Read Books Online, for Free
|A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court||Mark Twain|
An Awful Predicament
|Page 5 of 5||
"What, wouldst have me let thee, of all men, escape and not hang with us, when thou'rt the very CAUSE of our hanging? Go to!"
"Go to" was their way of saying "I should smile!" or "I like that!" Queer talkers, those people.
Well, there was a sort of bastard justice in his view of the case, and so I dropped the matter. When you can't cure a disaster by argument, what is the use to argue? It isn't my way. So I only said:
"You're not going to be hanged. None of us are."
Both men laughed, and the slave said:
"Ye have not ranked as a fool -- before. You might better keep your reputation, seeing the strain would not be for long."
"It will stand it, I reckon. Before to-morrow we shall be out of prison, and free to go where we will, besides."
The witty officer lifted at his left ear with his thumb, made a rasping noise in his throat, and said:
"Out of prison -- yes -- ye say true. And free likewise to go where ye will, so ye wander not out of his grace the Devil's sultry realm."
I kept my temper, and said, indifferently:
"Now I suppose you really think we are going to hang within a day or two."
"I thought it not many minutes ago, for so the thing was decided and proclaimed."
"Ah, then you've changed your mind, is that it?"
"Even that. I only THOUGHT, then; I KNOW, now."
I felt sarcastical, so I said:
"Oh, sapient servant of the law, condescend to tell us, then, what you KNOW."
"That ye will all be hanged TO-DAY, at mid-afternoon! Oho! that shot hit home! Lean upon me."
The fact is I did need to lean upon somebody. My knights couldn't arrive in time. They would be as much as three hours too late. Nothing in the world could save the King of England; nor me, which was more important. More important, not merely to me, but to the nation -- the only nation on earth standing ready to blossom into civilization. I was sick. I said no more, there wasn't anything to say. I knew what the man meant; that if the missing slave was found, the postponement would be revoked, the execution take place to-day. Well, the missing slave was found.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004