Gullivers travels into s.., p.15
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.15

           Jonathan Swift
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24



  My mistress had a daughter of nine years old, a child of toward partsfor her age, very dexterous at her needle, and skilful in dressing herbaby. Her mother and she contrived to fit up the baby's cradle for meagainst night. The cradle was put into a small drawer cabinet, and thedrawer placed upon a hanging shelf for fear of the rats. This was my bedall the time I stayed with these people, though made more convenient bydegrees, as I began to learn their language and make my wants known.

  She made me seven shirts, and some other linen, of as fine cloth ascould be got, which indeed was coarser than sackcloth; and these sheconstantly washed for me with her own hands. She was likewise myschool-mistress, to teach me the language. When I pointed to anything,she told me the name of it in her own tongue, so that in a few days Iwas able to call for whatever I had a mind to. She was verygood-natured, and not above forty feet high, being little for her age.She gave me the name of Grildrig, which the family took up, andafterwards the whole kingdom. The word imports what the Latins call_nanunculus_, the Italians _homunceletino_, and the English _mannikin_.To her I chiefly owe my preservation in that country. We never partedwhile I was there; I called her my Glumdalclitch, or little nurse; andshould be guilty of great ingratitude if I omitted this honorablemention of her care and affection towards me, which I heartily wish itlay in my power to requite as she deserves.

  It now began to be known and talked of in the neighborhood, that mymaster had found a strange animal in the field, about the bigness of a_splacnuck_, but exactly shaped in every part like a human creature;which it likewise imitated in all its actions, seemed to speak in alittle language of its own, had already learned several words of theirs,went erect upon two legs, was tame and gentle, would come when it wascalled, do whatever it was bid, had the finest limbs in the world, and acomplexion fairer than a nobleman's daughter of three years old. Anotherfarmer, who lived hard by, and was a particular friend of my master,came on a visit on purpose to inquire into the truth of this story. Iwas immediately produced and placed upon a table, where I walked as Iwas commanded, drew my hanger, put it up again, made my reverence to mymaster's guest, asked him in his own language how he did, and told him_he was welcome_, just as my little nurse had instructed me. This man,who was old and dim-sighted, put on his spectacles to behold me better,at which I could not forbear laughing very heartily, for his eyesappeared like the full moon shining into a chamber at two windows. Ourpeople, who discovered the cause of my mirth, bore me company inlaughing, at which the old fellow was fool enough to be angry and out ofcountenance. He had the character of a great miser; and, to mymisfortune, he well deserved it by the cursed advice he gave mymaster, to show me as a sight upon a market-day in the next town, whichwas half an hour's riding, about two-and-twenty miles from our house. Iguessed there was some mischief contriving, when I observed my masterand his friend whispering long together, sometimes pointing at me; andmy fears made me fancy that I overheard and understood some of theirwords.


  But the next morning, Glumdalclitch, my little nurse, told me the wholematter, which she had cunningly picked out from her mother. The poorgirl laid me on her bosom, and fell a-weeping with shame and grief. Sheapprehended some mischief would happen to me from rude vulgar folks, whomight squeeze me to death, or break one of my limbs by taking me intheir hands. She had also observed how modest I was in my nature, hownicely I regarded my honor, and what an indignity conceive it to beexposed for money, as a public spectacle, to the meanest of the people.She said her papa and mamma had promised that Grildrig should be hers,but now she found they meant to serve her as they did last year whenthey pretended to give her a lamb, and yet as soon as it was fat sold itto a butcher. For my own part I may truly affirm that I was lessconcerned than my nurse. I had a strong hope, which left me, that Ishould one day recover my liberty; to the ignominy of being carriedabout for a monster, I considered myself to be a perfect stranger in thecountry, and that such a misfortune could never be charged upon me as areproach if ever I should return to England; since the king of GreatBritain himself, in my condition, must have undergone the same distress.

  My master, pursuant to the advice of his friend, carried me in a boxthe next market-day, to the neighboring town, and took along with himhis little daughter, my nurse, upon a pillion[48] behind him. The boxwas close on every side, with a little door for me to go in and out, anda few gimlet holes to let in air. The girl had been so careful as to putthe quilt of her baby's bed into it, for me to lie down on. However, Iwas terribly shaken and discomposed in this journey, though it were butof half an hour. For the horse went about forty feet at every step, andtrotted so high that the agitation was equal to the rising and fallingof a ship in a great storm, but much more frequent; our journey wassomewhat farther than from London to St. Alban's. My master alighted atan inn which he used to frequent; and after consulting a while with theinnkeeper and making some necessary preparations, he hired the_grultrud_, or crier, to give notice through the town, of a strangecreature to be seen at the sign of the Green Eagle, not so big as a_splacnuck_ (an animal in that country, very finely shaped, about sixfeet long), and in every part of the body resembling a human creature,could speak several words, and perform a hundred diverting tricks.

