Protag-Man finally is finally able to rest. Cool for him, though this does not mean sleep comes easy.
“The ripping and tearing and squealing of the nobility up and down the halls and corridors was pandemonium come again, and it kept me broad awake” (146).
This is funny. Not only because it is taking a dig at the upper elites, but also because we know it is not literal nobility, but the absurd nobility of pigs, so there is an additional sign layer making this moment like it was something torn from a modern comedy. In a real sense, Twain’s sardonic tongue preempts such ironic writing.
“I had to put myself in Sandy’s place to realize that she was not a lunatic”.
This is an important remark since it removes Ableism as the root cause of the absurdities. It is not that Sandy is mentally ill and so she believes the castle and its subjects have been enchanted; it is the reverse: it is ideology. She believes in much since those are the superstitions of the day, those are the superstitions of the day because of the lack of science and modern theory and philosophy. This is Sandy’s reality; as Protag-Man recounts later, it is simply part of the time and what fills in for understanding when ignorance and the level of development is at a low.
Moving on, though. Sandy reveals that the home they have encamped in is not her own home. It is some stranger’s home who Sandy expects to give thanks (assuming he is under the same belief about the hog-nobility connection) for the hogs being housed. Sandy says that people will come for the hogs. But it will take time. Though Protag-Man tries to ditch Sandy, believing her to remain with the hogs, but she rebukes him and remarks that she must go with him since he is her knight.
“The servants said that they would follow the fashion, a fashion grown sacred through immemorial observation; they would scatter fresh rushes in all the rooms and halls, and then the evidence of the aristocratic visitation would no longer be visible. It was a kind of satire on nature” (150).
I am not sure what “rushes” mean in this context: are the servants spreading vast amounts of water in each room or are they making each room dirtier to cover up the initial dirt? I don’t know. I don’t have access to the antiquated meaning of the term. But, it has something to do with tradition making cleaning away wrong-doing harder, so it is at least mildly amusing, even if I don’t know the exact details of why it could be more amusing.
After this, though, they depart.
“This company of pilgrims resembled Chaucer’s in this: that it had in it a sample of about all the upper occupations and professions the country could show, and a corresponding variety of costume”.
Twain wins some brownie points with me for referencing Chaucer. “There was not a side saddle in the party” simple makes it all the better. This is always the best part of a novel like this—clever, winking, references to archaic subjects only a few people care about. Thanks, Twain!
This pilgrim group is traveling to the Fountain of Holiness. By the end of the chapter, Protag-Man will be heading there as well, so this is a bit of foreshadowing. Turns out that this is a place tempted by Satan but then the monks repented for drinking his evil water, and now is holy but the well has dried up again, suggesting someone has sinned. It is a weird story and one I am not sure is repeated anywhere in actual history.
But, Protag-Man meets another group of pilgrims. Slaves, actually. Though their description is beautiful in Twain’s writing it doesn’t say much other than espousing Twain’s anti-Slavery views. Something which would be more relevant during the American Victorian period than anything else.