Chapter Twenty-Two

As good as her word, and resuming the tale of her Husband, the Author reveals what has transpired when Gulliver was transporting the Royal House all over Lilliput; Lemuel proves to be useful to the Court; what Lemuel gains in those trips; the Empress’ lust turns into wrath, but Lemuel is blissfully unaware of all the plotting against him.

Redriff, Thursday  the 1st of July, 1703

AS it was, with the new title of Tall Commander of the SHINBET, Lemuel’s duties seemed quite benign.

 

      When he worriedly asked Reldresal what should he actually do as head of the SHINBET, Reldresal scratched his head and said: “Well, the key is in the Title. How did it go, exactly?”

      Lemuel scratched his head too: “I remember something about ‘Secretly Holding something’...”

      “Oh, yes,” said Reldresal, “you are the head of the 'Secretly High Inquisitors Non Believers (of) Empirical Truths'.”

      “Are you sure?” Asked Lemuel.

      “Actually, I am not. It might as well have been 'Specially Hidden Information Not Believed Especially True,' or 'Safely Hidden Information Noble Births (&) Erroneous Titles' or even 'Surveillance, Hiding, Inquisition, Nosiness, Evaluation (&) Truthfulness.' But, guessing as I do, what sort of missions would be expected of you, your title is very likely: 'Supremely High Intelligent Negotiator Between Enemy Territories.[128]' That was it!”

      Lemuel was troubled: “Does that mean I should go to war? I am not really the type. If this is the case I will give up the honour altogether.”

      “Nothing to worry about” Reldresal hastened to comfort him. “I am quite confident your tasks are harmless. In fact, I vaguely remember that your title was: 'Society Holding Information Not Befitting Emperor's Time.' Nothing to worry about.”

      Lemuel liked that explanation best, and as no one bothered to inform him of the specific tasks he should perform under this respectable title, and no one complained about the idleness of his department, Lemuel’s missions were still constricted to the Articles of his Release Agreement.

      He was quite happy to transport the Emperor and the royal house from one part of the island to another, when called for, since it gave him many opportunities to gaze at the Empress.

 

      Sadly, he could not do much more than gazing at the Empress, even though he was convinced that she too would want him to do more. But due to Protocol, stringent etiquette and the Emperor’s jealousy, their relationship remained Platonic.

      Still, as long as neither Bolgolam nor Flimnap were part of the retinue, Lemuel derived much pleasure from these trips.

 

      He would place the Royal Couple in his breast pocket, and from that vantage place they could survey the view and breathe the fresh air. The Empress insisted that one Lady-In-Waiting would always join them, and almost always she chose Lady Flimnap, as she was the oldest and by all accounts, the ugliest.

      This was probably the real reason why Flimnap, the Lord High Treasurer, often looked on Lemuel with a sour countenance. It was because of those Royal flights all over Lilliput, in which the Empress shared a pocket with Lady Flimnap, that the treasurer took a fancy to be jealous of his wife, from the malice of some evil tongues.

 

      Some courtiers whispered in Flimnap's ear that her grace, his wife, Lady Flimnap, had taken a violent affection for Mr. Gulliver.

 

      They interpreted wrongly the fact that Lady Flimnap was always descending from Lemuel's pocket with trembling knees and heavy breathing, murmuring: “He is killing me. Killing me.”

      That is why Flimnap had always been my Lemuel's secret enemy, though he outwardly caressed him more than was usual to the moroseness of his nature.

 

      Outwardly, Flimnap, as the High Lord Treasurer, kept on representing to the emperor “the low condition of His treasury; that He was forced to take up money at a great discount; that exchequer bills would not circulate under nine per cent. below par; that Mr. Gulliver had cost His Majesty above a million and a half of sprugs” (their greatest gold coin, about the bigness of a spangle[129]) “and, upon the whole, that it would be advisable in the Emperor to take the first fair occasion of dismissing Mr. Gulliver.”

 

      Luckily, the Emperor was ever so pleased with Lemuel, and used any occasion to travel by means of Gulliver on State visits, rather than to take to the bumpy Lilliputian roads.

