PART III. A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, BALNIBARBI, LUGGNAGG, GLUBBDUBDRIB, AND JAPAN.
5. CHAPTER V.
[The author permitted to see the grand academy of Lagado. The
academy largely described. The arts wherein the professors employ
This academy is not an entire single building, but a continuation
of several houses on both sides of a street, which growing waste,
was purchased and applied to that use.
I was received very kindly by the warden, and went for many days to
the academy. Every room has in it one or more projectors; and I
believe I could not be in fewer than five hundred rooms.
The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and
face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several
places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same colour.
He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out
of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed,
and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me,
he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to
supply the governor's gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate:
but he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me "to give
him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since
this had been a very dear season for cucumbers." I made him a
small present, for my lord had furnished me with money on purpose,
because he knew their practice of begging from all who go to see
I went into another chamber, but was ready to hasten back, being
almost overcome with a horrible stink. My conductor pressed me
forward, conjuring me in a whisper "to give no offence, which would
be highly resented;" and therefore I durst not so much as stop my
nose. The projector of this cell was the most ancient student of
the academy; his face and beard were of a pale yellow; his hands
and clothes daubed over with filth. When I was presented to him,
he gave me a close embrace, a compliment I could well have excused.
His employment, from his first coming into the academy, was an
operation to reduce human excrement to its original food, by
separating the several parts, removing the tincture which it
receives from the gall, making the odour exhale, and scumming off
the saliva. He had a weekly allowance, from the society, of a
vessel filled with human ordure, about the bigness of a Bristol