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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court Mark Twain


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"That's attended to. It's the prettiest garden that was ever planted. It's a belt forty feet wide, and goes around the outer fence -- distance between it and the fence one hundred yards -- kind of neutral ground that space is. There isn't a single square yard of that whole belt but is equipped with a torpedo. We laid them on the surface of the ground, and sprinkled a layer of sand over them. It's an innocent looking garden, but you let a man start in to hoe it once, and you'll see."

"You tested the torpedoes?"

"Well, I was going to, but --"

"But what? Why, it's an immense oversight not to apply a --"

"Test? Yes, I know; but they're all right; I laid a few in the public road beyond our lines and they've been tested."

"Oh, that alters the case. Who did it?"

"A Church committee."

"How kind!"

"Yes. They came to command us to make submission . You see they didn't really come to test the torpedoes; that was merely an incident."

"Did the committee make a report?"

"Yes, they made one. You could have heard it a mile."


"That was the nature of it. After that I put up some signs, for the protection of future committees, and we have had no intruders since."

"Clarence, you've done a world of work, and done it perfectly."

"We had plenty of time for it; there wasn't any occasion for hurry."

We sat silent awhile, thinking. Then my mind was made up, and I said:

"Yes, everything is ready; everything is shipshape, no detail is wanting. I know what to do now."

"So do I; sit down and wait."

"No, SIR! rise up and STRIKE!"

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"Do you mean it?"

"Yes, indeed! The DEfensive isn't in my line, and the OFfensive is. That is, when I hold a fair hand -- two-thirds as good a hand as the enemy. Oh, yes, we'll rise up and strike; that's our game."

" A hundred to one you are right. When does the performance begin?"

"NOW! We'll proclaim the Republic."

"Well, that WILL precipitate things, sure enough!"

"It will make them buzz, I tell you! England will be a hornets' nest before noon to-morrow, if the Church's hand hasn't lost its cunning -- and we know it hasn't. Now you write and I'll dictate thus:



    "BE IT KNOWN UNTO ALL. Whereas the king having died
    and left no heir, it becomes my duty to continue the
    executive authority vested in me, until a government
    shall have been created and set in motion. The
    monarchy has lapsed, it no longer exists. By
    consequence, all political power has reverted to its
    original source, the people of the nation. With the
    monarchy, its several adjuncts died also; wherefore
    there is no longer a nobility, no longer a privileged
    class, no longer an Established Church; all men are
    become exactly equal; they are upon one common
    level, and religion is free. A REPUBLIC IS HEREBY
    PROCLAIMED, as being the natural estate of a nation
    when other authority has ceased. It is the duty of
    the British people to meet together immediately,
    and by their votes elect representatives and deliver
    into their hands the government."

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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain

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