A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court HTML version

We had another large departure on hand, too. This was a telegraph and a telephone; our
first venture in this line. These wires were for private service only, as yet, and must be
kept private until a riper day should come. We had a gang of men on the road, working
mainly by night. They were stringing ground wires; we were afraid to put up poles, for
they would attract too much inquiry. Ground wires were good enough, in both instances,
for my wires were protected by an insulation of my own invention which was perfect. My
men had orders to strike across country, avoiding roads, and establishing connection with
any considerable towns whose lights betrayed their presence, and leaving experts in
charge. Nobody could tell you how to find any place in the kingdom, for nobody ever
went intentionally to any place, but only struck it by accident in his wanderings, and then
generally left it without thinking to inquire what its name was. At one time and another
we had sent out topographical expeditions to survey and map the kingdom, but the priests
had always interfered and raised trouble. So we had given the thing up, for the present; it
would be poor wisdom to antagonize the Church.
As for the general condition of the country, it was as it had been when I arrived in it, to
all intents and purposes. I had made changes, but they were necessarily slight, and they
were not noticeable. Thus far, I had not even meddled with taxation, outside of the taxes
which provided the royal revenues. I had systematized those, and put the service on an
effective and righteous basis. As a result, these revenues were already quadrupled, and
yet the burden was so much more equably distributed than before, that all the kingdom
felt a sense of relief, and the praises of my administration were hearty and general.
Personally, I struck an interruption, now, but I did not mind it, it could not have happened
at a better time. Earlier it could have annoyed me, but now everything was in good hands
and swimming right along. The king had reminded me several times, of late, that the
postponement I had asked for, four years before, had about run out now. It was a hint that
I ought to be starting out to seek adventures and get up a reputation of a size to make me
worthy of the honor of breaking a lance with Sir Sagramor, who was still out grailing, but
was being hunted for by various relief expeditions, and might be found any year, now. So
you see I was expecting this interruption; it did not take me by surprise.