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Chapter 2

  • The emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility, comes to see th_uthor in his confinement. The emperor's person and habit described. Learne_en appointed to teach the author their language. He gains favour by his mil_isposition. His pockets are searched, and his sword and pistols taken fro_im.
  • When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess I neve_eheld a more entertaining prospect. The country around appeared like _ontinued garden, and the enclosed fields, which were generally forty fee_quare, resembled so many beds of flowers. These fields were intermingled wit_oods of half a stang, (1) and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appeare_o be seven feet high. I viewed the town on my left hand, which looked lik_he painted scene of a city in a theatre.
  • I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of nature;
  • which was no wonder, it being almost two days since I had last disburdene_yself. I was under great difficulties between urgency and shame. The bes_xpedient I could think of, was to creep into my house, which I accordingl_id; and shutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length of my chai_ould suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load. But this was th_nly time I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action; for which I cannot bu_ope the candid reader will give some allowance, after he has maturely an_mpartially considered my case, and the distress I was in. From this time m_onstant practice was, as soon as I rose, to perform that business in ope_ir, at the full extent of my chain; and due care was taken every mornin_efore company came, that the offensive matter should be carried off in wheel-
  • barrows, by two servants appointed for that purpose. I would not have dwelt s_ong upon a circumstance that, perhaps, at first sight, may appear not ver_omentous, if I had not thought it necessary to justify my character, in poin_f cleanliness, to the world; which, I am told, some of my maligners have bee_leased, upon this and other occasions, to call in question.
  • When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house, havin_ccasion for fresh air. The emperor was already descended from the tower, an_dvancing on horse-back towards me, which had like to have cost him dear; fo_he beast, though very well trained, yet wholly unused to such a sight, whic_ppeared as if a mountain moved before him, reared up on its hinder feet: bu_hat prince, who is an excellent horseman, kept his seat, till his attendant_an in, and held the bridle, while his majesty had time to dismount. When h_lighted, he surveyed me round with great admiration; but kept beyond th_ength of my chain. He ordered his cooks and butlers, who were alread_repared, to give me victuals and drink, which they pushed forward in a sor_f vehicles upon wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehicles an_oon emptied them all; twenty of them were filled with meat, and ten wit_iquor; each of the former afforded me two or three good mouthfuls; and _mptied the liquor of ten vessels, which was contained in earthen vials, int_ne vehicle, drinking it off at a draught; and so I did with the rest. Th_mpress, and young princes of the blood of both sexes, attended by man_adies, sat at some distance in their chairs; but upon the accident tha_appened to the emperor's horse, they alighted, and came near his person,
  • which I am now going to describe. He is taller by almost the breadth of m_ail, than any of his court; which alone is enough to strike an awe into th_eholders.
  • His features are strong and masculine, with an Austrian lip and arched nose,
  • his complexion olive, his countenance erect, his body and limbs wel_roportioned, all his motions graceful, and his deportment majestic. He wa_hen past his prime, being twenty-eight years and three quarters old, of whic_e had reigned about seven in great felicity, and generally victorious. Fo_he better convenience of beholding him, I lay on my side, so that my face wa_arallel to his, and he stood but three yards off: however, I have had hi_ince many times in my hand, and therefore cannot be deceived in th_escription. His dress was very plain and simple, and the fashion of i_etween the Asiatic and the European; but he had on his head a light helmet o_old, adorned with jewels, and a plume on the crest. He held his sword draw_n his hand to defend himself, if I should happen to break loose; it wa_lmost three inches long; the hilt and scabbard were gold enriched wit_iamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear and articulate; and I coul_istinctly hear it when I stood up. The ladies and courtiers were all mos_agnificently clad; so that the spot they stood upon seemed to resemble _etticoat spread upon the ground, embroidered with figures of gold and silver.
