Gullivers travels into s.., p.17
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.17Jonathan Swift
THE COUNTRY DESCRIBED. A PROPOSAL FOR CORRECTING MODERN MAPS. THE KING'S PALACE, AND SOME ACCOUNT OF THE METROPOLIS. THE AUTHOR'S WAY OF TRAVELLING. THE CHIEF TEMPLE DESCRIBED.
I now intend to give the reader a short description of this country, asfar as I travelled in it, which was not above two thousand miles roundLorbrulgrud, the metropolis. For the queen, whom I always attended,never went farther when she accompanied the king in his progresses, andthere staid till his majesty returned from viewing his frontiers. Thewhole extent of this prince's dominions reacheth about six thousandmiles in length, and from three to five in breadth. From whence I cannotbut conclude, that our geographers of Europe are in a great error, bysupposing nothing but sea between Japan and California; for it was evermy opinion, that there must be a balance of earth to counterpoise thegreat continent of Tartary; and therefore they ought to correct theirmaps and charts, by joining this vast tract of land to the northwestparts of America, wherein I shall be ready to lend them my assistance.
The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the northeast by a ridge ofmountains, thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable, by reasonof the volcanoes upon the tops: neither do the most learned know whatsort of mortals inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they beinhabited at all. On the three other sides it is bounded by the ocean.There is not one sea-port in the whole kingdom, and those parts of thecoasts into which the rivers issue, are so full of pointed rocks, andthe sea generally so rough, that there is no venturing with the smallestof their boats; so that these people are wholly excluded from anycommerce with the rest of the world.
But the large rivers are full of vessels, and abound with excellentfish, for they seldom get any from the sea, because the sea-fish are ofthe same size with those in Europe, and consequently not worth catching,whereby it is manifest, that nature, in the production of plants andanimals of so extraordinary a bulk, is wholly confined to thiscontinent, of which I leave the reasons to be determined byphilosophers. However, now and then, they take a whale, that happens tobe dashed against the rocks, which the common people feed on heartily.These whales I have known so large, that a man could hardly carry oneupon his shoulders; and sometimes, for curiosity, they are brought inhampers to Lorbrulgrud: I saw one of them in a dish at the king's table,which passed for a rarity, but I did not observe he was fond of it; forI think indeed the bigness disgusted him, although I have seen onesomewhat larger in Greenland.
The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities, near ahundred walled towns, and a great number of villages. To satisfy mycurious reader, it may be sufficient to describe Lorbrulgrud. This citystands upon almost two equal parts on each side the river that passesthrough. It contains above eighty thousand houses, and about six hundredthousand inhabitants. It is in length three _glomglungs_ (which makeabout fifty-four English miles) and two and a half in breadth, as Imeasured it myself in the royal map made by the king's order, which waslaid on the ground on purpose for me, and extended a hundred feet: Ipaced the diameter and circumference several times barefoot, and,computing by the scale, measured it pretty exactly.
The king's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of buildings, aboutseven miles round: the chief rooms are generally two hundred and fortyfeet high, and broad and long in proportion. A coach was allowed toGlumdalclitch and me, wherein her governess frequently took her out tosee the town, or go among the shops; and I was always of the party,carried in my box; although the girl, at my own desire, would often takeme out, and hold me in her hand, that I might more conveniently view thehouses and the people as we passed along the streets, I reckoned ourcoach to be about the square of Westminster-hall, but not altogether sohigh: however, I cannot be very exact.
Besides the large box in which I was usually carried, the queen ordereda smaller one to be made for me, of about twelve feet square and tenhigh, for the convenience of travelling, because the other was somewhattoo large for Glumdalclitch's lap, and cumbersome in the coach. It wasmade by the same artist, whom I directed in the whole contrivance. Thistravelling closet was an exact square, with a window in the middleof three of the squares, and each window was latticed with iron wire onthe outside, to prevent accidents in long journeys. On the fourth side,which had no window, two strong staples were fixed, through which theperson who carried me, when I had a mind to be on horseback, put aleathern belt, and buckled it about his waist. This was always theoffice of some grave, trusty servant, in whom I could confide, whether Iattended the king and queen in their progresses, or were disposed to seethe gardens, or pay a visit to some great lady or minister of state inthe court; for I soon began to be known and esteemed among the greatestofficers, I suppose more on account of their majesties' favor than anymerit of my own.
In journeys, when I was weary of the coach, a servant on horseback wouldbuckle on my box, and place it upon a cushion before him; and there Ihad a full prospect of the country on three sides from my three windows.I had in this closet a field-bed, and a hammock hung from the ceiling,two chairs and a table, neatly screwed to the floor, to prevent beingtossed about by the agitation of the horse or the coach. And having beenlong used to sea voyages, those motions, although sometimes veryviolent, did not much discompose me.
Whenever I had a mind to see the town, it was always in my travellingcloset, which Glumdalclitch held in her lap, in a kind of open sedan,after the fashion of the country, borne by four men, and attended by twoothers in the queen's livery. The people, who had often heard of me,were very curious to crowd about the sedan, and the girl was complaisantenough to make the bearers stop, and to take me in her hand, that Imight be more conveniently seen.
I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particularly the towerbelonging to it, which is reckoned the highest in the kingdom.Accordingly, one day my nurse carried me thither, but I must truly sayI came back disappointed; for the height is not above three thousandfeet, reckoning from the ground to the highest pinnacle top; which,allowing for the difference between the size of those people and us inEurope, is no great matter for admiration, nor at all equal inproportion (if I rightly remember) to Salisbury steeple. But, not todetract from a nation, to which during my life I shall acknowledgemyself extremely obliged, it must be allowed that whatever this famoustower wants in height is amply made up in beauty and strength. For thewalls are nearly a hundred feet thick, built of hewn stone, whereof eachis about forty feet square, and adorned on all sides with statues ofgods and emperors, cut in marble larger than life, placed in theirseveral niches. I measured a little finger which had fallen down fromone of these statues, and lay unperceived among some rubbish, and foundit exactly four feet and an inch in length. Glumdalclitch wrapped it upin her handkerchief and carried it home in her pocket, to keep amongother trinkets, of which the girl was very fond, as children at her ageusually are.
The king's kitchen is indeed a noble building, vaulted at top, and aboutsix hundred feet high. The great oven is not so wide by ten paces as thecupola at St. Paul's, for I measured the latter on purpose after myreturn. But if I should describe the kitchen-grate, the prodigious potsand kettles, the joints of meat turning on the spits, with many otherparticulars, perhaps I should be hardly believed; at least, a severecritic would be apt to think I enlarged a little, as travellers areoften suspected to do. To avoid which censure, I fear I have run toomuch into the other extreme; and that if this treatise should happen tobe translated into the language of Brobdingnag (which is the generalname of that kingdom) and transmitted thither, the king and his peoplewould have reason to complain that I had done them an injury, by a falseand diminutive representation.
His majesty seldom keeps above six hundred horses in his stables: theyare generally from fifty-four to sixty feet high. But when he goesabroad on solemn days, he is attended for state by a militia guard offive hundred horse, which indeed I thought was the most splendid sightthat could be ever beheld, till I saw part of his army in battalia,whereof I shall find a
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