Chapter Sixteen

The Author remembers her Youth; Reldresal explains Lilliputian Politics in basic terms, recognising Lemuel’s total lack of understanding in Politics; The bloody history of Lilliputian parties; Lemuel is invited to join the T-Party.

Redriff, Thursday the 7th of  November, 1748
Betty resenting helping at home.
Artist: Pieter Cornelisz van Rijck (1567-1637)
A close resemblance of Mary in her later years. 
Artist: Philippe de Champaigne (1602–1674)
The posture Gulliver was in, when talking to dignified Lilliputians.
Artists: R.G. Mossa
Top to Bottom: Those who pathetically try to imitate the Emperor, mixing-up their foot-ware; A couple of S-party members and their low heels; A T-party member, proud of his high morals, as they're represented by his shoes.
Artist: Grandville
Reldresal trying to convince Lemuel to join the T-party.
Artist: Grandville
A Commander looking at the fighting parties from a safe distance.
Artist: Unknown
Lemuel in a private talk with Reldresal. (In the dark, it's hard to spot Reldresal standing on Lemuel's knee)
Artist: Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville (pseudonym of J. J. Grandville), 1835
A furious Shumclum arguing the divinity of something.
Artist: Herbert Cole (1867-1930)
The Emperor, flanked by a T-party-er and an S-man.
Artist: Herbert Cole (1867-1930) 

MY moods swing like Betty’s, when she was a sixteen-year-old maiden. She was a handful, my daughter at that age. I do not blame her. I never did. It is not easy, blooming from a child into a woman. I remember Betty’s tantrums and constant arguing. Was I the same when I was at that age? I am sure my mother would say “Yes.”

 

      Well, I am definitely as moody now.

 

      Yesterday I was full of vigour and excitement, collecting my scribbles of almost fifty years past; so sure of myself and my writing ability, so excited to re-live those delicious moments of desire and contentment, so ridiculously fired by the certainty that I must, I must publish Lemuel’s full story.

      Today I am disheartened. My aches take the better of me. It is so hard to fly on the wings of memory and be again the woman I want to be, the woman I ever was, when my suffering body drags me down.

 

      No, I do not know this woman, who is now writing my memoir in the candle light, the woman whose old face I see when I glance at the reflection in the dark window.

 

      She sits on my chair at this very table, the table that is almost as old as I am. The table squeaks, but the pains are mine to feel.

 

      Oh, let the devil take me.

 

      If I can only find the power to continue writing the story of Lemuel’s travels, perchance I might forget again my old age and unrelenting pains. If these pages will ever make for a coherent book, I better fill in all the missing information. I better tell all the stories that I carelessly skipped fifty years gone, for the silly reason that they were not arousing enough.

 

      I was a silly maiden, even when I was thirty years of age.  

*

LEMUEL was alarmed to realise that his presence in Lilliput re-kindled old animosities at the Royal Court, and that so much of it was now targeted at him.

 

      His hopes that the Emperor was favouring him, as Reldresal was consistently assuring him, vanished completely after Bolgolam’s visit. Gulliver was thoroughly perplexed as to where he was standing with the Emperor, since he heard contradicting versions from Reldresal and from Bolgolam. A worrying thought crept into Lemuel’s mind: is it possible that the Emperor, the most powerful man in the world, as they all said, had no say in Court?

      Lemuel could not foresee, that during his two-year stay in Lilliput, tensions among the various factions against his own person would be mounting so high, that finally he would be pressed to escape, in order to save his life.

      But back then, still chained to his Prison-Temple, his only way of knowing what was happening in the outside world was from what his visitors were telling him. Luckily, his daily visitor, his Lilliputian teacher, General Reldresal, was a kind person and in the course of teaching him the Lilliputian language, he also gave him much hope for a speedy release.

