A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Four years rolled by--and then! Well, you would never imagine it in the world. Unlimited
power is the ideal thing when it is in safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the one
absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect
earthly government, if the conditions were the same, namely, the despot the perfectest
individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect
man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly
despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible.
My works showed what a despot could do with the resources of a kingdom at his
command. Unsuspected by this dark land, I had the civilization of the nineteenth century
booming under its very nose! It was fenced away from the public view, but there it was, a
gigantic and unassailable fact--and to be heard from, yet, if I lived and had luck. There it
was, as sure a fact and as substantial a fact as any serene volcano, standing innocent with
its smokeless summit in the blue sky and giving no sign of the rising hell in its bowels.
My schools and churches were children four years before; they were grown-up now; my
shops of that day were vast factories now; where I had a dozen trained men then, I had a
thousand now; where I had one brilliant expert then, I had fifty now. I stood with my
hand on the cock, so to speak, ready to turn it on and flood the midnight world with light
at any moment. But I was not going to do the thing in that sudden way. It was not my
policy. The people could not have stood it; and, moreover, I should have had the
Established Roman Catholic Church on my back in a minute.
No, I had been going cautiously all the while. I had had confidential agents trickling
through the country some time, whose office was to undermine knighthood by
imperceptible degrees, and to gnaw a little at this and that and the other superstition, and
so prepare the way gradually for a better order of things. I was turning on my light one-
candle-power at a time, and meant to continue to do so.
I had scattered some branch schools secretly about the kingdom, and they were doing
very well. I meant to work this racket more and more, as time wore on, if nothing
occurred to frighten me. One of my deepest secrets was my West Point--my military
academy. I kept that most jealously out of sight; and I did the same with my naval
academy which I had established at a remote seaport. Both were prospering to my
Clarence was twenty-two now, and was my head executive, my right hand. He was a
darling; he was equal to anything; there wasn't anything he couldn't turn his hand to. Of
late I had been training him for journalism, for the time seemed about right for a start in
the newspaper line; nothing big, but just a small weekly for experimental circulation in
my civilization-nurseries. He took to it like a duck; there was an editor concealed in him,
sure. Already he had doubled himself in one way; he talked sixth century and wrote
nineteenth. His journalistic style was climbing, steadily; it was already up to the back
settlement Alabama mark, and couldn't be told from the editorial output of that region
either by matter or flavor.