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


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Page 1

We couldn't seem to meet anybody in this lonesome 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 of me.

Meantime, it was getting hotter and hotter in there. You see,
the sun was beating down and warming 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 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.
It 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
spreading, 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 lip 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
perfect 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 comforts had been in the helmet, and now I had them again,
but no matches.

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 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 in a city. If she had had a 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 happen 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 than a fog
has. She was a perfect blatherskite; I mean for jaw, jaw, jaw,
talk, talk, talk, jabber, jabber, jabber; but just as good as she
could be. I hadn't minded her mill that morning, on account of
having that hornets' nest of other troubles; but more than once
in the afternoon I had to say:

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 21st Feb 2019, 1:54