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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Morgan Le Fay
If knights errant were to be believed, not all castles were desirable places to seek
hospitality in. As a matter of fact, knights errant were not persons to be believed--that is,
measured by modern standards of veracity; yet, measured by the standards of their own
time, and scaled accordingly, you got the truth. It was very simple: you discounted a
statement ninety-seven per cent; the rest was fact. Now after making this allowance, the
truth remained that if I could find out something about a castle before ringing the door-
bell--I mean hailing the warders--it was the sensible thing to do. So I was pleased when I
saw in the distance a horseman making the bottom turn of the road that wound down
from this castle.
As we approached each other, I saw that he wore a plumed helmet, and seemed to be
otherwise clothed in steel, but bore a curious addition also--a stiff square garment like a
herald's tabard. However, I had to smile at my own forgetfulness when I got nearer and
read this sign on his tabard:
"Persimmon's Soap -- All the Prime-Donna Use It."
That was a little idea of my own, and had several wholesome purposes in view toward the
civilizing and uplifting of this nation. In the first place, it was a furtive, underhand blow
at this nonsense of knight errantry, though nobody suspected that but me. I had started a
number of these people out--the bravest knights I could get--each sandwiched between
bulletin-boards bearing one device or another, and I judged that by and by when they got
to be numerous enough they would begin to look ridiculous; and then, even the steel-clad
ass that hadn't any board would himself begin to look ridiculous because he was out of
the fashion.
Secondly, these missionaries would gradually, and without creating suspicion or exciting
alarm, introduce a rudimentary cleanliness among the nobility, and from them it would
work down to the people, if the priests could be kept quiet. This would undermine the
Church. I mean would be a step toward that. Next, education--next, freedom-- and then
she would begin to crumble. It being my conviction that any Established Church is an
established crime, an established slave-pen, I had no scruples, but was willing to assail it
in any way or with any weapon that promised to hurt it. Why, in my own former day--in
remote centuries not yet stirring in the womb of time--there were old Englishmen who
imagined that they had been born in a free country: a "free" country with the Corporation
Act and the Test still in force in it--timbers propped against men's liberties and
dishonored consciences to shore up an Established Anachronism with.
My missionaries were taught to spell out the gilt signs on their tabards--the showy gilding
was a neat idea, I could have got the king to wear a bulletin-board for the sake of that
barbaric splendor--they were to spell out these signs and then explain to the lords and
ladies what soap was; and if the lords and ladies were afraid of it, get them to try it on a
dog. The missionary's next move was to get the family together and try it on himself; he
 
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