Summary and Analysis
Tournaments are frequent events at Camelot, and The Boss usually attends them in order to see if there are any improvements that he can make. Indeed, he has such an interest in improvements that his first official act is to open a patent office. As this particular tournament takes place, he sets a priest in his Department of Public Morals and Agriculture to work toward learning to become a reporter, since he also wants to begin a newspaper.
During the course of the tournament, Sir Dinadan comes over and begins regaling The Boss with the same old jokes. This is cut short when Sir Dinadan is called out to fight Sir Gareth. Sir Gareth is giving him a good drubbing, and The Boss involuntarily says, "I hope to gracious he's killed!" Unfortunately, by the time he actually says these words, Sir Gareth has crashed into Sir Sagramor le Desirous, and Sir Sagramor thinks that the words were meant for him. He takes offense, and he names a date several years in the future — after he returns from searching for the Holy Grail — when he will demand satisfaction from The Boss.
In the four years following his fateful exclamation at the tournament, The Boss has the beginnings of nineteenth-century industrial civilization well underway in sixth-century England. His previous efforts have grown and spread. He has begun a military and a naval academy, and he has started stringing wires for both telegraphs and telephones, going across country and stringing the wires at night to avoid detection and to keep the Church from knowing what he is doing.
Indeed, in spite of all the changes which he has started, the country seems much the same as it was when he arrived in sixth-century England. The main, obvious change is that revenues have quadrupled, while being spread about more equitably.
He can, therefore, take time out from his labors to undertake the quest that the king and many others think that he must undertake in order to honorably meet Sir Sagramor in the challenge match.
In Chapters 9 and 10, The Boss has been in control for some undetermined length of time. Twain does not bother unduly with chronological details. At one tournament, Sir Sagramor, misunderstanding a comment, challenges The Boss to a duel; thus, throughout the novel, this duel is to be constantly remembered, and in Chapter 10, in order for The Boss to become "noble enough" to meet Sir Sagramor, he is encouraged to go on a quest. This prepares us for The Boss's first excursion into the rural parts of the kingdom.