Chapter Thirteen

The author’s sister comes for a visit: With revived spirits the author continues to tell about Gulliver’s fate in Lilliput and his attempts to prove his Docility; He cleverly entertains the Royal House, but falls in love with the Empress; His ordeal of shame turns to glory, but Freedom still eludes him.

Redriff, Wednesday the 17th of  February, 1703
No image of that meeting was preserved, but it was in such atmosphere, that Mary and Stella, James, Johnny and Betty, were enjoying a conversation by the fire.
Artist: Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685)
The local postman of Redriff, as he passes by with his bell and satchel.
Artist: Unknown.​
Depicting the scene of QuinTax collection, at the height of the Quinbus Flestrin craze, when many Lilliputians were ready to pay to see the Man Mountain.
Artist: Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1565–1636)
The Empress on her way to the Entertainment. (Seated in her Sedan Close Chair.
Artist: James Gillray (1756-1815)
Gulliver (far right) raising the Empress to watch the military drills on the stage he's erected out of local trees and his handkerchief.
Artist: Philip Mendoza (1898-1973)
Even her footmen are dejected, as they carry the Empress away from the Entertainment.
Artist: Unknown.
Lemuel, relieved that the Empress is not there to see his shameful abuse, a brief moment before that thought affects his blood circulation.
Artist: Unknown.

GOOD tidings keep rolling in! My dear sister, Stella, came on a visit, chaperoned[72] by James, her fifteen-year-old lad. What a man he has become!

 

      Because of Lemuel’s wild wanderings, not only in the wide world, but also here, in London, I did not get to see Stella and her family for many a year. The boy I remembered suckling on his mother’s breast, whilst she was jolting me with tales from her married life on the eve of my own wedding, that baby is now such a handsome young man!

 

      Stella left her eldest daughter, fourteen-year-old Nancy, in charge of the maids and her nine younger siblings. She took the public coach -- and here she was!

      When we were done crying and laughing, we cuddled round the fireplace, all five of us, each hugging a steaming cup o’ tea.

 

      Stella said she decided to come now, before the winter will turn rough again. My clever Johnny pointed out that we had so much violent rain this summer, and Stella was much impressed when he wisely predicted that it would seriously affect subsequent harvest.

 

      Yes, we discussed the weather – not that it helps any – and remembered the famous fog of November Twenty-Ninth, 1699. Even Betty remembered three years past, how dense was the fog. So much so, that we could not see a yard ahead. Also in Newgate Street, told us Stella and James, nobody dared go outside and the city lay in deathly silence. We could laugh about it now, and had quite some merry a time the whole evening. But when the children fell asleep in the big bed, Stella asked me, much worried and vexed, if there might have been a letter, or any other sign of life from Mr. Gulliver.

      Was I ever happy to show her his letter! Was she ever quizzed about his sweet, loving line: “Thank God I shall Kiss your Lips! All of them!” Of course, I did not explain it to her. I shrugged my shoulders and silently blessed my marital luck. (Stella told me that Mr. Owen Lavender Jr. never kisses her, but insists on mounting her nightly. She says she is exasperated with giving birth, punctually, every autumn, but I do not believe her. I think she just says it for my sake.)

      Stella was relieved to learn that Mr. Gulliver is just being delayed and in good time will be back, perhaps even in time to see the birth of the child that grows in my belly.

      “But if he is delayed,” she beseeched me,“ do send Johnny with a line to the Penny Post[73] and I will come! We can bear this expenditure!” She laughed again, but good-heartedly.

 

      Mr. Lavender Jr. is well off, since the Hosiery trade my father struggled to erect, with the help of his good friend Master Bates, is flourishing. But Stella is not bragging about her good fortune. Come to think of it, her parting words still echo in my head:

 

      “Dear sister,” she said, “cheer up! You have your two surviving children and the assurance of restful nights, while I – I cannot complain, I have the maids watching my brood, but come each month, I wreck my brain to find another reason to let Mr. Lavender Jr. sleep alone.” She looked at her bulging belly, and concluded wistfully: “I am not so good at it.”[74]

 

      Strange how we always long for that which we do not have, whilst those who have that which we want, long for that which they do not possess, but we do.

 

      Ah! Life in Lilliput was no different, according to Lemuel’s stories!

*

THOUGH his living conditions were relatively good (he even got a bed made especially for him, consisting of six hundred Lilliputian beds put together,) food and drink were readily supplied him, Lemuel was anxious to be free and extremely curious to see the whole of Lilliput, as much as that might have been.

      He did get to see many of the inhabitants, though, since, as the news of his arrival spread through the Empire, it brought prodigious numbers of rich, idle or plain curious little people to see him. So much so, that (later he learned) the Emperor gave orders that the watching of ‘Quinbus Flestrin’ will only be allowed for half a day per person, against a fee (called in short ‘the QuinTax’, which was used to cover Gulliver’s upkeep, and that of the Emperor.)

      So of course, he was not released.

 

      During each of his daily audiences with General Reldresal, who was appointed to keep watch on the Man Mountain and to teach him the Lilliputian language, history, culture and manners, Gulliver was entreating the General to beg the Emperor to grant him is his freedom.

 

      General Reldresal’s answer was, as always, that this must be a work of time, not to be thought on without the advice of His Majesty’s council, based on the reports they will get from their undercover spies.