  • His imperial majesty spoke often to me, and I returned answers: but neither o_s could understand a syllable. There were several of his priests and lawyer_resent (as I conjectured by their habits), who were commanded to addres_hemselves to me; and I spoke to them in as many languages as I had the leas_mattering of, which were High and Low Dutch, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian,
  • and Lingua Franca, but all to no purpose. After about two hours the cour_etired, and I was left with a strong guard, to prevent the impertinence, an_robably the malice of the rabble, who were very impatient to crowd about m_s near as they durst; and some of them had the impudence to shoot thei_rrows at me, as I sat on the ground by the door of my house, whereof one ver_arrowly missed my left eye. But the colonel ordered six of the ringleaders t_e seized, and thought no punishment so proper as to deliver them bound int_y hands; which some of his soldiers accordingly did, pushing them forwar_ith the butt-ends of their pikes into my reach. I took them all in my righ_and, put five of them into my coat-pocket; and as to the sixth, I made _ountenance as if I would eat him alive. The poor man squalled terribly, an_he colonel and his officers were in much pain, especially when they saw m_ake out my penknife: but I soon put them out of fear; for, looking mildly,
  • and immediately cutting the strings he was bound with, I set him gently on th_round, and away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking the_ne by one out of my pocket; and I observed both the soldiers and people wer_ighly delighted at this mark of my clemency, which was represented very muc_o my advantage at court.
  • Towards night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay on th_round, and continued to do so about a fortnight; during which time, th_mperor gave orders to have a bed prepared for me. Six hundred beds of th_ommon measure were brought in carriages, and worked up in my house; a hundre_nd fifty of their beds, sewn together, made up the breadth and length; an_hese were four double: which, however, kept me but very indifferently fro_he hardness of the floor, that was of smooth stone. By the same computation,
  • they provided me with sheets, blankets, and coverlets, tolerable enough fo_ne who had been so long inured to hardships.
  • As the news of my arrival spread through the kingdom, it brought prodigiou_umbers of rich, idle, and curious people to see me; so that the villages wer_lmost emptied; and great neglect of tillage and household affairs must hav_nsued, if his imperial majesty had not provided, by several proclamations an_rders of state, against this inconveniency. He directed that those who ha_lready beheld me should return home, and not presume to come within fift_ards of my house, without license from the court; whereby the secretaries o_tate got considerable fees.
  • In the mean time the emperor held frequent councils, to debate what cours_hould be taken with me; and I was afterwards assured by a particular friend,
  • a person of great quality, who was as much in the secret as any, that th_ourt was under many difficulties concerning me. They apprehended my breakin_oose; that my diet would be very expensive, and might cause a famine.
  • Sometimes they determined to starve me; or at least to shoot me in the fac_nd hands with poisoned arrows, which would soon despatch me; but again the_onsidered, that the stench of so large a carcass might produce a plague i_he metropolis, and probably spread through the whole kingdom. In the midst o_hese consultations, several officers of the army went to the door of th_reat council-chamber, and two of them being admitted, gave an account of m_ehaviour to the six criminals above-mentioned; which made so favourable a_mpression in the breast of his majesty and the whole board, in my behalf,
  • that an imperial commission was issued out, obliging all the villages, nin_undred yards round the city, to deliver in every morning six beeves, fort_heep, and other victuals for my sustenance; together with a proportionabl_uantity of bread, and wine, and other liquors; for the due payment of which,
  • his majesty gave assignments upon his treasury:—for this prince lives chiefl_pon his own demesnes; seldom, except upon great occasions, raising an_ubsidies upon his subjects, who are bound to attend him in his wars at thei_wn expense. An establishment was also made of six hundred persons to be m_omestics, who had board-wages allowed for their maintenance, and tents buil_or them very conveniently on each side of my door. It was likewise ordered,
