Gulliver's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 154 pages of information about Gulliver's Travels.

CHAPTER VI.

     SEVERAL CONTRIVANCES OF THE AUTHOR TO PLEASE THE KING AND QUEEN.  HE
     SHOWS HIS SKILL IN MUSIC.  THE KING INQUIRES INTO THE STATE OF
     ENGLAND, WHICH THE AUTHOR RELATES TO HIM.  THE KING’S OBSERVATIONS
     THEREON.

I used to attend the king’s levee[73] once or twice a week, and had often seen him under the barber’s hand, which indeed was at first very terrible to behold; for the razor was almost twice as long as an ordinary scythe.  His majesty, according to the custom of the country, was only shaved twice a week.  I once prevailed on the barber to give me some of the suds or lather, out of which I picked forty or fifty of the strongest stumps of hair, I then took a piece of fine wood and cut it like the back of a comb, making several holes in it at equal distance with as small a needle as I could get from Glumdalclitch.  I fixed in the stumps so artificially, scraping and sloping them with my knife towards the points, that I made a very tolerable comb; which was a seasonable supply, my own being so much broken in the teeth that it was almost useless:  neither did I know any artist in that country so nice and exact as would undertake to make me another.

And this puts me in mind of an amusement wherein I spent many of my leisure hours.  I desired the queen’s woman to save for me the combings of her majesty’s hair, whereof in time I got a good quantity; and consulting with my friend the cabinet-maker, who had received general orders to do little jobs for me, I directed him to make two chair-frames, no larger than those I had in my box, and then to bore little holes with a fine awl round those parts where I designed the backs and seats; through these holes I wove the strongest hairs I could pick out, just after the manner of cane chairs in England.  When they were finished I made a present of them to her majesty, who kept them in her cabinet, and used to shew them for curiosities, as indeed they were the wonder of every one that beheld them.  Of these hairs (as I had always a mechanical genius) I likewise made a neat little purse, about five feet long, with her majesty’s name deciphered in gold letters, which I gave to Glumdalclitch, by the queen’s consent.  To say the truth, it was more for show than use, being not of strength to bear the weight of the larger coins, and therefore she kept nothing in it, but some little coins that girls are fond of.

The king, who delighted in music, had frequent concerts at court, to which I was sometimes carried, and set in my box on a table to hear them; but the noise was so great that I could hardly distinguish the tunes.  I am confident that all the drums and trumpets of a royal army beating and sounding together just at your ears, could not equal it.  My practice was to have my box removed from the place where the performers sat, as far as I could, then to shut the doors and windows of it, and draw the window-curtains, after which I found their music not disagreeable.

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Gulliver's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.