The less unfriendly members of the council, however, while saying that they had no doubt of Gulliver’s guilt, were yet of the opinion that, as his services to the kingdom of Lilliput had been great, the punishment of death was too severe. They thought it would be enough if his eyes were put out. This, they said, would not prevent him from being still made useful.
Then began a most excited argument, the Admiral and those who sided with him insisting that Gulliver should be killed at once.
At last the Secretary rose and said that he had a middle course to suggest. This was, that Gulliver’s eyes should be put out, and that thereafter his food should be gradually so reduced in quantity that in the course of two or three months he would die of starvation. By which time, said the Secretary, his body would be wasted to an extent that would make it easy for five or six hundred men, in a few days, to cut off the flesh and take it away in cart-loads to be buried at a distance. Thus there would be no danger of a pestilence breaking out from the dead body lying near the city. The skeleton, he said, could then be put in the National Museum.
It was finally decided that this sentence should be carried out, and twenty of the King’s surgeons were ordered to be present in three days’ time to see the operation of putting out Gulliver’s eyes properly done. Sharp-pointed arrows were to be shot into the balls of his eyes.
The courtier now left the house, as privately as he had come, and Gulliver was left to decide what he should do.
At first he thought of attacking the city, and destroying it. But by doing this he must have destroyed, with the city, a great many thousands of innocent people, which he could not make up his mind to do.
At last he wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, saying that as the King had himself told him that he might visit Blefuscu, he had decided to do so that morning.
Without waiting for an answer, he set out for the coast, where he seized a large man-of-war which was at anchor there, tied a cable to her bow, and then putting his clothes and his blanket on board, he drew the ship after him to Blefuscu. There he was well received by the Emperor. But as there happened to be no house big enough for him, he was forced, during his stay, to sleep each night on the ground, wrapped in his blanket.
Three days after his arrival, when walking along the seashore, he noticed something in the water which looked not unlike a boat floating bottom up. Gulliver waded and swam out, and found that he was right. It was a boat. By the help of some of the Blefsucan ships, with much difficulty he got it ashore. When the tide had fallen, two thousand of the Emperor’s dockyard men helped him to turn it over, and Gulliver found that but little damage had been done.
He now set to work to make oars and mast and sail for the boat, and to fit it out and provision it for a voyage.