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Chapter 3

  • [The author sent for to court. The queen buys him of his master the farmer,
  • and presents him to the king. He disputes with his majesty's great scholars.
  • An apartment at court provided for the author. He is in high favour with th_ueen. He stands up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with th_ueen's dwarf.]
  • The frequent labours I underwent every day, made, in a few weeks, a ver_onsiderable change in my health: the more my master got by me, the mor_nsatiable he grew. I had quite lost my stomach, and was almost reduced to _keleton. The farmer observed it, and concluding I must soon die, resolved t_ake as good a hand of me as he could. While he was thus reasoning an_esolving with himself, a SARDRAL, or gentleman-usher, came from court,
  • commanding my master to carry me immediately thither for the diversion of th_ueen and her ladies. Some of the latter had already been to see me, an_eported strange things of my beauty, behaviour, and good sense. Her majesty,
  • and those who attended her, were beyond measure delighted with my demeanour. _ell on my knees, and begged the honour of kissing her imperial foot; but thi_racious princess held out her little finger towards me, after I was set o_he table, which I embraced in both my arms, and put the tip of it with th_tmost respect to my lip. She made me some general questions about my countr_nd my travels, which I answered as distinctly, and in as few words as _ould. She asked, "whether I could be content to live at court?" I bowed dow_o the board of the table, and humbly answered "that I was my master's slave:
  • but, if I were at my own disposal, I should be proud to devote my life to he_ajesty's service." She then asked my master, "whether he was willing to sel_e at a good price?" He, who apprehended I could not live a month, was read_nough to part with me, and demanded a thousand pieces of gold, which wer_rdered him on the spot, each piece being about the bigness of eight hundre_oidores; but allowing for the proportion of all things between that countr_nd Europe, and the high price of gold among them, was hardly so great a su_s a thousand guineas would be in England. I then said to the queen, "since _as now her majesty's most humble creature and vassal, I must beg the favour,
  • that Glumdalclitch, who had always tended me with so much care and kindness,
  • and understood to do it so well, might be admitted into her service, an_ontinue to be my nurse and instructor."
  • Her majesty agreed to my petition, and easily got the farmer's consent, wh_as glad enough to have his daughter preferred at court, and the poor gir_erself was not able to hide her joy. My late master withdrew, bidding m_arewell, and saying he had left me in a good service; to which I replied no_ word, only making him a slight bow.
  • The queen observed my coldness; and, when the farmer was gone out of th_partment, asked me the reason. I made bold to tell her majesty, "that I owe_o other obligation to my late master, than his not dashing out the brains o_ poor harmless creature, found by chance in his fields: which obligation wa_mply recompensed, by the gain he had made in showing me through half th_ingdom, and the price he had now sold me for. That the life I had since le_as laborious enough to kill an animal of ten times my strength. That m_ealth was much impaired, by the continual drudgery of entertaining the rabbl_very hour of the day; and that, if my master had not thought my life i_anger, her majesty would not have got so cheap a bargain. But as I was out o_ll fear of being ill-treated under the protection of so great and good a_mpress, the ornament of nature, the darling of the world, the delight of he_ubjects, the phoenix of the creation, so I hoped my late master'_pprehensions would appear to be groundless; for I already found my spirit_evive, by the influence of her most august presence."
  • This was the sum of my speech, delivered with great improprieties an_esitation. The latter part was altogether framed in the style peculiar t_hat people, whereof I learned some phrases from Glumdalclitch, while she wa_arrying me to court.
  • The queen, giving great allowance for my defectiveness in speaking, was,
  • however, surprised at so much wit and good sense in so diminutive an animal.
  • She took me in her own hand, and carried me to the king, who was then retire_o his cabinet. His majesty, a prince of much gravity and austere countenance,
  • not well observing my shape at first view, asked the queen after a cold manner
  • "how long it was since she grew fond of a SPLACNUCK?" for such it seems h_ook me to be, as I lay upon my breast in her majesty's right hand. But thi_rincess, who has an infinite deal of wit and humour, set me gently on my fee_pon the scrutoire, and commanded me to give his majesty an account of myself,
  • which I did in a very few words: and Glumdalclitch who attended at the cabine_oor, and could not endure I should be out of her sight, being admitted,
  • confirmed all that had passed from my arrival at her father's house.
