Gullivers travels into s.., p.21
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.21Jonathan Swift
THE KING AND QUEEN MAKE A PROGRESS TO THE FRONTIERS. THE AUTHOR ATTENDS THEM. THE MANNER IN WHICH HE LEAVES THE COUNTRY VERY PARTICULARLY RELATED. HE RETURNS TO ENGLAND.
I had always a strong impulse that I should sometime recover my liberty,though it was impossible to conjecture by what means, or to form anyproject with the least hope of succeeding. The ship in which I sailedwas the first ever known to be driven within sight of the coast; and theking had given strict orders, that if at any time another appeared, itshould be taken ashore, and with all its crew and passengers brought ina tumbrel to Lorbrulgrud. I was treated with much kindness: I wasthe favorite of a great king and queen, and the delight of the wholecourt; but it was upon such a footing as ill became the dignity of humankind. I could never forget those domestic pledges I had left behind me.I wanted to be among people with whom I could converse upon even terms,and walk about the streets and fields, without being afraid of beingtrod to death like a frog or a young puppy. But my deliverance camesooner than I expected, and in a manner not very common: the whole storyand circumstances of which I shall faithfully relate.
"SHE HAD SOME FOREBODING." P. 94.]
I had now been two years in this country; and about the beginning ofthe third, Glumdalclitch and I attended the king and queen in a progressto the south coast of the kingdom. I was carried, as usual, in mytravelling-box, which, as I have already described, was a veryconvenient closet of twelve feet wide. And I had ordered a hammock to befixed by silken ropes from the four corners at the top, to break thejolts, when a servant carried me before him on horseback, as I sometimesdesired, and would often sleep in my hammock while we were upon theroad. On the roof of my closet, not directly over the middle of thehammock, I ordered the joiner to cut out a hole of a foot square, togive me air in hot weather as I slept, which hole I shut at pleasurewith a board that drew backwards and forwards through a groove.
When we came to our journey's end, the king thought proper to pass a fewdays at a palace he hath near Flanflasnic, a city within eighteenEnglish of the sea-side Glumdalclitch and I were much fatigued, I hadgotten a small cold, but the poor girl was so ill as to be confined toher chamber. I longed to see the ocean, which must be the only scene ofmy escape, if ever it should happen I pretended to be worse than Ireally was, and desired leave to take the fresh air of the sea with apage, whom I was very fond of, and who had sometimes been trusted withme. I shall never forget with what unwillingness Glumdalclitchconsented, nor the strict charge she gave the page to be careful ofme, bursting at the same time into a flood of tears, as if she had someforeboding of what was to happen.
The boy took me out in my box about half-an-hour's walk from the palacetowards the rocks on the sea-shore. I ordered him to set me down, andlifting up one of my sashes, cast many a wistful melancholy look towardsthe sea. I found myself not very well, and told the page that I had amind to take a nap in my hammock, which I hoped would do me good. I gotin, and the boy shut the window close down to keep out the cold. I soonfell asleep, and all I can conjecture is, that while I slept, the page,thinking no danger could happen, went among the rocks to look for birds'eggs, having before observed him from my windows searching about, andpicking up one or two in the clefts. Be that as it will, I found myselfsuddenly awaked with a violent pull upon the ring, which was fastened atthe top of my box for the conveniency of carriage. I felt my box raisedvery high in the air, and then borne forward with prodigious speed. Thefirst jolt had like to have shaken me out of my hammock, but afterwardsthe motion was easy enough. I called out several times, as loud as Icould raise my voice, but all to no purpose. I looked towards mywindows, and could see nothing but the clouds and sky. I heard a noisejust over my head like the clapping of wings, and then began to perceivethe woful condition I was in, that some eagle had got the ring of my boxin his beak, with an intent to let it fall on a rock like a tortoise ina shell, and then pick out my body and devour it; for the sagacity andsmell of this bird enabled him to discover his quarry at a greatdistance, though better concealed than I could be within a two-inchboard.
