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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 41 "THE INTERDICT"
The condition of Hello-Central deteriorates. The Boss tends to her devotedly and manages to bring her back to health. He then departs for Camelot, leaving Sandy and Hello-Central behind for a time. As he nears the shore, he is surprised to see that the harbor is empty; no ships are on the sea. Camelot seems enveloped by gloom. Slowly, The Boss realizes what has happened; the Church has overtaken Camelot. He disguises himself and walks the streets of Camelot. In the darkness, he enters the empty courts of the castle.
The chapter reveals the emotional side of Morgan's personality. In the past, the Boss had appeared as a rational being who was practical, ingenious and intolerant of ignorance. In this chapter, he is shown as a loving husband and a caring father, who is concerned about the well being of his child. Patiently, he attends to his sick daughter and nurses her back to health. He remembers the past when he had married Sandy. She has been an invaluable companion to him. She is the one who names their daughter Hello- Central, a phrase she often hears The Boss say in his sleep. She believes it is the name of an old girlfriend.
The chapter introduces a crisis in the life of the protagonist. While he is abroad, caring for his family, the Church has taken over the state and undone all his progress. They have halted the developmental activities started by the Boss and issued an Interdict in his name. When he leaves Camelot, he leaves behind an illuminated city modernized with development, but he returns to find the land enveloped in darkness and superstition in his absence.
CHAPTER 42 "WAR!"
Morgan finds Clarence in his quarters, sitting alone under the light of a rag lamp. Clarence explains the turn of events that has led to this state of affairs. It seems there was a war between King Arthur and Sir Launcelot. Launcelot manipulated the stocks by buying all of them from the market and thus antagonized the other knights. As a result, a war started between Launcelot and Mordred. When the King become aware of the affair between his wife and Launcelot, he joined sides with Mordred. There was a moment when peace seemed possible, but an errant knight spoiled it all by starting a riot. King Arthur was killed, the Queen became a nun, and an Interdict was issued. In this chapter, The Boss learns that the doctor who treated Hello-Central and encouraged the family to go abroad was an agent of the church scheming to get The Boss away from Camelot for this coup.
Clarence reveals his own plans to challenge the church and the knights. In the absence of The Boss, he had trained fifty-two boys to face the challenge of the Knights. He has equipped a cave with explosive devices and signal carriers. He has placed electrical wires and Gattling guns all around the cave. Together, Clarence and The Boss put their plan into effect. First, they declare the church and the nobility obsolete and establish England as a republic. They proceed to the cave and wait for the nobility to come and fight them.
The chapter is long and packed with information. It is incredible that so much could have happened in so little a time. All that the Boss has created is destroyed within a matter of a few months. Telegraph, telephone, railways, and electricity have been dismantled. The stock market has fallen flat. Sir Launcelot, who had once appeared respectable and friendly, has vanquished most of the knights. King Arthur is dead. Twain takes many liberties with the traditional story of Camelot in order to sum things up and finish the story as it pertains to The Boss, Hank Morgan.
Clarence acts like a true representative of the Boss in his absence. He records the events during the war in a special edition of the paper. He has trained an army to face the challenge of their enemies and has equipped a cave to protect them all during the battle. The fact that Clarence, who had showed his talent in the field of journalism, could have knowledge of warfare and ammunition is incredulous, but necessary for the plot.
CHAPTER 43 "THE BATTLE OF THE SAND BELT"
On reaching the cave, The Boss sends out messages to his factories, schools, and other institutions to stop their work and vacate their premises. In the intervening week, he pens his experiences in a book and writes a letter to Sandy. Then the battle begins. The first attacking group of knights is blown up with torpedoes. The second group is electrocuted by charged barbed wires. The remaining ones are either blown off by the Gattling guns or swept away by the stream channeled by the soldiers of the Boss. At the end of the day, approximately twenty-five thousand knights are killed. However, all the schools, factories, and churches, are destroyed as well. Consequently, the Boss and Clarence succeed in winning back Camelot, but Camelot is not what it once was.
As before, Morgan methodically plans the actions of his army. First, he makes sure they are well protected. Then he asks his men to divert the stream to the ditch to capture the enemies who are spared by the explosives. After all the preparations are over, along with his followers, he waits for his enemies to initiate action. As expected, the knights charge toward the cave and are killed by explosives, guns, and the electrical fences. The few that escape are swept away by the stream. By equipping himself with advanced technology and proper planning, the Boss defeats an army of twenty-five thousand knights. This victory of the Boss over the knights is the victory of Science over superstition. With an army of only fifty-five young men, the soldiers of Hank Morgan succeed in defeating twenty-five thousand chivalrous knights. Their victory is because of superior tactics and equipment. However, the Boss is responsible for the outbreak of the war that has cast its shadow over the simple and idyllic charm of Camelot. The peace loving, romantic, chivalrous knights are turned into greedy war-faring men.
The chapter ends on a note of foreboding. Morgan hints at an unfortunate happening but does not mention it. This drawing-out of the conclusion is a technique often used to foreshadow gloom or tragedy. As it turns out, Clarence's footnote provides the details of the tragedy.