  • that three hundred tailors should make me a suit of clothes, after the fashio_f the country; that six of his majesty's greatest scholars should be employe_o instruct me in their language; and lastly, that the emperor's horses, an_hose of the nobility and troops of guards, should be frequently exercised i_y sight, to accustom themselves to me. All these orders were duly put i_xecution; and in about three weeks I made a great progress in learning thei_anguage; during which time the emperor frequently honoured me with hi_isits, and was pleased to assist my masters in teaching me. We began alread_o converse together in some sort; and the first words I learnt, were t_xpress my desire "that he would please give me my liberty;" which I every da_epeated on my knees. His answer, as I could comprehend it, was, "that thi_ust be a work of time, not to be thought on without the advice of hi_ouncil, 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 used wit_ll kindness. And he advised me to "acquire, by my patience and discree_ehaviour, the good opinion of himself and his subjects." He desired "I woul_ot take it ill, if he gave orders to certain proper officers to search me;
  • for probably I might carry about me several weapons, which must needs b_angerous things, if they answered the bulk of so prodigious a person." _aid, "His majesty should be satisfied; for I was ready to strip myself, an_urn up my pockets before him." This I delivered part in words, and part i_igns. He replied, "that, by the laws of the kingdom, I must be searched b_wo of his officers; that he knew this could not be done without my consen_nd assistance; and he had so good an opinion of my generosity and justice, a_o trust their persons in my hands; that whatever they took from me, should b_eturned when I left the country, or paid for at the rate which I would se_pon them." I took up the two officers in my hands, put them first into m_oat-pockets, and then into every other pocket about me, except my two fobs,
  • and another secret pocket, which I had no mind should be searched, wherein _ad some little necessaries that were of no consequence to any but myself. I_ne of my fobs there was a silver watch, and in the other a small quantity o_old in a purse. These gentlemen, having pen, ink, and paper, about them, mad_n exact inventory of every thing they saw; and when they had done, desired _ould set them down, that they might deliver it to the emperor. This inventor_ afterwards translated into English, and is, word for word, as follows:
  • "IMPRIMIS, In the right coat-pocket of the great man-mountain" (for so _nterpret the words QUINBUS FLESTRIN,) "after the strictest search, we foun_nly one great piece of coarse-cloth, large enough to be a foot-cloth for you_ajesty's chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge silver chest,
  • with a cover of the same metal, which we, the searchers, were not able t_ift. We desired it should be opened, and one of us stepping into it, foun_imself up to the mid leg in a sort of dust, some part whereof flying up t_ur faces set us both a sneezing for several times together. In his righ_aistcoat-pocket we found a prodigious bundle of white thin substances, folde_ne over another, about the bigness of three men, tied with a strong cable,
  • and marked with black figures; which we humbly conceive to be writings, ever_etter almost half as large as the palm of our hands. In the left there was _ort of engine, from the back of which were extended twenty long poles,
  • resembling the pallisados before your majesty's court: wherewith we conjectur_he man-mountain combs his head; for we did not always trouble him wit_uestions, because we found it a great difficulty to make him understand us.
  • In the large pocket, on the right side of his middle cover" (so I translat_he word RANFULO, by which they meant my breeches,) "we saw a hollow pillar o_ron, about the length of a man, fastened to a strong piece of timber large_han the pillar; and upon one side of the pillar, were huge pieces of iro_ticking out, cut into strange figures, which we know not what to make of. I_he left pocket, another engine of the same kind. In the smaller pocket on th_ight side, were several round flat pieces of white and red metal, o_ifferent bulk; some of the white, which seemed to be silver, were so larg_nd heavy, that my comrade and I could hardly lift them. In the left pocke_ere two black pillars irregularly shaped: we could not, without difficulty,
  • reach the top of them, as we stood at the bottom of his pocket. One of the_as covered, and seemed all of a piece: but at the upper end of the othe_here appeared a white round substance, about twice the bigness of our heads.
  • Within each of these was enclosed a prodigious plate of steel; which, by ou_rders, we obliged him to show us, because we apprehended they might b_angerous engines. He took them out of their cases, and told us, that in hi_wn country his practice was to shave his beard with one of these, and cut hi_eat with the other. There were two pockets which we could not enter: these h_alled his fobs; they were two large slits cut into the top of his middl_over, but squeezed close by the pressure of his belly. Out of the right fo_ung a great silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine at the bottom. W_irected him to draw out whatever was at the end of that chain; which appeare_o be a globe, half silver, and half of some transparent metal; for, on th_ransparent side, we saw certain strange figures circularly drawn, and thoug_e could touch them, till we found our fingers stopped by the lucid substance.
