The Order of the Golden Grease,
Daniel Beard, 1889

Hank Morgan, of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, is a superintendent of a Hartford, Connecticut, machine shop, who travels back in time after being hit on the head to the court of Arthur. Styling himself "The Boss," Morgan plays upon the superstitions of the people and introduces modern technology, including bicycles, telephones, and up-to-date methods of warfare, including electric wire and gatling guns, which ultimately blow the narrator back into the present. Hank revolutionizes the medieval world only to destroy himself. The novel is social satire with some wonderful comic moments, but it is also informed by Twain's deepening sense of the destructive, negative elements in human nature. The novel is a reaction to Tennyson's lionizing of the Arthur myth, and the drawings by Daniel Beard poke fun at the aristocracy and a variety of revered British social institutions. Ironically, Hank Morgan, with all his knowledge of the latest science and technology, proves to be no better than the ignorant people he meets on his journey through Arthur's realm. He is, however, likeable, brash, and irreverent, limited like most of us, and makes some keen observations on the nature of hierarchies, rich vs poor, the dominance of the Church and other social issues.