In a little time I observed the noise and flutter of wings to increasevery fast, and my box was tossed up and down like a sign in a windy day.I heard several bangs or buffets, as I thought, given to the eagle (forsuch I am certain it must have been, that held the ring of my box in hisbeak), and then all on a sudden felt myself falling perpendicularly downfor above a minute, but with such incredible swiftness, that I almostlost my breath. My fall was stopped by a terrible squash, thatsounded louder to my ears than the cataract of Niagara; after which Iwas quite in the dark for another minute, and then my box began to riseso high that I could see light from the tops of the windows. I nowperceived I was fallen into the sea. My box, by the weight of my body,the goods that were in, and the broad plates of iron fixed for strengthat the four corners of the top and bottom, floated about five feet deepin the water. I did then, and do now suppose, that the eagle which flewaway with my box was pursued by two or three others, and forced to letme drop while he defended himself against the rest, who hoped to sharein the prey. The plates of iron fastened at the bottom of the box (forthose were the strongest) preserved the balance while it fell, andhindered it from being broken on the surface of the water. Every jointof it was well grooved, and the door did not move on hinges, but up anddown like a sash, which kept my closet so tight that very little watercame in. I got with much difficulty out of my hammock, having firstventured to draw back my slip-board on the roof already mentioned,contrived on purpose to let in air, for want of which I found myselfalmost stifled.
How often did I then wish myself with my dear Glumdalclitch, from whomone single hour had so far divided me. And I may say with truth that inthe midst of my own misfortunes I could not forbear lamenting my poornurse, the grief she would suffer for my loss, the displeasure of thequeen, and the ruin of her fortune. Perhaps many travellers have notbeen under greater difficulties and distress than I was at juncture,expecting every moment to see my box dashed to pieces, or at leastoverset by the first violent blast or rising wave. A breach in onesingle pane of glass would have been immediate death; nor could anythinghave preserved the windows but the strong lattice-wires placed on theoutside against accidents in travelling. I saw the water ooze in atseveral crannies, although the leaks were not considerable, and Iendeavored to stop them as well as I could, I was not able to lift upthe roof of my closet, which otherwise I certainly should have done, andsat on the top of it, where I might at least preserve myself some hourslonger, than by being shut up (as I may call it) in the hold. Or, if Iescaped these dangers for a day or two, what could I expect but amiserable death of cold and hunger? I was four hours under thesecircumstances, expecting, and indeed wishing, every moment to be mylast.
I have already told the reader that there were two strong staples fixedupon that side of my box which had no window, and into which the servantwho used to carry me on horseback would put a leathern belt, and buckleit about his waist. Being in this disconsolate state, I heard, or atleast thought I heard, some kind of grating noise on that side of my boxwhere the staples were fixed, and soon after I began to fancy that thebox was pulled or towed along in the sea, for I now and then felt a sortof tugging which made the waves rise near the tops of my windows,leaving me almost in the dark. This gave me some faint hopes of relief,although I was not able to imagine how it could be brought about. Iventured to unscrew one of my chairs, which were always fastened to thefloor, and having made a hard shift to screw it down again directlyunder the slipping board that I had lately opened, I mounted on thechair, and putting my mouth as near as I could to the hole, I called forhelp in a loud voice and in all the languages I understood. I thenfastened my handkerchief to a stick I usually carried, and thrusting itup the hole, waved it several times in the air, that if any boat or shipwere near, the seamen might conjecture some unhappy mortal to be shut upin the box.
I found no effect from all I could do,
"SOMEBODY CALLING ... IN THE ENGLISH TONGUE." P. 99.]
The sailors were all in amazement, and asked me a thousand questions,which I had no inclination to answer. I was equally confounded at thesight of so many pygmies, for such I took them to be, after having solong accustomed mine eyes to the monstrous objects I had left. But thecaptain, Mr. Thomas Wilcocks, an honest, worthy Shropshire man,observing I was ready to faint, took me into his cabin, gave me acordial to comfort me, and made me turn in upon his own bed, advising meto take a little rest, of which I had great need. Before I went tosleep, I gave him to understand that I had some valuable furniture in mybox, too good to be lost; a fine hammock, a handsome two chairs, atable, and a cabinet. That my closet was hung on all sides, or ratherquilted, with silk and cotton: that if he would let one of the crewbring my closet into his cabin, I would open it there before him, andshow him my goods. The captain, hearing me utter these absurdities,concluded I was raving: however (I suppose to pacify me), he promisedto give orders as I desired, and going upon deck, sent some of his mendown into my closet, from whence (as I afterwards found) they drew upall my goods, and stripped off the quilting; but the chairs, cabinet,and bedstead, being screwed to the floor, were much damaged by theignorance of the seamen, who tore them up by force. Then they knockedoff some of the boards for the use of the ship, and when they had gotall they had a mind for, let the hull drop into the sea, which, byreason of so many breaches made in the bottom and sides, sunk torights. And indeed I was glad not to have been a spectator of thehavoc they made; because I am confident it would have sensiblytouched me, by bringing former passages into my mind, which I had ratherforgotten.