  • The king, although he be as learned a person as any in his dominions, had bee_ducated in the study of philosophy, and particularly mathematics; yet when h_bserved my shape exactly, and saw me walk erect, before I began to speak,
  • conceived I might be a piece of clock-work (which is in that country arrive_o a very great perfection) contrived by some ingenious artist. But when h_eard my voice, and found what I delivered to be regular and rational, h_ould not conceal his astonishment. He was by no means satisfied with th_elation I gave him of the manner I came into his kingdom, but thought it _tory concerted between Glumdalclitch and her father, who had taught me a se_f words to make me sell at a better price. Upon this imagination, he pu_everal other questions to me, and still received rational answers: n_therwise defective than by a foreign accent, and an imperfect knowledge i_he language, with some rustic phrases which I had learned at the farmer'_ouse, and did not suit the polite style of a court.
  • His majesty sent for three great scholars, who were then in their weekl_aiting, according to the custom in that country. These gentlemen, after the_ad a while examined my shape with much nicety, were of different opinion_oncerning me. They all agreed that I could not be produced according to th_egular laws of nature, because I was not framed with a capacity of preservin_y life, either by swiftness, or climbing of trees, or digging holes in th_arth. They observed by my teeth, which they viewed with great exactness, tha_ was a carnivorous animal; yet most quadrupeds being an overmatch for me, an_ield mice, with some others, too nimble, they could not imagine how I shoul_e able to support myself, unless I fed upon snails and other insects, whic_hey offered, by many learned arguments, to evince that I could not possibl_o. One of these virtuosi seemed to think that I might be an embryo, o_bortive birth. But this opinion was rejected by the other two, who observe_y limbs to be perfect and finished; and that I had lived several years, as i_as manifest from my beard, the stumps whereof they plainly discovered throug_ magnifying glass. They would not allow me to be a dwarf, because m_ittleness was beyond all degrees of comparison; for the queen's favourit_warf, the smallest ever known in that kingdom, was near thirty feet high.
  • After much debate, they concluded unanimously, that I was only RELPLU_CALCATH, which is interpreted literally LUSUS NATURAE; a determinatio_xactly agreeable to the modern philosophy of Europe, whose professors,
  • disdaining the old evasion of occult causes, whereby the followers o_ristotle endeavoured in vain to disguise their ignorance, have invented thi_onderful solution of all difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement o_uman knowledge.
  • After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard a word or two. _pplied myself to the king, and assured his majesty, "that I came from _ountry which abounded with several millions of both sexes, and of my ow_tature; where the animals, trees, and houses, were all in proportion, an_here, by consequence, I might be as able to defend myself, and to fin_ustenance, as any of his majesty's subjects could do here; which I took for _ull answer to those gentlemen's arguments." To this they only replied with _mile of contempt, saying, "that the farmer had instructed me very well in m_esson." The king, who had a much better understanding, dismissing his learne_en, sent for the farmer, who by good fortune was not yet gone out of town.
  • Having therefore first examined him privately, and then confronted him with m_nd the young girl, his majesty began to think that what we told him migh_ossibly be true. He desired the queen to order that a particular care shoul_e taken of me; and was of opinion that Glumdalclitch should still continue i_er office of tending me, because he observed we had a great affection fo_ach other. A convenient apartment was provided for her at court: she had _ort of governess appointed to take care of her education, a maid to dres_er, and two other servants for menial offices; but the care of me was wholl_ppropriated to herself. The queen commanded her own cabinet-maker to contriv_ box, that might serve me for a bedchamber, after the model tha_lumdalclitch and I should agree upon. This man was a most ingenious artist,
  • and according to my direction, in three weeks finished for me a wooden chambe_f sixteen feet square, and twelve high, with sash-windows, a door, and tw_losets, like a London bed-chamber.
  • The board, that made the ceiling, was to be lifted up and down by two hinges,
  • to put in a bed ready furnished by her majesty's upholsterer, whic_lumdalclitch took out every day to air, made it with her own hands, an_etting it down at night, locked up the roof over me. A nice workman, who wa_amous for little curiosities, undertook to make me two chairs, with backs an_rames, of a substance not unlike ivory, and two tables, with a cabinet to pu_y things in. The room was quilted on all sides, as well as the floor and th_eiling, to prevent any accident from the carelessness of those who carrie_e, and to break the force of a jolt, when I went in a coach. I desired a loc_or my door, to prevent rats and mice from coming in. The smith, after severa_ttempts, made the smallest that ever was seen among them, for I have known _arger at the gate of a gentleman's house in England. I made a shift to kee_he key in a pocket of my own, fearing Glumdalclitch might lose it. The quee_ikewise ordered the thinnest silks that could be gotten, to make me clothes,
  • not much thicker than an English blanket, very cumbersome till I wa_ccustomed to them. They were after the fashion of the kingdom, partl_esembling the Persian, and partly the Chinese, and are a very grave an_ecent habit.
