172 GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
other glutinous matter, to give a strength and consistence to the threads.
There was an astronomer, who had undertaken to place a sundial upon the great weather-cock 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 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.
We crossed a walk to the other part of the academy, where, as I have already said, the projectors in speculative learning resided.
The first professor I saw was in a very large room, with forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to