments in the cas-
z+ c-tle, after the king’s. They were aglow with

floors had nothing but rushes on them for a
carpet, and they were misfit rushes at that,
being not all of one breed. As for conven-
iences, properly speaking, there weren't any.
I mean “téle conveniences; it is the little
conveniences that make the real comfort of
life. The big oaken chairs, graced with rude
carvings, were well enough, but that was the
stopping-place. There was no soap, no
matches, no looking-glass—except a metal
one, about as powerful as a pail of water. And not a chromo. I
had been used to chromos for years, and I saw now that without my

suspecting it a passion for art had got worked into the fabric of my
83
34. MERLIN’S TOWER.
being, and was become a part of me.
around over this proud and gaudy but heartless barrenness and remem-
ber that in our house in East Hartford, all unpretending as it was, you

It made me homesick to look











tal
Zong

if Pale a
head WY)

id






ul





















ENR

















‘ THERE WAS NO SOAP, NO MATCHES,
NO LOOKING-GLASS.’















gee

couldn’t go into a room but you wouid find an insurance-chromo, or at
least a three-color God-Bless-Our-Home over the door; and in the
parlor we had nine. But here, even in my grand room of state, there
MERLIN’S TOWER. 85

wasn’t anything in the nature of a picture except a thing the size of a
bed-quilt, which was either woven or knitted, (it had darned places in
it,) and nothing in it was the right color or the right shape; and as
for proportions, even Raphael himself couldn’t have botched them
more formidably, after all his practice on those nightmares they call
his ‘celebrated Hampton Court cartoons.” Raphael was a bird. We
had several of his chromos; one was his ‘‘ Miraculous Draught of
Fishes,” where he puts in a miracle of his own—puts three men into
a canoe which wouldn’t have held a dog without upsetting. I always
admired to study R.’s art, it was so fresh and unconventional.

There wasn’t even a bell or a speaking-tube in the castle. I hada
great many servants, and those that were on duty lolled in the ante-
room; and when I wanted one of them I had to go and call for him.
There was no gas, there were no candles; a bronze dish half full of
boarding-house butter with a blazing rag floating in it was the thing
that produced what was regarded as light. A lot of these hung along
the walls and modified the dark, just toned it down enough to make
it dismal. If you went out at night, your servants carried torches.
There were no books, pens, paper, or ink; and no glass in the openings
they believed to be windows. It is a little thing—glass is—until it is
absent, then it becomes a big thing. But perhaps the worst of all was,
that there wasn’t any sugar, coffee, tea or tobacco. I saw that I was
just another Robinson Crusoe cast away on an uninhabited island, with
no society but some more or less tame animals, and if I wanted to
make life bearable I must do as he did—invent, contrive, create, reor-
ganize things; set brain and hand to work, and keep them busy.
Well, that was in my line.

One thing troubled me along at first —the immense interest which
people took in me. Apparently the whole nation wanted a look at
me. It soon transpired that the eclipse had scared the British world
almost to death: that while it lasted the whole country, from one end
86 MERLIN’S TOWER.

to the other, was in a pitiable state of panic, and the churches, her-
mitages, and monkeries overflowed with praying and weeping poor
creatures who thought the end of the world was come. Then had
followed the news that the producer of this awful event was a stranger,
a mighty magician at Arthur’s court; that he could have blown out
the sun like a candle, and was just going to do it when his mercy was
purchased, and he then dissolved his enchantments, and was now
recognized and honored as the man who had by his unaided might
saved the globe from destruction and its peo-










ples from extinction. Now if you consider
that everybody believed that, and

not only believed it but never even
: dreamed of doubting it, you
will easily understand that
there was not a person in all
Â¥{ Britain that would not have
walked fifty miles to
get a sight of me. Of
_course I was all the
talk—all other sub-
jects were dropped;
even the king be-

‘“THE REVERENT AND AWE-STRICKEN MULTITUDES.”

came suddenly a per-
son of minor interest and notoriety. Within twenty-four hours the
delegations began to arrive, and from that time onward for a fortnight
they kept coming. The village was crowded, and all the countryside.
I had to go out a dozen times a day and show myself to these reverent
and awe-stricken multitudes. It came to be a great burden, as to
time and trouble, but of course it was at the same time compensat-
ingly agreeable to be so celebrated and such a centre of homage. It
turned Brer Merlin green with envy and spite, which was a great satis-


MERLIN’S TOWER. 87

faction tome. But there was one thing I couldn't understand; nobody
had asked for an autograph. I spoke to Clarence aboutit. By George,
I had to explain to him what it was. Then he said nobody in the
country could read or write but a few dozen priests. Land! think
of that.

There was another thing that troubled me a little. Those multi-
tudes presently began to agitate for another miracle. That was nat-
ural. To be able to carry back to their far homes the boast that they
had seen the man who could command the sun, riding in the
heavens, and be obeyed, would make them great in the eyes of their
neighbors, and envied by them all; but to be able to also say
they had seen him work a miracle themselves—why, people would
come a distance to see them. The pressure got to be pretty strong.
There was going to be an eclipse of the moon, and I knew the date
and hour, but it was too far away. Two years. I would have given
a good deal for license to hurry it up and use it now when there was
a big market for it. It seemed a great pity to have it wasted, so, and
come lagging along at a time when a body wouldn’t have any use for
it as like as not. If it had been booked for only a month away, I
could have sold it short; but as matters stood, I couldn’t seem to
cipher out any way to make it do me any good, so I gave up trying.
Next, Clarence found that old Merlin was making himself busy on the
sly among those people. He was spreading a report,that I was a
humbug, and that the reason I didn’t accommodate the people with a
miracle was because I couldn’t. I saw that I must do something. I
presently thought out a plan.

By my authority as executive I threw Merlin into prison—the same
cell I had occupied myself. Then I gave public notice by herald and
trumpet that I should be busy with affairs of state for a fortnight, but
about the end of that time I would take a moment’s leisure and blow
up Merlin’s stone tower by fires from heaven; in the meantime, whoso
88 MERLIN’S TOWER.

listened to evil reports about me, let him beware. Furthermore, |
would perform but this one miracle at this time, and no more; if it
failed to satisfy and any murmured, I would turn the murmurers into
horses, and make them useful. Quiet ensued.

I took Clarence into my confidence, to a certain degree, and we
went to work privately. I told him that this was a sort of miracle that
required a trifle of preparation; and that it would be sudden death to
ever talk about these preparations to anybody. That made his mouth
safe enough. Clandestinely we made a few bushels of first-rate blast-
ing-powder, and I superintended my armorers while they constructed
a lightning rod and some wires. This old stone tower was very mas-
sive—and rather ruinous, too, for it was Roman, and four hundred years
old. Yes, and handsome, after a rude fashion, and clothed with ivy
from base to summit, as with a shirt of scale mail. It stood ona lonely
eminence, in good view from the castle, and about half a mile away.

Working by night, we stowed the powder in the tower—dug stones
out, on the inside, and buried the powder in the walls themselves,
which were fifteen feet thick at the base. We put in a peck at a time,
inadozen places. We could have blown up the Tower of London with
these charges. When the thirteenth night was come we put up our
lightning rod, bedded it in one of the batches of powder, and ran wires
from it to the other batches. Everybody had shunned that locality
from the day of my proclamation, but on the morning of the fourteenth
I thought best to warn the people, through the heralds, to keep clear
away—a quarter of a mileaway. Then added, by command, that at
some time during the twenty-four hours I would consummate the
miracle, but would first give a brief notice; by flags on the castle
towers, if in the day-time, by torch-baskets in the same places if at
night.

Thunder-showers had been tolerably frequent, of late, and I was
not much afraid of a failure; still, 1 shouldn’t have cared for a delay


MERLIN’S TOWER. 89

of a day or two; I should have explained that I was busy with affairs
of state, yet, and the people must wait.

Of course we had a blazing sunny day—almost the first one without
a cloud for three weeks; things always happen so. I kept secluded,
and watched the weather. Clarence dropped in from time to time and
said the public excitement was growing and growing all the time, and
the whole country filling up with human masses as far as one could
see from the battlements. At last the wind sprang up and a cloud
appeared—in the right quarter, too, and just at nightfall. For a little
while I watched that distant cloud spread and blacken, then I judged
it was time for me to appear. I ordered the torch-baskets to be lit,
and ‘Merlin liberated and sent to me. A quarter of an hour later I
ascended the parapet and thére found the king and the court assem-
bled and gazing offin the darkness toward Merlin’s tower. - Already
the darkness was so heavy that one could not see far; these people,
and the old turrets, being partly in deep shadow and partly in the red
glow from the great torch-baskets overhead, made a good deal of a
picture. .

Merlin arrived in a gloomy mood. I said:

“ You wanted to burn me alive when I had not done you any harm,
and latterly you have been trying to injure my professional reputation.
Therefore I am going to call down fire and blow up your tower, but
it is only fair to give you a chance; now if you think you can break
my enchantments and ward off the fires, step to the bat, it’s your
innings.”

“T can, fair sir, and I will. Doubt it not.”

He drew an imaginary circle on the stones of the roof, and burnt a
pinch of powder in it which sent up a small cloud of aromatic smoke,
whereat everybody fell back, and began to cross themselves and get
uncomfortable. Then he began to mutter and make passes in the air
with his hands. He worked himself up slowly and gradually into a
go MERLIN’S TOWER.

sort of frenzy, and got to thrashing















arms like the sails
this time the
reached us; the

around with his
ofa windmill. By
storm had about
gusts of wind were flaring the
torches and mak- ing the shadows
first heavy drops

the world abroad

swash about, the
of rain were falling,
was black as pitch, the
lightning began to
wink fitfully. Ofcourse

<< \

loading itself now.
In fact, things were
imminent. Sol
said :

“You have had time enough.
have given you every advantage,
and not interfered. It is plain your
magic is weak. It is only fair that I
begin now.” ‘“THAT OLD TOWER GEARED: INTO THE

I made about three passes in the SRY IN CHUNKS
air, and then there was an awful crash and that old tower leaped
into the sky in chunks, along with a vast volcanic fountain of fire that
MERLIN’S TOWER. gI

turned night to noonday, and showed a thousand acres of human
beings groveling on the ground in a general collapse of consternation.
Well, it rained mortar and masonry the rest of the week. This was the
report; but probably the facts would have modified it.

It was an effective miracle. The great bothersome temporary
population vanished. There were a good many thousand tracks in the
mud the next morning, but they were all outward bound. If I had
advertised another miracle I couldn't have raised an audience with a
sheriff. .

Merlin’s stock was flat. The king wanted to stop his wages; he
even wanted to banish him, but I interfered. I said he would be use-
ful to work the weather, and attend to small matters like that, and I
would give him a lift now and then when his poor little parlor-magic
soured on him. There wasn’t a rag of his tower left, but I had the
government rebuild it for him, and advised him to take boarders; but
he was too high-toned for that. And as for being grateful, he never
even said thank-you. He was a rather hard lot, take him how you
might; but then you couldn't fairly expect a man to be sweet that had
been set back so.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE BOSS.















. ity is a fine thing; but to have

We the on-looking world consent to
ae

ip
of . * .
BTA ayy) it is a finer. The tower episode
Wig a
Ug Cy,

i
y)
Li mi), solidified my power, and made it

y impregnable. If any were per-
chance disposed to be jealous and crit-
ical before that, they experienced a
change of heart, now.. There was not
any one in the kingdom who would have
considered it good judgment to meddle

with my matters.



I was fast getting adjusted to my situa-
tion and circumstances. For a time, I used
to wake up, mornings, and smile at my
“dream,” and listen for the Colt’s factory
whistle; but that sort of thing played itself
out, gradually, and at last I was fully able
to realize that I was actually living
in the sixth century, and in Arthur's

Se court, not a lunatic asylum. After
m—w———>- that, I was just as much at home in
that century as I could have been in any other; and as for preference,

I wouldn’t have traded it for the twentieth. Look at the opportuni-
95
y6 THE BOSS.

ties here for a man of knowledge, brains, pluck and enterprise to sail
in and grow up with the country. The grandest field that ever was;
and all my own; not a competitor; not a man who wasn’t a baby to
me in acquirements and capacities; whereas, what would I amount to
in the twentieth century? I should be foreman of a factory, that is
about all; and could drag a seine down-street any day and catch a
hundred better men than myself.

What a jump I had made! I couldn't keep from thinking about
it, and contemplating it, just as one does who has struck oil. There
was nothing back of me that could approach it, unless it might be
Joseph’s case; and Joseph’s only approached it, it didn’t equal it,
quite. For it stands to reason that as Joseph’s splendid financial in-
genuities advantaged nobody but the king, the general public must
have regarded him with a good deal of disfavor, whereas I had done -
my entire public a kindness in sparing the sun, and was popular by
reason of it.

I was no shadow of a king; I was the substance; the king himself
was the shadow. My power was colossal; and it was not a mere
name, as such things have generally been, it was the genuine article.
I stood here, at the very spring and source of the second great period
of the world’s history; and could see the trickling stream of that his-
tory gather, and deepen and broaden, and roll its mighty tides down
the far centuries; and I could note the upspringing of adventurers
like myself in the shelter of its long array of thrones: De Montforts,
Gavestons, Mortimers, Villierses; the war-making, campaign-direct-
ing wantons of France, and Charles the Second’s sceptre - wielding
drabs; but nowhere in the procession was my full-sized fellow visible.
I was a Unique; and glad to know that that fact could not be dis-
lodged or challenged for thirteen centuries and a half, for sure.

Yes, in power I was equal to the king. At the same time there
was another power that was a trifle stronger. than both of us put
THE BOSS. 97

together. That’ was the Church. I do not wish to disguise that fact.
1 couldn’t, if I wanted to. But never mind about that, now; it will
show up, in its proper place, later on. It didn’t cause me any trouble
in the beginning—at least any of consequence.

Well, it was a curious country, and full of interest. And the
people! They were the
quaintest and simplest and






















trustingest race; why, they
were nothing but rabbits.
It was pitiful for a person
born in a wholesome free
atmosphere to listen to
their humble and hearty
outpourings of loyalty

toward their king and
Church and
nobility; as
if they had
any more
occasion to
love and-

‘“ WHY, THEY WERE NOTHING BUT RABBITS.”

honor king and Church and noble
than a slave has to love and honor
the lash, or a dog has to love‘and honor the stranger that kicks him!.
Why, dear me, any kind of royalty, howsoever modified, any kind of
aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born
and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never
find it out for yourself, and don’t believe it when somebody else tells

you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of
;
98 THE BOSS.

the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones*without shadow
of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always fig-
ured as its aristocracies—a company of monarchs and nobles who, as
a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like
their betters, to their own exertions.

The most of King Arthur’s British nation were slaves, pure and
simple, and bore that name, and wore the iron collar on their necks;
and the rest were slaves in fact, but without the name; they imagined
themselves men and freemen, and called themselves so. The truth
was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one
only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them,
sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they
might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go.
naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might
be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrad-
ing language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride
and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the
thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were
they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.

Inherited ideas are a curious thing, and interesting to observe and
examine. I had mine, the king and his people had theirs. In both
cases they flowed in ruts worn deep by time and habit, and the man
who should have proposed to divert them by reason and argument
would have hada long contract on his hands. For instance, those
people had inherited the idea that all men without title and a long
pedigree, whether they had great natural gifts and acquirements or
hadn’t, were creatures of no more consideration than so many animals,
bugs, insects; whereas I had inherited the idea that human daws who
can consent to masquerade in the peacock-shams of inherited digni-
ties and unearned titles, are of no good but to be laughed at. The
way I was looked upon was odd, but it was natural. You know how


‘CINHERITED IDEAS ARE A CURIOUS THING.”
100 THE BOSS.

the keeper and the public regard the elephant in the menagerie:
well, that is the idea. They are full of admiration of his vast bulk and
his prodigious strength; they speak with pride of the fact that he can
do a hundred marvels which are far and away beyond their own
powers; and they speak with the same pride of the fact that in his
wrath he is able to drive a thousand men before him. But does that
make him one of them? No; the raggedest tramp in the pit would
smile at the idea. He couldn’t comprehend it; couldn’t take it in;
couldn’t in any remote way conceive of it. Well, to the king, the
nobles, and all the nation, down to the very slaves and tramps, I was
just that kind of an elephant, and nothing more. I was admired, also
feared; but it was as an animal is admired and feared. The animal is
not reverenced, neither was I; I was not even respected. I had no
pedigree, no inherited title; so in the king’s and nobles’ eyes I
was meré dirt; the people regarded me with wonder and awe, but
there was no reverence mixed with it; through the force of inherited
ideas they were not able to conceive of anything being entitled to that
except pedigree and lordship. There you see the hand of that awful
power, the Roman Catholic Church. In two or three little centuries
it had converted a nation of men to a nation of worms. Before the
day of the Church’s supremacy in the world, men were men, and held
their heads up, and had a man’s pride and spirit and independence;
and what of greatness and position a person got, he got mainly by
achievement, not by birth. But then the Church came to the front,
with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more than
one way to skin a cat—or a nation; she invented “divine right of
kings,” and propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes
—wrenching them from their good purpose to make them fortify an
evil one; she preached (to the commoner,) humility, obedience to
superiors, the beauty of self-sacrifice; she preached (to the commoner,)
meekness under insult; preached (still to the commoner, always to
4

THE BOSS. IOI

the commoner,) patience, meanness of spirit, non-resistance under
oppression ; and she introduced heritable ranks and aristocracies, and
taught all the Christian populations of the earth to bow down to them
and worship them. Even down to my birth-century that poison was
still in the blood
of Christendom,
and the best of
English common-
ers was still con-
tent to see his in-



feriors impudently
continuing to hold -
a number of posi-
tions, such as lord-
ships and the
throne, to which
the grotesque laws
of his country did







not allow him to
aspire; in fact he was not
merely contented with this iS ee,
strange condition of things, he was ee

even able to persuade himself that he ! A ; a :
was proud of it. It seems to show that a
there isn’t anything you can’t stand, if you are
only born and bred to it. Of course that taint, that reverence for
rank and title, had been in our American blood, too—I know that;
but when I left America it had disappeared—at least to all intents and
purposes. The remnant of it was restricted to the dudes and dudesses.
When a disease has worked its way down to that level, it may fairly
be said to be out of the system. _
L[02 THE BOSS.

But to return to my anomalous position in King Arthur's kingdom.
Here I was, a giant among pigmies, a man among children, a master
intelligence among intellectual moles: by all rational measurement
the one and only actually great man in that whole British world; and
yet there and then, just as in the remote England of my birth-time,
the sheep-witted earl who could claim long descent from a king’s
leman, acquired at second-hand from the slums of London, was a
better man than Iwas. Sucha personage was fawned upon in Arthur’s
' realm and reverently
looked up to by every-
ee body, even though his
dispositions were as
mean as his intelli-
gence, and his morals
as base as his lineage.
There were times when
he could sit down in the





king’s presence, but I couldn’t.
o I could have got a title easily
enough, and that would have raised me a large step
in everybody’s eyes ; even in the king’s, the giver of
it. But I didn’t ask for it; and I declined it when it was
offered. I couldn’t i have enjoyed such a thing with my no-
tions; and it wouldn’t have been fair, anyway, because as far back
as I could go, our tribe had always been short of the bar sinister. I
couldn't have felt really and satisfactorily fine and proud and set-up
over any title except one that should come from the nation itself, the
only legitimate source; and such an one I hoped to win; and in the
course of years of honest and honorable endeavor, I did win it and did
wear it with a high and clean pride. This title fell casually from the

lips of a blacksmith, one day, ina village, was caught up as a happy
THE BOSS. 103

thought and tossed from mouth to mouth with a laugh and an affirm-
ative vote; in ten days it had swept the kingdom, and was become as
familiar as the king’s name. I was never known by any other desig-
nation afterwards, whether in the nation’s talk or in grave debate upon
matters of state at the council-board of the sovereign. This title,
translated into modern speech, would be THE BOSS. Elected by the
nation. That suited me. And it was a pretty high title. There were
very few THE’s, and I was one of them. If you spoke of the duke, or
the earl, or the bishop, how could anybody tell which one you meant?
But if you spoke of The King or The Queen or The Boss, it was
different.

Well, I liked the king, and as king I respected him—respected
the office; at least respected it as much as I was capable of respect-
ing any unearned supremacy; but as men I looked down upon him and
his nobles—privately. And he and they liked me, and respected my
office; but as an animal, without birth or sham title, they looked
down upon me—and were not particularly private about it, either. I
didn’t charge for my opinion about them, and they didn’t charge for
their opinion about me: the account was square, the books balanced,
everybody was satisfied.
ad

CHAPTER IX.
THE TOURNAMENT.

ini ay Scie were always having grand tour-

ws




Z \\ .naments there at Camelot; and very
ly \ stirring and picturesque and ridicu-
7 lous human bull-fights they were,



fe OEE
fl os A too, but just a little wearisome
mee
i

! iH I was generally on hand—for two reasons: a

the practical mind. However,

en,

man must not hold himself aloof from the things -



which his friends and his community have at
heart if he would be liked—especially as












a statesman; and both as business man
and statesman I wanted to study the
tournament and see if I couldn’t invent
,. an improvement on it. That reminds
= me to remark, in passing, that the very
|, first official thing I did, in my adminis-
tration—and it was on the very first day

. of it, too—was to start a patent office;

Cae
NSD):
Oy ; for I knew that a country without a
WS
a4 coe patent office and good patent laws

eA BE = aa just a ae a couldn’t ee
(Born Neo Sie ee -any way but sideways or bac
~ SN wards.
Things ran along, a tourna-
ment nearly every week; and now and then the boys used to want

me to take a hand—I mean Sir Launcelot and the rest—but I said I

107
108 THE TOURNAMENT.

would by and by; no hurry yet, and too much government machinery
to oil up and set to rights and start a-going.

We had one tournament which was continued from day to day
during more than a week, and as many as five hundred knights took
part in it, from first to last. They were weeks gathering. They came
on horseback from everywhere; from the very ends of the country,
and even from beyond the sea; and many brought ladies and all
brought squires, and troops of













servants. It was a most gaudy
and gorgeous crowd, as to



costumery, and very charac-















teristic of the coun-
try and the time, in r
the way of high ani-
mal spirits, innocent
indecencies of lan-
guage, and happy-
hearted indifference
to morals. It
was fight or 4
look on, all day #



and every day; tne DANCE, ene ‘EVERY NIGHT.”
and sing, gamble, dance, carouse, half the night every night. They
had a most noble good time. You never saw such people. Those
banks of beautiful ladies, shining in their barbaric splendors, would
see a knight sprawl from his horse in the lists with a lance-shaft the
thickness of your ankle clean through him and the blood spouting,
and instead of fainting they would clap their hands and crowd each
other for a better view; only sometimes one would dive into her
handkerchief, and look ostentatiously broken-hearted, and then you
could lay two to one that there was a scandal there somewhere and
she was afraid the public hadn’t found it out.
THE TOURNAMENT, I0g

The noise at night would have been annoying to me ordinarily,
but I didn’t mind it in the present circumstances, because it kept me
from hearing the quacks detaching legs and arms from the day’s
cripples. They ruined an uncommon good old cross-cut saw for me,’
and broke the saw-buck, too, but I let it pass. And as for my axe—

well, I made up my mind that the next time I lent an












axe to a surgeon I would pick my century.

I not only watched this tour- nament from day to
day, but detailed an intelli- gent priest from my
Department of Public Mor- als and Agriculture,
and ordered him to report it; for it was my
purpose by and by, when I should have gotten
the people along far enough, to start a newspaper.
The first thing you want in a new country, is a
patent office; then work up your school
system; and after that, out with your paper.
A newspaper has its faults, and plenty of
them, but no mat- ter, its hark from

the tomb for a dead nation,





and don’t you for- 1 me) get it. You
can’t resurrect a nei eo dead nation
without it; there Ree Zee isn’t any way.
So I wanted to LEP IE ~B sample things,




and be finding out “DETAILED AN INTELLIGENT PRIEST, AND what sort of re-
porter-material I ORDERED HD CEO REPORE aay! might be able
to rake together out of the sixth century when I should come to
need it.

Well, the priest did very well, considering. He got in all the
details, and that is a good thing in a local item: you see he had kept
books for the undertaker-department of his church when he was
younger, and there, you know, the money’s in the details;. the more
110 THE TOURNAMENT.

details, the more swag: bearers, mutes, candles, prayers,—everything
counts; and if the bereaved don’t buy prayers enough you mark up
your candles with a forked pencil, and your bill shows up all right.
And he had a good knack at getting in the complimentary thing here
and there about a knight that was likely to advertise—no, I meana
knight that had influence; and he also had a neat gift of exaggeration,
for in his time he had kept door for a pious hermit who lived in a sty

and worked miracles.

Of course this novice’s report lacked whoop and crash and lurid
description, and therefore wanted the true ring; but its antique word-
ing was quaint and sweet and simple, and full of the fragrances and
flavors of the time, and these little merits made up in a measure for
its more important lacks. Here is an extract from it:

Then Sir Brian de les Isles and Grummore Grummorsum, knights of the castle,
encountered with Sir Aglovale and Sir Tor, and Sir Tor smote down Sir Grummore
Grummorsum to the earth. Then came in Sir Carados of the dolorous tower, and Sir
Turquine, knights of the castle, and there encountered with them Sir Percivale de Galis
and Sir Lamorak de Galis, that were two brethren, and there encountered Sir Percivale
with Sir Carados, and either brake their spears unto their hands, and then Sir Turquine
with Sir Lamorak, and either of them smote down other, horse and all, to the earth, and
either parties rescued other and horsed themagain. And Sir Arnold, and Sir Gauter,
knights of the castle, encountered with Sir Brandiles and Sir Kay, and these four
knights encountered mightily, and brake their spears to their hands. Then came Sir
Pertolope from the castle, and there encountered with him Sir Lionel, and there Sir
Pertolope the green knight smote down Sir Lionel, brother to Sir Launcelot. All this
was marked by noble heralds, who bare him best, and their names. Then Sir Bleobaris
brake his spear upon Sir Gareth, but of that stroke Sir Bleobaris fell to the earth.
When Sir Galihodin saw that, he bad Sir Gareth keep him, and Sir Gareth smote him to
the earth. Then Sir Galihud gat a spear to avenge his brother, and in the same wise
Sir Gareth served him, and Sir Dinadan and his brother La Cote Male Taile, and Sir
Sagramor le Desirous, and Sir Dodinas le Savage; all these he bare down with one spear.
When King Agwisance of Ireland saw Sir Gareth fare so he marvelled what he might be,
that one time seemed green, and another time, at his again coming, he seemed blue.
And thus at every course that he rode to and fro he changed his color, so that there
might neither king nor knight have ready cognizance of him. Then Sir Agwisance the
King of Ireland encountered with Sir Gareth, and there Sir Gareth smote him from his
horse, saddle and all. And then came King Carados of Scotland, and Sir Gareth smote
him down horse and man. And in the same wise he served King Uriens of the land of
THE TOURNAMENT. III

Gore. And then there came in Sir Bagdemagus, and Sir Gareth smote him down horse
and man to the earth. And Bagdemagus’s son Meliganus brake a spear upon Sir
Gareth mightily and knightly. And then Sir Galahault the noble prince cried on high,
Knight with the many colors, well hast thou justed; now make thee ready that I may
just with thee. Sir Gareth heard him, and he gat a great spear, and so they encountered
together, and there the prince brake his spear; but Sir Gareth smote him upon the left
side of the helm, that he reeled here and there, and he had fallen down had not his men
recovered him. Truly said King Arthur, that knight with the many colors is a good
knight. Wherefore the king called unto him Sir Launcelot, and prayed him to encoun-
ter with that knight. Sir, said Launcelot, I may as well find in my heart for to forbear
him at this time, for he hath had travail enough this day, and when a good knight doth
so well upon some day, it is no good knight’s part to let him of his worship, and, name-
ly, when he seeth a knight hath done so great labour: for peradventure, said Sir Launcelot,
his quarrel is here this day, and peradventure he is best beloved with this lady of all
that be here, for I see well he paineth himself and enforceth him to do great deeds, and
therefore, said Sir Launcelot, as for me, this day he shall have the honour; though it lay
in my power to put him from it, I would not. ,

There was an unpleasant little episode that day, which for reasons
of state I struck out of my priest’s report. You will have noticed that
Garry was doing some great fighting in the engagement. When I say
Garry I mean Sir Gareth. Garry was my private pet name for him;
it suggests that I had a deep affection for him, and that was the case.
But it was a private pet name only, and never spoken aloud to any
one, much less to him; being a noble, he would not have endured a
familiarity like that from me. Well, to proceed: I sat in the private
box set apart for me as the king’s minister. While Sir Dinadan was
waiting for his turn to enter the lists, he came in there and sat down
and began to talk; for he was always making up to me, because I was
a stranger and he liked to have a fresh market for his jokes, the most
of them having reached that stage of wear where the teller has to do
the laughing himself while the other person looks sick. I had always
responded to his efforts as well as I could, and felt a very deep and
real kindness for him, too, for the reason that if by malice of fate he
knew the one particular anecdote which I had heard oftenest and had
most hated and most loathed all my life, he had at least spared it me.
IT2 THE TOURNAMENT.

It was one which I had heard attributed to every humorous person
who had ever stood on American soil, from Columbus down to Arte-
mus Ward. It was about a humorous lecturer who flooded an ignorant
audience with the killingest jokes for an hour and never got a laugh;
and then when he was leaving, some gray simpletons wrung him
gratefully by the hand and said it had been the funniest thing they
had ever heard, and ‘it was all they could do to keep from laughin’
right out in meetin’.”. That anecdote never saw the day that it was
worth the telling; and yet I had sat under the telling of it hundreds
and thousands and millions and billions of times, and cried and cursed
all the way through. Then who can hope to know what my feelings
were, to hear this armor-plated ass start in on it again, in the murky
twilight of tradition, before the dawn of history, while even Lactantius
might be referred to as “the late Lactantius,” and the Crusades
wouldn’t be born for five hundred years yet? Just as he finished, the
call-boy came; so, haw-hawing like a demon, he went rattling and
clanking out like a crate of loose castings, and I knew nothing more.
It was some minutes before I came to, and then I opened my eyes
just in time to see Sir Gareth fetch him an awful welt, and I uncon-
sciously out with the prayer, “I hope to gracious he’s killed!” But
by ill-luck, before I had got half through with the words, Sir Gareth
crashed into Sir Sagramor le Desirous and sent him thundering over
his horse’s crupper, and Sir Sagramor caught my remark and thought
I meant it for Azm.
Well, whenever one of those people got a thing into his head,
there was no getting it out again. I knew that, so I saved my breath,
and offered no explanations. As soon as Sir Sagramor got well, he
notified me that there was a little account to settle between us, and
he named a day three or four years in the future; place of settlement,
the lists where the offense had been given. I said I would be ready
when he got back. You see, he was going for the Holy Grail. The
THE TOURNAMENT. Il3

boys all took a flier at the Holy Grail now and then. It was a several
years’ cruise. They always put in the long absence snooping around,
in the most conscientious way, though none of them had any idea
where the Holy Grail really was, and I don’t think any of them
actually expected to find it, or would have known what to do with it



SOME OF THE BOYS GOING A GRAILING.

if he kad run across it. You see, it was just the Northwest Passage of
that day, as you may say; that was all. Every year expeditions
went out holy grailing, and next year relief expeditions went out to
hunt for them. There was worlds of reputation in it, but no money.
Why, they actually wanted me to put in! Well, I should smile.

8








orl VERS
afraid’ of the

Church”


CHAPTER X.

BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION.







HE Round Table soon heard of
| the challenge, and of course it
was a good deal discussed, for
such things interested the boys.
The king thought I ought now
to set forth in quest of adven-
| tures, so that I might gain re-
nown and be the more worthy to
| 9) meet Sir Sagramor when the several
ft years should have rolled away. I
excused myself for the present; I
said it would take me three or four
years yet to get things well fixed
up and going smoothly; then I
should be ready; all the chances
were that at the end of that time
Sir Sagramor would still be out
grailing, so no valuable time would
ve be lost by the postponement; I should then have
been in office six or seven years, and I believed my
system and machinery would be so well developed that

| I could take a holiday without its working any harm.
; accomplished. In various quiet nooks and corners I had the begin-
nings of all sorts of industries under way—nuclei of future vast facto-

ries, the iron and steel missionaries of my future civilization. In these

117
118 BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION.

were gathered together the brightest young minds I could find, and I
kept agents out raking the country for more, all the time. I was
training a crowd of ignorant folk into experts—experts in every sort
of handiwork and scientific calling. These nurseries of mine went
smoothly and privately along undisturbed in their obscure country
retreats, for nobody was allowed to come into their precincts without
a special permit—for I was afraid of the Church.

I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sunday-schools the
first thing; as a result, I now had an admirable system of graded
schools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of
Protestant congregations all ina prosperous and growing condition.
Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was
perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teach-
ing to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it
in my other educational buildings. I could have given my own sect
the preference and made everybody a Presbyterian without any trouble,
but that would have been to affront a law of human nature: Spiritual
wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical
appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best,
morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color
and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spirit-
ual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears
it; and besides I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty
power, the mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets
into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to
human liberty, and paralysis to human thought.

All mines were royal property, and there were a good many of
them. They had formerly been worked as savages always work
mines—holes grubbed in the earth and the mineral brought up in sacks
of hide by hand, at the rate of a ton a day; but I had begun to put
the mining on a scientific basis as early as I could.
BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION. lig

Yes, I had made pretty handsome progress when Sir Sagramor’s
challenge struck me.

Four years rolled by—and then! Well, you would never imagine
it in the world. Unlimited power zs the ideal thing when it is in safe
hands. The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect gov-





‘“THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
BOOMING UNDER ITS VERY NOSE.”



ernment. An earthly des-
potism would be the abso-
lutely perfect earthly gov-
ernment, if the conditions
were the same, namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the
human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable per-
fect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect
successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of govern-
ment, it is the worst form that is possible.

My works showed what a despot could do with the. resources of a
120 BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION.

kingdom at his command. Unsuspected by this dark land, I had the
civilization of the nineteenth century booming under its very nose! It
was fenced away from the public view, but there it was, a gigantic
and unassailable fact—and to be heard from, yet, if I lived and had
luck. There it was, as sure a fact, and as substantial a fact as any
serene volcano, standing innocent with its smokeless summit in the
blue sky and giving no sign of the rising hell in its bowels. My
schools and churches were children four years before; they were
grown-up, now; my shops of that day were vast factories, now;
where I had a dozen trained men then, I had a thousand, now;
where I had one brilliant expert then, I had fifty now. I stood with
my hand on the cock, so to speak, ready to turn it on and flood the
midnight world with light at any moment. But I was not going to
do the thing in that sudden way. It was not my policy. The peo-
ple could not have stood it; and moreover J should have had the
Established Roman Catholic Church on my back in a minute.

No, I had been going cautiously all the while. I had had confiden-
tial agents trickling through the country some time, whose office was
to undermine knighthood by imperceptible degrees, and to gnaw a lit-
tle at this and that and the other superstition, and so prepare the
way gradually for a better order of things. J was turning on my light
one-candle-power at a time, and meant to continue to do so.

I had scattered some branch schools secretly about the kingdom,
and they were doing very well. I meant to work this racket more and
more, as time wore on, if nothing occurred to frighten me. One of
my deepest secrets was my West Point—my military academy. I kept
that most jealously out of sight; and I did the same with my naval
academy which I had established at a remote seaport. Both were
prospering to my satisfaction.

Clarence was twenty-two now, and was my head executive, my
right hand. He was a darling; he was equal to anything; there
BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION. I2I

wasn’t anything he couldn’t turn his hand to. Of late I had been
training him for journalism, for the time seemed about right for a
start in the newspaper line; nothing big, but just a small weekly for
experimental circulation in my civilization-nurseries. He took to it
like a duck; there was an editor concealed-in him, sure. Already he
had doubled himself
sixth century and

in one way; he talked















wrote nineteenth. His
climbing, steadily; it
back settlement Ala-
couldn’t be told

output of that region

journalistic style was
was already up to the
bama mark, and
from the editorial
either by matter or flavor.
We had another

hand, too. This was

large departure on
a telegraph and a tele-
phone; our first ven- ture in this line. These
wires were for private service only, as yet,
and must be kept pri-
should come. We had «

road, working

-vate until. a riper day



- a gang of men on the

mainly by night. They
were string- ing ground wires; we
were afraid to ~ put up poles, for they
would attract * too much inquiry.
Ground wires were good
\ S Ss both instances,
for my wires were protected
by an insula- Sree tion of my own
invention which was perfect. My men had orders to strike across
country, avoiding roads, and establishing connection with any con-
siderable towns whose lights betrayed their presence, and leaving
experts in charge. Nobody could tell you how to find any place in

the kingdom, for nobody ever went intentionally to any place, but

enough, in













122 BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION.

only struck it by accident in his wanderings, and then generally left
it without thinking to inquire what its name was. At one time and
another we had sent out topographical expeditions to survey and map
the kingdom, but the priests had always interfered and raised trouble.
So we had given the thing up, for the present; it would be poor wis-
dom to antagonize the Church.

As for the general condition of the
country, it was as it had been when I
arrived in it, to all intents and purposes
I had made changes, but they were
necessarily slight, and they were not
noticeable. Thus far, I had not even
meddled with taxation, outside of the
taxes which pro-
vided the royal
revenues. I had
systematized
those, and put the service
— on an effective and right-
eous basis. As a result,

ae if
en these revenues were al-
SS ‘ready quadrupled, and yet
A MIDDY FROM MY NAVAL = : the -burden was so much
ACADEMY. === * more equably distributed
than before, that all the
kingdom felt a sense of relief, and the praises of my administration

were hearty and general.



Personally, I struck an interruption, now, but I did not mind it, it
could not have happened at a better time. Earlier it could have
annoyed me, but now everything was in good hands and swimming
right along. The king had reminded me several times, of late,
BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION. 123

that the postponement I had asked for, four years before, had about
run out, now. It was a hint that I ought to be starting out to seek
adventures and get up a reputation of a size to make me worthy of the
honor of breaking a lance with Sir Sagramor, who was still out grail-
ing, but was being hunted for by various relief expeditions, and might
be found any year, now. So you see I was expecting this interruption;
it did not take me by surprise.


wh i] | ‘, f
AN ay (:
] A Sm
\ we

2



yh

ih \y \ ‘
| kan \\)
ie P|

!
|


CHAPTER XI.

_ THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES.





HERE never was such a country for wandering
liars; and they were of both sexes. Hardly a
month went by without one of these tramps
arriving; and generally loaded with a tale about
, *. some princess or other wanting hel
665) to get ae out of some far-away eae
dm where she was held in captivity by a
lawless scoundrel, usually a giant. Now
you would think that the first thing the
king would do
after listening
to sucha nov-
elette from
an entire
stranger,
would be to
ask for creden-
tials—yes, and
a pointer or
two as to lo-
cality of cas-
at tle, best route
SE to it, and so
‘“THE BOYS HELPED ME, OR I NEVER COULD HAVE GOT IN.” on. But no-
body ever thought of so simple and common-sense a thing as that.
‘No, everybody swallowed these people’s lies whole, and never asked

127
128 THE VANKEE IN SEARCH OF AD VENTURES,

a question of any sort or about anything. Well, one day when I was
not around, one of these people came along—it was a she one, this
time—and told a tale of the usual pattern. Her mistress was a cap-
tive in a vast and gloomy castle, along with forty-four other young
and beautiful girls, pretty much all of them princesses; they had been
languishing in that cruel captivity for twenty-six years; the masters
of the castle were three stupendous brothers, each with four arms and
one eye—the eye in the centre of the forehead, and as big as a fruit.
Sort of fruit not mentioned; their usual slovenliness in statistics.

Would you believe it? The king and the whole Round Table
were in raptures over this preposterous opportunity for adventure.
Every knight of the Table jumped for the chance, and begged for it;
but to their vexation and chagrin the king conferred it upon me, who
had not asked for it at all.

By an effort, I contained my joy when Clar-










ence brought me the news. But he—he could
not contain his. His mouth gushed delight and
gratitude in a steady discharge—delight
in my good fortune, gratitude to the king
for this splendid mark of his favor for me.
He could keep neither his legs nor his
body still, but pirouetted about the place
in an airy ecstasy of happiness.

On my side, I could have
cursed the kindness f




that conferred upon
me this benefaction,
but I kept my
vexation un-
der the sur-

face for poli- THE THREE BROTHERS, AS DESCRIBED BY SANDY,

et
THE VANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. 129.

cy’s sake, and did what I.could to let on to be glad. Indeed, I said
Iwas glad. And ina way it was true; I was as glad asa person is
when he is scalped.

Well, one must make the best of things, and not waste time with
useless fretting, but get down to business and see what can be done.
In all lies there is wheat among the chaff; I must get at the wheat
in this case: so I sent for the girl and she came. She wasa comely
enough creature, and soft and modest, but if signs went for anything,
she didn’t know as much as a lady’s watch. I said—

‘‘My dear, have you been questioned as to particulars?”

She said she hadn't.

“Well, I didn’t expect you had, but I thought I would ask to
make sure; it’s the way I’ve been raised. Now you mustn't take it
unkindly if I remind you that as we don’t know you, we must goa
little slow. You may be all right, of course, and we’ll hope that you
are; but to take it for granted isn’t business. You understand that.
’'m obliged to ask you a few questions; just answer up fair and
square, and don’t be afraid. Where do you live, when you are at
home?”

“In the land of Moder, fair sir.”

‘Land of Moder. I don’t remember hearing of it before. Parents
living ?”

“As to that, I know not if they be yet on live, sith it is many years
that I have lain shut up in the castle.”

‘Your name, please?” ” ,

“T hight the Demoiselle Alisande la Carteloise, an it please you.”

“Do you know anybody here who can identify you?”

“That were not likely, fair lord, I being come hither now for the
first time.”

“Have you brought any letters—any documents—any proofs that

you are trustworthy and truthful?”
9
130 THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES.

“Of a surety, no; and wherefore should 1? Have I not a tongue,
and cannot I say all that myself?”

‘But your saying it, you know, and somebody else’s saying it, is
different.” _

‘ Different? How might that be? I fear me I do not understand.”

“Don't wuderstand? Land of—why, you see—you see—why, great
Scott, can’t you understand a little thing like that? Can't you under-
stand the difference between your—w/y do you look so innocent and
idiotic!” .

“T? In truth I know not, but an it were the will of God.”

“Yes, yes, I reckon that’s about the size of it. Don’t mind my
seeming excited; I’m not. Let us change the subject. Now as to this
castle, with forty-five princesses in it, and three ogres at the head of
it, tell me—where is this harem?”

“ Harem?”

‘““The castle, you understand; where is the castle?”

““Oh, as to that, it is great, and strong, and well beseen, and lieth
in afar country. Yes, it is many leagues.”

“flow many?”

“ Ah, fair sir, it were woundily hard to tell, they are so many, and
do so lap the one upon the other, and being made all in the same image
and tincted with the same color, one may not know the one league
from its fellow, nor how to count them except they be taken apart,
and ye wit well it were God’s work to do that, being not within man’s
capacity; for ye will note—”

‘*Hold on, hold on, never mind about the distance; whereabouts
does the castle lie? What’s the direction from here?”

“Ah, please you sir, it hath no direction from here; by reason
that the road lieth not straight, but turneth evermore; wherefore
the direction of its place abideth not, but is sometime under the one
sky and anon under another, whereso if ye be minded that it is in the
se Ty

WW

wie

=
aT

Se

&.

AS





“GREAT SCOTT, CAN" YOU UNDERSTAND A LITTLE THING LIKE THAT?”
1320 THE VANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES.

east, and wend thitherward, ye shall observe that the way of the road
doth yet again turn upon itself by the space of half a circle, and this
marvel happing again and yet again and still again, it will grieve you
that you had thought by vanities of the mind to thwart and bring to
naught the will of Him that giveth nota castle a direction from a place
except it pleaseth Him, and if it please Him not, will the rather that
even all castles and all directions thereunto vanish out of the earth,
leaving the places wherein they tarried desolate and vacant, so
warning His creatures that where He will He will, and where He will
not He—”

‘“‘Oh, that’s all right, that’s all right, give us a rest; never mind
about the direction, Aang the direction—I beg pardon, I beg a thousand
‘ pardons, I am not well to-day; pay no attention when I soliloquize,
itis an old habit, an old, bad habit, and hard to get rid of when one’s
digestion is all disordered with eating food that was raised forever and
ever before he was born; good land! a man can’t keep his functions
regular on spring chickens thirteen hundred years old. But come—
never mind about that; let’s—have you got such a thing as a map of
that region about you? Now a:good map—” ~

“Is it peradventure that manner of thing which of late the unbe-
lievers have brought from over the great seas, which, being boiled in
oil, and an onion and salt added thereto, doth—”

“What, a map? What are you talking about? Don't you know
what a mapis? There, there, never mind, don’t explain, I hate expla-
nations; they fog a thing up so that you can’t tell anything about it.
Run along, dear; good-day; show her the way, Clarence.”

Oh, well, it was reasonably plain, now, why these donkeys didn’t
prospect these liars for details. It may be that this girl had a fact in
her somewhere, but I don’t believe you could have sluiced it out with
a hydraulic; nor got it with the earlier forms of blasting, even; it was
a case for dynamite. Why, she was a perfect ass; and yet the king
THE VANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. 133
and his knights had listened to her as if she had been a leaf out of the
gospel. It kind of sizes up the whole party. And think of the simple
ways of this court: this wandering wench hadn’t any more trouble to
get access to the king in his palace than she would have had to get
into the poor-house in my day and country. In fact he was glad to
see her, glad to hear her tale; with that adventure of hers to offer, she
was as welcome as a corpse is to a coroner.

Just as I was ending-up these reflections, Clarence came back. I
remarked upon the barren result of my efforts with the girl; hadn’t got
hold of a single point that could help me to find the castle. The
youth looked a little surprised, or puzzled, or something, and intimated
that he had been wondering to himself what I had wanted to ask the
girl all those questions for.

“Why, great guns,” I said, ‘don’t I want to find the castle? And
how else would I go about it?”

“La, sweet your worship, one may lightly answer that, I ween.
She will go with thee. They always do. She will ride with thee.”

“Ride with me? Nonsense!” .

‘But of a truth she will. She will ride with thee. Thou shalt see.”

‘“‘What? She browse around the hills and scour the woods with
me—alone—and I as good as engaged to be married? Why, it’s scan-
dalous. Think how it would look.”

My, the dear face that rose before me! The boy was eager to
know all about this tender matter. I swore him to secrecy and then
whispered her name—‘‘ Puss Flanagan.” He looked disappointed,
and said he didn’t remember the countess. How natural it was for the
little courtier to give her a rank. He asked me where she lived.

“Tn East Har—” I came to myself and stopped, a little confused;
then I said, ‘‘ Never mind, now; I'll tell you sometime.”

And might he see her? Would I let him see her some day?

It was but a little thing to promise—thirteen hundred years or so—
134 THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES.

and he so eager; so I said Yes. But I sighed; I couldn't help it.
And yet there was no sense in sighing, for she wasn’t born yet. But
that is the way we are made: we don’t reason, where we feel; we just
feel.

My expedition was all the talk that day and that night, and the
boys were very good to me, and made much of me, and seemed to
have forgotten their vexation and disappointment, and come to be as
anxious for me to hive those ogres and set those ripe old virgins loose
as if it were themselves that had the contract. Well, they were good
children—but just children, that is all. And they gave me no end of
points about how to scout for giants, and how to scoop them in; and
they told me all sorts of charms against enchantments, and gave me
salves and other rubbish to put on my wounds. But it never occurred
to one of them to reflect that if I was such a wonderful necromancer
as I was pretending to be, I ought not to need salves or instructions,
or charms against enchantments, and least of all, arms and armor, on
a foray of any kind—even against fire-spouting dragons, and devils hot
from perdition, let alone such poor adversaries as these I was after,
these commonplace ogres of the back settlements. ,

I was to have an early breakfast, and start at dawn, for that was
the usual way; but I had the demon’s own time with my armor, and
this delayed mea little. It is troublesome to get into, and-there is so
much detail. First you wrap a layer or two of blanket around your
body, for a sort of cushion and to keep off the cold iron; then you put
on your sleeves and shirt of chain-mail—these are made of small steel
links woven together, and they form a fabric so flexible that if you
toss your shirt onto the floor, it slumps into a pile like a peck of
wet fish-net; it is very heavy and is nearly the uncomfortablest mate-
rial in the world for a night-shirt, yet plenty used it for that—tax col-
lectors, and reformers, and one-horse kings with a defective title, and
those sorts of people; then you put on your shoes—flat-boats roofed
THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. , 135

over with interleaving bands of steel—and screw your clumsy spurs
into the heels. Next you buckle your greaves on your legs, and your
cuisses on your thighs; then come your backplate and your breast-
plate, and you begin to feel crowded; then you hitch onto the breast-
plate the half-petticoat of broad overlapping bands of steel which
hangs down in front but is scolloped out behind so you can sit down,
and isn’t any real improvement on an inverted coal scuttle, either for
looks or for wear, or to wipe your hands on; next you belt on your
sword; then you put your stove-pipe joints onto your arms, your iron
gauntlets onto your hands, your iron rat-trap onto your head, with a
rag of steel web hitched onto it to hang over the back of your neck
—and there you are, snug asa candle in a candle-mould. This is no
time to dance. Well, a man that is packed away like that, is a nut
that isn’t worth the cracking, there is so little of the meat, when you
get down to it, by comparison with the shell.

The boys helped me, or I never could have got in. Just as we
finished, Sir Bedivere happened in, and I saw that as like as not I
hadn’t chosen the most convenient outfit for a long trip. How
stately he looked; and tall and broad and grand. He had on his
head a conical steel casque that only came down to his ears, and
for visor had only a narrow steel bar that extended down to his
upper lip and protected his nose; and all the rest of him, from neck
to heel, was flexible chain-mail, trowsers and all. But pretty much
all of him was hidden under his outside garment, which of course
was of chain-mail, as I said, and hung straight from his shoulders
to his ancles; and from his middle to the bottom, both before and
behind, was divided, so that he could ride and let the skirts hang
down on each side. He was going grailing, and it was just the outfit
for it, too. I would have given a good deal for that ulster, but it
was too late now to be fooling around. The sun was just up, the
king and the court were all on hand to see me off and wish me
136 THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES.

luck; so it wouldn’t be etiquette for me to tarry. You don’t get on
your horse yourself; no, if you tried it you would get disappointed,
They carry you out, just as they carry a sun-struck man to the drug
store, and put you on, and help get you to rights, and fix your feet
in the stirrups; and all the while you do feel so strange and stuffy



“AND SO WE STARTED,”

and like somebody else—like somebody that has been married on a
sudden, or struck by lightning, or something like that, and hasn’t
quite fetched around, yet, and is sort of numb, and can’t just get
his bearings. Then they stood up the mast they called a spear, in
its socket by my left foot, and I gripped it with my hand; lastly
they hung my shield around my neck, and I was all complete and
THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES. 137

ready to up anchor and get to sea. Everybody was as good to me
as they could be, and a maid of honor gave me the stirrup-cup her
own self. There was nothing more to do, now, but for that damsel
* to get up behind me on a pillion, which she did, and Bue an arm or
so around me to hold on.

