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Chapter 4

  • [The country described. A proposal for correcting modern maps. The king'_alace; and some account of the metropolis. The author's way of travelling.
  • The chief temple described.]
  • I now intend to give the reader a short description of this country, as far a_ travelled in it, which was not above two thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud,
  • the metropolis. For the queen, whom I always attended, never went farther whe_he accompanied the king in his progresses, and there staid till his majest_eturned from viewing his frontiers. The whole extent of this prince'_ominions reaches about six thousand miles in length, and from three to fiv_n breadth: whence I cannot but conclude, that our geographers of Europe ar_n a great error, by supposing nothing but sea between Japan and California;
  • for it was ever my opinion, that there must be a balance of earth t_ounterpoise the great continent of Tartary; and therefore they ought t_orrect their maps and charts, by joining this vast tract of land to th_orth-west parts of America, wherein I shall be ready to lend them m_ssistance.
  • The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north-east by a ridge o_ountains thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable, by reason of th_olcanoes upon the tops: neither do the most learned know what sort of mortal_nhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they be inhabited at all. On th_hree other sides, it is bounded by the ocean. There is not one sea-port i_he whole kingdom: and those parts of the coasts into which the rivers issue,
  • are so full of pointed rocks, and the sea generally so rough, that there is n_enturing with the smallest of their boats; so that these people are wholl_xcluded from any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large river_re full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish; for they seldom get an_rom the sea, because the sea fish are of the same size with those in Europe,
  • and consequently not worth catching; whereby it is manifest, that nature, i_he production of plants and animals of so extraordinary a bulk, is wholl_onfined to this continent, of which I leave the reasons to be determined b_hilosophers. However, now and then they take a whale that happens to b_ashed against the rocks, which the common people feed on heartily. Thes_hales I have known so large, that a man could hardly carry one upon hi_houlders; and sometimes, for curiosity, they are brought in hampers t_orbrulgrud; I saw one of them in a dish at the king's table, which passed fo_ rarity, but I did not observe he was fond of it; for I think, indeed, th_igness disgusted him, although I have seen one somewhat larger in Greenland.
  • The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities, near _undred walled towns, and a great number of villages. To satisfy my curiou_eader, it may be sufficient to describe Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upo_lmost two equal parts, on each side the river that passes through. I_ontains above eighty thousand houses, and about six hundred thousan_nhabitants. It is in length three GLOMGLUNGS (which make about fifty-fou_nglish miles,) and two and a half in breadth; as I measured it myself in th_oyal map made by the king's order, which was laid on the ground on purpos_or me, and extended a hundred feet: I paced the diameter and circumferenc_everal times barefoot, and, computing by the scale, measured it prett_xactly.
  • The king's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of buildings, about seve_iles round: the chief rooms are generally two hundred and forty feet high,
  • and broad and long in proportion. A coach was allowed to Glumdalclitch and me,
  • wherein her governess frequently took her out to see the town, or go among th_hops; and I was always of the party, carried in my box; although the girl, a_y own desire, would often take me out, and hold me in her hand, that I migh_ore conveniently view the houses and the people, as we passed along th_treets. I reckoned our coach to be about a square of Westminster-hall, bu_ot altogether so high: however, I cannot be very exact. One day the governes_rdered our coachman to stop at several shops, where the beggars, watchin_heir opportunity, crowded to the sides of the coach, and gave me the mos_orrible spectacle that ever a European eye beheld. There was a woman with _ancer in her breast, swelled to a monstrous size, full of holes, in two o_hree of which I could have easily crept, and covered my whole body. There wa_ fellow with a wen in his neck, larger than five wool-packs; and another,
  • with a couple of wooden legs, each about twenty feet high. But the mos_ateful sight of all, was the lice crawling on their clothes. I could se_istinctly the limbs of these vermin with my naked eye, much better than thos_f a European louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which the_ooted like swine. They were the first I had ever beheld, and I should hav_een curious enough to dissect one of them, if I had had proper instruments,
  • which I unluckily left behind me in the ship, although, indeed, the sight wa_o nauseous, that it perfectly turned my stomach.
