A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, Etc. 171
There was a man born blind, who had several apprentices in his own condition: their employment was to mix colours for painters, which their master taught them to distinguish by feeling and smelling. It was, indeed, my misfortune to find them, at that time, not very perfect in their lessons, and the professor himself happened to be generally mistaken: this artist is much encouraged and esteemed bv the whole fraternity.
In another apartment, I was highly pleased with a projector who had found a device of plowing the ground with hogs, to save the charges of ploughs, cattle, and labour. The method is this: in an acre of ground you bury, at six inches distance, and eight deep, a quantity of acorns, dates, chestnuts, and other mast, or vegetables, whereof these animals are fondest: then you drive six hundred, or more of them, into the field, where, in few days, they will root up the whole ground in search of their food, and make it fit for sowing; it is true, upon experiment, they found the charge and trouble very great, and they had little or no crop. However, it is not doubted that this invention may be capable of great improvement.
I went into another room, where the walls and ceiling were all hung round with cobwebs, except a narrow passage for the artist to go in and out. At my entrance, he called aloud to me not to disturb his webs. He lamented the fatal mistake the world had been so long in of using silkworms, while we had such plenty of domestic insects, who infinitely excelled the former, because they understood how to weave, as well as spin. And he proposed farther, that, by employing spiders, the charge of dying silks would be wholly saved; whereof I was fully convinced, when he shewed me a vast number of flies most beautifully coloured, wherewith he fed his spiders, assuring us that the webs would take a tincture from them; and, as he had them of all hues, he hoped to fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he could find proper food for the flies, of certain gums, oils, and