And so we started; and everybody gave us a good-bye and waved
their handkerchiefs or helmets. And everybody we met, going down
the hill and through the village was respectful to us, except some
shabby little boys on the outskirts. They said—

“Oh, what a guy!” And hove clods at us.

In my experience boys are the same in all ages. They don’t
respect anything, they don’t care for anything or anybody. They
say ‘‘Go up, baldhead” to the prophet going his unoffending way in
the gray of antiquity; they sass me in the holy gloom of the Middle
Ages; and I had seen them act the same way in Buchanan’s admin-
istration; I remember, because I was there and helped. The prophet
had his bears and settled with his boys; and I wanted to get down
and settle with mine, but it wouldn’t answer, because I couldn’t have
got up again. I hate a country without a derrick.


ne

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CHAPTER XII.
SLOW TORTURE.

TRAIGHT off, we were in the country. It
was most lovely and pleasant in those syl-
van solitudes in the early cool morning in
the first freshness of autumn. From hill-

tops we saw fair green valleys lying spread out
below, with streams winding through them, and isl-
and-groves of trees here and there, and huge lonely
oaks scattered about and casting black blots of shade;
and beyond the valleys we saw the
ranges of hills, . blue with haze, stretching

away in bil- lowy perspective to the





horizon, with @ at wide intervals a dim

fleck of white or gray ona




a Ge Hl
ona eS Ane a









eS
a NG Ae e
ay HN a SA
f YW i / :





















wave-summit, which we knew. was a castle. We crossed broad

natural lawns sparkling with dew, and we moved like spirits, the

I4t
I42 SLOW TORTURE.

cushioned turf giving out no sound of foot-fall; we dreamed along
through glades in a mist of green light that got its tint from the sun-
drenched roof of leaves overhead, and by our feet the clearest and
coldest of runlets went frisking and gossiping over its reefs and mak-
ing a sort of whispering music comfortable to hear; and at times we
left the world behind and entered into the solemn great deeps and
rich gloom of the forest, where furtive wild things whisked and scur-

ried by and were gone before you could





even get your eye on the place where the

noise was; and : ~~". where only the earliest





t) THE JOURNEY. 2

G
birds were turning out and getting to business with a song here and a
quarrel yonder and a mysterious far-off hammering and drumming for
worms on a tree-trunk away somewhere in the impenetrable remote-
nesses of the woods. And by and by out we would swing again into
the glare.

About the third or fourth or fifth time that we swung out into the
glare—it was along there somewhere, a couple of hours or so after
sun-up—it wasn’t as pleasant as it had been. It was beginning to get
hot. This was quite noticeable. We hada very long pull, after that,
without any shade. Now it is curious how progressively little frets
SLOW TORTURE. 143

grow and multiply after they once get a start. Things which I didn’t
mind at all, at first, 1 began to mind now—and more and more, too,
all the time. The first ten or fifteen times I wanted my handkerchief
I didn’t seem to care; I got along, and said never mind, it isn’t any
matter, and dropped it out of my mind. But now it was different; I
wanted it all the time; it was nag, nag, nag, right along, and no rest;
I couldn’t get it out of my mind; and so at last I lost my temper and
said hang a man that would make a suit of armor without any pockets
init. You see I had my handkerchief in my helmet; and some other
things; but it was that kind of a helmet that you can't take off by
yourself. That hadn’t occurred to me when I put it there; and in
fact I didn’t know it. I supposed it would be particularly convenient
there. And so now, the thought of its being there, so handy and
close by, and yet not get-at-able, made it all the worse and the harder
to bear. Yes, the thing that you can’t get is the thing that you want,
mainly; everyone has noticed that. Well, it took my mind off from
everything else; took it clear off, and centred it in my helmet; and
mile after mile, there it staid, imagining the handkerchief, picturing
the handkerchief; and it was bitter and aggravating to have the salt
sweat keep trickling down into my eyes, and I couldn’t get at it. It
seems like a little thing, on paper, but it was not a little thing at all;
it was the most real kind of misery. I would not say it if it was not
so. I made up my mind that I would carry along a reticule next
time, let it look how it might, and people say what they would. Of
course these iron dudes of the Round Table would think it was
scandalous, and maybe raise Sheol about it, but as for me, give me
comfort first, and style afterwards. So we jogged along, and now and
then we struck a stretch of dust, and it would tumble up in clouds
and get into my nose and make me sneeze and cry; and of course I
said things I oughtn’t to have said, I don’t deny that. I am not
better than others. We couldn't seem to meet anybody in this lone-
144 SLOW TORTURE.

some Britain, not even an ogre; and in the mood I was in then, it
was well for the ogre; that is, an ogre with a handkerchief. Most
knights would have thought of nothing but getting his armor; but
so I got his bandanna, he could keep his hardware, for all me.
Meantime it was getting hotter and hotter in there. You see, the
sun was beating down and warm-
ing up the iron more and more all
the time. Well, when you are
hot, that way, every little thing
irritates you. When I trotted, I
rattled like a crate of dishes, and
that annoyed me; and moreover
I couldn’t seem to stand that
shield slatting and banging, now
about my breast, now around my
back; and if I dropped into a
walk my joints creaked and
screeched in that wearisome way
that a wheelbarrow does, and as
we didn't create any breeze at
that gait, I was like to get fried
in that stove; and besides, the
quieter you went the heavier the
iron settled down on you and the



more and more tons you seemed
EFFECT OF THE SUN ON THE IRON CLOTHES. to weigh every minute. And you
had to be always changing hands, and passing your spear over to the
other foot, it got so irksome for one hand to hold it long at a time.’
Well, you know, when you perspire that way, in rivers, there comes
a time when you—when you—well, when you itch. You are inside,
your hands are outside; so there you are; nothing but iron between.
SLOW TORTURE. 145

ft is not a light thing, let it sound as it may. First it is one place;
then another; then some more; and it goes on spreading and spread-
ing, and at last the territory is all occupied, and nobody can imagine
what you feel like, nor how unpleasant it is. And when it had got to
the worst, and it seemed to me that I could not stand anything more,
a fly got in through the bars and settled on my nose, and the ‘bars
were stuck and wouldn’t work, and I couldn’t get the visor up; and I
could only shake my head, which was baking hot by this time, and
the fly—well, you know how a fly acts when he has got a certainty—
he only minded the shaking enough to change from nose to lip, and
Hp to ear, and buzz and buzz all around in there, and keep on lighting
and biting, in a way that a person already so distressed as I was,
simply could not stand. So I gave in, and got Alisande to unship the
helmet and relieve me of it. Then she emptied the conveniences out
of it and fetched it full of water, and I drank and then stood up and
she poured the rest down inside the armor. One cannot think how
refreshing it was. She continued to fetch and pour until I was well
soaked and thoroughly comfortable.

It was good to have a rest—and peace. But nothing is quite per-
fect in this life, at any time. I had made a pipe a while back, and
also some pretty fair tobacco; not the real thing, but what some of
the Indians use: the inside bark of the willow, dried. These com-
forts had been in the helmet, and now I had them again, but no
matches. i

Gradually, as the time wore along, one annoying fact was borne in
upon. my understanding—that we were weather-bound. An armed
novice cannot mount his horse without help and plenty of it. Sandy
was not enough; not enough for me, anyway. We had to wait until
somebody should come along. Waiting, in silence, would have been
agreeable enough, for I was full of matter for reflection, and wanted
to give it a chance to work. . I wanted to try and think out how it

i190
x



A <<

~

~

a.- #5 S
Lat te 2S SO
ae SSSR

SS

Se



SoS

SSS

SSS
SSS

SHE CONTINUED TO FETCH AND POUR UNTIL I WAS WELL SOAKED.”

oe
SLOW TORTURE. 147

was that rational or even half-rational men could ever have learned
to wear armor, considering its inconveniences; and how they had
managed to keep up such a fashion for generations when it was plain
that what I had suffered to-day they had had to suffer all the days of
their lives. I wanted to think that out; and moreover I wanted to
think out some way to reform this evil and persuade the people to let
the foolish fashion die out; but thinking was out of the question in
the circumstances. You couldn’t think, where Sandy was. She was
a quite biddable creature and good-hearted, but she had a flow of talk
that was as steady as a mill, and made your head sore like the drays
and wagons ina city. If she had hada cork she would have been a
comfort. But you can’t cork that kind; they would die. Her clack
was going all day, and you would think something would surely hap-
pen to her works, by and by; but no, they never got out of order;
and she never had to slack up for words. She could grind, and pump,
and churn and_buzz by the week, and never stop to oil up or blow out.
And yet the result was just nothing but wind. She never had any
ideas, any more thana fog has. She was a perfect blatherskite; I
mean for jaw, jaw, jaw, taik, talk, talk, jabber, jabber, jabber; but just
as good as she could be. JI hadn’t minded her mill that morning, on
account of having that hornet’s nest of other troubles; but more than
once in the afternoon I had to say—
“Take a rest, child; the way you are using up all the domestic air,

the kingdom will have to go to importing it by to-morrow, and it’s a
low enough treasury without that.”

CHAPTER XIII.

FREEMEN!



IES, it is strange how little a while at a time a person can
be contented. Only a little while back, when I was
riding and suffering, what a heaven this peace, this rest,
this sweet serenity in this secluded shady nook by this
purling stream would have seemed, where I could keep
perfectly comfortable all the time by pouring a dipper of
water into my armor now and then; yet already I was
getting dissatisfied; partly because I could not light my
pipe—for although I had long ago started a match fac-
tory, I had forgotten to bring matches with me—and
partly because we had nothing to eat. Here was another
illustration of the childlike improvidence of this age and
: i people. A man in armor always trusted to chance for his
food on a journey, and would have been scandalized at the

idea of hanging a basket of sandwiches on his spear. There
I50
152 FREEMEN!

was probably not a knight of all the Round Table combination who
would not rather have died than been caught carrying such a thing as
that on his flagstaff. And yet there could not be anything more sen-
sible. It had been my intention to smuggle a couple of sandwiches
into my helmet, but I was interrupted in the act, and had to make an
excuse and lay them aside, and a dog got them.

Night approached, and with it a storm. The darkness came on
fast. We must camp, of course. I found a good shelter for the
demoiselle under a rock, and went off and found another for myself.
But I was obliged to remain in my armor, because I could not get it
off by myself and yet could not allow Alisande to help, because it
would have seemed so like undressing before folk. It would not have
amounted to that in reality, because I had clothes on underneath;
but the prejudices of one’s breeding are not gotten rid of just at a jump,
and I knew that when it came to stripping off that bob-tailed iron
petticoat I should be embarrassed.

With the storm came a change of weather; and the stronger the
wind blew, and the wilder the rain lashed around, the colder and
colder it got. Pretty soon, various kinds of bugs and ants and worms
and things began to flock in out of the wet and crawl down inside my
armor to get warm; and while some of them behaved well enough,
and snuggled up amongst my clothes and got quiet, the majority were
of a restless, uncomfortable sort, and never stayed still, but went on
prowling and hunting for they did not know what; especially the
ants, which went tickling along in wearisome procession from one end
of me to the other by the hour, and are a kind of creatures which I
never wish to sleep with again. It would be my advice to persons
situated in this way, to not roll or thrash around, because this excites
the interest of all the different sorts of animals and makes every last
one of them want to turn out and see what is going on, and this makes
things worse than they were before, and of course makes you objur-.
FREEMEN ! 153

gate harder, too, if you can. Still, if one did not roll and thrash
around he would die; so perhaps it is as well to do one way as the
other, there is no real choice. Even after I was frozen solid I could
still distinguish that tickling, just as a corpse does when he is taking
electric treatment. I said I would never wear armor after this trip.

All those trying hours whilst I was frozen and yet was ina living
fire, as you may say, on account of that swarm of crawlers, that same
unanswerable question kept circling and circling through my tired
head: How do people stand this miserable armor? How have they
managed to stand it all these generations? How can they sleep at
night for dreading the tortures of next day?

When the morning came at last, I was in a bad enough plight:
seedy, drowsy, fagged, from want of sleep; weary from thrashing
around, famished from long fasting; pining for a bath, and to get rid
of the animals; and crippled with rheumatism. And how had it fared
with the nobly born, the titled aristocrat, the Demoiselle Alisande la
Carteloise? Why, she was as fresh as a squirrel; she had slept like
the dead; and as for a bath, probably neither she nor any other noble
in the land had ever had one, and so she was not missing it. Meas-
ured by modern standards, they were merely modified savages, those
people. This noble lady showed no impatience to get to breakfast—
and that smacks of the savage, too. On their journeys those Britons
were used to long fasts, and knew how to bear them; and also how
to freight up against probable fasts before starting, after the style of
the Indian and the anaconda. As like as not, Sandy was loaded for a
three-day stretch.

We were off before sunrise, Sandy riding and I limping along
behind. In half an hour we came upon a group of ragged poor crea-
tures who had assembled to mend the thing which was regarded as a
road. They were as humble as animals to me; and when I proposed
to breakfast with them, they were so flattered, so overwhelmed by
154. FREEMEN !

this extraordinary condescension of mine that at first they were not

able to believe that Iwas in earnest. My lady put up her scornful

lip and withdrew to one side; she said in their hearing that she would

as soon think of eating with the other cattle—a remark which embar-

~rassed these poor devils merely because it referred to them, and not
because it insulted or offended them, for it didn’t. And yet they were

not slaves, not chattels. By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were

freemen. Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of

just their class and degree: small “independent” farmers, artisans,

etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they

were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-

worthy; and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation

and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king,

nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the

arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any

rationally constructed world. And yet, by ingenious contrivance,

ag. this gilded minority, instead of being in the tail of

fc; the procession where it belonged, was marching
head up and banners flying, at the other end of it;




ae é - Ze

“BY A SARCASM OF LAW AND PHRASE THEY WERE FREEMEN.”
FREEMEN! 155

had elected itself to be the Nation, and these innumerable clams had
permitted it so long that they had come at last to accept it as a truth;
and not only that, but to believe it right and as it should be. The
priests had told their fathers and themselves that this ironical state of
things was ordained of God; and so, not reflecting upon how unlike
God it would be to amuse himself with sarcasms, and especially such
poor transparent ones as this, they had dropped the matter there and
become respectfully quiet.

The talk of these meek people had a strange enough sound in a
formerly American 7 ear. They were free-




men, but they could not leave the estates

of their lord or their bishop without his per-




‘““TO SUBTRACT THE NATION AND LEAVE BE-
HIND SOME DREGS.”

mission; they could not prepare their own bread, but must have their
corn ground and their bread baked at his mill and his bakery, and pay
roundly for the same; they could not sell a piece of their own property
without paying him a handsome percentage of the proceeds, nor buya
piece of somebody else’s without remembering him in cash for the priv-
ilege; they had to harvest his grain for him gratis, and be ready to come
at a moment's notice, leaving their own crop to destruction by the
156 FREEMEN!

threatened storm; they had to let him plant fruit trees in their fields,
and then keep their indignation to themselves when his heedless fruit
gatherers trampled the grain around the trees; they had to smother
their anger when his hunting parties galloped through their fields lay-
ing waste the result of their patient toil; they were not allowed to
keep doves themselves, and when the swarms from my lord’s dovecote
settled on their crops they must not lose their temper and kill a bird,
for awful would the penalty bé; when the harvest was at last gathered,
then came the procession of robbers to levy their blackmail upon it:
first the Church carted off its fat tenth, then the king’s commissioner
took his twenti-
eth, then my
lord’s people
made a mighty
inroad upon the
remainder; after
which, the skin-
ned freeman had



liberty to bestow

BURIAL OF A FREEMAN.

the remnant in
his barn, in case it was worth the trouble; there were taxes, and
taxes, and taxes, and more taxes, and taxes again, and yet other
taxes—upon this free and independent pauper, but none upon his
lord the baron or the bishop, none upon the wasteful nobility or the
all-devouring Church; if the baron would sleep unvexed, the freeman
must sit up all night after his day’s work and. whip the ponds to keep
the frogs quiet; if the freeman’s daughter—but no, that last infamy of
monarchical government is unprintable; and finally, if the freeman,
grown desperate with his tortures, found his life unendurable under
such conditions, and sacrificed it and fled to death for mercy and
refuge, the gentle Church condemned him to eternal fire, the gentle
FREEMEN! 157

law buried him at midnight at the cross-roads with a stake through
his back, and his master the baron’or the bishop confiscated all his
property and turned his widow and his orphans out of doors.

And here were these freemen assembled in the early morning to
work on their lord the bishop’s road three days each—gratis; every
head of a family, and every son of a family, three days each, gratis,
and a day or so added for their servants. Why, it was like reading
about France and the French, before the ever-memorable and blessed
Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in
one swift tidal-wave of blood—one: a settlement of that hoary debt
in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that
had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary
stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of
which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two ‘“ Reigns of
Terror,” if we would but remember it and consider it; the one
wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the
one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the
one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hun-
dred millions; but our shudders are all for the ‘‘ horrors” of the minor
Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the hor-
ror of swift death by the axe, compared with life-long death from hun-
ger, cold, insult, cruelty and heart-break? What is swift death by
lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city ceme-
tery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have
all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all
France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real
Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us
has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

These poor ostensible freemen who were sharing their breakfast
and their tall: with me, were as full of humble reverence for their king
and Church and nobility as their worst enemy could desire. There
158 FREEMEN!

was something pitifully ludicrous about it. I asked them if they sup-
posed a nation of people ever existed, who, with a free vote in every
man’s hand, would elect that a single family and its descendants
should reign over it forever, whether gifted or boobies, to the exclu-
sion of all other families—including the voter’s; and would also elect
that a certain hundred families should be raised to dizzy summits of
rank, and clothed-on with offensive transmissible glories and privi-
leges to the exclusion of the rest of the nation’s families—cnucluding
hts own. .

They all looked unhit, and said they didn’t know; that they had
never thought about it before, and it hadn’t ever occurred to them
that a nation could be so situated that every man could have a say in
the government. I said I had seen one—and that it would last until ~
it had an Established Church. Again they were all unhit—at first.
But presently one man looked up and asked me to state that propo-
sition again; and state it slowly, so it could soak into his understand-
ing. I did it; and after a little he had the idea, and he brought his
fist down and said #e didn’t believe a nation where every man hada
vote would voluntarily get down in the mud and dirt in any such way;
and that to steal from a nation its will and preference must be a crime
and the first of all crimes.

I said to myself: ;

“This one’s a man. If I were backed by enough of his sort, I
would make a strike for the welfare of this country, and try to prove
myself its loyalest citizen by making a wholesome change in its sys-
tem of government.”

You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its
institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the sub-
stantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care
for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere cloth-
ing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfor-
FREEMEN! 159

table, cease to protect the body
To be loyal to rags, to shout

from winter, disease, and death.













for rags, to worship rags, to die
for rags—that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it
belongs to monarchy, was in- vented by monarchy; let mon-
archy keep it. I was from Con- necticut, whose Constitution

declares “that all political power is inherent in the peo-

TWO OF A KIND,

ple, and all free governments
are founded on their authority
and instituted for their bene- ¢
fit; and that they have at
all times an undeniable and



indefeasible right to alter
3 their form of government
in such a manner as
they may think ex-

Under that gos-
pel, the citizen who
thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out,
and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is dis-
loyal; he is a traitor. That he may be the only one who thinks he
sees this decay, does not excuse him; it is his duty to agitate any
way, and it is the duty of the others to vote him down if they do not
see the matter as he does.

And now here I was, in a country where a right to say how the
country should be governed was restricted to six persons in each
thousand of its population. For the nine hundred and ninety-four
to express dissatisfaction with the regnant system and propose to
160 FREEMEN !

change it, would have made the whole six shudder as one man, it
would have been so disloyal, so dishonorable, such putrid black trea-
son. So to speak, 1 was become a stockholder in a corporation where
nine hundred and ninety-four of the members furnished all the money
and did all the work, and the other six elected themselves a perma-
nent board of direction and took all the dividends. It seemed to me
that what the nine hundred and ninety-four dupes needed was a new
deal. The thing that would have best suited the circus side of my
nature would have been to resign the Boss-ship and get up an insurrec-
tion and turn it into a revolution; but I knew that the Jack Cade or
the Wat Tyler who tries such a thing without first educating his mate-
rials up to revolution-grade is almost absolutely certain to get left. I.
had never been accustomed to getting left, even if I do say it myself.
Wherefore, the ‘‘deal” which had been for some time working into
shape in my mind was ofa quite different pattern from the Cade-Tyler
sort.

So I did not talk blood and insurrection to that man there who sat
munching black bread with that abused and mistaught herd of human
sheep, but took him aside and talked matter of another sort to him.
After I had finished, I got him to lend me a little ink from his veins;
and with this and a sliver I wrote on a piece of bark—

Put him in the Man-Factory—
and gave it to him, and said—

“Take it to the palace at Camelot and give it into the hands of
Amyas le Poulet, whom I call Clarence, and he will understand.”

‘He is a priest, then,” said the man, and some of the enthusiasm
went out of his face.

‘“‘ How—a priest? Didn’t I tell you that no chattel of the Church,
no bond-slave of pope or bishop can enter my Man-Factory? Didn’t
I tell you that you couldn't enter unless your religion, whatever it might
be, was your own free property?”
FREEMEN! 161

“Marry, it is so, and for that I was glad; wherefore it liked me not,
and bred in me a cold doubt, to hear of this priest being there.”

‘ But he isn’t a priest, I tell you.”

The man looked far from satisfied. He said:

“He is not a priest, and yet can read?”

“ He is not a priest and yet can read—yes, and write, too, for that
matter. I taught him myself.” The man’s face cleared. ‘‘ And it is
the first thing that you yourself will be taught in that Factory—”

“1? T would give blood out of my heart to know that art. Why,
I will be your slave, your—”

‘“No you won't, you won’t be anybody’s slave. Take your family
and go along. Your lord the bishop will confiscate your small prop-
erty, but no matter, Clarence will fix you all right.”

Iz









=) chow

Chose Fire oN

ELCHING Daa aons
CHAPTER XIV.
















ee? S&S = “DEFEND THEE, LORD!”

i.
PAID three pennies for my breakfast, and a most
extravagant price it was, too, seeing that one
could have breakfasted a dozen persons for that
money; but I was feeling good by this time, and

J had always been a kind of spendthrift any
way; and then these people had wanted to
give me the food for nothing, scant as their
provision was, and so it was a grateful pleas-
ure to emphasize my appreciation and
sincere thankfulness with a good big
financial lift where the money would do
so much more good than it would in my
helmet, where, these pennies being made
of iron and not stinted in weight, my





half dollar’s worth was a good deal of



x
fom

i aa
j ‘| att

By Ila
ING

a burden to me. I spent money rather





too freely in those days, it is true; but









ee.

one reason for it was that I hadn't got



yy

the proportions of things entirely adjusted,



even yet, after so long a sojourn in Britain—
hadn’t got along to where I was able to ab-
solutely realize that a penny in Arthur’s
: land and a couple of dollars in Connecticut
were about one and the same thing: just twins, as you may say, in

purchasing power. If my start from Camelot could have been delayed
. 165
166 “DEFEND THEE, LORD!”

a very few days I could have paid these people in beautiful new coins
from our own mint, and that would have pleased me; and them, too,
not less. I had adopted the American values exclusively. In a week
or two now, cents, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars, and also
a trifle of gold, would be trickling in thin but steady streams all
through the commercial veins of the kingdom, and I looked to see
this new blood freshen up its life.

The farmers were bound to throw in something, to sort of offset my
liberality, whether I would or no; so I let them give mea flint and
steel; and as soon as they had comfortably bestowed Sandy and me
on our horse, I lit my pipe. When the first blast of smoke shot out
through the bars of my helmet, all those people broke for the woods,
and Sandy went over backwards and struck the ground with a dull
thud. They thought I was one of those fire-belching dragons they
had heard so much about from knights and other professional liars. I
had infinite trouble to persuade those people to venture back within
explaining distance. Then I told them that this was only a bit of
enchantment which would work harm to none but my enemies. And
I promised, with my hand on my heart, that if all who felt no enmity
toward me would
come forward and
pass before me they
~ should see that only
those who remained
“IN behind would be
AM! struck dead. The
procession moved
with a good deal of
promptness. There



were no casualties

EFFECT OF THE PIPE ON THE FREEMEN.

to report, for no-
“DEFEND THEE, LORD!” 16 7

body had curiosity enough to remain behind to see what would
happen.

I lost some time, now, for these big children, their fears gone,
became so ravished with wonder over my awe-compelling fireworks
that I had to stay there and smoke a couple of pipes out before they
would let me go. Still the delay was not wholly unproductive, for it
took all that time to get Sandy thoroughly wonted to the new thing,
she being so close to it, you know. It plugged up her conversation-
mill, too, for a considerable while, and that was a gain. But above all
other benefits accruing, I had learned something. I was ready for any
giant or any ogre that might come along, now.

We tarried with a holy hermit, that night, and my opportunity
came about the middle of the next afternoon. We were crossing a
vast meadow by way of short-cut, and I was musing absently, hearing
nothing, seeing nothing, when Sandy suddenly interrupted a remark
which she had begun that morning, with the cry—

‘“‘ Defend thee, lord!—peril gies of life is toward!”
And she slipped down from the horse and
¢




ran a little way

and stood. I looked

up and
saw, far off
in the shade of is
a tree, half a dozen




armed knights and their
squires; and straightway
there was bustle among
them and tightening of sad-
dle-girths for the mount.
My pipe was ready and
would have been lit, if I
had not been lost in EFFECT OF THE PIPE ON SANDY.
168 “DEFEND THEE, LORD!”

thinking about how to banish oppression from this land and restore to
all its people their stolen rights and manhood without disobliging
anybody. I lit up at once, and by the time I had got a good head of
reserved steam on, here they came. All together, too; none of those
chivalrous magnanimities which one reads so much about—one courtly
rascal at a time, and the rest standing by to see fair play. No, they
came in a body, they came with a whirr and a rush, they came like a
volley from a battery; came with heads low down, plumes streaming
out behind, lances advanced at a level.
It was a handsome sight, a beautiful
sight—for a man up atree. I laid my
lance in rest and waited, with my heart
beating, till the iron wave was just
‘) ready to break over me, then spouted
a column of white smoke through the
bars of my helmet. You should have
seen the wave go to pieces and scat-
ter! This was a finer sight than the
other one.

But these people stopped, two or



three hundred yards away, and this
“ DEFEND aca es ee teoubled. Gags. 1 My. satisfaction col-
lapsed, and fear came; I judged I was
a lost man. But Sandy was radiant; and was going to be elo-
quent, but I stopped her, and told her my magic had miscarried, some-
how or other, and she must mount, with all dispatch, and we must ride
for life. No, she wouldn’t. She said that my enchantment had dis-
abled those knights; they were not riding on, because they couldn’t;
wait, they would drop out of their saddles presently, and we would
get their horses and harness. I could not deceive such trusting sim-
plicity, so I said it was a mistake; that when my fireworks killed at all,


‘“THEY CAME IN A BODY, THEY CAME WITH A WHIRR.”
170 “DEFEND THEE, LORD!”

they killed instantly; no, the men would not die, there was something
wrong about my apparatus, I couldn't tell what; but we must hurry
and get away, for those people would attack us again, in a minute.
Sandy laughed, and said—

“ Lack-a-day, sir, they be not of that breed! Sir Launcelot will
give battle to dragons, and will abide by them, and will assail them
again, and yet again, and still again, until he do conquer and destroy
them; and so likewise will Sir Pellinore and Sir Aglovale and Sir
Carados, and mayhap others, but there be none else that will venture
it, let the idle say what the idle will. And, la, as to yonder base ruf-
flers, think ye they have not their fill, but yet desire more?”

‘«‘Well, then, what are they waiting, for? Why don’t they leave?
Nobody’s hindering. Good land, I’m willing to let bygones be by-
gones, I’m sure.”

‘Leave, is it? Oh, give thyself easement as tothat. They dream
not of it, no, not they. They wait to yield them.”

‘“‘Come—really, is that ‘sooth’—as you people say? If they want
to, why don’t they?”

“Tt would like them much; but an ye wot how dragons are es-
teemed, ye would not hold them blamable. They fear to come.”

‘Well, then, suppose I go to them instead, and——’”

“ Ah, wit ye well they would not abide your coming. I will go.”

And she did. She was a handy person to have along onaraid. I
would have considered this a doubtful errand, myself. I presently
saw the knights riding away, and Sandy coming back. That was a
relief. I judged she had somehow failed to get the first innings—I
mean in the conversation; otherwise the interview wouldn’t have been
so short. But it turned out that she had managed the business well;
in fact admirably. She said that when she told those people I was
The Boss, it hit them where they lived: ‘‘smote them sore with fear
and dread” was her word; and then they were ready to put up with
“DEFEND THEE, LORD!” 171

anything she might require. So she swore them to appear at Arthur’s
court within two days and yield them, with horse and harness, and be
my knights henceforth, and subject to my command. How much bet-
ter she managed that thing than I should have done it myself! She
was a daisy.
ih Y
U Re
| ha ;

VA

of


CHAPTER XV.

SANDY'S TALE.











>» ND so I'm proprietor of some knights,” said

ce }
fea

_I, as we rode off. ‘‘Who would ever





Hl Vea)
as | X have supposed that I should live to list
i} ee His \\ Mel > ’
i Nh F AN y, wp assets. of that sort. I shan’t know
y ae se ie what to do with them; unless I raffle
y Y Se Y \ them off. How many of them are there,

Sandy?”
“Seven, please you, sir, and their
squires.”

“It is a good
haul. Who are
they? Where do
they hang out?”

‘Where do they
hang out?”

‘““Ves, where do
they live?”

“Ah, I under-
J stood thee not.

= That will I tell thee
=—=" eftsoons.” Then she
said musingly, and softly, turning the words daintily over her tongue:
‘Hang they out—hang they out—where hang—where do they hang

out; eh, right so; where do they hang out. Ofa truth the phrase hath
175




176 SANDY'S TALE.

a fair and winsome grace, and is prettily worded withal. I will repeat
it anon and anon in mine idlesse, whereby I may peradventure learn
it. Where do they hang out. Even so! already it falleth trippingly
from my tongue, and forasmuch as—”

“Don’t forget the cow-boys, Sandy.”

‘‘Cow-boys?”

“Yes; the knights, you know: You were going to tell me about
them. A while back, youremember. Figuratively speaking, game’s
called.” :

““‘Game—”

“Yes, yes, yes! Go to the bat. I mean, get to work on your
statistics, and don’t burn so much kindling getting your fire started.
Tell me about the knights.”

“YT will well, and lightly will begin. So they two departed and
rode into a great forest. And—”

“Great Scott!”

_ You see, I recognized my mistake at once. I had set her works
agoing; it was my own fault; she would be thirty days getting down
to those facts. And she generally began without a preface and finish-
ed without a result. If you interrupted her she would either go right
along without noticing, or answer with a couple of words, and go back
and say the sentence over again. So, interruptions only did harm;
and yet I had to interrupt, and interrupt pretty frequently, too, in
order to save my life; a person would die if he let her monotony drip
on him right along all day.

“Great Scott!” I said in my distress. She went right back and
began over again:



‘“‘So they two departed and rode into a great forest. And 7
“ Which two?” :
“Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine. And so they came to an abbey of
monks, and there were well lodged. So on the morn they heard their
SANDY'S TALE. 177

masses in the abbey, and so they rode forth till they came to a great.
forest; then was Sir Gawaine ware in a valley by a turret, of twelve
fair damsels, and two knights armed on great horses, and the damsels

went to and. fro by a tree. And then was Sir Ga-
waine ware how there hung a white shield on that
tree, and ever as the damsels came by it they spit
upon it, and some threw mire upon the shield—”
“Now, if I hadn’t seen the like myself in this
country, Sandy, I would- n't believe it. But I’ve seen
it, and I can just see those creatures now, ‘parad-

ing before that shield and
acting like that. The
women here do certainly
act like all possessed. Yes,
and J mean your best, too,
society’s very choicest
brands. The humblest hello-
girl along ten thousand miles
of wire could teach gentle-
ness, patience, modesty,
manners, to the highest
duchess in Arthur’s land.”

‘“‘ Hello-girl ?”

“Yes, but don’t you ask
me to explain; it’s a new
kind of girl; they don’t have



SIR GAWAINE AND SIR UWAINE,

them here; one often speaks
sharply to them when they are not the least in fault, and he can’t get over
feeling sorry for it and ashamed of himself in thirteen hundred years,
it’s such shabby mean conduct and so unprovoked; the fact is, no gen~
tleman ever does it—though I—well, I myself, if I’ve got to confess—”

12
178 SANDY'S TALE,

“‘Peradventure she—”

“Never mind her; never mind her; I tell you I couldn’t ever ex-
plain her so you would understand.”

‘‘Even so be it, sith ye are so minded. Then Sir Gawaine and Sir
Uwaine went and saluted them, and asked them why they did that
despite to the shield. Sirs, said the damsels, we shall tell you. There
is a knight in this country that owneth this white shield, and he is a
Passing good man of his hands, but he hateth all ladies and gentle-
women, and therefore we do all this despite to the shield. I will say
you, said Sir Gawaine, it beseemeth evil a good knight to despise all
ladies and gentlewomen, and peradventure though he hate you he hath
some cause, and peradventure he loveth in some other places ladies
and gentlewomen, and to be loved again, and he such a man of prowess
as ye speak of—”

‘“Man of prowess—yes, that is the man to please them, Sandy.
Man of brains—that is a thing they never think of Tom Sayers—
John Heenan—John L. Sullivan—pity but you could be here. You
would have your legs under the Round Table and a “Sir” in front of
your names within the twenty-four hours; and you could bring about
a new distribution of the married princesses and duchesses of the Court
in another twenty-four. The fact is, it is just a sort of polished-up
court of Comanches, and there isn’t a squaw in it who doesn’t stand
ready at the dropping of a hat to desert to the buck with the biggest
string of scalps at his belt.”



a and he be such a man of prowess as ye speak of, said Sir
Gawaine. Now what is his name? Sir, said they, his name is Mar-
haus the king’s son of Ireland.”

“Son of the king of Ireland, you mean; the other form doesn’t
mean anything. And look out and hold on tight, now, we must jump
this gully. ... There, we are all right now. This horse belongs in
the circus; he is born before his time.”
SANDY'S TALE. 179

“I \ know him well, said Sir Uwaine, he is a passing good
knight \ as any is on live.”

“On live. If you've got a fault in the world, Sandy, it is
that you are a shade too archaic. But it isn’t.any matter.”

“—forl \ saw him once proved at a justs where many knights
were gath- \, ered, and that time there might no man withstand
him. Ah, said \ : Sir Gawaine, dam-







sels, methink- eth ye are to blame,

pose he that hung
will not be long
may those knights
back, and that is
“a knight’s shield
therewith Sir
Gawaine departed

for it is to sup-

that shield there
therefrom, and then
match him on horse-



more your worship












abide no longer to see
dishonored. And
Uwaine and Sir

a little from them, and then were

they ware where Sir Marhaus
came riding ona great horse
straight toward them. And when

the twelve damsels
Marhaus they fled
ret as they were

saw Sir
into the tur-
wild, sothat
Then the
dressed his °

some of them fell by the way.
one of the knights of the tower
shield, and said on high, Sir Mar-
haus defend thee. Andso they ran
together that the knight brake his
spear on Marhaus, and Sir Marhaus
smote him so hard that he brake
his neck and the horse’s back—”

‘‘LOOK OUT AND HOLD ON TIGHT!”
180 SAND Y’S TALE.

“Well, that is just the trouble about this state of things, it ruins so
many horses.”

“That saw the other knight of the turret, and dressed him toward
Marhaus, and they went so eagerly together, that the knight of the
turret was soon smitten down, horse and man, stark dead—”

“Another horse gone; I tell you it is a custom that ought to be
broken up. I don’t see how people with any feeling can applaud and
support it.” .

“So these two knights came together with great random—’”

I saw that I had been asleep and missed a chapter, but I didn’t say
anything. I judged that the Irish knight was in trouble with the vis-
itors by this time, and this turned out to be the case.

“that Sir Uwaine smote Sir Marhaus that his spear brast in
pieces on the shield, and Sir Marhaus smote him so sore that horse
and man he bare to the earth, and hurt Sir Uwaine on the left side—”

“The truth is, Alisande, these archaics are a little zoo simple; the
vocabulary is too limited, and so, by consequence, descriptions suffer
in the matter of variety; they run too much to level Saharas of fact,
and not enough to picturesque detail; this throws about them a cer-
tain air of the monotonous; in fact the fights are all alike: a couple of
people come together with great random—random is a good word, and
so is exegesis, for that matter, and so is holocaust, and defalcation,
and usufruct and a hundred others, but land! a body ought to dis-
* criminate—they' come together with great random, and a spear is
brast, and one party brake his shield and the other one goes down,
horse and man, over his horse-tail and brake his neck, and then the
next candidate comes randoming in, and brast As spear, and the other
man brast his shield, and down “e goes, horse and man, over his horse-
tail, and brake Azs neck, and then there’s another elected, and another
and another and still another, till the material is all used up; and
SANDY'S TALE. 181

when you come to figure up results, you can’t tell one fight from
another, nor who whipped; and as a gictwre, of living, raging, roaring
battle, sho! why, its pale and noise- te
less—just ghosts scuffling in a fog..
Dear me, what would this barren
vocabulary get out of the mightiest
spectacle ?—the burning of Rome in
Nero’s time, for instance? Why, it
would merely say, ‘Town burned
down; no insurance; boy brast a
window, fireman brake his neck!’ i
Why, ¢at ain’t a picture!”

It was a good deal of a lecture,

I thought, but it didn’t’ disturb
Sandy, didn’t turn a feather; her
steam soared steadily up again, the
minute I took off the lid:

“Then Sir Marhaus turned his
horse and rode toward Gawaine with
his spear. And when Sir Gawaine
saw that, he dressed his shield, and
they aventred their spears, and they
came together with all the might
of their horses, that either knight
smote other so hard in the midst Se in
of their shields, but Sir Gawaine’s mG D Es | \
spear brake—” fe sf

“T knew it would.” ace ~

== but Gir Mar haus'sispear held: oy as arece pouno we tae CAS
and therewith Sir Gawaine and his horse rushed down to the earth—”

‘Just so—and brake his back.”


182 SAND Y’S TALE,

—‘and lightly Sir Gawaine rose upon his feet and pulled out his
sword, and dressed him toward Sir Marhaus on foot, and therewith
either came unto other eagerly, and smote together with their swords,
that their shields flew in cantels, and they bruised their helms and their
hauberks, and wounded either other. But Sir Gawaine, fro it passed
nine of the clock, waxed by the space of three hours ever stronger and
stronger, and thrice his might was increased. All this espied Sir Mar-
haus, and had great wonder how his might increased, and so they
wounded other passing sore; and then when it was come noon—”

The pelting sing-song of it carried me forward to scenes and sounds
of my boyhood days:

‘‘N-e-e-ew Haven! ten minutes for refreshments —knductr ’Il
strike the gong-bell two. minutes before train leaves—passengers for
the Shore-line please take seats in the rear k’yar, this k’yar don’t go
op-corn !”



no furder—akh-pls, aw-rnjz, b’zanners, s-a-n-d’ches, p

——‘‘and waxed past noon and drew towards evensong. Sir Gawaine’s
strength feebled and waxed passing faint, that unnethes he might
dure any longer, and Sir Marhaus was then bigger and bigger—”

‘Which strained his armor, of course; and yet little would one of
these people mind a small thing like that.”

—“and so, Sir Knight, said Sir Marhaus, I have well felt that ye
are a passing good knight, and a marvelous man of might as ever I
felt any, while it lasteth, and our quarrels are not great, and therefore
it were a pity to do you hurt, for I feel you are passing feeble. Ah,
said Sir Gawaine, gentle knight, ye say the word that I should say.
And therewith they took off their helms and either kissed other, and
there they swore together either to love other as brethren—”

But I lost the thread there, and dozed off to slumber, thinking about
what a pity it was that men with such superb strength—strength
enabling them to stand up cased in cruelly burdensome iron and
drenched with perspiration, and hack and batter and bang each other
SAND V’S TALE, 183

for six hours on a stretch—should not have been born at a time when
they could put it to some useful purpose. Take a jackass, for instance:
a jackass has that kind of strength, and puts it toa useful purpose,
and is valuable to this world because he zs a jackass; but a nobleman
is not valuable because he is a jackass. It is a mixture that is always
ineffectual, and should never have been attempted in the first place.
And yet, once you start a mistake, the trouble is done and you never
know what is going to come of it.

When I came to myself again and began to listen, I perceived that
I had lost another chapter, and that Alisande had wandered a long
way off with her people.

‘And so they rode and came into a deep valley full of stones, and
thereby they saw a fair stream of water; above thereby was the head
of the stream, a fair fountain, and three damsels sitting thereby. In
this country, said Sir Marhaus, came never knight since it was chris-
tened, but he found strange adventures—”

“This is not good form, Alisande. Sir Marhaus the king’s son
of Ireland talks like all the rest; you ought to give him a brogue, or
at least a characteristic expletive; by this means one would recognize
him as soon as he spoke, without his ever being named. It is a com-
mon literary device with the great authors. You should make him
say, ‘In this country, be jabers, came never knight since it was chris-
tened, but he found strange adventures, be jabers.’ You see how much
better that sounds.”

—“came never knight but he found strange adventures, be jabers.
Of a truth it doth indeed, fair lord, albeit ‘tis passing hard to say,
though peradventure that will not tarry but better speed with usage.
And then they rode to the damsels, and either saluted other, and the
eldest hada garland of gold about her head, and she was threescore
winter of age or more—”

“The damsel was?”
184 SANDY'S TALE.

“Even so, dear lord—and her hair was white under the garland—”

“Celluloid teeth, nine dollars a set, as like as not—the loose-fit
kind, that go up and down like a portcullis when you eat, and fall out
when you laugh.”

“The second damsel was of thirty winter of age, with a circlet of
gold about her head. The third damsel was but fifteen year of age—”

Billows of thought came rolling over my soul, and the voice faded
out of my hearing !

Fifteen! Break—my heart! oh, my lost darling! Just her age
who was so gentle, and lovely, and all the world to me, and whom I
shall never see again! How the thought of her carries me back over
wide seas of memory to a vague dim time, a happy time, so many,
many centuries hence, when I used to wake in the soft summer
mornings, out of sweet dreams of her, and say ‘“ Hello, Central!”
just to hear her dear voice come melting back to me with a “ Hello,
Hank!” that was music of the spheres to my enchanted ear. She got
three dollars a week, but she was worth it.”

I could not follow Alisande’s further explanation of who our cap-
tured knights were, now—I mean in case she should ever get to
explaining who they were. My interest was gone, my thoughts were
far away, and sad. By fitful glimpses of the drifting tale, caught
here and there and now and then, I merely noted in a vague way
that each of these three knights took one of these three damsels
up behind him on his horse, and one rode north, another east, the
other south, to seek adventures, and meet again and lie, after year and
day. Year and day—and without baggage. It was of a piece with
the general simplicity of the country.

The sun was now setting. It was about three in the afternoon when
Alisande had begun to tell me who the cow-boys were; so she had
made pretty good progress with it—for her. She would arrive some
time or other, no doubt, but she was not a person who could be hurried.
SANDY'S TALE. 185

We were approaching a castle which stood on high ground; a huge,
strong, venerable structure, whose gray towers and battlements were
charmingly draped with ivy, and whose whole majestic mass was



‘*IT WAS THE LARGEST CASTLE WE HAD SEEN.”

drenched with splendors flung from the sinking sun. It was the larg-
est castle we had seen, and so J thought it might be the one we were
after, but Sandy said no. She did not know who owned it; she said
she had passed it without calling, when she went down to Camelot.




fx









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ae

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My

my
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& up

ints

df}



a
ai


CHAPTER XVI.

MORGAN LE FAY.














wt knights errant were to be believed, not all
castles were desirable places to seek hospi-
tality in. As a matter of fact, knights errant
were xof persons to be believed—that is,
measured by modern standards of veracity;
yet, measured by the standards of their
own time, and scaled accordingly, you
got the truth. It was very simple: you
discounted a statement ninety-seven per-
cent; the rest was fact. Now after mak-
7 ing this allowance, the truth remained
that if I could find out something about
a castle before ringing the door-bell—I
mean hailing the warders—it was the
sensible thing to do. So I was
pleased when I saw in the distance
a horseman making the
“sz-o--—~ bottom turn of the road
that wound down from

this castle.
ee As we approached
>. == each other, I saw that
Fee he wore a plumed hel-
met, and seemed to be otherwise clothed in steel, but bore a curious

addition also—a stiff square garment like a herald’s tabard. However,
189
190 MORGAN LE FAY.

I had to smile at my own forgetfulness when I got nearer and read
this sign on his tabard:
“ Persimmons’s Soap—All the Prime-Donne Use It.”

That was a little idea of my own, and had several wholesome pur-
poses in view toward the civilizing and uplifting of this nation. In the
first place, it was a furtive, underhand blow at this nonsense of knight
errantry, though nobody suspected that but me. I had started a num-
iy

Gon







RN

ber of these people out—the bravest knights I could get—each sand-
wiched between bulletin-boards bearing one device or another, and I
judged that by and by when they got to be numerous enough they
would begin to look ridiculous; and then, even the steel-clad ass that
hadwt any board would himself begin to look ridiculous because he
was out of the fashion.

Secondly, these missionaries would gradually, and without -creat-
MORGAN LE FAY. Ig!

ing suspicion or exciting alarm, introduce a rudimentary cleanliness
among the nobility, and from them it would work down to the people,
if the priests could be kept quiet. This would undermine the Church.
I mean would be a step toward that. Next, education—next, free-
dom—and then she would begin to crumble. It being my conviction
that any Established Church is an established crime, an established
slave-pen, I had no scruples, but was willing to assail it in any way or
with any weapon that promised to hurt it. Why, in my own former
day—in remote centuries not yet stirring in the womb of time—there
were old Englishmen who imagined that they had been born in a free
country: a “free” country with the Corporation Act and the Test still
in force in it—timbers propped against men’s liberties and dishonored
consciences to shore up an Established Anachronism with.

My missionaries were taught to spell out the gilt signs on their
tabards—the showy gilding was a neat idea, I could have got the king
to wear a bulletin-board for the sake of that barbaric splendor—they
were to spell out these signs and then explain to the lords and ladies
what soap was; and if the lords. and ladies were afraid of it, get them
to try iton.a dog. The missionary’s next move was to get the family
together and try it on himself; he was to stop at no experiment, how-
ever desperate, that could convince the nobility that soap was harm-
less; if any final doubt remained, he must catch a hermit—the woods
were full of them; saints they called themselves, and saints they were
believed to be. They were unspeakably holy, and worked miracles,
and everybody stood in awe of them. If a hermit could survive a
wash, and that failed to convince a duke, give him up, let him alone.

Whenever my missionaries overcame a knight errant on the road
they washed him, and when he got well they swore him to go and get
a bulletin-board and disseminate soap and civilization the rest of his
days. As aconsequence the workers in the field were increasing by
degrees, and the reform was steadily spreading. My soap factory felt
Ig2 MORGAN LE FAY.

the strain early. At first] had only , two hands; but before I had
left home I was already employing #! fifteen, and running night and
day; and the atmospheric result was getting so pronounced
that the king went sort of |
and said he did not believe

and Sir Launcelot got so that

walk up and down the roof v
it was worse up there than
wanted plenty of . ! air; and he was always com-
/ palace was no place for a soap
and said if a man was to start
he would be damned if he would-



fainting and gasping around
he could stand it much longer,
he. did hardly anything but
and swear, although I told him



anywhere else, but he said he



















plaining that a
factory, anyway,
one in his house
n't strangle him. fh, 4 There were
too, but
ple ever
“\ they would

4 N/ dren, if the

ladies present,
much these peo-
cared for that;
swear before chil-
wind was their way when
the factory was going.

sionary knight’s
Cote Male Taile,
that this castle
of Morgan le
King Arthur,
King Uriens,

This mis-
name was La
and he said
was the abode
Fay, sister of
and wife of
monarch of a realm

about as big as : )
trict of GE
ao
ber



SIR COTE MALE TAILE.

,
MORGAN LE FAY. 193

bia—you could stand in the middle of it and throw bricks into the
next kingdom. ‘“ Kings” and “Kingdoms” were as thick in Britain
as they had been in little Palestine in Joshua’s time, when people had
to sleep with their knees pulled up because they couldn't stretch out
without a passport.

La Cote was much depressed, for he had scored here the worst
failure of his campaign. He had not worked off a cake; yet he had
tried all the tricks of the trade, even to the washing of a hermit; but
the hermit died. This was indeed a bad failure, for this anima! would
now be dubbed a martyr, and would take his place among the saints
of the Roman calendar. Thus made he his moan, this poor Sir La
Cote Male Taile, and sorrowed passing sore. And so my heart bled
for him, and I was moved to comfort and stay him. Wherefore I
said— ;

‘“‘Forbear to grieve, fair knight, for this is not a defeat. We have
brains, you and I; and for such as have brains there are no defeats,
but only victories. Observe how we will turn this seeming disaster
into an advertisement; an advertisement for our soap; and the biggest
one, to draw, that was ever thought of; an advertisement that will
transform that Mount Washington defeat into a Matterhorn victory.
We will put on your bulletin-board, ‘ Patroutzed by the Elect’ How
does that strike you?”

“ Verily, it is wonderly bethought!”

“Well, a body is bound to admit that for } 1st a modest little one-
line ad., it’s a corker.”

So the poor colporteur’s griefs vanished away. He was a brave
fellow, and had done mighty feats of arms in his time. His chief celeb-
rity rested upon the events of an excursion like this one of mine,
which he had once made with a. damsel named Maledisant, who was
as handy with her tongue as was Sandy, though in a different way, for

her tongue churned forth only railings and insult, whereas Sandy’s
13
194 MORGAN TE FAY.

























music was of a kindlier sort. I knew his story well, and
so I knew how to interpret the compassion that: was in
his face when he bade me farewell. He supposed
I was having a bitter hard time of it.

Sandy and I discussed his. story, as we rode
along, and she said that La
Cote’s bad luck had begun
with the very beginning of
that trip; for the king’s fool
had overthrown him on the
first day, and in such
Cases it was custom-
ary for the girl to de-
sert to the conquer-
or, but Maledisant
didn’t do it; and also
persisted afterward
in sticking to him,
after all his defeats.
But, said I, suppose
the victor should de-
cline to accept his
spoil? She said that
that wouldn’t answer
—he must. He could-
n’t decline; it would-
n't be regular. I
made a note of
that. If Sandy’s
music got to be

too burden- ‘WE WERE CHALLENGED BY THE WARDERS,AND AFTER PARLEY ADMITTED.”
MORGAN LE FAY. 195

some, some time, I would let a knight defeat me, on the chance that
she would desert to him.

