Gullivers travels into s.., p.14
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       Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.14

           Jonathan Swift
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  Having been condemned by nature and fortune to an active and restlesslife, in two months after my return I again left my native country, andtook shipping in the Downs on the twentieth day of June, 1702, in the"Adventure," Captain John Nicholas, a Cornish man, commander, bound forSurat. We had a very prosperous gale till we arrived at the Cape of GoodHope, where we landed for fresh water; but, discovering a leak, weunshipped our goods and wintered there: for, the captain falling sick ofan ague, we could not leave the Cape till the end of March. We then setsail, and had a good voyage till we passed the Straits ofMadagascar;[41] but having got northward of that island, and to aboutfive degrees south latitude, the winds, which in those seas are observedto blow a constant equal gale, between the north and west, from thebeginning of December to the beginning of May, on the nineteenth ofApril began to blow with much greater violence and more westerly thanusual, continuing so for twenty days together, during which time we weredriven a little to the east of the Molucca Islands, and about threedegrees northward of the line,[42] as our captain found by anobservation he took the second of May, at which time the wind ceased andit was a perfect calm; whereat I was not a little rejoiced. But, he,being a man well experienced in the navigation of those seas, bid us allprepare against a storm, which accordingly happened the day following:for the southern wind, called the southern monsoon, began to set in, andsoon it was a fierce storm.

  Finding it was like to overblow, we took in our sprit-sail, and stood byto hand the foresail; but making foul weather, we looked the guns wereall fast, and handed the mizzen.

  The ship lay very broad off, so we thought it better spooning beforethe sea, than trying, or hulling. We reefed the foresail and set him, wehauled aft the foresheet: the helm was hard-a-weather. The ship worebravely. We belayed the fore down-haul; but the sail was split, and wehauled down the yard, and got the sail into the ship, and unbound allthe things clear of it. It was a very fierce storm; the sea brokestrange and dangerous. We hauled off the laniard of the whipstaff, andhelped the man at the helm. We could not get down our topmast, but letall stand, because she scudded before the sea very well, and we knewthat the topmast being aloft, the ship was the wholesomer, and madebetter way through the sea, seeing we had sea-room. When the storm wasover, we set foresail and mainsail, and brought the ship to. Then we setthe mizzen, main-top-sail, and the fore-top-sail. Our course was eastnorth east, the wind was at southwest. We got the starboard tacksaboard, we cast off our weather braces and lifts; we set in the leebraces, and hauled forward by the weather bowlings, and hauled themtight and belayed them, and hauled over the mizzen tack to wind-ward andkept her full and by, as near as she could lie.

  During this storm, which was followed by a strong wind, west southwest,we were carried, by my computation, about five hundred leagues to theeast, so that the oldest sailor on board could not tell in what part ofthe world we were. Our provisions held out well, our ship was staunch,and our crew all in good health; but we lay in the utmost distress forwater. We thought it best to hold on the same course, rather than turnmore northerly, which might have brought us to the northwest parts ofGreat Tartary, and into the Frozen Sea.

  On the sixteenth day of June, 1703, a boy on the topmast discoveredland. On the seventeenth, we came in full view of a great island orcontinent (for we knew not which), on the south side whereof was a smallneck of land, jutting out into the sea, and a creek too shallow to holda ship of above one hundred tons. We cast anchor within a league of thiscreek, and our captain sent a dozen of his men well armed in thelong-boat, with vessels for water, if any could be found. I desired hisleave to go with them, that I might see the country, and make whatdiscoveries I could.

