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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court Mark Twain

The Tournament

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Well, the priest did very well, considering. He got in all the details, and that is a good thing in a local item: you see, he had kept books for the undertaker-department of his church when he was younger, and there, you know, the money's in the details; the more details, the more swag: bearers, mutes, candles, prayers -- everything counts; and if the bereaved don't buy prayers enough you mark up your candles with a forked pencil, and your bill shows up all right. And he had a good knack at getting in the complimentary thing here and there about a knight that was likely to advertise -- no, I mean a knight that had influence; and he also had a neat gift of exaggeration, for in his time he had kept door for a pious hermit who lived in a sty and worked miracles.

Of course this novice's report lacked whoop and crash and lurid description, and therefore wanted the true ring; but its antique wording was quaint and sweet and simple, and full of the fragrances and flavors of the time, and these little merits made up in a measure for its more important lacks. Here is an extract from it:

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    Then Sir Brian de les Isles and Grummore Grummorsum,
    knights of the castle, encountered with Sir Aglovale and
    Sir Tor, and Sir Tor smote down Sir Grummore Grummorsum
    to the earth. Then came Sir Carados of the dolorous
    tower, and Sir Turquine, knights of the castle, and
    there encountered with them Sir Percivale de Galis
    and Sir Lamorak de Galis, that were two brethren, and
    there encountered Sir Percivale with Sir Carados, and
    either brake their spears unto their hands, and then
    Sir Turquine with Sir Lamorak, and either of them smote
    down other, horse and all, to the earth, and either
    parties rescued other and horsed them again. And Sir
    Arnold, and Sir Gauter, knights of the castle,
    encountered with Sir Brandiles and Sir Kay, and these
    four knights encountered mightily, and brake their
    spears to their hands. Then came Sir Pertolope from
    the castle, and there encountered with him Sir Lionel,
    and there Sir Pertolope the green knight smote down Sir
    Lionel, brother to Sir Launcelot. All this was marked
    by noble heralds, who bare him best, and their names.
    Then Sir Bleobaris brake his spear upon Sir Gareth,
    but of that stroke Sir Bleobaris fell to the earth.
    When Sir Galihodin saw that, he bad Sir Gareth keep him,
    and Sir Gareth smote him to the earth. Then Sir Galihud
    gat a spear to avenge his brother, and in the same wise
    Sir Gareth served him, and Sir Dinadan and his brother
    La Cote Male Taile, and Sir Sagramore le Disirous, and
    Sir Dodinas le Savage; all these he bare down with one
    spear. When King Aswisance of Ireland saw Sir Gareth
    fare so he marvelled what he might be, that one time
    seemed green, and another time, at his again coming,
    he seemed blue. And thus at every course that he rode
    to and fro he changed his color, so that there might
    neither king nor knight have ready cognizance of him.
    Then Sir Agwisance the King of Ireland encountered
    with Sir Gareth, and there Sir Gareth smote him from
    his horse, saddle and all. And then came King Carados
    of Scotland, and Sir Gareth smote him down horse and
    man. And in the same wise he served King Uriens of the
    land of Gore. And then there came in Six Bagdemagus,
    and Sir Gareth smote him down horse and man to the
    earth. And Bagdemagus's son Meliganus brake a spear
    upon Sir Gareth mightily and knightly. And then Sir
    Galahault the noble prince cried on high, Knight with
    the many colors, well hast thou justed; now make thee
    ready that I may just with thee. Sir Gareth heard him,
    and he gat a great spear, and so they encountered
    together, and there the prince brake his spear; but Sir
    Gareth smote him upon the left side of the helm, that
    he reeled here and there, and he had fallen down had not
    his men recovered him. Truly, said King Arthur, that
    knight with the many colors is a good knight. Wherefore
    the king called unto him Sir Launcelot, and prayed him
    to encounter with that knight. Sir, said Launcelot, I
    may as well find in my heart for to forbear him at
    this time, for he hath had travail enough this day, and
    when a good knight doth so well upon some day, it is
    no good knight's part to let him of his worship, and,
    namely, when he seeth a knight hath done so great
    labour; for peradventure, said Sir Launcelot, his
    quarrel is here this day, and peradventure he is best
    beloved with this lady of all that be here, for I see
    well he paineth himself and enforceth him to do great
    deeds, and therefore, said Sir Launcelot, as for me,
    this day he shall have the honour; though it lay in my
    power to put him from it, I would not.

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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain

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