  • The queen became so fond of my company, that she could not dine without me. _ad a table placed upon the same at which her majesty ate, just at her lef_lbow, and a chair to sit on. Glumdalclitch stood on a stool on the floor nea_y table, to assist and take care of me. I had an entire set of silver dishe_nd plates, and other necessaries, which, in proportion to those of the queen,
  • were not much bigger than what I have seen in a London toy-shop for th_urniture of a baby-house: these my little nurse kept in her pocket in _ilver box, and gave me at meals as I wanted them, always cleaning the_erself. No person dined with the queen but the two princesses royal, th_ldest sixteen years old, and the younger at that time thirteen and a month.
  • Her majesty used to put a bit of meat upon one of my dishes, out of which _arved for myself, and her diversion was to see me eat in miniature: for th_ueen (who had indeed but a weak stomach) took up, at one mouthful, as much a_ dozen English farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some time _ery nauseous sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark, bones and all,
  • between her teeth, although it were nine times as large as that of a full-
  • grown turkey; and put a bit of bread into her mouth as big as two twelve-penn_oaves. She drank out of a golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. He_nives were twice as long as a scythe, set straight upon the handle. Th_poons, forks, and other instruments, were all in the same proportion. _emember when Glumdalclitch carried me, out of curiosity, to see some of th_ables at court, where ten or a dozen of those enormous knives and forks wer_ifted up together, I thought I had never till then beheld so terrible _ight.
  • It is the custom, that every Wednesday (which, as I have observed, is thei_abbath) the king and queen, with the royal issue of both sexes, dine togethe_n the apartment of his majesty, to whom I was now become a great favourite;
  • and at these times, my little chair and table were placed at his left hand,
  • before one of the salt-cellars. This prince took a pleasure in conversing wit_e, inquiring into the manners, religion, laws, government, and learning o_urope; wherein I gave him the best account I was able. His apprehension wa_o clear, and his judgment so exact, that he made very wise reflections an_bservations upon all I said. But I confess, that, after I had been a littl_oo copious in talking of my own beloved country, of our trade and wars by se_nd land, of our schisms in religion, and parties in the state; the prejudice_f his education prevailed so far, that he could not forbear taking me up i_is right hand, and stroking me gently with the other, after a hearty fit o_aughing, asked me, "whether I was a whig or tory?" Then turning to his firs_inister, who waited behind him with a white staff, near as tall as th_ainmast of the Royal Sovereign, he observed "how contemptible a thing wa_uman grandeur, which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects as I: an_et," says he, "I dare engage these creatures have their titles an_istinctions of honour; they contrive little nests and burrows, that they cal_ouses and cities; they make a figure in dress and equipage; they love, the_ight, they dispute, they cheat, they betray!" And thus he continued on, whil_y colour came and went several times, with indignation, to hear our nobl_ountry, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France, the arbitres_f Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honour, and truth, the pride and envy o_he world, so contemptuously treated.
  • But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon mature thoughts _egan to doubt whether I was injured or no. For, after having been accustome_everal months to the sight and converse of this people, and observed ever_bject upon which I cast mine eyes to be of proportionable magnitude, th_orror I had at first conceived from their bulk and aspect was so far wor_ff, that if I had then beheld a company of English lords and ladies in thei_inery and birth-day clothes, acting their several parts in the most courtl_anner of strutting, and bowing, and prating, to say the truth, I should hav_een strongly tempted to laugh as much at them as the king and his grandee_id at me. Neither, indeed, could I forbear smiling at myself, when the quee_sed to place me upon her hand towards a looking-glass, by which both ou_ersons appeared before me in full view together; and there could be nothin_ore ridiculous than the comparison; so that I really began to imagine mysel_windled many degrees below my usual size.
  • Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the queen's dwarf; who being o_he lowest stature that was ever in that country (for I verily think he wa_ot full thirty feet high), became so insolent at seeing a creature so muc_eneath him, that he would always affect to swagger and look big as he passe_y me in the queen's antechamber, while I was standing on some table talkin_ith the lords or ladies of the court, and he seldom failed of a smart word o_wo upon my littleness; against which I could only revenge myself by callin_im brother, challenging him to wrestle, and such repartees as are usually i_he mouths of court pages. One day, at dinner, this malicious little cub wa_o nettled with something I had said to him, that, raising himself upon th_rame of her majesty's chair, he took me up by the middle, as I was sittin_own, not thinking any harm, and let me drop into a large silver bowl o_ream, and then ran away as fast as he could. I fell over head and ears, and,
  • if I had not been a good swimmer, it might have gone very hard with me; fo_lumdalclitch in that instant happened to be at the other end of the room, an_he queen was in such a fright, that she wanted presence of mind to assist me.
  • But my little nurse ran to my relief, and took me out, after I had swallowe_bove a quart of cream. I was put to bed: however, I received no other damag_han the loss of a suit of clothes, which was utterly spoiled. The dwarf wa_oundly whipt, and as a farther punishment, forced to drink up the bowl o_ream into which he had thrown me: neither was he ever restored to favour; fo_oon after the queen bestowed him on a lady of high quality, so that I saw hi_o more, to my very great satisfaction; for I could not tell to wha_xtremities such a malicious urchin might have carried his resentment.
  • He had before served me a scurvy trick, which set the queen a-laughing,
  • although at the same time she was heartily vexed, and would have immediatel_ashiered him, if I had not been so generous as to intercede. Her majesty ha_aken a marrow-bone upon her plate, and, after knocking out the marrow, place_he bone again in the dish erect, as it stood before; the dwarf, watching hi_pportunity, while Glumdalclitch was gone to the side-board, mounted the stoo_hat she stood on to take care of me at meals, took me up in both hands, an_queezing my legs together, wedged them into the marrow bone above my waist,
  • where I stuck for some time, and made a very ridiculous figure. I believe i_as near a minute before any one knew what was become of me; for I thought i_elow me to cry out. But, as princes seldom get their meat hot, my legs wer_ot scalded, only my stockings and breeches in a sad condition. The dwarf, a_y entreaty, had no other punishment than a sound whipping.
  • I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my fearfulness; and sh_sed to ask me whether the people of my country were as great cowards a_yself? The occasion was this: the kingdom is much pestered with flies i_ummer; and these odious insects, each of them as big as a Dunstable lark,
  • hardly gave me any rest while I sat at dinner, with their continual hummin_nd buzzing about mine ears. They would sometimes alight upon my victuals, an_eave their loathsome excrement, or spawn behind, which to me was ver_isible, though not to the natives of that country, whose large optics wer_ot so acute as mine, in viewing smaller objects. Sometimes they would fi_pon my nose, or forehead, where they stung me to the quick, smelling ver_ffensively; and I could easily trace that viscous matter, which, ou_aturalists tell us, enables those creatures to walk with their feet upward_pon a ceiling. I had much ado to defend myself against these detestabl_nimals, and could not forbear starting when they came on my face. It was th_ommon practice of the dwarf, to catch a number of these insects in his hand,
  • as schoolboys do among us, and let them out suddenly under my nose, on purpos_o frighten me, and divert the queen. My remedy was to cut them in pieces wit_y knife, as they flew in the air, wherein my dexterity was much admired.
  • I remember, one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set me in a box upon a window,
  • as she usually did in fair days to give me air (for I durst not venture to le_he box be hung on a nail out of the window, as we do with cages in England),
  • after I had lifted up one of my sashes, and sat down at my table to eat _iece of sweet cake for my breakfast, above twenty wasps, allured by th_mell, came flying into the room, humming louder than the drones of as man_agpipes. Some of them seized my cake, and carried it piecemeal away; other_lew about my head and face, confounding me with the noise, and putting me i_he utmost terror of their stings. However, I had the courage to rise and dra_y hanger, and attack them in the air. I dispatched four of them, but the res_ot away, and I presently shut my window. These insects were as large a_artridges: I took out their stings, found them an inch and a half long, an_s sharp as needles. I carefully preserved them all; and having since show_hem, with some other curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my retur_o England I gave three of them to Gresham College, and kept the fourth fo_yself.