I slept some hours, but was perpetually disturbed with dreams of theplace I had left, and the dangers I had escaped. However, upon waking, Ifound myself much recovered. It was now about eight o'clock at night,and the captain ordered supper immediately, thinking I had alreadyfasted too long. He entertained me with great kindness, observing me notto look wildly, or talk inconsistently; and when we were left alone,desired I would give him a relation of my travels, and by what accidentI came to be set adrift in that monstrous wooden chest.
He said that about twelve o'clock at noon, as he was looking through hisglass, he spied it at a distance, and thought it was a sail, which hehad a mind to make, being not much out of his course, in hopes ofbuying some biscuit, his own beginning to fall short. That upon comingnearer and finding his error, he sent out his long-boat to discover whatit was; that his men came back in a fright, swearing they had seen aswimming-house. That he laughed at their folly, and went himself in theboat, ordering his men to take a strong cable along with them. That theweather being calm, he rowed round me several times, observed my windowsand wire-lattices that defenced them. That he discovered two staplesupon one side, which was all of boards, without any passage for light.He then commanded his men to row up to that side, and fastening a cableto one of the staples, ordered them to tow my chest (as they called it)towards the ship. When it was there, he gave directions to fastenanother cable to the ring fixed in the cover, and to raise up my chestwith pulleys, which all the sailors were not able to do above two orthree feet. He said they saw my stick and handkerchief thrust out of thehole, and concluded that some unhappy man must be shut up in the cavity.I asked whether he or the crew had seen any prodigious birds in the airabout the time he first discovered me? to which he answered, that,discoursing this matter with the sailors while I was asleep, one of themsaid he had observed three eagles flying towards the north, but remarkednothing of their being larger than the usual size, which I suppose mustbe imputed to the great height they were at; and he could not guess thereason of my question. I then asked the captain how far he reckoned wemight be from land?
He said, by the best computation he could make, we were at least ahundred leagues. I assured him that he must be mistaken by almost half,for I had not left the country from whence I came above two hours beforeI dropt into the sea. Whereupon he began again to think that my brainwas disturbed, of which he gave me a hint, and advised me to go to bedin a cabin he had provided. I assured him I was well refreshed with hisgood entertainment and company, and as much in my senses as ever I wasin my life.
He then grew serious, and desired to ask me freely whether I were nottroubled in mind by the consciousness of some enormous crime, for whichI was punished by the command of some prince, by exposing me in thatchest, as great criminals in other countries have been forced to sea ina leaky vessel without provisions; for although he should be sorry tohave taken so ill a man into his ship, yet he would engage his word toset me safe ashore in the first port where we arrived. He added that hissuspicions were much increased by some very absurd speeches I haddelivered, at first to his sailors, and afterwards to himself, inrelation to my closet chest, as well as by my odd looks and behaviorwhile I was at supper.
I begged his patience to hear me tell my story, which I faithfully did,from the last time I left England to the moment he first discovered me.And as truth always forceth its way into rational minds, so this honestworthy gentleman, who had some tincture of learning and very good sense,was immediately convinced of my candor and veracity. But, farther toconfirm all I had said, I entreated him to give order that my cabinetshould be brought, of which I had the key in my pocket (for he hadalready informed me how seamen disposed of my closet). I opened it inhis own presence, and showed him the small collection of rarities I madein the country from whence I had been so strangely delivered. There wasthe comb I had contrived out of the stumps of the king's beard. Therewas a collection of needles and pins, from a foot to half a yard long;four wasps' stings, like joiners' tacks; some combings of the queen'shair; a gold ring, which one day she made me a present of in a mostobliging manner, taking it from her little finger and throwing it overmy head like a collar. I desired the captain would please to accept thisring in return of his civilities, which he absolutely refused. Lastly Idesired him to see the breeches I had then on, which were made of amouse's skin.
I could force nothing upon him but a footman's tooth, which I observedhim to examine with great curiosity, and found he had a fancy for it. Hereceived it with abundance of thanks, more than such a trifle coulddeserve. It was drawn by an unskilful surgeon, in a mistake, from one ofGlumdalclitch's men, who was affected with the toothache, but it was assound as any in his head. I got
The captain was very well satisfied with this plain relation I had givenhim, and said he hoped when we returned to England I would oblige theworld by putting it on paper, and making it public. My answer was, thatI thought we were already overstocked with books of travels; thatnothing could now pass which was not extraordinary; wherein I doubtedsome authors less consulted truth than their own vanity, or interest, orthe diversion of ignorant readers, that my story could contain littlebesides common events, without those ornamental descriptions of strangeplants, trees, birds, and other animals; or of the barbarous customs andidolatry of savage people, with which most writers abound. However, Ithanked him for his good opinion, and promised to take the matter intomy thoughts.
