Chapter Twenty-Eight

The author, by an extraordinary stratagem, accomplishes at least one of her missions; Lemuel returns to Lilliput to many applauses and a high title of honour; Ambassadors arrive from Blefuscu, and sue for peace; The empress’s apartment is set on fire by an accident; Proudly, Lemuel pisses the Royal fire away.

Northampton, Cock and Bull Inn,
the early hours of Saturday  the 8th  of September, 1703  

THE excitement I feel does not let me fall asleep. I am so full of my glorious success, so full of love to mankind and Lilliputiankind.

 

      No, I cannot sleep.

      The sun will rise in a couple of hours, on the day I will properly meet, speak and finally, hopefully, make love to my future second husband…

      What better reward could I ask for, for the feat I accomplished but an hour ago?

      And to top it all, I am confident that my name will live forever with future generations of Lilliputians to come. The Lilliputians I just rescued will ever be grateful to me and will tell of this glorious night to their children, and grandchildren, and grand, grand, grandchildren!

      I do feel pride when I remember my resilience tonight, when I saw Captain Biddel at the Inn’s court, as good as his word, at eight a Clock, with the Lilliputians prison-box strapped to his horse, and one more horse side-saddled[152] for me.

 

      He proposed that I would join him when he exhibits the Lilliputians at the Palace of Malplaquet. He promised to share with me the revenues, and extracted from me a counter promise that I will share his bed, afterwards.

      The fool!

 

      James was pleased to stay in the Inn, eyeing the Innkeeper’s fair daughter. I told James that I would be back as soon as I can, but that he should not bother waiting for me. He smiled broadly and promised not to tell his mother. Though I was piqued, I preferred not to put him straight then, but to hurry on my mission.

      The road outside our inn was still populated with late night passers-by, and through windows I could see homely activities, which made me miss my family, back in Newgate. I thought how much more miserable the captive Lilliputians must be feeling, and that filled my heart with vigour and resolution.

 

      I took a couple of wine-bottles with me, and as soon as we took off I proposed to Biddel the first toast.

 

      He was already quite intoxicated, and I could tell that I made the right decision wearing a deep décolleté. Even though it was already dark, my fair breasts were glowing in the moonlight, and he could not and would not miss the sight. When we reached the South Bridge on River Nenn, I noticed an island in the river, and an upturned little boat. My course was clear to me.

      By then Biddel gulped one whole bottle and was quite pleased with himself.

 

      I begged him to stop, smiled modestly to him and pointed out the wonderful, romantic moon, which hung right above us. Biddel understood my meaning right away and proposed, though slurringly, that we will get off our horses and enjoy the moon for a while.

 

      Of course I assented, knowing full well that he would collapse to the ground the moment he would dismount his horse. He did take a few steps in my direction, gallantly offering to help me off my horse, but as he was simultaneously trying to unbutton his front flap he soon lost his balance and fell flat on his nose.

      I must admit, I was shaking with fear and apprehension when I jumped off my horse and rushed to Biddel’s horse, to the Lilliputian’s prison-box. I was afraid Biddel might recover; I was afraid someone would pass by; I was afraid some highwayman would seize the opportunity of robbing a woman alone…

      None of this happened, lucky me.

 

      I planted the other wine bottle next to Biddel’s hand, to make sure he would drink himself to another oblivion before he would realise what has happened.

 

      Next, I was ever so relieved to see that Biddel, in his drunken arrogance, had neglected to lock the box, again. I only had to lift the lid and gently call to the Lilliputians, who were fast asleep, to tell them that they were free. I told them that I would help them escape by boat to the uninhabited island down the river.

      Flimnap, who was the first to wake up (being the least tired, since the other Lilliputians were serving as his servants, once their chores to Biddel were done) grumbled when he saw me: “I thought you would never come!”

      I had no time for explanations and justifications.

 

      I lifted him out the prison box and carried him into the boat. He was complaining all the while, and it took a few seconds before it dawned on me that he was speaking English! In a heavy Lilliputian accent, but still!

      The rest of them were ever so grateful to me, but fearful. They climbed eagerly to my palms and I transported them, one by one, to the boat. I decided to leave the prison box straddled to Biddel’s horse, to remove any suspicion that a human hand – my hand – was involved. I did pack all of the Lilliputians’ belongings in my head kerchief, joined them in the boat and set out rowing upstream the River Nenn.

      Those little people are amazing, indeed. I have good reason to believe they will prosper on that safe little island. They were ever so appreciative of my deeds, and even Flimnap nodded when they were promising enthusiastically to cherish my memory and tell their young, for generations to come, about their Exodus.

 

      As I rowed back I heard Flimnap’s voice fading away, announcing to them that they will celebrate this day yearly, with a feast and stories the whole night through, of how much they suffered under the hands of Captain Biddel and the rest of the Mountain People, and how with the grace of the Lord and the Lilliputians’ constant belief in Him and in His Blundecral, and Flimnap’s own resilience, they had made it from Slavery to Freedom.

