Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter III.1
[The author sets out on his third voyage. Is taken by pirates. The malice of a Dutchman.
His arrival at an island. He is received into Laputa.]
I had not been at home above ten days, when Captain William Robinson, a Cornish man,
commander of the Hopewell, a stout ship of three hundred tons, came to my house. I had
formerly been surgeon of another ship where he was master, and a fourth part owner, in a
voyage to the Levant. He had always treated me more like a brother, than an inferior
officer; and, hearing of my arrival, made me a visit, as I apprehended only out of
friendship, for nothing passed more than what is usual after long absences. But repeating
his visits often, expressing his joy to find I me in good health, asking, "whether I were
now settled for life?" adding, "that he intended a voyage to the East Indies in two
months," at last he plainly invited me, though with some apologies, to be surgeon of the
ship; "that I should have another surgeon under me, beside our two mates; that my salary
should be double to the usual pay; and that having experienced my knowledge in sea-
affairs to be at least equal to his, he would enter into any engagement to follow my
advice, as much as if I had shared in the command."
He said so many other obliging things, and I knew him to be so honest a man, that I could
not reject this proposal; the thirst I had of seeing the world, notwithstanding my past
misfortunes, continuing as violent as ever. The only difficulty that remained, was to
persuade my wife, whose consent however I at last obtained, by the prospect of
advantage she proposed to her children.
We set out the 5th day of August, 1706, and arrived at Fort St. George the 11th of April,
1707. We staid there three weeks to refresh our crew, many of whom were sick. From
thence we went to Tonquin, where the captain resolved to continue some time, because
many of the goods he intended to buy were not ready, nor could he expect to be
dispatched in several months. Therefore, in hopes to defray some of the charges he must
be at, he bought a sloop, loaded it with several sorts of goods, wherewith the Tonquinese
usually trade to the neighbouring islands, and putting fourteen men on board, whereof
three were of the country, he appointed me master of the sloop, and gave me power to
traffic, while he transacted his affairs at Tonquin.
We had not sailed above three days, when a great storm arising, we were driven five days
to the north-north-east, and then to the east: after which we had fair weather, but still with
a pretty strong gale from the west. Upon the tenth day we were chased by two pirates,
who soon overtook us; for my sloop was so deep laden, that she sailed very slow, neither
were we in a condition to defend ourselves.
We were boarded about the same time by both the pirates, who entered furiously at the
head of their men; but finding us all prostrate upon our faces (for so I gave order), they
pinioned us with strong ropes, and setting guard upon us, went to search the sloop.