 

      The rest of the retinue was stuffed into Lemuel’s pants pockets, where they had to squeeze together without much legroom. For the cargo of horses and carriages, Lemuel flipped his coat tails and scooped them there, horses on the left side and carriages on the right.

      As uncomfortable as those trips might have been for the Lilliputian Aides and Courtesans, they still preferred the 'air travel' from place to place and were squabbling for whose turn was it to ‘fly with Gulliver,’ as the new term was quick to be coined.

      The accumulated weight was indeed heavy for my Lemuel, but he was always a hard labourer and was glad to pilot the Royal House all over Lilliput, since thus he got to know the local folks, and specifically the local females, intimately, during over-night trips.

      He did prefer that the Lilliputian lust-stricken women would come to quench their concupiscence at his Liberty-Temple, since there he had a rather comfortable bed. But also on the fields of Lilliput, under the blanket of pitch-black nights was he ever so happy to acquaint himself with new women.

      As he could not consummate his love to the Empress, he resolved to sample all Lilliputian ladies instead, and he calculated that it would take him the span of five years to complete this mission.

 

      (When he told me this, upon his return, lamenting that his ambition was cut short, since he had to escape from Lilliput after spending there but two and a half years, I eased his sorrow:

 

      (I explained to him that young Lilliputian girls would mature into young Lilliputian women during those five years; and this unstoppable flow would not only continue in a perpetuum mobile[130], but would also result in increasing numbers of people - of both sexes - that would not allow him ever to intimately know all Lilliputian women of the world. So: mission impossible.)

      Lemuel nurtured his secret desire to sample the Empress all this time, and was plotting endlessly towards this goal. It became such an obsession with him, that eventually he was sure it was a mark of true love.

 

      As naïve as he was in deciphering his own emotions, he was a seasoned man, and could read women's subtle signs of courtship. He could tell when a woman fancied him, and that in itself aroused his desire instantaneously. When he was at home with me, I was ever the one to benefit, circumstantially, from my flirtatious neighbour women!

      And indeed, the Empress' desire of Lemuel might have been as consuming as Lemuel's desire of her. But it did not transpire for them to be alone with each other.

 

      The Empress was either joining her husband in his expeditions to the country, when Lemuel would carry the whole Royal House and retinue upon his person, or the Empress would stay back in the palace, while Lemuel would have to carry the Emperor and His Aides according to His Royal wishes and whims.

      Tragically, the Empress’ frustration proved to be Lemuel’s destruction. She was in a bind: while every other woman could openly make use of Lemuel’s services - and for free! - she, being the Emperor’s wife, could never do the same. Had anyone found out that the Emperor himself was not fulfilling his matrimonial duties, he would have lost all credibility and ruling power.

 

      The financial consequences were such, that she could not afford this disgrace.

      Later on Lemuel found out that as a result, she was plotting for a long while his humiliation and eventually his destruction.

 

      She was the one behind the idea of making Lemuel transport his own excrement all over Lilliput (which did not succeed,) and before then, it was she who inspired the Emperor to march his troops between Lemuel’s spread legs (hoping that the spears would be held high enough to injure him!)

      When all this did not succeed, she plotted to unleash my Lemuel on Blefuscu, the neighbouring island, with the hope that he would perish in the process. And finally, when all this did not work out, and her secret fetish was almost exposed, she contrived his execution.

 

      Ironically, when they did manage to consummate their lust, she wanted Lemuel to stay in Lilliput forever, but by then it was too late.

      Her plotting was far more lethal than Bolgolam’s or Flimnap's and it nearly killed my husband. But luckily, and thanks to Lemuel’s dexterity, she did not triumph and he came back to me!

 

      (Well, at least for a couple of months, and then he was gone again.)

A bodyguard of lies, surrounding the alternative-truth of the moment.
Travellers in one of Gulliver's pockets.
Artist: Mario Silva Ossa (1913-1950)
Gulliver, in a Royal transport mission, running with horses.
Artist: Unknown.
One of the portraits of the Empress, when she tries to appear friendly. 
Artist: John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)