Yankee from Connecticut at the court of King Arthur
A typical business Yankee of the late nineteenth century, who knows how to do any thing in the world, gets a scrap on the skull during a skirmish in his factory, gets from the industrial state of Connecticut in the era of King Arthur – rather, the hero of many knightly novels than the real king of the Britons, at the turn of the 5th – 6th centuries. Our era fought with the Anglo-Saxons. The enraged Yankee takes prisoner knight, whom our hero at first takes for a madman, and the castle of Arthur Camelot for a madhouse. The head of the pages Clarence, a funny, pretty boy in brightly red trousers, like a forked carrot, casually informs him that now June 19, 528, in dismay, the Yankees remember that in this case a total eclipse should take place in two days, and that in that year, from which he arrived, should not be.
The Yankees are led into a huge hall with an oak table the size of a circus arena, around which, in bright, outlandish clothes, there are many men drinking from whole bull’s horns and eating meat directly from the bovine bones waiting for a pack of dogs, for extraction – to the general delight of those present. Dazzlingly brightly dressed women are located on the gallery – opposite musicians.
In between the dog fights, the knights, very friendly and attentive to each other, are engaged in the fact that they are monstrously lying about their military exploits and are just as ingenuous listening to someone else’s lies. Obviously, they destroy their enemies not out of malice and not from selfish thoughts, but solely out of love for glory.
Captivated by our Yankee, Sir Kay sentenced him to death, but everyone is confused by his strange, probably enchanted costume, but the famous court magician, the elder Merlin, advises him to undress – and the hero’s nudity again confuses only his one. Yanka pretends to be an even more powerful magician and, already erected on a fire, tells the sun to go out, and then, using common horror, returns the sun in exchange for the dignity of a permanent minister, vested with the fullness of executive power.
It quickly turns out that silk and velvet dresses are very impractical, and even ministers are deprived of true comfort – along with soap, candles, mirrors, telephone, gas… With fine art, it does not matter too much – no color advertisement of the insurance company on the wall. But glory! And the mad envy of the old man Merlin, spreading rumors about the magical powerlessness of his rival. With the help of Clarence and several gunsmiths, the Yankees make a decent portion of gunpowder and a lightning rod, and then, in the next storm, Merlin’s tower destroys the “heavenly fire”: the magic of science turns out to be stronger than the old charms.
The prestige of the Yankees rises even higher, and yet the power of the church remains immeasurably more powerful, and in general, the nation does not know how to truly appreciate any valor, unless they are backed by a peacock pedigree. In the end, the Yankee receives from the people the only title in the country “Master”, which does not prevent the Earls and Dukes from looking down on him. True, Sir Sagramor Zhelanniy honors his challenge to a duel because of an accidental misunderstanding. The fight itself is postponed for three or four years, until Sir Sahramor returns from the next wanderings in search of the Holy Grail – a cup in which, according to legend, the blood of Christ was once collected.
In the released time, the Yankees hasten to build a civilization – first the patent office, then the school network, and then the newspaper; Only a newspaper can lift a dead nation from a coffin. In quiet corners there are sprouts of future industrial enterprises, where special agents gather capable young people. In these parts, they also teach freethinking, undermining chivalry and the church. At the same time, the Yankees are not planting atheism, but with a system of free Protestant congregations, so that everyone can choose their own religion to their liking. The electric civilization with telegraph and telephone grows underground, like hot lava in the depths of an extinct volcano. People who have preserved their dignity, prone to independent thinking, the Master personally sends people to the factory.
But his vigorous activity is interrupted by a ridiculous story: Arthur’s court is unknown to Alissandra la Carteuaise (later renamed by the Master in Sandy) and tells that her mistress and forty-four beautiful maidens are imprisoned in the gloomy castle of three one-eyed, but four-armed giants. The honor of freeing beautiful captives Arthur provides mentally swearing Yankees. Accompanied by Sandy, the Yankees go on a quest, because the maps here have no idea. He suffers incalculable inconveniences when traveling in a carapace, when it is impossible to blow his nose, scratch or climb himself, but nevertheless takes prisoner and sends to the court several knights frightened by smoke from his pipe, which the Yankees let out through the visor.
Listening to Sandy’s chatter, he sadly recalls the “telephone lady” he loved in his old life: what a lucky thing to say in the phone this morning: “Hello, central!” only to hear her voice: “Hello, Hank!” And yet it’s nice to meet in the way of his sales agent – a wandering knight with ads on his chest and back: “Soap of Persimmons! All prima donnas are washed with this soap!” The production of soap is growing, despite the terrible stench from which the king once nearly faints, and the most famous knight Lancelot only walks on the roof and swears, disregarding the presence of the ladies.
No less pleasant to meet and the knight advertising toothbrushes, which pursues a colleague who deceived him, distributing polish for furnaces.
