Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter II.1
[A great storm described; the long boat sent to fetch water; the author goes with it to
discover the country. He is left on shore, is seized by one of the natives, and carried to a
farmer's house. His reception, with several accidents that happened there. A description
of the inhabitants.]
Having been condemned, by nature and fortune, to active and restless life, in two months
after my return, I again left my native country, and took shipping in the Downs, on the
20th day of June, 1702, in the Adventure, Captain John Nicholas, a Cornish man,
commander, bound for Surat. We had a very prosperous gale, till we arrived at the Cape
of Good Hope, where we landed for fresh water; but discovering a leak, we unshipped
our goods and wintered there; for the captain falling sick of an ague, we could not leave
the Cape till the end of March. We then set sail, and had a good voyage till we passed the
Straits of Madagascar; but having got northward of that island, and to about five degrees
south latitude, the winds, which in those seas are observed to blow a constant equal gale
between the north and west, from the beginning of December to the beginning of May, on
the 19th of April began to blow with much greater violence, and more westerly than
usual, continuing so for twenty days together: during which time, we were driven a little
to the east of the Molucca Islands, and about three degrees northward of the line, as our
captain found by an observation he took the 2nd of May, at which time the wind ceased,
and it was a perfect calm, whereat I was not a little rejoiced. But he, being a man well
experienced in the navigation of those seas, bid us all prepare against a storm, which
accordingly happened the day following: for the southern wind, called the southern
monsoon, began to set in.
Finding it was likely to overblow, we took in our sprit-sail, and stood by to hand the fore-
sail; but making foul weather, we looked the guns were all fast, and handed the mizen.
The ship lay very broad off, so we thought it better spooning before the sea, than trying
or hulling. We reefed the fore-sail and set him, and hauled aft the fore-sheet; the helm
was hard a-weather. The ship wore bravely. We belayed the fore down-haul; but the sail
was split, and we hauled down the yard, and got the sail into the ship, and unbound all the
things clear of it. It was a very fierce storm; the sea broke strange and dangerous. We
hauled off upon the laniard of the whip-staff, and helped the man at the helm. We would
not get down our topmast, but let all stand, because she scudded before the sea very well,
and we knew that the top-mast being aloft, the ship was the wholesomer, and made better
way through the sea, seeing we had sea-room. When the storm was over, we set fore-sail
and main-sail, and brought the ship to. Then we set the mizen, main-top-sail, and the
fore-top-sail. Our course was east-north-east, the wind was at south-west. We got the
starboard tacks aboard, we cast off our weather-braces and lifts; we set in the lee-braces,
and hauled forward by the weather- bowlings, and hauled them tight, and belayed them,
and hauled over the mizen tack to windward, and kept her full and by as near as she
would lie.