صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

dition. The dwarf, at my entreaty, had no other punishment than a sound whipping.

I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my

fearfulness; and she used to ask me whether the people of my country were as great cowards as myself? The occasion was this: 'the kingdom is much pęstered with flies in summer; 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 humming and buzzing about mine ears. They would sometimes alight upon my victuals, and leave their loathsome excrement or spawn behind, which to me was very visible, though not to the natives of that country, whose large opticks were not so acute as mine, in viewing sınaller objects. Sometimes they would fix upon my nose or forehead, where they stùng me to the quick, smelling very offensively; and I could easily trace that viscous matter, which, our naturalists tell us, enables those creatures to walk with their feet upwards upon a ceiling. I had much ado to defend myself against these detestable animals, and could not forbear starting when they came on my face. It was the common practice of the dwarf, to catch a number of these insects in his hand, as school-boys do among us, and let them out suddenly under my nose, on purpose to frighten me, and divert the queen. My remedy was to cut them in pieces with my 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 let the 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 a piece of sweet cake for my breakfast, above twenty wasps, allured by the smell, came flying into the room, humming louder than the drones of as many bagpipes. - Some of them seized my cake, and carried it piece-meal away; others flew about my head and face, confounding me with the noise, and putting me in the utmost terrour of their stings. However, I had the courage to rise and draw my hanger, and attack them in the air. I dispatched four of them, but the rest got away, and I presently shut my window. These insects were as large as partridges; I took out their stings, found them an inch and a half long, and as sharp as needles. I carefully preserved thein all, and having since shown them, with some other curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my return to England, I gave three of them to. Gresham College, and kept the fourth for myself.



The country described. A proposal for correcting

modern maps. The king's palace, 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 as I travelled in it, which was not above two thousand miles round Lorbrul



grud, the metropolis. For the queen, whom ! always attended, never went farther when she accompanied the king in his progresses, and there staid till his majesty returned from viewing his frontiers. The whole extent of this prince's dominions, reaches about six thousand miles in length, and from three to five in breadth. Whence I cannot but conclude, that qur geographers of Europe are in a great errour, by supposing nothing but sea between Japan and Californja ; for it was ever my opinion, that there must be a balance of earth to counterpoise the great continent of Tartary; and therefore they ought to correct their maps and charts, by joining this vast tract of land to the north-west parts of America, wherein I shall be ready to lend them my assistance,

The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north-east, by a ridge of mountains thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable, by reason of the volcanoes upon

the tops : neither do the most learned know, what sort of mortalş inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they be inhabited at all. On the three other sides, it is bounded by the ocean, There is not one seaport in the 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 no venturing with the smallest of their boats ; so that these people are wholly excluded from any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large rivers are full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish; for they seldom get any from the sea, because the seafish are of the same size with those in Europe, and consequently not worth catching ; whereby it is manifest, that nature, in the production of plants and animals of so extra


[ocr errors]

ordinary a bulk, is wholly confined to this continent, of which I leave the reasons to be determined by philosophers. However, now and then they take a whale, that happens to be dashed against the rocks, which the common people feed on heartily. These whales I have known so large, that a man could hardly carry one upon his shoulders ; and sometimes, for curiosity, they are brought in hampers to Lorbrulgrud: I saw one of them in a dish at the king's table, which passed for a rarity, but I did not observe he was fond of it; for I think indeed the bigness disgusted him, although I have seen one somewhat larger in Greenland.

The country is well inhabited, for it contains fiftypne cities, near a hundred walled towns, and a great number of villages. To satisfy my curious reader, it may be sufficient to describe Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upon almost two equal parts, on each side the river that passes through. It contains above eighty thousand houses, and about fix hundred thousand inhabitants. It is in length, three glomglungs, (which make about fifty-four English miles) and two and a half in breadth; as I measured it myself in the royal map made by the king's order, which was laid on the ground on purpose for me, and extended a hundred feet; I paced the diameter and circumference several times bare foot, and, computing by the scale, measured it pretty exactly.

The king's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of building about seven miles 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 the shops; and I was always of the party, carried in my box ; although the girl, at my own desire, would often take me out, and hold me in her hand, that I might more conveniently view the houses and the people, as we passed along the streets. I reckoned our coach to be about a square of Westminster-hall, but not altogether so high: however, I cannot be very exact. One day, the governess ordered our coachman to stop at several shops, where the beggars, watching their opportunity, crowded to the sides of the coach, and gave me the most horrible spectacle that ever a European eye beheld. There was a woman, with a cancer in her breast, swelled to a monstrous size, full of holes, in two or three of which I could have easily crept, and covered my whole body. There was a fellow, with a wen in his neck, larger than five woolpacks; and another, with a couple of wooden legs, each about twenty feet high. But the most hateful sight of all, was, the lice crawling on their clothes. I could see distinctly the limbs of these vermin with my naked eye, much better than those of an European louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which they rooted like swine. They were the first I had ever beheld, and I should have been 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 was so nauseous, that it perfectly turned my stomach,

Beside the large box, in which I was usually carried, the queen ordered a smaller one to be made for me, of about twelve feet square, and ten high, for the convenience of travelling ; because the other was somewhat too large for Glumdaļclitch's lap, and


« السابقةمتابعة »