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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Sixth Century Political Economy
However, 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, in a
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 can insult him, I only mean it's difficult;
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 apparently immensely 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 creators of
this world--after God--Gutenburg, 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 take a 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. At a 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 toward 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 mechanic get--carpenter,
dauber, mason, painter, blacksmith, wheelwright, and the like?"
"On the average, fifty milrays; half a cent a day."
"Ho-ho! With us they are allowed a hundred! With us any good mechanic is allowed a
cent a day! I count out the tailor, but not the others--they are all allowed a cent a day, and
 
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