A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court

Mark Twain
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court, A

The Project Gutenberg EBook Connecticut Yankee, by Twain, Complete #4 in our series
by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
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Title: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Complete
Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Release Date: October, 1993 [Etext# 85] [This file was last updated on March 31, 2003]
Edition: 13
Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


This eBook was produced by David Widger [[email protected]] The 10th edition was
taken from Internet Wiretap collection, June 1993

MARK TWAIN (Samuel L. Clemens)

The ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are historical, 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 suppose them to have been in practice in that
day also. One is quite justified in inferring that whatever 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.


It was in Warwick Castle that I came across the curious stranger whom I am going to talk
about. He attracted me by three things: his candid simplicity, 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 specters and shadows and dust and mold of a 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 of the Lake, Sir Galahad, and all the other great 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--
"You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about transposition of
epochs--and bodies?"
I said I had not heard of it. He
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