Chapter Eleven

The Author shares her worries with the Reader. Lemuel’s first morning in his Prison-Temple; He discovers that he is being spied upon. He is making good progress learning Lilliputian, which he uses to beg for his Freedom. The first conditions are set out.

Redriff, Tuesday the 12th of  September, 1702
Desolate Mary contemplating the future of her family.
Artist: Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)​​
Lemuel (l) meets Flimnap (somewhere on the R)
Artist: Unknown​
The little knight, holding the Report, dashing towards the Palace.
Artist: Unknown​
Lemuel is amazed at the Lilliputian’s insolence.
Artist: Johann Sebastian Mueller (1715-1790) ​
Lilliputian lesson.
Artist: Thomas Morten (1836-1866) ​

WITH the fast approach of winter, my old fears are reviving. Can I provide for my children as befits the orphans of a ship-surgeon?

      What am I thinking?

      There is no evidence that Lemuel is dead!

 

      Anyway, Johnny will have to start working soon. He is a strong lad, and big for a thirteen-year-old. But my Betty needs looking after. And what about the child in my belly..? Oh, I hope the curse is lifted, and that my baby will survive. I hope it will be a boy, not only because he will be able to provide for me when I am old, but also because he will be a constant reminder for me of my lost Lemuel, my lost Love.

      But for now, all I have is the worries for my children, for my growing fatherless family. At least I have the memories of my nights with Lemuel and the stories he whispered in my ear at night, while hugging and caressing me.

      These memories give me the power to live on and the hope against hope that our family will reunite in due course. Lemuel left us but three months ago and there was word that the ‘Adventure’ has reached the Cape of Good Hope on its way to Surat.

 

      I believe with all my being that Lemuel is well.

 

      He will come back to us in good time, having had a prosperous, eventless voyage -- unlike his last one, when he was cast ashore in Lilliput.

*

ON his first morning in his Prison-Temple, when Lemuel crept out, he was alarmed to see hundreds of Lilliputians surrounding the place. The Emperor gave specific orders that no Lilliputian was allowed to come near enough to Lemuel to be trampled on, so, from a safe distance, they all looked at him excitedly and expectantly.

      Lemuel told me that he was so much hard pressed to give Water that he resolved to walk as far as his chains would allow him, round the Prison-Temple, where, he was relieved to see, no Lilliputian was to be seen.

 

      The Volcano area seemed vacant enough, though more and more stalkers were rushing in that direction. But as soon as Lemuel opened his front flap, he was relieved to see how that act alone sufficed to scatter them all away.

 

      Sighing with relief, Lemuel eased himself by giving Water to his heart’s content, aiming carefully over the volcano, into the little river, which flowed into the ocean.

      As soon as he turned around and came back to the entrance of his Prison-Temple, he noticed some little people running towards a couple of Hurgos, who were both sitting at a tiny table in front of his Prison-Temple, dressed in exquisite red attire.

      Lemuel recognised one of them as the red-clad Lilliputian who addressed him from the stage, three days before, while he was still tied to the ground.

 

      Some little people were talking excitedly to that Red man, who immediately wrote something with an almost invisible quill on a stamp size parchment. As Lemuel sat, leaning on the Temple’s 

wall, he saw the man rolling the parchment and rising from his chair. Bobbing confidently on his pair of very high heeled shoes, he approached Lemuel, bowed deeply and said:

      “Clumglum Flimnap, dehul hekino. Hekina lang mar o clum slum Mildendo.” (Meaning: “Minister Flimnap, at your service. Please be good to give this to my knight at the City Gate”)

 

      Of course, Lemuel did not understand a word of this at the time.

 

      To his astonishment, Minister Flimnap then handed him the minuscule rolled parchment, and indicated to pass it on, waiving his hands to the left, in the direction of Mildendo, the metropolis.

 

      When Lemuel got up and looked in that direction, he noticed a little knight, mounted on a little horse, standing at the gates of the city, looking expectantly at him. The knight at the gate probably had an amazingly good eye-sight, for he seemed to spot the parchment that Lemuel was carefully holding between his two fingers, and he began waiving frantically, gesticulating to Lemuel to hand the parchment over to him.

 

      And indeed, when Lemuel bent over the fields that spread between his Prison-Temple and the City Gates, and handed the parchment to the Lilliputian knight, the parchment was snatched away from between his fingers, the knight tucked it under his arm and galloped on his little horse, with all his might,  into town, in the direction of the Palace some yards away.

      Lemuel followed the knight’s slow progress for a while, and it suddenly dawned on him: these people were spying on him! They reported each and every move of his to the Emperor , and they had the audacity to use him as a messenger, to deliver those reports even faster!

      Lemuel kept gazing at the knight, amazed at the Lilliputian’s insolence, until he felt some irritating stabs at his right leg. Looking down, he saw a couple of Lilliputian soldiers, pointing spears at his ankle, tagging and retrieving as fast as they could. Minister Flimnap, standing at a safe distance too, was waiving and signalling to Lemuel to sit down again. Obediently, he did.

 

      What else could he do?

 

      The Minister thanked him officially and pointing at the other red-clad little man he said: “Loclum Reldresal, dehul hekino” (General Reldresal, at your service.)

      While Minister Flimnap - clearly very relieved - was busy collecting his items and getting ready to leave, the General, who seemed to have no fear at all, came ever so near Lemuel, and pointing at himself, said: “Li Reldresal!” and pointing at Lemuel he asked very clearly: “Ina?”

      Lemuel understood this quite well. In fact, in all the travel books he ever read, there have always been such dialogues of introductions. So he willingly replied: “Li Gulliver! Ina Reldresal!”

      All the little people around were cheering in astonishment and Reldresal, obviously proud of himself, addressed the crowd:

“Gro Gulliver! Gro Quinbus Flestrin!”  (He’s Gulliver! He’s a Man-Mountain!) And they all laughed good heartedly, including Gulliver, who did not want to appear any different than any of them.

      And thus the Lilliputian lesson progressed, with Reldresal pointing at things around them and telling Gulliver their names.

 

      Lemuel was a quick pupil and adamant to learn how to express his desire to get his Liberty. He gave many signs to that effect, pointing at his chained leg, bowing deeply and even waiving his hands as a bird, which did not make the impression he was hoping for.

 

      As he waived his hands, the hem of his coat was swaying wildly and the wind blew Reldresal’s papers away, as well as many a hat. The soldiers collected the papers promptly, people ran after their hats, and General Reldresal’s answer was, as Lemuel could apprehend it, that Lemuel’s freedom must be a work of time, not to be thought on without the advice of His Majesty’s Council, and first he must “lumos kelmin pesso desmar lon emposo”; that is, “swear a peace with Him and His Kingdom.”

 

      However, General Reldresal made it clear that Lemuel should be used with all kindness; and, using simple words in Lilliputian, which Lemuel was swift to learn, combining many gestures and hand-signals, he managed to convey to Lemuel that in good time he would acquire, by his patience and discreet behaviour, the high opinion of His Royal Highness and His Subjects.

      The first sign of such obedience, Lemuel guessed from General Reldresal’s speech and gestures, was to let Certain Officers search Gulliver. This Lemuel could clearly fathom: they surely suspected that he might carry about him weapons, which would be dangerous things, judging by the bulk of so prodigious a person.

 

      Lemuel said, part in his newly acquired Lilliputian, and part in signs, that he was ready to strip himself and turn up his pockets before any Officer of the Crown. He knew that his Condom is safely tucked away in his secret fob.

 
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