Not a member?     Existing members login below:

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Freemen
Yes, it is strange how little a while at a time a person can be contented. Only a little while
back, when I was riding and suffering, what a heaven this peace, this rest, this sweet
serenity in this secluded shady nook by this purling stream would have seemed, where I
could keep perfectly comfortable all the time by pouring a dipper of water into my armor
now and then; yet already I was getting dissatisfied; partly because I could not light my
pipe--for, although I had long ago started a match factory, I had forgotten to bring
matches with me--and partly because we had nothing to eat. Here was another illustration
of the childlike improvidence of this age and people. A man in armor always trusted to
chance for his food on a journey, and would have been scandalized at the idea of hanging
a basket of sandwiches on his spear. There was probably not a knight of all the Round
Table combination who would not rather have died than been caught carrying such a
thing as that on his flagstaff. And yet there could not be anything more sensible. It had
been my intention to smuggle a couple of sandwiches into my helmet, but I was
interrupted in the act, and had to make an excuse and lay them aside, and a dog got them.
Night approached, and with it a storm. The darkness came on fast. We must camp, of
course. I found a good shelter for the demoiselle under a rock, and went off and found
another for myself. But I was obliged to remain in my armor, because I could not get it
off by myself and yet could not allow Alisande to help, because it would have seemed so
like undressing before folk. It would not have amounted to that in reality, because I had
clothes on underneath; but the prejudices of one's breeding are not gotten rid of just at a
jump, and I knew that when it came to stripping off that bob-tailed iron petticoat I should
be embarrassed.
With the storm came a change of weather; and the stronger the wind blew, and the wilder
the rain lashed around, the colder and colder it got. Pretty soon, various kinds of bugs and
ants and worms and things began to flock in out of the wet and crawl down inside my
armor to get warm; and while some of them behaved well enough, and snuggled up
amongst my clothes and got quiet, the majority were of a restless, uncomfortable sort,
and never stayed still, but went on prowling and hunting for they did not know what;
especially the ants, which went tickling along in wearisome procession from one end of
me to the other by the hour, and are a kind of creatures which I never wish to sleep with
again. It would be my advice to persons situated in this way, to not roll or thrash around,
because this excites the interest of all the different sorts of animals and makes every last
one of them want to turn out and see what is going on, and this makes things worse than
they were before, and of course makes you objurgate harder, too, if you can. Still, if one
did not roll and thrash around he would die; so perhaps it is as well to do one way as the
other; there is no real choice. Even after I was frozen solid I could still distinguish that
tickling, just as a corpse does when he is taking electric treatment. I said I would never
wear armor after this trip.
All those trying hours whilst I was frozen and yet was in a living fire, as you may say, on
account of that swarm of crawlers, that same unanswerable question kept circling and
 
Remove