Gullivers travels into s.., p.6
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.6

           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



  When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess Inever beheld a more entertaining prospect. The country around, appearedlike a continued garden, and the enclosed fields, which were generallyforty feet square, resembled so many beds of flowers. These fields wereintermingled with woods of half a stang,[12] and the tallest trees, as Icould judge, appeared to be seven feet high. I viewed the town on myleft hand, which looked like the painted scene of a city in a theatre.

  The emperor was already descended from the tower, and advancing onhorseback towards me, which had like to have cost him dear; for thebeast, though very well trained, yet wholly unused to such a sight,which appeared as if a mountain moved before him, reared up on his hindfeet. But that prince, who is an excellent horseman, kept his seat, tillhis attendants ran in and held the bridle, while his majesty had time todismount.

  When he alighted, he surveyed me round with great admiration, but keptwithout the length of my chain. He ordered his cooks and butlers, whowere already prepared, to give me victuals and drink, which they pushedforward in a sort of vehicles upon wheels, till I could reach them. Itook these vehicles, and soon emptied them all; twenty of them werefilled with meat; each afforded me two or three good mouthfuls. Theempress and young princes of the blood of both sexes, attended by manyladies, sat at some distance in their chairs;[13] but upon the accidentthat happened to the emperor's horse, they alighted, and came near hisperson, which I am now going to describe. He is taller, by almost thebreadth of my nail, than any of his court, which alone is enough tostrike an awe into the beholders. His features are strong and masculine,with an Austrian lip and arched nose, his complexion olive, hiscountenance erect, his body and limbs well proportioned, all his motionsgraceful, and his deportment majestic. He was then past his prime, beingtwenty-eight years and three-quarters old, of which he had reigned aboutseven in great felicity, and generally victorious. For the betterconvenience of beholding him, I lay on my side, so that my face wasparallel to his, and he stood but three yards off. However, I have hadhim since many times in my hand, and therefore cannot be deceived in thedescription.

  His dress was very plain and simple, and the fashion of it between theAsiatic and the European; but he had on his head a light helmet of gold,adorned with jewels, and a plume an the crest.[14] He held his sworddrawn in his hand, to defend himself, if I should happen to break loose;it was almost three inches long; the hilt and scabbard were gold,enriched with diamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear andarticulate, and I could distinctly hear it, when I stood up.

  The ladies and courtiers were all most magnificently clad; so that thespot they stood upon seemed to resemble a petticoat spread on theground, embroidered with figures of gold and silver. His imperialmajesty spoke often to me, and I returned answers, but neither of uscould understand a syllable. There were several of his priests andlawyers present (as I conjectured by their habits), who were commandedto address themselves to me; and I spoke to them in as many languages asI had the least smattering of, which were, High and Low Dutch, Latin,French, Spanish, Italian, and Lingua Franca;[15] but all to no purpose.

  After about two hours the court retired, and I was left with a strongguard, to prevent the impertinence, and probably the malice of therabble, who were very impatient to crowd about me as near as they durst;and some of them had the impudence to shoot their arrows at me, as I saton the ground by the door of my house, whereof one very narrowly missedmy left eye. But the colonel ordered six of the ring-leaders to beseized, and thought no punishment so proper as to deliver them boundinto my hands; which some of his soldiers accordingly did, pushing themforwards with the butt-ends of their pikes into my reach. I took themall on my right hand, put five of them into my coat-pocket; and as tothe sixth, I made a countenance as if I would eat him alive. The poorman squalled terribly, and the colonel and his officers were in muchpain, especially when they saw me take out my penknife; but I soon putthem out of fear, for, looking mildly, and immediately cutting thestrings he was bound with, I set him gently on the ground, and away heran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one by one outof my pocket; and I observed both the soldiers and people were highlydelighted at this mark of my clemency, which was represented very muchto my advantage at court.

  Towards night, I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay onthe ground, and continued to do so about a fortnight, during which timethe emperor gave orders to have a bed prepared for me. Six hundred beds,of the common measure, were brought in carriages and worked up in myhouse; an hundred and fifty of their beds, sewn together, made up thebreadth and length; and these were four double, which, however, kept mebut very indifferently from the hardness of the floor, which was ofsmooth stone. By the same computation, they provided me with sheets,blankets, and coverlets, which were tolerable enough for one who hadbeen so long inured to hardships as I.

  As the news of my arrival spread through the kingdom, it broughtprodigious numbers of rich, idle, and curious people to see me; so thatthe villages were almost emptied; and great neglect of tillage andhousehold affairs must have ensued, if his imperial majesty had notprovided, by several proclamations and orders of state, against thisinconvenience. He directed that those who had already beheld me shouldreturn home, and not presume to come within fifty yards of my housewithout license from court; whereby the secretaries of state gotconsiderable fees.

