PART IV--A VOYAGE TO THE COUNTRY OF THE HOUYHNHNMS.
7. CHAPTER VII.
"Another thing he wondered at in the Yahoos, was their strange
disposition to nastiness and dirt; whereas there appears to be a
natural love of cleanliness in all other animals." As to the two
former accusations, I was glad to let them pass without any reply,
because I had not a word to offer upon them in defence of my
species, which otherwise I certainly had done from my own
inclinations. But I could have easily vindicated humankind from
the imputation of singularity upon the last article, if there had
been any swine in that country (as unluckily for me there were
not), which, although it may be a sweeter quadruped than a Yahoo,
cannot, I humbly conceive, in justice, pretend to more cleanliness;
and so his honour himself must have owned, if he had seen their
filthy way of feeding, and their custom of wallowing and sleeping
in the mud.
My master likewise mentioned another quality which his servants had
discovered in several Yahoos, and to him was wholly unaccountable.
He said, "a fancy would sometimes take a Yahoo to retire into a
corner, to lie down, and howl, and groan, and spurn away all that
came near him, although he were young and fat, wanted neither food
nor water, nor did the servant imagine what could possibly ail him.
And the only remedy they found was, to set him to hard work, after
which he would infallibly come to himself." To this I was silent
out of partiality to my own kind; yet here I could plainly discover
the true seeds of spleen, which only seizes on the lazy, the
luxurious, and the rich; who, if they were forced to undergo the
same regimen, I would undertake for the cure.
His honour had further observed, "that a female Yahoo would often
stand behind a bank or a bush, to gaze on the young males passing
by, and then appear, and hide, using many antic gestures and
grimaces, at which time it was observed that she had a most
offensive smell; and when any of the males advanced, would slowly
retire, looking often back, and with a counterfeit show of fear,
run off into some convenient place, where she knew the male would
"At other times, if a female stranger came among them, three or
four of her own sex would get about her, and stare, and chatter,
and grin, and smell her all over; and then turn off with gestures,
that seemed to express contempt and disdain."