A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
King Arthur's Court
The moment I got a chance I slipped aside privately and touched an ancient common
looking man on the shoulder and said, in an insinuating, confidential way:
"Friend, do me a kindness. Do you belong to the asylum, or are you just on a visit or
something like that?"
He looked me over stupidly, and said:
"Marry, fair sir, me seemeth--"
"That will do," I said; "I reckon you are a patient."
I moved away, cogitating, and at the same time keeping an eye out for any chance
passenger in his right mind that might come along and give me some light. I judged I had
found one, presently; so I drew him aside and said in his ear:
"If I could see the head keeper a minute--only just a minute--"
"Prithee do not let me."
"Let you what?"
"Hinder me, then, if the word please thee better. Then he went on to say he was an under-
cook and could not stop to gossip, though he would like it another time; for it would
comfort his very liver to know where I got my clothes. As he started away he pointed and
said yonder was one who was idle enough for my purpose, and was seeking me besides,
no doubt. This was an airy slim boy in shrimp-colored tights that made him look like a
forked carrot, the rest of his gear was blue silk and dainty laces and ruffles; and he had
long yellow curls, and wore a plumed pink satin cap tilted complacently over his ear. By
his look, he was good-natured; by his gait, he was satisfied with himself. He was pretty
enough to frame. He arrived, looked me over with a smiling and impudent curiosity; said
he had come for me, and informed me that he was a page.
"Go 'long," I said; "you ain't more than a paragraph."
It was pretty severe, but I was nettled. However, it never phazed him; he didn't appear to
know he was hurt. He began to talk and laugh, in happy, thoughtless, boyish fashion, as
we walked along, and made himself old friends with me at once; asked me all sorts of
questions about myself and about my clothes, but never waited for an answer--always
chattered straight ahead, as if he didn't know he had asked a question and wasn't
expecting any reply, until at last he happened to mention that he was born in the
beginning of the year 513.