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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

The Battle Of The Sand Belt
In Merlin's Cave -- Clarence and I and fifty-two fresh, bright, well-educated, clean-
minded young British boys. At dawn I sent an order to the factories and to all our great
works to stop operations and remove all life to a safe distance, as everything was going to
be blown up by secret mines, "and no telling at what moment--therefore, vacate at once."
These people knew me, and had confidence in my word. They would clear out without
waiting to part their hair, and I could take my own time about dating the explosion. You
couldn't hire one of them to go back during the century, if the explosion was still
impending.
We had a week of waiting. It was not dull for me, because I was writing all the time.
During the first three days, I finished turning my old diary into this narrative form; it only
required a chapter or so to bring it down to date. The rest of the week I took up in writing
letters to my wife. It was always my habit to write to Sandy every day, whenever we
were separate, and now I kept up the habit for love of it, and of her, though I couldn't do
anything with the letters, of course, after I had written them. But it put in the time, you
see, and was almost like talking; it was almost as if I was saying, "Sandy, if you and
Hello-Central were here in the cave, instead of only your photographs, what good times
we could have!" And then, you know, I could imagine the baby goo-gooing something
out in reply, with its fists in its mouth and itself stretched across its mother's lap on its
back, and she a-laughing and admiring and worshipping, and now and then tickling under
the baby's chin to set it cackling, and then maybe throwing in a word of answer to me
herself--and so on and so on-- well, don't you know, I could sit there in the cave with my
pen, and keep it up, that way, by the hour with them. Why, it was almost like having us
all together again.
I had spies out every night, of course, to get news. Every report made things look more
and more impressive. The hosts were gathering, gathering; down all the roads and paths
of England the knights were riding, and priests rode with them, to hearten these original
Crusaders, this being the Church's war. All the nobilities, big and little, were on their
way, and all the gentry. This was all as was expected. We should thin out this sort of folk
to such a degree that the people would have nothing to do but just step to the front with
their republic and--
Ah, what a donkey I was! Toward the end of the week I began to get this large and
disenchanting fact through my head: that the mass of the nation had swung their caps and
shouted for the republic for about one day, and there an end! The Church, the nobles, and
the gentry then turned one grand, all-disapproving frown upon them and shriveled them
into sheep! From that moment the sheep had begun to gather to the fold--that is to say,
the camps--and offer their valueless lives and their valuable wool to the "righteous
cause." Why, even the very men who had lately been slaves were in the "righteous
cause," and glorifying it, praying for it, sentimentally slabbering over it, just like all the
other commoners. Imagine such human muck as this; conceive of this folly!
 
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