He said he wondered at one thing very much, which was, to hear me speakso loud, asking me whether the king or queen of that country were thickof hearing. I told him it was what I had been used to for above twoyears past, and that I wondered as much at the voices of him and hismen, who seemed to me only to whisper, and yet I could hear them wellenough. But when I spoke in that country, it was like a man talking inthe street to another looking out from the top of a steeple, unless whenI was placed on a table, or held in any person's hand. I told him I hadlikewise observed another thing, that when I first got into the ship,and the sailors stood all about me, I thought they were the mostcontemptible little creatures I had ever beheld. For indeed, while I wasin that prince's country, I could never endure to look in a glass, aftermy eyes had been accustomed to such prodigious objects, because thecomparison gave me so despicable a conceit of myself. The captain saidthat while we were at supper he observed me to look at everything with asort of wonder, and that I often seemed hardly able to contain mylaughter, which he knew not well how to take, but imputed it to somedisorder in my brain. I answered, it was very true, and I wondered how Icould forbear, when I saw his dishes of the size of a silver threepence,a leg of pork hardly a mouthful, a cup not so big as a nut-shell, and soI went on, describing the rest of his household stuff and provisionsafter the same manner. For although the queen had ordered a littleequipage of all things necessary for me, while I was in her service,yet my ideas were wholly taken up with what I saw on every side of me,and I winked at my own littleness, as people do at their own faults. Thecaptain understood my raillery very well, and merrily replied that hedid not observe my stomach so good, although I had fasted all day; and,continuing in his mirth, protested he would have gladly given a hundredpounds to have seen my closet in the eagle's bill, and afterwards in itsfall from so great a height into the sea; which would certainly havebeen a most astonishing object, worthy to have the description of ittransmitted to future ages: and the comparison of Phaeton was soobvious, that he could not forbear applying it, although I did not muchadmire the conceit.
"MY DAUGHTER KNEELED BUT I COULD NOT SEE HER" P. 109.]
The captain having been at Tonquin, was, in his return to England,driven northeastward, to the latitude of 44 degrees, and of longitude143. But meeting a trade-wind two days after I came on board him, wesailed southward a long time, and, coasting New Holland, kept our coursewest-south-west, and then south-south-west, till we doubled the Cape ofGood Hope. Our voyage was very prosperous, but I shall not trouble thereader with a journal of it. The captain called in at one or two ports,and sent in his long-boat for provisions and fresh water, but I neverwent out of the ship till we came into the Downs, which was on the thirdday of June, 1706, about nine months after my escape. I offered to leavepay goods in security for payment of my freight, but the captainprotested he would not receive one farthing. We took a kind leave ofeach other, and I made him promise he would come to see me at my housein Redriff. I hired a horse and guide for five shillings, which Iborrowed of the captain.
As I was on the road, observing the littleness of the houses--the trees,the cattle, and the people, I began to think myself in Lilliput. I wasafraid of trampling on every traveller I met, and often called aloud tohave them stand out of the way, so that I had like to have gotten one ortwo broken heads for my impertinence.
When I came to my own house, for which I was forced to inquire, one ofthe servants opened the door, I bent down to go in (like a goose under agate), for fear of striking my head. My wife ran out to embrace me, butI stooped lower than her knees, thinking she could otherwise never beable to reach my mouth. My daughter kneeled to ask my blessing, but Icould not see her till she arose, having been so long used to stand withmy head and eyes erect to above sixty feet; and then I went to take herup with one hand by the waist. I looked down upon the servants, and oneor two friends who were in the house, as if they had been pygmies, and Ia giant. I told my wife she had been too thrifty, for I found she hadstarved herself and her daughter to nothing. In short, I behaved myselfso unaccountably, that they were all of the captain's opinion when hefirst saw me, and concluded I had lost my wits. This I mention as aninstance of the great power of habit and prejudice.
In a little time, I and my family and friends came to a rightunderstanding: but my wife protested I should never go to sea any more;although my evil destiny so ordered, that she had not power to hinderme, as the reader may know hereafter. In the meantime I here concludethe second part of my unfortunate voyages.
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