      Most of the lessons were conducted whilst Lemuel was lying on his belly, his face close to the General. Curious Lilliputians were coming and going all the while, females openly gawking at him, making it quite distracting for Lemuel to concentrate on Reldresal’s lessons.

 

      Still, Lemuel and the General became very close as time went by, indeed very close, and finally it was Reldresal’s heroism that saved my Lemuel’s life.

      As much as Reldresal was trying to paint a rosy future for Lemuel in Lilliput, he could not hide from him the fact that Bolgolam was not his only enemy. There were more who voiced their concerns about the Man-Mountain’s disastrous effect on Lilliput. In fact, the hostility towards the Man-Mountain started to spill on to the few who still dared to voice their support for him. 

      “And tomorrow the discussion about your fate is scheduled in Court.” Reldresal was whispering this very softly, looking fearfully around, lest he was overheard.

      “But,” Lemuel whispered back, equally, if not more fearfully “What are the chances, that…” He could not utter the horrifying thought that bothered him all along. “I have surely proven in this fortnight how docile I am, and even how useful I could be..?”

      “It is more complicated than that,” Whispered Reldresal. “Let me give you a lesson in Lilliputian Politics. Then I will not have to whisper all the time. You see,” Reldresal continued in his normal tone “Until your arrival, all Affairs of States were conducted along very clear lines and affiliations, plainly marked and recognised by the height of our heels. And when you came - ”

      “The height of your Heels?!” Lemuel could not restrain from cutting Reldresal’s lecture short. “I thought it was the Eggs and the ‘S’..?

      “You have been misled” said Reldresal gloomily “And I can tell by whom. Never mind.” And he mumbled almost to himself: “I knew that Bolgolam would not wait too long before he would pounce.”

 

      The General shrugged his shoulders and continued his lecture.

      “You are so simple-minded, my dear Man-Mountain. The Eggs and the ‘S’ are just a cover-up story; something Lilliputian children can easily grasp and be swayed by. The truth is that our animosities run deeper than mere Eggs and articulation. Lilliputian Politics is a grave matter and it all boils down to our Heels.”

      Again, Lemuel thought he did not hear Reldresal well. “Your heels? Heels!?”

      Reldresal was nodding condescendingly but Lemuel insisted: “What do Heels got to do with Politics!?”

      “I like your naiveté, Man-Mountain. It is very endearing. Indeed, sometimes you are just like a little child.” Reldresal smiled benevolently “Our High Heels represent our High Morals. But of course, you could not just grasp that, being the coarse creature you are. Let me explain it to you from the beginning:

As you can see, I am wearing High Heels, because I belong to the T-party, the Tramecksans.

      “In Lilliputian, Tramecksans means something like ‘The Heart Is On The Left Side, Where High Values Reside’ (and we also tend to wear red coloured clothes on official events, which, of course, represent the Heart and the Blood Circulation).

 

      "I am proud and happy to tell you that we are hugely favoured by 99% of the Lilliputians, while the S-Party, the Slamecksans, our political enemies so to speak, are only favoured by 1% of all Lilliputians.

      “You know, Slamecksans, the full name of the S-Party, means in ancient Lilliputian ‘Both Feet Firmly On The Ground And Lots Of Money In The Pockets.’ They pathetically try to distinguish themselves from us, by wearing green clothes and low heels footwear. But, as I told you, they are only supported by 1% of our populace.”

      “So you, the T-Party, having the favour of 99% of all Lilliputians, must be controlling everything round here?” ventured Gulliver.

      “Not at all,” sighed Reldresal. “Sadly, this detested minority, the S’s, are holding 99% of Lilliput’s wealth.”

      “That is very confusing” said Lemuel. “How did that happen?”

 

      General Reldresal looked about him, and noticing that a number of Lilliputians were listening curiously, he signalled Lemuel to enter his Prison-Temple for the continuation of the lesson.

