226 GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
for two or three hours, he was at the same pains himself. Several horses and mares of quality, in the neighbourhood, came often to our house, upon the report spread of a wonderful Yahoo, that could speak like a Houyhnhnm, and seemed, in his words and actions, to discover some glimmerings of reason. These delighted to converse with me; they put many questions, and received such answers as I was able to return. By all these advantages, I made so great a progress that, in five months from my arrival, I understood whatever was spoken, and could express myself tolerably well.
The Houyhnhnms who came to visit my master, out of a design of seeking and talking with me, could hardly believe me to be a right Yahoo, because my body had a different covering from others of my kind. They were astonished to observe me without the usual hair, or skin, except on my head, face and hands; but I discovered that secret to my master, upon an accident, which happened about a fortnight before.
I have already told the reader, that every night when the family were gone to bed, it was my custom to strip, and cover myself with my clothes: it happened one morning early, that my master sent for me, by the sorrel nag, who was his valet; when he came, I was fast asleep, my clothes fallen off on one side, and my shirt above my waist. I awaked at the noise he made, and observed him to deliver his message in some disorder; after which he went to my master, and in a great fright gave him a very confused account of what he had seen: this I presently discovered; for going as soon as I was dressed, to pay my attendance upon his honour, he asked me the meaning of what his servant had reported; that I was not the same thing when I slept, as I appeared to be at other times; that his valet assured him some part of me was white, some yellow, at least not so white, and some brown.
I had hitherto concealed the secret of my dress, in order