A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
To be vested with enormous authority is a fine thing; but to have the on-looking world
consent to it is a finer. The tower episode solidified my power, and made it impregnable.
If any were perchance disposed to be jealous and critical before that, they experienced a
change of heart, now. There was not any one in the kingdom who would have considered
it good judgment to meddle with my matters.
I was fast getting adjusted to my situation and circumstances. For a time, I used to wake
up, mornings, and smile at my "dream," and listen for the Colt's factory whistle; but that
sort of thing played itself out, gradually, and at last I was fully able to realize that I was
actually living in the sixth century, and in Arthur's court, not a lunatic asylum. After that,
I was just as much at home in that century as I could have been in any other; and as for
preference, I wouldn't have traded it for the twentieth. Look at the opportunities here for a
man of knowledge, brains, pluck, and enterprise to sail in and grow up with the country.
The grandest field that ever was; and all my own; not a competitor; not a man who wasn't
a baby to me in acquirements and capacities; whereas, what would I amount to in the
twentieth century? I should be foreman of a factory, that is about all; and could drag a
seine down street any day and catch a hundred better men than myself.
What a jump I had made! I couldn't keep from thinking about it, and contemplating it,
just as one does who has struck oil. There was nothing back of me that could approach it,
unless it might be Joseph's case; and Joseph's only approached it, it didn't equal it, quite.
For it stands to reason that as Joseph's splendid financial ingenuities advantaged nobody
but the king, the general public must have regarded him with a good deal of disfavor,
whereas I had done my entire public a kindness in sparing the sun, and was popular by
reason of it.
I was no shadow of a king; I was the substance; the king himself was the shadow. My
power was colossal; and it was not a mere name, as such things have generally been, it
was the genuine article. I stood here, at the very spring and source of the second great
period of the world's history; and could see the trickling stream of that history gather and
deepen and broaden, and roll its mighty tides down the far centuries; and I could note the
upspringing of adventurers like myself in the shelter of its long array of thrones: De
Montforts, Gavestons, Mortimers, Villierses; the war-making, campaign-directing
wantons of France, and Charles the Second's scepter-wielding drabs; but nowhere in the
procession was my full-sized fellow visible. I was a Unique; and glad to know that that
fact could not be dislodged or challenged for thirteen centuries and a half, for sure. Yes,
in power I was equal to the king. At the same time there was another power that was a
trifle stronger than both of us put together. That was the Church. I do not wish to disguise
that fact. I couldn't, if I wanted to. But never mind about that, now; it will show up, in its
proper place, later on. It didn't cause me any trouble in the beginning-- at least any of