Gullivers travels into s.., p.16
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.16Jonathan Swift
THE AUTHOR SENT FOR TO COURT. THE QUEEN BUYS HIM OF HIS MASTER THE FARMER, AND PRESENTS HIM TO THE KING. HE DISPUTES WITH HIS MAJESTY'S GREAT SCHOLARS. AN APARTMENT AT COURT PROVIDED FOR THE AUTHOR. HE IS IN HIGH FAVOR WITH THE QUEEN. HE STANDS UP FOR THE HONOR OF HIS OWN COUNTRY. HE QUARRELS WITH THE QUEEN'S DWARF.
The frequent labors I underwent every day, made in a few weeks a veryconsiderable change in my health; the more my master got by me, the moreinsatiable he grew. I had quite lost my stomach, and was almost reducedto a skeleton. The farmer observed it, and, concluding I must soon die,resolved to make as good a hand of me as he could. While he was thusreasoning and resolving with himself, a _slardral_, or gentleman-usher,came from court, commanding my master to carry me immediately thither,for the diversion of the queen and her ladies. Some of the latter hadalready been to see me, and reported strange things of my beauty,behavior, and good sense. Her majesty, and those who attended her, werebeyond measure delighted with my demeanor. I fell on my knees and beggedthe honor of kissing her imperial foot; but this gracious princess heldout her little finger towards me, after I was set on a table, which Iembraced in both my arms, and put the tip of it with the utmost respectto my lip.
She made me some general questions about my country, and my travels,which I answered as distinctly, and in as few words, as I could. Sheasked whether I would be content to live at court. I bowed down to theboard of the table, and humbly answered that I was my master's slave;but if I were at my own disposal, I should be proud to devote my life toher majesty's service. She then asked my master whether he were willingto sell me at a good price. He, who apprehended I could not live amonth, was ready enough to part with me, and demanded a thousand piecesof gold, which were ordered him on the spot, each piece being thebigness of eight hundred moidores; but, for the proportion of allthings between that country and Europe, and the high price of gold amongthem, was hardly so great a sum as a thousand guineas would be inEngland. I then said to the queen, since I was now her majesty's mosthumble creature and vassal, I must beg the favor, that Glumdalclitch,who had always attended me with so much care and kindness, andunderstood to do it so well, might be admitted into her service, andcontinue to be my nurse and instructor.
Her majesty agreed to my petition, and easily got the farmer's consent,who was glad enough to have his daughter preferred at court, and thepoor girl herself was not able to hide her joy. My late master withdrew,bidding me farewell, and saying he had left me in good service, towhich I replied not a word, only making him a slight bow.
"THIS GRACIOUS PRINCESS HELD OUT HER LITTLE FINGER."P. 32.]
The queen observed my coldness, and, when the farmer was gone out ofthe apartment, asked me the reason. I made bold to tell her majestythat I owed no other obligation to my late master, than his notdashing out the brains of a poor harmless creature, found by chance inhis field; which obligation was amply recompensed by the gain he hadmade in showing me through half the kingdom, and the price he had nowsold me for. That the life I had since led was laborious enough tokill an animal of ten times my strength. That my health was muchimpaired by the continual drudgery of entertaining the rabble everyhour of the day, and that, if my master had not thought my life indanger, her majesty would not have got so cheap a bargain. But as Iwas out of all fear of being ill-treated under the protection of sogreat and good an empress, the ornament of nature, the darling of theworld, the delight of her subjects, the phoenix of the creation;so, I hoped my late master's apprehensions would appear to begroundless, for I already found my spirits to revive, by the influenceof her most august presence.
This was the sum of my speech, delivered with great improprieties andhesitation; the latter part was altogether framed in the style peculiarto that people, whereof I learned some phrases from Glumdalclitch, whileshe was carrying me to court.
The queen, giving great allowance for my defectiveness in speaking, was,however, surprised at so much wit and good sense in so diminutive ananimal.
"SHE ... CARRIED ME TO THE KING." P. 36.]
She took me in her own hand, and carried me to the king, who was thenretired to his cabinet. His majesty, a prince of much gravity andaustere countenance, not well observing my shape at first view, askedthe queen, after a cold manner, how long it was since she grew fond of a_splacnuck_; for such it seems he took me to be, as I lay upon my breastin her majesty's right hand. But this princess, who hath an infinitedeal of wit and humor, set me gently on my feet upon the scrutoire,and commanded me to give his majesty an account of myself, which I didin a very few words; and Glumdalclitch, who attended at thecabinet-door, and could not endure I should be out of her sight, beingadmitted, confirmed all that had passed from my arrival at her father'shouse.