      I think, though I am not sure, my name was mentioned, too.[153]

      Rowing back was easier, downstream, and I was grateful for that. I landed back on Terra Firma just as Biddel finished gulping the wine. He probably saw a blared vision of me, walking in his direction, for I could distinctly decipher what he was trying to say:

 

      “Come, my love, let us make Lo..” and he was off again.

      Back in the Cock and Bull, of course I cannot sleep anymore. The sun will soon rise, my new love will soon come, so what a better way to spend these glorious hours, but in writing about Lemuel’s glorious return  from Blefuscu to Lilliput?

* * *

 

LEMUEL’S return to Lilliput was glorious. The Emperor, the Empress and the whole court stood on the shore, expecting the issue of this great Adventure. Many Lilliputians were standing at a respectful distance behind them, and they all saw the ships move forward in a large half-moon, but could not discern Lemuel, who was up to his breast in water.

      When he advanced to the middle of the channel, they were yet more in pain, because he was under water to his neck.The Emperor concluded that Lemuel drowned, and that the enemy’s fleet was approaching in a hostile manner.

 

      Bolgolam was already issuing orders to set the archers on the attack, and to send all women and children back home, but he was soon eased of his fears; for the channel growing shallower every step Lemuel made, he came in a short time within hearing, and holding up the end of the cable, by which the fleet was fastened, he cried in a loud voice, “Long live the most puissant Emperor of Lilliput, his Empress and his Court!”

      The Emperor received Lemuel at his landing with all possible encomiums, and proclaimed this a NARDAC (Not A Regular Day At Court) in his honour, upon the spot, which was the highest homage to one's honour among them. It was a ceremony, which Lemuel cherished, since it involved the Kissing of the Hands of the Royal House..

      The day after Gulliver’s Heroic Victory, Court was convened, to discuss the next steps. Lemuel was the Guest of Honour, and was ever so gratified that the Assembly Hall was re-arranged thus, that he could poke in his head, right between the Emperor and the Empress’ seats.

      His majesty desired Lemuel to take some other opportunity of bringing the rest of His enemy’s ships into His ports. He was egged on by Bolgolam, whose ambition was so immeasurable, that he could think of nothing less than reducing the whole empire of Blefuscu into a province.

      “Now that they are on their knees,” proclaimed Bolgolam “I am ready to sacrifice my self for the Honour of Our Great Emperor, and go govern Blefuscu as its Viceroy.”

      Some dared voice their doubts about selecting Bolgolam to be the Viceroy of Blefuscu.

      Reldresal, for one, was also eager to get the job, since Lemuel already hinted to him that there were numerous LOLs in Blefuscu.

 

      “I am best equipped to destroy the Big-Endian exiles!” he announced.

      “But would you have enough courage to exert confessions and compel the heretics to break the smaller end of their eggs?” Demanded Shumclum, “This Viceroy is a holy post, by which our Beloved Emperor would remain the sole monarch of the whole world!”

      “We will decide about this Post later” concluded the Emperor benevolently. “I know that each one of you is in possession of a vigorous and fearless heart. None of you will flinch from the sight of Blefuscudian blood, which you are rightfully eager to shed. But first, let Our Man-Mountain finish off the work he has begun. When all the vessels are here, along with the King of Blefuscu and his Court as Our Prisoners, We will decide which of you, good people, will be most suitable for the lucrative job of Viceroy of My Blefuscu.

      “Let us eat the egg after we have broken its shell -- ” he concluded with the famous proverb, and the Assembly answered in a chorus the traditional line: “ – at its one and only right and holy end!!!”

      It was not easy, but, as much as Lemuel was craving to visit Blefuscu again, he was not ready to do that under such expectations, and he resolved to divert the Emperor from his design of kidnapping the rest of His enemy’s ships, King and court.

 

      Anyway, the Blefuscudians had no king nor court.

      When the traditional clamour following the Saying of the Proverb subsided, he said softly: “I would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery.”

      Everyone gasped, and Lemuel sensed that the Empress was much disappointed with him.

 

      He hastened to explain: “Your Majesty and Enchanting Empress, mighty Court and dear friends. I humbly put it to you, that I have learned much from your Lilliputian Wisdom and Courage. Just as you have granted me Freedom, with your unending sense of Justice and Commerce, I put it to you: do grant the Blefuscudians Freedom too.

 

      "If you do not, if you invade and occupy Blefuscu, Your Hugeness, You could expect that they would form guerrilla units to fight the Lilliputian Occupation and terrorise Lilliputian citizens!

 

      "On the other hand, if your Highness would not be engaged in constant wars, You would be able to direct all the war money into peace-time projects, for the benefit of Lilliput and for Your and Your Court’s eternal Glory!”

      A deep and long silence ensued.

 

      Lemuel thought it was because his surprising words and their wisdom were slowly sinking into the Lilliputian’s minds. But he was soon put right.

      “I beg to differ.” Bolgolam said at last, hardly able to hide his scorn: “Anyone here knows that there is no better way to keep the Lilliputians at bay, but by terrorising them with an Enemy. Your Highness, my Emperor, this Man-Mountain of Yours is but a savage, as I told You from the start. Let me be the Viceroy of Blefuscu, and I grant you constant war and revenues.”