      Lemuel wondered if any of those undercover spies were women. He noticed that he had a great effect on the Lilliputian female species. They seemed to be drawn to him by some invisible force. Lemuel could not fathom what was this force of attraction, but I, being of the female species too, know how attracted we are to the scent of a healthy, hard-working male[75]. My prodigious Lemuel’s aphrodisiac must have been a powerful magnet. 

      He was very proud to tell me that the very first female Lilliputian he actually touched was none other than the Empress.

 

      It was right after my clever man built a little stage, using his handkerchief and some local trees, for the Emperor’s army to practice military manoeuvre.

     (Lemuel wrote about this in detail in his book, so I need not repeat all those boring technical details.) 

      The entertainment pleased the Emperor so much, that He convinced His Empress to let Lemuel hoist Her up, Close Chair[76] and all, so She could join the Emperor up there.

 

      When Lemuel picked up the Empress’ Close Chair he distinctly felt Her breasts, bursting out of Her deep cleavage, brushing lightly at his forefinger. And when they exchanged glances, the Empress’ cheeks got all red and She licked her lips. Luckily no one saw that, as it happened about a yard off the ground.

      Lemuel told me that he was immediately smitten with love to the Empress, because She reminded him of me. The thought of me and of our children so far away, helpless and desolate, unknowing of what has become of him, tormented Lemuel to no end. He told me that his heart lost a beat the first time he held his eyes on the Empress, with Her raven long hair and Her pert, almost naked breasts (for the fashion among the Lilliputian nobility was such, that women’s breasts were considered to be their best jewels, for all to admire. By penalty of death all women whose jewelry has withered, were forbidden to expose themselves.) 

 

      Some older Lilliputian women were covered head to toe in what looked like a blue sac, with but a slit that revealed their eyes. Lemuel could not tell how old were those women, or if they were women at all. At night they all looked like tiny ghosts, rushing silently across the plains.

      That little incident, when his finger brushed against the Empress’ breasts, while She licked her lips, gave my Lemuel some hope that, if Her Grace would grace him, he might soon be released from the chains to which he was still constrained.

      While the troupes were marching to and fro on the little handkerchief-stage, Lemuel was trying to catch the Empress’ glance, hoping to make another good impression on Her.

 

      It was a rather warm day, and my ever-inventive Lemuel suggested to his teacher, General Reldresal (who was always nearby) that he might make himself useful to their Royal Highnesses by gently waiving on them a tree, which he might easily uproot for that purpose. The General presented the offer to the Emperor, and the Empress entreated Her Husband to allow Gulliver to ease their Royal Heat. The Emperor agreed, on condition that Gulliver would plant the tree back again, when the Royal Couple would no longer need the wind.

      Scanning carefully the nearby trees, Lemuel chose the one that best fitted the mission, pulled it out of the ground and gave it a good shake, to get rid of the earth and rubble (this he did stretching his arm as far as he could over the crowd and above an uninhabited land.) As he leaned his elbow closer to the Royal Seats, and commenced waiving the tree behind them, he could not help overhearing Their conversation:

      “Darling,” said the Empress, “I have a marvellous idea: Let us have this Man-Mountain stand with his legs wide apart and We will ride Our Carriage right between his legs!”

      “Oh dear, oh dear” said the Emperor, “that would pose too great a risk to Your Health. In fact, I think the wind is far too strong now. You better get in your Close Chair and back to the palace, and right now!”

      Lemuel did not dare suggest that he stop waiving the tree, in fear that his eavesdropping would be revealed, so he obediently clasped the Close Chair, under the close watch of the Emperor, and lowered the Empress back to the ground. His only consolation was that She seemed to be as dejected as he was, when She left with Her Ladies in Waiting back to Mildendo.

       As soon as they were far enough, the Emperor snapped for Skyresh Bolgolam, the Admiral of the Realm.

      “We contrived a new drill to tame our Man-Mountain and harden the hearts of Our Soldiers!” he announced. “Summon Our Army, right away!”

      And Lemuel was ordered to stand like Colossus[77], with his legs asunder, as far as the chains permitted him, and the Emperor gave the command to his troupes to march underneath.

 

      Lemuel, who was indeed ever the shy and private person, was quite flabbergasted when he could clearly see some of the young officers glancing up as they passed between his legs.

 

      Seeing what they saw (for his breeches were in quite ill condition,) they had much opportunity for laughter and admiration.

 

      My poor Lemuel was at first sure that they were laughing at his shrunk Yard and tight Bollocks (the cold wind having that effect, you know) and therefore was quite relieved that the Empress was far and away. But as his thoughts wondered in that direction, he suddenly heard many gasps from the Lilliputians marching between his legs and he apprehended that the mere thought of the woman he craved, resulted in the resizing of his Yard to new measures, which planted fear and envy into the souls of each and every soldier who happened to be between his legs at that moment.

      Admiral Bolgolam gave a sign to the Army Conductor, who immediately increased the beat, and almost running, the rest of the troupes rushed underneath Lemuel, who was relieved to have this form of torture and humiliation over and done with.

      And still he remained chained to the Prison-Temple, with no liberty at sight.

 

      But that same evening the Emperor sent general Reldresal with an important message to be delivered privately to Lemuel.