I have often seen the militia of Lorbrulgrud drawn out to exercise in a great field, near the city, of twenty miles square. They were in all not above twenty-five thousand foot, and six thousand horse: but it was impossible for me to compute their number, considering the space of ground they took up. A cavalier, mounted on a large steed, might be about ninety feet high. I have seen this whole body of horse, upon a word of command, draw their swords at once, and brandish them in the air. Imagination can figure nothing so grand, so surprising, and so astonishing! it looked as if ten thousand flashes of lightning were darting at the same time from every quarter of the sky.
I was curious to know how this prince, to whose dominions there is no access from any other country, came to think of armies, or to teach his people the practice of military discipline. But I was soon informed, both by conversation and reading their histories: for in the course of many ages, they have been troubled with the same disease to which the whole race of mankind is subject; the nobility often contending for power, the people for liberty, and the king for absolute dominion. All which, however, happily tempered by the laws of that kingdom, have been sometimes violated by each of the three parties, and have more than once occasioned civil wars, the last whereof was happily put an end to by this prince’s grandfather, in a general composition; and the militia, then settled with common consent, hath been ever since kept in the strictest duty.
THE KING AND QUEEN MAKE
A PROGRESS TO THE FRONTIERS. THE AUTHOR
ATTENDS THEM. THE MANNER IN WHICH HE LEAVES THE COUNTRY VERY
PARTICULARLY RELATED. HE RETURNS TO ENGLAND.
I had always a strong impulse that I should sometime recover my liberty, though it was impossible to conjecture by what means, or to form any project with the least hope of succeeding. The ship in which I sailed was the first ever known to be driven within sight of the coast; and the king had given strict orders, that if at any time another appeared, it should be taken ashore, and with all its crew and passengers brought in a tumbrel to Lorbrulgrud. I was treated with much kindness: I was the favorite of a great king and queen, and the delight of the whole court; but it was upon such a footing as ill became the dignity of human kind. I could never forget those domestic pledges I had left behind me. I wanted to be among people with whom I could converse upon even terms, and walk about the streets and fields, without being afraid of being trod to death like a frog or a young puppy. But my deliverance came sooner than I expected, and in a manner not very common: the whole story and circumstances of which I shall faithfully relate.
[Illustration: “SHE HAD SOME FOREBODING.” P. 94.]