The king, although he be as learned a person as any in his dominions,had been educated in the study of philosophy, and particularlymathematics; yet, when he observed my shape exactly, and saw me walkerect, before I began to speak, conceived I might be a piece ofclockwork (which is in that country arrived to a very great perfection)contrived by some ingenious artist. But when he heard my voice, andfound what I delivered to be regular and rational, he could not concealhis astonishment. He was by no means satisfied with the relation I gavehim of the manner I came into his kingdom, but thought it a storyconcerted between Glumdalclitch and her father, who had taught me a setof words, to make me sell at a better price. Upon this imagination heput several other questions to me, and still received rational answers,no otherwise defective than by a foreign accent, and an imperfectknowledge in the language, with some rustic phrases, which I had learnedat the farmer's house, and did not suit the polite style of a court.
His majesty sent for three great scholars, who were then in their weeklywaiting according to the custom in that country. These gentlemen,after they had a while examined my shape with much nicety, were ofdifferent opinions concerning me. They all agreed that I could not beproduced according to the regular laws of nature, because I was notframed with a capacity of preserving my life, either by swiftness orclimbing of trees, or digging holes in the earth. They observed by myteeth, which they viewed with great exactness, that I was a carnivorousanimal; yet most quadrupeds being an overmatch for me, and field-mice,with some others, too nimble, they could not imagine how I should beable to support myself, unless I fed upon snails and other insects,which they offered, by many learned arguments, to evince that I couldnot possibly do. They would not allow me to be a dwarf, because mylittleness was beyond all degrees of comparison; for the queen'sfavorite dwarf, the smallest ever known in that kingdom, was nearlythirty feet high. After much debate, they concluded unanimously that Iwas only _relplum scalcath_, which is interpreted literally, _lususnaturae_; a determination exactly agreeable to the modern philosophyof Europe: whose professors, disdaining the old evasion of occultcauses, whereby the followers of Aristotle endeavored in vain todisguise their ignorance, have invented this wonderful solution of alldifficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge.
After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard a word or two. Iapplied myself to the king, and assured his majesty that I came from acountry which abounded with several millions of both sexes, and of myown stature; where the animals, trees, and houses were all inproportion, and where, by consequence, I might be as able to defendmyself, and to find sustenance, as any of his majesty's subjects coulddo here; which I took for a full answer to those gentlemen's arguments.To this they only replied with a smile of contempt, saying, that thefarmer had instructed me very well in my lesson. The king, who had amuch better understanding, dismissing his learned men, sent for thefarmer, who, by good fortune, was not yet gone out of town; havingtherefore first examined him privately, and then confronted him with meand the young girl, his majesty began to think that what we had told himmight possibly be true. He desired the queen to order that a particularcare should be taken of me, and was of opinion that Glumdalclitch shoul
The queen became so fond of my company that she could not dine withoutme. I had a table placed upon the same at which her Majesty ate, just ather left elbow, and a chair to sit on. Glumdalclitch stood on a stool onthe floor, near my table, to assist and take care of me. I had an entireset of silver dishes and plates, and other necessaries, which, inproportion to those of the queen, were not much bigger than what I haveseen in a London toy-shop for the furniture of a baby-house: these mylittle nurse kept in her pocket in a silver box, and gave me at mealsas I wanted them, always cleaning them herself. No person dined with thequeen but the two princesses royal the elder sixteen years old, and theyounger at that time thirteen and a month. Her majesty used to put a bitof meat upon one of my dishes, out of which I carved for myself: and herdiversion was to see me eat in miniature; for the queen (who had,indeed, but a weak stomach) took up at one mouthful as much as a dozenEnglish farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some time avery nauseous sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark, bones andall, between her teeth, although it were nine times as large as that ofa full-grown turkey; and put a bit of bread in her mouth as big as twotwelve-penny loaves. She drank out of a golden cup, above a hogshead ata draught. Her knives were twice as long as a scythe, set straight uponthe handle. The spoons, forks, and other instruments, were all in thesame proportion. I remember when Glumdalclitch carried me, out ofcuriosity, to see some of the tables at court, where ten or a dozen ofthese enormous knives and forks were lifted up together, I thought I hadnever till then beheld so terrible a sight.
It is the custom that every Wednesday (which, as I have before observed,is their Sabbath) the king and queen, with the royal issue of both sexesdine together in the apartment of his majesty, to whom I was now becomea great favorite; and, at these times, my little chair and table wereplaced at his left hand, before one of the salt-cellars. This princetook a pleasure in conversing with me, inquiring into the manners,religion, taws, government, and learning of Europe; wherein I gave himthe best account I was able. His apprehension was so clear, and hisjudgment so exact, that he made very wise reflections and observationsupon all I said. But I confess that after I had been a little toocopious in talking of my own beloved country, of our trade, and wars bysea and land, of our schisms in religion, and parties in the state; theprejudices of his education prevailed so far that he could not forbeartaking me up in his right hand, and, stroking me gently with the other,after a hearty fit of laughing, asked me, whether I was a whig or atory? Then turning to his first minister, who waited behind him with awhite staff, near as tall as the mainmast of the "Royal Sovereign,"he observed how contemptible a thing was human grandeur, which could bemimicked by such diminutive insects as I: and yet, says he, I dareengage these creatures have their titles and distinctions of honor; theycontrive little nests and burrows, that they call houses and cities;they make a figure in dress and equipage; they love, they fight, theydispute, they cheat, they betray. And thus he continued on, while mycolor came and went several times with indignation, to hear our noblecountry, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France, thearbitress of Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honor, and truth, thepride and envy of the world, so contemptuously treated.