  When we came to land, we saw no river or spring, nor any sign ofinhabitants. Our men therefore wandered on the shore to find out somefresh water near the sea, and I walked alone about a mile on the otherside, where I observed the country all barren and rocky. I now began tobe weary, and seeing nothing to entertain my curiosity, I returnedgently down toward the creek; and the sea being full in my view, I sawour men already got into the boat, and rowing for life to the ship. Iwas going to holla after them, although it had been to little purpose,when I observed a huge creature walking after them in the sea, as fastas he could; he waded not much deeper than his knees, and tookprodigious strides; but our men had the start of him about half aleague, and the sea thereabouts being full of pointed rocks, the monsterwas not able to overtake the boat. This I was afterwards told, for Idurst not stay to see the issue of the adventure; but ran as fast as Icould the way I first went, and then climbed up a steep hill, which gaveme some prospect of the country. I found it fully cultivated; but thatwhich first surprised me was the length of the grass, which, in thosegrounds that seemed to be kept for hay, was about twenty feet high.


  I fell into a high road, for so I took it to be, though it served to theinhabitants only as a footpath through a field of barley. Here I walkedon for some time, but could see little on either side, it being now nearharvest, and the corn rising at least forty feet. I was an hour walkingto the end of this field, which was fenced in with a hedge of at leastone hundred and twenty feet high, and the trees so lofty that I couldmake no computation of their altitude. There was a stile to pass fromthis field into the next. It had four steps, and a stone to cross overwhen you came to the uppermost. It was impossible for me to climb thisstile because every step was six feet high, and the upper stone abovetwenty.

  I was endeavoring to find some gap in the hedge, when I discovered oneof the inhabitants in the next field, advancing towards the stile, ofthe same size with him whom I saw in the sea pursuing our boat. Heappeared as tall as an ordinary spire steeple, and took about ten yardsat every stride, as near as I could guess. I was struck with the utmostfear and astonishment, and ran to hide myself in the corn, from whence Isaw him at the top of the stile, looking back into the next field on theright hand, and heard him call in a voice many degrees louder than aspeaking trumpet; but the noise was so high in the air that at first Icertainly thought it was thunder. Whereupon seven monsters, likehimself, came towards him with reaping-hooks in their hands, each hookabout the largeness of six scythes. These people were not so well cladas the first, whose servants or laborers they seemed to be; for, uponsome words he spoke, they went to reap the corn in the field where Ilay. I kept from them at as great a distance as I could, but was forcedto move, with extreme difficulty, for the stalks of the corn weresometimes not above a foot distance, so that I could hardly squeeze mybody betwixt them. However, I made a shift to go forward till I came toa part of the field where the corn had been laid by the rain and wind.Here it was impossible for me to advance a step; for the stalks were sointerwoven that I could not creep through, and the beards of the fallenears so strong and pointed that they pierced through my clothes into myflesh. At the same time I heard the reapers not above a hundred yardsbehind me.

  Being quite dispirited with toil, and wholly overcome by grief anddespair, I lay down between two ridges, and heartily wished I mightthere end my days. I bemoaned my desolate widow and fatherless children.I lamented my own folly and wilfulness in attempting a second voyageagainst the advice of all my friends and relations. In this terribleagitation of mind, I could not forbear thinking of Lilliput, whoseinhabitants looked upon me as the greatest prodigy that ever appeared inthe world; where I was able to draw an imperial fleet in my hand, andperform those other actions which will be recorded forever in thechronicles of that empire, while posterity shall hardly believe them,although attested by millions. I reflected what a mortification it mustprove to me to appear as inconsiderable in this nation
as one singleLilliputian would be among us. But this I conceived was to be among theleast of my misfortunes: for, as human creatures are observed to be moresavage and cruel in proportion to their bulk, what could I expect but tobe a morsel in the mouth of the first among these enormous barbariansthat should happen to seize me? Undoubtedly philosophers are in theright when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise thanby comparison. It might have pleased fortune to let the Lilliputiansfind some nation where the people were as diminutive with respect tothem as they were to me. And who knows but that even this prodigiousrace of mortals might be equally overmatched in some distant part of theworld, whereof we have yet no discovery?

