A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Part 3. by Mark Twain


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court, Part 3., by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Part 3.

Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Release Date: July 6, 2004 [EBook #7244]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CONNECTICUT YANKEE ***




Produced by David Widger





A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT

by

MARK TWAIN
(Samuel L. Clemens)

Part 3.




CHAPTER XII

SLOW TORTURE

Straight off, we were in the country. It was most lovely and
pleasant in those sylvan solitudes in the early cool morning
in the first freshness of autumn. From hilltops we saw fair
green valleys lying spread out below, with streams winding through
them, and island 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 billowy perspective to the horizon, with at wide intervals
a dim fleck of white or gray on a wave-summit, which we knew was
a castle. We crossed broad natural lawns sparkling with dew,
and we moved like spirits, the cushioned turf giving out no sound
of footfall; 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 making 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 scurried
by and were gone before you could even get your eye on the place
where the noise was; and where only the earliest 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 remotenesses 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 had a very
long pull, after that, without any shade. Now it is curious how
progressively little frets grow and multiply after they once get
a start. Things which I didn't mind at all, at first, I 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
in it. 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; every one has noticed that.
Well, it took my mind off from everything else; took it clear off,
and centered it in my helmet; and mile after mile, there it stayed,
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.

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