Presently two rats crept up the curtains, and ran smelling backwards and forwards on my bed. One of them came almost up to my face; whereupon I rose in a fright, and drew out my hanger to defend myself. The horrible animals had the boldness to attack me both sides, and one of them held his forefeet at my collar; but I killed him before he could do me any mischief. He fell down at my feet; and the other, seeing the fate of his comrade, made his escape, but not without one good wound on the back, which I gave him as he fled, and made the blood run trickling from him. After this exploit I walked gently to and fro on the bed to recover my breath and loss of spirits. These creatures were of the size of a large mastiff, but infinitely more nimble and fierce; so that, if I had taken off my belt before I went to sleep, I must infallibly have been torn to pieces and devoured. I measured the tail of the dead rat, and found it to be two yards long wanting an inch; but it went against my stomach to draw the carcase off the bed, where it still lay bleeding. I observed it had yet some life; but, with a strong slash across the neck, I thoroughly despatched it.
I hope the gentle reader will excuse me for dwelling on these and the like particulars, which, however insignificant they may appear to grovelling vulgar minds, yet will certainly help a philosopher to enlarge his thoughts and imagination, and apply them to the benefit of public as well as private life, which was my sole design in presenting this and other accounts of my travels to the world; wherein I have been chiefly studious of truth, without affecting any ornaments of teaming or style. But the whole scene of this voyage made so strong an impression on my mind, and is so deeply memory, that in committing it to paper I did not omit one material circumstance. However, upon a strict review, I blotted out several passages of less moment which were in my first copy, for fear of being censured as tedious and trifling, whereof travellers are often, perhaps not without justice, accused.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE
FARMER’S DAUGHTER. THE AUTHOR CARRIED TO
MARKET-TOWN, AND THEN TO THE METROPOLIS. THE PARTICULARS OF THIS
My mistress had a daughter of nine years old, a child of toward parts for her age, very dexterous at her needle, and skilful in dressing her baby. Her mother and she contrived to fit up the baby’s cradle for me against night. The cradle was put into a small drawer cabinet, and the drawer placed upon a hanging shelf for fear of the rats. This was my bed all the time I stayed with these people, though made more convenient by degrees, as I began to learn their language and make my wants known.