In due time we were challenged by the warders, from the castle
walls, and after a parley admitted. I have nothing pleasant to tell
about that visit. But it was not a disappointment, for I knew Mrs. le
Fay by reputation, and was not expecting anything pleasant. She
was held in awe by the whole realm, for she had made everybody
believe she was a great sorceress. All her ways were wicked, all her
instincts devilish. She was loaded to the eye-lids with cold malice.
All her history was black with crime; and among her crimes murder
was common. I was most curious to see her; as curious as I could
have been to see Satan. To my surprise she was beautiful; black
thoughts had failed to make her expression repulsive, age had failed
to wrinkle her satin skin or mar its bloomy freshness. She could have
passed for old Uriens’s grand-daughter, she could have been mistaken
for sister to her own son.

As soon as we were fairly within the castle gates we were ordered
into her presence. King Uriens was there, a kind-faced old man with
a subdued look; and also the son, Sir Uwaine le Blanchemains, in
whom I was of course interested on account of the tradition that he
had once done battle with thirty knights, and also on account of his
trip with Sir Gawaine and Sir Marhaus, which Sandy had been aging
me with. But Morgan was the main attraction, the conspicuous per-
sonality here; she was head chief of this household, that was plain.
She caused us to be seated, and then she began, with all manner of
pretty graces and graciousnesses, to ask me questions. Dear me, it
was like a bird or a flute, or something, talking. I felt persuaded that
this woman must have been misrepresented, lied about. She trilled
along, and trilled along, and presently a handsome young page,
clothed like the rainbow, and as easy and undulatory of movement as
a wave, came with something on a golden salver, and kneeling to
196 MORGAN LE FAY.

present it to her, overdid his graces and lost his balance, and so fell
lightly against her knee. She slipped a dirk into him in as matter-of-
course a way as another person would have harpooned a rat!

Poor child, he slumped to the floor, twisted his silken limbs in one
great straining contortion of pain, and was dead. Out of the old king
was wrung an involuntary ‘‘O-h!” of compassion. The look he got,
made him cut it suddenly short and not put any more hyphens in it.
Sir Uwaine, at a sign from his: mother, went to the ante-room and
called some servants, and meanwhile madame went rippling sweetly
along with her talk.

I saw that she was a good housekeeper, for while she talked she
kept a corner of her eye on the servants to see that they made no balks
in handling the body and getting it out; when they came with fresh
clean towels, she sent back for the other kind; and when they had
finished wiping the floor and were going, she indicated a crimson fleck
the size of a tear which their duller eyes had overlooked. It was plain
to me that La Cote Male Taile had failed to see the mistress of the
house. Often, how louder and clearer than any tongue, does dumb
circumstantial evidence speak. )

Morgan le Fay rippled along as musically as ever. Marvelous
woman. And whata glance she had: when it fell in reproof upon
those servants, they shrunk and quailed as timid people do when the
lightning flashes out of a cloud. I could have got the habit myself.
It was the same with that poor old Brer Uriens; he was always on the
ragged edge of apprehension; she could not even turn towards him
but he winced.

In the midst of the talk I let drop a complimentary word about
King Arthur, forgetting for the moment how this woman hated her
brother. That one little compliment was enough. She clouded up
like a storm; she called for her guards, and said—

‘Hale me these varlets to the dungeons! ”
MORGAN LE FAY. 197

That struck cold on my ears, for her dungeons had a reputation.
Nothing occurred to me to say—or do. But not’so with Sandy. As
the guard laid a hand upon me, she piped up with the tranquilest con-
fidence, and said—

‘‘God’s wownds, dost thou covet destruction, thou maniac? It is
The Boss!”

Now what a happy idea that was !—and so simple; yet it would
never have occurred to me. I was born modest; not all over, but in
spots; and this was one of the spots.

The effect upon madame was electrical. It cleared her counte-
nance and brought back her smiles and all her persuasive graces and
blandishments; but nevertheless she was not able to entirely cover up
with them the fact that she was in a ghastly fright. She said:

‘La, but do list to thine handmaid! as if one gifted with powers
like to mine might say the thing which I have said unto one who has
vanquished Merlin, and not be jesting. By mine enchantments I fore-
saw your coming, and by them I knew you when you entered here. I
did but play this little jest with hope to surprise you into some display
of your art, as not doubting you would blast the guards with occult
fires, consuming them to ashes on the spot, a marvel much beyond
mine own ability, yet one which I have long been -childishly curious
to see.”

The guards were less curious, and got out as soon as they got per-
mission.






CHAPTER XVII.

A ROYAL BANQUET.

he
ADAME seeing me pacific and unresentful, no

doubt judged that I was deceived by her ex-
cuse; for her fright dissolved away, and she
was soon so importunate to have me give an
exhibition and kill somebody, that the thing
grew to be embarrassing. However, to my
relief she was presently interrupted by the call
-to prayers. I will say this much for the nobility: that,
tyrannical, murderous, rapacious and morally rotten as
they were, they were deeply and enthusiastically religious.
Nothing could divert them from the regular and faithful
performance of the pieties enjoined by the Church. More
than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy
at a disadvantage, stop to pray before cutting his throat;
more than once I had seen a noble, after ambushing and
dispatching his enemy, retire to the nearest wayside shrine
and humbly give thanks, without even waiting to rob the
body. There was to be nothing finer or sweeter in the
life of even Benvenuto Cellini, that rough-hewn saint, ten
centuries later. All the nobles of Britain, with their fam-

ilies, attended divine service morning and night daily, in their private

chapels, and even the worst of them had family worship five or six

times a day besides. The credit of this belonged entirely to the
Church. Although I was no friend to that Catholic Church, I was

20r
202 A ROVAL BANQUET.

obliged to admit this. And often, in spite of me, I found myself saying,
‘What would this country be without the Church?”

After prayers we had dinner ina great banqueting hall which was
lighted by hundreds of grease-jets, and everything was as fine and



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‘“AFTER PRAYERS WE HAD DINNER.”

lavish and rudely splendid as might become the royal degree of the -
hosts. At the head of the hall, on a dais, was the table of the king,
queen, and their son, Prince Uwaine. Stretching down the hall from
this, was the general table, on the floor. At this, above the salt, sat
A ROVAL BANQUET. 203

the visiting nobles and the grown members of their families, of both
sexes,—the resident Court, in effect,—sixty-one persons; below the
salt sat minor officers of the household, with their principal subordi-
nates: altogether a hundred and eighteen persons sitting, and about as
many liveried servants standing behind their chairs, or serving in one



‘ORIGINAL AGONY.”

capacity or another. It was avery fine show. In a gallery a band
with cymbals, horns, harps and other horrors, opened the proceedings
_with what seemed to be the crude first-draft or original agony of the
wail known to later centuries as ‘‘In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” It was
new, and ought to have been rehearsed a little more. For some rea-
son or other the queen had the composer hanged, after dinner.
204 A ROYAL BANQUET.

After this music, the priest who stood behind the royal table said a
noble long grace in ostensible Latin. Then the battalion of waiters
broke away from their posts, and darted, rushed, flew, fetched and car-
ried, and the mighty feeding began; no words anywhere, but absorb-
ing attention to business. The rows of chops opened and shut in vast
unison, and the sound of it was like to the muffled burr of subterranean
machinery.

The havoc continued an hour and a half, and unimaginable was the
destruction of substantials. Of the chief feature of the feast—the huge
wild boar that lay stretched out so portly and imposing at the start—
nothing was left but the semblance of a hoop-skirt; and he was but
the type and symbol of what had happened to all the other dishes.

With the pastries and so-on, the heavy drinking began—and the
talk. Gallon after gallon of wine and mead disappeared, and every-
body got comfortable, then happy, then sparklingly joyous—both
sexes,—and bye and bye pretty noisy. Men told anecdotes that were
terrific to hear, but nobody blushed; and when the nub was sprung,
the assemblage let go with a horse-laugh that shook the fortress.
Ladies answered back with historiettes that would almost have made
Queen Margaret of Navarre or even the great Elizabeth of England
hide behind a handkerchief, but nobody hid here, but only laughed—
howled, you may say. In pretty much all of these dreadful stories,
ecclesiastics were the hardy heroes, but that didn’t worry the chaplain
any, he had his laugh with the rest; more than that, upon invitation
he roared out a song which was of as daring a sort as any that was
sung that night.

By midnight everybody was fagged out, and sore with laughing;
and asa rule, drunk: some weepingly, some affectionately, some hilar-
iously, some quarrelsomely, some dead and under the table. Of the
ladies, the worst spectacle was a lovely young duchess, whose wedding-
eve this was; and indeed she was a spectacle, sure enough. Just as
A ROVAL BANQUET. 205

she was she could have sat in advance for the portrait of the young
daughter of the Regent d’Orleans, at the famous dinner whence she
was carried, foul-mouthed, intoxicated and helpless, to her bed, in the
lost and lamented days of the Ancient Regime.

Suddenly, even while the priest was lifting his hands, and all con-
scious heads were bowed in reverent expectation of the coming bless-
ing, there appeared under the arch of the far-off door at the bottom of
the hall, an old and bent and white-haired lady, leaning upon a crutch-
stick; and she lifted the stick and pointed it toward the queen and
cried out— .

‘The wrath and curse of God fall upon you, woman without pity,
who have slain mine innocent grandchild and made desolate this old
heart that had nor chick nor friend nor stay nor comfort in all this
world but him!”

Everybody crossed himself in a grisly fright, for a curse was an
awful thing to those people; but the queen rose up majestic, with the
death-light in her eye, and flung back this ruthless command:

‘Lay hands on her! To the stake with her!”

The guards left their posts to obey. It was a shame; it was a cruel
thing to see. What could be done? Sandy gave me a look; I knew
she had another inspiration. I said—

“Do what you choose.”

She was up and facing toward the queen ina moment. She indi-
cated me, and said:

‘‘Madame, “e saith this may not be. Recal the commandment, or
he will dissolve the castle and it shall vanish away like the instable
fabric of a dream!”

Confound it, what a crazy contract to pledge a person to! What
if the queen—

But my consternation subsided there, and my panic passed off; for
the queen, all in a collapse, made no show of resistance but gavea
206 A KOVAL BANQUET.

countermanding sign and sunk into her seat. When she reached it
she was sober. So were many of the others. The assemblage rose,
whiffed ceremony to the winds, and rushed for the door like a mob;
overturning chairs, smashing crockery, tugging, struggling, shoulder-
ing, crowding—anything to get out before I should change my mind
and puff the castle into the measureless dim vacancies of space. Well;
well, well, they were a superstitious lot. It is all a body can do to
conceive of it.

The poor queen was so scared and humbled that she was even
afraid to hang the composer without first consulting me. I was very
sorry for her—indeed any one would have been, for she was really suf-
fering; so I was willing to do anything that was reasonable, and had
no desire to carry things to wanton extremities. I therefore consid-
ered the matter thoughtfully, and ended by having the musicians
ordered into our presence to play that Sweet Bye and Bye again, which
they did. Then I saw that she was right, and gave her permission to
hang the whole band. This little relaxation of sternness had a good
effect upon the queen. A statesman gains little by the arbitrary exer-
cise of iron-clad authority upon all occasions that offer, for this wounds
the just pride of his subordinates, and thus tends to undermine his
strength. A little concession, now and then, where it can do no harm,
is the wiser policy.

Now that the queen was at ease in her mind once more, and
measurably happy, her wine naturally began to assert itself again, and
it got a little the start of her. I mean it set her music going—her
silver bell of a tongue. Dear me, she was a master talker. It would
not become me to suggest that it was pretty late and that I was a tired
man and very sleepy. I wished I had gone off to bed when I had the
chance. Now I must stick it out; there was no other way. So she
tinkled along and along, in the otherwise profound and ghostly hush
of the sleeping castle, until bye and bye there came, as if from deep
A ROVAL BANQUET. 207

down under us, a far-away sound, as of a muffled shriek—with an
cxpression of agony about it that made my flesh crawl. The queen
stopped, and her eyes lighted with pleasure; she tilted her graceful
head as a bird does when it listens. The sound bored its way up
through the stillness again,

‘What is it?” I said.

“It is truly a stubborn soul, and endureth long. It is many hours
now.”

“ Endureth what ?”

“The rack. Come—ye shall see a blithe sight. An he yield not
his secret now, ye shall see him torn asunder.”

What a silky smooth hellion she was; and so composed and serene,
when the cords all down my legs were hurting in sympathy with that
man’s pain. Conducted by mailed guards bearing flaring torches, we
tramped along echoing corridors, and down stone stairways dank and
dripping, and smelling of mould and ages of imprisoned night—a chill,
uncanny journey and a long one, and not made the shorter or the
cheerier by the sorceress’s talk, which was about this sufferer and his
crime. He had been accused by an anonymous informer, of having
killed a stag in the royal preserves. I said—

“Anonymous testimony isn’t just the right thing, your Highness.
It were fairer to confront the accused with the accuser.”

“I had not thought of that, it being but of small consequence. But
an I would, I could not, for that the accuser came masked by night,
and told the forester, and straightway got him hence again, and so the
forester knoweth him not.

“ Then is this Unknown the only person who saw the stag killed?”

“ Marry, ze man saw the killing, but this Unknown saw this hardy
wretch near to the spot where the stag lay, and came with right loyal
zeal and betrayed him to the forester.”

‘So the Unknown was near the dead stag, too? Isn’t it just pos-
208 A ROVAL BANQUET.

sible that he did the killing himself? His loyal zeal—in a
mask—looks just a shade suspicious. But what is your High-
ness’s idea for racking the prisoner? Where is ) the profit?”
‘“* He will not confess, else; and then were his a soul lost. For
his crime his life is forfeited by the law—and of i a surety will
I see that he payeth it!—but it were
peril to my own soul to let him die un-










confessed and unabsolved. Nay, I were °°
Sey
a fool to fling me into hell for SS




»
his accommo- {\ dation.”

Up



“TI CAUGHT A PICTURE THAT WILL NOT GO FROM ME,”
A ROVAL BANQUET. 209

‘But, your Highness, suppose he has nothing to confess?”

‘As to that, we shall see, anon. AnJI rack him to death and he
confess not, it will peradventure show that he had indeed naught to
confess—ye will grant that that is sooth? Then shall I not be damned
for an unconfessed man that had naught to confess—wherefore, J
shall be safe.”

It was the stubborn unreasoning of the time. It was useless to
argue with her. Arguments have no chance against petrified training;
they wear it as little as the waves wear a cliff. And her training was
everybody's. The brightest intellect in the land would not have been
able to see that her position was defective.

As we entered the rack-cell I caught a picture that will not go from
me ; I wish it would. A native young giant of thirty or thereabouts,
lay stretched upon the frame on his back, with his wrists and ancles
tied to ropes which led over windlasses at either end. There was no
color in him; his features were contorted and set, and sweat-drops
stood upon his forehead. A priest bent over him on each side; the
executioner stood by; guards were on duty; smoking torches stood in
sockets along the walis; in a corner crouched a poor young creature,
her face drawn with anguish, a half-wild and hunted look in her eyes,
and in her lap lay a little child asleep. Just as we stepped across the
threshold the executioner gave his machine a slight turn, which wrung
a cry from both the prisoner and the woman; but I shouted and the
executioner released the strain without waiting to see who spoke. I
could not let this horror go on; it would have killed me to see it.
I asked the queen to let me clear the place and speak to the prisoner
privately; and when she was going to object I spoke in a low voice
and said I did not want to make a scene before her servants, but I must
have my way; for I was King Arthur’s representative, and was speak-
ing in his name. She saw she had to yield. I asked her to endorse me

to these people, and then leave me. It was not pleasant for her, but
14
210 A ROVAL BANQUET.

she took the pill; and even went further than I was meaning to require.
I only wanted the backing of her own authority; but she said—

“ Ye will do in all things as this lord shall command. It is The
Boss.”

It was certainly a good word to conjure with: you could see it by
the squirming of these rats. The queen’s guards fell into line, and she
and they marched away, with their torch-bearers, and woke the echoes
of the cavernous tunnels with the measured beat of their retreating
foot-falls. Ihad the prisoner taken from the rack and placed upon his
bed, and medicaments applied to his hurts, and wine given him to
drink. The woman crept near and looked on, eagerly, lovingly, but
timorously,—like one who fears a repulse; indeed, she tried furtively to
touch the man’s forehead, and jumped back, the picture of fright, when
I turned unconsciously toward her. It was pitiful to see.

“Lord,” I said, “stroke him, lass, if you want to. Do anything
you're a mind to; don’t mind me.”

Why, her eyes were as grateful as an animal’s, when you do it a
kindness that it understands. The baby was out of her way and she
had her cheek against the man’s in a minute, and her hands fondling
his hair, and her happy tears running down. The man revived, and
caressed his wife with his eyes, which was all he could do. I judged
I might clear the den, now, and I did; cfeared it of all but the family
and myself. Then I said— ;

‘“Now my friend, tell me your side of this matter; I know the
other side.”

The man moved his head in sign of refusal. But the woman looked
pleased—as it seemed to me—pleased with my suggestion. I went on:

“You know of me?”

“Ves. All do, in Arthur’s realms.”

‘If my reputation has come to you right and straight, you should
not be afraid to speak.”
A ROVAL BANQUET. 211

The woman broke in, eagerly:

“Ah, fair my lord, do thou persuade him! Thou canst an thou
wilt. Ah, he suffereth so; and it is for me—for me/ And how can I
bear it? J would I might see him die—a sweet, swift death; oh, my
Hugo, I cannot bear this one! ”

And she fell to sobbing and groveling about my feet, and still im-
ploring. Imploring what? The man’s death? I could not quite get
the bearings of the thing. But Hugo interrupted her and said—

“Peace! Ye wit not what ye ask. Shall I starve whom I love, to
win a gentle death? I wend thou knewest me better.”

“Well,” I said, “I can’t quite make this out. It is a puzzle.
Now-—” .

‘Ah, dear my lord, an ye will but persuade him! Consider how
these his tortures wound me! Oh, and he will not speak!—whereas,
the healing, the solace that lie in a blessed swift death—”

“What are you maundering about? He’s going out from here a
free man and whole—he’s not going to die.”

The man’s white face lit up, and the woman flung herself at me in
a most surprising explosion of joy, and cried out—

‘““He is saved!—for it is the King’s word by the mouth of the
king’s servant—Arthur, the king whose word is gold! ”

“Well, then you do believe I can be trusted; after all, Why didn’t
you before ?”

““Who doubted? Not I, indeed; and not she.”

“Well, why wouldn’t you tell me your story, then?”

“Ye had made no promise; else had it been otherwise.”

“Isee,Isee. . . . And yet I believe I don’t quite see, after
all. You stood the torture and refused to confess; which shows plain
enough to even the dullest Pee ns that you had nothing to
confess—”

“Z,my lord?) How so? It was I that killed the deer! ”
212 A ROYAL BANQUET.

“You add? Oh, dear, this is the most mixed-up business that
ever—”

“ Dear lord, I begged him on my knees to confess, but—”

“You did! It gets thicker and thicker. What did you want him
to do that for?” ;

“Sith it would bring him a quick death and save him all this cruel
pain.”

‘‘Well—yes, there is reason in that. But Ae didn’t want the quick
death.”

‘“He? Why, of a surety he dd.”

“Well, then, why in the world didn’t he confess?”

‘Ah, sweet sir, and leave my wife and chick without bread and
shelter ?”

‘Oh, heart of gold, now I see it! The bitter law takes the con-
victed man’s estate and beggars his widow and his orphans. They
could torture you to death, but without conviction or confession they
could not rob your wife and baby. You stood by them like a man;
and you—true wife and true woman that you are—you would have
bought him release from torture at cost to yourself of slow starvation
and death—well, it humbles a body to think what your sex can do
when it comes to self-sacrifice. I'll book you both for my colony;
you'll like it there; it’s a Factory where I’m going to turn groping and
grubbing automata into men.”








SS

hey have a






ear we

——— Lowly of ord Yo







a ec fj (

e\ 0, CHAPTER XVIII
YAR alex “i
VS \ r } IN THE QUEENS DUNGEONS.







Ye ELL, I arranged all that; and I had the
man sent to his home. I had a great
(2 desire to rack the executioner; not be-

cause he was a good, pains-taking and
pain-giving official,—for surely it was not to
his discredit that he performed his functions
well—but to pay him back for wantonly cuff-
ing and otherwise distressing that young
woman. The priests told me about this, and




were generously hot to have him punished.

Something of this disagreeable sort was

La

>: A= turning up every now and then. I mean,

y= episodes that showed that not all priests
x \\ P P
LY Y )
I Kee

were frauds and self-seekers, but that many,
even the

great ma-
jority, of
these that

a

were down
Crone)

i y on the

Ae 6 round
among the common people, were sincere and right-hearted, and de-
voted to the alleviation of human troubles and sufferings. Well, it
was a thing which could not be helped, so I seldom fretted about it,

215
216 IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS.

and never many minutes at a time; it has never been my way to
bother much about things which you can’t cure. But I did not like
it, for it was just the sort.of thing to keep people reconciled to an
Established Church. We must have a religion—it goes without say-
ing—but my idea is, to have it cut up into forty free sects, so that they
will police each other, as had been the case in the United States in my
time. Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and an
Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for
that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to
human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a
split-up and scattered condition. That wasn’t law; it wasn’t gospel:
it was only an opinion—my opinion, and I was only a man, one man:
so it wasn’t worth any more than the Pope’s—or any less, for that
matter.

. Well, I couldn’t rack the executioner, neither would I overlook the
just complaint of the priests. The man must be punished some how
or other, so I degraded him from his office and made him leader of the
band—the new one that was to be started. He begged hard, and said
he couldn’t play—a plausible excuse, but too thin; there wasn’t a
musician in the country that could.

The queen was a good deal outraged, next morning, when she
found she was going to have neither Hugo’s life nor his property. But
I told her she must bear this cross; that while by law and custom she
certainly was entitled to both the man’s life and his property, there
were extenuating circumstances, and.so in Arthur the king’s name I
had pardoned him. The deer was ravaging the man’s fields, and he
had killed it in sudden passion, and not for gain; and he had carried
it into the royal forest in the hope that that might make detection of
the misdoer impossible. Confound her, I couldn’t make her see that
sudden passion is an extenuating circumstance in the killing of veni-
son—or of a person—so I gave it up and let her sulk it out. I dd
IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS. 217

think I was going to make her see it by remarking that her own sud-
den passion in the case of the page modified that crime.

“Crime!” she exclaimed. ‘How thou talkest! Crime, forsooth!
Man, I am going to pay for him!”

Oh, it was no use to waste sense on her. Training—training is
everything; training is all there is oa person. We speak of nature; it
is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that mislead-
ing name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our
own, no opinions of our own; they are transmitted to us, trained
into us. All that is original in us, and therefore fairly creditable or
discreditable to us, can be covered up and hidden by the point of a
cambric needle, all the rest being atoms contributed by, and inherited
from, a procession of ancestors that stretches back a billion years to
the Adam-clam or grasshopper or monkey from whom our race has
been so tediously and ostentatiously and unprofitably developed. And
as for me, all that I think about in this plodding sad pilgrimage, this
pathetic drift between the eternities, is to look out and humbly live a
pure and high and blameless life, and save that one microscopic atom
in me that is truly me. the rest may land in Sheol and welcome for all
I care.

No, confound her, her intellect was good, she had brains enough,
but her training made her an ass—that is, from a many-centuries-later
point of view. To kill the page was no crime—it was her right; and
upon her right she stood, serenely and unconscious of offense. She was
a result of generations of training in the unexamined and unassailed
belief that the law which permitted her to kill a subiect when she
chose was a perfectly right and righteous one.

Well, we must give even Satan his due. She deserved a compli-
ment for one thing; and I tried to pay it, but the words stuck in my
throat. She had a right to kill the boy, but she was in no wise obliged
to pay for him. That was law for some other people, but not for
218 IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS.

her. She knew quite well that she was doing a large and generous
thing to pay for that lad, and that I ought in common fairness to come
out with something handsome about it, but I couldn’t—my mouth
refused. I couldn't help seeing, in my fancy, that poor old grandam
with the broken heart, and that fair young creature lying butchered,
his little silken pomps and vanities laced with his golden blood. How
could she pay for him? Whom could she pay? And so, well knowing
that this woman, trained as she had been, deserved praise, even
adulation, I was yet not able to utter it, trained as 7 had been. The

O
bg
onl
G bas =
ay *
\

y



THE CHURCH, THE KING, THE NOBLEMAN, AND THE FREEMAN.

best I could do was to fish up a compliment from outside, so to speak
—and the pity of it was, that it was true:

‘‘Madame, your people will adore you for this.”

Quite true, but I meant to hang her for it some day, if I lived.
Some of those laws were too bad, altogether too bad. A master might
kill his slave for nothing: for mere spite, malice, or to pass the time—
just as we have seen that the crowned head could do it with Zzs slave,
that is to say, anybody. A gentleman could kill a free commoner, and
pay for him—cash or garden-truck. A noble could kill a noble without
IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS. 219

expense, as far as the law was concerned, but reprisals in kind were to
be expected. Azybody could kill somebody, except the commoner and
the slave; these had no privileges. If they killed, it was murder, and
the law wouldn’t stand murder. It made short work of the experi-
menter—and of his family too, if he murdered somebody who belonged
up among the ornamental ranks. Ifacommoner gave a noble even so
much as a Damiens-scratch which didn’t kill or even hurt, he got
Damiens’s dose for it just the same; they pulled him to rags and tat-
ters with horses, and all the world came to see the show, and crack
jokes, and have a good time; and some of the performances of the best
people present were as tough, and as properly unprintable, as any that
have been printed by the pleasant Casanova in his chapter about the
dismemberment of Louis XV’s poor awkward enemy.

I had had enough of this grisly place by this time, and wanted to
leave, but I couldn’t, because I had something on my mind that my
conscience kept prodding me about, and wouldn’t let me forget. If I
had the remaking of man, he wouldn’t have any conscience. It is one
of the most disagreeable things connected with a person; and although
it certainly does a great deal of good, it cannot be said to pay, in the
long run; it would be much better to have less good and more comfort.
Still, this is only my opinion, and I am only one man; others, with less
experience, may think differently. They havea right to their view. I
only stand to this: I have noticed my conscience for many years, and
I know it is more trouble and bother to me than anything else I started
with. I suppose that in the beginning I prized it, because we prize
anything that is ours; and yet how foolish it was to think so. If we
look at it in another way, we see how absurd it is: if I had an anvil in

_me would I prize it? Ofcourse not. And yet when you come to think,
there is no real difference between a conscience and an anvil—I mean
for comfort. I have noticed it a thousand times. And you could dis-
solve an anvil with acids, when you couldn't stand it any longer; but
220 IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS.

there isn’t any way that you can work off a conscience—at least so it
will stay worked off; not that I know of, anyway.

There was something I wanted to do before leaving, but it was a
disagreeable matter, and I hated to go at it. Well, it bothered me all
the morning. I could have mentioned it to the old king, but what
would be the use >—he was but an extinct volcano; he had been active
in his time, but his fire was out; this good while, he was only a stately
ash-pile, now; gentle enough, and kindly enough for my purpose, with-
out doubt, but not usable. He was nothing, this so-called king: the
queen was the only power there. And she was a Vesuvius. Asa favor,
she might consent to warm a flock of sparrows for you, but then she
might take that very opportunity to turn herself loose and bury a city.
However, I reflected that as often as any other way, when you are
expecting the worst, you get something that is not so bad, after all.

So I braced upand placed my matter before her royal Highness. I
said I had been having a general jajl-delivery at Camelot and among
neighboring castles, and with her permission I would like to examine
her collection, her bric-a-brac—that is to say, her prisoners. She
resisted; but I was expecting that. But she finally consented. I was
expecting that, too, but notsosoon. That about ended my discomfort.
She called her guards and torches, and we went down into the dungeons.
These were down under the castle's foundations, and mainly were small
cells hollowed out of the living rock. Some of these cells had no light
at all. In one of them was a woman, in foul rags, who sat on the
ground, and would not answer a question, or speak a word, but only
looked up at us once or twice, through a cobweb of tangled hair, as if
to see what casual thing it might be that was disturbing with sound
and light the meaningless dull dream that was become her life; after
that, she sat bowed, with her dirt-caked fingers idly interlocked in her
lap, and gave no further sign. This poor rack of bones was a woman
of middle age, apparently; but only apparently; she had been there
IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS. 221

nine years, and was eighteen when she entered. She wasa commoner,
and had been sent here on her bridal night by Sir Breuse Sance Pité,
a neighboring lord whose vassal her father was, and to which said lord
she had refused what has since been called /e droit du Seigneur ; and
moreover, had opposed violence to violence and spilt half a gill of his
almost sacred blood. The young husband had interfered at that point,
believing the bride’s life in danger, and had flung the noble out into
the midst of the humble and trembling wedding guests, in the parlor,
and left him there astonished at this strange treatment, and implaca-
bly embittered against both bride and groom. The said lord being
cramped for dungeon-room had asked the queen to accommodate his
two criminals, and here in her bastile they had been ever since; hither
indeed, they had come before their crime was an hour old, and had
never seen each other since. Here they were, kerneled like toads in
the same rock; they had passed nine pitch dark years within fifty feet
of each other, yet neither knew whether the other was alive or not.
All the first years, their only question had been—asked with beseech-
ings and tears that might have moved stones, in time, perhaps, but
hearts are not stones: “Is he alive?” “Is she alive?” But they had
never got an answer; and at last that question was not asked any
more—or any other.

I wanted to see the man, after hearing all this. He was thirty-
four years old, and looked sixty. He sat upon a squared block of
stone, with his head bent down, his forearms resting on his knees, his
long hair hanging like a fringe before his face, and he was muttering
to himself. He raised his chin and looked us slowly over, in a listless
dull way, blinking with the distress of the torch-light, then dropped
his head and fell to muttering again and took no further notice of us.
There were some pathetically suggestive dumb witnesses present. On
his wrists and ancles were cicatrices, old smooth scars, and fastened
to the stone on which he sat was a chain with manacles and fetters
222 IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS.

attached; but this apparatus lay idle on the ground, and was thick
with rust. Chains cease to be needed after the spirit has gone out of
a prisoner.

I could not rouse the man; so I said we would take him to her, and
see—to the bride who was the fairest thing in the earth to him, once
—roses, pearls and dew made flesh, for him; a wonder-work, the mas-
ter-work of nature: with eyes like no other eyes, and voice like no
other voice, and a freshness, and lithe young grace, and beauty, that
belonged properly to the creatures of dreams—as he thought—and to
no other. The sight of her would set his stagnant blood leaping; the
sight of her—

But it was a disappointment. They sat together on the ground and
looked dimly wondering into each other’s faces a while, with a sort of
weak animal curiosity; then forgot each other’s presence, and dropped
their eyes, and you saw that they were away again and wandering in
some far land of dreams and shadows that we know nothing about.

I had them taken out and sent to their friends. The queen did not
like it much. Not that she felt any personal interest in the matter,
but she thought it disrespectful to Sir Breuse Sance Pité. However,
I assured her that if he found he couldn’t stand it I would fix him so
that he could.

I set forty-seven prisoners loose out of those awful rat-holes, and
left only one in captivity. He was a lord, and had killed another
lord, a sort of kinsman of the queen. That other lord had ambushed
him to assassinate him, but this fellow had got the best of him and cut
his throat. However, it was not for that that I left him jailed, but for
maliciously destroying the only public well in one of his wretched vil-
lages. The queen was bound to hang him for killing her kinsman, but
I would not allow it: it was no crime to kill an assassin. But I said I
was willing to let her hang him for destroying the well; so she con-
cluded to put up with that, as it was better than nothing.
IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS. 223

Dear me, for what trifling offenses the most of those forty-seven
men and women were shut up there! Indeed some were there for no
distinct offense at all, but only to gratify somebody’s spite; and not
always the queen’s by any means, but a friend’s. The newest prison-
er’s crime was a mere remark which he had made. He said he be-
lieved that men were about all alike, and one man as good as another,
barring clothes. He said he believed that if you were to strip the na-
tion naked and send a stranger through
the crowd, he couldn’t tell the king
from a quack doctor, nor a duke














froma hotel clerk. Apparently

here was a man whose brains

had not been reduced to an

ineffectual mush by idi-

s/f otic training. I set him

“¥/ loose and sent him to
the Factory.

ug
p Some of the cells

f
carved in the living rock
were just behind the face
of the preci-
pice, and in
each of these
an arrow-slit
had been pierc-
ed outward to
the daylight,
and so the cap-
tive had a thin
ray from the

‘©THE QUEEN’S OWN.” blessed sun
224 LN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS.

for his comfort. The case of one of these poor fellows was particu-
larly hard. From his dusky swallow’s hole high up in that vast
wall of native rock he could peer out through the arrow-slit and see
his own home off yonder in the valley; and for twenty-two years he
had watched it, with heart-ache and longing, through that crack. He
could see the lights shine there at night, and in the daytime he could
see figures go in and come out—his wife and children, some of them, no
doubt, though he could not make out, at that distance. In the course
of years he noted festivities there, and tried to rejoice, and wondered
if they were weddings or what they might be. And he noted funerals;
and they wrung his heart. He could make out the coffin, but he could
not determine its size, and so could not tell whether it was wife or
child. He could see the procession form, with priests and mourners,
and move solemnly away, bearing the secret with them. He had left
behind him five children and a-wife; and in nineteen years he had seen
five funerals issue, and none of them humble enough in pomp to denote
a servant. So he had lost five of his treasures; there must still be one
remaining—one now infinitely, unspeakably precious,—but which one?
wife, or child? That was the question that tortured him, by night and
by day, asleep and awake. Well, to have an interest, of some sort, and
half a ray of light, when you are in a dungeon, is a great support to the
body and preserver of the intellect. This man was in pretty good con-
dition yet. By the time he had finished telling me his distressful tale, I
was in the same state of mind that you would have been'in yourself, if
you have gotaverage human curiosity: that is to say, I was as burning
up as he was, to find out which member of the family it was that was
left. So I took him over home myself; and an amazing kind of a sur-
prise party it was, too—typhoons and cyclones of frantic joy, and whole
Niagaras of happy tears; and by George we found the aforetime young
matron graying toward the imminent verge of her half century, and the
babies all men and women, and some of them married and experiment-


LIN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS. 225

ing family-wise themselves—for not a soul of the tribe was dead!
Conceive of the ingenious devilishness of that queen: she had a special
hatred for this prisoner, and she had zzvented all those funerals herself,
‘to scorch his heart with; and the sublimest stroke of genius of the
whole thing was leaving the family-invoice a funeral short, so as to let
him wear his poor old soul out guessing.

But for me, he never would have got out. Morgan le Fay hated
him with her whole heart, and she never would have softened toward
him. And yet his crime was committed more in thoughtlessness than
deliberate depravity. He had said she had red hair. Well, she had;
but that was no way to speak of it. When.red-headed people are above
a certain social grade, their hair is auburn.

Consider it: among these forty-seven captives, there were five whose
names, offences and dates of incarceration were no longer known!
One woman and four men—all bent, and wrinkled, and mind-extin-
guished patriarchs. They themselves had long ago forgotten these
details; at any rate they had mere vague theories about them, noth-
ing definite and nothing that they repeated twice in the same way.
The succession of priests whose office it had. been to pray daily with
the captives and remind them that God had put them there, for some
wise purpose or other, and teach them that patience, humbleness, and
submission to oppression was what He loved to see in parties of a sub-
ordinate rank, had traditions about these poor old human ruins, but noth-
ing more. These traditions went but little way, for they concerned the
length of the incarceration only, and not the names or the offences.
And even by the help of tradition the only thing that could be proven
was that none of the five had seen daylight for thirty-five years: how
much longer this privation had lasted was not guessable. The king and
the queen knew nothing about these poor creatures, except that they
were heirlooms, assets inherited, along with the throne, from the former

firm. Nothing of their history had been transmitted with their persons,
1s .
226 IN THE QUEEN'S DUNGEONS.

and so the inheriting owners had considered them of no value, and had
felt no interest in them. I said to the queen—

“Then why in the world didn’t you set them free?”

The question was a puzzler. She didn’t know why she hadn't; the

.

\
Ss

t
G
\



“ CHILDREN OF MONARCHY BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.”
IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS. 227

thing had never come up in her mind. So here she was, forecasting
the veritable history of future prisoners of the castle d’If, without know-
ing it. It seemed plain to me now, that with her training, those in-
herited prisoners were merely property—nothing more, nothing less.
Well, when we inherit property, it does not occur to us to throw it
away, even when we do not value it.

When I brought my procession of human bats up into the open
world and the glare of the afternoon sun-— previously blind-folding
them, in charity for eyes so long untortured by light—they were a
spectacle to look at. Skeletons, scarecrows, goblins, pathetic frights,
every one: legitimatest possible children of Monarchy- by the Grace of
God and the Established Church. I muttered absently—

“T wesk I could photograph them!”

You have seen that kind of people who will never let on that they
don’t know the meaning of a new big word. The more ignorant they
are, the more pitifully certain they are to pretend you haven't shot over
their heads. The queen was just one of that sort, and was always
making the stupidest blunders by reason of it. She hesitated a mo-
ment; then her face brightened up with sudden comprehension, and
she said she would do it for me.

I thought to myself: She? why what can she know about photog-
raphy? But it was a poor time to be thinking. When I looked
around, she was moving on the procession with an axe!

Well, she certainly was a curious one, was Morgan le Fay. Ihave
seen a good many kinds of women in my time, but she laid over them
all, for variety. And how sharply characteristic of her this episode
was. She had no more idea than a horse, of how to photograph a pro-
cession; but being in doubt, it was just like her to try to do it with an
axe.





CHAPTER XIX.

< KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE.
























ANDY and I were on the road again, next
morning, bright and early. It was so good to
open up one’s lungs and take in whole luscious
barrels-full of the blessed God’s untainted,
dew-freshened, woodland-scented air once

more, after suffocating body and mind for two
days and nights in the moral and physical
stenches of that intolerable old buzzard-roost!

*I mean, for me: of course the place was all

right and agreeable enough for Sandy, for she

had been used to high life all her days.

Poor girl, her jaws had hada wearisome
rest, now for a while, and I was expecting to
get the consequences. I was right; but she
had stood by me most helpfully in the castle, ,
and had mightily
supported and
reinforced me
with gigantic
® foolishnesses
~ Which were
~ worth more
for the
ram D occasion
232 KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE.

than wisdoms double their size; so I thought she had earned a right
to work her mill for a while, if she wanted to, and I felt nota pang
when she started it up: :

‘“Now turn we unto Sir Marhaus that rode with the damsel of thirty
winter of age southward—”

‘““Are you going to see if you can work up another. half-stretch on
the trail of the cowboys, Sandy ?”

“Even so, fair my lord.”

‘*Go ahead, then. I won’t interrupt this time, if I can help it. Be-
gin over again; start fair, and shake out all your reefs, and I will load
my pipe and give good attention.”

‘Now turn we unto Sir Marhaus that rode with the damsel of thirty
winter of age southward. And so they came intoa deep forest, and by
fortune they were nighted, and rode along in a deep way, and at the
last they came into a courtelage where abode the duke of South
Marches, and there they asked harbour. And on the morn the duke
sent unto Sir Marhaus, and bad him make him ready. And so Sir
Marhaus arose and armed him, and there was a mass sung afore him,
and he brake his fast, and so mounted on horseback in the court of the
castle, there they should do the battle. So there was the duke already
on horseback, clean armed, and his six sons by him, and every each had
a spear in his hand, and so they encountered, whereas the duke and his
two sons brake their spears upon him, but Sir Marhaus held up his spear
and touched none of them. Then came the four sons by couples, and
two of them brake their spears, and so did the other two. And all this
while Sir Marhaus touched them not. Then Sir Marhaus ran to the
duke, and smote him with his spear that horse and man fell to the earth.
And so he served his sons. And then Sir Marhaus alight down, and
bad the duke yield him or else he would slay him. And then some of
his sons recovered, and would have set upon Sir Marhaus. Then Sir
Marhaus said to the duke, Cease thy sons, or else I will do the utter-


ns

b
WV enratceeeretct







‘“ THEN SIR MARHAUS RAN TO THE DUKE, AND SMOTE HIM WITH HIS SPEAR.”
234 KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE.

most to you all. When the duke saw he might not escape the death,
he cried to his sons, and charged them to yield them to Sir Marhaus.
And they kneeled all down and put the pommels of their swords to the
knight, and so he received them. And then they holp up their father,
and so by their common assent promised unto Sir Marhaus never to be
foes unto King Arthur, and thereupon at Whitsuntide after, to come
he and his sons, and put them in the king’s grace.*

‘‘Even so standeth the history, fair Sir Boss. Now ye shall wit that
that very duke and his six sons are they whom but few days past you.
also did overcome and send to Arthur's court! ”

‘Why, Sandy, you can’t mean it!”

“An I speak not sooth, let it be the worse for me.”

“Well, well, well,—now who would ever have thought it? One
whole duke and six dukelets; why, Sandy, it was an elegant haul.
Knight-errantry is a most chuckle-headed trade, and it is tedious hard
work, too, but I begin to see that there zs money in it, after all, if you
have luck. Not that I would ever engage in it as a business; for I
wouldn’t. No sound and legitimate business can be established ona
basis of speculation. A successful whirl in the knight-errantry line—
now what is it when you blow away the nonsense and come down to
the cold facts? It’s just a corner in pork, that’s all, and youcan’t make
anything else out of it. You're rich—yes,—suddenly rich—for-about a
day, maybe a week: then somebody corners the market on you, and
down goes your bucket-shop; ain’t that so, Sandy?”

‘““Whethersoever it be that my mind miscarrieth, bewraying simple
language in such sort that the words do seem to come endlong and
overthwart—”

‘There’s no use in beating about the bush and trying to get around
it that way, Sandy, it’s so, just as I say. I know it’s so.. And, more-
over, when you come right down to the bed-rock, knight-errantry is

* The story is borrowed, language and all, from the Morte df Arthur.—M., T.
KNIGHT ERRANTRY AS A TRADE. 235

worse than pork; for whatever happens, the pork’s left, and so some-
body’s benefited, anyway; but when the market breaks, in a knight-
errantry whirl, and every knight in the pool passes in his checks, what
have you got for assets? Just arubbish-pile of battered corpses and a
barrel or two of busted hardware. Can you call those assets? Give
me pork, every time. Am I right?”

‘“« Ah, peradventure my head being distraught by the manifold mat-
ters whereunto the confusions of these but late adventured haps and
fortunings whereby not I alone nor you alone, but every each of us,
meseemeth—”

“* No, it’s not your head, Sandy. Your head’s all right, as far as it
goes, but you don’t know business; that’s where the trouble is. It un-
fits you to argue about business, and you're wrong to be always trying.
However, that aside, it was a good haul, anyway, and will breed a
handsome crop of reputation in Arthur's court. And speaking of the
cow-boys, what a curious country this is for women and men that
never get old. Now there’s Morgan le Fay, as fresh and young asa
Vassar pullet, to all appearances, and here is this old duke of the South
Marches still slashing away with sword and lance at his time of life,
after raising such a family as he has raised. As I understand it, Sir
Gawaine killed seven of his sons, and still he had six left for Sir Mar-
haus and me to take into camp. And then there was that damsel of
sixty winter of age still excursioning around in her frosty bloom



How old are you, Sandy ?”
It was the first time I ever struck a still place in her. The mill had
shut down for repairs, or something.
wapade

Ltd

Clos

=

ble semese old,

oF Sow of the. lot Ga Fe


CHAPTER XX.
THE OGRE’S CASTLE.

S| ETWEEN six and nine we made ten miles, which
yf | was plenty fora horse carrying triple—man, woman,












and armor; then we stopped for a long nooning,
under some trees by a limpid brook.

Right so came bye and byea knight riding; and
as he drew near he made dolorous moan, and by the
words of it I perceived that he was cursing and
swearing; yet nevertheless was I glad of his com-
ing, for that I saw he bore a bulletin-board whereon
in letters all of shining gold was writ—

‘‘USE PETERSON’S PROPHYLACTIC TOOTH-BRUSH
—ALL THE GO.”.

I was glad of his coming, for even by
,, this token I knew him for knight of
mine. It was Sir Madok de la



Ve \_ Montaine, a burly great fellow
cer +) Ay, ” whose chief distinction was that
eae he had come within an ace of
All ia sending Sir Launce-
“SS lot down over his
horse-tail once. He
was never long ina
strangers presence
without finding some pretext or other to let out that great fact. But

there was another fact of nearly the same size, which he never pushed
239
240 THE OGRE'S CASTLE.

upon anybody unasked, and yet never withheld when asked: that was,
that the reason he didn’t quite succeed was, that he was interrupted
and sent down over horse-tail himself. This innocent vast lubber did
not see any particular difference between the two facts. I liked him,
for he was earnest in his work, and very valuable. And he was so fine
to look at, with his broad mailed shoulders, and the grand leonine set
of his plumed head, and his big shield with its quaint device of a
gauntleted hand clutching a prophylactic tooth-brush, with motto:
“Try Noyoudont.” This was a tooth-wash that I was introducing.

He was aweary, he said, and indeed he looked it; but he would not
alight. He said he was after the stove-polish man; and with this he
' broke out cursing and swearing anew. The bulletin-boarder referred
to was Sir Ossaise of Surluse, a brave knight, and of considerable
celebrity on account of his having tried conclusions in a tournament,
once, with no less a Mogul than Sir Gaheris himself—although not
successfully. He was of a light and laughing disposition, and to him
nothing in this world was serious. It was for this reason that I had
chosen him to work up a stove-polish sentiment. There were no stoves
yet, and so there could be nothing serious about stove-polish. All
that the agent needed to do was to deftly and by degrees prepare the
public for the great change, and have them established in predilec-
tions toward neatness against the time when the stove should appear
upon the stage.

Sir Madok was very bitter, and brake out anew with cursings. He
said he had cursed his soul to rags; and yet he would not get down
from his horse, neither would he take any rest, or listen to any com-
fort, until he should have found Sir Ossaise and settled this account.
It appeared, by what I could piece together of the unprofane fragments
of his statement, that he had chanced upon Sir Ossaise at dawn of the
morning, and been told that if he would make a short cut across the
fields and swamps and broken hills and glades, he could head off a
THE OGRE'S CASTLE. 241

company of travelers who would be rare customers for prophylactics
and tooth-wash. With characteristic zeal Sir Madok had plunged
away at once upon this quest, and after three hours of awful crosslot
riding had overhauled his game. And behold, it was the five patri-
archs that had been released from the dungeons the evening before!
Poor old creatures, it was all of twenty years since any one of them
had known what it was to be equipped with any remaining snag or
remnant of a tooth.

‘“ Blank-blank-blank him,” said Sir Madok, ‘an I do not stove-polish
him an I may find him, leave it to me; for never no knight that hight
Ossaise or aught else may do me this disservice and bide on live, an I
may find him, the which I have thereunto sworn a great oath this day.”

And with these words, and others, he lightly took his spear and gat
him thence. In the middle of the afternoon we came upon one of
those very patriarchs ourselves, in the edge of a poor village. He
was basking in the love of relatives and friends whom he had not seen
for fifty years; and about him and caressing him were also descendants
of his own body whom he had never seen at all till now; but to him
these were all strangers, his memory was gone, his mind was stagnant.
It seemed incredible that a man could outlast half a century shut up
in a dark hole like a rat, but here were his old wife and some old com-
rades to testify to it. They could remember him as he was in the
freshness and strength of his young manhood, when he kissed his child
and delivered it to it’s mother’s hands and went away into that long
oblivion. The people at the castle could not tell within half a genera-
tion the length of time the man had been shut up there for his unre-
corded and forgotten offence; but this old wife knew; and so did her
old child, who stood there among her married sons and daughters try-
ing to realize a father who had been to her a name, a thought, a form-
less image, a tradition, all her life, and now was suddenly concreted

into actual flesh and blood and set before her face.
16
242 THE OGRE'S CASTLE,

It was a curious situation; yet it is not on that account that I have
made room for it here, but on account of a thing which seemed to me
still more curious. To-wit, that this dreadful matter brought from
these down-trodden people no outburst of rage against their oppress-
ors. They had been heritors and subjects of cruelty and outrage so
long that nothing could have startled them but a kindness. Yes, here
was a curious revelation indeed, of the depth to which this people had
been sunk in slavery. Their entire being was reduced to a monoto-
nous dead level of patience, resignation, dumb uncomplaining accept-
ance of whatever might befal them in this life. Their very imagination
was dead. When you can say that of a man, he has struck bottom, I
reckon; there is no lower deep for him.

I rather wished I had gone some other road. This was not the sort
of experience for a statesman to encounter who was planning out a
peaceful revolution in his mind. For it could not help bringing up.
the un-get-aroundable fact that, all gentle cant and philosophising to
the contrary notwithstanding, no people in the world ever did achieve
their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immu-
table law that all revolutions that will succeed, must degzz in blood,
whatever may answer afterward. If history teaches anything, it teaches
that. What this folk needed, then, was a Reign of Terror and a guil-
lotine, and I was the wrong man for them.

Two days later, toward noon, Sandy began to show signs of excite-
ment and feverish expectancy. She said we were approaching the
ogre’s castle. I was surprised into an uncomfortable shock. The
object of our quest had gradually dropped out of my mind; this sudden
resurrection of it made it seem quite a real and startling thing, for a
moment, and roused up in me a smart interest. Sandy’s excitement
increased every moment; and so did mine, for that sort of thing is
catching. My heart got to thumping. You can’t reason with your
heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect
THE OGRES CASTLE. 243 —

scorns. Presently, when Sandy slid from the horse, motioned me to
stop, and went creeping stealthily, with her head bent nearly to her
knees, toward a row of bushes that bordered a declivity, the thump-
ings grew stronger and quicker. And they kept it up while she was
. gaining her ambush and getting her glimpse over the declivity; and
also while I was creeping to her side on my knees. Her eyes were
burning, now, as she pointed with her finger, and said in a panting
whisper—

“The castle! The castle! Lo, where it looms!”

What a welcome disappointment I experienced! I said—
~ ‘Castle? It is nothing but a pig-sty; a pig-


















sty with a wattled fence around it.”

She looked surprised and distressed.
The animation faded out of her
face; and during many mo-
ments she was lost in
thought and silent.
Then—

“Tt was not en-
~ chanted aforetime,”
she said in a
musing fash-
ion, as if to

il herself. ‘“ And

SANDY WITH ROYALTY.
244 IHE OGRE'S CASTLE.

how strange is this marvel, and how awful—that to the one perception
it is enchanted and dight in a base and shameful aspect; yet to.the
perception of the other it is not enchanted, hath suffered no change,
but stands firm and stately still, girt with its moat and waving its ban-
ners in the blue air from its towers. And God shield us, how it pricks
the heart to see again these gracious captives, and the sorrow deepened |
in their sweet faces! We have tarried long, and are to blame.”

