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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court Mark Twain


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"Yes. The two armies lay near Salisbury. Gawaine -- Gawaine's head is at Dover Castle, he fell in the fight there -- Gawaine appeared to Arthur in a dream, at least his ghost did, and warned him to refrain from conflict for a month, let the delay cost what it might. But battle was precipitated by an accident. Arthur had given order that if a sword was raised during the consultation over the proposed treaty with Mordred, sound the trumpet and fall on! for he had no confidence in Mordred. Mordred had given a similar order to HIS people. Well, by and by an adder bit a knight's heel; the knight forgot all about the order, and made a slash at the adder with his sword. Inside of half a minute those two prodigious hosts came together with a crash! They butchered away all day. Then the king -- however, we have started something fresh since you left -- our paper has."

"No? What is that?"

"War correspondence!"

"Why, that's good."

"Yes, the paper was booming right along, for the Interdict made no impression, got no grip, while the war lasted. I had war correspondents with both armies. I will finish that battle by reading you what one of the boys says:

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    Then the king looked about him, and then was he
    ware of all his host and of all his good knights
    were left no more on live but two knights, that
    was Sir Lucan de Butlere, and his brother Sir
    Bedivere: and they were full sore wounded. Jesu
    mercy, said the king, where are all my noble
    knights becomen? Alas that ever I should see this
    doleful day. For now, said Arthur, I am come to
    mine end. But would to God that I wist where were
    that traitor Sir Mordred, that hath caused all
    this mischief. Then was King Arthur ware where Sir
    Mordred leaned upon his sword among a great heap
    of dead men. Now give me my spear, said Arthur
    unto Sir Lucan, for yonder I have espied the
    traitor that all this woe hath wrought. Sir, let
    him be, said Sir Lucan, for he is unhappy; and if
    ye pass this unhappy day, ye shall be right well
    revenged upon him. Good lord, remember ye of your
    night's dream, and what the spirit of Sir Gawaine
    told you this night, yet God of his great goodness
    hath preserved you hitherto. Therefore, for God's
    sake, my lord, leave off by this. For blessed be
    God ye have won the field: for here we be three
    on live, and with Sir Mordred is none on live.
    And if ye leave off now, this wicked day of
    destiny is past. Tide me death, betide me life,
    saith the king, now I see him yonder alone, he
    shall never escape mine hands, for at a better
    avail shall I never have him. God speed you well,
    said Sir Bedivere. Then the king gat his spear
    in both his hands, and ran toward Sir Mordred
    crying, Traitor, now is thy death day come. And
    when Sir Mordred heard Sir Arthur, he ran until
    him with his sword drawn in his hand. And then
    King Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield,
    with a foin of his spear throughout the body more
    than a fathom. And when Sir Mordred felt that he
    had his death's wound, he thrust himself, with
    the might that he had, up to the butt of King
    Arthur's spear. And right so he smote his father
    Arthur with his sword holden in both his hands,
    on the side of the head, that the sword pierced
    the helmet and the brain-pan, and therewithal
    Sir Mordred fell stark dead to the earth. And
    the noble Arthur fell in a swoon to the earth,
    and there he swooned oft-times

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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain

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