152 GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
tutor would order one of my servants to fetch something, to turn about, to make a bow, to sit, or to stand, or walk, and the like. Then I took down the sentence in writing. He shewed me also, in one of his books, the figures of the sun, moon, and stars, the Zodiac, the tropics, and polar circles, together with the denominations of many figures of planes and solids. He gave me the names and descriptions of all the musical instruments, and the general terms of art in playing on each of them. After he had left me, I placed all my words, with their interpretations, in alphabetical order. And thus, in a few days, by the help of a very faithful memory, I got some insight into their language.
The word which I interpret the flying or floating island, is, in the original, laputa, whereof I could never learn the true etymology. Lap, in the old obsolete language, signi-fieth high, and untuh, a governor, from which they say, by corruption, was derived laputa, from lapuntuh. But I do not approve of this derivation, which seems to be a little strained. I ventured to offer to the learned among them a conjecture of my own, that laputa was quasi lap outed ; lap signifying properly the dancing of the sun-beams in the sea, and outed, a wing; which, however, I shall not obtrude, but submit to the judicious reader.
Those to whom the king had entrusted me, observing how ill I was clad, ordered a tailor to come next morning and take my measure for a suit of clothes. This operator did his office after a different manner from those of his trade in Europe. He first took my altitude by a quadrant, and then, with rule and compasses, described the dimensions and outlines of my whole body, all which he entered upon paper, and in six days brought my clothes very ill made, and quite out of shape, by happening to mistake a figure in the calculation. But my comfort was, that I observed such accidents very frequent, and little regarded.
During my confinement for want of clothes, and by an indisposition that held me some days longer, I much en-