Isaw my cue. The castle was enchanted to me, not to her. It
would be wasted time to try to argue her out of her delusion, it couldn’t
be done; I must just humor it. So I said—

“This is a common case—the enchanting of a thing to one eye and
leaving it in its proper form to another. You have heard of it before,
Sandy, though you havn’t happened to experience it. But no harm
is done. In fact it is lucky the way it is. If these ladies were hogs to
everybody and to themselves, it would be necessary to break the en-
chantment, and that might be impossible if one failed to find out the
particular process of the enchantment. And hazardous, too; for in
attempting a disenchantment without the true key, you are liable to
err, and turn your hogs into dogs, and the dogs into cats, the cats into
rats, and so on, and end by reducing your materials to nothing, finally,
or to an odorless gas which you can’t follow—which of course amounts
to the same thing. But here, by good luck, no one’s eyes but mine are
under the enchantment, and so it is of no consequence to dissolve it.
These ladies remain ladies to you, and to themselves, and to everybody
else; and at the same time they will suffer in no way from my delusion,
for when I know that an ostensible hog is a lady, that is enough for
me, I know how to treat her.”

“Thanks, oh sweet my lord, thou talkest like an angel. AndI
know that thou wilt deliver them, for that thou art minded to great
deeds and art as strong a knight of your hands and as brave to will
and to do, as any that is on live.”
THE OGRE'S CASTLE. 245

“Twill not leave a princess in the sty, Sandy. Are those three
yonder that to my disordered eyes are starveling swineherds—”

“The ogres? Are c¢heychangedalso? Itis most wonderful. Now
am J fearful; for how canst thou strike with sure aim when five of their
nine cubits of stature are to thee invisible? Ah, go warily, fair sir;
this is a mightier emprise than I wend.”

“You be easy, Sandy. All I need to know is, how much of an ogre
is invisible; then I know how to locate his vitals. Don’t you be afraid,
I will make short work of these bunco-steerers. Stay where you are.”

I left Sandy kneeling there, corpse-faced but plucky and hopeful,
and rode down to the pig-sty, and struck up a trade with the swine-
herds. I won their gratitude by buying out all the hogs at the lump
sum of sixteen pennies, which was rather above latest quotations. Iwas
just in time; for the Church, the lord of the manor, and the rest of the
tax gatherers would have been along next day and swept off pretty
much all the stock, leaving the swineherds very short of hogs and
Sandy out of princesses. But now the tax people could be paid in
cash, and there would be a stake left besides. One of the men had ten
children; and he said that last year when a priest came and of his ten
pigs took the fattest one for tithes, the wife burst out upon him, and
offered him a child and said—

“ Thou beast without bowels of mercy, why leave me my child, yet
rob me of the wherewithal to feed it?”

How curious. The same thing had happened in the Wales of my
day, under this same old Established Church, which was supposed by
many to have changed its nature when it changed its disguise.

I sent the three men away, and then opened the sty gate and beck-
oned Sandy to come—which she did; and not leisurely, but with the
rush of.a prairie-fire. And when I saw her fling herself upon those
hogs, with tears of joy running down her cheeks, and strain them to
her heart, and kiss them, and caress them, and call them reverently
246 LHE OGRE'S CASTLE.

by grand princely names, I was ashamed of her, ashamed of the
human race.

We had to drive those hogs home—ten miles; and no ladies were
ever more fickle-minded or contrary. They would stay in no road, no
path; they broke out through the brush on all sides, and flowed away
in all directions, over rocks, and hills, and the roughest places they
could find. And they must not be struck, or roughly accosted; Sandy



‘' WE GOT THE HOGS HOME.”
THE OGRE S CASTLE. 247

could not bear to see them treated in ways unbecoming their rank.
The troublesomest old sow of the lot had to be called my Lady, and
your Highness, like the rest. It is annoying and difficult to scour
around after hogs, in armor. There was one small countess, with an
iron ring in her snout and hardly any hair on her back, that was the
devil for perversity. She gave me a race of an hour, over all sorts of
country, and then we were right where we had started from, having
made not a rod of real progress. I seized her at last by the tail, and
brought her along, squealing. When I overtook Sandy, she was hor-
rified, and said it was in the last degree indelicate to drag a countess
by her train.

We got the hogs home just at dark—most of them. The princess
Nerovens de Morganore was missing, and two of her ladies in waiting:
namely, Miss Angela Bohun, and the Demoiselle Elaine Courtemains,
the former of these two being a young black sow with a white star in
her forehead, and the latter a brown one with thin legs and a slight
limp in the forward shank on the starboard side—a couple of the try-
ingest blisters to drive, thatI eversaw. Also among the missing were
several mere baronesses—and I wanted them to stay missing; but no,
all that sausage-meat had to be found; so, servants were sent out with
torches to scour the woods and hills to that end.

Of course the whole drove was housed in the house, and great
guns!—well, I never saw anything like it. Nor ever heard anything
like it. And never smelt anything like it. It was like an insurrection
in a gasometer.


‘(THE POWER OF TRAINING, OF INFLUENCE, OF EDUCATION, IT CAN BRING
A BODY UP TO BELIEVE ANYTHING,”










CHAPTER XXI.
THE PILGRIMS.

HEN I did get to bed at last I was
unspeakably tired; the stretching out,
and the relaxing of the long-tense
muscles, how luxurious, how deli-
cious! but that was as far as I could
get—sleep was out of the question, for
the present. The ripping and tearing
and squealing of the nobility up and
down the halls and corridors was pan-
demonium come again, and kept me
broad awake. Being awake, my
thoughts were busy, of course; and
mainly they busied themselves
with Sandy’s curious delusion.
Here she was, as sane a person
as the kingdom could produce;
and yet, from my point of view

ae
252 THE PILGRIMS,

she was acting like a crazy woman. My land, the power of training! of
influence! of education! It can bring a body up to believe anything. I
had to put myself in Sandy’s place to realize that she was not a lunatic.
Yes, and put her in mine, to demonstrate how easy it is to seem a lun-
atic to a person who has not been taught as you have been taught. IfI
had told Sandy I had seen a wagon, uninfluenced by enchantment, spin
along fifty miles an hour; had seen a man, unequipped with magic pow-
ers, get into a basket and soar out of sight among the clouds; and had
listened, without any necromancer’s help, to the conversation of a per-
son who was several hundred milés away, Sandy would not merely have
supposed me to be crazy, she would have thought she knew it. Every-
body around her believed in enchantments; nobody had any doubts;
to doubt that a castle could be turned into a sty, and its occupants into
hogs, would have been the same as my doubting, among Connecticut
people, the actuality of the telephone and its wonders,—and in both
cases would be absolute proof of a diseased mind, an unsettled reason.
Yes, Sandy was sane; that must be admitted. If I also would be sane
—to Sandy—I must keep my superstitions about unenchanted and un-
miraculous locomotives, balloons and telephones, to myself. Also, I
believed that the world was not flat, and hadn’t pillars under it to sup-
port it, nor a canopy over it to turn off a universe of water that occu-
pied all space above: but as I was the only person in the kingdom
afflicted with such impious and criminal opinions, I recognized that it
would be good wisdom to keep quiet about this matter, too, if I did not
wish to be suddenly shunned and forsaken by everybody as a madman.
The next morning Sandy assembled the swine in the dining room
and gave them their breakfast, waiting upon them personally and
manifesting in every way the deep reverence which the natives of her
island, ancient and modern, have always felt for rank, let its outward
casket and the mental and moral contents be what they may. I could
have eaten with the hogs if I had had birth approaching my lofty
THE PILGRIMS. 253

official rank; but I hadn’t, and so accepted the unavoidable slight and
made no complaint. Sandy and I had our breakfast at the second
table. The family were not at home. I said:

‘‘How many are in the family, Sandy, and where do they keep
themselves?” .

“ Family?”

“Ves,”

* Which family, good my lord?”

“Why, this family; your own family.”

‘“‘ Sooth to say, I understand you not. I have no family.”

“No family? Why, Sandy, isn’t this your home?”

Ne ka

ee
\ C
\





ea

—————_ aa

«Ga Lin LP if iS PEED







SANDY AND THE BOSS AT THE SECOND TABLE,
254. THE PILGRIMS.

‘““ Now how indeed might that be? I have no home.”

‘“ Well, then, whose house is this?”

“ Ah, wit you well I would tell you an I knew myself.”

‘“Come—you don’t even know these people? Then who invited us
here?”

“None invited us. We but came; that is all.”

‘“Why, woman, this is a most extraordinary performance. The
effrontery of it is beyond admiration. We blandly march into a man’s
house, and cram it full of the only really valuable nobility the sun has
yet discovered in the earth, and then it turns out that we don’t even
know the man’s name. How did you ever venture to take this extrav-
agant liberty? I supposed, of course, it was your home. What will the
man say?”

‘What will he say? Forsooth what can he say but give thanks?” ,

“ Thanks for what?”

Her face was filled with a puzzled surprise:

‘Verily, thou troublest mine understanding with strange words. Do
ye dream that one of his estate is like to have the honor twice in his
life to entertain company such as we have brought to grace his house
withal?”

“ Well, no—when you come to that. No, it’s an even bet that this
is the first time he has had a treat like this.”

“Then let him be thankful, and manifest the same by grateful
speech and due humility; he were a dog, else, and the heir.and ances-
tor of dogs.”

To my mind, the situation was uncomfortable. It might become
more so. It might be a good idea to muster the hogs and move on.
So I said:

“The day is wasting, Sandy. It is time to get the nobility together
and be moving.”

“Wherefore, fair sir and Boss?”
THE PILGRIMS. 255

«We want to take them to their home, don’t we?”

“La, but list to him! They be of all the regions of the earth! Each
must hie to her own home ; wend you we might do all these journeys
in one so brief life as He hath appointed that created life, and thereto
death likewise with help of Adam, who by sin done through persuasion
of his helpmeet, she being wrought upon and bewrayed by the beguile-
ments of the great enemy of man, that serpent hight Satan, aforetime
consecrated and set apart unto that evil work by overmastering spite
and envy begotten in his heart through fell ambitions that did blight
and mildew a nature erst so white and pure whenso it hove with the
shining multitudes its brethren-born in glade and shade of that fair
heaven wherein all such as native be to that rich estate and "

“Great Scott!”

“My lord?”

“Well, you know we havn't got time for this sort of thing. Don't
you see, we could distribute these people around the earth in less time
than it is going to take you to explain that we can't. We mustn't talk
now, we must act. You want to be careful ; you mustn't let your mill
get the start of you that way, at a time like this. To business, now—
and sharp’s the word. Who is to take the aristocracy home?”

“ Even their friends. These will come for them from the far parts of
the earth.”

This was lightning from a clear sky, for unexpectedness ; and the
relief of it was like pardon to a prisoner. She would remain to deliver
the goods, of course.



“Well, then, Sandy, as our enterprise is handsomely and -success-
fully ended, I will go home and report ; and if ever another one—”

“J also am ready ; I will go with thee.”

This was recalling the pardon.

“How? You will go with me? Why should you ?

“Will I be traitor to my knight, dost think? That were dishonor.
256 THE PILGRIMS.

I may not part from thee until in knightly encounter in the field some
overmatching champion shall fairly win and fairly wear me. I were to
blame an I thought that that might ever hap.”

“Elected for the long term,” I sighed to myself. “I may as well
make the best of it.”. So then I spoke up and said:

“All right; let us make a start.”

While she was gone to cry her farewells over the pork, I gave that
whole peerage away to the servants. And I asked them to take a
duster and dust around a little where the nobilities had mainly lodged
and promenaded, but they considered that that would be hardly worth
while, and would moreover be a rather grave departure from custom,
and therefore likely to make talk. A departure from custom—that set-
tled it ; it was a nation capable of committing any crime but that. The
servants said they would follow the fashion, a fashion grown sacred
through immemorial observance: they would scatter fresh rushes in all
the rooms and halls, and then the evidence of the aristocratic visitation
would be no longer visible. It was a kind of satire on Nature; it was
the scientific method, the geologic method ; it deposited the history of
the family in a stratified record; and the antiquary could dig through it
and tell by the remains of each period what changes of diet the family
had introduced successively for a hundred years.

The first thing we struck that day was a procession of pilgrims. It
was not going our way, but we joined it nevertheless; for it was hourly
being borne in upon me, now, that if I would govern this country wisely,
I must be posted in the details of its life, and not at second hand but by
personal observation and scrutiny.

This company of pilgrims resembled Chaucer’s in this: that it had
in ita sample of about all the upper occupations and professions the
country could show, and a corresponding variety of costume. There
were young men and old men, young women and old women, lively
folk and grave folk. They rode upon mules and horses, and there was
THE PILGRIMS. 257

not a side-saddle in the party; for this specialty was to remain unknown
in England for nine hundred years yet.

It was a pleasant, friendly, sociable herd; pious, happy, merry, and
full of unconscious coarsenesses and innocent indecencies. What they
regarded as the merry tale went the continual round and caused no more
embarrassment than it would have caused in the best English society
twelve centuries later. Practical jokes worthy of the English wits of
the first quarter of the far-off nineteenth century were sprung here and
there and yonder along the line, and compelled the delightedest ap-
plause; and sometimes when a bright remark was made at one end of

a

YY YA DEV Nee

“IT HAD IN IT A SAMPLE OF ABOUT ALL’‘THE UPPER OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS.”



the procession and started on its travels toward the other, you could
note its progress all the way by the sparkling spray of laughter it threw
off from its bows as it plowed along; and also by the blushes of the
mules in its wake.

Sandy knew the goal and purpose of this pilgrimage and she posted
me. She said:

“They journey to the Valley of Holiness, for to be blessed of the
godly hermits and drink of the miraculous waters and be cleansed from

sin.

‘‘Where is this watering place?”
x7
258 THE PILGRIMS.

“It lieth a two day journey hence, by the borders of the land that
hight the Cuckoo Kingdom.”

“Tell me about it. Is it a celebrated place?”

“Oh, of a truth, yes. There be none more so. Of old time there
lived there an abbot and his monks. Belike were none in the world
more holy than these; for they gave themselves to study of pious
books, and spoke not the one to the other, or indeed to any, and ate
decayed herbs and naught thereto, and slept hard, and prayed much,
and washed never; also they wore the same garment until it fell from
their bodies through age and decay. Right so came they to be known
of all the world by reason of these holy austerities, and visited by rich -
and poor, and reverenced.”

“ Proceed.”

“ But always there was lack of water there. Whereas, upon a
time, the holy abbot prayed, and for answer a great stream of clear
water burst forth by miracle ina desert place. Now were the fickle
monks tempted of the Fiend, and they wrought with their abbot
unceasingly by beggings and beseechings that he would construct a
bath; and when he was become aweary and might not resist more, he
said have ye your will, then, and granted that they asked. Now mark
thou what ’tis to forsake the ways of purity the which He loveth, and
wanton with such as be worldly and an offense. These monks did
enter into the bath and come thence washed as white as snow; and
lo, in that moment His sign appeared, in miraculous rebuke! for His
insulted waters ceased to flow, and utterly vanished away.”

“ They fared mildly, Sandy, considering how that kind of crime is
regarded in this country.”

“Belike; but it was their first sin; and they had been of perfect
life for long, and differing in naught from the angels. Prayers,
tears, torturings of the flesh, all was vain to beguile that water to
flow again. Even processions; even burnt offerings; even votive
THE PILGRIMS. 259

candles to the Virgin, did fail every each of them; and all in the land
did marvel.”

“ How odd to find that even this industry has its financial panics,
and at times sees its assignats and greenbacks languish to zero, and
everything come to a standstill. Go on, Sandy.”

“© And so upon a time, after year and day, the good abbot made
humble surrender and destroyed the bath. And behold, His anger
was in that moment appeased, and the waters gushed richly forth
again, and even unto this day they have not ceased to flow in that
generous measure.” .

“Then I take it nobody has washed since.”

‘« He that would essay it could have his halter free; yea, and swiftly
would he need it, too.”

‘‘The community has prospered since ?”

“Even from that very day. The fame of the miracle went abroad
into all lands. From every land came monks to join; they came even
as the fishes come, in shoals; and the monastery added building to
building, and yet others to these, and so spread wide its arms and took
them in. And nuns came, also; and more again, and yet more; and built
over against the monastery on the yon side of the vale, and added build-
ing to building, until mighty was that nunnery. And these were friend-
ly unto those, and they joined their loving labors together, and together
they built a fair great, foundling asylum midway of the valley between.”

“You spoke of some hermits, Sandy.”

“These have gathered there from the ends. of the earth. A hermit
thriveth best where there be multitudes of pilgrims. Ye shall not find
no hermit of no sort wanting. If any shall mention a hermit of a
kind he thinketh new and not to be found but in some far strange
land, let him but scratch among the holes and caves and swamps that
line that Valley of Holiness, and whatsoever be his breed, it skills not,
he shall find a sample of it there.”
260 THE PILGRIMS.

wee

fat good-humored face, purposing to make myself eee
agreeable and pick up some further : =
crumbs of fact; but I had hardly more
than scraped acquaintance with him

I closed up alongside of a burly fellow with a 2


















when he began eagerly and awkwardly
to lead up, in the immemorial
way, to that same old anecdote
—the one Sir Dinadan told me,
what time I got into trouble
with Sir Sagramore and
was challenged of him
on account of it. I ex-
cused myself and drop-
ped to the rear of the
procession, sad at heart,
this

4
F
~" vale of tears,

willing to go hence from
troubled life, this
this brief day of

cloud and

broken rest, of
) storm, of weary

struggle and ; 3 monotonous de-
feat; and yet yak 2 shrinking from
the change, as_~_ Zant Vg remembering
how long eter- Ae nity is, and how
many have agers wended thither
who know that / Ye ae anecdote.

Early in the i - afternoon we
overtook an- Rien vr other proces-_

sion of pilgrims; but in this one was no merriment, no jokes, no laughter,
no playful ways, nor any happy giddiness, whether of youth or age. Yet
both were here, both age and youth; gray old men and women, strong
THE PILGRIMS. 261

men and women of middle age, young husbands, young wives, little boys
and girls, and three babies at the breast. Even the children were smile-
less; there was not a face among all these half a hundred people but
was cast down, and bore that set expression of hopelessness which is
bred of long and hard trials and old acquaintance with despair. They
were slaves. Chains led from their fettered feet and their manacled
hands to a sole-leather belt about their waists; and all except the
children were also linked together in a file, six feet apart, by a single
chain which led from collar to collar all down the line. They were on
foot, and had tramped three hundred miles in eighteen days, upon the
cheapest odds and ends of food, and stingy rations of that. They had
slept in these chains every night, bundled together like swine. They
had upon their bodies some poor rags, but they could not be said to be
clothed. Their irons had chafed the skin from their ankles and made
sores which were ulcerated and wormy. Their naked feet were torn,
and none walked without a limp. Originally there had been a hun-
dred of these unfortunates, but about half had been sold on the trip.
The trader in charge of them rode a horse and carried a whip with a
short handle and a long heavy lash divided into several knotted tails
at the end. With this whip he cut the shoulders of any that tottered
from weariness and pain, and straitened them up. He did not speak;
the whip conveyed his desire without that. None of these poor crea-
tures looked up as we rode along by; they showed no consciousness
of our presence. And they made no sound but one; that was the dull
and awful clank of their chains from end to end of the long file, as
forty-three burdened feet rose and fell in unison. The file moved in
a cloud of its own making.

All these faces were gray with a coating of dust. One has seen the
like of this coating upon furniture in unoccupied houses, and has writ-
ten his idle thought in it with his finger. I was reminded of this when
I noticed the faces of some of those women, young mothers carrying
262 THE PILGRIMS.

babes that were near to death and freedom, how a something in their
hearts was written in the dust upon their faces, plain to see, and lord
how plain to read! for it was the track of tears. One of these young
mothers was buta girl, and it hurt me to the heart to read that writing,
and reflect that it was come up out of the breast of sucha child, a breast
that ought not to know trouble yet, but only the gladness of the morn-
ing of life; and no doubt—

She reeled just then, giddy with fatigue, and down came the lash
and flicked a flake of skin from her naked shoulder. It stung me as if
I had been hit instead. The master halted the file and jumped from
his horse. He stormed and swore at this girl, and said she had made
annoyance enough with her laziness, and as this was the last chance
he should have, he would settle the account now. She dropped on her
knees and put up her hands and began to beg and cry and implore, in
a passion of terror, but the master gave no attention. He snatched
the child from her, and then made the men-slaves who were chained
before and behind her throw her on the ground and hold her there
and expose her body; and then he laid on with his lash like a madman
till her back was flayed, she shrieking and struggling the while, pit-
eously. One of the men who was holding her turned away his face,
and for this humanity he was reviled and flogged.

All our pilgrims looked on and commented—on the expert way
in which the whip was handled. They were too much hardened by
lifelong every-day familiarity with slavery to notice that there was
anything else in the exhibition that invited comment. This was what
slavery could do, in the way of ossifying what one may call the supe-
rior lobe of human feeling; for these pilgrims were kindhearted people,
and they would not have allowed that man to-treat a horse like that.

I wanted to stop the whole thing and set the slaves free, but that
would not do. I must not interfere too much and get myself a name
for riding over the country’s laws and the citizen’s rights roughshod.
THE PILGRIMS. 263

If I lived and prospered I would be the death of slavery, that I was
resolved upon; but I would try to fix it so that when I became its exe-
cutioner it should be by command of the nation. ‘

Just here was the wayside shop of a smith; and now arrived a landed
proprietor who had bought this girl a few miles back, deliverable here
where her irons could be taken off. They were removed; then there
was a squabble between the gentleman and the dealer as to which
should pay the blacksmith. The moment the girl was delivered from
her irons, she flung herself, all tears and frantic sobbings, into the arms
of the slave who had turned away his face when she was whipped. He
strained her to his breast, and smothered her face and the child’s with
kisses, and washed them with the rain of his tears. I suspected. I
inquired. Yes, I was right: it was husband and wife. They had tobe
torn apart by force; the girl had to be dragged away, and she strug-
gled and fought and shrieked like one gone mad till a turn of the road
hid her from sight; and even after that, we could still make out the
fading plaint of those receding shrieks. And the husband and father,
with his wife and child gone, never to be seen by him again in life ?>—
well, the look of him one might not bear at all, and so I turned away;
but I knew I should never get his picture out of my mind again, and
there it is to this day, to wring my heart-strings whenever I think of it.

We put up at the inn in a village just at nightfall, and when I rose
next morning and looked abroad, I was ware where a knight came
riding in the golden glory of the new day, and recognized him for
knight of mine—Sir Ozana le Cure Hardy. He was inthe gentlemen’s
furnishing line, and his missionarying specialty was plug hats. He
was clothed all in steel, in the beautifulest armor of the time—up to
where his helmet ought to have been; but he hadn't any helmet, he
wore a shiny stove-pipe hat, and was as ridiculous a spectacle as one
might want to see. It was another of my surreptitious schemes for
extinguishing knighthood by making it grotesque and absurd. Sir
264 THE PILGRIMS.

Ozana’s saddle was hung about with leather hat-boxes, and every time
he overcame a wandering knight he swore him into my service and
fitted him with a plug and made him wear it. I dressed and ran down
to welcome Sir Ozana and get his news.

“How is trade?” I asked.

“ Ye will note that I have but these four left; yet were they sixteen
whenas I got me from Camelot.”

“Why, you have certainly done nobly, Sir Ozana. Where have
you been foraging of late ?”

“Tam but now come from the Valley of Holiness, please you sir.”

“Tam pointed for that place myself. Is there anything stirring in
the monkery, more than common?.”

“ By the mass ye may not question it! . . . Give him good feed,
boy, and stint it not, an thou valuest thy crown; so get ye lightly to
the stable and doevenasI bid. . . ... . Sir, it is parlous news
I bring, and—be these pilgrims? Then ye may not do better, good
folk, than gather and hear the tale I have to tell, sith it concerneth
you, forasmuch as ye go to find that ye will not find, and seek that ye
will seek in vain, my life being hostage for my word, and my word and
message being these, namely: That a hap has happened whereof the
like has not been seen no more but once this two hundred years, which
was the first and last time that that said misfortune strake the holy
valley in that form by commandment of the Most High whereto by
reasons just and causes thereunto contributing, wherein the matter—”

“The miraculous fount hath ceased to flow!” This shout burst
from twenty pilgrim mouths at once. :

“Ye say well, good people. I was verging to it, even when ye
spake.” ,

“ Has somebody been washing again?”

‘Nay, it is suspected, but none believe it. It is thought to be some
other sin, but none wit what.”
THE PILGRIMS. 265

“ How are they feeling about the calamity?”

“None may describe it in words. The fount is these nine days dry.
The prayers that did begin then, and the lamentations in sackcloth and
ashes, and the holy processions, none of these have ceased nor night
nor day; and so the monks and the nuns and the foundlings be all
exhausted, and do hang up prayers writ upon parchment, sith that no
strength is left in man to lift up voice. And at last they sent for thee,
Sir Boss, to.try magic and enchantment; and if you could not come,
then was the messenger to fetch Merlin, and he is there these three
days, now, and saith he will fetch that water though he burst the globe
and wreck its kingdoms to accomplish it; and right bravely doth he
work his magic and call-upon his hellions to hie them hither and help,
but not a whiff of moisture hath he started yet, even so much as might
qualify as mist upon acopper mirror an ye count not the barrel of sweat
he sweateth betwixt sun and sun over the dire labors of his task; and

”



if ye :

Breakfast was ready. Assoonas it was over I showed to Sir Ozana
these words which I had written on the inside of his hat: ‘‘ Chemcal
Department, Laboratory extension, Section G. Pxxp. Send two of first
size, two of No. 3, and six of No. 4, together with the proper comple-
mentary details—and two of my trained assistants.” And I said:

“Now get you to Camelot as fast as you can fly, brave knight, and
show the writing to Clarence, and tell him to have these required mat-
ters in the Valley of Holiness with all possible dispatch.”

‘“‘T will well, Sir Boss,” and he was off.

CHAPTER XXII.






THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

ib} HE pilgrims were human beings. Other-
wise they would have acted differently.
They had come along and difficult jour-
ney, and now when the journey was
nearly finished, and they learned that
je y the main thing they had come
for had ceased to exist, they
didn’t do as horses or cats or
_angle-worms would probably
have done—turn back and get
at something profitable —no,
anxious as they had before
been to see the miraculous
fountain, they were as much
as forty times as anxious now
to see the place where it had
used to be. There is no ac-
counting for human beings.
We made good time; and a
couple of hours before sunset
we stood upon the high con-
fines of the Valley of Holiness
and our eyes swept it from end to end and noted its features. That

is, its large features. These were the three masses of buildings. They
269
270 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

were distant and isolated temporalities shrunken to toy constructions
in the lonely waste of what seemed a desert—and was. Such a scene
is always mournful, it is so impressively still, and looks so steeped in
death. But there was a sound here which interrupted the stillness only
to add to its mournfulness; this was the faint far sound of tolling bells
which floated fitfully to us on the passing breeze, and so faintly, so softly,
that we hardly knew whether we heard it with our ears or with our spirits.

We reached the monastery before dark, and there the males were
given lodging, but the women were sent over to the nunnery. The
bells were close at hand, now, and their solemn booming smote upon
the ear like a message of doom. A superstitious despair possessed the
heart of every monk and published itself in his ghastly face. Every-
where, these black-robed, soft-sandled, tallow-visaged spectres ap-
peared, flitted about and disappeared, noiseless as the creatures of a
troubled dream, and as uncanny.

The old abbot’s joy to see me was pathetic. Even to tears; but
he did the shedding himself. He said:

“Delay not, son, but get to thy saving work. An we bring not the
water back again, and soon, we are ruined, and the good work of two
hundred years must end. And see thou do it with enchantments that
be holy, for the Church will not endure that work in her cause be done
by devil’s magic.”

‘When I work, Father, be sure there will be no devil’s work con-
nected with it. I shall use no arts that come of the devil, and no
elements not created by the hand of God. But is Merlin working
strictly on pious lines ?”

“Ah, he said he would, my son, he said he would, and took oath
to make his promise good.”

“Well, in that case, let him proceed.”

“ But surely you will not sit idle by, but help?”

“Tt will not answer to mix methods, Father; neither would it be
THE HOLY FOUNTAIN. 271

professional courtesy. Two of a trade must not under-bid each other.
We might as well cut rates and be done with it; it would arrive at that
in the end. Merlin has the contract; no other magician can touch it
till he throws it up.”

“ But I will take it from him; it is a terrible emergency and the act
is thereby justified. And if it were not so, who will give law to the
Church? The Church giveth law to all; and what she wills to do, that
she may do, hurt whom it may. I will take it from him; you shall be-
gin upon the moment.”

“Tt may not be, Father. No doubt, as you say, where power is
supreme, one can doas one likes and suffer no injury; but we poor
magicians are not so situated. Merlin isa very good magician ina
small way, and has quite a neat provincial reputation. He is struggling
along, doing the best he can, and it would not be etiquette for me to
take his job until he himself abandons it.”

The abbot’s face lighted.

« Ah, that is simple. There are ways to persuade him to aban-

don it.”
“‘No-no, Father, it skills not, as these people say. If he were per-

suaded against his will, he would load that well with a malicious
enchantment which would balk me until I found out its secret. It
might take a month. I could set up a little enchantment of mine
which I call the telephone, and he could not find out its secret in a
hundred years. Yes, you perceive, he might block me for a month.
Would you like to risk a month in a dry time like this?”

«A month! The mere thought of it maketh me to shudder. Have
it thy way, my son. But my heart is heavy with this disappointment.
Leave me, and let me wear my spirit with weariness and waiting, even
as I have done these ten long days, counterfeiting thus the thing that
is called rest, the prone body making outward sign of repose where ©
inwardly is none.”
272 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

Of course it would have been best, all round, for Merlin to waive
etiquette and quit and call it half a day, since he would never be able
to start that water, for he was a true magician of the time: which is to
say, the big miracles, the ones that gave him his reputation, always
had the luck to be performed when nobody but Merlin was present; he
couldn’t start this well with all this crowd around to see; a crowd was
as bad for a magician’s miracle in that day as it was for a spiritualist’s
miracle in mine: there was sure to be some skeptic on hand to turn up
the gas at the crucial moment and spoil everything. But I did not
want Merlin to retire from the job until I was ready to take hold of it
effectively myself; and I could not do that until I got my things from
Camelot, and that would take two or three days.

My presence gave the monks hope, and cheered them up a good
deal; insomuch that they ate a square meal that night for the first time
in ten days. As soon as their stomachs had been properly reinforced
with food, their spirits began to rise fast; when the mead began to go
round they rose faster. By the time everybody was half-seas over, the
holy community was in good shape to make a night of it; so we stayed
by the board and put it through on that line. Matters got to be very
jolly. Good old questionable stories were told that made the tears
run down and cavernous mouths stand wide and the round bellies shake
with laughter; and questionable songs were bellowed out in a mighty
chorus that drowned the boom of the tolling bells.

At last I ventured a story myself; and vast was the success of it..
Not right off, of course, for the native of those islands does not as
a tule dissolve upon the early applications of a humorous thing; but
the fifth time I told it, they began to crack, in places; the eighth
time I told it, they began to crumble; at the twelfth repetition they
fell apart in chunks; and at the fifteenth they disintegrated, and I got
a broom and swept them up. This language is figurative. Those
islanders—well, they are slow pay, at first, in the matter of return for
LEED.
BYTEN
Ue







‘THERE ARE WAYS TO PERSUADE HIM TO ABANDON IT,”
18
274 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

your investment of effort, but in the end they make the pay of all
other nations poor and small by contrast.

I was at the well next day betimes. Merlin was there, enchanting
away like a beaver, but not raising the moisture. He was not ina
pleasant humor; and every time I hinted that perhaps this contract was
a shade too hefty for a novice he unlimbered his tongue and cursed
like a bishop—French bishop of the Regency days, I mean.

Matters were about as I expected to find them. The “ fountain”
was an ordinary well, it had been dug in the ordinary way, and stoned
up in the ordinary way. There was no miracle about it. Even the
lie that had created its reputation was not miraculous; I could have
told it myself, with one hand tied behind me. The well was in a
dark chamber which stood in the centre of a cut-stone chapel, whose
walls were hung with pious pictures of a workmanship that would
have made a chromo feel good; pictures historically commemorative
of curative miracles which had been achieved by the waters when
nobody was looking. That is, nobody but angels: they are always

‘on deck when there is a miracle to the fore—so as to get put in the
picture, perhaps. Angels are as fond of that as a fire company; look
at the old masters. .

The well-chamber was dimly lighted by lamps; the water was
drawn with a windlass and chain, by monks, and poured into troughs
which delivered it into stone reservoirs outside, in the chapel—when
there was water to draw, I mean—and none but monks could enter
the well-chamber. I entered it, for I had temporary authority to do
so, by courtesy of my professional brother and subordinate. But he
hadn’t entered it himself. He did everything by incantations; he
never worked his intellect. If he had stepped in there and used his
eyes, instead of his disordered mind, he could have cured the well.
by natural means, and then turned it into a miracle in the customary
way; but no, he was an old numskull, a magician who believed in his
THE HOLY FOUNTAIN. 275

own magic; and no magician can thrive who is handicapped with a
superstition like that.

I had an idea that the well had sprung a leak; that some of the
wall stones near the bottom had fallen and exposed fissures that
allowed the water to escape. I measured the chain—o8 feet. Then I
called in a couple of monks, locked the door, took a candle, and made
them lower me in the bucket. When the chain was all paid out, the
candle confirmed my suspicion; a considerable section of the wall was
gone, exposing a good big fissure.

I almost regretted that my theory about the well’s trouble was





a os GE Ss
f a?

Ver Cg



‘‘AT THE TWELFTH REPETITION THEY FELL APART IN CHUNKS.”

correct, because I had another one that had a showy point or two
about it for a miracle. I remembered that in America, many centuries
later, when an oil well ceased to flow, they used to blast it out with a
dynamite torpedo. IfI should find this well dry, and no explanation
of it, I could astonish these people most nobly by having a person of
no especial value drop a dynamite bomb into it. It was my idea to
appoint Merlin. However, it was plain that there was no occasion for
the bomb. One cannot have everything the way he would like it. A
man has no business to be depressed by a disappointment, anyway;
he ought to make up his mind to get even. That is what Idid. I
276 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

said to myself, I am in no hurry, I can wait; that bomb will come
good, yet. And it did, too.

When I was above ground again, I turned out the monks, and let
down a fish-line: the well was a hundred and fifty feet deep, and
there was forty-one feet of water in it! I called in a monk and asked:

“How deep is the well?” ©

“That, sir, I wit not, having never been told.”

“How does the water usually stand in it?”

‘Near to the top, these two centuries, as the testimony goeth,
brought down to us through our predecessors.”

It was true—as to recent times at least—for there was witness to it,
and better witness than a monk: only about twenty or thirty feet of
the chain showed wear and use, the rest of it was unworn and rusty.
What had happened when the well gave out that other time? Without
doubt some practical person had come along and mended the leak,
and then had come up and told the abbot he had discovered by
divination that if thé.sinful bath were destroyed the well would flow
again. The leak had befallen again, now, and these children would
have prayed, and processioned, and tolled their bells for heavenly
succor till they all dried up and blew away, and no innocent of them
all would ever have thought to drop a fish-line into the well or go
down in it and find out what was really the matter. Old habit of
mind is one of the toughest things to get away from in the world. It
transmits itself like physical form and feature; and for a man, in.those
days, to have had an idea that his ancestors hadn’t had, would have
brought him under suspicion of being illegitimate. I said to the
monk:

“Tt is a difficult miracle to restore water in a dry well, but we will
try, if my brother Merlin fails. Brother Merlin is a very passable
artist, but only in the parlor-magic line, and he may not succeed; in
fact is not likely to succeed. But that should be nothing to his dis-
THE HOLY FOUNTAIN. 279

credit; the man that can do ¢zs kind of miracle knows enough to
keep hotel.”
‘Hotel? I mind not to have heard
“Of hotel? It’s what you call hostel. The man that can do this
miracle can keep hostel. I can do this miracle; I shall do this miracle;

”



yet I do not try to conceal from you that it is a miracle to tax the
occult powers to the last strain.”

‘None knoweth that truth better than the brotherhood, indeed;
for it is of record that aforetime it was parlous difficult and took a year.
Natheless, God send you: good success, and to that end will we pray.”

As a matter of business it was a good idea to get the notion around
that the thing was difficult. Many a small thing has been made large
by the right kind of advertising. That monk was filled up with the
difficulty of this enterprise; he would fill up the others. In two days
the solicitude would be booming.

On my way home at noon, I met Sandy. ‘She had been sampling
the hermits. I said:

“T would like to do that, myself. This is Wednesday. Is there a
matinée?” ;

“A which, please you, sir?”

‘‘Matinée. Do they keep open, afternoons?”

“Who?”

“ The hermits, of course.”

“Keep open?”

“Yes, keep open. Isn’t that plain enough? Do they knock off at
noon.”

“ Knock off?”

“ Knock off?—yes, knock off. What is the matter with knock off?
I never saw such a dunderhead; can’t you understand anything at all?
In plain terms, do they shut up shop, draw the game, bank the fires—”

«Shut up shop, draw—”
278 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

“There, never mind, let it go; You make me tired. You can’t
seem to understand the simplest thing.”

“‘T would I might please thee, sir, and it is to me dole and sorrow
that I fail, albeit sith 1am but a simple damsel and taught of none,
being from the cradle unbaptised in those deep waters of learning that
do anoint with a sovereignty him that partaketh of that most noble
sacrament, investing him with reverend state to the mental eye of the
humble mortal who, by bar and lack of that great consecration seeth
in his own unlearned estate but a symbol of that other sort of lack and
loss which men do publish to the pitying eye with sackcloth trappings
whereon the ashes of grief'do lie bepowdered and bestrewn, and so,
when such shall in the darkness of his mind encounter these golden
phrases of high mystery, these shut-up-shops, and draw-the-game,
and bank-the-fires, it is but by the grace of God that he burst not for
envy of the mind that can beget, and tongue that can deliver so great
and mellow-sounding miracles of speech, and if there do ensue con-
fusion in that humbler mind, and failure to divine the meanings of these
wonders, then if so be this miscomprehension is not vain but sooth and
true, wit ye well it is the very substance of worshipful dear homage
and may not lightly be misprized, nor had been, an ye had noted this
complexion of my mood and mind and understood that that I would I
could not, and that I could not I might not, nor yet nor might zor
could, nor might-not nor could-not, might be by advantage turned to
the desired would, and so I pray you mercy of my fault, and that ye
will of your kindness and your charity forgive it, good my master and
most dear lord.” ;

L couldn't make it all out—that is, the details—but I got the general
idea; and enough of it, too, to be ashamed. It was not fair to spring
those nineteenth century technicalities upon the untutored infant of the
sixth and then rail at her because she couldn’t get their drift; and
when she was making the honest best drive at it she could, too, and no
THE HOLY FOUNTAIN. 279

fault of hers that she couldn’t fetch the home-plate; and so I apolo-
gized. Then we meandered pleasantly away toward the hermit-holes
in sociable converse together, and better friends than ever.

I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery rever-
ence for this girl; for nowa- days whenever she

pulled out from the station and got her train






fairly started on one of those wy horizonless _ trans-

continental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon



me that I was



Le

EE SS i =







awful presence [
of the Mother of

the German
Language. I
was so impress- a
ed with this, that ‘‘HE UNLIMBERED HIS TONGUE AND. CURSED LIKE A BISHOP.”

sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I
unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncov-
ered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She
had exactly the German way: whatever was in her mind to be deliv-
280 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

ered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, ot the his-
tory of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. When-
ever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are
going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic
‘with his verb in his mouth.

We drifted from hermit to hermit all the afternoon. It was a most
strange menagerie. The chief emulation among them seemed to be,
to see which could manage to be the uncleanest and most prosperous
with vermin. Their manner and attitudes were the last expression of
complacent self-righteousness. It was one anchorite’s pride to lie naked
in the mud and let the insects bite him and blister him unmolested; it
was another’s to lean against a rock, all day long, conspicuous to the
admiration of the throng of pilgrims, and pray; it was another’s to go
naked, and crawl around on all fours; it was another’s to drag about
with him, year in and year out, eighty pounds of iron; it was another’s
to never lie down when he slept, but to stand among the thorn-bushes
and snore when there were pilgrims around to look; a woman, who
had the white hair of age, and no other apparel, was black from crown
to heel with forty-seven years of holy abstinence from water. Groups
of gazing pilgrims stood around all and every of these strange ob-
jects, lost in reverent wonder, and envious of the fleckless sanctity
which these pious austerities had won for them from an exacting
heaven. ,

By and by we went to see one of the supremely great ones. He was
a mighty celebrity; his fame had penetrated all Christendom; the
noble and the renowned journeyed from the remotest lands on the
globe to pay him reverence. His stand was in the centre of the widest
part of the valley; and it took all that space to hold his crowds.

His stand was a pillar sixty feet high, with a broad platform on the
top of it. He was now doing what he had been doing every day for
twenty years up there—bowing his body ceaselessly and rapidly
THE HOLY FOUNTAIN. 281

almost to his feet. It was his way of praying. I timed him with a
stop-watch, and he made 1244 revolutions in 24 minutes and 46 seconds.
It seemed a pity to have all this power going to waste. It was one of
the most useful motions in mechanics, the pedal-movement; so I made
‘a note in my memorandum book, purposing some day to apply a sys-
tem of elastic cords to him and run a sewing-machine with it. I after-
wards carried out that scheme, and got five years’ good service out of
him; in which time he turned out upwards of eighteen thousand first-
rate tow-linen shirts, which was tena day. I worked him Sundays
and all; he was going, Sundays, the same as week-days, and it was no
use to waste the power. These shirts cost me nothing but just the
mere trifle for the materials—I furnished those myself, it would not
have been right to make him do that—and they sold like smoke to
pilgrims at a dollar and a half apiece, which was the price of fifty cows
or a blooded race-horse in Arthurdom. They were regarded as a
perfect protection against sin, and advertised as such by my knights
everywhere, with the paint-pot and stencil-plate; insomuch that there
was not a cliff or a boulder or a dead-wall in England but you could
read on it at a mile distance:

“Buy the only genuine St. Stylite; patronized by the Nobility.
Patent applied for.”

There was more money in the business than one knew what to do
with. As it extended, I brought out a line of goods suitable for kings,
and a nobby thing for duchesses and that sort, with ruffles down the
fore-hatch and the running-gear clewed up with a feather-stitch to
leeward and then hauled aft with a back-stay and triced up with a half-
turn in the standing rigging forward of the weather-gaskets. Yes, it
was a daisy. 8

But about that time I noticed that the motive power had taken to
standing on one leg, and I found that there was something the matter
with the other one; so I stocked the business and unloaded, taking Sir
282 THE HOLY FOUNTAIN.

Bors de Ganis into camp financially along with certain of his friends:
for the works stopped within a year, and the good saint got him to his
rest. But he had earned it. I can say that for him.

When I saw him that first time—however, his personal condition .
will not quite bear description here. You can read it in the Lives of
the Saints.*

* All the details concerning the hermits, in this chapter, are from Lecky—but greatly

modified. This book not being a history but only a tale, the majority of the historian’s
frank details were too strong for reproduction in it.—EbITorR.

e
CHAPTER XXIII.

RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.


















ATURDAY noon I went to the well and
looked on awhile. Merlin was still burning
smoke - powders, and pawing the air, and

~. muttering gibberish as hard as ever,
but looking pretty down-hearted, for of
course he had not started even a per-

\ Spiration in that well yet. Finally I said:

“How does the thing promise by this

By time, partner?”

“ Behold, I am even now busied with
trial of the powerfulest enchantment
known to the princes of the occult arts
in the lands of the East; an it fail me,
naught can avail. Peace, until I finish.”
He raised a smoke this time that
darkened all the
region, and must
have made matters
uncomfortable for
the hermits, for the
" wind was their way,
and it rolled down
wigs over their
“fy dens ina

dense and
286 RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.

billowy fog. He poured out volumes of speech to match, and con-
torted his body and sawed the air with his hands in a most extraor-
dinary way. At the end of twenty minutes he dropped down panting,
and about exhausted. Now arrived the abbot and several hundred
monks and nuns, and behind them a multitude of pilgrims anda couple
of acres of foundlings, all drawn by the prodigious smoke, and all ina
grand state of excitement. The abbot enquired anxiously for results.
Merlin said:

“If any labor of mortal might break the spell that binds these
waters, this which I have but just essayed had done it. It has failed;
whereby I do now know that that which I had feared is a truth estab-
lished: the sign of this failure is, that the most potent spirit known to
the magicians of the East, and whose name none may utter and live,
has laid his spell upon this well. The mortal does not breathe, nor
ever will, who can penetrate the secret of that spell, and without that
secret none can break it. The water will flow no more forever, good
Father. I have done what man could. Suffer me to go.”

Of course this threw the abbot into a good deal of a consternation.
He turned to me with the signs of it in his face, and said:

“Ye have heard him. Is it true?”

“Part of it is.”

“Not all, then, not all! What part is true?”

“ That that spirit with the Russian name has put his spell upon the
well.”

“ God’s wownds, then are we ruined!”

“ Possibly.”

“But not certainly? Ye mean, not certainly?”

“That is it.”

“Wherefore, ye also mean that when he saith none can break the
spell—”

“Yes, when he says that, he says what isn’t necessarily true.
RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 287

There are cdnditions under which an effort to break it may have some
chance—that is, some small, some trifling chance—of success.”

“ The conditions—”

“Oh, they are nothing difficult. Only these: I want the well and
the surroundings for the space of half a mile, entirely to myself from
sunset to-day until I remove the ban—and nobody allowed to cross
the ground but by my authority.”

‘‘ Are these all?”

Ves.”

“And you have no fear to try?”

“Oh, none. One may fail, of course; and one may also succeed.
One can try, and I am ready to chance it. I have my conditions?”

‘These and all others ye may name. I will issue commandment
to that effect.”

“Wait,” said Merlin, with an evil smile. “Ve wit that he that
would break this spell must know that Spirit's name?”

“Yes, I know his name.”

‘And wit you also that to know it skills not of itself, but ye must
likewise pronounce it?) Ha-ha! Knew ye that?”

‘Yes, I knew that, too.”

“You had that knowledge! Arta fool? Are ye minded to utter
that name and die?”

“Utter it? Why certainly. I would utter it if it was Welsh.”

“Ye are even a dead man, then; and I go to tell Arthur.”

“That’s all right. Take your gripsack and get along. The thing
for you to do is to go home and work the weather, John W. Merlin.”

It was a home shot, and it made him wince; for he was the worst
weather-failure in the kingdom. Whenever he ordered up the dan-
ger-signals along the coast there was a week’s dead calm, sure, and
every time he prophecied fair weather it rained brick-bats. But I kept
him in the weather bureau right along, to undermine his reputation.
288 RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.

However, that shot raised his bile, and instead of starting*home to re-
port my death, he said he would remain and enjoy it.

My two experts arrived in the evening, and pretty well fagged, for
they had traveled double tides. They had pack-mules along, and had
brought everything I needed—tools, pump, lead pipe, Greek fire,
sheaves of big rockets, roman candles, colored-fire sprays, electric
apparatus, and a lot of sundries—everything necessary for the state-
liest kind of a miracle. They got their supper and a nap, and about
midnight we sallied out through a solitude so wholly vacant and com-
plete that it quite overpassed the required conditions. We took pos-
session of the well and its surroundings. My boys were experts in all
sorts of things, from the stoning up of a well to the constructing of a
mathematical instrument. An hour before sunrise we had that leak
mended in ship-shape fashion, and the water began to rise. Then we
stowed our fire-works in the chapel, locked up the place, and went
home to bed.

Before the noon mass was over, we were at the well again; for
there was.a deal to do, yet, and I was determined to spring the miracle
_ before midnight, for business reasons: for whereas a miracle worked
for the Church on a week-day is worth a good deal, it is worth six
times as much if you get it in ona Sunday. In nine hours the water
had risen to its customary level; that is to say, it was within twenty-
three feet of the top. We put ina little iron pump, one of the first
turned out by my works near the capital; we bored into a stone res-
ervoir which stood against the outer wall of the well-chamber and
inserted a section of lead pipe that was long enough to reach to the
door of the chapel and project beyond the threshold, where the gush-
ing water would be visible to the two hundred and fifty acres of people
I was intending should be present on the flat plain in front of this little
holy hillock at the proper time.

We knocked the head out of an empty hogshead and hoisted ‘this
RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 289

hogshead to the flat roof of the chapel, where we clamped it down fast,
poured in gunpowder till it lay loosely an inch deep on the bottom,
then we stood up rockets in the hogshead as thick as they could
loosely stand, all the different breeds of rockets there are; and they
made a portly and imposing sheaf, I can tell you. We grounded the
wire ofa pocket electrical battery in that powder, we placed a whole
magazine of Greek fire on each corner of the roof—blue on one corner,
green on another, red on another, and purple onthe last, and grounded
a wire in each.

About two hundred yards off, in the flat, we built a pen of scant-
lings, about four feet high, and laid planks on it, and so made a plat-
form. We covered it with swell tapestries borrowed for the occasion,
and topped it off with the abbot’s own throne. When you are going
to do a miracle for an ignorant race, you want to get in every detail
that will count; you want to make all the properties impressive to the
public eye; you want to make matters comfortable for your head guest;
then you can turn yourself loose and play your effects for all they are
worth. I know the value of these things, for I know human nature.
You can’t throw too much style into a miracle. It costs trouble, and
work, and sometimes money; but it pays inthe end. Well, we brought
the wires to the ground at the chapel, and then brought them under
the ground to the platform, and hid the batteries there. We put a
rope fence a hundred feet square around the platform to keep off the
common multitude, and that finished the work. My idea was, doors
open at 10.30, performance to begin at 11.25 sharp. I wished I could
charge admission, but of course that wouldn't answer. I instructed my
boys to be in the chapel as early as 10, before anybody was around,
and be ready to man the pumps at the proper time, and make the fur
fly. Then we went home to supper.

The news of the disaster to the well had traveled far, by this time;

and now for two or three days a steady avalanche of people had been
19
290 RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.

pouring into the valley. The lower end of the valley was become one
huge camp; we should have a good house, no question about that.
Criers went the rounds early in the evening and announced the com-
ing attempt, which put every pulse up to fever-heat. They gave
notice that the abbot and his official suite would move in state and
occupy the platform at 10.30, up to which time all the region which
was under my ban must be clear; the bells would then cease from toll-
ing, and this sign should be permission to the multitudes to close in and
take their places.

