Rudolf Erich Raspe: Gulliver revived, London 1786 (R3)

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That very night we both made our escape on bord a vessel bound to Venice, which was then weighting anchor to proceed on her voyage.

This story, gentlemen, the Baron is not fond of mentioning, as he miscarried in his attempt, and was very near losing his life into the bargain; however, as it contains no impeachment of his honour, I frequently relate it in his absence. 

Now, gentlemen, you all know the Baron, and can have no doubt of his veracity; least any of you should entertain any scruples about mine, a circumstance which I can scarcely suppose. I will let you know who I am. I have already informed you that I am related to the Baron.

 My reputed father was a native of Berne, in Switzerland; his profession was that of a surveyor of the streets, lanes, and alleys, vulgarly called a scavenger. His mother was a native of the mountains of Savoy, and had a most beautiful large wen on her neck, common to both sexes in that part of the world; she left her parents when young, and sought her fortune in the same city which gave his father birth; she maintained herself while single by acts of kindness to our sex, for she never was known to refuse them any favour they asked, provided they did but pay her some compliment before hand. This lovely couple met by accident in the street, in consequence of their being both intoxicated, for by reeling to one centre, they threw each other down; they consequently were abusive, and they were both carried to the watch-house, and afterwards to the house of correction; they soon saw the folly of quarrelling, made it up, became fond of each other, and married: but my mother returning to her old tricks, my father, who had high notions of honour, soon separated himself from her; she then joined a family who strolled about with a puppet-shew. In time she arrived at Rome, where she kept an oyster stand.

You have all heard no doubt of Pope Ganganelli, commonly called Clement XIV. he was remarkably fond of oysters; one Good-Friday, as he was passing through the city in state, to assist at high mass at St. Peterʼs church, he saw my motherʼs oysters (which were remarkably fine and fresh, as she informed me) he could not proceed without tasting them; there were about five thousand people in his train; he ordered them all to stop, and sent word to the church he could not attend mass till next day; then alighting from his horse (for the Pope always rides on horseback upon these occasions) he went into her stall, and ate every oyster she had there, and afterwards retired into the cellar, where she had a few more. This subterraneous apartment was my motherʼs kitchen, parlour, and bed-chamber. He liked his situation so much that he discharged all his attendants, and to make short of the story, His Holiness passed the whole night there! before they parted, he gave her absolution, not only for every sin she had, but all she might hereafter commit.

Now, gentlemen, I have my motherʼs word for it, (and her honour cannot be doubted, that I am the fruit of that amour.

R3, S. 113-118



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