Finally, the pilgrims get to the castle, which during this time by force of evil... spells turned into a pig’s pork, giants in shepherds, and fine captive in pigs. Buy all the herd in bulk was easy – it was much more difficult, without removing the armor and observing the elegant politeness, to escort the captives to overnight, placing them in the house of course: the Yankees had never smelled anything like that! Fortunately, it is possible to pass the pigs into the hands of the servants, so that they are under the care of waiting for their friends from all corners of the earth. But, unfortunately, he does not manage to get rid of the excessively talkative Sandy – it must be repulsed by some other knight in the duel.
Yankee meets terrible pictures of slavery, but wants to root it out with the hands of the people, which is so astonishingly indifferent to the sufferings of slaves. Then he learns that a miracle source has dried up in the Valley of Holiness, and Merlin has been wooing him for three days already, but for nothing. Yankee discovers that the saint well needs regular repairs, and restores it, but for greater effect, the water starts with such pyrotechnic effects that Merlin is sent home on stretchers. New newspapers portray an event in such a cheeky Arkansas style that even the Boss jar.
In his absence, the king undertakes to embody the idea of an exam for an officer’s rank, and the main requirement is provinciality. But the Boss finds a way out: make up for the noble youth a special regiment of His Majesty, endowed with all sorts of privileges, and the rest of the army is made up of more ordinary materials and requires knowledge and discipline from them, since other valor are not available to them. Yankee even thinks of making the service in the court regiment so prestigious that in the name of her members of the royal house should refuse to use a special royal fund. This promises a noticeable relief for the state treasury.
To get a closer look at the life of the common people, the Yankees intend to go on a trip around the country, disguised as a free commoner. The king is delighted with this idea, is tied together with him. Putnikam delivers a lot of troubles and dangers the proud bearing of the king; One day the Boss literally saves him from the knights angry with his swearing, throwing a dynamite bomb under the hoofs of their horses. The King, under the direction of the Master, tries to master the obedient posture, but he lacks the chief teacher-hopeless cares. But the king surprisingly nobly behaves, faced with a smallpox! And yet, even in the most egregious cases, he takes the side of the nobility against the ignorant.
The common people who find them on the way show frustrating incomprehension and sluggishness in their conversations, but there are also manifestations of a sense of justice, readiness to sacrifice in the name of relatives; any people, thinks the Yankees, is capable of creating a republic, even as oppressed as Russian, and as timid and indecisive as German.
In the end, despite the courage of the King, they are illegally sold to the Boss in slavery from public bargaining, and the king seems to be most offended by the fact that he was given nine dollars for the minister, and only seven for him. The slave-trade quickly swears that the “swagger” of the king (the Yankees begging the king not to speak of his royal rank so as not to destroy them both) repels the buyers, and starts to beat out a proud spirit. But, despite all the tortures, the king remains unbroken. Trying to free themselves, the Yankees and the King almost fall on the gallows, but they are rescued by a detachment of knights on bicycles, called in time by the Boss.
In the meantime Sir Sahramor, who has returned, starts a duel, and the Yankees, despite all Merlin’s contrivances, kill Sagramore with a shot from no one here of a not seen revolver. In continuation of his victories, he calls to battle all the wandering chivalry. Five hundred horsemen are rushing toward him, but a few shots, each time knocking out a rider, is enough to turn this avalanche to flight.
Traveling chivalry as an institution is dying. The triumphant procession of civilization begins. Counts and dukes become railway conductors, wandering knights – traveling salesmen, the Yankees already plan to change tournaments to match in baseball. Yankee marries Sandy and finds that she is a treasure. Hearing that in a dream he often repeats “Hello, central!”, She decides that he repeats the name of his former beloved, and magnanimously gives this name to the daughter who was born to them.
And then, using the same set up absence of the Boss, the church strikes – excommunication: even the funeral is held without the participation of a priest. Excommunication is accompanied by civil unrest. Sir Lancelot, a major stockbroker, skillfully scams as a sticky stick of other holders of railroad shares, including the two nephews of the king. In retaliation, they open Arthur’s eyes to the long-standing relationship between his wife Guinevere and Lancelot. During the unleashed war, the king dies, and the church, together with his murderer, excommunicates the Boss.
Having established themselves in the old Merlin cave, the Master with the faithful Clarenone and another fifty-two young men gives battle to “all England”, for while he is alive, the church will not remove the excommunication. With the help of dynamite and artillery, the Master destroys the knightly vanguard of a huge army, but he himself receives a dagger from a wounded knight, whom he is trying to help. While he is recovering, an epidemic begins from the decomposition of thousands of corpses. Merlin, clean-shaven, is in the cave under the guise of a lonely old woman and with the help of some manipulations lulls the Master for thirteen centuries.
Returned to the former era, the Master dies, repeating deliriously the names of Sandy and Allo-Central.