Gullivers travels into s.., p.8
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       Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World, p.8

           Jonathan Swift
 
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  CHAPTER IV.

  MILENDO, THE METROPOLIS OF LILLIPUT, DESCRIBED TOGETHER WITH THE EMPEROR'S PALACE. A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE AUTHOR AND A PRINCIPAL SECRETARY, CONCERNING THE AFFAIRS OF THAT EMPIRE. THE AUTHOR OFFERS TO SERVE THE EMPEROR IN HIS WARS.

  The first request I made, after I had obtained my liberty, was, that Imight have license to see Milendo, the metropolis; which the emperoreasily granted me, but with a special charge to do no hurt, either tothe inhabitants or their houses. The people had notice, by proclamation,of my design to visit the town.

  The wall, which encompassed it, is two feet and a half high, and atleast eleven inches broad, so that a coach and horses may be driven verysafely round it; and it is flanked with strong towers at ten feetdistance. I stept over the great western gate, and passed very gently,and sideling, through the two principal streets, only in my shortwaistcoat, for fear of damaging the roofs and eaves of the houses withthe skirts[23] of my coat. I walked with the utmost circumspection, toavoid treading on any stragglers who might remain in the streets;although the orders were very strict, that all people should keep intheir houses at their own peril. The garret-windows and tops of houseswere so crowded with spectators, that I thought in all my travels I hadnot seen a more populous place.

  The city is an exact square, each side of the wall being five hundredfeet long. The two great streets, which run across and divide it intofour quarters, are five feet wide. The lanes and alleys, which I couldnot enter, but only viewed them as I passed, are from twelve to eighteeninches. The town is capable of holding five hundred thousand souls; thehouses are from three to five stories; the shops and markets wellprovided.

  The emperor's palace is in the centre of the city, where the two greatstreets meet. It is enclosed by a wall of two foot high, and twenty footdistant from the buildings. I had his majesty's permission to step overthis wall; and the space being so wide between that and the palace, Icould easily view it on every side.

  The outward court is a square of forty feet, and includes two othercourts; in the inmost are the royal apartments, which I was verydesirous to see, but found it extremely difficult; for the great gatesfrom one square into another were but eighteen inches high, and seveninches wide. Now the buildings of the outer court were at least fivefeet high, and it was impossible for me to stride over them withoutinfinite damage to the pile, though the walls were strongly built ofhewn stone, and four inches thick.

  At the same time, the emperor had a great desire that I should see themagnificence of his palace; but this I was not able to do till threedays after, which I spent in cutting down, with my knife, some of thelargest trees in the royal park, about an hundred yards distance fromthe city. Of these trees I made two stools, each about three feet high,and strong enough to bear my weight.

  "HER IMPERIAL MAJESTY WAS PLEASED TO SMILE VERY GRACIOUSLYUPON ME" P. 50.]

  The people having received notice a second time, I went again throughthe city to the palace, with my two stools in my hands. When I came tothe side of the outer court, I stood upon one stool, and took the otherin my hand; this I lifted over the roof, and gently set it down on thespace between the first and second court, which was eight feet wide. Ithen stept over the building very conveniently, from one stool to theother, and drew up the first after me with a hooked stick. By thiscontrivance I got into the inmost court; and, lying down upon my side, Iapplied my face to the windows of the middle stories, which were leftopen on purpose, and discovered the most splendid apartments that can beimagined. There I saw the empress and the young princes in their severallodgings, with their chief attendants about them. Her imperial majestywas pleased to smile very graciously upon me, and gave me out of thewindow her hand to kiss.

  But I shall not anticipate the reader with farther descriptions of thiskind, because I reserve them for a greater work, which is now almostready for the press, containing a general description of this empire,from its first erection, through a long series of princes, with aparticular account of their wars and politics, laws, learning, andreligion, their plants and animals, their peculiar manners and customs,with other matters very curious and useful; my chief design, at present,being only to relate such events and transactions as happened to thepublic, or to myself, during a residence of about nine months in thatempire.

  One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my liberty,Reldresal, principal secretary (as they style him) for private affairs,came to my house, attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach towait at a distance, and desired I would give him an hour's audience;which I readily consented to, on account of his quality and personalmerits, as well as of the many good offices he had done me during mysolicitations at court. I offered to lie down, that he might the moreconveniently reach my ear; but he chose rather to let me hold him in myhand during our conversation.

  He began with compliments on my liberty; said he might pretend to somemerit in it. But however, added, that if it had not been for the presentsituation of things at court, perhaps I might not have obtained it sosoon. For, said he, as flourishing a condition as we may appear to be into foreigners, we labor under two mighty evils: a violent faction athome, and the danger of an invasion, by a most potent enemy, fromabroad. As to the first, you are to understand, that, for above seventymoons past, there have been two struggling parties in this empire, underthe names of _Tramecksan_ and _Slamecksan_, from the high and low heelsof their shoes, by which they distinguish themselves. It is alleged,indeed, that the high heels are most agreeable to our ancientconstitution; but, however this may be, his majesty hath determined tomake use only of low heels in the administration of the government, andall offices in the gift of the crown, as you cannot but observe: andparticularly, that his majesty's imperial heels are lower, at least by a_drurr_, than any of his court (_drurr_ is a measure about thefourteenth part of an inch). The animosities between these two partiesrun so high, that they will neither eat nor drink nor talk with eachother. We compute the _Tramecksan_, or high heels, to exceed us innumber; but the power is wholly on our side. We apprehend his imperialhighness, the heir to the crown, to have some tendency towards the highheels; at least, we can plainly discover that one of his heels is higherthan the other, which gives him a hobble in his gait. Now, in the midstof these intestine disquiets, we are threatened with an invasion fromthe island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the universe,almost as large and powerful as this of his majesty. For, as to what wehave heard you affirm, that there are other kingdoms and states in theworld, inhabited by human creatures as large as yourself, ourphilosophers are in much doubt, and would rather conjecture that youdropped from the moon or one of the stars, because it is certain, thatan hundred mortals of your bulk would, in a short time, destroy all thefruits and cattle of his majesty's dominions. Besides, our histories ofsix thousand moons make no mention of any other regions than the twogreat empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu. Which two mighty powers have, asI was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war forsix-and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion: It isallowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before weeat them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty'sgrandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking itaccording to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers.Whereupon the emperor, his father, published an edict, commanding allhis subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of theireggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tellus, there have been six rebellions raised on that account, wherein oneemperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil commotionswere constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when theywere quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It iscomputed, that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffereddeath, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Manyhundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy, but thebooks of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole partyrendered incapable
, by law, of holding employments. During the course ofthese troubles, the Emperors of Blefuscu did frequently expostulate, bytheir ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in religion, byoffending against a fundamental doctrine of our great prophet Lustrog,in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Blundecral (which is theirAlcoran)[24] This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon thetext; for the words are these: That all true believers break their eggsat the convenient end. And which is the convenient end, seems, in myhumble opinion, to be left to every man's conscience, or, at least, inthe power of the chief magistrate to determine. Now, the Big-endianexiles have found so much credit in the emperor of Blefuscu's court, andso much private assistance and encouragement from their party here athome, that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two empires forsix-and-thirty moons, with various success; during which time we havelost forty capital ships, and a much greater number of smaller vessels,together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers; and thedamage received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater thanours. However, they have now equipped a numerous fleet, and are justpreparing to make a descent upon us; and his imperial majesty, placinggreat confidence in your valor and strength, hath commanded me to laythis account of his affairs before you.

  I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the emperor, and tolet him know that I thought it would not become me, who was a foreigner,to interfere with parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life,to defend his person and state against all invaders.

 
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