Chapter Twenty-Six

The Author intercepts Captain Biddel and his 'Illiputian' Show and plots the impending rescue; She meets her future husband and is smitten; Lemuel realises that his salvation from the LOL is in War, but he devised a new, humane stratagem to put an end to the It.

Northampton, Cock and Bull Inn, Friday  the 7th  of September, 1703

IT is somewhat bizarre, but I do feel attracted to my future husband.

 

      I expected to loathe Mr. Lowsley. I was determined (as soon as I would have saved the poor Lilliputians) to find the first excuse to hasten back home to Redriff. But here I am, craving this man I only just met.

 

      Maybe it was his eyes, smiling at me so warmly, that melted me thus. Or his large, soft palm, holding my hand for the softest of kisses? Most likely it was his bidding me good night and so gently asking for a kiss, which at first I grudgingly refused, as expected, and then readily granted.

      The effect was instantaneous:

 

      It has been a long time since I had the occasion to notice the physical effects of lips meeting each other: there is one nerve of the fifth pair, which goes from the mouth to the heart, and thence lower down. With such delicate industry has nature prepared everything! The little glands of the lips, their spongy tissue, their velvety paps, the fine skin, ticklish, gives them an exquisite and voluptuous sensation, identical and analogical to the Lips below the belly...[141] I felt them both and melted within.

      But as soon as our lips parted, I remembered the poor Lilliputians and, as I was determined to set them free, before starting the second chapter of my life with dear Mr. John Lowsley, I refused to spend the rest of the night with him, in his home. He whispered in my ear that he would send his carriage for me, so that, as soon as James would fall asleep, I could sneak into his carriage and off to his home. Even though he reassured me that Balegule, his black Moor driver[141] was totally trustworthy, and even though seeing his his etching collection was most tempting, I refused.

      Mr. Lowsley seemed as disappointed as I felt, but promised to send Balegule with the carriage tomorrow morning to get us to his home, where he also conducts his business.

      I am so glad that Stella instructed James and I to remain at the Cock and Bull Inn for a couple of nights. Tomorrow is another night.

      I was determined to stay tonight at the Cock and Bull, also because I did get to see them, Captain Biddel and his notorious box, when I alighted from the carriage at the Inn.

 

      He was probably returning from exhibiting the poor creatures at the market of Northampton. Though I was quite spent from those two days rocking on mud roads, I instructed James to unload our boxes and wait for me inside, and as soon as he turned his back, I went and tapped on the shoulder of that dreadful Biddel, just as he was unloading that prison box with its innocent occupants off his horse.

 

      I did notice that the box was not locked.

      I breathed deeply: “Captain Biddel, I presume?”

 

      But to my surprise, he did not seem to be surprised.

      “My deaw Mws. Gullivew! My deaw, deaw pawtnew!”

 

      It was also clear that Biddel was drunk. That might explain why he did not lock the box.

      “Sir, this is deplorable.” I said, shaking with indignation.  

      “Do not worry, my fair lady.” Biddel was trying to mock me. “You will get your fare share. I am as good as my word.” He leaned nearer to me: “And I expect to get a good share of you, once we conclude our business?”

      I nearly chocked from the stench of his breath. But I collected myself bravely and told him: “Captain Biddel, I am here with my cousin, Mr. James Lavender, and I must be short.”

      He just laughed “I must be short too, for we are expected tonight at the Palace of Malplaquet! If you will be so kind to come to my rooms at the Cock and Bull tomorrow morning, we could share the money, and the bed!”

      Before I knew what I was saying, I said: “Captain Biddel, I have never been to a Palace before. May I come with you to the Palace of Malplaquet?”

     He seemed to like this idea even better and he said: “Of course my dear. But, you know, no need to bring your chaperone. I will take the utmost care of you.”

      As if I would involve James in all this!

      We set to leave a couple of hours later, at six o'clock, and luckily, as soon as disappeared inside the inn, my Mr. John Lowsley arrived, with his broad smile.

