I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my fearfulness; and she used to ask me, whether the people of my country were as great cowards as myself? The occasion was this; the kingdom is much pestered with flies in summer; and these odious insects, each of them as big as a Dunstable lark, hardly gave me any rest, while I sat at dinner, with their continual humming and buzzing about my ears. They would sometimes alight upon my victuals. Sometimes they would fix upon my nose or forehead, where they stung me to the quick, and I had much ado to defend myself against these detestable animals, and could not forbear starting when they came on my face. It was the common practice of the dwarf, to catch a number of these insects in his hand, as school-boys do among us, and let them out suddenly under my nose, on purpose to frighten me, and divert the queen. My remedy was, to cut them in pieces with my knife, as they flew in the air, wherein my dexterity was much admired.
I remember, one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set me in my box upon a window, as she usually did in fair days, to give me air (for I durst not venture to let the box be hung on a nail out of the window, as we do with cages in England) after I had lifted up one of my sashes, and sat down at my table to eat a piece of sweet-cake for my breakfast, above twenty wasps, allured by the smell, came flying into the room, humming louder than the drones of as many bag-pipes. Some of them seized my cake, and carried it piece-meal away; others flew about my head and face, confounding me with the noise, and putting me in the utmost terror of their stings. However, I had the courage to rise and draw my hanger, and attack them in the air. I despatched four of them, but the rest got away, and I presently shut my window. These creatures were as large as partridges; I took out their stings, found them an inch and a half long, and as sharp as needles. I carefully preserved them all, and having since shown them, with some other curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my return to England, I gave three of them to Gresham College, and kept the fourth for myself.
THE COUNTRY DESCRIBED.
A PROPOSAL FOR CORRECTING MODERN MAPS. THE
KING’S PALACE, AND SOME ACCOUNT OF THE METROPOLIS. THE AUTHOR’S WAY
OF TRAVELLING. THE CHIEF TEMPLE DESCRIBED.
I now intend to give the reader a short description of this country, as far as I travelled in it, which was not above two thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud, the metropolis. For the queen, whom I always attended, never went farther when she accompanied the king in his progresses, and there staid till his majesty returned from viewing his frontiers. The whole extent of this prince’s dominions reacheth about six thousand miles in length, and from three to five in