I was at the platform and all ready to do the honors when the



‘(THE ABBOT’S SOLEMN PROCESSION.”

abbot’s solemn procession hove in sight—which it did not do till it
was nearly to the rope fence, because it was a starless black night and
no torches permitted. With it came Merlin, and took a front seat on
the platform; he was as good as his word, for once. One could not
see the multitudes banked together beyond the ban, but they were
there, just the same. The moment the bells stopped, those banked
masses broke and poured over the line like a vast black wave, and for
as much as a half hour it continued to flow, and then it solidified itself,
and you could have walked upon a pavement of human heads to—well,
miles.
RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 291

We had a solemn stage-wait, now, for about twenty minutes—a
thing I had counted on for effect; it is always good to let your audi-
“ence have a chance to work up its expectancy. At length, out of the
- silence a noble Latin chant—men’s voices—broke and swelled up and
rolled away into the night, a majestic tide of melody. I had put that _
up, too, and it was one of the best effects I ever invented. When it was
finished I stood up on the platform and extended my hands abroad,
for two minutes, with my face uplifted—that always produces a dead
hush—and then slowly pronounced this ghastly word with a kind of
awfulness which caused hundreds to tremble, and many women to faint:

af Gonstuutinopoliturigcherdudelsackspteitenmachersyesellschattt V2

Just as I was moaning out the closing hunks of that word, I touched
off one of my electric connections, and all that murky world of people
stood revealed in a hideous blue glare! It was immense—that effect!
Lots of people shrieked, women curled up and quit in every direction,
foundlings collapsed by platoons. The abbot and the monks crossed
themselves nimbly and their lips fluttered with agitated prayers. Mer-
lin held his grip, but he was astonished clear down to his corns; he
had never seen anything to begin with that, before. Now was the
time to pile in the effects. I lifted my hands and groaned out this
word—as it were in agony—

“ Hikilistendynantittheaterkacstehenssprenguagsattentactsversuch-
Mirgen!”
—and turned on the red fire! You should have heard that Atlantic

of people moan and howl when that crimson hell joined the blue!
After sixty seconds I shouted—

“ Gransvaalteuppentrapentransporttrampelthiertreiber.
traunngsthraenentragoedic!”
—and lit up the green fire! After waiting only forty seconds, this
"4
1
Hy

"



li

i









RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.

v4 / b eo
a i
AR

4 fi e

y

time, I spread my arms abroad
and thundered out the devas-
tating syllables of this word
~ of words—

co & Z
AMekhamusel

NULLA Sse eH

chenmoerdermolven-
nuuttermarmornomentenmarher !”’

—and whirled on the purple glare! There they

were, all going at once, red, blue, green, purple!

—four furious volcanoes pouring vast clouds of
radiant smoke aloft, and spreading a blinding
rainbowed noonday to the furthest confines of that
valley. In the distance one could see that fellow
on the pillar standing rigid against the back-
ground of sky, his see-saw stopped for the first
time in twenty years. I knew the boys were at
the pump, now, and ready. So I said to the
abbot:

“ The time is come, Father. I am about to pro-
nounce the dread name and command the spell to
dissolve. You want to brace up, and take hold of
something.” Then I shouted to the people: ‘ Be-
hold, in another minute the spell will be broken, or
no mortal can break it. Ifit break, all will know it,
for you will see the sacred water gush from

“THAT FELLOW ON THE PIL-

LAR STANDING RIGID.”

the chapel door!”
RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 293

I stood a few moments, to let the hearers have a chance to spread
my announcement to those who couldn't hear, and so convey it to the
furthest ranks, then I made a grand exhibition of extra posturing and
gesturing, and shouted:

RSG



““BGWJJILLIGKKK! !”

“‘Lo, I command the fell spirit that possesses the holy fountain to
now disgorge into the skies all the infernal fires that still remain in
him, and straightway dissolve his spell and flee hence to the pit, there
294 RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN.

to lie bound a thousand years. By his own dread name I command it
—BGWJJILLIGKKK!”

' Then I touched off the hogshead of rockets, and a vast fountain of
dazzling lances of fire vomited itself toward the zenith with a hissing
rush, and burst in mid-sky into a storm of flashing jewels! One mighty
groan of terror started up from the massed people—then suddenly
broke into a wild hosannah of joy—for there, fair and plain in the un-
canny glare, they saw the freed water leaping forth! The old abbot
could not speak a word, for tears and the chokings in his throat; with-
out utterance of any sort, he folded me in his arms and mashed me. It
was more eloquent than speech. And harder to get over, too, ina
country where there were really no doctors that were worth a dam-
aged nickel.

You should have seen those acres of people throw themselves down
in that water and kiss it; kiss it, and pet it, and fondle it, and talk to
it as if it were alive, and welcome it back with the dear names they
gave their darlings, just as if it had been a friend who was long gone
away and lost, and was come home again. Yes, it was pretty to see,
and made me think more of them than I had done before.

I sent Merlin home ona shutter. He had caved in and gone down
like a landslide when I pronounced that fearful name, and had never
come to since. He never had heard that name before,—neither had I
—but to him it was the right one; any jumble would have been the
right one. He admitted, afterward, that that spirits own mother could
not have pronounced that name better than I did. He never could
understand how I survived it, and I didn’t tell him. It is only young
magicians that give away asecret like that. Merlin spent three months
working enchantments to try to find out the deep trick of how to pro-
nounce that name and outlive it. But he didn’t arrive.

When I started to the chapel, the populace uncovered and fell back
reverently to make a wide way for me, as if I had been some kind of a
RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN. 295

superior being—and I was. I was aware of that. I took along a night-
shift of monks, and taught them the mystery of the pump, and set them
to work, for it was plain that a good part of the people out there were
going to sit up with the water all night, consequently it was but right
that they should have all they wanted of it. To those monks that
pump was a good deal of a miracle itself, and they were full of wonder
over it; and of admiration, too, of the exceeding effectiveness of its
performance.

It was a great night, an immense night. There was reputation in
it. I could hardly get to sleep for glorying over it.


Aor



CO aki it SEALE? 3
eats oS if

YS
CHAPTER XXIV.









A RIVAL MAGICIAN,

Y influence in the Valley of Holiness was some-
thing prodigious now. It seemed worth while
to try to turn it to some valuable account. The
thought came to me the next morning, and
was suggested by my seeing one of my knights
who was in the soap line come riding in. Ac-
cording to history, the monks of this place two

centuries before, had been worldly

, i minded enough to want to wash. It

Sar might be that there was a leaven




of this unrighteousness still re-
maining. So I sounded a Brother:

‘““Wouldn’t you like a bath?”

He shuddered at the thought
—the thought of the peril of it to
the well—but he said with
feeling—

“One needs not to ask
that of a poor body who has
not known that blessed re-

. = freshment sith that he was
a boy. Would God I sion wash me! but it may not be, fair sir, tempt
me not; it is forbidden.”

And then he sighed in such a sorrowful way that I was resolved he
299
300 A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

snould have at least one layer of his real estate removed, if it sized up
my whole influence and bankrupted the pile. So I went to the abbot
and asked for a permit for this Brother. He blenched at the idea—I
don’t mean that you could see him blench, for of course you couldn’t
see it without you scraped him, and I didn’t care enough about it to
scrape him, but I knew the blench was there, just the same, and within
a book-cover’s thickness of the surface, too—blenched, and trembled.
He said:

‘Ah, son, ask aught else thou wilt, and it is thine, and freely granted
out of a grateful heart—but this, oh, this! Would you drive away the
blessed water again?”

“No, Father, I will not drive it away. I have mysterious knowl-
edge which teaches me that there was an error that other time when
it was thought the institution of the bath banished the fountain.” A
large interest began to show up in the old man’s face. ‘‘My knowl-
edge informs me that the bath was innocent of that misfortune, which
was caused by quite another sort of sin.”

‘These are brave words—but—but right welcome, if they be true.”

“They are true, indeed. Let me build the bath again, Father. Let
me build it again, and the fountain shall flow forever.”

“You promise this ?—you promise it? Say the word—say you
promise it!”

“I do promise it.”

“Then will I have the first bath myself! Go—get ye to your work.
Tarry not, tarry not, but go.”

T and my boys were at work, straight off. The ruins of the old bath
were there yet, in the basement of the monastery, not a stone missing.
They had been left just so, all these lifetimes, and avoided with a pious
fear, as things accursed. In two days we had it all done and the water
in—a spacious pool of clear pure water that a body could swim in. It
was running water, too. It came in, and went out, through the ancient
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. 301

pipes. The old abbot kept his word and was the first to try it. He
went down black and shaky, leaving the whole black community above
troubled and worried and full of bodings; but he came back white and
joyful, and the game was made! another triumph scored.

It was a good campaign that we made in that Valley of Holiness,
and I was very well satisfied, and ready to move on, now,’but I struck
a disappointment. I caught a heavy cold, and it started up an old
lurking rheumatism of mine. Of course the rheumatism hunted up my
weakest place and located itself there. This was the place where the
abbot put his arms about me and mashed me, what time he was moved
to testify his gratitude to me with an embrace.

When at last I got out, lwas a shadow. But everybody was full of
attentions and kindnesses, and these brought cheer back into my life
and were the right medicine to help a convalescent swiftly up toward
health and strength again; so I gained fast.

Sandy was worn out with nursing, so I made up my mind to turn
out and go a cruise alone, leaving her at the nunnery to rest up. My
idea was to disguise myself as a freeman of peasant degree and wander
through the country a week or two on foot. This would give mea
chance to eat and lodge with the lowliest and poorest class of free citi-
zens on equal terms. There was no other way to inform myself per-
fectly of their every-day life and the operation of the laws upon it. If
I went among them as a gentleman, there would be restraints and con-
ventionalities which would shut me out from their private joys and
troubles, and I should get no further than the outside shell.

One morning I was out ona long walk to get up muscle for my trip
and had climbed the ridge which bordered the northern extremity of
the valley, when I came upon an artificial opening in the face of a low
precipice, and recognized it by its location as a hermitage which had
often been pointed out to me from a distance, as the den of a hermit of
high renown for dirt and austerity. I knew he had lately been offered
302 A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

a situation in the Great Sahara, where lions and sandflies made the
hermit-life peculiarly attractive and difficult, and had gone to Africa
to take possession, so I thought I would look in and see how the at-
mosphere of this den agreed with its reputation.

My surprise was great: the place was newly swept and scoured.



‘SANDY WAS WORN OUT WITH NURSING.”

Then there was another surprise. Back in the gloom of the cavern I
heard the clink of a little bell, and then this exclamation:

“Flello, Central! Ts this you, Camelot ? Behold, thou mayst
glad thy heart an thou hast faith to believe the wonderful when that it



cometh in unexpected guise and maketh itself manifest in impossible
places—here standeth in the flesh his mightiness The Boss, and with
thine own ears shall ye hear him speak! ”
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. 303

Now what a radical reversal of things this was; what a jumbling
together of extravagant incongruities; what a fantastic conjunction of
opposites and irreconcilables—the home of the bogus miracle become
the home of areal one, the den of a medieval hermit turned into a tele-
phone office!

The telephone clerk stepped into the light, and I recognized one of
my young fellows. I said:

‘‘ How long has this office been established here, Ulfius?”

“ But since midnight, fair Sir Boss, an it please you. We saw many
lights in the valley, and so judged it well to make a station, for that
where so many lights be needs must they indicate a town of goodly size.”

“Quite right. It isn’t a town in the customary sense, but it’s a good
stand, anyway. Do you know where you are?”

“Of that I have had no time to make inquiry; for whenas my com-
radeship moved hence upon their labors, leaving me in charge, I got
me to needed rest, purposing to inquire when I waked, and report the
place’s name to Camelot for record.”

‘Well, this is the Valley of Holiness.”

‘It didn’t take; I mean, he didn’t start at the name, as I had sup-
posed he would. He merely said— .

“‘T will so report it.”

“Why, the surrounding regions are filled with the noise of late won-
ders that have happened here! You didn’t hear of them?”

“ Ah, ye will remember we move by night, and avoid speech with
all. We learn naught but that we get by the telephone from Camelot.”

“Why ¢hkey know all about this thing. Haven't they told you any-
thing about the great miracle of the restoration of a holy fountain?”

“Oh, that? Indeed yes. But the name of ¢zs valley doth woundily
differ from the name of ¢#at one; indeed to differ wider were not pos—”

“What was that name, then?”

“The Valley of Hellishness.”
304 A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

“That explains it. Confound a telephone, anyway. It is the very
demon for conveying similarities of sound that are miracles of diver-
gence from similarity of. sense. But no matter, you know the name of
the place now. Call up Camelot.”

He did it, and had Clarence sent for. It was good to hear my boy’s
voice again. It was like being home. After some affectionate inter-
changes, and some account of my late illness, I said:

“What is new?”

“The king and queen and many of the court do start even in this
hour, to go to your Valley to pay pious homage to the waters ye have
restored, and cleanse themselves of sin, and see the place where the
infernal spirit spouted true hell-flames to the clouds—an ye listen
sharply ye may hear me wink and hear me likewise smile a smile,
sith ’twas I that made selection of those flames from out our stock and
sent them by your order.”

‘Does the king know the way to this place?”

“The king ?—no, nor to any other in his realms, mayhap; but the
lads that holp you with your miracle will be his guide and lead the way,
and appoint the places for rests at noons and sleeps at night.”

“This will bring them here—when?”

‘‘ Mid-afternoon, or later, the third day.”

“ Anything else in the way of news?”

“The king hath begun the raising of the standing army ye sug-
gested to him; one regiment is complete and officered.”

‘““The mischief! I wanted a main hand in that, myself. There is
only one body of men in the kingdom that are fitted to officer a regu-
lar army.”

‘““Yes—and now ye will marvel to know there’s not so much as one
West Pointer in that regiment.”

‘What are you talking about? Are you in earnest?”

“Tt is truly as I have said.”
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. 305

“Why, this makes me un- easy. Who were chosen, and


















itive examination?”
the method. I but
of noble family, and

what was the method? Compet-

“Indeed I know naught of
know this—these officers be all
are born—what is it you call it? —chuckleheads.”
“There’s something wrong, Clarence.”
“Comfort yourself, then ; "for two candi-
travel hence
both—and if

are you will

dates for a lieutenancy do
with the king—young nobles
you but wait where you
hear them ques- ye étioned.
“That is news to

I will get one West

the purpose.
Pointer in,
anyway. Mounta man and send him to that school
with a mes- sage; let him kill horses, if
necessary, he must be there before sun-

set to-night [mee

Pn

and say—’”

“There is no need. I have laid a ground
school. Prithee let me con-
with it.”

ed good! In this atmosphere

of telephones and lightning communication with distant regions, I was

wire to the
nect you
It sound-

breathing the breath of life again after long suffocation. I realized,
then, what a creepy, dull, inanimate horror this land had been to me
all these years, and how I had been in such a stifled condition of mind
as to have grown used to it almost beyond the power to notice it.

I gave my order to the superintendent of the Academy personally.
Ialso asked him to bring me some paper and a fountain pen and a box
or so of safety matches. I was getting tired of doing without these con-
veniences. I could have them, now, as I wasn’t going to wear armor
any more at present, and therefore could get at my pockets.

20
306 A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

When I got back to the monastery, I found a thing of interest going
on. The abbot and his monks were assembled in the great hall,
observing with childish wonder and faith the performances of a new
magician, a fresh arrival. His dress was the extreme of the fantastic;
as showy and foolish as the sort of thing an Indian medicine-man wears.
He was mowing, and mumbling, and gesticulating, and drawing mys-
tical figures in the air and on the floor,—the regular thing, you know.
He was a celebrity from Asia—so he said, and that was enough. That
sort of evidence was as good as gold, and passed current everywhere.

How easy and cheap it was to be a great magician on this fellow’s
terms. His specialty was to tell you what any individual on the face
‘of the globe was doing at the moment; and what he had done at any
time in the past, and what he would do at any time in the future. He
asked if any would like to know what the Emperor of the East was
doing now? The sparkling eyes and the delighted rubbing of hands
made eloquent answer—this reverend crowd would like to know what
that monarch was at, just at this moment. The fraud went through
some more mummery, and then made grave announcement:

“The high and mighty Emperor of the East doth at this moment
put money in the palm of a holy begging friar—one, two, three pieces,
and they be all of silver.”

A buzz of admiring exclamations broke out, all around: %

“Tt is marvelous!” ‘ Wonderful!” ‘What study, what labor, to
have acquired a so amazing power as this!”

Would they like to know what the Supreme Lord of Inde was doing?
Yes. He told them what the Supreme Lord of Inde was doing. Then
he told them what the Sultan of Egypt was at; also what the King of
the Remote Seas was about. And soon and soon; and with each new
marvel the astonishment at his accuracy rose higher and higher. They
thought he must surely strike an uncertain place sometime; but no, he
never had to hesitate, he always knew, and always with unerring pre-
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. 307

cision. I saw that if this thing went on I should lose my supremacy,
this fellow would capture my following, I should be left out in the cold.
I must put a cog in his wheel, and do it right away, too. I said:

“Tf I might ask, I should very greatly like to know what a certain
person is doing.”

“Speak, and freely. I will tell you.”

“Tt will be difficult—perhaps impossible.”

‘My art knoweth not that word. The more difficult it is, the more
certainly will I reveal it to you.”

You see, I was working up the interest. It was getting pretty high,
too; you could see that by the craning necks all around, and the half
suspended breathing. So now I climaxed it:

“Tf you make no mistake—if you tell me truly what I want to know
—I will give you two hundred silver pennies.”

“The fortune is mine! I will tell you what you would know.”

«“ Then tell me what I am doing with my right hand.”

“ Ah-h!” There was a general gasp of surprise. It had not occurred
to anybody in the crowd—that simple trick of inquiring about some-
body who wasn’t ten thousand miles away. The magician was hit hard;
it was an emergency that had never happened in his experience before,
and it corked him; he didn’t know how to meet it. He looked stunned,
confused; he couldn’t say a word. ‘‘Come,” I said, “what are you
waiting for? Is it possible you can answer up, right off, and tell what
anybody on the other side of the earth is doing, and yet can’t tell what
a person is doing who:isn’t three yards from you? Persons behind me
know what I am doing with my right hand—they will endorse you if
you tell correctly.” He was still dumb. ‘“ Very well, I'll tell you why
you don’t speak up and tell; it is because you don’t know. Youa
magician! Good friends, this tramp is a mere fraud and liar.”

This distressed the monks and terrified them. They were not used
to hearing these awful beings called names, and they did not know
308 A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

what might be the consequence. There was a dead silence, now;
superstitious bodings were in every mind. The magician began to pull
his wits together, and when he presently smiled an easy, nonchalant
smile, it spread a mighty relief around; for it indicated that his mood
was not destructive. He said:

“Jt hath struck me speechless, the frivolity of this person’s speech.
Let all know, if perchance there be any who know it not, that enchan-
ters of my degree deign not to concern themselves with the doings of
any but Kings, Princes, Emperors, them that be born in the purple and
them only. Had ye asked me what Arthur the great king is doing, it
were another matter, and I had told ye; but the doings of a subject
interest me not.”

‘Qh, I misunderstood you. I thought you said ‘anybody,’ and so
I supposed ‘anybody’ included—well, anybody; that is, everybody.”

“It doth—anybody that is of lofty birth; and the better if he be
royal.”

‘ That, it meseemeth, might well be,” said the abbot, who saw his —
opportunity to smooth things and avert disaster, ‘for it were not likely
that so wonderful a gift as this would be conferred for the revelation of
the concerns of lesser beings than such as be born near to the summits
of greatness. Our Arthur the king—’

“Would you know of him?” broke in the enchanter.

“Most gladly, yea, and gratefully.”

Everybody was full of awe and interest again, right away, the incor-
rigible idiots. They watched the incantations absorbingly, and looked
at me witha “There, now, what can you say to that?” air, when the
announcement came:

“The king is weary with the chase, and lieth in his palace these
two hours sleeping a dreamless sleep.”

“ God’s benison upon him!” said the abbot, and crossed himself; .
‘may that sleep be to the refreshment of his body and his soul.”
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. 309

“And so it might be, if he were sleeping,” I said, ‘‘ but the king is
not sleeping, the king rides.”

Here was trouble again—a conflict of authority. Nobody knew
which of us to believe; I still had some reputation left. The magi-
cian’s scorn was stirred, and he said:

“Lo, I have seen many wonderful soothsayers and prophets and
magicians in my life-days, but none before that could sit idle and see
to the heart of things with never an incantation to help.”

“ Vou have lived in the woods, and lost much by it. I use incanta-
tions myself, as this good brotherhood are aware—but only on occa-
sions of moment.”

When it comes to sarcasaming, I reckon I know how to keep my
end up. That jab made this fellow squirm. The abbot inquired after
the queen and the court, and got this information:

“ They be all on sleep, being overcome by fatigue, like as to the
king.”

TI said:

“ That is merely another lie. Half of them are about their amuse-
ments, the queen and the other half are not sleeping, they ride. Now
perhaps you can spread yourself a little, and tell us where the king
and queen and all that are this moment riding with them are going 2”

‘« They sleep now, as I said; but on the morrow they will ride, for
they go a journey toward the sea.”

«And where will they be the day after to-morrow at vespers?”

“ Far to the north of Camelot, and half their journey will be done.”

“That is another lie, by the space of a hundred and fifty miles.
Their journey will not be merely half done, it will be all done, and
they will be Aere, in this valley.”

That was a noble shot! It set the abbot and the monks in a
whirl of excitement, and it rocked the enchanter to his base. I fol-
lowed the thing right up:
310 "A RIVAL MAGICIAN.

“Tf the king does not arrive, I will have myself ridden on a rail; if
he does I will ride you on a rail instead.”

Next day I went up to the telephone office and found that the king
had passed through two towns that were on the line. I spotted his
progress on the succeeding day in the same way. I kept these mat-
ters to myself. The third day’s reports showed that if he kept up his
gait he would arrive by four in the afternoon. There was still no sign



fi
=

THE FALSE PROPHET GOING TO MEET THE KING.

anywhere of interest in his coming; there seemed to be no preparations
making to receive him in state; a strange thing, truly. Only onething
could explain this: that other magician had been cutting under me,
sure. This was true. I asked a friend of mine, a monk, about it, and
he said, yes, the magician had tried some further enchantments and
found out that the court had concluded to make no journey at all, but
stay at home. Think of that! Observe how much a reputation was
A RIVAL MAGICIAN. : 311

worth in such acountry. These people had seen me do the very show-
iest bit of magic in history, and the only one within their memory that
had a positive value, and yet here they were, ready to take up with an
adventurer who could offer no evidence of his powers but his mere
unproven word.

However, it was not good politics to let the king come without any
fuss and feathers at all, so I went down and drummed up a procession
of pilgrims and smoked out a batch of hermits and started them out at
two o’clock to meet him. And that was the sort of state he arrived in.
The abbot was helpless with rage and humiliation when I brought
him out on a balcony and showed him the head of the state marching
in and never a monk on hand to offer him welcome, and no stir of life
or clang of joy-bell to glad his spirit. He took one look and then flew
to rouse out his forces. The next minute the bells were dinning furi-
ously, and the various buildings were vomiting monks and nuns, who
went swarming in a rush toward the coming procession; and with
them went that magician—and he was on a rail, too, by the abbot’s
order; and his reputation was in the mud, and mine was in the sky
again. Yes, a man can keep his trade-mark current in such a country,
but he can’t sit around and do it; he has got to be on deckand attend-
ing to business, right along.
CHAPTER XXV.

A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.
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whom he wished to bankrupt with the cost
of his keep, part of the administration
moved with him. It was a fashion of the
time. The Commission charged with the

examination of candidates for posts
; in the army “Fe > came with the king
yy to the Valley,

whereas they could
have transacted their
’ business just as well
at home. And al-
though this expedi-
tion was strictly a
holiday excursion for
the king, he kept
some of his business
functions going, just
the same. He touch-
ed for the evil, as
- usual; he held
court in the
gate at sunrise and tried cases, for he was himself Chief Justice of the
King’s Bench. ,

315
316 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

He shone very well in this latter office. He was a wise and humane
judge, and he clearly did his honest best and fairest,—according to his
lights. That isalarge reservation. His lights—I mean his rearing—
often colored his decisions. Whenever there was a dispute between a
noble or gentleman and a person of lower degree, the king’s leanings
and sympathies were for the former class always, whether he suspected
itor not. It was impossible that this should be otherwise. The blunt-
ing effects of slavery upon the slaveholder’s moral perceptions are
known and conceded, the world over; and a privileged class, an aris-
tocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name. This has
a harsh sound, and yet should not be offensive to any—even to the
noble himself—unless the fact itself be an offense: for the statement
simply formulates a fact. The repulsive feature of slavery is the ching,
not its name. One needs but to hear an aristocrat speak of the classes
that are below him to recognize—and in but indifferently modified
measure—the very air and tone of the actual slaveholder; and behind
these are the slaveholder’s spirit, the slaveholder’s blunted feeling.
They are the result of the same cause in both cases: the possessor’s old
and inbred custom of regarding himself as a superior being. The
king’s judgments wrought frequent injustices, but it was merely the
fault of his training, his natural and unalterable sympathies. He was
as unfitted for a judgeship as would be the average mother for the
position of milk-distributor to starving children in famine-time; her
own children would fare a shade better than the rest.

One very curious case came before the king. A young girl, an
orphan, who had a considerable estate, married a fine young fellow
who had nothing. The girl's property was within a seignory held
by the Church. The bishop of the diocese, an arrogant scion of the
great nobility, claimed the girl's estate on the ground that she had
married privately, and thus had cheated the Church out of one of its
rights as lord of the seignory—the one heretofore referred toas le drott
A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. are

du seigneur, The penalty of refusal or avoidance was confiscation.
The girl’s defence was, that the lordship of the seignory was vested in
the bishop, and the particular right here involved was not transferable,
but must be exercised by the lord himself or stand vacated; and that
an older law, of the Church itself, strictly barred the bishop from exer-
cising it. It was avery odd case, indeed.

It reminded me of something I had read in my youth about the
ingenious way in which the aldermen of London raised the money that
built the Mansion House. A person who had not taken the Sacrament
according to the Anglican rite, could not stand as a candidate for
sheriff of London. Thus Dissenters were ineligible; they could not
run if asked, they could not serve if elected. The aldermen, who
without any question were Yankees in disguise, hit upon this neat
device: they passed a by-law imposing a fine of £400 upon any one
who should refuse to be a candidate for sheriff, and a fine of £600 upon
any person who, after being elected sheriff, refused to serve. Then
they went to work and elected a lot of Dissenters, one after another,
and kept it up until they had collected 415,000 in fines; and there
stands the stately Mansion House to this day, to keep the blushing
citizen in mind of a long past and lamented day when a band of
Yankees slipped into London and played games of the sort that has
given their race a unique and shady reputation among all truly good
and holy peoples that be in the earth.

The girl’s case seemed strong to me; the bishop’s case was just as
strong. I did not see how the king was going to get out of this hole.
But he got out. I append his decision:

“Truly I find small difficulty here, the matter being even a child’s
affair for simpleness. An the young bride had conveyed tiotice, as in
duty bound, to her feudal lord and proper master and protector the
bishop, she had suffered no loss, for the said bishop could have gota
dispensation making him, for temporary conveniency, eligible to the
21 8 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

exercise of his said right, and thus would she have kept all she had.
Whereas, failing in her first duty, she hath by that failure failed in all;
for whoso, clinging to a rope, severeth it above his hands, must fall;
it being no defence to claim that the rest of the rope is sound, neither
any deliverance from his peril, as he shall find. Pardy, the woman’s
case is rotten at the source. It is the decree of the Court that she
forfeit to the said lord bishop all her goods, even to the last farthing
that she doth possess, and be thereto mulcted in the costs. Next!”

Here was a tragic end to a beautiful honeymoon not yet three
months old. Poor young creatures! They had lived these three
months lapped to the lips in worldly comforts. These clothes and
trinkets they were wearing were as fine and dainty as the shrewdest
stretch of the sumptuary laws allowed to people of their degree; and
in these pretty clothes, she crying on his shoulder, and he trying to
comfort her with hopeful words set to the music of despair, they
went from the judgment seat out into the world homeless, bedless,
breadless; why, the very beggars by the roadsides were not so poor
as they.

Well, the king was out of the hole; and on terms satisfactory to
the Church and the rest of the aristocracy, no doubt. Men write many
fine and plausible arguments in support of monarchy, but the fact re-
mains that where every man in a State has a vote, brutal laws are im-
possible. Arthur’s people were of course poor material for a republic,
because they had been debased so long by monarchy; and yet even they
would have been intelligent enough to make short work of that law which
the king had just been administering if it had been submitted to their
full and free vote. There is a phrase which has grown so common in
the world’s mouth that it has come to seem to have sense and meaning
—the sense and meaning implied when it is used: that is the phrase
which refers to this or that or the other nation as possibly being ‘ca-
pable of self-government; ” -and the implied sense of it is, that there has


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320 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

been a nation somewhere, sometime or other which wasn’t capable of
it—wasn’t as able to govern itself as some self-appointed specialists
were or would be to govern it. The master minds of all nations, in all
ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nation,
and from the mass of the nation only—not from its privileged classes;
and so, no matter what the nation’s intellectual grade was, whether
high or low, the bulk of its ability was in the long ranks of its name-
less and its poor, and so it never saw the day that it had not the
material in abundance whereby to govern itself. Which is to assert
an always self-proven fact: that even the best governed and most free
and most enlightened monarchy is still behind the best condition at-
tainable by its people; and that the same is true of kindred govern-
ments of lower grades, all the way down to the lowest.

King Arthur had hurried up the army business altogether beyond
my calculations. I had not supposed he would move in the matter
while I was away; and so I had not mapped out a scheme for deter-
mining the merits of officers; I had only remarked that it would be
wise to submit every candidate to a sharp and searching examination;
and privately I meant to put together a list of military qualifications
that nobody could answer to but my West Pointers. That ought to
have been attended to before I left; for the king was so taken with
the idea of a standing army that he couldn't wait but must get about it
at once, and get up as good a scheme of examination as he could in-
vent out of his own head.

I was impatient to see what this was; and to show, too, how much
more admirable was the one which I should display to the Examining
Board. I intimated this, gently, to the king, and it fired his curiosity.
When the Board was assembled, I followed him in, and behind us
came the candidates. One of these candidates was a bright young
West Pointer of mine, and with him were a couple of my West Point
professors,
4 COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. 321

When I saw the Board, I did not know whether to cry or to laugh.
The head of it was the officer known to later centuries as Norroy
King-at-Arms! The two other members were chiefs of bureaux in
his department; and all three were priests, of course; all officials who
had to know how to read and write were priests.

My candidate was called first, out of courtesy to me, and the head
of the Board opened on him with official solemnity:

“Name?” .

“ Mal-ease.”

“ Son of?”

“Webster.”

‘““Webster—Webster. Hm—I~—my memory faileth to recall the
name. Condition? ”

“ Weaver.”

““Weaver!—God keep us!”

The king was staggered; from his summit to his foundations; one
clerk fainted, and the others came near it. The chairman pulled him-
self together, and said indignantly: ,

“Tt is sufficient. Get you hence.”

But I appealed to the king. I begged that my candidate might be
examined. The king was willing, but the Board, who were all well-
born folk, implored the king to spare them the indignity of examin-
ing the weaver’s son. I knew they didn’t know enough to examine
him anyway, so I joined my prayers to theirs and the king turned the
duty over to my professors. I had had a blackboard prepared, and it
was put up now, and the circus began. It was beautiful to hear the
lad lay out the science of war, and wallow in details of battle and
seige, of supply, transportation, mining and countermining, grand
tactics, big strategy and little strategy, signal service, infantry, cavalry,
artillery, and all about seige guns, field guns, gatling guns, rifled guns,
smooth bores, musket practice, revolver practice—and not a solitary

2i
322 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION,

word of it all could these catfish make head or tail of, you understand
—and it was handsome to see him chalk off mathematical nightmares
on the blackboard that would stump the angels themselves, and do it
like nothing, too—all about e¢lipses, and comets, and solstices, and
constellations, and mean time, and sidereal time, and dinner time, and
bedtime, and every other imaginable thing above the clouds or under
them that you could harry or bullyrag an enemy with and make him
wish he hadn’t come—and when the boy made his military salute and
stood aside at last, I was proud enough to hug him, and all those other



‘“NOT A WORD OF IT ALL COULD THESE CAT-FISH MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF.”

people were so dazed they looked partly petrified, partly drunk, and
wholly caught out and snowed under. I judged that the cake was
ours, and by a large. majority.

Education isa great thing. This was the same youth who had come
to West Point so ignorant that when I asked him, “Ifa general officer
should have a horse shot under him on the field of battle, what ought
he to do?” answered up naively and said:

“Get up and brush himself.”
A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.. 323

One of the young nobles was called up, now. I thought I would
question him a little myself. I said:

‘Can your lordship read?”

His face flushed indignantly, and he fired this at me:

‘““Takest me for a clerk? I trow I am not of a blood that—”

‘‘Answer the question !”

He crowded his wrath down and made out to answer “ No.”

“Can you write?”

He wanted to resent this, too, but I said:

‘You will confine yourself to the questions, and make no com-
ments. You are not here to air your blood or your graces, and noth-
ing of the sort will be permitted. Can you write?”

“No.”

“Do you know the multiplication table?”

“T wit not what ye refer to.”

“How much is 9 times 6?”

“It is a mystery that is hidden from me by reason that the emer-
gency requiring the fathoming of it hath not in my life-days occurred,
and so, not having no need to know this thing, I abide barren of the
knowledge.”

“Tf A trade a barrel of onions to B, worth 2 pence the bushel, in
exchange for a sheep worth 4 pence and a dog worth a penny, and C
kill the dog before delivery, because bitten by the same, who mistook
him for D, what sum is still due to A from B, and which party pays for
the dog, C, or D, and who gets the money? if A, is the penny suffi-
cient, or may he claim consequential damages in the form of additional
money to represent the possible profit which might have inured from
the dog, and classifiable as earned increment, that is to say, usufruct?”

“Verily, in the all-wise and unknowable providence of God, whe
moveth in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, have I never heard
the fellow to this question for confusion of the mind and congestion of
324 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

the ducts of thought. Wherefore I beseech you let the dog and the
onions and these people of the strange and godless names work out
their several salvations from their piteous and wonderful difficulties
without help of mine, for indeed their trouble is sufficient as it is, where-
as an I tried to help I should but damage their cause the more and yet
mayhap not live myself to see the desolation wrought.”

“What do you know of the laws of attraction and gravitation?”

“Tf there be such, mayhap his grace the king did promulgate them
whilst that I lay sick about the beginning of the year and thereby failed
to hear his proclamation.”

‘What do you know of the science of optics?”

‘«T know of governors of places, and seneschals of castles, and sher-
iffs of counties, and many like small offices and titles of honor, but him
you call the Science of Optics I have not heard of before; peradventure
it is a new dignity.”

“Yes, in this country.”

Try to conceive of this mollusk gravely applying for an official posi-
tion, of any kind under the sun! Why, he had all! the ear-marks of a
type-writer copyist, if you leave out the disposition to contribute unin-
vited emendations of your grammar and punctuation. It was unaccount-
able that he didn’t attempt a little help of that sort out of his majestic
supply of incapacity for the job. But that didn’t prove that he hadn’t
material in him for the disposition, it only proved that he wasn’t a type-
writer copyist yet. After nagging him a little more, I let the professors
loose on him and they turned him inside out, on the line of scientific
war, and found him empty, of course. He knew somewhat about the
warfare of the time—bushwhacking around for ogres, and bull-fights in
the tournament ring, and such things—but otherwise he was empty and
useless. Then we took the other-young noble in hand, and he was the
first one’s twin, for ignorance and incapacity. I delivered them into the
hands of the chairman of the Board with the comfortable consciousness
A COMPETITIVE EXAMINA TION, 325

that their cake was dough. They were examined in the previous order
of precedence.

‘“Name, so please you?”

“Pertipole, son of Sir Pertipole, Baron of Barley Mash.”

“Grandfather?”

‘Also Sir Pertipole, Baron of Barley Mash.”

“ Great-grandfather? ”

‘The same name and title.”

“‘ Great-great-grandfather? ”

“We had none, worshipful sir, the line failing before it had reached
so far back.”

“It mattereth not. It is a good four generations, and fulfilleth the
requirements of the rule.”

“Fulfills what rule?” I asked.

“The rule requiring four generations of nobility or else the candi-
date is not eligible.”

“A man not eligible for a lieutenancy in the army unless he can
prove four generations of noble descent?”

“Even so; neither lieutenant nor any other officer may be commis-
sioned without that qualification.”

“Oh come, this is an astonishing thing. What good is such a qual-_
ification as that2” . .

‘What good? It is a hardy question, fair sir and Boss, since it
doth go far to impugn the wisdom of even, our holy Mother Church her-
self.”

“ As how?”

“ For that she hath established the self-same rule regarding saints.
By her law none may be canonized until he hath lain dead four gen-
erations.”

“I see, I see—it is the same thing. It is wonderful. In the one
case a man lies dead-alive four generations—mummified in ignorance
326 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

and sloth—and that qualifies him to command live people, and take
their weal and woe into his impotent hands; and in the other case, a
man lies bedded with death and worms four generations, and that qual-
ifes him for office in the celestial camp. Does the king’s grace ap-

prove of this strange law?”

The king said:

“Why, truly I see naught about it that is strange. All places of
honor and of profit do belong, by natural right, to them that be of

EWARDAS S
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DECORATIONS OF SIXTH CENTURY ARISTOCRACY.

noble blood, and so these dignities in the army are their property and
would be so without this or any rule. The rule is but to mark a limit.
Its purpose is to keep out too recent blood, which would bring into
contempt these offices, and men of lofty lineage would turn their backs
and scorn to take them. Iwere to blame an I permitted this calamity.
You can permit it an you are minded so to do, for you have the dele-
gated authority, but that the king should do it were a most strange
madness and not comprehensible to any.”
“T yield. Proceed, sir Chief of the Herald’s College.”
A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. 327

The chairman resumed as follows:

“By what illustrious achievement for the honor of the Throne and
State did the founder of your great line lift himself to the sacred dig-
nity of the British nobility?”

‘He built a brewery.”

“Sire, the Board finds this candidate perfect in all the requirements
and qualifications for military command, and doth hold his case open
for decision after due examination of his competitor.”

The competitor came forward and proved exactly four generations
of nobility himself. So there was a tie in military qualifications that far.

He stood aside, a moment, and Sir Pertipole was questioned. fur-
ther: :
' “Of what condition was the wife of the founder of your line?”

‘She came of the highest landed gentry, yet she was not noble;
she was gracious and pure and charitable, of a blameless life and char-
acter, insomuch that in these regards was she peer of the best lady in
the land.”

“That will do. Stand down.” He called up the competing lord-
ling again, and asked: ‘“ What was the rank and condition of the
great- grandmother who conferred British nobility upon your great
house?”

«She was a king’s leman and did climb to that splendid eminence
by her own unholpen merit from the sewer where she was born.”

‘“ Ah, this indeed is true nobility, this is the right and perfect inter-
mixture. .The lieutenancy is yours, fair lord. Hold it notin contempt;
it is the humble step which will lead to grandeurs more worthy of the
splendor of an origin like to thine.”

I was down in the bottomless pit of humiliation. I had promised
myself an easy and zenith-scouring triumph, and this was the outcome!

Iwas almost ashamed to look my poor disappointed cadet in the
face. I told him to go home and be patient, this wasn’t the end.
328 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

I had a private audience with the king, and made a proposition. J
said it was quite right to officer that regiment with nobilities, and he
couldn’t have done a wiser thing. It would also be a good idea to add
five hundred officers to it; in fact, add as many officers as there were
nobles and relatives of nobles in the country, even if there should
finally be five times as many officers as privates in it; and thus make
it the crack regiment, the envied regiment, the King’s Own regiment,
and entitled to fight on its own hook and in its own way, and go
whither it would and come when it pleased, in timé of war, and be ut-
terly swell and independent. This would make that regiment the
heart’s desire of all the nobility, and they would all be satisfied and
happy. Then we would make up the rest of the standing army out of
commonplace materials, and officer it with nobodies, as was proper—
nobodies selected on a basis of mere efficiency—and we would make
this regiment toe the line, allow it no aristocratic freedom from re-
straint, and force it to do all the work and persistent hammering, to
the end that whenever the King’s Own was tired and wanted to go off
fora change and rummage around amongst ogres and have a good time,
it could go without uneasiness, knowing that matters weére in safe
hands behind it, and business going to be continued at the old stand,
same as usual. The king was charmed with the idea.

When I noticed that, it gave mea valuable notion. I thought I saw
my way out of an old and stubborn difficulty at last. You.see, the
royalties of the Pendragon stock were a long-lived race and very fruit-
ful. Whenever a child was born to any of these—and it was pretty
often—there was wild joy in the nation’s mouth, and piteous sorrow in
the nation’s heart. The joy was questionable, but the grief was honest.
Because the event meant another call for a Royal Grant. Long was the
list of these royalties, and they were a heavy and steadily increasing
burden upon the treasury and a menace to the crown. Yet Arthur could
not believe this latter fact, and he would not listen to any of my vari-
A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. 329

ous projects for substituting something in the place of the royal grants.
If I could have persuaded him to now and then provide a support for
one of these outlying scions from his own pocket, I could have made
a grand to-do over it, and it would have had a good effect with the
nation; but no, he wouldn't hear of such a thing. He had something
like a religious passion for a royal grant; he seemed to look upon it as
a sort of sacred swag, and one could not irritate him in any way so
quickly and so surely as by an attack upon that venerable institution.
If I ventured to cautiously hint that there was not another respectable
family in England that would humble itself to hold out the hat—how-
ever, that is as far as I ever got; he always cut me short, there, and
peremptorily, too.

But I believed I saw my chance at last. I would form this crack
regiment out of officers alone—not a single private. Half of it should
consist of nobles, who should fill all the places up to Major General, -
and serve gratis and pay their own expenses; and they would be glad
to do this when they should learn that the rest of the regiment would
consist exclusively of princes of the blood. These princes of the blood
should range in rank from Lieutenant General up to Field Marshal,
and be gorgeously salaried and equipped and fed by the state. More-
over—and this was the master stroke—it should be decreed that these
princely grandees should be always addressed by a stunningly gaudy
_ and awe-compelling title, (which I would presently invent,) and they
and they only in all England should be so addressed. Finally, all
princes of the blood should have free choice: join that regiment,
get that great title, and renounce the royal grant, or stay out and re-
ceive a grant. Neatest touch of all: unborn but imminent princes
of the blood could be Jorn into the regiment, and start fair, with
good wages and a permanent situation, upon due notice from the
parents. ,

"All the boys would join, I was sure of that; so, all existing grants
330 A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION.

would be relinquished; that the newly born would always join was
equally certain. Within sixty days that quaint and bizarre anomaly,
the Royal Grant, would cease to be a living fact, and take its place

among the curiosities of the past.

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.




= |\\) HEN I told the king I was going out dis-
guised as a petty freeman to scour the
country and familiarize myself with the
jj hhumbler life of the people, he was all
afire with the novelty of the thing ina
was bound to take a chance in the adven-
self—nothing should stop him—he would
drop everything and go along—it was the prettiest idea he
had run across for many a day. He wanted to glide out
the back way and start at once; but I showed him that

minute, and










ture him-

that wouldn’t answer. You see, ‘he was billed for the
king’s-evil—to touch for it, I mean—and it wouldn't be
right to disappoint the house; and it wouldn’t make a de-
lay worth considering, anyway, it was only a one-night
stand. And I thought he ought to tell the queen he was
going away. He clouded up at that, and looked sad. I was
sorry I had spoken, especially when he said mournfully:
“Thou forgettest that Launcelot is here; and where
Launcelot is, she noteth not the going forth of the king, nor
what day he returneth.”
Of course I changed the subject. Yes, Guene-
ver was beautiful, it is true, but take her all around
she was pretty slack. J never meddled in these

matters, they weren’t my affair, but I did hate to
333
334 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

see the way things were going on, and I don’t mind saying that much.
Many’s the time she had asked me, “Sir Boss, hast seen Sir Launcelot
about?” but if ever she went fretting around for the king I didn’t hap-
pen to be around at the time. 7
There was a very good lay-out for the king’s-evil business—very
tidy and creditable. The king sat under a canopy of state, about him
were Clustered a large body of the clergy
-in full canonicals. Conspicuous, both for
location and personal outfit, stood Mari-
nel, a hermit of the quack-doctor spe-
cies, to introduce the sick. All abroad
over the spacious floor, and clear down
to the doors, in a thick jumble, lay or
‘sat the scrofulous, under a strong light.
It was as good asa tableau; in fact it
had all the look of being gotten up
for that, though it wasn’t. There were
eight hundred sick people present.
The work was slow; it lacked the in-
terest of novelty for me, because I
had seen the ceremonies before; the



“WHERE LAUNCELOT IS, sHeNotetH thing soon became tedious, but the

No? THE GOING FORTH OF THE proprieties required me to stick it
cs out. The doctor was there for the
reason that in all such crowds there were many people who only
imagined something was the matter with them, and many who were
consciously sound-but wanted the immortal honor of fleshly contact
with a king, and yet others who pretended to illness in order to get
the piece of coin that went with the touch. Up to this time this coin
had been a wee little gold piece worth about a third of a dollar. When

you consider how much that amount of money would buy, in that age
THE FIRST NEWSPAPER. 335

and country, and how usual it was to be scrofulous, when not dead,
you will understand that the annual king’s-evil appropriation was just
the River and Harbor bill of that government for the grip it took on
the treasury and the chance it afforded for skinning the surplus. So I
had privately concluded to touch the treasury itself for the king’s-evil.
I covered sixth-sevenths of the appropriation into the treasury a week
before starting from Camelot on my adventures, and ordered that the
other seventh be inflated into five-cent nickels and delivered into the
hands of the head clerk of the King’s Evil Department; a nickel to
take the place of each gold coin, you see, and do its work for it. It
might strain the nickel some, but I judged it could stand it. As a rule,
I do not approve of watering stock, but I considered it square enough
in this case, for it was just a gift, anyway. Of course you can water a
gift as much as you want to; and I generally do. The old gold and .
silver coins of the country were of ancient and unknown origin, as a
"rule, but some of them were Roman; they were ill shapen, and seldom
rounder than a moon that is a week past the full; they were hammered,
not minted, and they were so worn with use that the devices upon them
were as illegible as blisters, and looked like them. I judged that a
sharp, bright new nickel, with a first-rate likeness of the king on one
side of it and Guenever on the other, and a blooming pious motto,
would take the tuck out of scrofula as handy as a nobler coin and please
the scrofulous fancy more; and I was right. This batch was the first
it was tried on, and it worked to a charm. The saving in expense was
a notable economy. You will see that by these figures: We touched
a trifle over 700 of the 800 patients; at former rates, this would have
cost the government about $240; at the new rate we pulled through
for about $35, thus saving upward of $200 at one swoop. To appreciate
the full magnitude of this stroke, consider these other figures: the
annual expenses of a national government amount to the equivalent of

a.contribution of three days’ average wages of every individual of the
336 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

population, counting every individual as if he were a man. If you take
a nation of 60,000,000 where average wages are $2 per day, three days’
wages taken from each individual will provide $360,000,000 and pay the
government's expenses. In my day, in my own country, this money
was collected from imposts, and the citizen imagined that the foreign
importer paid it, and it made him comfortable to think so; whereas, in
fact, it was paid by the American people, and was so equally and
exactly distributed among them that the annual cost to the 100-mill-
ionaire and the annual cost to the sucking child of the day laborer was
precisely the same—each paid $6. Nothing could be equaler than that,
Ireckon. Well, Scotland and Ireland were tributary to Arthur, and
the united populations of the British Islands amounted to something
less than 1,000,000. A mechanic’s average wage was 3 cents a day,
when he paid his own keep. By this. rule, the national government’s
expenses were $90,000 a year, or about $250 a day. Thus, by the sub-
stitution of nickels for gold on a king’s-evil day, I not only injured no
one, dissatisfied no one, but pleased all concerned and saved four-fifths
of that day’s national expense into the bargain—a saving which would
have been the equivalent of $800,000 in my day in America. In mak-
ing this substitution I had drawn upon the wisdom of a very remote
source—the wisdom of my boyhood—for the true statesman does not
despise any wisdom, howsoever lowly may be its origin: in my boy-
hood I had always saved my pennies and contributed buttons to the
foreign missionary cause. The buttons would answer the ignorant
Savage as well as the coin, the coin would answer me better than the
buttons; all hands were happy and nobody hurt.

Marinel took the patients as they came. He examined the can-
didate; if he couldn’t qualify he was warned off; if he could he was
passed along to the king. A priest pronounced the words, “ They shall
lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Then the king
stroked the ulcers, while the reading continued; finally, the patient
THE LIRST NEWSPAPER, 7

Go
uo

graduated and got his nickel—the king hanging it around his neck
himself—and was dismissed. Would you think that that would cure?
It certainly did. Any mummery will cure
if the patient’s faith is strong in it. Up by
Astolat there was a chapel where the Vir-
gin had once appeared to a girl who used
to herd geese around there—the girl said _
so herself—and they built the chapel
upon that spot and hung a picture in it
representing the occurrence—a picture
which you would think it dangerous for
a sick person to approach; whereas, on
the contrary, thousands of
the lame and the sick
came and prayed before
it every year and went
away whole and sound; and
even the well could look
upon it and live. Of course





















Re

Sry

when I was told these er
things I did not believe B id
them; but when I A i]



went there and
saw them I had
to succumb. I
saw the cures ef-
fected myself; and



they were real

“HAST SEEN SIR LAUNCELOT ABOUT?”

cures and not

questionable. I saw cripples whom I had seen around Camelot for
years on crutches, arrive and pray before that picture, and put down

22
338 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

their crutches and walk off withouta limp. There were piles of crutches
there which had been left by such people as a testimony.

In other places people operated on a patient's mind, without saying
a word to him, and cured him. In others, experts assembled patients
in a room and prayed over them, and appealed to their faith, and those
patients went away cured. Wherever you find a king who can’t cure
the king’s-evil you can be sure that the most valuable superstition that
supports his throne—the subject’s belief in the divine appointment of
a his sovereign—has passed away. In my
Ne




fj

ceased to touch for the evil, but there

was no occasion for this diffidence: they could

have cured it forty-nine times in fifty.

Well, when the priest had been droning for
three hours, and the good king polish-
ing the evidences, and the sick were
still pressing forward as plenty as
ever, I got to feeling intolerably bored. :
I was sitting by an open window not

far from the canopy of state. For the five

hundredth time a patient stood forward

a ee << to have his repulsivenesses stroked;

A NEWSPAPER AGAIN.” again those words were being dron-
ed out: ‘they shall lay their hands on the sick”—when outside there
rang clear asa clarion a note that enchanted my soul and tumbled
thirteen worthless centuries about my ears: ‘‘ Camelot Weekly Hosan-
nah and Literary Volcano !/—\atest irruption—only two cents—all
about the big miracle in the Valley of Holiness!” One greater than
kings had arrived—the newsboy. But I was the only person in all
that throng who knew the meaning of this mighty birth, and what this
imperial magician was come into the world to do. .
THE FIRST NEWSPAPER. 339

I dropped a nickel out of the window and got my paper; the Adame
newsboy of the world went around the corner to get my change; is.
around the corner yet. It was delicious to see a newspaper again, yet
I was conscious of a secret shock when my eye fell upon the first batch
of display head-lines. I had lived in a clammy atmosphere of rever-
ence, respect, deference, so long, that they sent a quivery little cold
wave through me:

HIGH TIMES {IN THE VALLEY
OF HOLINESS!
THE WATER-ywORKSCORKED | -
BRER MERLIN WORKS HIS AXTS, {BUT GETS
Lrrr !

But t he Boss scores on his first Innings !



The Miraculous Well Uncorked amid
awful outbursts af

INFERNAL FIRE AND SMOKE
ANDTHUNDER! .

