Read Books Online, for Free
|A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court||Mark Twain|
Drilling The King
|Page 2 of 3||
After the drill had gone on a little while, I said:
"Now, sire, imagine that we are at the door of the hut yonder, and the family are before us. Proceed, please -- accost the head of the house."
The king unconsciously straightened up like a monument, and said, with frozen austerity:
"Varlet, bring a seat; and serve to me what cheer ye have."
"Ah, your grace, that is not well done."
"In what lacketh it?"
"These people do not call EACH OTHER varlets."
"Nay, is that true?"
"Yes; only those above them call them so."
"Then must I try again. I will call him villein."
"No-no; for he may be a freeman."
"Ah -- so. Then peradventure I should call him goodman."
"That would answer, your grace, but it would be still better if you said friend, or brother."
"Brother! -- to dirt like that?"
"Ah, but WE are pretending to be dirt like that, too."
"It is even true. I will say it. Brother, bring a seat, and thereto what cheer ye have, withal. Now 'tis right."
"Not quite, not wholly right. You have asked for one, not US -- for one, not both; food for one, a seat for one."
The king looked puzzled -- he wasn't a very heavy weight, intellectually. His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.
"Would YOU have a seat also -- and sit?"
"If I did not sit, the man would perceive that we were only pretending to be equals -- and playing the deception pretty poorly, too."
"It is well and truly said! How wonderful is truth, come it in whatsoever unexpected form it may! Yes, he must bring out seats and food for both, and in serving us present not ewer and napkin with more show of respect to the one than to the other."
"And there is even yet a detail that needs correcting. He must bring nothing outside; we will go in -- in among the dirt, and possibly other repulsive things, -- and take the food with the household, and after the fashion of the house, and all on equal terms, except the man be of the serf class; and finally, there will be no ewer and no napkin, whether he be serf or free. Please walk again, my liege. There -- it is better -- it is the best yet; but not perfect. The shoulders have known no ignobler burden than iron mail, and they will not stoop."
"Give me, then, the bag. I will learn the spirit that goeth with burdens that have not honor. It is the spirit that stoopeth the shoulders, I ween, and not the weight; for armor is heavy, yet it is a proud burden, and a man standeth straight in it......Nay, but me no buts, offer me no objections. I will have the thing. Strap it upon my back."
He was complete now with that knapsack on, and looked as little like a king as any man I had ever seen. But it was an obstinate pair of shoulders; they could not seem to learn the trick of stooping with any sort of deceptive naturalness. The drill went on, I prompting and correcting:
|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