 

      Lemuel dragged his many chains and squeezed himself inside the stuffy space. He sat with his back leaning at the wall, placed his hand, palm up, on the ground, and after the General stepped onto it, raised him to his knee, onto which Reldresal jumped gracefully, and resumed his speech:

      “You asked about the emergence of the 99% and this history, which is shrouded in secrecy. It started quite violently, though.

 

      “Many moons[82] ago, there were a handful of Lilliputians who liked to fight each other. They called themselves Slammers. They were quite savage, and whoever killed the other, kept the other’s clothes and weapons.

 

      "Those who survived the fights amassed all those clothes and weapons, and got themselves quite a reputation for people you would not want to see, unless you were at a safe distance.

 

      "With all this excess of clothes and weapons, they erected Fashion Shops and built small armies to defend their properties. The Slammers lured many of the terrified, helpless Lilliputians to join them, by promising them not to beat them, and even to give them some clothes.

      “What else could the Slammers do, once they had those armies at their disposal, but to send them to fight with each other? The next step for the Slammer-Commanders was to develop war strategies, while standing on the hills and watching the bloodshed from a distance that gave them good - professional - perspective. The Slammers were recruiting young Lilliputians who knew not any better, to do the killing and pillaging for them, promising the poor youngsters a share of what they plundered for the Commanders. It was a small share, of course, and many of these lads got killed in the process of killing each other, so the Slammers did not have to part with much of the booty, and that is how they amassed their fortunes.”

      “That does not sound very fair,” said Lemuel.

      “Why not? They did their best, at what they were best at.” 

      “The way you put it,” said Lemuel “it sounds almost noble.”

      “It is” Reldresal reassured him “If my forefathers were Slammers, I would not be wearing these High heels today and preaching High Morals to you.”

      “Can you not just go and fight one of the Slammers and take over his wealth?”

      “I wish it was that simple” sighed Reldresal “but today that kind of fighting is no longer legal. We live in a just and peaceful world, in which we settle disputes by bribes in Court. Even the Slammers have agreed to stop fighting each other and that is why they are no longer called Slammers, but Slamecksans, or the S-party.

 

      "Instead of those noble, ancient, savage fights in Lilliputian battlefields, we have modified and dignified our competitive urges into graceful Games at Court, to honour and to please the Emperor. I hope, no, I am certain, that one day soon you will be invited to Court to observe our Games.” And Reldresal added modestly “I will be delighted to demonstrate to you my humble superiority, when you see how your servant, representing the T-party, is beating his S’s opponents.”

      “The T-party... How did the T-party come into being?”

      “We are descendants of the Trampled Lilliputians. We are proud to be the lucky survivors of all those skirmishes. In the course of history, we evolved to understand that our survival depends on our ability to hide away, or, when we are discovered, on our ability to appear big and terrifying. Hence the origin of our high heels.

 

      "Many moons ago, the cleverer among the Trampled Lilliputians came to the conclusion, that if we cannot have all these riches which the S’s posses, at least we can enjoy some of it, by being as friendly as possible with those who do have it. That is how our forefathers came to establish the T-Party, and promised to represent unfailingly the rest of the 99% of all Lilliputians.

 

      "Those 99% of all Lilliputians, accepted what we told them, that there is no room in Court for everybody, and therefore we should represent them there. They seem to be happy, thinking that we, the Tramecksans, do this loyally enough.”

      “You explain it extremely well, but it is still exceedingly confusing” acknowledged Lemuel. “So which party is actually controlling Lilliput?”

      “It is hard to tell, and that is how it should be. You see, morally we are far superior to the S-party, and we are far more favoured by the Emperor, too, because we jump higher and better than any S-man.” and to demonstrate the T’s superiority, Reldresal leaped from Gulliver’s left knee to the right one, and continued from there: “I can humbly confess, my dear Man-Mountain, that I, simple born and bred Reldresal, am the best at Court-Jumping! That is how I got to this position, of Principal Secretary for Private Affairs.”

      “Quite impressive” said Gulliver, nevertheless careful not to move his legs too abruptly.