      And because of my plans for the Palace of Malplaquet, I had to postpone the consummation of my impending matrimonial contract with Mr. John Lowsley, to tomorrow night. 

 

      I am so nervous now.

 

      The only way I know of passing the time and keeping sane is to continue writing Lemuel’s story. Now that I have met Mr. John Lowsley, I find it easier to accept the fact that Lemuel is lost at sea.

*

WHEN Reldresal left, Lemuel was quite confused. He liked Reldresal, yet he was hoping that Reldresal was indeed the only LOL in Lilliput.

 

      Though Lemuel did relieve his manly needs with other men, as opportunities presented themselves on various sea-voyages, he preferred the physical company of women. He also knew that Sodomy is punishable by law, also in Lilliput, and therefore concluded that it was a Bad Thing.

      He had enough reason to fear the wrath of the Lilliputian Emperor and Empress, each for their own (and contradictory) reasons. He did not want to allow a Lilliputian Anti-LOL law to hang over him. He realised that, as much as he liked Reldresal and was happy he could render the poor little man some moments of bliss, still, for the sake of the safety of them both, he must put an end to their intimate relations. 

      His only salvation, he resolved, was to go to war.

      But the thought of his impending death was not agreeable to him at all[143].

      As much as Lemuel was excited to join the Lilliputian army (he felt young again, bold and brave!) still he was old enough[144]

to grasp that war could be dangerous, even to someone as big as he was.

 

      Indeed, two years before, when he first laid eyes on the Lilliputians, he had no second thoughts about killing them, as he would kill any insect. But in the meantime Lemuel got to know almost all the Lilliputians, and at times even forgot that he was that much bigger than they were.

 

      Though Bolgolam and Reldresal tried to imbue Lemuel with hatred to the Blefuscudians, still, Lemuel could not help feeling that they were human beings, too. Annihilating a whole nation, as challenging an endeavour as it was, did not appeal to Lemuel at all.

      My wise man devised a plan, which he thought would charm to the Emperor as much as mass-murder, since it involved lasting financial gains.

      The next day, when Lemuel put it to him this way, the Emperor was convinced, and agreed to Lemuel’s plan of action, to seize the enemy's whole fleet and bring it over to Lilliput.

 

      This would double the Emperor’s navy and would humiliate for good the hated Blefuscudians. Not least, it would render them incapable of exporting goods, and thus dependent on the Lilliputian economy, and in turn on the goodwill of the Lilliputian emperor, who would control the prices of EVERYTHING.[145]

 

      And of course, anyone who is not annihilated needs to buy food and other goods. 

 

      This was a win-win-win situation, well, for the Emperor.

      And also for Lemuel. Now he would not have to put his life on the line.

 

      As soon as he managed to convince the emperor of the wisdom of his plan, Lemuel insisted to get his possessions back, which were confiscated from him upon his imprisonment.

      In due ceremony the items were fetched from the Royal Coffers and handed back to Lemuel, who had to sign for each Item: his handkerchief, snuff box, journal-book, comb, pistols, bullets and gun-powder (still in good condition!) coins, knives, purse, scimitar and scabbard, and even his timepiece, though Shumclum, the High Priest strongly objected to the releasing of this blasphemous object.[146]

      The Emperor, Bolgolam and even Reldresal were pressing Lemuel to go ahead with his plan as soon as only possible, repeatedly asserting that the Blefuscudians were ready to attack; that they would set sail with the first fair wind and invade Innocent Lilliput.

      And Gulliver was the only one who could save them. 

 

      For the sake of peace-loving Lilliputians he had to attack first.

Mary and Mr. Lowsley parting after their first meeting.
Artist: Unknown
Biddel unloading his horse.
Artist: Unknown.
The palace Mary is so enthusiastic to see from the inside.
Architects: W. Slater R.H. Carpenter. Architects.

It's worthwhile to collaborate with authorities.

Artist: Libico Maraja (1912-1983)

Pending Permission!)