A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
jogged along, and now and then we struck a stretch of dust, and it would tumble up in
clouds and get into my nose and make me sneeze and cry; and of course I said things I
oughtn't to have said, I don't deny that. I am not better than others.
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