  I was placed upon a table in the largest room of the inn, which might benear three hundred feet square. My little nurse stood on a low stoolclose to the table, to take care of me, and direct what I should do. Mymaster, to avoid a crowd, would suffer only thirty people at a time tosee me. I walked about on the table as the girl commanded. She asked mequestions, as far as she knew my understanding of the language reached,and I answered them as loud as I could. I turned about several times tothe company, paid my humble respects, said they were welcome, and usedsome other speeches I had been taught. I took a thimble filled withliquor, which Glumdalclitch had given me for a cup, and drank theirhealth. I drew out my hanger, and flourished with it, after the mannerof fencers in England. My nurse gave me part of a straw, which Iexercised as a pike, having learnt the art in my youth. I was that dayshown to twelve sets of company, and as often forced to act over againthe same fopperies, till I was half dead with weariness and vexation.For those who had seen me made such wonderful reports, that the peoplewere ready to break down the doors to come in.

  My master, for his own interest, would not suffer any one to touch meexcept my nurse, and, to prevent danger, benches were set round thetable at such a distance as to put me out of everybody's reach. However,an unlucky school-boy aimed a hazel-nut directly at my head, which verynarrowly missed me: otherwise, it came with so much violence, that itwould have infallibly knocked out my brains, for it was almost as largeas a small pumpion,[49] but I had the satisfaction to see the youngrogue well beaten, and turned out of the room.


  My master gave public notice that he would show me again the nextmarket-day, and in the meantime he prepared a more convenient vehiclefor me, which he had reason enough to do; for I was so tired with myfirst journey, and with entertaining company for eight hours together,that I could hardly stand upon my legs or speak a word. It was at leastthree days before I recovered my strength; and that I might have no restat home, all the neighboring gentleman, from a hundred miles round,hearing of my fame, came to see me at my master's own house. There couldnot be fewer than thirty persons with their wives and children (for thecountry was very populous); and my master demanded the rate of a fullroom whenever he showed me at home, although it were only to a singlefamily; so that for some time I had but little ease every day of theweek (except Wednesday which is their Sabbath), although I was notcarried to the town.

  My master, finding how profitable I was like to be, resolved to carry meto the most considerable cities of the
kingdom. Having, therefore,provided himself with all things necessary for a long journey, andsettled his affairs at home, he took leave of his wife, and upon theseventeenth of August, 1703, about two months after my arrival, we setout for the metropolis, situated the middle of that empire, and aboutthree thousand miles distance from our house. My master made hisdaughter Glumdalclitch ride behind him. She carried me on her lap, in abox tied about her waist. The girl had lined it on all sides with thesoftest cloth she could get, well quilted underneath, furnished it withher baby's bed, provided me with linen and other necessaries, and madeeverything as conveniently as she could. We had no other company but aboy of the house, who rode after us with the luggage.

  My master's design was to show me in all the towns by the way, and tostep out of the road for fifty or a hundred miles, to any village, orperson of quality's house, where he might expect custom. We made easyjourneys of not above seven or eight score miles a day; forGlumdalclitch, on purpose to spare me, complained she was tired withthe trotting of the horse. She often took me out of my box at my owndesire, to give me air and show me the country, but always held me fastby a leading-string. We passed over five or six rivers, many degreesbroader and deeper than the Nile or the Ganges; and there was hardly arivulet so small as the Thames at London Bridge. We were ten weeks inour journey, and I was shown in eighteen large towns, besides manyvillages and private families.

  On the twenty-sixth of October we arrived at the metropolis, called intheir language, _Lorbrulgrud_, or Pride of the Universe. My master tooka lodging in the principal street of the city, not far from the royalpalace, and put out bills in the usual form, containing an exactdescription of my person and parts.[50] He hired a large room betweenthree and four hundred feet wide. He provided a table sixty feet indiameter, upon which I was to act my part, and palisadoed it round threefeet from the edge, and as many high, to prevent my falling over. I wasshown ten times a day, to the wonder and satisfaction of all people. Icould now speak the language tolerably well, and perfectly understoodevery word that was spoken to me. Besides, I had learned their alphabet,and could make a shift to explain a sentence here and there; forGlumdalclitch had been my instructor while we were at home, and atleisure hours during our journey. She carried a little book in herpocket, not much larger than a Sanson's Atlas;[51] it was a commontreatise for the use of young girls, giving a short account of theirreligion; out of this she taught me my letters, and interpreted thewords.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up