  Scared and confounded as I was, I could not forbear going on with thesereflections, when one of the reapers, approaching within ten yards ofthe ridge where I lay, made me apprehend that with the next step Ishould be squashed to death under his foot, or cut in two with hisreaping-hook. And, therefore, when he was again about to move, Iscreamed as loud as fear could make me. Whereupon the huge creature trodshort, and looking round about under him for some time, at last espiedme as I lay on the ground. He considered awhile, with the caution of onewho endeavors to lay hold on a small dangerous animal in such a mannerthat it shall not be able either to scratch or to bite him, as I myselfhave sometimes done with a weasel in England.


  At length he ventured to take me up between his forefinger and thumb,and brought me within three yards of his eyes, that he might behold myshape more perfectly. I guessed his meaning, and my good fortune gave meso much presence of mind that I resolved not to struggle in the least ashe held me in the air, above sixty feet from the ground, although hegrievously pinched my sides, for fear I should slip through his fingers.All I ventured was to raise my eyes towards the sun, and place myhands together in a supplicating posture, and to speak some words in anhumble melancholy tone, suitable to the condition I then was in. For Iapprehended every moment that he would dash me against the ground, as weusually do any little hateful animal which we have a mind to destroy.But my good star would have it that he appeared pleased with my voiceand gestures, and began to look upon me as a curiosity, much wonderingto hear me pronounce articulate words, although he could not understandthem. In the meantime I was not able to forbear groaning and sheddingtears, and turning my head towards my sides; letting him know, as wellas I could, how cruelly I was hurt by the pressure of his thumb andfinger. He seemed to apprehend my meaning; for, lifting up the lappet ofhis coat, he put me gently into it, and immediately ran along with me tohis master, who was a substantial farmer, and the same person I hadfirst seen in the field.

  The farmer, having (as I suppose by their talk) received such an accountof me as his servant could give him, took a piece of a small straw,about the size of a walking-staff, and therewith lifted up the lappetsof my coat, which it seems he thought to be some kind of covering thatnature had given me. He blew my hair aside, to take a better view of myface. He called his hinds[43] about him, and asked them (as I afterwardslearned) whether they had ever seen in the fields any little creaturethat resembled me. He then placed me softly on the ground upon allfours, but I got immediately up, and walked slowly backwards andforwards to let those people see that I had no intent to run away.

  They all sat down in a circle about me, the better to observe mymotions. I pulled off my hat, and made a low bow towards the farmer. Ifell on my knees, and lifted up my hands and eyes, and spoke severalwords as loud as I could: I took a purse of gold out of my pocket, andhumbly presented it to him. He received it on the palm of his hand, thenapplied it close to his eye to see what it was, and afterwards turned itseveral times with the point of a pin (which he took out of his sleeve),but could make nothing of it. Whereupon I made a sign that he shouldplace his hand on the ground. I then took the purse, and opening it,poured all the gold into his palm. There were six Spanish pieces, offour pistoles[44] each, besides twenty or thirty smaller coins. I sawhim wet the tip of his little finger upon his tongue, and take up one ofmy largest pieces, and then another, but he seemed to be wholly ignorantwhat they were. He made me a sign to put them again into my purse, andthe purse again into my pocket, which, after offering it to him severaltimes, I thought it best to do.

  The farmer by this time was convinced I must be a rational creature. Hespoke often to me, but the sound of his voice pierced my ears like thatof a water-mill, yet his words were articulate enough. I answered asloud as I could in several languages, and he often laid his ear withintwo yards of me; but all in vain, for we were wholly unintelligible toeach other. He then sent his servants to their work, and taking hishandkerchief out of his pocket, he doubled and spread it on his lefthand, which he placed flat on the ground, with the palm upwards, makingme a sign to step into it, as I could easily do, for it was not above afoot in thickness.