      As Reldresal continued to demystify Lilliputian Court Administration, Gulliver’s admiration of the Emperor was increasing with every new piece of information:

 

      The Emperor demonstrated immense fairness in his power-distribution among his cabinet members. Though he himself was a descendent of one of the Lilliputians greatest warriors, he seemed to have a place in his heart for all Lilliputians, no matter from what breed they came.

 

      Supported for many generations by the Shumclum Clan of high priests, all the Emperors were considered, for moons immemorial, to be supported not only by all Lilliputians, but more importantly by Lilliputian deities.

      There is irrefutable evidence and many predictions relating to the eternal superiority of the Emperors, in the Holly Blundecral [83], which was dictated by the Gods to the first Shumclum. The same Gods that installed the Shumclum Clan as their representatives, according to the Shumclums protestations. Only the Shumclums were able to interpret and clarify to the Lilliputian masses, the seemingly contradicting messages written in the Holly Blundecral.

      The Emperor, in his benevolence, gave the high-heeled, red-cladded T-Party members far more seats in his Administration, more than he gave to the low-heeled, green S’s, explaining that thus he is mirroring their popularity among the Lilliputians.

 

      Each seat of the T-Party was representing a different aspect of Lilliputian’s life, such as the Weather, the Wavelets, the Sun and almost every Star, while the minority S’s were holding four seats in all: The Gifts to the Crown (as they called the Tax Enforcement Office[84],) The Maintenance of The Gifts to the Crown (as they called the Treasury[85],) The Ministry of Internal Peace (as they called the Police Force[86],) and the Ministry of External Peace (as they called the Army[87].)

      Yet, the Emperor was careful not to let known, which – if any - party he favoured. Being a shrewd statesman, as Reldresal was saying with much admiration, the Emperor kept on baffling everyone: he never favoured one colour in his attire, which was as colourful as the rainbow; inside his Palace he would wear Low Heels, but when he would be engaged in public speeches, he would wear the highest heels in the whole of Lilliput. At all other times, he would mix: He had a collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes, of both high and low heels, and he would always wear one high heeled shoe and one low heeled shoe, which gave him a hobble in his gait.

      “So I am sure,” Reldresal was now whispering comfortingly “That the Emperor will relent and will give you your Freedom, following the debate in Court tomorrow.”

      “I see what you mean,” whispered Lemuel, though he could not quite follow how Reldresal came to this conclusion.

      “But you, Dear Man-Mountain,” Said Reldresal triumphantly “You are clearly a Tramecksans! With your Freedom soon granted, you will tower above us all, no matter what heels you will be wearing. So you are a natural T-Partier!”

      “I am most honoured, my dear Reldresal” Said Lemuel, and he meant it, I know. He was ever so pleased to be acknowledged and welcomed.

      “You will remain loyal to the T-Party’s cause, of course” Warned Reldresal. “I have reasons to suspect that one of these days this detestable S-party man, Admiral Skyresh Bolgolam, from the Ministry of External Peace, will try to make an S-Party member of you.”

      “Oh.” Coughed Lemuel “I doubt that he will ever want me. He is quite nasty to me whenever he can be.”

      “Well, nothing is beneath his plotting, so I trust you will not fall for his menacing threats and false promises of fame and gain. Remember, those S’s are favored by very few Lilliputians! If you go with us, the T-Party, you will be loved and admired by 99% of us!”

      And with this appealing prospect he requested that Lemuel would lower him back to earth. Eager to please, Lemuel let Reldresal hop from his knee to the palm of his hand, and he lowered his hand ever so slowly and carefully to the ground.

 

      Reldresal jumped off Lemuel’s palm, waved good-bye at the door, mounted his horse and disappeared, leaving Lemuel to contemplate the Lilliputian State of Affairs and his own gloomy future, which was to be determined, by unknown little people, the following day.

 

 
 
 
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