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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 36 "AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK"
Both Morgan and King Arthur feel helpless as they walk down the streets of London. The King longingly looks at the palace and Morgan catches sight of Sandy riding on a mule. Near the barracks, they witness the horrible scene of a man being boiled alive. Every thing around is gloomy and depressing. The Boss catches sight of newsboys carrying the papers and sees telephone and telegraph lines on rooftops. He is momentarily happy that his inventions are being used.
Their captivity seems unending till a gentleman arrives to bargain for slaves. The Boss notices three pins attached to the man's garment and decides to remove one of them at the first opportunity. That night, he uses the stolen pins to unlock himself. He is ready to free the King when suddenly a man appears. The Boss hides behind the man and, mistaking him for the slave master, pounces on him and attacks him. The commotion alerts the watchmen and they arrive on the scene. Both are caught and led to the prison. There, The Boss realizes he has made a mistake. It is not the master that he caught, but a stranger.
The chapter creates humor through the irony of reversal. For days Morgan plans carefully to escape from the group. And when a gentleman arrives to strike a bargain to buy him, his hope is revived. This is because Morgan decides to remove one of the pins from the man's garment and use it to unlock his chain and the King's. The next time the man makes his appearance, Morgan removes the pin successfully. Now he waits for the night to execute his plan. When it is dark, he carefully unlocks his chain and gets ready to do the same for the King. At that moment, a man enters and walks past the group. The Boss mistakes him for the master. As the King urges him to apprehend the man, The Boss pounces on his adversary and gives him a sound thrashing. The noise alerts the watchmen and they interfere. In the end, the victim is not the slave master after all. The Boss's entire plan comes to naught. All his efforts are wasted. Instead of making an escape, he gets caught.
CHAPTER 37 "AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT"
The Boss finds himself in court. He tells the court he is the slave of an Earl whose illness has brought him to the city in search of a good physician. There, he was challenged to fight the adversary whom he was imprisoned for fighting with. The judge, believing him to be the servant of a noble man, fails to question him further and eventually releases him.
He immediately goes to the slave quarters, only to find the place deserted except for the corpse of the slave master. He learns the slaves have revolted, killing their master and escaping. All the slaves have been caught and sentenced to die. The Boss, realizing the risk to the King and himself, acts fast. He disguises himself and contacts Clarence on the telephone, asking him to send a rescue party to save the King. As he walks out, a slave recognizes him and helps the guards apprehend him. In prison, he is informed that the execution is to take place immediately.
Morgan escapes from one trap only to be led into another. In the beginning of the chapter, The Boss uses his knowledge of the bias of the court toward nobility and succeeds in escaping. Later, when he realizes the risk involved to his own life, he disguises himself and sends a message to Clarence for help. When he is caught, he tries to earn the support of the slave. Once again, however, his plan misfires. Instead of being influenced by The Boss, the slave is enraged. He blames The Boss for the pending execution. Because of The Boss, the slaves escaped and are now being punished while he, the instigator, is free. The Boss, who had prided himself for his superior intellect, is unable to escape from the clutches of the simple slave.
CHAPTER 38 "SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE"
The slaves are taken to the scaffold at four in the afternoon. When the chains of the prisoners are removed, the King tries to assert his identity but fails to evoke a favorable response. The execution begins. After the first three slaves are hanged, it is the King who has to face execution. Morgan appears helpless to save the King. At that moment, Sir Launcelot and his contingent enter the scaffold. They beat up the sheriff and the executioners before releasing the King and their much beloved Boss. Clarence is happy to have trained the knights in cycling, explaining that that is how they arrived so quickly
The scene where the King asserts his identity in front of a jeering crowd resembles the scene in The Prince and the Pauper, where Edward Tudor acts regally in front of an unruly mob when Miles Hendon is punished. The King raves and rants but is silenced by the rowdy crowd. Then three of the slaves are mercilessly executed and the King watches the scene with horror. As Morgan fails miserably to rescue the King, Sir Launcelot and his army enter the arena and heroically save the distressed King and his companion. The scene closes quite happily, with a melodramatic fairy tale conclusion.
King Arthur's miserable experience as a slave changes him dramatically, causing him to condemn slavery. Similarly, his close encounter with death at the scaffold makes him aware of the horrors of capital punishment. He then promises to abolish the cruel practice. Through this novel and The Prince and the Pauper, Twain reveals that experience alone can make a leader understand the plight of his subjects and reverse the past mistakes.