PART III. A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, BALNIBARBI, LUGGNAGG, GLUBBDUBDRIB, AND JAPAN.
5. CHAPTER V.
There was an astronomer, who had undertaken to place a sun-dial
upon the great weathercock on the town-house, by adjusting the
annual and diurnal motions of the earth and sun, so as to answer
and coincide with all accidental turnings of the wind.
I was complaining of a small fit of the colic, upon which my
conductor led me into a room where a great physician resided, who
was famous for curing that disease, by contrary operations from the
same instrument. He had a large pair of bellows, with a long
slender muzzle of ivory: this he conveyed eight inches up the
anus, and drawing in the wind, he affirmed he could make the guts
as lank as a dried bladder. But when the disease was more stubborn
and violent, he let in the muzzle while the bellows were full of
wind, which he discharged into the body of the patient; then
withdrew the instrument to replenish it, clapping his thumb
strongly against the orifice of then fundament; and this being
repeated three or four times, the adventitious wind would rush out,
bringing the noxious along with it, (like water put into a pump),
and the patient recovered. I saw him try both experiments upon a
dog, but could not discern any effect from the former. After the
latter the animal was ready to burst, and made so violent a
discharge as was very offensive to me and my companion. The dog
died on the spot, and we left the doctor endeavouring to recover
him, by the same operation.
I visited many other apartments, but shall not trouble my reader
with all the curiosities I observed, being studious of brevity.
I had hitherto seen only one side of the academy, the other being
appropriated to the advancers of speculative learning, of whom I
shall say something, when I have mentioned one illustrious person
more, who is called among them "the universal artist." He told us
"he had been thirty years employing his thoughts for the
improvement of human life." He had two large rooms full of
wonderful curiosities, and fifty men at work. Some were condensing
air into a dry tangible substance, by extracting the nitre, and
letting the aqueous or fluid particles percolate; others softening
marble, for pillows and pin-cushions; others petrifying the hoofs
of a living horse, to preserve them from foundering. The artist
himself was at that time busy upon two great designs; the first, to
sow land with chaff, wherein he affirmed the true seminal virtue to
be contained, as he demonstrated by several experiments, which I
was not skilful enough to comprehend. The other was, by a certain
composition of gums, minerals, and vegetables, outwardly applied,
to prevent the growth of wool upon two young lambs; and he hoped,
in a reasonable time to propagate the breed of naked sheep, all
over the kingdom.