A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Part 1. by Mark Twain


Main
- books.jibble.org



My Books
- IRC Hacks

Misc. Articles
- Meaning of Jibble
- M4 Su Doku
- Computer Scrapbooking
- Setting up Java
- Bootable Java
- Cookies in Java
- Dynamic Graphs
- Social Shakespeare

External Links
- Paul Mutton
- Jibble Photo Gallery
- Jibble Forums
- Google Landmarks
- Jibble Shop
- Free Books
- Intershot Ltd

books.jibble.org

Previous Page | Next Page

Page 1

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT




A WORD OF EXPLANATION

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 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 Sagramor
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, _I saw it done_." Then, after a pause, added:
"I did it myself."

By the time I had recovered from the electric surprise of this
remark, 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 nightcap--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 fellow saw that, he ran away as he were
wood [*demented], 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 deliverance. 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 gentle-women 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 valleys,
and evil was he lodged. And at the last by
fortune him happened against a night to come to
a fair courtilage, and therein he found an old
gentle-woman 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 rose
up, and looked out at the window, and saw by the
moonlight 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 at a 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, therefore 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.

Previous Page | Next Page


Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 26th Apr 2019, 10:42