  • He put this engine into our ears, which made an incessant noise, like that o_ water-mill: and we conjecture it is either some unknown animal, or the go_hat he worships; but we are more inclined to the latter opinion, because h_ssured us, (if we understood him right, for he expressed himself ver_mperfectly) that he seldom did any thing without consulting it. He called i_is oracle, and said, it pointed out the time for every action of his life.
  • From the left fob he took out a net almost large enough for a fisherman, bu_ontrived to open and shut like a purse, and served him for the same use: w_ound therein several massy pieces of yellow metal, which, if they be rea_old, must be of immense value.
  • "Having thus, in obedience to your majesty's commands, diligently searched al_is pockets, we observed a girdle about his waist made of the hide of som_rodigious animal, from which, on the left side, hung a sword of the length o_ive men; and on the right, a bag or pouch divided into two cells, each cel_apable of holding three of your majesty's subjects. In one of these cell_ere several globes, or balls, of a most ponderous metal, about the bigness o_ur heads, and requiring a strong hand to lift them: the other cell containe_ heap of certain black grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we coul_old above fifty of them in the palms of our hands.
  • "This is an exact inventory of what we found about the body of the man-
  • mountain, who used us with great civility, and due respect to your majesty'_ommission. Signed and sealed on the fourth day of the eighty-ninth moon o_our majesty's auspicious reign.
  • CLEFRIN FRELOCK, MARSI FRELOCK."
  • When this inventory was read over to the emperor, he directed me, although i_ery gentle terms, to deliver up the several particulars. He first called fo_y scimitar, which I took out, scabbard and all. In the mean time he ordere_hree thousand of his choicest troops (who then attended him) to surround m_t a distance, with their bows and arrows just ready to discharge; but I di_ot observe it, for mine eyes were wholly fixed upon his majesty. He the_esired me to draw my scimitar, which, although it had got some rust by th_ea water, was, in most parts, exceeding bright. I did so, and immediately al_he troops gave a shout between terror and surprise; for the sun shone clear,
  • and the reflection dazzled their eyes, as I waved the scimitar to and fro i_y hand. His majesty, who is a most magnanimous prince, was less daunted tha_ could expect: he ordered me to return it into the scabbard, and cast it o_he ground as gently as I could, about six feet from the end of my chain. Th_ext thing he demanded was one of the hollow iron pillars; by which he mean_y pocket pistols. I drew it out, and at his desire, as well as I could,
  • expressed to him the use of it; and charging it only with powder, which, b_he closeness of my pouch, happened to escape wetting in the sea (a_nconvenience against which all prudent mariners take special care t_rovide,) I first cautioned the emperor not to be afraid, and then I let i_ff in the air. The astonishment here was much greater than at the sight of m_cimitar. Hundreds fell down as if they had been struck dead; and even th_mperor, although he stood his ground, could not recover himself for som_ime. I delivered up both my pistols in the same manner as I had done m_cimitar, and then my pouch of powder and bullets; begging him that the forme_ight be kept from fire, for it would kindle with the smallest spark, and blo_p his imperial palace into the air. I likewise delivered up my watch, whic_he emperor was very curious to see, and commanded two of his tallest yeome_f the guards to bear it on a pole upon their shoulders, as draymen in Englan_o a barrel of ale. He was amazed at the continual noise it made, and th_otion of the minute-hand, which he could easily discern; for their sight i_uch more acute than ours: he asked the opinions of his learned men about it,
  • which were various and remote, as the reader may well imagine without m_epeating; although indeed I could not very perfectly understand them. I the_ave up my silver and copper money, my purse, with nine large pieces of gold,
  • and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my comb and silver snuff-box, m_andkerchief and journal-book. My scimitar, pistols, and pouch, were conveye_n carriages to his majesty's stores; but the rest of my goods were returne_e.
  • I had as I before observed, one private pocket, which escaped their search,
  • wherein there was a pair of spectacles (which I sometimes use for the weaknes_f mine eyes,) a pocket perspective, and some other little conveniences;
  • which, being of no consequence to the emperor, I did not think myself bound i_onour to discover, and I apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if _entured them out of my possession.