of silver rather than fail, that you may be rid of
them. Yea, but, said Gymnast, they have the monk.
Have they the monk? said Gargantua. Upon mine
honour, then, it will prove to their cost. But
to prevent all dangers, let us not yet retreat, but
halt here quietly as in an ambush; for I think I do
already understand the policy and judgment of our
enemies. They are truly more directed by chance
and mere fortune than by good advice and counsel.
In the meanwhile, whilst these made a stop under
the walnut-trees, the monk pursued on the chase, charging
all he overtook, and giving quarter to none, until
he met with a trooper who carried behind him one of
the poor pilgrims, and there would have rifled him.
The pilgrim, in hope of relief at the sight of the
monk, cried out, Ha, my lord prior, my good friend,
my lord prior, save me, I beseech you, save me!
Which words being heard by those that rode in the
van, they instantly faced about, and seeing there
was nobody but the monk that made this great havoc
and slaughter among them, they loaded him with blows
as thick as they use to do an ass with wood.
But of all this he felt nothing, especially when
they struck upon his frock, his skin was so hard.
Then they committed him to two of the marshal’s
men to keep, and, looking about, saw nobody coming
against them, whereupon they thought that Gargantua
and his party were fled. Then was it that they
rode as hard as they could towards the walnut-trees
to meet with them, and left the monk there all alone,
with his two foresaid men to guard him. Gargantua
heard the noise and neighing of the horses, and said
to his men, Comrades, I hear the track and beating
of the enemy’s horse-feet, and withal perceive
that some of them come in a troop and full body against
us. Let us rally and close here, then set forward
in order, and by this means we shall be able to receive
their charge to their loss and our honour.
How the Monk rid himself of his keepers, and how Picrochole’s
forlorn hope was defeated.
The monk, seeing them break off thus without order,
conjectured that they were to set upon Gargantua and
those that were with him, and was wonderfully grieved
that he could not succour them. Then considered
he the countenance of the two keepers in whose custody
he was, who would have willingly run after the troops
to get some booty and plunder, and were always looking
towards the valley unto which they were going.
Farther, he syllogized, saying, These men are but
badly skilled in matters of war, for they have not
required my parole, neither have they taken my sword
from me. Suddenly hereafter he drew his brackmard
or horseman’s sword, wherewith he gave the keeper
which held him on the right side such a sound slash
that he cut clean through the jugulary veins and the
sphagitid or transparent arteries of the neck, with
the fore-part of the throat called the gargareon,