Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter I.2
[The emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility, comes to see the author in
his confinement. The emperor's person and habit described. Learned men appointed to
teach the author their language. He gains favour by his mild disposition. His pockets are
searched, and his sword and pistols taken from him.]
When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess I never beheld a
more entertaining prospect. The country around appeared like a continued garden, and the
enclosed fields, which were generally forty feet square, resembled so many beds of
flowers. These fields were intermingled with woods of half a stang, {1} and the tallest
trees, as I could judge, appeared to be seven feet high. I viewed the town on my left hand,
which looked like the painted scene of a city in a theatre.
I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of nature; which was no
wonder, it being almost two days since I had last disburdened myself. I was under great
difficulties between urgency and shame. The best expedient I could think of, was to creep
into my house, which I accordingly did; and shutting the gate after me, I went as far as
the length of my chain would suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load. But
this was the only time I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action; for which I cannot but
hope the candid reader will give some allowance, after he has maturely and impartially
considered my case, and the distress I was in. From this time my constant practice was, as
soon as I rose, 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 offensive matter should be
carried off in wheel-barrows, by two servants appointed for that purpose. I would not
have dwelt so long upon a circumstance that, perhaps, at first sight, may appear not very
momentous, if I had not thought it necessary to justify my character, in point of
cleanliness, to the world; which, I am told, some of my maligners have been pleased,
upon this and other occasions, to call in question.
When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house, having occasion for
fresh air. The emperor was already descended from the tower, and advancing on
horseback towards me, which had like to have cost him dear; for the beast, though very
well trained, yet wholly unused to such a sight, which appeared as if a mountain moved
before him, reared up on its hinder feet: but that prince, who is an excellent horseman,
kept his seat, till his attendants ran in, and held the bridle, while his majesty had time to
dismount. When he alighted, he surveyed me round with great admiration; but kept
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 sort of vehicles
upon wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehicles and soon 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 vessels, which was
contained in earthen vials, into one vehicle, drinking it off at a draught; and so I did with
the rest.