THE GUZZARD-RCOST ASTONISHED!



UNPARALLELED REJOIBINGS!



—and soon, andsoon. Yes, it was too loud. Once I could have en-
joyed it and seen nothing out of the way about it, but now its note was
discordant. Itwas good Arkansas journalism, but this was not Arkan-
sas. Moreover, the next to the last line was calculated to give offense
to the hermits, and perhaps lose us their advertising. Indeed, there
340 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

was too lightsome a tone of flippancy all through the paper. It was
plain I had undergone a considerable change without noticing it. I
found myself unpleasantly affected by pert little irreverencies which
would have seemed but proper and airy graces of speech at an earlier
period of my life. There was an abundance of the following breed of
items, and they discomforted me:

Local Smoke aid Cinders.

Sir Launcefo} met up with old King
werivance of Ireland unexpectedly last
weok over on the moor south of Sir
Balmoral le Merveilleuse’s hog dasture.
The widow has deen notified.

Expedition No. 3 will start adout the
first of nextâ„¢mgnthfon a search f8r Sir
Sagramour le Desirous. Itfstén com-
and oftherenowned Knight ofthe Red
Lawns, assissted by Sir Persant of Inde,
who is competegt. intelligent, courte-
ous, and in every sav a brick, and fur-
ter assisted by Sir Palamides the Sara-
cen, who is no huckleberry himself.
This is no pic-nic, these boys mean
businegs,

The readers of the Hosannah will re-
gict 10 learn that the hadndsome and
popular Sir Charolais of Gaul, who dur-
ing his four weeks’ stay at the Bull and
Halibut, thisycity, has won every heart
by his polished manners and elegant
c{nversation, will pull out to-day for
home. Give us another call, Charley!

The bdsiness end of the funeral of
the late Sir alliance the duke’s son of
Cornwall, killed in an encounter with
the Giant of the Knotted Bludgeon last
_ LHE FIRST NEWSPAPER. 341

Luesday on the borders of the Plain of
Enchantment was in the handsaf the
ever affable and ercient ®Mumble,
prince of un3ertakers, than whom there
exists none by whom it were a more
satisfying pleasure to have the last sad
offices pertormed. Give him a trial,

The corgial thanks of the Fosannah
office are due, from editor down to
devil, to the ever courteousand thought-
ful Lord High Stewprof the Palace’s
Thrid Assistant Vg¥t for several sau-
cc Ts of ice crna: a quality calculated
to make the eya’of the recipients hu-
mid with grade; and it done it
When this Sadministration wants to
chalk up a desirable name for early
promotion, the Hosannah would like a
chance to sudgest.

Te Demoiselle frene (ewlap, of
South Astolat, is visiting her uncle, the
popular host of the Cattlemen’s Board-
ing Hoése, Liver Lane, this city.

Young Barker the bellows-mender is °
hoMe again, and looks much improved
by his vacauon round-up among the
out-lying smithies. gee his ad.

Of course it was good enough journalism for a beginning; I knew
that quite well, and yet it was somehow disappointing. The “Court
Circular” pleased me better; indeed its simple and dignified respect-
fulness was a distinct refreshment to me after all those disgraceful
familiarities. But even it could have been improved. Do what one
may, there is no getting an air of variety into a court circular, I acknowl-
edge that. There is a profound monotonousness about its facts that
baffles and defeats one’s sincerest efforts to make them sparkle and
342 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

enthuse. The best way to manage—in fact, the only sensible way—is
to disguise repetitiousness of fact under variety of form: skin your fact
each time and lay on anew cuticle of words. It deceives the eye; you
think it is a new fact; it gives you the idea that the court is carrying
on like everything; this excites you, and you drain the whole column,
with a good appetite, and perhaps never notice that it’s a barrel of soup
made out of a single bean. Clarence’s way was good, it was simple, it
was dignified, it was direct and business-like; all I say is, it was not
the best way:

Court CIRCULAR.
Dn Monday, the ying rode in the park.

« Quesday, “ “
« Wendesday “ * “
* Yhursday s *
“ Friday, * s 4
sé Sad urday “cc “ “
« Sunday, s e 4

However, take the paper by and large, I was vastly pleased with it.
Little crudities of a mechanical sort were observable here and there,
but there were not enough of them to amount to anything, and it was
good enough Arkansas proof-reading, anyhow, and better than was
needed in Arthur’s day and realm. As a rule, the grammar was leaky
and the construction more or less lame; but I did not much mind these
things. They are common defects of my own, and one mustn’t criticise
other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.

I was hungry enough for literature to want to take down the whole
paper at this one meal, but I got only a few bites, and then had to post-
pone, because the monks around me besieged me so with eager ques-
tions: What is this curious thing? What is it for? Is ita handkerchief?
—saddle blanket?—part of a shirt? What is it made of? How thin it
is, and how dainty and frail; and how it rattles. Will it wear, do you
THE FIRST NEWSPAPER, 343

think, and won’t the rain injure it? Is it writing that appears on it, or
is it only ornamentation? They suspected it was writing, because those
among them who knew how to read Latin and had a smattering of
Greek, recognized some of the letters, but they could make nothing
out of the result as a whole. I put my information
















in the simplest form I could:

“It is a public journal; I will explain what that
is, another time. It is not cloth, it is made of paper;
_-~ some time I will explain what

ao

nN pee , 2 3
Ne paper is. The lines on it are

reading mat- ter; and not
hand, but print-
ed; by and by I
will explain
what printing is.
A thousand of
these sheets
have been
made, all
exactly like

this, in every

SOLID COMFORT.

minute detail—they can’t be told apart.” Then they all broke out
with exclamations of surprise and admiration:

“A thousand! Verily a mighty work—a year’s work for many
men.”

‘*No—merely a day’s work for a man and a boy.”

They crossed themselves, and whiffed out a protective prayer or two.
344 THE FIRST NEWSPAPER.

** Ah-h—a miracle, a wonder! Dark work of enchantment.”

I let it go at that. Then I read in a low voice, to as many as could
crowd their shaven heads within hearing distance, part of the account
of the miracle of the restoration of the well, and was accompanied by
astonished and reverent ejaculations all through: ‘*Ah-h-h!” “How
true!” “Amazing, amazing!” ‘These be the very haps as they hap-
pened, in marvelous exactness!” And might they take this strange
thing in their hands, and feel of it and examine it?—they would be
very careful. Yes. So they took it, handling it as cautiously and de-
voutly as if it had been some holy thing come from some supernatural
region; and gently felt of its texture, caressed its pleasant smooth sur-
face with lingering touch, and scanned the mysterious characters with
fascinated eyes. These grouped bent heads, these charmed faces, these
speaking eyes—how beautiful to me! For was not this my darling, and
was not all this mute wonder and interest and homage a most eloquent
tribute and unforced compliment to it? I knew, then, how a mother
feels when women, whether strangers or friends, take her new baby,
and close themselves about it with one eager impulse, and bend their
heads over it in a tranced adoration that makes all the rest of the uni-
verse vanish out of their consciousness and be as if it were not, for that
time. I knew how she feels, and that there is no other satisfied ambi-
tion, whether of king, conqueror or poet, that ever reaches half way to
that serene far summit or yields half so divine a contentment.

During all the rest of the séance my paper traveled from group to
group all up and down and about that huge hall, and my happy eye
was upon it always, and I sat motionless, steeped in satisfaction, drunk
with enjoyment. Yes, this was heaven; I was tasting it once, if I
might never taste it more.



CHAPTER XXVII.







/ THE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL
INCOGNITO.

BOUT bedtime I took the king to my private
quarters to cut his hair and help him get the
hang of the lowly raiment he was to wear. The
high classes wore their hair banged across the

forehead but hanging to the shoulders the rest

of the way around, whereas the lowest ranks of
commoners were banged fore and aft both; the
slaves were bangless, and allowed their hair free
growth. So [ inverted a bowl over his head and cut







away all the locks that hung below it. I also trimmed

PN his whiskers and moustache until they were only
») about a half inch long; and tried to do it inartisti-
cally, and succeeded. It was a villanous disfigure-
ment. When he got his lubberly sandals on, and

his long robe of coarse brown linen cloth, which
nie ) hung straight from his neck to his ankle-bones, he
was no longer the comeliest man in his kingdom,
but one of the unhandsomest and most com-



monplace and unattractive. We were dressed



‘SN and barbered alike, and could pass for small
CRG: o) farmers, or farm bailiffs, or shepherds, or car-
at a ters; yes, or for village artisans, if we chose,
our costume being in effect universal among the poor, because of its

strength and cheapness. I don’t mean that it was really cheap toa
347
348 THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO.

very poor person, but I do mean that it was the cheapest ma-
terial there was for male attire—manufactured material, you under-
stand.

We slipped away an hour before dawn, and by broad sun-up had
made eight or ten miles, and were in the midst of a sparsely settled
country. I had a pretty heavy knapsack; it was laden with provisions
—provisions for the king to taper down on, till he could take to the
coarse fare of the country without damage.

I found a comfortable seat for the king by the roadside, and then
gave him a morsel or two to stay his stomach with. Then I said I
would find some water for him, and strolled away. Part of my project
was to get out of sight and sit down and rest a little myself. It had
always been my custom to stand, when in his presence; even at the
council board, except upon those rare occasions when the sitting was
a very long one, extending over hours; then I had a trifling little back-
less thing which was like a reversed culvert and was as comfortable as
the toothache. I didn’t want to break him in suddenly, but do it by
degrees. We should have to sit together now when in company, or
people would notice; but it would not be good politics for me to be
playing equality with him when there was no nécessity for it.

I found the water, some three hundred yards away, and had been
resting about twenty minutes, when I heard voices. That is all right,
I thought—peasants going to work; nobody else likely to be stirring
this early. But the next moment these comers jingled into sight
around a turn of the road—smartly clad people of quality, with lug-
gage-mules and servants in their train! I was off like a shot, through
the bushes, by the shortest cut. Fora while it did seem that these
people would pass the king before I could get to him; but desperation
_ gives you wings, you know, and I canted my body forward, inflated my
breast, and held my breath and flew. I arrived. And in plenty good
enough time, too.
THE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO. 349

‘Pardon, my king, but it’s no time for ceremony—jump! Jump to
your feet—some quality are coming!”

“Ts that a marvel? Let them come.”

“But my liege! You must not be seen sitting. Rise!—and stand
in humble posture while they pass. You are a peasant, you know.”

“ True—I had forgot it, so lost was J in planning of a huge war
with Gaul’—he was up by this time, but a farm could have got up
quicker, if there was any kind of a boom in real estate—‘‘and
right-so a thought came randoming overthwart this majestic dream
the which—”

“A humbler attitude, my lord the king—and quick! Duck your
head!—more!—still more!—droop it!”

He did his honest best, but lord it was no great things. He looked
as humble as the leaning tower at Pisa. It is the most you could say
of it. Indeed it was such a thundering poor success that it raised won-
dering scowls all along the line, and a gorgeous flunkey at the tail end
of it raised his whip; but I jumped in time and was under it when it
fell; and under cover of the volley of coarse laughter which followed, I
spoke up sharply and warned the king to take no notice. He mas-
tered himself for the moment, but it was a sore tax; he wanted to eat
up the procession. I said:

“Tt would end our adventures at the very start; and we, being with-
out weapons, could do nothing with thatarmed gang. If weare going
to succeed in our emprise, we must not only look the peasant but act
the peasant.” ;

“It is wisdom; none can gainsay it. Let us goon, Sir Boss. I will
take note and learn, and do the best I may.”

He kept his word. He did the best he could, but I’ve seen better.
If you have ever seen an active, heedless, enterprising child going dili-
gently out of one mischief and into another all day long, and an anx-
ious mother at its heels all the while, and just saving it by a hair from
350 THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO.

drowning itself or breaking its neck with each new experiment, you've
seen the king and me.

If I could have foreseen what the thing was going to be like, I
should have said, No, if anybody wants to make his living exhibiting
a king asa peasant, let him take the layout; I can do better with a
menagerie, and last longer. And yet, during the first three days I
never allowed him to enter a hut or other dwelling. If he could pass
muster anywhere, during his early noviciate, it would be in small inns
and on the road; so to these places we confined ourselves. Yes, he
certainly did the best he could, but what of that? He didn’t improve
a bit that I could see.

He was always frightening me, always breaking out with fresh
astonishers, in new and unexpected places. Toward evening on the
second day, what does he do but blandly fetch out a dirk from inside
his robe!

“Great guns, my liege, where did you get that?”

“From a smuggler at the inn, yester eve.” -

“What in the world possessed you to buy it?”

“We have escaped divers dangers by wit—thy wit—but I have
bethought me that it were but prudence if I bore a weapon, too. Thine
might fail thee in some pinch.”

“But people of our condition are not allowed to carry arms. What
would a lord say—yes, or any other person of whatever condition—if
he caught an upstart peasant with a dagger on his person?”

It was a lucky thing for us that nobody came along just then. I
persuaded him to throw the dirk away; and it was as easy as persuad-
ing a child to give up some bright fresh new way of killing itself. We
walked along, silent and thinking. Finally the king said:

“When ye know that I meditate a thing inconvenient, or that hath
a peril in it, why do you not warn me to cease from that project?”

It was a startling question, and a puzzler. I didn’t quite know how
THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO. 351

to take hold of it, or what to say, and so of course I ended by saying
the natural thing:

“ But sire, how can J know what your thoughts are?”
The king stopped dead in his tracks, and stared at me.



‘*WHY DO YE NOT WARN ME TO CEASE?”

“T believed thou wert greater than Merlin; and truly in magic thou
art. But prophecy is greater than magic. Merlin isa prophet.”

I saw I had made a blunder. I must get back my lost ground.
After deep reflection and careful planning, I said:
2B THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO.
D0

“Sire, I have “been misunderstood. I will explain. There are
two kinds of prophecy. One is the gift to foretell things that
are but a little way off, the other is the gift to foretell things that
are whole ages and centuries away. Which is the mightier gift,
do you think?”

“Oh, the last, most surely!”

“True. Does Merlin possess it?”

“Partly, yes. He foretold mysteries about my birth and future
kingship that were twenty years away.” .

“Has he ever gone beyond that?”

“ He would not claim more, I think.”

“It is probably his limit. All prophets have their limit. The limit
of some of the great prophets has been a hundred years.”

“ These are few, I ween.”

“There have been two still greater ones, whose limit was four hun-
dred and six hundred years, and one whose limit compassed even seven

hundred and twenty.”
. “Gramercy, it is marvelous
“But what are these in comparison with me? They are nothing.”
‘What? Canst thou truly look beyond even so vast a stretch of

>

time as—”

“Seven hundred years? My liege, as clear as the vision of an
eagle does my prophetic eye penetrate and lay bare the future of this
world for nearly thirteen centuries and a half!”

My land, you should have seen the king’s eyes spread slowly open,
and lift the earth’s entire atmosphere as much as an inch! That set-
tled Brer Merlin. One never had any occasion to prove his facts, with
these people; all he had to do was to state them. It never occurred
to anybody to doubt the statement.

“Now, then,” I continued, “1 could work both kinds of prophecy—
the long and the short—if I chose to take the trouble to keep in prac-
THE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO. 353

tice; but I seldom exercise any but the long kind, because the other
is beneath my dignity. It is properer to Merlin’s sort—stump-tail
prophets, as we call them in the profession. Of course I whet up now
and then and flirt out a minor prophecy, but not often—hardly
ever, in fact. You will remember that there was great talk, when
you reached the Valley of Holiness, about my having prophecied
your coming and the very hour of your arrival, two or three days
beforehand.”

‘Indeed, yes, I mind it now.”

“Well, I could have done it as much as forty times easier, and
piled on a thousand times more detail into the bargain, if it had been
five hundred years away instead of two or three days.”

‘“‘ How amazing that it should be so!”

“Yes, a genuine expert can always foretell a thing that is five hun-
dred years away easier than he can a thing that’s only five: hundred
seconds off.” .

“ And yet in reason it should clearly be the other way: it should
be five hundred times as easy to foretell the last as the first, for indeed
it is so close by that one uninspired might almost see it. In truth the
law of prophecy doth contradict the likelihoods, most strangely mak-
ing the difficult easy, and the easy difficult.”

It was a wise head. A peasant’s cap was no safe disguise for it;
you could know it for a king’s, under a diving bell, if you could hear it
work its intellect.

I had a new trade, now, and plenty of business in it. The king
was as hungry to find out everything that was going to happen
during the next thirteen centuries as if he were expecting to live
in them. From that time out, I prophecied myself bald-headed try-
ing to supply the demand. I have done some indiscreet things in
my day, but this thing of playing’ myself for a prophet was the

worst. Still, it had-its ameliorations. A prophet doesn’t have to
23
354. LHE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO.

have any brains. They are good to have, of course, for the ordinary
exigencies of life, but they are no use in professional work. It is
the restfulest vocation there is. When the spirit of prophecy comes
upon you, you merely cake your intellect and lay it off in a cool
place for a rest, and unship your jaw and leave it alone; it will work
itself: the result is prophecy.

Every day a knight errant or so came along, and the sight of them
fired the king’s martial spirit every time. He would have forgotten
himself, sure, and said something to them in a style a suspicious shade
or so above his ostensible degree, and so J always got him well out of
the road in time. Then he would stand, and look with all his eyes;
and a proud light would flash from them, and his nostrils would inflate
like a war-horse’s, and I knew he was longing for a brush with them.
But about noon of the third day I had stopped in the road to take a
precaution which had been suggested by the whip-stroke that had fal-
len to my share two days before; a precaution which I had afterward
decided to leave untaken, I was so loath to institute it; but now I had
just had a fresh reminder: while striding heedlessly along, with jaw
spread and intellect at rest, for I was prophecying, I stubbed my toe
and fell sprawling. Iwas so pale I couldn't think, fora moment; then
I got softly and carefully up and unstrapped my knapsack. I had that
dynamite bomb in it, done up in wool, ina box. It was a good thing
to have along; the time would come when I could doa valuable mira-
cle with it, maybe, but it was a nervous thing to have about me, and I
didn’t like to ask the king to carry it. Yet I must either throw it away
or think up some safe way to get along with its society. I got it out
and slipped it into my scrip, and just then, here came a couple of
knights. The king stood, stately as a statue, gazing toward them—
had forgotten himself again, of course—and before I could. get a word
of warning out, it was time for him to skip, and well that he did it, too.
He supposed they would turn aside. Turn aside to avoid trampling
THE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO. 355

peasant dirt under foot? When had he ever turned aside himself—or
ever had the chance to do it, if a peasant saw him or any other noble
knight in time to judiciously save him the trouble? The knights paid
no attention to the king at all; it was his place to look out himself, and
if he hadn’t skipped he would have been placidly ridden down, and
laughed at besides.

The king was in a flaming fury, and launched out his challenge
and epithets with a most royal vigor. The knights were some little
distance by, now. They halted, greatly surprised, and turned in their
saddles and looked back, as if wondering if it might be worth while
to bother with such scum as we. Then they wheeled and started for us.
Not a moment must be lost. I started for chem. I passed them ata
rattling gait, and as I went by I flung out a hair-lifting soul-scorching
thirteen-jointed insult which made the king’s effort poor and cheap by
comparison. I got it out of the nineteenth century where they know
how. They had such headway that they were nearly to the king be-
fore they could check up; then, frantic with rage, they stood up their
horses on their hind hoofs and whirled them around, and the next
moment here they came, breast to breast: I was seventy yards off,
then, and scrambling up a great boulder at the roadside. When they
were within thirty yards of me they let ‘their long lances droop to a
level, depressed their mailed heads, and so, with their horse-hair
plumes streaming straight out behind, most gallant to see, this light-
ning express came tearing forme! When they were within fifteen yards,
I sent that bomb with a sure aim, and it struck the ground just under
the horses’ noses.

Yes, it was a neat thing, very neat and pretty tosee. It resembled
a steamboat explosion on the Mississippi; and during the next fifteen
minutes we stood under a steady drizzle of microscopic fragments of
knights and hardware and horse-flesh. I say we, for the king joined
the audience, of course, as soon as he had got his breath again. There
356 THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO.

was a hole there which would afford steady work for all the people in

that region for some years to come—in trying to explain it, I mean; as
for filling it up, that service would be comparatively prompt, and would

sa

N
a

















ANOTHER MIRACLE, -

fall to the lot of a select few—peasants of that seignory; and they

wouldn't get anything for it, either.
But I explained it to the king myself. I said it was done with a
THE VANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO. 357

dynamite bomb. This information did him no damage, because it left
him as intelligent as he was before. However, it was a noble miracle,
in his eyes, and was another settler for Merlin. I thought it well
enough to explain that this was a miracle of so rare a sort that it
couldn’t be done except when the atmospheric conditions were just
tight. Otherwise he would be encoring it every time we had a good
subject, and that would be inconvenient, because I hadn’t any more
bombs along.


ivil that Goeth, with bude
"ya ed aa esa)
CHAPTER XXVIII.






DRILLING THE KING.

7\N the morning of the fourth day, when it was just
sunrise, and we had been tramping an hour
in the chill dawn, I came toa resolution: the



so, he must be taken in hand and deliberately
and conscientiously drilled, or we couldn’t ever
venture to enter a dwelling; the very cats would know
this masquerader for a humbug and no peasant. So I
called a halt and said:
“Sire, as between clothes and countenance, you are
all right, there is no discrepancy; but as between your
clothes and your bearing, you are all wrong, there is a
most noticeable discrepancy. Your soldierly stride, your
lordly port—these will not do. You stand too straight,
your looks are too high, too confident. The cares of a
kingdom do not stoop the shoulders, they do not droop
the chin, they do not depress the high level of the eye-
glance, they do not put doubt and fear in the heart and
. hang out the signs of them in slouching body and unsure
5 step. It is the sordid cares of the lowly born that do these
things. You must learn the trick; you must imitate the
trade-marks of poverty, misery, oppression, insult, and the other sev-
eral and common inhumanities that sap the manliness out of a man

and make him a loyal and proper and approved subject and a satisfac-
36
362 DRILLING THE KING.

tion to his masters, or the very infants will know you for better than
your disguise, and we shall. go to pieces at the first hut we stop at.
Pray try to walk like this.”

The king took careful note, and then tried an imitation.

“Pretty fair—pretty fair. Chin a little lower, please—there, very ©
good. Eyes too high; pray don’t look at the horizon, look at the
ground, ten steps in front of you. Ah—that is better, that is very
good. Wait, please; you betray too











much vigor, too much decision; you
want more of a shamble. Look at
me, please—this is what I mean.
eee Now you are getting it;
that is the idea—at least, it sort

of approaches it......

Yes, that is pretty
fair. But!

2 ! ‘““VARLET, SERVE TO ME
Pd WHAT CHEER VE HAVE.”
There is a great big some-
“7 oe thing wanting, I don’t quite know what
itis. Please walk thirty yards, so that I
can get a perspective on the thing... .. Now,
then—your head’s right, speed’s right, shoulders right,
eyes right, chin right, gait, carriage, general style right—everything’s
right! And yet the fact remains, the aggregate’s wrong. The account
don't balance. Do it again, please . . . . now I think I begin to see
what it is. Yes, I’ve struck it. You see, the genuine spiritlessness is
wanting; that’s what's the trouble. It’s all amateur—mechanical de-
tails all right, almost to a hair; everything about the delusion perfect,

except that it don’t delude.”
DRILLING THE KING. 363

“What then, must one do, to prevail?”

“Let me think ..... I can’t seem to quite get at it. In fact there
isn’t anything that can right the matter but practice. This is a good
place for it: roots and stony ground to break up your stately gait, a.
region not liable to interruption, only one field and one hut in sight, and
they so far away that nobody could see us from there. It will be well
to move a little off the road and put in the whole day drilling you, sire.”

After the drill had gone on a little while, I said:

“Now, sire, imagine that we are at the door of the hut yonder, and
the family are before us. Proceed, please—accost the head of the house.”



‘* BROTHER!—TO DIRT ‘* BROTHER!—TO DIRT **BROTHER!——-TO DIRT
LIKE THIS?” LIKE THIS?” LIKE THIS?”

The king unconsciously straightened up like a monument, and said,
with frozen austerity:

“Varlet, bring a seat; and serve to me what cheer ye have.”

“Ah, your grace, that is not well done.”

“In what lacketh it?”

“These people do not call each other varlets.”

“Nay, is that true?”

“Yes; only those above them call them so.”

“Then must I try again. I will call him villein.”

““No-no; for he may be a freeman.”
364 DRILLING THE KING.

‘“Ah—so. Then peradventure I should call him goodman.”

“That would answer, your grace, but it would be still better if you
said friend, or brother.”

“ Brother!—to dirt like that?”

‘Ah, but we are pretending to be dirt like that, too.”

“Tt is even true. I will say it. Brother, bring a seat, and thereto
what cheer ye have, withal. Mow ’tis right.”

‘Not quite, not wholly right. You have asked for one, not ws—
for one, not both; food for one, a seat for one.”

The king looked puzzled—he wasn’t a very heavy weight, intellect-
ually. His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had
to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.

“Would you have a seat also—and sit?”

“Tf I did not sit, the man would perceive that we were only pre-
tending to be equals—and playing the deception pretty poorly, too.”

“Tt is well and truly said! How wonderful is truth, come it in
whatsoever unexpected form it may! Yes, he must bring out seats
and food for both, and in serving us present not ewer and napkin with
more show of respect to the one than to the other.”

“And there is even yet a detail that needs correcting. He must
bring nothing outside;—we will go in—in among the dirt, and possibly
other repulsive things,—and take the food with the household, and
after the fashion of the house, and all on equal terms, except the man
be of the serf class; and finally, there will be no ewer and no napkin,
whether he be serf or free. Please walk again, my liege. There—it
is better—it is the best yet; but not perfect. The shoulders have
known no ignobler burden than iron mail, and they will not stoop.”

‘Give me, then, the bag. I will learn the spirit that goeth with
burdens that have not honor. It is the spirit that stoopeth the shoul-
ders, I ween, and not the weight; for armor is heavy, yet it is a proud
burden, and a man standeth straight in it...... Nay, but me no’
DRILLING THE KING. 365

buts, offer me no objections. I will
have the thing. Strap it upon my back.”

He was complete, now, with that
knapsack on, and looked as little like
a king as any manI had ever seen.
But it was an obstinate pair of shoul-
ders; they could not seem to learn the
trick of stooping with any sort of
deceptive naturalness. The drill

went on, I prompting











_and correcting:
‘Now, make be-
lieve you are in debt,

** ARMOR IS HEAVY, YET IT IS A PROUD BURDEN, AND A MAN STANDETH STRAIGHT IN IT.”
366 DRILLING THE KING.

and eaten up by relentless creditors; you are out of work—which is
horse-shoeing, let us say—and can get none; and your wife is sick,
your children are crying because they are hungry—”

And so on, and so on. I drilled him as representing in turn, all
sorts of people out of luck and suffering dire privations and misfortunes.
But lord it was only just words, words—they meant nothing in the
world to him, I might just as well have whistled. Words realize noth-
ing, vivify nothing to you, unless you have suffered in your own person
the thing which the words try to describe. There are wise people who
talk ever so knowingly and complacently about “the working classes,”
and satisfy themselves that a day's hard intellectual work is very much
harder than a day’s hard manual toil, and is righteously entitled to
much bigger pay. Why, they really think that, you know, because
they know all about the one, but haven't tried the other. But I know
all about both; and so far as Iam concerned, there isn’t money enough
in the universe to hire me to swing a pick-axe thirty days, but I will
do the hardest kind of intellectual work for justas near nothing as you
can cipher it down—and I will be satisfied, too.

‘Intellectual ‘“‘work” is misnamed; it is a pleasure, a dissipation,
and is its own highest reward. The poorest paid architect, engineer,
general, author, sculptor, painter, lecturer, advocate, legislator, actor,
preacher, singer, is constructively in heaven when he is at work; and
as for the magician with the fiddle-bow in his hand who sits in the
midst of a great orchestra with the'ebbing and flowing tides of divine
sound washing over him—why, certainly, he is at work, if you wish to
call it that, but lord, it’s a sarcasm just the same. The law of work
does seem utterly unfair—but there it is, and nothing can change it:
the higher the pay in enjoyment. the worker gets out of it, the higher
shall be his pay in cash, also. And it’s also the vety law of those
transparent swindles, transmissible nobility and kingship.
8,

Mon








CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SMALL- — AUT.
















Y we saw no signs of life about it. The field
near by had been denuded of its crop some
time before, and had a skinned look, so ex-
haustively had it been harvested and gleaned.
Fences, sheds, everything had a ruined
look, and were eloquent of poverty.
No animal was around anywhere, no
living thing in sight. The stillness was awful, it was
like the stillness of death. The cabin was a one-
story one, whose thatch was black with age, and
ragged from lack of repair.
The door stood a trifle ajar. We ap-
proached it stealthily—on tip-
toe and at half-breath—for
that is the way one’s feeling
makes him do, at such a
time. The king knocked. We
waited. No answer. Knocked again. No
answer. I pushed the door softly open and
ae Ue Colooked in. I made out some dim forms,
and a woman started up from the
ground and stared at me, as one
does who is wakened from sleep. Presently she found her voice—

“Have mercy!” she pleaded. ‘All is taken, nothing is left.” ..>..
24 i : 369
370 THE SMALL-POX HUT.

‘“‘T have not come to take anything, poor woman.”

“ You are not a priest?”

“No.”

‘Nor come not from the lord of the manor?”

‘No, I am a stranger.”

“Oh, then, for the fear of God, who visits with misery and death
such as be harmless, tarry not here, but fly! This place is under his
curse—and his Church’s.”

“‘Let me come in and help you—you are sick and in trouble.”

I was better used to the dim light, now. I could see her hollow
eyes fixed upon me. I could see how emaciated she was.

‘“T tell you the place is under the Church’s ban. Save yourself—
and go, before some straggler see thee here, and report it.”

‘Give yourself no trouble about me; I don’t care anything for the
Church’s curse. Let me help you.”

“Now all good spirits—if there be any such—bless thee for that
word. Would God I had a sup of water!—but hold, hold, forget I said
it, and fly; for there is that here that even he that feareth not the
Church must fear: this disease whereof we die. Leave us, thou brave,
good stranger, and take with thee such whole and sincere blessing as
them that be accursed can give.”

But before this I had picked up a wooden bowl and was rushing
past the king on my way to the brook. It was ten yards away. When
I got back and entered, the king was within, and was opening the shut-
ter that closed the window-hole, to let in air and light. The place was
full of a foul stench. I put the bowl to the woman’s lips, and as she
gripped it with her eager talons the shutter came open and a strong
light flooded her face. Small-pox!

I sprang to the king, and said in his ear:

‘“Qut of the door on the instant, sire! the woman is dying of that
disease that wasted the skirts of Camelot two years ago.”


THE SMALL-POX HUT. , 371

He did not budge.

“ Of a truth I shall remain—and likewise help.”

I whispered again:

“ King, it must not be. You must go.”

“Ye mean well, and ye speak not unwisely. But it were shame
that a king should know fear, and shame that belted knight should
withhold his hand where be such as need succor. Peace, I will not go.
It is you who must go. The Church’s ban is not upon me, but it for-
biddeth you to be here, and she will deal with you with a heavy hand
an word come to her of your trespass.”

It was a desperate place for him to be in, and might cost him his
life, but it was no use to argue with him. If he considered his knightly
honor at stake here, that was the end of argument; he would stay, and
nothing could prevent it; I was aware of that. And so I dropped the
subject. _The woman spoke:

“Fair sir, of your kindness will ye climb the ladder there, and
bring me news of what ye find? Be not afraid to report, for times can
come when even a mother’s heart is past breaking —being already
broke.”

“Abide,” said the king, “and give the woman to eat. I will go.”
And he put down the knapsack.

I turned to start but the king had already started. He halted, and
looked down upon a man who lay in a dim light, and had not noticed
us, thus far, or spoken.

“Ts it your husband?” the king asked.

Yes.”

“Ts he asleep?”

‘““God be thanked for that one charity, yes—these three hours.
Where shall I pay to the full, my gratitude! for my heart is bursting
with it for that sleep he sleepeth now.”

I said:
372 THE SMALL-POX HUT.

“We will be careful. We will not wake him.”

“Ah, no, that ye will not, for he is dead.”

“ Dead?”

“Yes, what triumph it is to know it! None can harm him, none
insult him more. He is in heaven, now, and happy; of if not there, he
bides in hell and is content; for in that place he will find neither abbot
nor yet bishop. We were boy and girl together; we were man and
wife these five and twenty years, and never separated till this day.
Think how long that is, to love and suffer together. This morning was
he out of his mind, and in his fancy we were boy and girl again and
wandering in the happy fields; and so in that innocent glad converse
wandered he far and farther, still lightly gossiping, and entered into
those other fields we know not of, and was shut away from mortal
sight. And so there was no parting, for in his fancy I went with him;
he knew not but I went with him, my hand in his—my young soft
hand, not this withered claw. Ah, yes, to go, and know it not; to
separate and know it not; how could one go peacefuler than that? It
was his reward for a cruel life patiently borne.”

There was a slight noise from the direction of the dim corner where
the ladder was. It was the king, descending. I could see that he was
bearing something in one arm, and assisting himself with the other.
He came forward into the light; upon his breast lay a slender girl of
fifteen. She was but half conscious; she was dying of small-pox.
Here was heroism at its last and loftiest posssibility, its utmost summit;
this was challenging death in the open field unarmed, with all the odds
against the challenger, no reward set upon the contest, and no admir-
ing world in silks and cloth of gold to gaze and applaud; - and yet the
king’s bearing was as serenely brave as it had always been in those
cheaper contests where knight meets knight in equal fight and clothed
in protecting steel. He was great, now; sublimely great. The rude
statues of his ancestors in his palace should have an addition—I would
THE SMALL-POX HUT, 373

see to that; and it would not bea mailed king killing a giant ora
dragon, like the rest, it would be a king in commoner’s garb bearing
death in his arms that a peasant mother
might look her last upon her child and

“, ne wt . pe Le
be comforted. * SS) | fe tee 7
He laid the girl down by her mother, ~“'~ Ps Frei os
gee
who poured out endearments and caresses 774 “ oct? a.



from an overflowing heart, and one could









detect a flickering faint light of response
in the child’s eyes, but that was all. The
mother hung over her, kissing her, petting
her, and imploring her to speak, but the
lips only moved and no sound came. I
snatched my liquor flask from my knap-
sack, but the woman forbade me, and said:
‘“No—she does not suffer; it is better
so. It might bring her back to life.
None that be so good and kind as



ye are, would do
her that cruel hurt.
For look you—

oh







what is left to live
for? Her brothers
are gone, her fath-
er is gone, her moth-
er goeth, the
Church’s curse is
upon her and none ; iets
may shelter or be- SOME MANHOOD EVEN IN A KING.

friend her even though she lay perishing in the road. She is deso-

late. Ihave not asked you, good heart, if her sister be still on live,
374 _ LHE SMALL-POX HUT.

here overhead; I had no need; ye had gone back, else, and not left
the poor thing forsaken—"

«She lieth at peace,” interrupted the king, in a subdued voice.

*T would not change it. How rich is this day in happiness! Ah, my
Annis, thou shalt join thy sister soon—thou'rt on thy way, and these
be merciful friends, that will not hinder.”

And so she fell to murmuring and cooing over the girl again, and
softly stroking her face and hair, and kissing her and calling her by
endearing names; but.there was scarcely sign of response, now, in the
glazing eyes. I saw tears well from the king’s eyes, and trickle down
his face. The woman noticed them, too, and said:

“Ah, I know that sign: thou’st a wife at home, poor soul, and you
and she have gone hungry to bed, many’s the time, that the little ones
might have your crust; you know what poverty is, and the daily insults
of your betters, and the heavy hand of the Church and the king.”

The king winced under this accidental home-shot, but kept still;
he was learning his part; and he was playing it well, too, for a pretty
dull beginner. I struck up a diversion. I offered the woman food and
liquor, but she refused both. She would allow nothing to come between
her and the release of death. Then I slipped away and brought the
dead child from aloft, and laid it by her. This broke her down again,
and there was another scene that was full of heart-break. By and by I
made another diversion, and beguiled her to sketch her story.

“Ye know it well, yourselves, having suffered it—for truly none of
our condition in Britain escape it. It is the old, weary tale. We fought
and struggled and succeeded; meaning by success, that we lived and
did not die; more than that is not to be claimed. No troubles came
that we could not outlive, till this year brought them; then came they
all at once, as one might say, and overwhelmed us. Years ago the
lord of the manor planted certain fruit trees on our farm; in the best
part of it, too—a grievous wrong and shame—”
THE SMALL-POX HUT. 375

‘But it was his right,” interrupted the king.

“None denieth that, indeed; an the law mean anything, what is
the lord’s is his, and what is mine is his also. Our farm was ours by
lease, therefore ‘twas likewise his, to do with it as he would. Some
little time ago, three of those trees were found hewn down. Our three
‘grown sons ran frightened to report the crime. Well, in his lordship’s
dungeon there they lie, who saith there shall they lie and rot till they
confess. They have naught to confess, being innocent, wherefore there
will they remain until they die, Ye know that right well, I ween.
Think how this left us; a man, a woman and two children, to gather a
crop that was planted by so much greater force, yes, and protect it
night and day from pigeons and prowling animals that be sacred and
must not be hurt by any of our sort. When my lord’s crop was nearly
ready for the harvest, so also was ours; when his bell rang to call us
to his fields to harvest his crops for nothing, he would not allow that I
and my two girls should count for our three












captive sons, but for only two of them;
so, for the lacking one were we daily
fined. All this time our own crop

was perishing through neglect; and
so both the priest and his lordship
fined us because their shares
of it were suffering through
damage. In the end the fines
ate up our crop—and they
took it all; they took it
all and made us harvest
it for them, without pay

or food, and we starv-

ing. Then the worst came
when I, being out of my UNDER THE CURSE OF ROME,
376 THE SMALL-POX HUT.

mind with hunger and loss of my boys, and grief to see my husband and
my little maids in rags and misery and despair, uttered a deep blasphemy
—oh! athousand of them!—against the Church and the Church’s ways.
It was ten days ago. I had fallen sick with this disease, and it was to
the priest I said the words, for he was come to chide me for lack of due
humility under the chastening hand of God. He carried my trespass
to his betters; I was stubborn; wherefore, presently upon my head
and upon all heads that were dear to me, fell the curse of Rome.
“ Since that day, we are avoided, shunned with horror. None has

come near this hut to know whether we live or not. The rest of us
‘were taken down. Then I roused me and got up, as wife and mother
will.. It was little they could have é@aten in any case; it was less than
little they had to eat. But there was water, and I gave them that.
How they craved it! and how they blessed it! But the end came yester-
day; my strength broke down. Yesterday was the last time I ever saw
my husband and this youngest child alive. I have lain here all these
hours—these ages, ye may say—listening, listening, for any sound up
there that—”

_ She gave a sharp quick glance at her eldest daughter, then cried
out, “Oh, my darling!” and feebly gathered the stiffening form to her
sheltering arms. She had recognized the death rattle.


“ha
/ ‘ha

uy
Vive,

ts
Ny

on
Alf uy
i Sa,
Manncnagy
Tey
‘ May ent


CHAPTER XXX.





THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

them with such rags as we could find,
and started away, fastening the door be- .
A hind us. Their home must be these
ud | people’s grave, for they could not have
yy Christian burial, or be admitted to con-

ir


















secrated ground. They were as dogs,
wild beasts, lepers, and no soul that
valued its hope of eternal life would
throw it away by meddling in any
sort with these rebuked and smitten
outcasts.

We had not moved four steps
when I caught a sound as of foot-
steps upon gravel. My heart

flew to my throat. We must

not be seen coming from that
house. I plucked at the king’s
robe and we drew back and took
shelter behind the corner
of the cabin.
“Now we are safe,” I
said, “but it was a
close call—so to speak.
380 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE,

‘If the night had been lighter he might have seen us, no doubt, he
seemed to be so near.”

‘“‘Mayhap it is but a beast and not a man at all.”

“True. But man or beast, it will be wise to stay here a minute
and let it get by and out of the way.”

“Hark! It cometh hither.”

True again. The step was coming toward us—straight toward the
hut. It must be a beast, then, and we might as well have saved our
trepidation. I was going to step out, but the king laid his hand upon
my arm. There was a moment of silence, then we heard a soft knock
on the cabin door. It made me shiver. Presently the knock was re-
peated, and then we heard these words in a guarded voice:

‘Mother! Father! Open—we have got free, and we bring news to
pale your cheeks but glad your hearts; and we may not tarry, but must
fly! And—but they answer not. Mother! father! ——”

I drew the king toward the other end of the hut and whispered:



“* Come—now we can get to the road.”

The king hesitated, was going to demur; but just then we heard
the door give way, and knew that those desolate men were in the pres-
ence of their dead. .

““Come, my liege! in a moment they will strike a light, and then
will follow that which it would break your heart to hear.”

He did not hesitate this time. The moment we were in the road, I
ran; and after a moment he threw dignity aside and followed. I did
not want to think of what was happening in the hut—I couldn’t bear
- it; I wanted to drive it out of my mind; so I struck into the first sub-
ject that lay under that one in my mind: :

‘‘T have had the disease those people died of, and so have nothing
to fear; but if you have not had it also—”

He broke in upon me to say he was in trouble, and it was his con-
science that was troubling him:
THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE. 381

‘‘ These young men have got free, they say—but how? It is not
likely that their lord hath set them free.” .

“Oh, no, I make no doubt they escaped.”

“That is my trouble; I have a fear that this is so, and your suspi-
cion doth confirm it, you having the same fear.”

“JT should not call it by that name though. I do suspect that they
escaped, but if they did, I am not sorry, certainly.”

“Tam not sorry, I ¢#¢”k—but—”

“ What is it? What is there for one to be troubled about?”

“ Tf they did escape, then are we bound in duty to lay hands upon
them and deliver them again to their lord; for it is not seemly that
one of his quality should suffer a so insolent and high-handed outrage
from persons of their base degree.”

There it was, again. He could see only one side of it. He was
born so, educated so, his veins were full of ancestral blood that was
rotten with this sort of unconscious brutality, brought down by inherit-
ance from a long procession of hearts that had each done its share
toward poisoning the stream. To imprison these men without proof,
and starve their kindred, was no harm, for they were merely peas-
ants and subject to the will and pleasure of their lord, no matter
what fearful form it might take; but for these men to break out of
unjust captivity was insult and outrage, and a thing not to be coun-
tenanced by any conscientious person who knew his duty to his
sacred caste.

I worked more than half an hour before I got him to change the
subject—and even then an outside matter did it for me. This was a
something which caught our eyes as we struck the summit of a small
hill—a red glow, a good way off.

“ That’s a fire,” said I.

Fires interested me considerably, because I was getting a good
deal of. an insurance business started, and was also training some
382 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE,

horses and building some steam fire engines, with an eye to a paid fire
department by and by. The priests opposed both my fire and life-
insurance, on the ground that it was an insolent attempt to hinder the
decrees of God; and if you pointed out that they did not hinder the
decrees in the least, but only modified the hard consequences of them
if you took out policies and had luck, they retorted that that was

a ay

s/ sha



e oe weet x A ge

THE FIRE.

gambling against the decrees of God, and was just as bad. So they
managed to damage those industries more or less, but I got even on
my Accident business. As arule, a knight is a lummux, and some-
times even a labrick, and hence open to pretty poor arguments when
they come glibly from a superstition-monger, but even /e could see
the practical side of a thing once in a while; and so of late you couldn’t
THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE. 383

clean up a tournament and pile the result without finding one of my
accident-tickets in every helmet.

We stood there awhile, in the thick darkness and stillness, looking
toward the red blur in the distance, and trying to make out the mean-
ing of a far away murmur that rose and fell fitfully on the night.
Sometimes it swelled up and for a moment seemed less remote; but
when we were hopefully expecting it to betray its cause and nature, it
dulled and sank again, carrying its mystery with it. We started down
the hill in its direction, and the winding road plunged us at once into
almost solid darkness—darkness that was packed and crammed in be-
tween two tall forest walls. We groped along down for half a mile,
perhaps, that murmur growing more and more distinct all the time,
the coming storm threatening more and more, with now and then a
little shiver of wind, a faint show of lightning, and dull grumblings of
distant thunder. Iwas in the lead. I ran against something—a soft
heavy something which gave, slightly, to the impulse of my weight; at
the same moment the lightning glared out, and within a foot of my
face was the writhing face of a man who was hanging from the limb of
atree! That is, it seemed to be writhing, but it was not. It was a
grewsome sight. Straightway there was an ear-splitting explosion of
thunder, and the bottom of heaven fell out; the rain poured down in
a deluge. No matter, we must try to cut this man down, on the chance
that there might be life in him yet, mustn’t we? The lightning came
quick and sharp, now, and the place was alternately noonday and mid-
night. One moment the man would be hanging before me in an in-
tense light, and the next he was blotted out again in the darkness. I
told the king we must cut him down. The king at once objected.

“Tf he hanged himself, he was willing to lose his property to his
lord; so let him be. If others hanged him, belike they had the right
—let him hang.”

* But—”
: 384 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

“But me no buts, but even leave himas heis. And for yet another
reason. When the lightning cometh again—there, look abroad.”

Two others hanging, within fifty yards of us!

“Tt is not weather meet for doing useless courtesies unto dead folk.
They are past thanking you. Come—it is unprofitable to tarry here.”

There was reason in what he said, so we moved on. Within the
next mile we counted six more hanging forms by the blaze of the
lightning, and altogether it was a grisly excursion. That murmur was
a murmur no longer, it was a roar; aroar of men’s voices. A man
‘came flying by, now, dimly through the darkness, and other men chas-
inghim. They disappeared. Presently another case of the kind occur-
red, and then another and another. Then a sudden turn of the road
brought us in sight of that fire—it was a large
manor house, and little or nothing was left of it—
and everywhere men were flying and other men
raging after them in pursuit.

I warned the king that this was not a safe place



for strangers. We would better get away from the
light, until matters should improve. We stepped
back a little,and hid in the edge of the wood. From this hiding place
we saw both men and women hunted by the mob. The fearful work
went on until nearly dawn. Then, the fire being out and the storm
spent, the voices and flying footsteps presently ceased, and darkness
end stillness reigned again.

We ventured out, and hurried cautiously away; and although we
were worn out and sleepy, we kept on until we had put this place some
miles behind us. Then we asked hospitality at the hut of a charcoal
burner, and got what was to be had. A woman was up and about, but
the man was still asleep, on a straw shake-down, on the clay floor.
The woman seemed uneasy until I explained that we were travelers
and had lost our way and been wandering in the woods all night. She
THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE, 385

became talkative, then, and asked if we had heard of the terrible go-
ings-on at the manor house of Abblasoure. Yes, we had heard of them,
but what we wanted now, was rest and sleep. The king broke in:

«Sell us the house and take yourselves away, for we be perilous
company, being but late come from people that died of the Spotted
Death.” -

It was good of him, but unnecessary. One of the commonest dec-
orations of the nation was the waffle-iron face. I had early noticed
that the woman and her husband were both so decorated. She made
us entirely welcome, and had no fears; and plainly she was immensely
impressed by the king’s proposition; for of course it was a good deal
of an event in her life to run across a person of the king’s humble ap-
pearance who was ready to buy a man’s house for the sake of a night's
lodging. It gave her a large respect for us, and she strained the lean
possibilities of her hovel to their utmost to make us comfortable.

We slept till far into the afternoon, and then got up hungry enough
to make cotter fare quite palatable to the king, the more particularly
as it was scant in quantity. And also in variety; it consisted solely
of onions, salt, and the national black bread—made out of horse-feed.
The woman told us about the affair of the evening before. At ten or
eleven at night, when everybody was in bed, the manor house burst
into flames. The countryside swarmed to the rescue, and the family
were saved, with one exception, the master. He did not appear.
Everybody was frantic over this loss, and two brave yeomen sacrificed
their lives in ransacking the burning house seeking that valuable per-
sonage. But after a while he was found—what was left of him—which
was his corpse. It was in a copse three hundred yards away, bound,
gagged, stabbed in a dozen places.

Who had done this? Suspicion fell upon a humble family in the
neighborhood who had been lately treated with peculiar harshness by

the baron; and from these people the suspicion easily extended itself
25
386 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

to their relatives and familiars. A suspicion was enough; my lord’s
liveried retainers proclaimed an instant crusade against these people,
_and were promptly joined by the community in general. The woman’s
husband had been active with the mob, and had not returned home
until nearly dawn. He was gone, now, to find out what the general
result had been. While we were still talking, he came back from his
quest. His report was revolting enough. Eighteen persons hanged
or butchered, and two yeomen and thirteen prisoners lost in the fire.

“ And how many prisoners were there altogether, in the vaults?”

“ Thirteen.”

““Then every one of them was lost.”

“Ves, all.” ;

‘But the people arrived in time to save the family; how is it they
could save none of the prisoners 2”

The man looked puzzled, and said:

“Would one unlock the vaults at such a time? Marry, some would
have escaped.”

“Then you mean that nobody dd unlock them ?”

‘““None went near them, either to lock or unlock. It standeth to
reason that the bolts were fast; wherefore it was only needful to estab-
lish a watch, so that if any broke the bonds he might not escape, but
be taken. None were taken.”

‘Natheless, three did escape,” said the king, ‘and ye will do well
to publish it and set justice upon their track, for these murthered the
baron and fired the house.”

I was just expecting he would come out with that. For a moment
the man and his wife showed an eager interest in this news and an im-
patience to go out and spread it; then a sudden something else
betrayed itself in their faces, and they began to ask questions. I an-
swered the questions myself, and narrowly watched the effects pro-
duced. I was soon satisfied that the knowledge of who these three
THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE. 387

prisoners were, had somehow changed the atmosphere; that our hosts’
continued eagerness to go and spread the news was now only pre-
tended and not real. The king did not notice the change, and I was
glad of that. I worked the conversation around toward other details
of the night’s proceedings, and noted that these people were relieved
to have it take that direction.

The painful thing observable about all this business was, the alacrity
with which this oppressed community had turned their cruel hands
against their own class in the interest of the common oppressor. This
man and woman seemed to feel that in a quarrel between a person of
their own class and his lord, it was the natural and proper and rightful
thing for that poor devil’s whole caste to side with the master and fight
his battle for him, without ever stopping to inquire into the rights or
wrongs of the matter. This man had been out helping to hang his
neighbors, and had done his work with zeal, and yet was aware that
there was nothing against them but a mere suspicion, with nothing
back of it describable as evidence, still neither he nor his wife seemed
to see anything horrible about it.

This was depressing—to a man with the dream of a republic in his
head. It reminded me of a time thirteen centuries away, when the
“poor whites” of our South who were always despised and frequently
insulted, by the slave-lords around them, and who owed their base
condition simply to the presence of slavery in their midst, were yet
pusillanimously ready to side with slave-lords in all political moves for
the upholding and perpetuating of slavery, and did also finally shoulder
their muskets and pour out their lives in an effort to prevent the de-
struction of that very institution which degraded them. And there
was only one redeeming feature connected with that pitiful piece of
history; and that was, that secretly the “poor white” did detest the
slave-lord, and did feel his own shame. That feeling was not brought
to the surface, but the fact that it was there and could have been
388 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

brought out, under favoring circumstances, was something—in fact it
was enough; for it showed that a man is at bottom a man, after all,
even if it doesn’t show on the outside.