  In the meantime, the emperor held frequent councils, to debate whatcourse should be taken with me; and I was afterwards assured by aparticular friend, a person of great quality, who was as much in thesecret as any, that the court was under many difficulties concerning me.They apprehended my breaking loose; that my diet would be veryexpensive, and might cause a famine. Sometimes they determined to starveme, or at least to shoot me in the face and hands with poisoned arrows,which would soon despatch me: but again they considered that the stenchof so large a carcase might produce a plague in the metropolis, andprobably spread through the whole kingdom.

  In the midst of these consultations, several officers of the army wentto the door of the great council-chamber, and two of them beingadmitted, gave an account of my behavior to the six criminalsabove-mentioned, which made so favorable an impression in the breast ofhis majesty, and the whole board, in my behalf, that an imperialcommission was issued out, obliging all the villages nine hundred yardsround the city to deliver in, every morning, six beeves, forty sheep,and other victuals, for my sustenance; together with a proportionablequantity of bread and wine, and other liquors; for the due payment ofwhich his majesty gave assignments upon his treasury. For this princelives chiefly upon his own demesnes, seldom, except upon greatoccasions, raising any subsidies upon his subjects, who are bound toattend him in his wars at their own expense. An establishment was alsomade of six hundred persons, to be my domestics, who had board-wagesallowed for their maintenance, and tents built for them veryconveniently on each side of my door.

  It was likewise ordered that three hundred tailors should make me a suitof clothes, after the fashion of the country; that six of his majesty'sgreatest scholars should be employed to instruct me in their language;and lastly, that the emperor's horses, and those of the nobility andtroops of guards, should be frequently exercised in my sight, toaccustom themselves to me.

  All these orders were duly put in execution, and in about three weeks Imade a great progress in learning their language; during which time theemperor frequently honored me with his visits, and was pleased to assistmy masters in teaching me. We began already to converse together in somesort; and the first words I learnt were to express my desire that hewould please give me my liberty, which I every day repeated on my
knees. His answer, as I could apprehend it, was, that this must be awork of time, not to be thought on without the advice of his council,and that first I must _lumos kelmin pesso desmar lon emposo_; that is,swear a peace with him and his kingdom. However, that I should be usedwith all kindness; and he advised me to acquire, by my patience anddiscreet behavior, the good opinion of himself and his subjects.

  He desired I would not take it ill, if he gave orders to certain properofficers to search me; for probably I might carry about me severalweapons which must needs be dangerous things, if they answered the bulkof so prodigious a person. I said his majesty should be satisfied, for Iwas ready to strip myself and turn up my pockets before him. This Idelivered, part in words, and part in signs.

  He replied, that by the laws of the kingdom, I must be searched by twoof his officers; that he knew this could not be done without my consentand assistance; that he had so good an opinion of my generosity andjustice, as to trust their persons in my hands; that whatever they tookfrom me should be returned when I left the country, or paid for at therate which I should set upon them. I took up the two officers in myhands, put them first into my coat-pockets, and then into every otherpocket about me, except my two fobs and another secret pocket, which Ihad no mind should be searched, wherein I had some little necessariesthat were of no consequence to any but myself. In one of my fobs therewas a silver watch, and in the other a small quantity of gold in apurse.


  These gentlemen having pen, ink, and paper about them, made an exactinventory of everything they saw; and, when they had done, desired Iwould set them down, that they might deliver it to the emperor. Thisinventory I afterwards translated into English, and is word for word asfollows:--

  _Imprimis_,[16] In the right coat-pocket of the great man-mountain (forso I interpret the words _quinbus flestrin_), after the strictestsearch, we found only one great piece of coarse cloth, large enough tobe a foot-cloth for your majesty's chief room of state. In the leftpocket, we saw a huge silver chest, with a cover of the same metal,which we the searchers were not able to lift. We desired it should beopened, and one of us stepping into it, found himself up to the mid-legin a sort of dust, some part whereof flying up to our faces, set us botha sneezing for several times together. In his right waistcoat pocket wefound a prodigious number of white thin substances folded one overanother, about the bigness of three men, tied with a strong cable, andmarked with black figures; which we humbly conceive to be writings,every letter almost half as large as the palm of our hands. In the left,there was a sort of engine, from the back of which were extended twentylong poles, resembling the palisadoes before your majesty's court;wherewith we conjecture the man-mountain combs his head, for we did notalways trouble him with questions, because we found it a greatdifficulty to make him understand us. In the large pocket on the rightside of his middle cover (so I translate the word _ranfu-lo_, by whichthey meant my breeches), we saw a hollow pillar of iron, about thelength of a man, fastened to a strong piece of timber, larger than thepillar; and upon one side of the pillar were huge pieces of ironsticking out, cut into strange figures, which we know not what to makeof. In the left pocket, another engine of the same kind. In the smallerpocket on the right side were several round flat pieces of white and redmetal, of different bulk; some of the white, which seemed to be silver,were so large and so heavy, that my comrade and I could hardly liftthem. In the left pocket, were two black pillars irregularly shaped; wecould not without difficulty reach the top of them, as we stood at thebottom of his pocket. One of them was covered, and seemed all of apiece; but at the upper end of the other, there appeared a white andround substance, about twice the bigness of our heads. Within each ofthese was enclosed a prodigious plate of steel, which, by our orders, weobliged him to show us, because we apprehended they might be dangerousengines. He took them out of their cases, and told us that in his owncountry his practice was to shave his beard with one of these, and tocut his meat with the other. There were two pockets which we could notenter: these he called his fobs. Out of the right fob hung a greatsilver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine at the bottom. We directedhim to draw out whatever was at the end of that chain, which appeared tobe a globe, half silver, and half of some transparent metal; for on thetransparent side we saw certain strange figures, circularly drawn, andthought we could touch them till we found our fingers stopped by thatlucid substance.[17] He put this engine to our ears, which made anincessant noise, like that of a water-mill; and we conjecture it iseither some unknown animal, or the god that he worships; but we are moreinclined to the latter opinion, because he assured us (if we understoodhim right, for he expressed himself very imperfectly), that he seldomdid anything without consulting it. He called it his oracle, and said itpointed out the time for every action of his life. From the left fob hetook out a net almost large enough for a fisherman, but contrived toopen and shut like a purse, and served him for the same use; we foundtherein several massy pieces of yellow metal, which, if they be realgold, must be of immense value.