      Lemuel was shamed and hurt, but insistent: “Your Highness,” he turned to both the Emperor and his Empress “Innocent Lilliputians will die in unnecessary wars! And in terror attacks!” He turned to Shumclum: “I turn to your religious feelings, as the High Priest of the Holy Blundecral. Do you not feel pity for the impending sufferings of your believers?!”

      Shumclum was clearly ill at ease, but not so much because he was convinced by Lemuel’s arguments, as much as he felt it beneath him to relate to that heretic.

 

      So instead, Shumclum directed his words to the Emperor: “Your Grace, it is true that some Lilliputians might die in Terror Attacks of the Blefuscudian’s Terror Units, but the numbers will always be negligible. Especially when the news about the victims will not spread. At any rate, these victims will be mostly the helpless women and children. In short; those who anyway do not pay Taxes. Another side-effect of Terror Attacks would be a terrified and thus a submissive nation, eager to procreate in order to fill-in the ranks.

 

      "War has always been good for making new babies. In short, give me the Viceroy of Blefuscu, and I will make sure to avenge in Your name those deplorable yet useful Terror Attacks. Your popularity among the Lilliputians will surge with each cycle of violence, As the future Viceroy of Blefuscu, I can guarantee this, for Your Prosperity and that of both our Parties.”

      As one, they all turned to Lemuel, who felt totally dejected, and could not find any argument to counter those overwhelmingly convincing views.

      “So sorry,” said Lemuel, sneaking a glance at the Empress and her cleavage “I am too tired now. I need to recuperate before I can go on another War Mission.”

      Lemuel made to retire, but the Empress held him by his earlobe: “Not just yet, Man-Mountain.” She leaned forward and addressed her husband, over Lemuel’s nose: “Let us now celebrate Our Glorious Triumph. My dear, give orders to bring out the Glimigrim!”

      “Oh, yes,” assented the Emperor “Good of you to remind me, my dear.”

      And as the Empress blew a kiss to her husband, over Lemuel’s nose, the Lilliputian special wine, Glimigrim, was brought up, in Gargantuanian quantities (for Lilliputian standards.)

      Lemuel was so gratified by the fact that the Empress spoke up to prolong his stay by her side, that she was ordering barrel after barrel of delicious Glimigrim to be served to him, that he gulped the drink without measure. When the party was over, he was quite tipsy, but managed to get back to his Freedom Temple without trampling on any Lilliputian, and he was so tired that he just fell on his bed and snored away.

      Till he was woken up in horror by loud cries.

 

      He heard the word "Burglum" repeated incessantly. Hasting out, he saw a large crowd and several of the emperor’s court, making their way through the crowd, entreating him to come immediately to the Palace, where Her Imperial Majesty’s apartment was on fire, by the carelessness of a maid of honour, who fell asleep while she was reading a romance.

      Lemuel glanced in the direction of the Palace and saw it lit up by the vicious fire. Immediately he took to the road, and it being likewise a moonshine night, he made a shift to get to the Palace without trampling on any of the people.

 

      He found they had already applied ladders to the walls of the apartment, and were well provided with buckets, but the water was at some distance.

 

      As he was handed buckets of water and pouring them as quick as he could on the furious flames, he was scanning the Palace, desperately looking for signs of the Empress, but could not get any information on Her whereabouts.

 

      Those buckets were about the size of large thimbles, and the poor people supplied him with them as fast as they could: but the flame was so violent that they did little good. Lemuel might easily have stifled it with his coat, which he unfortunately left behind him for haste, and came away only in his leathern jerkin. The case seemed wholly desperate and deplorable; and this magnificent Palace would have infallibly been burnt down to the ground and the Empress gone up in flames, if, by a presence of mind unusual to him, Lemuel had not suddenly thought of an expedient.

 

      It was but a few hours before, that he drunk plentifully of the most delicious and seductive Glimigrim, which was very diuretic, to boot!

      By the luckiest chance in the world, he had not discharged himself of any part of that liquid. The heat he had contracted by coming very near the flames, and by labouring to quench them, made the wine begin to operate by urine; which he voided in such a quantity, and applied so well to the proper places, that in three minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and the rest of that noble pile, which had cost so many ages in erecting, preserved from destruction.

 

      To his greatest relief, as he was shaking his hose to get rid of the last drops, he distinctly saw the Empress, soaked to the bone and in some haze, sitting with her legs asunder in her burnt-out bedroom.

Despite the worrying, awed silence that fell on the Lilliputians who witnessed his feat, Lemuel retired back to his Freedom Temple, ever so proud of himself and his life-saving resilience. [154]

Mary, too excited to sleep, is getting ready to meet her lover.
Artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
A typical night scene, similar to the one Mary describes.
Artist: William Hogarth (1697-1764)

Lemuel shocks the assembly.

Artist: Grandville (1803-1847)

Lemuel uses every opportunity.

Artist: Grandville (1803-1847)

Convincing arguments in favour of war and terror.

Artist: Grandville (1803-1847)

Lemuel drowns his sorrow and fear.

Artist: Grandville (1803-1847)

Saving the palace from burning out.

Artist: Grandville (1803-1847)