  I thought it my part to obey, and, for fear of falling, laid myself atfull length upon the handkerchief, with the remainder of which he lappedme up to the head for farther security, and in this manner carried mehome to his house. There he called his wife, and showed me to her; butshe screamed and ran back, as women in England do at the sight of a toador a spider. However, when she had awhile seen my behavior, and how wellI observed the signs her husband made, she was soon reconciled, and bydegrees grew extremely tender of me.

  It was about twelve at noon, and a servant brought in dinner. It wasonly one substantial dish of meat (fit for the plain condition of anhusbandman) in a dish of about four-and-twenty feet diameter. Thecompany were the farmer and his wife, three children, and an oldgrandmother. When they were sat down, the farmer placed me at somedistance from him on the table, which was thirty feet high from thefloor. I was in a terrible fright, and kept as far as I could from theedge for fear of falling. The wife minced a bit of meat, then crumbledsome bread on a trencher,[45] and placed it before me. I made her a lowbow, took out my knife and fork, and fell to eat, which gave themexceeding delight.

  The mistress sent her maid for a small dram cup, which held about threegallons, and filled it with drink: I took up the vessel with muchdifficulty in both hands, and in a most respectful manner drank to herladyship's health, expressing the words as loud as I could in English,which made the company laugh so heartily that I was almost deafened bythe noise. This liquor tasted like a small cider, and was notunpleasant. Then the master made me a sign to come to his trencher-side;but as I walked on the table, being in great surprise all the time, asthe indulgent reader will easily conceive and excuse, I happened tostumble against a crust, and fell flat on my face, but received no hurt.I got up immediately, and observing the good people to be in muchconcern, I took my hat (which I held under my arm out of good manners),and, waving it over my head, made three huzzas, to show that I had gotno mischief by my fall.

  But advancing forwards towards my master (as I shall henceforth callhim), his youngest son, who sat next him, an arch boy of about ten yearsold, took me up by the legs, and held me so high in the air, that Itrembled in every limb; but his father snatched me from him, and at thesame time gave him such a box in the left ear as would have felled anEuropean troop of horse to the earth, ordering him to be taken from thetable. But being afraid the boy might owe me a spite, and wellremembering how mischievous all children among us naturally are tosparrows, rabbits, young kittens, and puppy dogs, I fell on my knees,and, pointing to the boy, made my master to understand as well as Icould, that I desired his son might be pardoned. The father complied,and the lad took his seat again; whereupon I went to him and kissed hishand, which my master took, and made him stroke me gently with it.

  In the midst of dinner, my mistress's favorite cat leapt into her lap. Iheard a noise behind me like that of a dozen stocking-weavers at work;and, turning my head, I found it proceeded from the purring of thatanimal, who seemed to be three times larger than an ox, as I computed bythe view of her head and one of her paws, while her mistress was feedingand stroking her. The fierceness
of this creature's countenancealtogether discomposed me, though I stood at the further end of thetable, above fifty feet off, and although my mistress held her fast, forfear she might give a spring and seize me in her talons.

  But it happened there was no danger; for the cat took not the leastnotice of me, when my master placed me within three yards of her. And asI have been always told, and found true by experience in my travels,that flying or discovering[46] fear before a fierce animal is a certainway to make it pursue or attack you, so I resolved in this dangerousjuncture to show no manner of concern. I walked with intrepidity five orsix times before the very head of the cat, and came within half a yardof her; whereupon she drew herself back, as if she were more afraid ofme. I had less apprehension concerning the dogs, whereof three or fourcame into the room, as it is usual in farmers' houses; one of which wasa mastiff equal in bulk to four elephants, and a greyhound somewhattaller than the mastiff, but not so large.