  Having thus, in obedience to your majesty's commands, diligentlysearched all his pockets, we observed a girdle about his waist, made ofthe hide of some prodigious animal, from which, on the left side, hung asword of the length of five men; and on the right, a bag or pouch,divided into two cells, each cell capable of holding three of yourmajesty's subjects. In one of these cells were several globes, or balls,of a most ponderous metal, about the bigness of our heads, and requireda strong hand to lift them; the other cell contained a heap of certainblack grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we could hold aboutfifty of them in the palms of our hands.

  This is an exact inventory of what we found about the body of theman-mountain, who used us with great civility and due respect to yourmajesty's commission. Signed and sealed, on the fourth day of theeighty-ninth moon of your majesty's auspicious reign.


  When this inventory was read over to the emperor, he directed me,although in very gentle terms, to deliver up the several particulars.

  He first called for my scimitar, which I took out, scabbard and all. Inthe meantime, he ordered three thousand of his choicest troops (who thenattended him) to surround me at a distance, with their bows and arrowsjust ready to discharge; but I did not observe it, for mine eyes werewholly fixed upon his majesty. He then desired me to draw my scimitar,which, although it had got some rust by the sea-water, was in most partsexceedingly bright. I did so, and immediately all the troops gave ashout between terror and surprise; for the sun shone clear, and thereflection dazzled their eyes, as I waved the scimitar to and fro in myhand. His majesty, who is a most magnanimous prince, was less dauntedthan I could expect; he ordered me to return it into the scabbard, andcast it on the ground as gently as I could, about six feet from the endof my chain.

  The next thing he demanded was one of the hollow iron pillars, by whichhe meant my pocket-pistols. I drew it out, and at his desire, as well asI could, expressed to him the use of it; and charging it only withpowder, which, by the closeness of my pouch, happened to escape wettingin the sea (an inconvenience against which all prudent mariners takespecial care to provide), I first cautioned the emperor not to beafraid, and then let it off in the air.

  The astonishment here was much greater than at the sight of my scimitar.Hundreds fell down as if they had been struck dead; and even theemperor, although he stood his ground, could not recover himself in sometime I delivered up both my pistols, in the same manner as I had donemy scimitar, and then my pouch of powder and bullets, begging him thatthe former might be kept from fire, for it would kindle with thesmallest spark, and blow up his imperial palace into the air.

  I likewise delivered up my watch, which the emperor was very curious tosee, and commanded two of his tallest yeomen of the guards[18] to bearit on a pole upon their shoulders, as draymen in E
ngland do a barrel ofale. He was amazed at the continual noise it made and the motion of theminute-hand, which he could easily discern; for their sight is much moreacute than ours. He asked the opinions of his learned men about it,which were various and remote, as the reader may well imagine without myrepeating; although, indeed, I could not very perfectly understand them.

  I then gave up my silver and copper money, my purse, with nine largepieces of gold, and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my comb andsilver snuffbox, my handkerchief and journal-book. My scimitar, pistols,and pouch were conveyed in carriages to his majesty's stores; but therest of my goods were returned to me.

  I had, as I before observed, one private pocket, which escaped theirsearch, wherein there was a pair of spectacles (which I sometimes usefor the weakness of mine eyes), a pocket perspective,[19] and some otherlittle conveniences; which, being of no consequence to the emperor, Idid not think myself bound in honor to discover; and I apprehended theymight be lost or spoiled if I ventured them out of my possession.

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