A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court HTML version
Three Years Later
When I broke the back of knight-errantry that time, I no longer felt obliged to work in
secret. So, the very next day I exposed my hidden schools, my mines, and my vast system
of clandestine factories and workshops to an astonished world. That is to say, I exposed
the nineteenth century to the inspection of the sixth.
Well, it is always a good plan to follow up an advantage promptly. The knights were
temporarily down, but if I would keep them so I must just simply paralyze them--nothing
short of that would answer. You see, I was "bluffing" that last time in the field; it would
be natural for them to work around to that conclusion, if I gave them a chance. So I must
not give them time; and I didn't.
I renewed my challenge, engraved it on brass, posted it up where any priest could read it
to them, and also kept it standing in the advertising columns of the paper.
I not only renewed it, but added to its proportions. I said, name the day, and I would take
fifty assistants and stand up against the massed chivalry of the whole earth and destroy it.
I was not bluffing this time. I meant what I said; I could do what I promised. There wasn't
any way to misunderstand the language of that challenge. Even the dullest of the chivalry
perceived that this was a plain case of "put up, or shut up." They were wise and did the
latter. In all the next three years they gave me no trouble worth mentioning.
Consider the three years sped. Now look around on England. A happy and prosperous
country, and strangely altered. Schools everywhere, and several colleges; a number of
pretty good newspapers. Even authorship was taking a start; Sir Dinadan the Humorist
was first in the field, with a volume of gray-headed jokes which I had been familiar with
during thirteen centuries. If he had left out that old rancid one about the lecturer I
wouldn't have said anything; but I couldn't stand that one. I suppressed the book and
hanged the author.
Slavery was dead and gone; all men were equal before the law; taxation had been
equalized. The telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the typewriter, the sewing-
machine, and all the thousand willing and handy servants of steam and electricity were
working their way into favor. We had a steamboat or two on the Thames, we had steam
warships, and the beginnings of a steam commercial marine; I was getting ready to send
out an expedition to discover America.
We were building several lines of railway, and our line from Camelot to London was
already finished and in operation. I was shrewd enough to make all offices connected
with the passenger service places of high and distinguished honor. My idea was to attract
the chivalry and nobility, and make them useful and keep them out of mischief. The plan
worked very well, the competition for the places was hot. The conductor of the 4.33
express was a duke; there wasn't a passenger conductor on the line below the degree of