Well, as it turned out, this charcoal burner was just the twin of the
Southern “ poor white” of the far future. The king presently showed
impatience, and said:

‘An ye prattle here all the day, justice will miscarry. Think ye
the criminals will abide in their father’s house? They are fleeing, they
are not waiting. You should look to it that a party of horse be set
upon their track.”

The woman paled slightly, but quite perceptibly, and the man
looked flustered and irresolute. I said:

“Come, friend, I will walk a little way with you, and explain which
direction I think they would try to take. If they were merely resisters
of the gabelle or some kindred absurdity I would try to protect them
from capture; but when men murder a person of high degree and like- |
wise burn his house, that is another matter.”

The last remark was for the king—to quiet him. On the road the
man pulled his resolution together, and began the march with a steady
gait, but there was no eagerness in it. By and by I said:

‘What relation were these men to you—cousins?”

He turned as white as his layer of charcoal would let him, and
stopped, trembling.

“ Ah, my God, how knew you that?”

“T didn’t know it; it was a chance guess.”

‘Poor lads, they are lost. And good lads they were, too.”

‘Were you actually going yonder to tell on them?”

He didn’t quite know how to take that; but he said, hesitatingly:

“ Ve-s.”

“Then I think you are a damned scoundrel!”

It made him as glad as if I had called him an angel.
389

THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

“Say the good words again, brother! for surely ye mean that ye

”

would not betray me an I failed of my duty.

ENSE

S

‘<4 TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUITS.”

ee



There is no duty in the matter, except the duty to keep

“Duty?
still and iet those men get away,

They’ve done a righteous deed.”
390 THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE.

He looked pleased; pleased, and touched with apprehension at the
same time. He looked up and down the road to see that no one was
coming, and then said in a cautious voice:

‘From what land come you, brother, that you speak such perilous
words, and seem not to be afraid?”

“They are not perilous words when spoken to one of my own caste,
I take it. You would not tell anybody I said them?”

“J? IT would be drawn asunder by wild horses first.”

‘Well, then, let me say my say. I have no fears of your repeating
it. I think devil’s work has been done last night upon those innocent
poor people. That oid baron got only what he deserved. If I had my
way, all his kind should have the same luck.”

Fear and depression vanished from the man’s manner, and grate-
fulness and a brave animation took their place:

‘Even though you be a spy, and your words a trap for my undo-
ing, yet are they such refreshment that to hear them again and others
like to them, I would go to the gallows happy,as having had one good
. feast at least in a starved life. And I will say my say, now, and ye
may report it if ye be so minded. I helped to hang my neighbors for
that it were peril to my own life to.show lack of zeal in the master’s
cause; the others helped for none other reason. All rejoice to-day that
he is dead, but all do go about seemingly sorrowing, and shedding the
hypocrite’s tear, for in that lies safety. I have said the words, I have
said the words! the only ones that have ever tasted good in my mouth,
and the reward of that taste is sufficient. Lead on, an ye will, be it
even to the scaffold, for I am ready.”

There it was, you see. A man zs aman, at bottom. Whole ages
of abuse and oppression cannot crush the manhood clear out of him.
Whoever thinks it a mistake, is himself mistaken. Yes, there is plenty
good enough material for a republic in the most degraded people that
ever existed—even the Russians; plenty of manhood in them—even in
THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE. 391

the Germans—if one could but force it out of its timid and suspicious
privacy, to overthrow and trample in the mud any throne that ever
was set up and any nobility that ever supported it. We should see
certain things yet, let us hope and believe. First, a modified mon-
archy, till Arthur’s days were done, then the destruction of the throne,
nobility abolished, every member of it bound out to some useful trade,
universal suffrage instituted, and the whole government placed in the
hands of the men and women of the nation there to remain. Yes,
there was no occasion to give up my dream yet a while.

CHAPTER XXXI.

MARCO.

fashion, now, and talked. We must dis-
pose of about the amount of time it ought
to take to go to the little hamlet of Abbla-
soure and put justice on the track of those
murderers and get back home again. And
meantime I had an auxiliary interest which




had never paled yet, never lost its novelty for me,
since J had been in Arthur’s kingdom: the behav-
ior—born of nice and exact subdivisions of caste
—of chance passers-by toward each other. Tow-
ard the shaven monk who trudged along with his
cowl tilted back and the sweat washing down his
fat jowls, the coal burner was deeply reverent;
to the gentleman he was abject; with the small
farmer and the free mechanic he was cordial
and gossipy; and when a slave passed by with
a countenance respectfully lowered, this chap’s nose
was in the air—he couldn’t even see him. Well,
there are times when one would like to hang the
_ whole human race and finish the farce.
Presently we struck an incident. A small mob
of half naked boys and girls came tearing out of the woods, scared

and shrieking. The eldest among them were not more than twelve
398
396 MARCO.

or fourteen years old. They implored help, but they were so beside
themselves that we couldn’t make out what the matter was. How-
ever, we plunged into the wood, they skurrying in the lead, and the
trouble was quickly revealed: they had hanged a little fellow with a
bark rope, and he was kicking and struggling, in the. process of chok-
ing to death. We rescued him, and fetched him around. It was some
more human nature; the admiring little folk imitating their elders;
they were playing mob, and had achieved a success which promised
to be a good deal more serious than they had bargained for.

It was not a dull excursion for me. I managed to put in the time
very well. I made various acquaintanceships, and in my quality of
stranger was able to ask as many questions as I wanted to. A thing
which naturally interested me, asa statesman, was the matter of wages.
I picked up what I could under that head during the afternoon. A
man who hasn’t had much experience, and doesn’t think, is apt to
measure a nation’s prosperity or lack of prosperity by the mere size of
the prevailing wages: if the wages be high, the nation is prosperous;
if low, itisn't. Whichis anerror. It isn’t what sum you get, it’s how
much you can buy with it that’s the important thing; and it’s that that
tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name. I
could remember how it was in the time of our great civil war in the
nineteenth century. In the North acarpenter got three dollars a day,
gold valuation; in the South he got fifty—payable in Confederate shin-
plasters worth a dollar a bushel. In the North a suit of over-alls cost
three dollars—a day’s wages; in the South it cost seventy-five—which
was two days’ wages. Other things were in proportion. Consequently,
wages were twice as high in the North as they were in the South, be-
cause the one wage had that much more purchasing power that the
other had.

Yes, I made various acquaintances in the hamlet, and a thing that
gratified me a good deal was to find our new coins in circulation—lots


MARCO. 397

of milrays, lots of mills, lots of cents, a good many nickels, and some
silver; all this among the artisans and commonalty generally; yes, and
even some gold—but that was at the bank, that is to say, the gold-
smith’s. I dropped in there while Marco the son of Marco was hag-
gling with a shopkeeper over a quarter of a pound of salt, and asked



‘““TOWARD T'HE MONK THE COAL BURNER WAS DEEPLY REVERENT.”

for change for a twenty dollar gold piece. They furnished it—that is,
after they had chewed the piece, and rung it on the counter, and tried
acid on it, and asked me where I got it, and who I was, and where I
was from, and where I was going to, and when I expected to get there,
and perhaps a couple of hundred more questions; and when they got
aground, I went right on and furnished them a lot of information vol-
398 MARCO.

untarily: told them I owned a dog, and his name was Watch, and my
first wife was a Free Will Baptist, and her grandfather was a Prohi-
bitionist, and I used to know a man who had two thumbs on each hand
and a wart on the inside of his upper lip, and died in the hope of a
glorious resurrection, and so-on, and so-on, and so-on, till even that
hungry village questioner began to look satisfied, and also a shade put
out; but he had to respect a man of my financial strength, and so he
didn’t give me any lip, but I noticed he took it out of his underlings,
which was a perfectly natural thing to do. Yes, they changed my
twenty, but I judged it strained the bank a little, which was a thing to
be expected, for it was the same as walking into a paltry village store
in the nineteenth century and requiring the boss of it to change a two-
thousand dollar bill for you all of a sudden. He could do it, maybe;

“but at the same time he would wonder how a small farmer happened
to be carrying so much money around in his pocket; which was prob-
ably this goldsmith’s thought, too; for he followed me to the door and
stood there gazing after me with reverent admiration.

Our new money was not only handsomely circulating, but its lan-
guage was already glibly in use; that is to say, people had dropped
the names of the former moneys, and spoke of things as being worth
so many dollars or cents or mills or milrays, now. It was very grati-
fying. We were progressing, that was sure.

I got to know several master mechanics, but about the most inter-
esting fellow among them was the blacksmith, Dowley. He was a live
man and a brisk talker, and had two journeymen and three apprentices,
and was doing a raging business. In fact, he was getting rich, hand
over fist, and was vastly respected. Marco was very proud of having
such a man fora friend. He had taken me there ostensibly to let me
see the big establishment which bought so much of his charcoal, but
really to let me see what easy and almost familiar terms he was on with
this great man. Dowley and I fraternized at once; I had had just such
MARCO. 399

picked men, splendid fellows, under me in the Colt Arms Factory. I
was bound to see more of him, so I invited him to come out to Marco’s,
Sunday, and dine with us. Marco was appalled, and held his breath;
and when the grandee accepted, he was so grateful that he almost for-
got to be astonished at the condescension. -

“Marco's joy was exhuberant—but only for a moment; then he grew
thoughtful, then sad; and when he heard me tell Dowley I should have
Dickon the boss mason, and Smug the boss wheelwright out there, too,
the coal-dust on his face turned to chalk, and he lost his grip. But I
knew what was the matter with him; it was the expense. He saw ruin
before him; he judged that his financial days were numbered. How-
ever, on our way to invite the others, I said:

“You must allow me to have these friends come; and you must
also allow me to pay the costs.”

His face cleared, and he said with spirit:

“ But not all of it, not all of it. Ye cannot well bear a burden like
to this alone.”

I stopped him, and said:

“Now let’s understand each other on the spot, old friend. I am
only a farm bailiff, it is true; but Iam not poor, nevertheless. I have
been very fortunate this year—you would be astonished to know how
I have thriven. I tell you the honest truth when I say I could squan-
der away as many as a dozen feasts like this and never care that for
the expense!” and-I snapped my fingers. I could see myself rise a
foot at a time in Marco’s estimation, and when I fetched out those last
words I was become a very tower, for style and altitude. ‘So you see,
you must let me have my way. You can’t contribute a cent to this
orgy, that’s settled.” ;

“It’s grand and good of you—”

‘No, it isn’t. You've opened your house to Jones and me in the
most generous way; Jones was remarking upon it to-day, just before
400 MARCO.

you came back from the village; for although he wouldn’t be likely to
say such a thing to you,— because Jones isn’t a talker, and is diffident
in society—he has a good heart and a grateful, and knows how to ap-
preciate it when he is well treated; yes, you and your wife have been
very hospitable toward us-—”

“ Ah, brother, ’tis nothing—sach hospitality! ”

“But it zs something; the best a man has, freely given, is always
something, and is as good asa prince can do,




and ranks right along beside it—-for even a
prince can but do his best. And so we'll shop
around and get up this layout, now, and don’t
= you worry about the ex-
pense. I’m one of the
worst spendthrifts that
ever was born. Why, do
you know, sometimes in
a single week I spend—
but never mind about
that —you’d never be-
lieve it anyway.”
And so we went gad-
ding along, dropping in

*“ WHEN A SLAVE PASSED HE COULDN’T EVEN SEE HIM.”

here and there, pricing
things, and gossiping with the shopkeepers about the riot, and now
and then running across pathetic reminders of it, in the persons of
shunned and tearful and houseless remnants of families whose homes
had been taken from them and their parents butchered or hanged.
The raiment of Marco and his wife was of coarse tow-linen and linsey-
woolsey respectively, and resembled township maps, it being made up
pretty exclusively of patches which had been added, township by town-
ship, in the course of five or six years, until hardly a hand’s-breadth of
MARCO. 401

the original garments was surviving and present. Now I wanted to fit
these people out with new suits, on account of that swell company, and
I didn’t know just how to get at it with delicacy, until at last it struck
me that as I had already been liberal in inventing wordy gratitude for
the king, it would be just the thing to back it up with evidence of a
substantial sort; so I said:

“And Marco, there’s another thing which you must permit—out of
kindness for Jones—because you wouldn’t want to offend him. He
was very anxious to testify his appreciation in some way, but he is so
difident he couldn’t venture it himself, and so he begged me to buy
some little things and give them to you and Dame Phyllis and let him
pay for them without your ever knowing they came from him—you
know how a delicate person feels about that sort of thing—and so I
said I would, and we would keep mum. Well, his idea was, a new
outfit of clothes for you both—”

“Oh, it is wastefulness! It may not be, brother, it may not be.
Consider the vastness of the sum—”

“Hang the vastness of the sum! Try to keep quiet for a moment,
and see how it would seem; a body can’t get in a word edgeways, you
talk so much. You ought to cure that, Marco; it isn’t good form, you
know, and it will grow on you if you don’t check it. Yes, we'll step
in here, now, and price this man’s stuff—and don’t forget to remember
to not let on to Jones that you know he had anything to do with it.
You can’t think how curiously sensitive and proud he is. He's a
farmer—pretty fairly well-to-do farmer—and I’m his bailiff; 4¢—the
imagination of that man! Why, sometimes when he forgets himself
and gets to blowing off, you’d think he was one of the swells of the
earth; and you might listen to hima hundred years and never take
him for a farmer—especially if he talked agriculture. He chzwks he’s
a Sheol of a farmer; thinks he’s old Grayback from Wayback; but

between you and me privately he don’t know as much about farming
26
402 MARCO.

as he does about running a kingdom—still, whatever he talks about,
you want to drop your underjaw and listen, the same as if you had
never heard such incredible wisdom in all your life before, and were
afraid you might die before you got enough of it. That will please
Jones.”

It tickled Marco to the marrow to hear about such an odd character;
but it also prepared him for accidents; and in my experience when
you travel with a king who is letting on to be something else and can’t
remember it more than about half the time, you can’t take too many
precautions.

This was the best store we had come across yet; it had everything
in it, in small quantities, from anvils and dry goods all the way down to
fish and pinchbeck jewelry. I concluded I would bunch my whole
invoice right here, and not go pricing around any more. So I got rid
of Marco, by sending him off to invite the mason and the wheelwright,
which left the field free to me. For I never care to doa thing ina
quiet way; it’s got to be theatrical or I don’t take any interest in it. I
showed up money enough, in a careless way, to corral the shopkeeper’s
respect, and then I wrote down a list of the things I wanted, and
handed it to him to see if he could read it, He could, and was proud
to show that he could. He said he had been educated by a priest, and
could read and write both. He ran it through, and remarked with
satisfaction that it was a pretty heavy bill. Well, and so it was, fora
little concern like that. I was not only providing a swell dinner, but
some odds and ends of extras. I ordered that the things be carted
out and delivered at the dwelling of Marco the son of Marco by Satur-
day evening, and send me the bill at dinner-time Sunday. He said I
could depend upon his promptness and exactitude, it was the rule of
the house. He also observed that he would throw ina couple of miller-
guns for the Marcos gratis—that everybody was using them now. He
had a mighty opinion of that clever device. I said:
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404 MARCO.

“And please fill them up to the middle mark, too; and add that to
the bill.” ,

He would, with. pleasure. He filled them, and I took them with
me. I couldn’t venture to tell him that the miller-gun was a little
invention of my own, and that I had officially ordered that every shop-
keeper in the kingdom keep them on hand and sell them at govern-
ment-price—which was the merest trifle, and the shopkeeper got that,
not the government. We furnished them for nothing.

The king had hardly missed us when we got back at night-fall.
He had early dropped again into his dream of a grand invasion of Gaul
with the whole strength of his kingdom at his back, and the afternoon
had slipped away without his ever coming to himself again.

ee
CHAPTER XXXII.






















DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION.

ELL, when that cargo arrived,
toward sunset, Saturday afternoon,
I had my hands full to keep the
Marcos from fainting. They were

sure Jones and I were ruined past

help, and they blamed themselves

as accessories to this bankruptcy.
You see, in addition to the dinner-
materials, which called for a suffi-
ciently round sum, I had bought
a lot of extras for the future com-
fort of the family: for instance,
a big lot of wheat, a delicacy
as rare to the tables of their
class as was ice-cream to a
hermit’s; also a sizeable deal
dinner table; also
two entire pounds

407
408 DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION.

of salt, which was another piece of extravagance in those people’s eyes;
also crockery, stools, the clothes, a small cask of beer, and soon. I
instructed the Marcos to keep quiet about this sumptuousness, so as to
give me a chance to surprise the guests and show off a little. Con-
cerning the new clothes, the simple couple were like children; they
were up and down, all night, to see if it wasn’t nearly daylight, so that
they could put them on, and they were into them at last as much as an
hour before dawn was due. Then their pleasure—not to say delirium
—was so fresh and novel and inspiring that the sight of it paid me well
for the interruptions which my sleep had suffered. The king had slept
just as usual—like the dead. The Marcos could not thank him for
their clothes, that being forbidden; but they tried every way they could
think of to make him see how grateful they were. Which all went for
nothing: he didn’t notice any change.

It turned out to be one of those rich and rare fall days which is just
a June day toned down to a degree where it is heaven to be out of
doors. Toward noon the guests arrived and we assembled under a
great tree and were soon as sociable as old acquaintances. Even the
king’s reserve melted a little, though it was some little trouble to him
to adjust himself to the name of Jones along at first. I had asked him
to try to not forget that he was a farmer; but I had also considered it
prudent to ask him to let the thing stand at that, and not elaborate it
any. Because he was just the kind of person you could depend on to
spoil a little thing like that if you didn’t warn him, his tongue was so
handy, and his spirit so willing, and his information so uncertain.

Dowley was in fine feather, and I early got him started, and then
adroitly worked him around onto his own history for a text and him-
self for a hero, and then it was good to sit there and hear him hum.
Self-made man, you know. They know how to talk. They do deserve
more credit than any other breed of men, yes, that is true; and they
are among the very first to find it out, too. He told how he had begun
DOWLEY’'S HUMILIATION. 409














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life an orphan lad without money and without
friends able to help him; how he had lived as
the slaves of the meanest mas-

ter lived; how his day’s work 3!




was from sixteen to eighteen ~ os



hours long, and yielded him g




only enough black bread to “=




keep him in a half-fed con-
dition; how his faithful en-
deavors finally attracted
the attention of a good





blacksmith, who came




near knocking him dead



with kindness by sudden-




ly offering, when he was




totally unprepared, to



‘‘ AND WERE SOON AS SOCIABLE AS OLD ACQUAINTANCES.”
410 . DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION.

take him as his bound apprentice for nine years and give him board
and clothes and teach him the trade—or “ mystery” as Dowley called
it. That was his first great rise, his first gorgeous stroke of fortune;
and you saw that he couldn't yet speak of it without a sort of eloquent
wonder and delight that such a gilded promotion should have fallen
to the lot of a common human being. He got no new clothing dur-
ing his apprenticeship, but on his graduation day his master tricked
him out in spang-new tow-linens and made him feel unspeakably rich
and fine.

“T remember me of that day!” the wheelwright sang out, with en-
thusiasm.

“And I likewise!” cried the mason. ‘I would not believe they
were thine own; in faith I could not.”

“Nor others!” shouted Dowley, with sparkling eyes. ‘I was like
to lose my character, the neighbors wending I had mayhap been
stealing. It was a great day, a great day; one forgetteth not days like
that.”

Yes, and his master was a fine man, and prosperous, and always
‘had a great feast of meat twice in the year, and with it white bread,
true wheaten bread; in fact, lived like a lord, soto speak. And in time
Dowley succeeded to the business and married the daughter.

‘‘And now consider what is come to pass,” said he, impressively.
“Two times in every month there is fresh meat upon my table.” He
made a pause here, to let that fact sink home, then added—“‘ and eight
times, salt meat.”

“It is even true,” said the wheelwright, with bated breath.

““T know it of mine own knowledge,” said the mason, in the same
reverent fashion.

“On my table appeareth white bread every Sunday in the year,”
added the master smith, with solemnity. ‘(I leave it to your own con-
sciences, friends, if this is not also true?”
DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION. 4II

“ By my head, yes!” cried the mason.

“T can testify it—and I do,” said the wheelwright.

« And as to furniture, ye shall say yourselves what mine equipment
is.” He waved his hand in fine gesture of granting frank and unham-
pered freedom of speech, and added: ‘‘Speak as ye are moved; speak
as ye would speak an I were not here.”

“Ye have five stools, and of the sweetest workmanship at that,
albeit your family is but three,” said the wheelwright, with deep
respect.

«“ And six wooden goblets, and six platters of wood and two of
pewter to eat and drink from withal,” said the mason, impressively.
“And I say it as knowing God is my judge, and we tarry not here
alway, but must answer at the last day for the things said in the body,
be they false or be they sooth.”

‘‘Now ye know what manner of man I am, brother Jones,” said the
smith, with a fine and friendly condescension, ‘‘and doubtless ye would
look to find me a man jealous of his due of respect and but sparing of
outgo to strangers till their rating and quality be assured, but trouble
yourself not, as concerning that; wit ye well ye shall find me a man
that regardeth not these matters but is willing to receive any he as his
fellow and equal that carrieth a right heart in his body, be his worldly
estate howsoever modest. And in token of it, here is my hand; and I
say with my own mouth we are equals—equals”— and he smiled around
on the company with the satisfaction of a god who is doing the hand-
some and gracious thing and is quite well aware of it. ,

The king took the hand with a poorly disguised reluctance, and let
go of it as willingly asa lady lets go ofa fish; all of which had a good
effect, for it was mistaken for an embarrassment natural to one who was
being beamed upon by greatness.

The dame brought out the table, now, and set it under the tree. It
caused a visible stir of surprise, it being brand new and a sumptuous
412 DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION.

article of dea.. But the surprise rose higher still, when the dame, with
a body oozing easy indifference at every pore, but eyes that gave it all
away by absolutely flaming with vanity, slowly unfolded an actual
simon-pure tablecloth and spread it. That was a notch above even
the blacksmith’s domestic grandeurs, and it hit him hard; you could
see it. But Marco was in Paradise; you could see that, too. Then
the dame brought two fine new stools—whew! that was a sensation;
it was visible in the eyes of every guest. Then she brought two more
~—as calmly as she could. Sensation again—with awed murmurs.
Again she brought two—walking on air, she was so proud. The
guests were petrified, and the mason muttered:

“There is that about earthly pomps which doth ever move to rev-
erence.”

As the dame turned away, Marco couldn’t help slapping on the
climax while the thing was hot; so he said with what was meant for
a languid composure but was a poor imitation of it:

‘‘ These suffice; leave the rest.”

So there were more yet! It was a fine effect. I couldn’t have
played the hand better myself.

From this out, the madam piled up the surprises with a rush that
fired the general astonishment up to a hundred and fifty in the shade,
and at the same time paralyzed expression of it down to gasped ‘Oh’s”
and ‘‘Ah’s”, and mute upliftings of hands and eyes. She fetched
crockery—new, and plenty of it; new wooden goblets and other table
furniture; and beer, fish, chicken, a goose , eggs, roast beef, roast mut-
ton, a ham, a small roast pig, and a wealth of genuine white wheaten
bread. Take it by and large, that spread laid everything far and away
in the shade that ever that crowd had seen before. And while they
sat there just simply stupefied with wonder and awe, I sort of waved
my hand as if by accident, and the store-keeper’s son emerged from
space and said he had come to collect.




THE FEAST, =


414 : DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION.

“That's all right,” I said, indifferently. ‘‘What is the amount?
give us the items.”

Then he read off this bill, while those three amazed men listened,
and serene waves of satisfaction rolled over my soul and alternate
waves of terror and admiration surged over Marco’s:

2 pounds Salt ..... cece cece ence cece eee eee eee tence eee en en eeene 200
8 dozen pints beer, in the Wood ........ eee cee cee eee eee tn ene 800
3 bushels wheat... ... cc cece ccc cece cee rete ett etna eee ceane 2,700
2 pounds fish... cc... ce cece eee eee eee ee eee eee ceeteseeeereeas LOO
BS HVEMS 3 afew 2 slik he Bi Se & see ta tare Bad aerayete ale ava Satena eles oie Gpecet eceleetenere 400
T BOOSE shea baie chen ue See ale cies satya ODE 6/2 Be EE ale og bd eaerete tse 400
3 GOZEN CYS. eee cece eee eee eee eee ee ene e ee eet e ne eee 150
TE roast:of beetsias wad viGie esol eettins Sa eow Ras aia Bee eter eae 450
TL $8 S8 MUELON cece cc cece eee re ener e eee nen en ee teens 400
To HAM ee Stes Te Se Sse 0 aia wee Aw ceca Gig oe Sethe eeaiza le SHESENN Te Be wees tac 800
i sucking pig......... blend dale Hee een Lae Race es 500
2 crockery dinner sets... 0... cece eee eee ee eee ee teenies 6,000
2men’s suits and underwear. ...... ccc cee ee eee eee eens 2,800
r stuff and I linsey-woolsey gown and underwear..............- 1,600
8 wooden goblets. ....... eee e cee e eee e ce ences tees te ereeens 800
Various: table: furniture... cecjces eee OSE vee oe aaa gate 10,000
Dideal table cee Pecee eines e ha Saw Soe Re eae ele wis en hens oeceets 3,000
8 StOOlS’. vase. ee eat ude CaS GS FE ae Gt weer ane eee Recetas 4,000
2 miller-guns, loaded... .... cece cece ee ee eee Joiaiots Bianeruteaas 3,000

He ceased. There was a pale and awful silence. Not a limb
stirred. Nota nostril betrayed the passage of breath.

“Ts that all?” I asked, in a voice of the most perfect calmness.

‘‘All, fair sir, save that certain matters of light moment are placed
together under a head hight sundries. If it would like you, I will
sepa—”

“Tt is of no consequence,” I said, accompanying the words with a
gesture of the most utter indifference; “give me the grand total,
please.”

The clerk leaned against the tree to stay himself, and said:

“ Thirty-nine thousand one hundred and fifty milrays!”
DOWLEYV'S HUMILIATION. 415

The wheelwright fell off his stool, the others grabbed the table to
save themselves, and there was a deep and general ejaculation of—

“God be with us in the day of disaster! ”

The clerk hastened to say:

“My father chargeth me to say he cannot honorably require you
to pay it all at this time, and therefore only prayeth you—”

I paid no more heed than if it were the idle breeze, but with an air
of indifference amounting almost to weariness, got out my money and
tossed four dollars onto the table. Ah, you should have seen them
stare!

The clerk was astonished and charmed. He asked me to retain
one of the dollars as security, until he could go to town and—I inter-
rupted:

‘“What, and fetch back nine cents? Nonsense. Take the whole.
Keep the change.”

There was an amazed murmur to this effect:

“Verily this being is made of money! He throweth it away even
as it were dirt.”

The blacksmith was a crushed man.

The clerk took his money and reeled away drunk with fortune. I
said to Marco and his wife:

‘“‘Good folk, here is a little trifle for you”—handing the miller-guns
as if it were a matter of no consequence though each of them contained
fifteen cents in solid cash; and while the poor creatures went to pieces
with astonishment and gratitude, I turned to the others and said as
calmly as one would ask the time of day:

“Well, if we are all ready, I judge the dinner is. Come, fall to.”

Ah, well, it was immense; yes, it was a daisy. I don’t know that
T ever put a situation together better, or got happier spectacular effects
out of the materials available. The blacksmith—well, he was simply
mashed. Land! I wouldn’t have felt what that man was feeling, for
416 DOWLEY’'S HUMILIATION.

anything in the world. Here he had been blowing and bragging about
his grand meat-feast twice a year, and his fresh meat twice a month,
and his salt meat twice a week, and his white bread every Sunday the
year round—all for a family of three: the entire cost for the year not
above 69.2.6 (sixty-nine cents, two mills and six milrays,) and all ofa
sudden here comes along a man who slashes out nearly four dollars on
a single blow-out; and not only that, but acts as if it made him tired
to handle such small sums. Yes, Dowley wasa good deal wilted, and
shrunk-up and collapsed; he had the aspect of a bladder-balloon that’s
been stepped on by a cow.





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SSS Se x Y \ |
AQ \
Me we
SA


CHAPTER XXXIII.
























SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL
ECONOMY.
OWEVER, I made a dead set at
him, and before the first third of
the dinner was reached, I had him
happy again. It was easy to do—in
a country of ranks and castes. You
see, ina country where they have ranks and
castes, a man isn’t ever a man, he is only part
of a man, he can’t ever get his full growth.
You prove your superiority over him in
station, or rank, or fortune, and that’s the
end of it—he knuckles down. You can’t
insult him after that. No, I don’t mean
quite that; of course you caz insult him, I
only mean it’s diffi-
cult; and so, unless
you've got a lot of
useless time on your
hands it doesn’t pay
to try. I had the
smith’s reverence,
now, because I
Was apparent-
ly immensely
SS

—
420 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

prosperous and rich; I could have had his adoration if I had had some
little gimcrack title of nobility. And not only his, but any commoner’s
in the land, though he were the mightiest production of all the ages,
in intellect, worth, and character, and I bankrupt in all three. This
was to remain so, as long as England should exist in the earth. With
the spirit of prophecy upon me, I could look into the future and see
her erect statues and monuments to her unspeakable Georges and
other royal and noble clothes-horses, and leave unhonored the crea-
tors of this world—after God—Gutenberg, Watt, Arkwright, Whitney,
Morse, Stephenson, Bell.

The king got his cargo aboard, and then, the talk not turning upon
battle, conquest, or iron-clad duel, he dulled down to drowsiness and
went off to takea nap. Mrs. Marco cleared the table, placed the beer-~
keg handy, and went away to eat her dinner of leavings in humble
privacy, and the rest of us soon drifted into matters near and dear to
the hearts of our sort—business and wages, of course. Ata first glance,
things appeared to be exceeding prosperous in this little tributary
kingdom—whose lord was King Bagdemagus—as compared with the
state of things in my own region. They had the “ protection” system
in full force here, whereas we were working .along down towards free
trade, by easy stages, and were now about half way. Before long,
Dowley and I were doing all the talking, the others hungrily
listening. Dowley warmed to his work, snuffed an advantage in
the air, and began to put questions which he considered pretty
awkward ones for me, and they did have something of that
look:

‘In your country, brother, what is the wage of a master bailiff,
master hind, carter, shepherd, swineherd?”

‘Twenty-five milrays a day; that is to say, a quarter of a cent.”

The smith’s face beamed with joy. He said:

“With us they are allowed the double of it! And what may a
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 421

mechanic get—carpenter, dauber, mason, painter, blacksmith, wheel-
wright and the like?” .

“On the average, fifty milrays; half a cent a day.”

‘“Hlo-ho! With us they are allowed a hundred! With us any good

mechanic is allowed a cent aday! I count out the tailor,

but not the others—they (ss are all allowed acent a day, and

in driving times they get is a more—yes, up toa hundred and

ten and even fifteen mil- ‘ o\ rays a day. I’ve paid a hun-

dred and fifteen myself, as \ \\ within the week. ‘Rah for
protection—to Sheol ‘ ah with free-trade!”

And his face p ~ \ shone upon the company

like a sunburst. es \S \ But I didn’t scare at all. I

; ee \' rigged up my pile-driver,

: & A \ and allowed myself fifteen

i © eS minutes to drive him into

N y a the earth—drive him a@// in—drive

lt ay f ites him in till not even the curve











Spear


422 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

of his skull should show above ground. Here is the way I started in
on him. I asked:

“What do you pay a pound for salt?”

“ A hundred milrays.”

“We pay forty. What do you pay for beef and mutton—when you
buy it?” That was a neat hit; it.made the color come.

‘It varieth somewhat, but not ee one may say 75 sina the
pound.”

‘We pay 33. What do you pay for eggs?”

“ Fifty milrays the dozen.”

‘“We pay 20. What do you pay for beer?”

“It costeth us 814 milrays the pint.”

“We get it for 4; 25 bottles for a cent. What do you pay for
wheat?”

“At the rate of goo milrays the bushel.”

“We pay 400. What do you pay for a man’s tow-linen suit?”

“Thirteen cents.”

“We pay 6. What do you pay for a stuff gown for the wife of the
laborer or the mechanic?”

“We pay 8. 4. 0.”

‘Well, observe the difference: you pay eight cents and four mills,
we pay only four cents.” I prepared, now, to sock it to him. I said:
‘Look here, dear friend, what's become of your high wages you were
bragging so about, a few minutes ago?”—and I looked around on the
company with placid satisfaction, for I had slipped up on him gradually
and tied him hand and foot, you see, without his ever noticing that he
was being tied at all. ‘What’s become of those noble high wages of
yours i seem to have knocked the stuffing all out of them, it appears
to me.’

But if you will believe me, he merely looked savpined: that is all!
he didn’t grasp the situation at all, didn’t know he had walked into a
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 423

trap, didn’t discover that he was zza trap. I could have shot him, from
sheer vexation. With cloudy eye and a struggling intellect, he fetched
this out:

‘Marry, I seem not to understand. It is proved that our wages be
double thine; how then may it be that thou’st knocked therefrom the
stuffing?—an I miscall not the wonderly word, this being the first time
under grace and providence of God it hath been granted me to hear it.”

Well, I was stunned; partly with this unlooked-for stupidity on
his part, and partly because his fellows so manifestly sided with him
_ and were of his mind—if you might call it mind. My position was
simple enough, plain enough; how could it ever be simplified more?
However, I must try:

“Why, look here, brother Dowley, don’t you see? Your wages are
merely higher than ours in zame, not in fact.”

“Hear him! They are the douéle—ye have confessed it yourself.”

‘““Yes-yes, I don't deny that at all. But that’s got nothing to do
with it; the amount of the wages in mere coins, with meaningless names
attached to them to know them by, has got nothing to do with it. The
thing is, how much can you ézy with your wages?—that’s the idea.
While it is true that with you a good mechanic is allowed about three
dollars and a half a year, and with us only about a dollar and seventy-
five—”

‘“There—ye’re confessing it again, ye’re confessing it again! ”

‘“‘Confound it, I’ve never denied it I tell you! What I say is this.
With us alfa dollar buys more than a dollar buys with you—and
therefore it stands to reason and the commonest kind of common sense,
that our wages are Aigher than yours.”

He looked dazed, and said, despairingly:

“Verily, I cannot make it out. Ye've just sazd ours are the higher,
and with the same breath ye take it back.”

‘Oh, great Scott, isn’t it possible to get such a simple thing through
424 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

your head? Now look here—let me illustrate. We pay four cents for
a woman's stuff gown, you pay 8. 4.0. which is 4 mills more than doudde.
What do you allow a laboring woman who works on a farm?”
“Two mills a day.”
“Very good; we allow but half as much; we pay her only a tenth
‘of a cent a day; and—”

“Again ye’'re conf—”

“Wait! Now, you see, the thing is very simple; this time you'll
understand it. For instance, it takes your woman 42 days to earn her
gown, at 2 mills a day—7 week’s work; but ours earns hers in forty
days—two days skort of 7 weeks. Your woman has a gown, and her
whole seven weeks’ wages are gone; ours has a gown, and two days’
wages left, to buy something else with. There—zow you understand it!”

He looked—well, he merely looked dubious, it’s the most I can say;
so did the others. I waited—to let the thing work. Dowley spoke at
last—and betrayed the fact that he actually hadn’t gotten away from
his rooted and grounded superstitions yet. He said, with a trifle of
hesitancy:

_“ But—but—ye cannot fail to grant that two mills a day is better
than one.”

Shucks! Well, of course I hated to give itup. SoI chanced another
flyer:

“ Let us suppose.a case. Suppose one of your journeymen goes out
and buys the following articles:

“1 pound of salt;
1 dozen eggs;
I dozen pints of beer;
1 bushel of wheat;
1 tow-linen suit;
5 pounds of beef;
5 pounds of mutton.
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 425

“The lot will cost him 32 cents. It takes him 32 working days to
earn the money—s weeks and 2 days. Let him come to us and work
32 days at half the wages; he can buy all those things for a shade
under 14% cents; they will cost him a shade under 29 days’ work, and
he will have about half a week’s wages over. Carry it through the
year; he would save nearly a week’s wages every two months, your
man nothing; thus saving five or six weeks’ wages in a year, your man
notacent. Mow I reckon you understand that ‘high wages’ and ‘low
wages’ are phrases that don’t mean anything in the world until you
find out which of them will 4xzy the most!”

It was a crusher.

But alas, it didn’t crush. No, I had to give itup. What those people



EVOLUTION.

valued was high wages; it didn’t seem to be a matter of any conse-
quence to them whether the high wages would buy anything or not.
They stood for ‘“ protection,” and swore by it, which was reasonable
enough, because interested parties had gulled them into the notion that
it was protection which had created their high wages. I proved to
them that in a quarter of a century their wages had advanced but 30
per cent, while the cost of living had gone up 100; and that with us, in
a shorter time, wages had advanced 40 per cent. while the cost of liv-
ing had gone steadily down. But it didn’t do any good. Nothing could
unseat their strange beliefs.

Well, I was smarting under a sense of defeat. Undeserved defeat,
426 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

but what of that? That didn’t soften the smart any. And to think of
the circumstances! the first statesman of the age, the capablest man,
the best informed man in the entire world, the loftiest uncrowned head
.that had moved through the clouds of any political firmament for cent-
uries, sitting here apparently defeated in argument by an ignorant coun-
try blacksmith! And I could see that those others were sorry for me!—
which made me blush till I could smell my whiskers scorching. Put your-
self in my place; feel as mean as I did, as ashamed as I felt—wouldn’t
you have struck below the belt to get even? Yes, you would; it is simply
human nature. Well, that is what I did. Iam not trying to justify it;
I’m only saying that I was mad, and axydbody would have done it.

Well, when I make up my mind to hit a man, I don’t plan out a
love-tap; no, that isn’t my way; as long as I’m going to hit him at all,
I'm going to hit him a lifter. And I don’t jump at him all of a sudden,
and risk making a blundering half-way business of it; no, I get away
off yonder to one side, and work up on him gradually, so that he never .
suspects that I’m going to hit him at all; and by and by, all in a flash,
he’s flat of his back, and he can’t tell for the life of him how it all hap-
pened. That is the way I went for brother Dowley. I started to talk-
ing lazy and comfortable, as if I was just talking to pass the time; and
the oldest man in the world couldn’t have taken the bearings of my
starting place and guessed where I was going to fetch up:

“Boys, there’s a good many curious things about law, and custom,
and usage, and all that sort of thing, when you come to look at it;
yes, and about the drift and progress of human opinion and movement,
too. There are written laws—they perish; but there are also unwrit-
ten laws—¢hey are eternal. Take the unwritten law of wages: it says
they’ve got to advance, little by little, straight through the centuries.
And notice how it works. We know what wages are now, here and
there and yonder; we strike an average, and say that’s the wages of
to-day. We know what the wages were a hundred years ago, and
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 427

what they were two hundred years ago; that’s as far back as we can
get, but it suffices to give us the law of progress, the measure and rate
of the periodical augmentation; and so, without a document to help
us, we Can come pretty close to determining what the wages were three
and four and five hundred years ago. Good, so far. Do we stop there?
No. Westop looking backward; we face around and apply the law to
the future. My friends, I can tell you what people's wages are going
to be at any date in the future you want to know, for hundreds and
hundreds of years.”

‘“What, goodman, what!”

‘Yes. In seven hundred years wages will have risen to six times
what they are now, here in your region, and farm hands will be allowed
3 cents a day, and mechanics 6.”

“I would I might die now and live then!” interrupted Smug the
mason, with a fine avaricious glow in his eye.

‘‘And that isn’t all; they’ll get their board besides—such as it is:
itwon’t bloat them. Two hundred and fifty years later—pay attention,
now—a mechanic’s wages will be—mind you, this is law, not guess-
work; a mechanic’s wages will then be ¢wenty cents a day!”

There was a general gasp of awed astonishment. Dickon the
wheelwright murmured, with raised eyes and hands:

‘‘More than three weeks pay for one day’s work!”

“‘Riches!—of a truth, yes, riches!” muttered Marco; his breath com-
ing quick and short, with excitement.

“Wages will keep on rising, little by little, little by little, as steadily
as a tree grows, and at the end of three hundred and forty years more
there’ll be at least one country where the mechanic’s average wage will
be two hundred cents a day!”

It knocked them absolutely dumb! Not aman of them could get
his breath for upwards of two minutes. Then the coalburner said
prayerfully:
428 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

“Might I but live to see it!”

“It is the income of an earl!” said Smug.

‘An earl, say ye?” said Dowley; “ye could say more than that
and speak no lie; there’s no earl in the realm of Bagdemagus that hath
an income like to that. Income of an earl—mf! it’s the income of an
angel!”

“Now then, that is what is going to happen as regards wages. In
that remote day, that man will earn, with oze week’s work, that bill of
goods which it takes you upwards of five weeks to earn now. Some
other pretty surprising things are going to happen, too. Brother Dow-
ley, who is it that determines, every spring, what the particular wage
of each kind of mechanic, laborer, and servant shall be for that year?”

“Sometimes the courts, sometimes the town council; but most of
all, the magistrate. Ye may say, in general terms, it is the magistrate
that fixes the wages.”

“Doesn't ask any of those poor devils to Ze/p him fix their wages
for them, does he?”

“Hm! That were an idea! The master that’s to pay him the
money is the one that’s rightly concerned in that matter, ye will notice.”

‘““Ves—but I thought the other man might have some little trifle at
stake in it, too; and even his wife and children, poor creatures. The
masters are these: nobles, rich men, the prosperous generally. These
few, who do no work, determine what pay the vast hive shall have
who do work. Yousee? They’re a ‘combine’—a trade union, to coin
a new phrase—who band themselves together to force their lowly
brother to take what they choose to give. Thirteen hundred years
hence—so says the unwritten law—the ‘combine’ will be the other
way, and then how these fine people’s posterity will fume and fret and
grit their teeth over the insolent tyranny of trade unions! Ves indeed!
the magistrate will tranquilly arrange the wages from now clear away
down into the nineteenth century; and then all of a sudden the wage-
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 429

earner will consider that a couple of thousand years or so is enough of
this one-sided sort of thing; and he will rise up and take a hand in fix-
ing his wages himself. Ah, he will have a long and bitter account of
wrong and humiliation to settle.”

‘Do ye believe—”

“That he actually will help to fix his own wages? Yes, indeed.
And he will be strong and able, then.”

‘Brave times, brave times, of a truth!” sneered the prosperous
smith.

‘‘Oh,—and there’s another detail. In that day, a master may hire



DISCREPANCY IN NOSES MAKES NO DIFFERENCE,

aman for only just one day, or one week, or one month at a time, if
he wants to.”

“What?”

“Tt’s true. Moreover, a magistrate won't be able to force a man to
work for a master a whole year on a stretch whether the man wants to
or not.”

“ Will there be zo law or sense in that day?”

“ Both of them, Dowley. In that day a man will be his own prop-
erty, not the property of magistrate and master. And he can leave
town whenever he wants to, if the wages don’t suit him!—and they
can’t put him in the pillory for it.”
430 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

‘“ Perdition catch such an age!” shouted Dowley, in strong indig-
nation. “An age of dogs, an age barren of reverence for superiors
and respect for authority! The pillory—”

‘Oh, wait, brother; say no good word for that institution. / think
the pillory ought to be abolished.”

‘A most strange idea. Why?”

“Well, PH tell you why. Is a man ever put in the pillory for a
capital crime?”

“ No.”

“Ts it right to condemn a man to a slight punishment for a small
offense and then kill him?”

There was no answer. I had scored my first point! For the first
time, the smith wasn’t up and ready. The company noticed it. Good
effect.

“You don’t answer, brother. You were about to glorify the pillory
a while ago, and shed some pity on a future age that isn’t going to use
it. J think the pillory ought to be abolished. What usually happens
when a poor fellow is put in the pillory for some little offence that
didn’t amount to anything in the world? The mob try to have some
fun with him, don’t they?” ;

“Ves,”

‘They begin by clodding him; and they laugh themselves to pieces
to see him try to dodge one clod and get hit with another?”

“Ves.” ‘

“Then they throw dead cats at him, don’t they?”

“Ves.”

‘‘Well, then, suppose he has a few personal enemies in that mob—
and here and there a man or a woman with a secret grudge against
him—and suppose especially, that he is unpopular in the community,
for his pride, or his prosperity, or one thing or another—stones and
bricks take the place of clods and cats presently, don’t they?”
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 431

“There is no doubt of it.”

“As a rule he is crippled for life, isn’t he?—jaws broken, teeth
smashed out?—or legs mutilated, gangrened, presently cut off?—or an
eye knocked out, maybe both eyes?”

“Tt is true, God knoweth it.”

“And if he is unpopular he can depend on dying, right there in the
stocks, can’t he?”

“He surely can! One may not deny it.” 2

“TI take it none of you are unpopular—by reason of pride or inso-
lence, or conspicuous prosperity, or ‘any of those things that excite
envy and malice among the base scum of a village? You wouldn't
think it much of a risk to take a chance in the stocks?”

Dowley winced, visibly. I judged he was hit. But he didn’t betray
it by any spoken word. As for the others, they spoke out plainly, and
with strong feeling. They said they had seen enough of the stocks to
know what a man’s chance in them was, and they would never consent
to enter them if they could compromise on a quick death by hanging.

“Well, to change the subject—for I think I’ve established my point

that the stocks ought to be abolished. I think some of our laws are
pretty unfair. For instance, if I do a thing which ought to deliver me
to the stocks, and you know I did it and yet keep still ane don’ t report
me, you will get the stocks if anybody informs on you.”

“Ah, but that would serve you but right,” said Dowley, “for you
must inform. So saith the law.”

The others coincided.

“Well, all right, let it go, since you vote medown. But there’s
one thing which certainly isn’t fair. The magistrate fixes a mechanic’s
wage at I cent a day, for instance. The law says that if any master
shall venture even under utmost press of business, to pay anything
over that cent a day, even for a single day, he shall be both fined and
pilloried for it; and whoever knows he did it and doesn’t inform, they
432 SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY.

also shall be fined and pilloried. Now it seems to me unfair, Dowley,
and a deadly peril to all of us, that because you thoughtlessly confessed,
a while ago, that within a week you have paid a cent and fifteen mil—’

Oh, I tell you it wasa smasher! You ought to have seen them go
to pieces, the whole gang. I had just slipped up on poor smiling and
complacent Dowley so nice and easy and softly, that he never sus-
pected anything was going to happen
till the blow came crashing down and
knocked him all to rags.

A fine effect. In fact as fine as any
Tever produced, with so little time to
work it up in.

But I saw in a moment that I had
overdone the thing a little.- I was ex-
pecting to scare them, but I wasn’t
expecting to scare them to death.
They were mighty near it, though.
You see they had been a whole life-
time learning to appreciate the pil-
lory; and to have that thing staring
them in the face, and every one of
them distinctly at the mercy of me, a



stranger, if 1 chose to go and report—
well, it was awful, and they couldn't
seem to recover from the shock, they
couldn’t seem to pull themselves together. Pale, shaky, dumb, piti-
ful? Why, they weren’t any better than so many dead_men. It was
very uncomfortable. Of course I thought they would appeal to me to
keep mum, and then we would shake hands, and take a drink all
round, and laugh it off, and there an end. But no; you see I was an
unknown person, among a cruelly oppressed and suspicious people,
SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY. 433

a people always accustomed to having advantage taken of their help-
lessness, and never expecting just or kind treatment from any but
their own families and very closest intimates. Appeal to me to be

gentle, to be fair, to be generous? Of course they wanted to, but
they couldn’t dare.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD
AS SLAVES.
















SELL, what had I better do? Nothing in

a hurry, sure. I must get up a diver-

sion; anything to employ me while 1

could think, and while these poor fel-

lows could havea chance to come
‘ to life again. There sat Marco,
petrified in the act of trying
to get the hang of his miller-
gun—turned to stone, just in
the attitude he was in when my
\ pile-driver fell, the toy still gripped

in his unconscious fingers. So I

3 took it from him and proposed

to explain its mystery. Mystery! a

4)? simple little thing like that; and yet

kK’ it was mystery enough, for that race
and that age.

I never saw such an awkward people,
with machinery; you see, they were totally
unused to-it. The miller-gun was a little
double - barreled tube

of toughened glass,

with a neat little
trick of a spring to
it, which upon press-
438 THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

ure would let a shot escape. But the shot wouldn’t hurt anybody,
it would only drop into your hand. In the gun were two sizes—
wee mustard-seed shot, and another sort that were several times
larger. They were money. The mustard-seed shot represented mil-
rays, the larger ones mills. So the gun was a purse; and very handy,
too; you could pay out money in the dark with it, with accuracy; and
you could carry it in your mouth; or in your vest pocket, if you had
one. I made them of several sizes—one size so large that it would
carry the equivalent of a dollar. Using shot for money was a good
thing for the government; the metal cost nothing, and the money
couldn’t be counterfeited, for I was the only person in the kingdom
who knew how to manage a shot tower. “ Paying the shot” soon came
to be acommon phrase. Yes, and I knew it would still be passing
men’s lips, away down in the nineteenth century, yet none would sus-
pect how and when it originated.

The king joined us, about this time, mightily refreshed .by his nap,
and feeling good. Anything could make me nervous now, I was so
uneasy—for our lives were in danger; and so it worried me to detect a
complacent something in the king’s eye which seemed to indicate that
he had been loading himself up for a performance of some kind or other;
confound it, why must he go and choose such a time as this?

I was right. He began, straight off, in the most innocently artful,
and transparent, and lubberly way, to lead up to the subject of agri-
culture. The cold sweat broke out all over me. I wanted to whisper
in his ear, ‘‘Man, we are in awful danger! every moment is worth a
principality till we get back these men’s confidence; don’t waste any
of this golden time.” But of course I couldn't do it. Whisper to him?
It would look as if we were conspiring. So I had to sit thére and look
calm and pleasant while the king stood over that dynamite mine and
mooned along about his damned onions and things. At first the tumult
of my own thoughts, summoned by the danger-signal and swarming
THE YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 439

to the rescue from every quarter of my skull, kept up such a hurrah
and confusion and fifing and drumming that I couldn’t take in a word;
but presently when my mob of gathering plans began to crystalize
and fall into position and form line of battle, a sort of order and quiet
ensued and I caught the boom of the king’s batteries, as if out of re-
mote distance:

““__were not the best way, methinks, albeit it is not to be denied
that authorities differ as concerning this point, some contending that
the onion is but an unwholesome berry when stricken early from the
tree—”

The audience showed signs of life, and sought each other's eyes in
a surprised and troubled way.

“__whileas others do yet maintain, with much show of reason, that
this is not of necessity the case, instancing that plums and other like
cereals do be always dug in the unripe state—’

The audience exhibited distinct distress; yes, and also fear.

