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bours, the mortals; and thus they lie under the disadvantage of living like foreigners, in their own country.
This was the account given me of the struldbrugs, as near as I can remember. I afterwards saw five or six of different ages, the youngest not above two hundred years old, who were brought to me at several times by some of my friends ; but although they were told, that I was a great traveller, and had seen all the world, they had not the least curiosity to ask me a question ; only desired I would give them slumskudask, or a token of remembrance ; which is a modest way of begging, to avoid the law, that strictly forbids it, because they are provided for by the publick, although indeed with a very scanty allowance.
They are despised and hated by all sorts of people; when one of them is born, it is reckoned ominous, and their birth is recorded very particularly ; so that you may know their age by consulting the register, which, however, has not been kept above a thousand years past, or at least has been destroyed by time or publick disturbances. But the usual way of computing how old they are, is, by asking them what kings or great persons they can remember, and then consulting history; for infallibly the last prince in their mind, did not begin his reign after they were fourscore years old.
They were the most mortifying sight I ever beheld ; and the women, more horrible than the men, Beside the usual deformities in extreme old age, they acquired an additional ghastliness, in proportion to their number of years, which is not to be described ; and among half a dozen, I soon distinguished which
was the eldest, although there was not above a century or two between them.
The reader will easily believe, that from what I had heard and seen, my keen appetite for perpetuity of life, was much abated. I grew heartily, ashamed of the pleasing visions I had formedı; and thought no tyrant could invent a death, into which I would not run with pleasure, from such a life. The king heard of all that had passed between me and my friends upon
this occasion, and rallied me very pleasantly; wishing I could send a couple of struldbrugs to my own country, to arm our people against the fear of death.; but this, it seems, is forbidden by the fundamental laws of the kingdom, or else. I should have been well content with the trouble and expense of transporting them.
I could not but agree, that the laws of this kingdom relative to the struldbrugs, were founded upon the strongest reasons, and such as any other country would be under the necessity of enacting, in the like circumstances. Otherwise, as avarice is the necessary consequent of old age, those immortals would in time become proprietors of the whole nation, and engross the civil power; which for want of abilities to manage, must end in the ruin of the publick.
The author leaves Luggnagg, and sails to Japan,
From thence he returns in a Dutch ship to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to England.
I THOUGHT this account of the struldbrugs might be some entertainment to the reader, because it seems to be a little out of the common way; at least I do not remember to have met the like in any book of travels, that has come to my hands : and if I am deceived, my excuse must be, that it is necessary for travellers, who describe the same country, very often to agree in dwelling on the same particulars, without deserving the censure of having borrowed or transcribed from those who wrote before them.
: There is indeed a perpetual commerce between this kingdom, and the great empire of Japan ; and it is very probable, that the Japanese authors may have given some account of the struldbrugs; but my stay in Japan was so short, and I was so entirely a stranger to the language, that I was not qualified to make any inquiries. But I hope the Dutch, upon this notice, will be curious and able enough to supply my defects.
His majesty having often pressed me to accept some employment in his court, and finding me absolutely determined to return to my native country, was pleased to give me his license to depart; and honoured me with a letter of recommendation, under his own hand, to the emperor of Japan. He
likewise presented me with four hundred forty-four large pieces of gold, (this nation delighting in even numbers) and a red diamond, which I sold in England for eleven hundred pounds.
On the 6th of May, 1709, I took a sełemn leave of his majesty, and all my friends. This prince was so gracious, as to order a guard to conduct me to Glanguenstald, which is a royal port to the southwest part of the island. In six days I found a vessel ready to carry me to Japan, and spent fifteen days in the voyage. We landed at a small port-town called Xamoschi, situated on the south-east part of Japan ; the town lies on the western point, where there is a narrow strait leading northward into a long arm of the sea, upon the north-west part of which, Yedo the metropolis stands. At landing I showed the custom-house officers my letter from the king of Luggnagg to his imperial majesty. They knew the seal perfectly well ; it was as broad as the palm of my hand. The impression was, “A king lifting up a lame beggar from the earth.' The magistrates of the town, hearing of my letter, received me as a publick minister ; they provided me with carriages and servants, and bore my charges to Yedo ; where I was admitted to an audience, and delivered my letter ; which was opened with great ceremony, and explained to the emperor by an interpreter; who then gave me notice, by his majesty's order, that I should signify my request, and whatever it were, it should be granted, for the sake of his royal brother of Luggnagg. This interpreter, was a person employed to transact affairs with the Hollanders; he soon conjectured by my counte, nance, that I was a European, and therefore re
peated peated his majesty's commands in Low-Dutch, which he spoke perfectly well. I answered (as I had before determined) that I was a Dutch merchant, shipwrecked in a very remote country, whence I had travelled by sea and land to Luggnagg, and then took shipping for Japan; where I knew my countrymen often traded, and with some of these I hoped to get an opportunity of returning into Europe : I therefore most humbly entreated his royal favour, to give order that I should be conducted in safety to Nangasac : to this I added another petition, that for the sake of my patron the king of Luggnagg, his majesty would condescend to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed on my countrymen, of trampling upon the crucifix : because I had been thrown into his kingdom by my misfortunes, without any intention of trading. When this latter
petition was interpreted to the emperor, he seemed a little surprised ; and said, he believed I was the first of my countrymen, who ever made any scruple in this point; and that he began to doubt, whether I was a real Hollander, or not; but rather suspected I must be a Christian. However, for the reasons I had offered, but chiefly to gratify the king of Luggnagg, by an uncommon mark of his favour, he would comply with the singularity of my humour ; but the affair must be managed with dexterity, and his officers should be commanded to let me pass, as it were by forgetfulness. For he assured me, that if the secret should be discovered by my countrymen the Dutch, they would cut my throat in the voyage. I returned my thanks, by the interpreter, for so unusual a favour ; and some troops being at that time on their march to Nangasac, the commanding officer