A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court HTML version
by their common assent promised unto Sir Marhaus never to be foes unto King Arthur,
and thereupon at Whitsuntide after, to come he and his sons, and put them in the king's
[*Footnote: The story is borrowed, language and all, from the Morte d'Arthur. --M.T.]
"Even so standeth the history, fair Sir Boss. Now ye shall wit that that very duke and his
six sons are they whom but few days past you also did overcome and send to Arthur's
"Why, Sandy, you can't mean it!"
"An I speak not sooth, let it be the worse for me."
"Well, well, well,--now who would ever have thought it? One whole duke and six
dukelets; why, Sandy, it was an elegant haul. Knight-errantry is a most chuckle-headed
trade, and it is tedious hard work, too, but I begin to see that there is money in it, after all,
if you have luck. Not that I would ever engage in it as a business, for I wouldn't. No
sound and legitimate business can be established on a basis of speculation. A successful
whirl in the knight-errantry line--now what is it when you blow away the nonsense and
come down to the cold facts? It's just a corner in pork, that's all, and you can't make
anything else out of it. You're rich--yes,--suddenly rich--for about a day, maybe a week;
then somebody corners the market on you, and down goes your bucket-shop; ain't that so,
"Whethersoever it be that my mind miscarrieth, bewraying simple language in such sort
that the words do seem to come endlong and overthwart--"
"There's no use in beating about the bush and trying to get around it that way, Sandy, it's
so, just as I say. I know it's so. And, moreover, when you come right down to the
bedrock, knight-errantry is worse than pork; for whatever happens, the pork's left, and so
somebody's benefited anyway; but when the market breaks, in a knight-errantry whirl,
and every knight in the pool passes in his checks, what have you got for assets? Just a
rubbish-pile of battered corpses and a barrel or two of busted hardware. Can you call
those assets? Give me pork, every time. Am I right?"
"Ah, peradventure my head being distraught by the manifold matters whereunto the
confusions of these but late adventured haps and fortunings whereby not I alone nor you
alone, but every each of us, meseemeth--"
"No, it's not your head, Sandy. Your head's all right, as far as it goes, but you don't know
business; that's where the trouble is. It unfits you to argue about business, and you're
wrong to be always trying. However, that aside, it was a good haul, anyway, and will
breed a handsome crop of reputation in Arthur's court. And speaking of the cowboys,
what a curious country this is for women and men that never get old. Now there's Morgan
le Fay, as fresh and young as a Vassar pullet, to all appearances, and here is this old duke