Images de page
PDF
ePub

morning, at fun-rife, we continued our march, and arrived within two hundred yards of the city-gates about noon. The Emperor, and all his court, came out to meet us; but his great officers would by no means fuffer his Majefty to endanger his person, by mounting on my body.

[ocr errors]

At the place where the carriage ftopt, there ftood an ancient temple, efteemed to be the largeft in the whole kingdom, which, having been polluted fome years before by an unnatural murder, was, according to the zeal of those people, looked upon as prophane, and therefore had been applied to common ufe, and all the ornaments and furniture carried away. In this edifice it was determined I fhould lodge. The great gate fronting to the north was about four feet high, and almost two feet wide, through which I could eafily creep. On each fide of the gate was a small window, not above fix inches from the ground: Into that on the left fide, the King's fmith conveyed fourfcore and eleven chains, like those that hang to a lady's watch in Europe, and almost as large, which were locked to my left leg with fix and thirty padlocks. Overagainft this temple, on the other fide of the great high-way, at twenty feet distance, there was a turret at least five feet high. Here the Emperor afcended, with many principal lords of his court, to have an opportunity of viewing me, as I was told, for I could not fee them. It was reckoned, that above an hundred thousand inVOL. V. habitants

C

habitants came out of the town upon the fame errand; and in fpite of my guards, I believe, there could not be fewer than ten thoufand, at feveral times, who mounted my body by the help of ladders. But a proclamation was foon iffued, to forbid it upon pain of death. When the workmen found it was impoffible for me to break loofe, they cut all the ftrings that bound me; whereupon I rofe up with as melancholy a difpofition, as ever I had in my life. But the noise and astonishment of the people at seeing me rise and walk, are not to be expreffed. The chains that held my left leg, were about two yards long, and gave me not only the liberty of walking backwards and forwards in a femicircle; but, being fixed within four inches of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at my full length in the temple.

CHAP.

CHA P. II.

The Emperor of Lilliput, attended by feveral of the nobility, comes to fee the author in his confinement. The Emperor's person and habit defcribed. Learned men appointed to teach the author their language. He gains favour by his mild difpofition. His pockets are fearched, and his fword and piftols taken from him.

W

HEN I found myfelf on my feet, I

looked about me, and muft confefs I never beheld a more entertaining profpect. The country around appeared like a continued garden; and the inclofed fields, which were generally forty feet fquare, refembled fo many beds of flowers. These fields were intermingled with woods of half a ftang *; and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appeared to be feven feet high. I viewed the town on my left hand, which looked like the painted fcene of a city in a theatre. I had been for fome hours extremely preffed by the neceffities of nature; which was no wonder, it being almost two days fince I had laft difburthened myfelf. I was under great difficulties between urgency and fhame. The best expedient I could think on, was to creep into my houfe, which I accordingly did; and, fhutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length

C 2

of

* A ftang is a pole or perch, sixteen feet and an half. Hawkef.

of my chain would fuffer, and difcharged my body of that uneafy load. But this was the only time I was ever guilty of fo uncleanly an action; - for which I cannot but hope the candid reader will give fome allowance, after he hath maturely and impartially confidered my cafe, and the diftrefs I was in. From this time my conftant practice was, as foon as I rofe, to perform that business in open air, at the full extent of my chain; and due care was taken every morning, before company came, that the offenfive matter fhould be carried off in wheel-barrows, by two fervants appointed for that purpose. I would not have dwelt fo long upon a circumftance, that perhaps at firft fight may appear not very momentous, if I had not thought it neceffary to juftify my character, in point of cleanlinefs, to the world; which I am told fome of my maligners have been pleased, upon this and other occafions, to call in queftion.

When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my houfe, having occafion for fresh air. The Emperor was already defcended from the tower, and advancing on horfe-back towards me, which had like to have coft him dear; for the beaft, though very well trained, yet wholly unufed to fuch a fight, which appeared as if a mountain moved before him, reared up on his hinder feet: But that prince, who is an excellent horfeman, kept his feat, till his attendants ran in, and held his bridle, while his Majefty had time to difmount. When he alighted, he furveyed me round with great admiration; but kept

beyond

beyond the length of my chain. He ordered his cooks and butlers, who were already prepared, to give me victuals and drink, which they pushed forward in a fort of vehicles upon wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehicles, and foon emptied them all; twenty of them were filled with meat, and ten with liquor; each of the former afforded me two or three good mouthfuls; and I emptied the liquor of ten veffels, which was contained in earthen vials, into one vehicle, drinking it off at a draught; and fo I did with the reft. The Empress, and young princes of the blood of both fexes, attended by many ladies, fat at fome distance in their chairs; but, upon the accident that happened to the Emperor's horfe, they alighted, and came near his perfon, which I am now going to defcribe. He is taller by almoft the breadth of my nail, than any of his court, which alone is enough to ftrike an awe into the beholders. His features are ftrong and mafculine, with an Auftrian lip and arched nofe, his complexion olive, his countenance erect, his body and limbs well proportioned, all his motions graceful, and his deportment majeftic. He was then paft his prime, being twenty-eight years and three quarters old, of which he had reigned about feven in great felicity, and generally victorious. For the better convenience of beholding him, I lay on my fide, fo that my face was parallel to his, and he stood but three yards off: However, I have had him fince many times in my hand, and therefore can

[blocks in formation]
« PrécédentContinuer »