Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter II.3
[The author sent for to court. The queen buys him of his master the farmer, and presents
him to the king. He disputes with his majesty's great scholars. An apartment at court
provided for the author. He is in high favour with the queen. He stands up for the honour
of his own country. His quarrels with the queen's dwarf.]
The frequent labours I underwent every day, made, in a few weeks, a very considerable
change in my health: the more my master got by me, the more insatiable he grew. I had
quite lost my stomach, and was almost reduced to a skeleton. The farmer observed it, and
concluding I must soon die, resolved to make as good a hand of me as he could. While he
was thus reasoning and resolving with himself, a sardral, or gentleman-usher, came from
court, commanding my master to carry me immediately thither for the diversion of the
queen and her ladies. Some of the latter had already been to see me, and reported strange
things of my beauty, behaviour, and good sense. Her majesty, and those who attended
her, were beyond measure delighted with my demeanour. I fell on my knees, and begged
the honour of kissing her imperial foot; but this gracious princess held out her little finger
towards me, after I was set on the table, which I embraced in both my arms, and put the
tip of it with the utmost respect to my lip. She made me some general questions about my
country and my travels, which I answered as distinctly, and in as few words as I could.
She asked, "whether I could be content to live at court?" I bowed down to the board of
the table, and humbly answered "that I was my master's slave: but, if I were at my own
disposal, I should be proud to devote my life to her majesty's service." She then asked my
master, "whether he was willing to sell me at a good price?" He, who apprehended I
could not live a month, was ready enough to part with me, and demanded a thousand
pieces of gold, which were ordered him on the spot, each piece being about the bigness of
eight hundred moidores; but allowing for the proportion of all things between that
country and Europe, and the high price of gold among them, was hardly so great a sum as
a thousand guineas would be in England. I then said to the queen, "since I was now her
majesty's most humble creature and vassal, I must beg the favour, that Glumdalclitch,
who had always tended me with so much care and kindness, and understood to do it so
well, might be admitted into her service, and continue to be my nurse and instructor."
Her majesty agreed to my petition, and easily got the farmer's consent, who was glad
enough to have his daughter preferred at court, and the poor girl herself was not able to
hide her joy. My late master withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying he had left me in
a good service; to which I replied not a word, only making him a slight bow.
The queen observed my coldness; and, when the farmer was gone out of the apartment,
asked me the reason. I made bold to tell her majesty, "that I owed no other obligation to
my late master, than his not dashing out the brains of a poor harmless creature, found by
chance in his fields: which obligation was amply recompensed, by the gain he had made
in showing me through half the kingdom, and the price he had now sold me for. That the
life I had since led was laborious enough to kill an animal of ten times my strength. That
my health was much impaired, by the continual drudgery of entertaining the rabble every