  • Besides the large box in which I was usually carried, the queen ordered _maller one to be made for me, of about twelve feet square, and ten high, fo_he convenience of travelling; because the other was somewhat too large fo_lumdalclitch's lap, and cumbersome in the coach; it was made by the sam_rtist, whom I directed in the whole contrivance. This travelling-closet wa_n exact square, with a window in the middle of three of the squares, and eac_indow was latticed with iron wire on the outside, to prevent accidents i_ong journeys. On the fourth side, which had no window, two strong staple_ere fixed, through which the person that carried me, when I had a mind to b_n horseback, put a leathern belt, and buckled it about his waist. This wa_lways the office of some grave trusty servant, in whom I could confide,
  • whether I attended the king and queen in their progresses, or were disposed t_ee the gardens, or pay a visit to some great lady or minister of state in th_ourt, when Glumdalclitch happened to be out of order; for I soon began to b_nown and esteemed among the greatest officers, I suppose more upon account o_heir majesties' favour, than any merit of my own. In journeys, when I wa_eary of the coach, a servant on horseback would buckle on my box, and plac_t upon a cushion before him; and there I had a full prospect of the countr_n three sides, from my three windows. I had, in this closet, a field-bed an_ hammock, hung from the ceiling, two chairs and a table, neatly screwed t_he floor, to prevent being tossed about by the agitation of the horse or th_oach. And having been long used to sea-voyages, those motions, althoug_ometimes very violent, did not much discompose me.
  • Whenever I had a mind to see the town, it was always in my travelling-closet;
  • which Glumdalclitch held in her lap in a kind of open sedan, after the fashio_f the country, borne by four men, and attended by two others in the queen'_ivery. The people, who had often heard of me, were very curious to crow_bout the sedan, and the girl was complaisant enough to make the bearers stop,
  • and to take me in her hand, that I might be more conveniently seen.
  • I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particularly the towe_elonging to it, which is reckoned the highest in the kingdom. Accordingly on_ay my nurse carried me thither, but I may truly say I came back disappointed;
  • for the height is not above three thousand feet, reckoning from the ground t_he highest pinnacle top; which, allowing for the difference between the siz_f those people and us in Europe, is no great matter for admiration, nor a_ll equal in proportion (if I rightly remember) to Salisbury steeple. But, no_o detract from a nation, to which, during my life, I shall acknowledge mysel_xtremely obliged, it must be allowed, that whatever this famous tower want_n height, is amply made up in beauty and strength: for the walls are near _undred feet thick, built of hewn stone, whereof each is about forty fee_quare, and adorned on all sides with statues of gods and emperors, cut i_arble, larger than the life, placed in their several niches. I measured _ittle finger which had fallen down from one of these statues, and la_nperceived among some rubbish, and found it exactly four feet and an inch i_ength. Glumdalclitch wrapped it up in her handkerchief, and carried it hom_n her pocket, to keep among other trinkets, of which the girl was very fond,
  • as children at her age usually are.
  • The king's kitchen is indeed a noble building, vaulted at top, and about si_undred feet high. The great oven is not so wide, by ten paces, as the cupol_t St. Paul's: for I measured the latter on purpose, after my return. But if _hould describe the kitchen grate, the prodigious pots and kettles, the joint_f meat turning on the spits, with many other particulars, perhaps I should b_ardly believed; at least a severe critic would be apt to think I enlarged _ittle, as travellers are often suspected to do. To avoid which censure I fea_ have run too much into the other extreme; and that if this treatise shoul_appen to be translated into the language of Brobdingnag (which is the genera_ame of that kingdom,) and transmitted thither, the king and his people woul_ave reason to complain that I had done them an injury, by a false an_iminutive representation.
  • His majesty seldom keeps above six hundred horses in his stables: they ar_enerally from fifty-four to sixty feet high. But, when he goes abroad o_olemn days, he is attended, for state, by a military guard of five hundre_orse, which, indeed, I thought was the most splendid sight that could be eve_eheld, till I saw part of his army in battalia, whereof I shall find anothe_ccasion to speak.