  When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a yearold in her arms, who immediately spied me, and began a squall that youmight have heard from London Bridge to Chelsea,[47] after the usualoratory of infants, to get me for a plaything. The mother out of pureindulgence took me up, and put me towards the child, who presentlyseized me by the middle and got my head in its mouth, where I roared soloud that the urchin was frighted, and let me drop, and I shouldinfallibly have broke my neck if the mother had not held her apronunder me. The nurse, to quiet her babe, made use of a rattle, which wasa kind of hollow vessel filled with great stones, and fastened by acable to the child's waist. As she sat down close to the table on whichI stood, her appearance astonished me not a little. This made me reflectupon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful tous, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to beseen but through a magnifying glass, where we find by experiment thatthe smoothest and whitest skins look rough, and coarse and ill-colored.

  I remember, when I was at Lilliput, the complexions of those diminutivepeople appeared to me the fairest in the world; and talking upon thissubject with a person of learning there, who was an intimate friend ofmine, he said that my face appeared much fairer and smoother when helooked on me from the ground than it did upon a nearer view, when I tookhim up in my hand and brought him close, which he confessed was at firsta very shocking sight. He said he could discover great holes in my skin;that the stumps of my beard were ten times stronger than the bristles ofa boar, and my complexion made up of several colors altogetherdisagreeable: although I must beg leave to say for myself that I am asfair as most of my sex and country, and very little sunburnt by mytravels. On the other side, discoursing of the ladies of that emperor'scourt, he used to tell me one had freckles, another too wide a mouth, athird too large a nose, nothing of which I was able to distinguish. Iconfess this reflection was obvious enough; which, however, I could notforbear, lest the reader might think those vast creatures were actuallydeformed: for I must do them justice to say they are a comely race ofpeople; and particularly the features of my master's countenance,although he were but a farmer, when I beheld him from the height ofsixty feet, appeared very well proportioned.

  When dinner was done my master went out to his labors, and, as I coulddiscover by his voice and gestures, gave his wife a strict charge totake care of me. I was very much tired and disposed to sleep, which, mymistress perceiving, she put me on her own bed, and covered me with aclean white handkerchief, but larger and coarser than the mainsail of aman-of-war.

  I slept about two hours, and dreamed I was at home with my wife andchildren, which aggravated my sorrows when I awaked and found myselfalone in a vast room, between two and three hundred feet wide, and abovetwo hundred high, lying in a bed twenty yards wide. My mistress was goneabout her household affairs, and had locked me in. The bed was eightyards from the floor.


  Presently two rats crept up the curtains, and ran smelling backwards andforwards on my bed. One of them came almost up to my face; whereupon Irose in a fright, and drew out my hanger to defend myself. The horribleanimals had the boldness to attack me both sides, and one of them heldhis forefeet at my collar; but I killed him before he could do me anymischief. He fell down at my feet; and the other, seeing the fate of hiscomrade, made his escape, but not without one good wound on the back,which I gave him as he fled, and made the blood run trickling from him.After this exploit I walked gently to and fro on the bed to recover mybreath and loss of spirits. These creatures were of the size of a largemastiff, but infinitely more nimble and fierce; so that, if I hadtaken off my belt before I went to sleep, I must infallibly have beentorn to pieces and devoured. I measured the tail of the dead rat, andfound it to be two yards long wanting an inch; but it went against mystomach to draw the carcase off the bed, where it still lay bleeding. Iobserved it had yet some life; but, with a strong slash across the neck,I thoroughly despatched it.

  I hope the gentle reader will excuse me for dwelling on these and thelike particulars, which, however insignificant they may appear togrovelling vulgar minds, yet will certainly help a philosopher toenlarge his thoughts and imagination, and apply them to the benefit ofpublic as well as private life, which was my sole design in presentingthis and other accounts of my travels to the world; wherein I have beenchiefly studious of truth, without affecting any ornaments of teaming orstyle. But the whole scene of this voyage made so strong an impressionon my mind, and is so deeply memory, that in committing it to paper Idid not omit one material circumstance. However, upon a strict review, Iblotted out several passages of less moment which were in my first copy,for fear of being censured as tedious and trifling, whereof travellersare often, perhaps not without justice, accused.

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