But, as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon maturethoughts, I began to doubt whether I was injured or no. For, afterhaving been accustomed, several months, to the sight and converse ofthis people, and observed every object upon which I cast mine eyes to beof proportionable magnitude, the horror I had at first conceived fromtheir bulk and aspect was so far worn off, that, if I had then beheld acompany of English lords and ladies in their finery, and birthdayclothes, acting their several parts in the most courtly manner ofstrutting and bowing and prating, to say the truth, I should have beenstrongly tempted to laugh as much at them as the king and his grandeesdid at me. Neither, indeed, could I forbear smiling at myself, when thequeen used to place me upon her hand towards a looking-glass, by whichboth our persons appeared before me in full view together; and therecould nothing be more ridiculous than the comparison; so that I reallybegan to imagine myself dwindled many degrees below my usual size.
Nothing angered and mortified me so much, as the queen's dwarf, whobeing of the lowest stature that ever in that country (for I verilythink he was not full thirty feet high) became so insolent at seeing acreature so much beneath him, that he would always affect to swagger,and look big, as he passed by me in the queen's ante-chamber, while Iwas standing on some table, talking with the lords or ladies of thecourt, and he seldom failed of a smart word or two upon my littleness;against which I could only revenge myself, by calling him brother,challenging him to wrestle, and such repartees as are usual in themouths of court pages. One day, at dinner, this malicious little cub wasso nettled with something I had said to him, that, raising himself uponthe frame of her majesty's chair, he took me up, as I was sitting down,not thinking any harm; and let me drop into a large silver bowl ofcream, and then ran away as fast as he could. I fell over head and ears,and, if I had not been a good swimmer, it might have gone very hard withme; for Glumdalclitch, in that instant, happened to be at the otherend of the room, and the queen was in such a fright, that she wantedpresence of mind to assist me. But my little nurse ran to my relief, andtook me out, after I had swallowed above a quart of cream. I was put tobed; however, I received no other damage than the loss of a suit ofclothes, which was utterly spoiled. The dwarf was soundly whipped, and,as a farther punishment, forced to drink up the bowl of cream into whichhe had thrown me; neither was he ever restored to favor; for, soonafter, the queen bestowed him on a lady of high quality, so that I sawhim no more, to my very great satisfaction; for I could not tell to whatextremity such a malicious urchin might have carried his resentment.
"I COULD ONLY REVENGE MYSELF BY CALLING HIM BROTHER."P. 42.]
He had before served me a scurvy trick, which set the queen a-laughing,although, at the same time she was heartily vexed, and would haveimmediately cashiered him, if I had not been so generous as tointercede. Her majesty had taken a marrow-bone upon her plate and, afterknocking out the marrow, placed the bone on the dish erect, as it stoodbefore. The dwarf watching his opportunity, while Glumdalclit
I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my fearfulness;and she used to ask me, whether the people of my country were as greatcowards as myself? The occasion was this; the kingdom is much pesteredwith flies in summer; and these odious insects, each of them as big as aDunstable lark, hardly gave me any rest, while I sat at dinner, withtheir continual humming and buzzing about my ears. They would sometimesalight upon my victuals. Sometimes they would fix upon my nose orforehead, where they stung me to the quick, and I had much ado to defendmyself against these detestable animals, and could not forbear startingwhen they came on my face. It was the common practice of the dwarf, tocatch a number of these insects in his hand, as school-boys do among us,and let them out suddenly under my nose, on purpose to frighten me, anddivert the queen. My remedy was, to cut them in pieces with my knife, asthey flew in the air, wherein my dexterity was much admired.
I remember, one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set me in my box upon awindow, as she usually did in fair days, to give me air (for I durst notventure to let the box be hung on a nail out of the window, as we dowith cages in England) after I had lifted up one of my sashes, and satdown at my table to eat a piece of sweet-cake for my breakfast, abovetwenty wasps, allured by the smell, came flying into the room, humminglouder than the drones of as many bag-pipes. Some of them seized mycake, and carried it piece-meal away; others flew about my head andface, confounding me with the noise, and putting me in the utmostterror of their stings. However, I had the courage to rise and draw myhanger, and attack them in the air. I despatched four of them, but therest got away, and I presently shut my window. These creatures were aslarge as partridges; I took out their stings, found them an inch and ahalf long, and as sharp as needles. I carefully preserved them all, andhaving since shown them, with some other curiosities, in several partsof Europe, upon my return to England, I gave three of them to GreshamCollege, and kept the fourth for myself.
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