Study Guide

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Chapter 39

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 39

The Yankee's Fight with the Knights

  • A few days after the rescue, the Yankee finds a personal ad from Sir Sagramor, challenging him to a duel on the 16th of the next month. (This is also the first time we learn his full name: Hank Morgan.)
  • Clarence's editorial urges people to come and witness the duel.
  • Word passes that Merlin has enchanted Sir Sargramor's armor and weapons, making him invulnerable; Merlin also gives Sargramor a veil that will make him invisible to his opponent.
  • Hank realizes that even if he beats Sir Sagramor, other knights have the right to challenge him in a similar manner. That means it's time for some dirty tricks, people.
  • The day of the duel arrives. Sir Sagramor rides out in his horse and armor, while Hank comes out in a gymnast's outfit: presumably intending to dazzle him with his wiry physique.
  • Sir Sagramor charges and disappears as Merlin's veil turns him invisible.
  • Clarence shouts out, signaling Sagramor's position and Hank dodges aside. The same process repeats itself several times (Sagramor's kind of a dim bulb and takes some time to get the picture).
  • Hank loops a lasso around Sir Sagramor and pulls him off of his horse.
  • A successor enters the field, and again Hank yanks him out of his saddle with the rope. Multiple additional knights are dispatched in the same way… topped by Sir Launcelot himself. Again, knights? Not so much with the brains.
  • Merlin steals Hank's rope, and Sir Sagramor charges him again, this time intending to kill him. Launcelot offers to loan Hank a weapon, but Sagramor claims that he must fight with his own weapons.
  • Hank waits until Sagramor charges him, then produces a revolver and shoots the knight dead.
  • Hank then challenges any knights present to attack him... all at once in a rush. Five hundred knights take him up on it. That's right—five hundred.
  • Hank the Yank produces a second revolver and shoots the first eleven knights dead, emptying his chambers. He's certain to be killed, but the remaining knights flee rather than risk being shot.

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