The news of these excessive violences were quickly spread through all the army; whereupon many began to murmur against Picrochole, in so far that Pinchpenny said to him, My sovereign lord, I know not what the issue of this enterprise will be. I see your men much dejected, and not well resolved in their minds, by considering that we are here very ill provided of victual, and that our number is already much diminished by three or four sallies. Furthermore, great supplies and recruits come daily in to your enemies; but we so moulder away that, if we be once besieged, I do not see how we can escape a total destruction. Tush, pish, said Picrochole, you are like the Melun eels, you cry before they come to you. Let them come, let them come, if they dare.
How Gargantua set upon Picrochole within the rock Clermond, and utterly defeated the army of the said Picrochole.
Gargantua had the charge of the whole army, and his father Grangousier stayed in his castle, who, encouraging them with good words, promised great rewards unto those that should do any notable service. Having thus set forward, as soon as they had gained the pass at the ford of Vede, with boats and bridges speedily made they passed over in a trice. Then considering the situation of the town, which was on a high and advantageous place, Gargantua thought fit to call his council, and pass that night in deliberation upon what was to be done. But Gymnast said unto him, My sovereign lord, such is the nature and complexion of the French, that they are worth nothing but at the first push. Then are they more fierce than devils. But if they linger a little and be wearied with delays, they’ll prove more faint and remiss than women. My opinion is, therefore, that now presently, after your men have taken breath and some small refection, you give order for a resolute assault, and that we storm them instantly. His advice was found very good, and for effectuating thereof he brought forth his army into the plain field, and placed the reserves on the skirt or rising of a little hill. The monk took along with him six companies of foot and two hundred horsemen well armed, and with great diligence crossed the marsh, and valiantly got upon the top of the green hillock even unto the highway which leads to Loudun. Whilst the assault was thus begun, Picrochole’s men could not tell well what was best, to issue out and receive the assailants, or keep within the town and not to stir. Himself in the mean time, without deliberation, sallied forth in a rage with the cavalry of his guard, who were forthwith received and royally entertained with great cannon-shot that fell upon them like hail from the high grounds on which the artillery was planted. Whereupon the Gargantuists betook themselves unto the valleys, to give the ordnance leave to play and range with the larger scope.