‘_yet are they clearly wholesome, the more especially when one
doth assuage the asperities of their nature by admixture of the tran-
quilizing juice of the wayward cabbage—”

The wild light of terror began to glow in these men’s eyes, and one
of them muttered, “These be errors, every one—God hath surely
smitten the mind of this farmer.” I was in miserable apprehension; I
sat upon thorns.

“_and further instancing the known truth that in the case of ani-
mals, the young, which may be called the green fruit of the creature,
is the better, all confessing that when a goat is ripe, his fur doth heat
and sore engame his flesh, the which defect, taken in connection with
his several rancid habits, and fulsome appetites, and godless attitudes
of mind, and bilious quality of morals—”

They rose and went for him! With a fierce shout, “ The one would
betray us, the other is mad! Kill them! Kill them! ” they flung them-






‘*HE WAS HUNGRY FOR A FIGHT,”
THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 44l

selves upon us. What joy flamed up in the king’s eye! He might be
lame in agriculture, but this kind of thing was just in his line. He had
been fasting long, he was hungry for a fight. He hit the blacksmitha
crack under the jaw that lifted him clear off his feet and stretched him
flat of his back. ‘St. George for Britain!” and he downed the wheel-
wright. The mason was big, but I laid him out like nothing. The
three gathered themselves up and came again; went down again; came
again; and kept on repeating this, with native British pluck, until they
were battered to jelly, reeling with exhaustion, and so blind that they
couldn’t tell us from each other; and yet they kept right on, hammering
away with what might was left in them. Hammering each other—for
we stepped aside and looked on while they rolled, and struggled, and
gouged, and pounded, and bit, with the strict and wordless attention
to business of so many bulldogs. We looked on without apprehension,
for they were fast getting past ability to go for help against us, and the
arena was far enough from the public road to be safe from intrusion.

Well, while they were gradually playing out, it suddenly occurred
to me to wonder what had become of Marco. I looked around; he
was nowhere to be seen. Oh, but this was ominous! I pulled the
king’s sleeve, and we glided away and rushed for the hut. No Marco
there, no Phyllis there! They had gone to the road for help, sure. I
told the king to give his heels wings, and I would explain later. We
made good time across the open ground, and as we darted into the
shelter of the wood I glanced back and saw a mob of excited peasants
swarm into view, with Marco and his wife at their head. They were
making a world of noise,-but that couldn’t hurt anybody; the wood was
dense, and as soon as we were well into its depths we would take to a
tree and let them whistle. Ah, but then came another sound—dogs!
Yes, that was quite another matter. It magnified our contract—we
must find running water.

We tore along at a good gait, and soon left the sounds far behind
442 THE YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

and modified to a murmur. We struckastream and darted into it. We
waded swiftly down it, in the dim forest light, for as much as three
hundred yards, and then came across an oak with a great bough stick-
ing out over the water. We climbed up on this bough, and began to
work our way along it to the body of the tree; now we began to hear
those sounds more plainly; so the mob had struck our trail. Fora
while the sounds approached pretty fast. And then for another while
they didn’t. No doubt the dogs had found the place where we had
entered the stream, and were now waltzing up and down the shores
trying to pick up the trail again.

When we were snugly lodged in the tree and curtained with foliage,
the king was satisfied, but I was doubtful. I believed we could crawl
along a branch and get into-the next tree, and I judged it worth while
totry, We tried it, and made a success of it, though the king slipped,
at the junction, and came near failing to connect. We got comfortable
lodgement and satisfactory concealment among the foliage, and then
we had nothing to do but listen to the hunt. .

Presently we heard it coming—and coming on the jump, too; yes,
and down both sides of the stream. Louder—louder—next minute it
swelled swiftly up into a roar of shoutings, barkings, tramplings, and
swept by like a cyclone.

“T was afraid that the overhanging branch would suggest some-
thing to them,” said I, “but I don’t mind the disappointment. Come,
my liege, it were well that we make good use of our time. We've
flanked them. Dark is coming on, presently. If we can cross the
stream and get a good start, and borrow a couple of horses from some-
body’s pasture to use for a few hours, we shall be safe enough.”

We started down, and got nearly to the lowest limb, when we.
seemed to hear the hunt returning. We stopped to listen.

“Ves,” said I, ‘‘they’re baffled, they've given it up, they’re on their
way home. We will climb back to our roost again, and let them go by.” —
THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 443

So we climbed back. The king listened a moment and said:

“ They still search—I wit the sign. We did best to abide.”

He was right. Heknew more about hunting thanI did. The noise
approached steadily, but not with arush. The king said:

“ They reason that we were advantaged by no parlous start of them,
and being on foot are as yet no mighty way from where we took the
water.”

‘“‘ Yes, sire, that is about it, I am afraid, though I was hoping better
things.”

The noise drew nearer and nearer, and soon the van was drifting



‘©yES, SIRE, THAT IS ABOUT IT, I AM AFRAID.”

under us, on both sides of the water. A voice called a halt from the
other bank, and said:

“ An they were so minded, they could get to yon tree by this
branch that overhangs, and yet. not touch ground. Ye will do well to
send a man up it.”

“ Marry, that will we do!”

I was obliged to admire my cuteness in foreseeing this very thing
and swapping trees to beat it. But don’t you know, there are some
things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stu-

pidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the
444 THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be
afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his
hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert
isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do: and often
it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot. Well, how could
I, with all my gifts, make any valuable preparation against a near-
sighted, cross-eyed pudding-headed clown who would aim himself at
the wrong tree and hit the right one? And that is what he did. He
went for the wrong tree, which was of course the right one by mistake,
and up he started.

Matters were serious, now. We remained still, and awaited devel-
opments. The peasant toiled his difficult way up. The king raised
himself up and stood; he made aleg ready, and when the comer's head
arrived in reach of it there was a dull thud, and down went the man
floundering tothe ground. There was a wild outbreak of anger, below,
and the mob swarmed in from all around, and there we were treed, and
prisoners. Another man started up; the bridging bough was detected,
and a volunteer started up the tree that furnished the bridge. The
king ordered me to play Horatius and keep the bridge. For a while
the enemy came thick and fast; but no matter, the head man of each
procession always got a buffet that dislodged him as soon as he came
inreach. The king’s spirits rose, his joy was limitless. He said that
if nothing occurred to mar the prospect we should have a beautiful
night, for on this line of tactics we could hold the tree against the
whole countryside.

However, the mob soon came to that conclusion themselves; where-
fore they called off the assault and began to debate other plans. They
had no weapons, but there were plenty of stones, and stones might
answer. We had no objections. A stone might possibly penetrate to
us once in a while, but it wasn’t very likely; we were well protected
by boughs and foliage, and were not visible from any good aiming-
THE YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 445

point. If they would but waste half an hour in stone-throwing, the
dark would come to our help. We were feeling very well satisfied.
We could smile; almost laugh.

But we didn’t; which was just as well, for we snould have been in-
terrupted. Before the stones had been raging through the leaves and
bouncing from the boughs fifteen minutes, we began to notice a smell.
A couple of sniffs of it was enough of an explanation: it was smoke!
Our game was up at last. We recognized that. When smoke invites
you, you have tocome. They raised their pile of dry brush and damp_
weeds higher and higher, and when they saw the thick cloud begin to
roll up and smother the tree, they broke out in a storm of joy-clamors.
I got enough breath to say:

“Proceed, my liege; after you is manners.”

The king gasped:

“Follow me down, and then back thyself against one side of the
trunk, and leave me the other. Then will we fight. Let each pile his
dead according to his own fashion and taste.”

Then he descended barking and coughing, and I followed. I struck
the ground an instant after him; we sprang to our appointed places,
and began to give and take with all our might. The pow-wow and
racket were prodigious; it was a tempest of riot and confusion and
thick-falling blows. Suddenly some horsemen tore into the midst of
the crowd, and a voice shouted: .

‘“‘ Hold—or ye are dead men!”

How good it sounded! The owner of the voice bore all the marks
of a gentleman: picturesque and costly raiment, the aspect of com-
mand, a hard countenance, with complexion and features marred by
dissipation. The mob fell humbly back, like so many spaniels.
The gentleman inspected us critically, then said sharply to the
peasants:

“What are ye doing to these people?”
446 THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

“They be madmen, worshipful sir, that have come wandering we
know not whence, and—’

“Ye know not whence? Do ye pretend ye know them not?”

‘““Most honored sir, we speak but the truth. They are strangers
and unknown to any in this region; and they be the most violent and
bloodthirsty madmen that ever—”

“Peace! Ye know not what ye say.. They are not mad. Who
are ye? And whence are ye? Explain.”

“We are but peaceful strangers, sir,” I said, “and traveling upon
our ownconcerns. Weare from a far country, and unacquainted here.
We have purposed no harm; and yet but for your brave interference
and protection these people would have killed us. As you have divined,
sir, we are not mad; neither are we violent or bloodthirsty.”

The gentleman turned to his retinue and said calmly:

“Lash me these animals to their kennels!”

The mob vanished in an instant; and after them plunged the horse-
men, laying about them with their whips and pitilessly riding down
such as were witless enough to keep the road instead of taking to the
bush. The shrieks and supplications presently died away in the dis-
tance, and soon the horsemen began to straggle back. Meantime the
gentleman had been questioning us more closely, but had dug no par-
ticulars out of us. We were lavish of recognition of the service he was
doing us, but we revealed nothing more than that we were friendless
strangers from a far country. When the escort were all returned, the
gentleman said to one of his servants:

‘Bring the led horses and mount these people.”

“Ves, my lord.” :

We were placed toward the rear, among the servants. We traveled
pretty fast, and finally drew rein some time after dark at a roadside inn
some ten or twelve miles from the scene of our troubles. My lord
went immediately to his room, after ordering his supper, and we saw
THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 447

no more of him. At dawn in the morning we breakfasted and made
ready to start.

My lord's chief attendant sauntered forward at that moment with
indolent grace, and said:

“Ve have said ye should continue upon this road, which is our
direction likewise; wherefore my lord, the earl Grip, hath given com-
mandment that ye retain the horses and ride, and that certain of us
ride with ye a twenty mile to a fair town that hight Cambenet, whenso
ye shall be out of peril.”

We could do nothing less than express our thanks and accept the
offer. We jogged along, six in the
party, at a moderate and comfort-
able gait, and in conversation learn-
ed that my lord Grip was a very
great personage in his own region,
which lay a day’s journey beyond
Cambenet. We loitered to such a
degree that it was near the middle
of the forenoon when we entered the
market square of the town. We dis-
mounted, and left .our thanks once



more for my lord, and then approach- Lo 3

THE ORATOR,

ed a crowd assembled in the centre

of the square, to see what might be the object of interest. It was the
remnant of that old peregrinating band of slaves! So they had been
dragging their chains about, all this weary time. That poor husband
was gone, and also many others; and some few purchases had been
added to the gang. The king was not interested, and wanted to move
along, but I was absorbed, and full of pity. I could not take my eyes
away from these worn and wasted wrecks of humanity. There they
sat, grouped upon the ground, silent, uncomplaining, with bowed
448 THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

heads, a pathetic sight. And by hideous contrast, a redundant orator
was making a speech to another gathering not thirty steps away, in
fulsome laudation of ‘‘ our glorious British liberties! ”

I was boiling. I had forgotten I was a plebeian, I was remember-
ing Iwasa man. Cost what it might, I would mount that rostrum and—

Click! the king and I were handcuffed together! Our companions,
those servants, had done it; my lord Grip stood looking on. The king
burst out in a fury, and said:

‘What meaneth this ill-mannered jest?”

My lord merely said to his head miscreant, coolly:

“ Put up the slaves and sell them!”

Slaves! The word had a new sound—and how unspeakably awful!
The king lifted his manacles and brought them down with a deadly
force; but my lord was out of the way when they arrived. A dozen of
the rascal’s servants sprang forward, and in a moment we were help-
less, with our hands bound behind us. We so loudly and so earnestly
proclaimed ourselves freemen, that we got the interested attention of
that liberty-mouthing orator and his patriotic crowd, and they gath-
ered about us and assumed a very determined attitude. The orator said:

“If indeed ye are freemen, ye have nought to fear—the God-given
liberties of Britain are about ye for your shield and shelter! (Applause.)
Ye shall soon see. Bring forth your proofs.”

‘“‘ What proofs ?”

‘* Proof that ye are freemen.”

Ah—I remembered! I came to myself; I said nothing. But the
king stormed out: . .

‘“Thou'rt insane, man. It were better, and more in reason, that
this thief and scoundrel here prove that we are zo¢ freemen.”

You see, he knew his own laws just as other people so often know
the laws: by words, not by effects. They take a meaning, and get to
be very. vivid, when you come to apply them to yourself.
LHE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES. 449

All hands shook their heads and looked disappointed; some turned
away, no longer interested. The orator said—and this time in the
tones of business, not of sentiment:

‘“An ye do not know your country’s laws, it were time ye learned
them. Ye are strangers to us; ye will not deny that. Ye may be
freemen, we do not deny that; but also ye may be slaves. The law
is clear: it doth not require the claimant to prove ye are slaves, it re-
quireth you to prove ye are sot.”

I said:

‘‘ Dear sir, give us only time to send to Astolat; or give us only time
to send to the Valley of Holiness—”

‘Peace, good man, these are extraordinary requests, and you may
not hope to have them granted. It would cost much time, and would
unwarrantably inconvenience your master—”

‘“‘ Master, idiot!” stormed the king. ‘I have no master, I myself
am the m——”

“Silence, for God’s sake!”

I got the words out in time to stop the king. We were in trouble
enough already; it could not help us any to give these people the
notion that we were lunatics.

There is no use in stringing out the details. The earl put us up
and sold us at auction. This same infernal law had existed in our own
South in my own time, more than thirteen hundred years later, and
under it hundreds of freemen who could not prove that they were free-
men had been sold into life-long slavery without the circumstance
making any particular impression upon me; but the minute law and
the auction block came into my personal experience, a thing which
had been merely improper before became suddenly hellish. Well,
that’s the way we are made.

Yes, we were sold at auction, like swine. Ina big town and an act-

ive market we should have brought a good price; but this place was
29
450 THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES.

utterly stagnant and so we sold at a figure which makes me ashamed,
every time I think of it. The King of England brought seven dollars,
and his prime minister nine; whereas the king was easily worth twelve
dollars and I as easily worth fifteen. But that is the way things
always go; if you force a sale ona dull market, I don’t care what the
property is, you are going to make a poor business of it, and you can
make up your mind to it. Ifthe earl had had wit enough to—





‘WE CONSTITUTED THE REAR OF HIS PROCESSION.”

However, there is no occasion for my working my sympathies up
on his account. Let him go, for the present: I took his number, so to
speak, i

The slave dealer bought us both, and hitched us onto that long
chain of his, and we constituted the rear of his procession. We took
up our line of march and passed out of Cambenet at noon; and it
seemed to me unaccountably strange and odd that the King of Eng-
THE VANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES - ASI

land and his chief minister, marching manacled and fettered and
yoked, in a slave convoy, could move by all manner of idle men and
women, and under windows where sat the sweet and the lovely, and
yet never attract a curious eye, never provoke a single remark. Dear,
dear, it only shows that there is nothing diviner about a king than
there is about a tramp, after all. He is just a cheap and hollow artifi-
ciality when you don’t know he is a king. But reveal his quality, and
dear me it takes your very breath away to look at him. I reckon we
are all fools. Born so, no doubt.


CHAPTER XXXV.
A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

T’S a world of surprises. The king brooded;
this was natural. What would he brood about,
should you say? Why, about the prodigious
nature of his fall, of course—from the loftiest
place in the world to the lowest; from the most

illustrious station in the world to the obscurest;

from the grandest vocation among men to the
basest. No, I take my oath that the thing that
graveled him most, to start with, was not this, but
ey the price he had fetched! He

Wii couldn’t seem to get over that

seven dollars. Well, it stunned

an me so, when I first found it out,
that I couldn’t believe it;
it didn’t seem natural.






















Y

But as soon as my men-
tal sight cleared and I got
a right focus on it, I saw I

was mis-

taken: it
ofieeee, WAS Nat-
an ural. For

this reason: " aking is a mere artificiality, and
so a king’s feel-

automatic doll, are

ings, like the impulses of an
mere artificialities; but as a
his feelings, as a man, are real, not

455
456 A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

phantoms. It shames the average man to be valued below his own
estimate of his worth; and the king certainly wasn’t anything more
than an average man, if he was up that high.

Confound him, he wearied me with arguments to show that in any-
thing like a fair market he would have fetched twenty-five dollars, sure
—a thing which was plainly nonsense, and full of the baldest conceit;
I wasn’t worth it myself. But it was tender ground for me to argue
on. In fact I had to simply shirk argument and do the diplomatic in-
stead. I had to throw conscience aside, and brazenly concede that he
ought to have brought twenty-five dollars; whereas I was quite well
aware that in all the ages, the world had never seen a king that was
worth half the money, and during the next thirteen centuries wouldn’t
see one that was worth the fourth of it. Yes, he tired me. If he began
to talk about the crops; or about the recent weather; or about the
condition of politics, or about dogs, or cats, or morals, or theology—
no matter what—I sighed, for I knew what was coming: he was going
to get out of it a palliation of that tiresome seven-dollar sale. Wher-
ever we halted, where there was a crowd, he would give me a look
which said, plainly: “if that thing could be tried over again, now, with
this kind of folk, you would see a different result.” Well, when he
was first sold, it secretly tickled me to see him go for seven dollars;
but before he was done with his sweating and worrying I wished he
had fetched a hundred. The thing never got a chance to die, for
every day, at one place or another, possible purchasers looked us over,
and as often as any other way, their comment on the king was some-
thing like this:

“ Here’s a two-dollar-and-a-half chump with a thirty-dollar style.
Pity but style was marketable.”

At last this sort of remark produced an evil result. Our owner was
a practical person and he perceived that this defect must be mended if
he hoped to find a purchaser for the king. So he went to work to take
A PITIFUL INCIDENT. 457

the style out of his sacred majesty. I could have given the man some
valuable advice, but I didn’t; you mustn’t volunteer advice to a slave-
driver unless you want to damage the cause you are arguing for. Ihad
found it a sufficiently difficult job to reduce the king’s style to a peas-
ant’s style, even when he was a willing and anxious pupil; now then,
to undertake to reduce the king’s style to a slave’s style—and by force
—go to! it was a stately contract. Never mind the details—it will save
me trouble to let you imagine them. I will only remark that at the
end of a week there was plenty of evidence that lash and club and fist



ea
S
ae

ON THE TRAMP. -

had done their work well; the king’s body was a sight to see—and to
weep over; but his spirit?—-why, it wasn’t even phased. Even that dull
clod of a slave-driver was able to see that there can be such a thing as
a slave who will remain a man till he dies; whose bones you can break,
but whose manhood you can’t. This man found that from his first effort
down to his latest, he couldn’t ever come within reach of the king but
the king was ready to plunge for him, and did it. So he gave up, at
last, and left the king in possession of his style unimpaired. The fact
458 A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

is, the king was a good deal more than a king, he was a man; and
when a man is a man, you can’t knock it out of him.

We had a rough time for a month, tramping to and fro in the earth,
and suffering. And what Englishman was the most interested in the
slavery question by that time? His grace the king! Yes; from being
the most indifferent, he was become the most interested. He was be-
come the bitterest hater of the institution I had ever heard talk. And
so I ventured to ask once more a question which I had asked years
before and had gotten such a sharp answer that I had not thought it
prudent to meddle in the matter further. Would he abolish slavery?

His answer was as sharp as before, but it was music this time; I
shouldn’t ever wish to hear pleasanter, though the profanity was not
good, being awkwardly put together, and with the crash-word almost
in the middle instead of at the end, where of course it ought to have
been.

I was ready and willing to get free, now; I hadn’t wanted to get
free any sooner. No, I cannot quite say that. I had wanted to, but I
had not been willing to take desperate chances, and had always dis-
suaded the king from them. But now—ah,it was a new atmosphere!
Liberty would be worth any cost that might be put upon it now. I set
about.a plan, and was straightway charmed with it. It would require
time, yes, and patience, too, a great deal of both. One could invent
quicker ways, and fully as sure ones; but none that would be as pict-
uresque as this; none that could be made so dramatic. AndsoI was
not going to give this one up. It might delay us months, but no mat-
ter, I would carry it out or break something.

Now and then we had an adventure. One night we were overtaken
by a snow-storm while still a mile from the village we were making
for. Almost instantly we were shut up as in a fog, the driving snow
was so thick. You couldn't see a thing, and we were soon lost. The
slave-driver lashed us desperately, for he saw ruin before him, but his
A PITIFUL INCIDENT. 459

lashings only made matters worse, for they drove us further from the
road and from likelihood of succor. So we had to stop, at last, and
slump down in the snow where we were. The storm continued until
towaid midnight, then ceased. By this time two of our feebler men
and three of our women were dead, and others past moving and threat-
ened with death. Our master was nearly beside himself. He stirred
up the living and made us stand, jump, slap ourselves, to restore our
circulation, and he helped as well as he could with his whip.

Now came a diversion. We heard shrieks and yells, and soona
woman came running, and crying; and seeing our group, she flung
herself into our midst and begged for protection. A mob of people
came tearing after her, some with torches, and they said she was a
witch who had caused several cows to die by a strange disease, and
practiced her arts by help of a devil in the form of a black cat. This
poor woman had been stoned until she hardly looked human, she was
so battered and bloody. The mob wanted to burn her.

Well, now, what do you suppose our master did? When we closed
around this poor creature to shelter her, he saw his chance. He said,
burn her here, or they shouldn't have her at all. Imagine that! They
were willing. They fastened her to a post; they brought wood and
piled it about her; they applied the torch while she shrieked and
pleaded and strained her two young daughters to her breast; and our
brute, with a heart solely for business, lashed us into position about
the stake and warmed us into life and commercial value by the same
fire which took away the innocent life of that poor harmless mother.
That was the sort of master we had. I took 4zs number. That snow-
storm cost him nine of his flock; and he was more brutal to us than
ever, after that, for many days together, he was so enraged over his
loss.

We had adventures, all along. One day we ran into a procession.
And sucha procession! All the riff-raff of the kingdom seemed to be
460 A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

comprehended in it; and all drunk at that. In the van was a cart with
a coffin in it, and on the coffin sat a comely young girl of about eight-
een suckling a baby, which she squeezed to her breast in a passion of
love every little while, and every little while wiped from its face the
tears which her eyes rained down upon it; and always the foolish little
thing smiled up at her, happy and content, kneading her breast with



SLAVES WARMING THEMSELVES.

its dimpled fat hand, which she patted and fondled right over her
breaking heart. ;

Men and women, boys and girls, trotted along beside or after the
cart, hooting, shouting profane and ribald remarks, singing snatches ot
foul song, skipping, dancing—a very holiday of hellions, a sickening
sight. We had struck a suburb of London, outside the walls, and this
A PITIFUL INCIDENT. 461

was a sample of one sort of London society. Our master secured a
good place for us near the gallows. A priest was in attendance, and
he helped the girl climb up, and said comforting words to her, and
made the under-sheriff provide a stool for her. Then he stood there
by her on the gallows, and for a moment looked down upon the mass
of upturned faces at his feet, then out over the solid pavement of heads
that stretched away on every side occupying the vacancies far and
near, and then began to tell the story of the case. And there was pity
in his voice—how seldom a sound that was in that ignorant and sav-
age land! I remember every detail of what he said, except the words
he said it in; and so I change it into my own words:

“Law is intended to mete out justice. Sometimes it fails. This
cannot be helped. We can only grieve, and be resigned, and pray for
the soul of him who falls unfairly by the arm of the law, and that his
fellows may be few. A law sends this poor young thing to death—and
it is right. But another law had placed her where she must commit
her crime or starve, with her child—and before God that law is respon-
sible for both her crime and her ignominious death!

“A little while ago this young thing, this child of eighteen years,
was as happy a wife and mother as any in England; and her lips were
blithe with song, which is the native speech of glad and innocent
hearts. Her young husband was as happy as she; for he was doing
his whole duty, he worked early and late at his handicraft, his bread
was honest bread well and fairly earned, he was prospering, he was
furnishing shelter and sustenance to his family, he was adding his mite
to the wealth of the nation. By consent of a treacherous law, instant .
destruction fell upon this holy home and swept itaway! That young
husband was waylaid and impressed, and sent to sea. The wife knew
nothing of it. She sought him everywhere, she moved the hardest
hearts with the supplications of her tears, the broken eloquence of her
despair. Weeks dragged by, she watching, waiting, hoping, her mind
462 A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

going slowly to wreck under the burden of her misery. Little by little
all her small possessions went for food. When she could no longer
pay her rent, they turned her out of doors. She begged, while she had
strength; when she was starving, at last, and her milk failing, she stolea
piece of linen cloth of the value of a fourth part of a cent, thinking to
sell it and save her child. But she was seen by the owner of the cloth.
She was put in jail and brought to trial. The man testified to the
facts. A plea was made for her, and her sorrowful story was told in
her behalf. She spoke, too, by permission, and said she did steal the



‘* A SAMPLE OF ONE SORT OF LONDON SOCIETY.”

cloth, but that her mind was so disordered of late, by trouble, that
when she was overborne with hunger all acts, criminal or other, swam
meaningless through her brain and she knew nothing rightly, except
that she was so hungry! For a moment all were touched, and there
was disposition to deal mercifully with her, seeing that she was so
young and friendless, and her case so piteous, and the law that robbed
her of her support to blame as being the first and only cause of her
transgression; but the prosecuting officer replied that whereas these
things were all true, and most pitiful as well, still there was much
A PITIFUL INCIDENT. 463

small theft in these days, and mistimed mercy here would be a danger
to property—Oh, my God, is there no property in ruined homes, and
orphaned babes, and broken hearts that British law holds precious!—
and so he must require sentence.

“When the judge put on his black cap, the owner of the stolen
linen rose trembling up, his lip quivering, his face as gray as ashes;
and when the awful words came, he cried out, ‘‘Oh, poor child, poor
child, I did not know it was death!” and fell as a tree falls. When
they lifted him up his reason was gone; before the sun was set, he
had taken his own life. A xindly man; a man whose heart was right,
at bottom; add his murder to this that is to be now done here; and
charge them both where they belong—to the rulers and the bitter laws
of Britain. The time is come, my child; let me pray over thee—not
for thee, dear abused poor heart and innocent, but for them that be
guilty of thy ruin and death, who need it more.”

After his prayer they put the noose around the young girl’s neck,
and they had great trouble to adjust.the knot under her ear, because
she was devouring the baby all the time, wildly kissing it, and snatch-
ing it to her face and her breast, and drenching it with tears, and
half moaning half shrieking all the while, and the baby crowing, and
laughing, and kicking its feet with delight over what it took for romp
and play. Even the hangman couldn’t stand it, but turned away.
When all was ready the priest gently pulled and tugged and forced the
child out of the mother’s arms, and stepped quickly out of her reach;
but she clasped her hands, and made a wild spring toward him, with a
shriek; but the rope—and the under-sheriff—held her short. Then
she went on her knees and stretched out her hands and cried:

“‘One more kiss—Oh, my God, one more, one more,—it is the dying
that begs it!”

She got it; she almost smothered the little thing. And when they
got it away again, she cried out:
464 A PITIFUL INCIDENT.

“Oh, my child, my darling, it will die! It has no home, it has no
father, no friend, no mother—”

“It has them all!” said that good priest. « All these will I be to
it till I die.”

You should have seen her face then! Gratitude? Lord, what do
you want with words to express that? Words are only painted fire;
a look is the fire itself. She gave that look, and carried it away to the
treasury of heaven, where all things that are divine belong.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

AN ENCOUNTER IN

CORRE THE DARK.
yy ye ONDON—to a slave—was a sufficiently inter-
“Gt, &, esting place. It was merely a great big village;
< “=, and mainly mud and thatch. The streets
@ were muddy, crooked, unpaved. The
populace was an ever flocking and drift-
ing swarm of rags, and splendors, of
a nodding plumes and shining armor.
7 The king had a palace there; he saw
the outside of it. It made him sigh;
yes, and swear a little, ina poor juven- ;
ile sixth century way. We saw knights
and grandees whom we knew, but they
didn’t know us in our rags and dirt and
raw welts and bruises, and wouldn’t have
recognized us if we had hailed them, nor
stopped to answer, either, it being un-
lawful to speak with slaves on a chain.
Sandy passed within ten yards of me on
a mule—hunting for me, I imagined. But
the thing which clean broke my heart
/ was some-


















Dy ‘os )
| Gas?
& AVY

a/





thing which happened in
front of our old barrack







in a square, while
we were en-

NW a2 Gi
, Se during the
eae ee


468 AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK.

spectacle of a man being boiled to death in oil for counterfeiting pen-
nies. It was the sight of a newsboy—and I couldn’t get at him! Still,
I had one comfort; here was proof that Clarence was still alive and
banging away. I meant to be with him before long; the thought was
full of cheer.

I had one little glimpse of another thing, one day, which gave mea
great uplift. It was a wire stretching from housetop to housetop. Tele-
graph or telephone, sure. I did very much wish I had a little piece of it.
It was just what I needed, in order to carry out my project of escape.
My idea was, to get loose some night, along with the king, then gag
and bind our master, change clothes with him, batter him into the



itl wer I ee
‘(MERELY A GREAT BIG VILLAGE.”

aspect of a stranger, hitch him to the slave-chain, assume possession
of the property, march to Camelot, and—

But you get my idéa; you see what a stunning dramatic surprise |
would wind up with at the palace. It was all feasible, if I could only
get hold of a slender piece of iron which I could shape into a lock-
pick. I could then undo the lumbering padlocks with which our chains
were fastened, whenever I might choose. But I never had any luck;
no such thing ever happened to fall in my way. However, my chance
came at last. A gentleman who had come twice before to dicker for
me, without result, or indeed any approach to a result, came again. I
was far from expecting ever to belong to him, for the price asked for
AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK. 469

me from the time I was first enslaved was exorbitant, and always pro-
voked either anger or derision, yet my master stuck stubbornly to it—
twenty-two dollars. He wouldn't bate a cent. The king was greatly
admired, because of his grand physique, but his kingly style was
against him, and he wasn’t salable; nobody wanted that kind of a
slave. I considered myself safe from parting from him because of my
extravagant price. No, I was not expecting to ever belong to this
gentleman whom I have
spoken of, but he had some-
thing which I expected
would belong to me event-
ually, if he would but visit
us often enough. It wasa
steel thing with a long pin
to it, with which his long
cloth outside garment was
fastened together in front.
There were three of them.
He had disappointed me
twice, because he did not



come quite close enough to
me to make my project en-
tirely safe; but this time I

SANDY RODE BY ON A MULE.

succeeded; I captured the lower clasp of the three, and when he
missed it he thought he had lost it on the way.

I had a chance to be glad about a minute, then straightway a chance
to be sad again. For when the purchase was about to fail, as usual,
the master suddenly spoke up and said what would be worded thus—
in modern English:

“T’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’m tired supporting these two for no good.
Give me twenty-two dollars for this one, and I'll throw the other one in.”
470 AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK.

The king couldn’t get his breath, he was in such a fury. He began
to choke and gag, and meantime the master and the gentleman moved
away, discussing.

‘“An ye will keep the offer open—”

‘Tis open till the morrow at this hour.”

“Then will I answer you at that time,” said the gentleman, and
disappeared, the master following him.

I had a time of it to cool the king down, but I managed it. I whis-
pered in his ear, to this effect:

“Your grace w2é/ go for nothing, but after another fashion. And
so shall J. To-night we shall both be free.”

“Ah! How is that?”

“With this thing which I have stolen, I will unlock these locks and
cast off these chains to-night. When he comes about nine-thirty to
inspect us for the night, we will seize him, gag him, batter him, and
early in the morning we will an out of this town, proprietors of this
caravan of slaves.”

That was as far as I went, but the king was charmed and satisfied.
That evening we waited patiently for our fellow-slaves to get to sleep
and signify it by the usual sign, for you must not take many chances
on those poor fellows if you can avoid it. It is best to keep your own
secrets. No doubt they fidgeted only about as usual, but it didn’t seem
soto me. It seemed to me that they were going to be forever getting

‘down to their regular snoring. As the time dragged on I got nerv-
ously afraid we shouldn’t have enough of it left for our needs; so I made
several premature attempts, and merely delayed things by it; for I
couldn’t seem to touch a padlock, there in the dark, without starting
a rattle out of it which interrupted somebody’s sleep anid made him
turn over and wake some more of the gang.

But finally I did get my last iron off, and wasa free man once more.
I took a good breath of relief, and reached for the king’s irons. Too
AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK. 47I

late! in comes the master, with a light in one hand and his heavy walk-
ing-staffin the other. I snuggled close among the wallow of snorers,
to conceal as nearly as possible that I was naked of irons; and I kept
a sharp lookout and prepared to spring for my man the moment he
should bend over me.

But he didn’t approach. He stopped, gazed absently toward our
dusky mass a minute, evidently thinking about something else; then
set down his light, moved musingly toward the door, and before a body








could imagine what he was going to do, he was out of Ky
the door and had closed it behind him.

“Quick!” said the king. ‘Fetch him back!”

Of course it was the thing to do, and I was up and
out in a moment.
But dear me, there
were no lamps in
those days, and it
was a dark night.
But I glimpsed a dim fig- ay, _
ure a few steps away. I at
darted for it, threw myself
upon it, and then there was a state of &
things and lively!) We fought and scuffled tl a ey,
and struggled, and drew a crowd in no time. THE NEWSBOY.

They took an immense interest in the fight and encouraged us all they
could, and in fact couldn’t have been pleasanter or more cordial if it
had been their own fight. Then a tremendous row broke out behind
us, and as much as half of our audience left us, with a rush, to invest
some sympathy in that. Lanterns began to swing in all directions; it
was the watch, gathering from far and near. Presently a halberd fell
across my back, as a reminder, and I knew what it meant. I was in
custody. So was my adversary. We were marched off toward
472 AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK.

prison, one on each side of the watchman. Here was disaster, here
was a fine scheme gone to sudden destruction! I tried to imagine what
would happen whefi the master should discover that it was I who had
been fighting him; and what would happen if they jailed us together
in the general apartment for brawlers and petty law breakers, as was
the custom; and what might—

Just then my antagonist turned his face around in my direction, the
freckled light from the watchman’s tin lantern fell on it,and by George
he was the wrong man!


TARE

ai



etn










a

cag bu
aia QI

= a







AC

e
al
















CHAPTER XXXVII.




AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT.

A ey
a
4 |
Pp, PC) \LEEP? It was impossible. It would naturally
LD # have been impossible in that noisome cavern
C “of a jail, with its mangy crowd of drunken,
quarrelsome and song-singing rapscallions. But
the thing that made sleep all the more a thing
not to be dreamed of, was my racking impati-
ence to get out of this place and find out the
whole size of what might have
~_ happened yonder in the slave-
~- ~ quarters in consequence of that
..». intolerable miscarriage of mine.
, It was a long night
but the morning got
around at last. I made
a full and frank expla-
nation to the court. I
said I was a slave, the

property of the great

~~ Earl Grip, who had

ft é sewfle-~or~ arrived just after
fe “/ dark at the Tabard

inn in the village on the other side of the water,

and had stopped there over night, by compulsion, he

being taken deadly sick with a strange and sudden
475
476 AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT.

disorder. I had been ordered to cross to the city in all haste and
bring the best physician; I was doing my best; naturally I was running
with all my might; the night was dark, Iran against this common per-
son here, who seized me by the throat and began to pummel me,
although I told him my errand, and implored him, for the sake of
the great earl my master’s mortal peril—

The common person interrupted and said it was a lie; and was go-
ing to explain how I rushed upon him and attacked him without a
word—

“Silence, sirrah!” from the court. ‘Take him hence and give
him a few stripes whereby to teach him how to treat the servant of a
nobleman after a dif-
ferent fashion another
time. Go!”

Then the court
begged my _ pardon,
and hoped I would
not fail to tell his lord-
ship it was in no wise
the court’s fault that this high-handed thing had happened. I said I
would make it all right, and so took my leave. Took it just in time,
too; he was starting to ask me why I did’nt fetch out these facts the
moment I was arrested. I said I would if I had thought of it—which-



‘“‘IT LAY THERE ALL BATTERED TO PULP.”

was true—but that I was so battered by that man that all my wit was
knocked out of me—and so forth and so on, and got myself away, still
mumbling.

I didn’t wait for breakfast. No grass grew under my feet. I was
soon at the slave quarters. Empty—everybody gone! That is, every-
body except one body—the slave-master’s. It lay there all battered
to pulp; and all about were the evidences of a terrific fight. There
was a rude board coffin on a cart at the door, and workmen, assisted
AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 477

by the police, were thinning a road through the gaping crowd in order
that they might bring it in.

I picked out a man humble enough in life to condescend to talk
with one so shabby as I, and got his account of the matter.

“ There were sixteen slaves here. They rose against their master
in the night, and thou seest how it ended.”

“Ves. How did it begin?”

“There was no witness but the slaves. They said the slave that
was most valuable got free of his bonds and escaped in some strange
way—by magic arts ‘twas thought, by reason that he had no key, and
the locks were neither broke nor in any wise injured. When the mas-
ter discovered his loss, he was mad with despair, and threw himself
upon his people with his heavy stick, who resisted and brake his back
and in other and divers ways did give him hurts that brought him
swiftly to his end.”

“ This is dreadful. It will go hard with the slaves, no doubt, upon
the trial.”

“ Marry, the trial is over.”

“ Over!”

“Would they be a week, think you—and the matter so simple?
They were not the half of a quarter of an hour at it.”

“Why, I don’t see how they could determine which were the guilty
ones in so short a time.” _

“< Which ones? Indeed they considered not particulars like to that.
They condemned them ina body. Wit ye not the law?—which men
say the Romans left.behind them here when they went—that if one
slave killeth his master all the slaves of that man must die for it.”

“True. I had forgotten. And when will these die?”

“ Belike within a four and twenty hours; albeit some say they will
wait a pair of days more, if peradventure they may find the missing one
meantime.”
478 AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT.

The missing one! It made me feel uncomfortable.

‘Js it likely they will find him?”

‘“ Before the day is spent—yes. They seek him everywhere. They
stand at the gates of the town, with certain of the slaves who will dis- |
cover him to them if he cometh, and none can pass out but he will be
first examined.”

‘‘ Might one see the place where the rest are confined?”

‘‘ The outside of it—yes. The inside of it—but ye will not want to
see that.”

I took the address of that prison, for future reference, and then saunt-
ered off. At the first second-hand clothing shop I came to, up a back
street, I got a rough rig suitable fora common seaman who might be
going on a cold voyage, and bound up my face with a liberal bandage,
saying I had a toothache. This concealed my worst bruises. It was
a transformation. I no longer resembled my former self. Then I
struck out for that wire, found it and followed it toits den. It wasa
little room over a butcher’s shop—which meant that business wasn’t
very brisk in the telegraphic line. The young chap in charge was
drowsing at his table. I locked the door and put the vast key in my
bosom. This alarmed the young fellow, and he was going to make a
noise; but I said:

“Save your wind; if you open your mouth you are dead, sure.
Tackle your instrument. Lively, now! Call Camelot.”

‘‘This doth amaze me! How should such as you know aught of
such matters as—”

“Call Camelot! Iamadesperate man. Call Camelot, or get away
from the instrument and I will do it myself.” .

“What—you?”

“Yes—certainly. Stop gabbling. Call the palace.” He made the
call.

‘Now then, call Clarence.”
AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 479

“Clarence who ?”

“Never mind Clarence who. Say you want Clarence; you'll get
an answer.”

He did so. We waited five nerve-straining minutes—ten minutes
—how long it did seem!—and then came a click that was as familiar
to me as a human voice; for Clarence had been my own pupil.

“Now, my lad, vacate! They wouldn’t have known my touch, may-
be, and so your call was surest; but I’m all right, now.”

He vacated the place and cocked his ear to listen—but it didn’t
win. I used a cipher. I
didn’t waste any time in
sociabilities with Clarence,
but squared away for busi-
ness, straight-off—thus:

“The king is here and
in danger. We were cap-
tured and brought here as
slaves. We should not be
able to prove our identity =
—and the fact is, lam not =~

in a position to try. Send



STREETS OF LONDON.

a telegram for the palace here which will carry conviction with it.”

His answer came straight back:

‘They don’t know anything about the telegraph; they haven’t had
any experience yet, the line to London is so new. Better not venture
that. They might hang you. Think up something else.”

Might hang us! Little he knew how closely he was crowding the
facts. I couldn't think up anything for the moment. Then an idea
struck me, and I started it along:

“Send five hundred picked knights with Launcelot in the lead;
and send them on the jump. Let them enter by the southwest
480 AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT,

gate, and look out for the man with a white cloth around his
right arm.”

The answer was prompt:

“ They shall start in half an hour.”

‘All right, Clarence; now tell this lad here that I’m a friend of
yours and a dead-head; and that he must be discreet and say nothing
about this visit of mine.”

The instrument began to talk to the youth and I hurried away. 1
fell to ciphering. In half an hour it would be nine o’clock. Knights
and horses in heavy armor couldn't travel very fast. These would
make the best time they could, and now that the ground was in good
condition, and no snow or mud, they would probably make a seven-
mile gait; they would have to change horses a couple of times; they
would arrive about six, or a little after; it would still be plenty light
enough; they would see the white cloth which I should tie around my
right arm, andI would take command. Wewould surround that prison
and have the king out in no time. It would be showy and picturesque
enough, all things considered, though I would have preferred noonday,
on account of the more theatrical aspect the thing would have.

Now then, in order to increase the strings to my bow, I thought I
would look up some of those people whom I had formerly recognized,
and make myself known. That would help us out of our scrape, with-
out the knights. But I must proceed cautiously, for it was a risky
business. I must get into sumptuous raiment, and it wouldn’t do to
run and jump into it. No, I must work up to it by degrees, buying
suit after suit of clothes, in shops wide apart, and getting a little finer
article with each change, until I should finally reach silk and velvet,
and be ready for my project. So I started.

But the scheme fell through like scat! The first corner I turned, I
came plump upon one of our slaves, snooping around with a watchman.
I coughed, at the moment, and he gave me a sudden look that bit right
AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 481

into my marrow. I judge he thought he had heard that cough before.
I turned immediately into a shop and worked along down the counter,
pricing things and watching out of the corner of my eye. Those people
had stopped, and were talking together and looking in at the door. I
made up my mind to get out the back way, if there was a back way,
and I asked the shopwoman if I could step out there and look for the
escaped slave, who was believed to be in hiding back there somewhere,



‘“HE GAVE ME A SUDDEN LOOK THAT BIT RIGHT INTO MY MARROW.”

and said I was an officer in disguise, and my pard was yonder at the
door with one of the murderers in charge, and would she be good
enough to step there and tell him he needn't wait, but had better go
at once to the further end of the back alley and be ready to head him

off when I rousted him out.
3r
482 AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT.

_ She was blazing with eagerness to see one of those already cele--
brated murderers, and she started on the errand at once. I slipped
out the back way, locked the door behind me, put the key in my
pocket and started off, chuckling to myself and comfortable.

Well, I had gone and spoiled it again, made another mistake. A
double one, in fact. There were plenty of ways to get rid of that offi-
cer by some simple and plausible device, but no, I must pick outa
picturesque one; it is the crying defect of my character. And then, I
had ordered my procedure upon what the officer, being human, would
naturally do; whereas when youare least expecting it, a man will now
and then go and do the very thing which it’s zo#natural for him to do.
The natural thing for the officer to do, in this case, was to follow
straight on my heels; he would finda stout oaken door, securely lock-
ed, between him and me; before he could break it down, I should be
far away and engaged in slipping into a succession of baffling disguises
which would soon get me intoa sort of raiment which was a surer pro-
tection from meddling law-dogs in Britain than any amount of mere
innocence and purity of character. But instead of doing the natural
thing, the officer took me at my word, and followed my instructions.
And so, as I came trotting out of that cul de sac, full of satisfaction with
my own cleverness, he turned the corner and I walked right into his
handcuffs. If I had known it was acul de sac—however, there isn’t any
excusing a blunder like that, let it go. Charge it up to profit and
loss.

Of course I was indignant, and swore I had just come ashore from
a long voyage, and all that sort of thing—just to see, you know, if it
would deceive that slave. But it didn’t. He knew me. Then I re-
proached him for betraying me. He was more surprised than hurt.
He stretched his eyes wide, and said:

‘What, wouldst have me let thee, of all men, escape and not hang
with us, when thou’rt the very cause of our hanging? Go to!”
AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT. 483

“Go to” was their way of saying “I should smile!” or “I like
that!” Queer talkers, those people.

Well, there was a sort of bastard justice in his view of the case, and
so I dropped the matter. When you can’t cure a disaster by argu-
ment, what is the use to argue? It isn’t my way. So I only said:

“ You're not going to be hanged. None of us are.”

Both men laughed, and the slave said:

“Ye have not ranked as a fool—before. You might better keep
your reputation, seeing the strain would not be for long.”

“Tt will stand it, I reckon. Before to-morrow we shall be out of
prison, and free to go where we will, besides.”

The witty officer lifted at his left ear with his thumb, made a rasp-
ing noise in his throat, and said:

“Out of prison—yes—ye say true. And free likewise to go where
ye will, so ye wander not out of his grace the Devil’s sultry realm.”

I kept my temper, and said, indifferently:

“Now I suppose you really think we are going to hang within a
day or two.”

“T thought it not many minutes ago, for so the thing was s decided
and proclaimed.”

“ Ah, then you've changed your mind, is that Pe

“Even that. I only thoug&t, then; I eee now.’

I felt sarcastical, so I said:

“Oh, sapient servant of the law, condescend to tell us, then, what
you know.”

“That ye will all be hanged ¢o-day, at mid-afternoon! Oho! that
shot hit home! Lean upon me.”

The fact is I did need to lean upon somebody. My knights
couldn’t arrive in time. They would be as much as three hours too
late. Nothing in the world could save the King of England; nor me,
which was more important. More important, not merely to me, but to
484 AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT.

the nation—the only nation on earth standing ready to blossom into
civilization. Iwassick. I said no more, there wasn’t anything to say.
I knew what the man meant; that if the missing slave was found, the
postponement would be revoked, the execution take place to-day.
Well, the missing slave was found.

CHAPTER XXXVIIL

SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE.



EARING four in the afternoon. The scene was just out-
side the walls of London. A cool, comfortable, superb
day, with a brilliant sun; the kind of day to make one

want to live, not die. The multitude was prodigious
and far reaching; and yet we fifteen poor devils hadn’t a
friend in it. There was something painful in that thought,
look at it how you might. There we sat, on our tall scaf-
fold, the butt of the hate and mock-
ery of all those enemies. We were







being made a holiday spectacle.
They had built a sort of
grand stand for the nobil-






ity and gentry, and these

7 ey :
¢ Pan) were there in full-

ANS
Ss




force, with

) their ladies.

NO ~~“ We recog-
: nized a

( good many
es

j of them.
ee, The crowd
os got a brief
and unex-

pected dash

SIR GALAHAD TAKH® A HEADER. of diversion
487
488 SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE.

out of the king. The moment we were freed of our bonds he sprang
up, in his fantastic rags, with face bruised out of all recognition, and
proclaimed himself Arthur, King of Britain, and denounced the awful
penalties of treason upon every soul there present if hair of his sacred
head were touched. It startled and surprised him to hear them: break
into a vast roar of laughter. It wounded his dignity, and he locked
himself up in silence, then, although the crowd begged him to go on,
and tried to provoke him to it by cat-calls, jeers, and shouts of

“Let him speak! The king! The king! his humble subjects. hun-
ger and thirst for words of wisdom out of the mouth of their master his
Serene and Sacred Raggedness! ”

But it went for nothing. He put on all his majesty and sat under
this rain of contempt and insult unmoved. He certainly was great in
his way. Absently, I had taken off my white bandage and wound it
about my right arm. When the crowd noticed this, they began upon
me. They said:

‘Doubtless this sailor-man is his minister—observe his costly badge
of office!”

I let them go on until they got tired, and then I said:

“Yes, I am his minister, The Boss; and to-morrow you will hear
that from Camelot which—”

I got no further. They drowned me out with joyous derision. But
presently there was silence; for the sheriffs of London, in their official
robes, with their subordinates, began to make a stir which indicated
that business was about to begin. In the hush which followed, our
crime was recited, the death warrant read, then everybody uncovered
while a priest uttered a prayer.

Then a slave was blindfolded, the hangman unslung his rope.
There lay the smooth road below us, we upon one side of it, the banked
multitude walling its other side—a good clear road, and kept free by
the police—how good it would be to see my five hundred horsemen


KNIGHTS PRACTICING ON THE QUIET,
490 SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE.

come tearing down it! But, no, it was out sab the possi- "
bilities. I followed its receding thread fa out into the

















distance —not a horseman on it, or sign ©
There was a jerk, and the slave
hung dangling; dangling and hid-
eously squirming, for his
limbs were not tied.
Asecond rope oe
was unslung, in a moment
another slave was dangling.
In a minute a third slave
was struggling in the air. It
was dreadful. I turned away
my head a moment, and when
I turned back I missed the
king! They were blindfold-
ing him! Iwas paralyzed; I
couldn’t move, I was chok-
ing, my tongue was petrified.
They finished blind-
folding him, they led
him under the rope. I S=
couldn’t shake off that ~ a
clinging impotence. But ‘‘ WHO FAILS SHALL SUP IN HELL TO-NIGHT.”

when I saw them put the noose around his neck, then everything let



go in me and I made a spring to the rescue—and as I made it I shot
one more glance abroad—by George, here they came, a-tilting!—five
hundred mailed and belted knights on bicycles!

The grandest sight that ever was seen. Lord, how the plumes
streamed, how the sun flamed and flashed from the endless procession

of webby wheels!
SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE. 491

I waved my right arm as Launcelot swept in—he recognized my
rag—I tore away noose and bandage, and shouted:

“On your knees, every rascal of you, and salute the king! Who
fails shall sup in hell to-night!”

I always use that high style when I’m climaxing an effect. Well,
it was noble to see Launcelot and the boys swarm up onto that scaffold
and heave sheriffs and such overboard. And it was fine to see that
astonished multitude go down on their knees and beg their lives of the
king they had just been deriding and insulting. And as he stood
apart, there, receiving this homage in his rags, I thought to myself,
well really there zs something peculiarly grand about the gait and
bearing of a king, after all.

I was immensely satisfied. Take the ‘hele situation all around, it
was one of the gaudiest effects I ever instigated.

And presently up comes Clarence, his own self! and winks, and
says, very modernly:

‘Good deal-of a surprise, wasn’t it? I knew you'd like it. I’ve had
the boys practicing, this long time, privately; and just hungry for a
chance to show off.”

CHAPTER XXXIX.











THE YANKEE'S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS.

OME again, at Camelot. A morning or two later I
found the paper, damp from the press, by my plate
at the breakfast table. I turned to the advertising
columns, knowing I should find something of per-

sonal interest to me there. It was this:

DE PAR LE ROL

ynow that the great lord and illus-
trious kni8ht.