How Goatsnose by signs maketh answer to Panurge.
Goatsnose being sent for, came the day thereafter to Pantagruel’s court; at his arrival to which Panurge gave him a fat calf, the half of a hog, two puncheons of wine, one load of corn, and thirty francs of small money; then, having brought him before Pantagruel, in presence of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber he made this sign unto him. He yawned a long time, and in yawning made without his mouth with the thumb of his right hand the figure of the Greek letter Tau by frequent reiterations. Afterwards he lifted up his eyes to heavenwards, then turned them in his head like a she-goat in the painful fit of an absolute birth, in doing whereof he did cough and sigh exceeding heavily. This done, after that he had made demonstration of the want of his codpiece, he from under his shirt took his placket-racket in a full grip, making it therewithal clack very melodiously betwixt his thighs; then, no sooner had he with his body stooped a little forwards, and bowed his left knee, but that immediately thereupon holding both his arms on his breast, in a loose faint-like posture, the one over the other, he paused awhile. Goatsnose looked wistly upon him, and having heedfully enough viewed him all over, he lifted up into the air his left hand, the whole fingers whereof he retained fistwise close together, except the thumb and the forefinger, whose nails he softly joined and coupled to one another. I understand, quoth Pantagruel, what he meaneth by that sign. It denotes marriage, and withal the number thirty, according to the profession of the Pythagoreans. You will be married. Thanks to you, quoth Panurge, in turning himself towards Goatsnose, my little sewer, pretty master’s mate, dainty bailie, curious sergeant-marshal, and jolly catchpole-leader. Then did he lift higher up than before his said left hand, stretching out all the five fingers thereof, and severing them as wide from one another as he possibly could get done. Here, says Pantagruel, doth he more amply and fully insinuate unto us, by the token which he showeth forth of the quinary number, that you shall be married. Yea, that you shall not only be affianced, betrothed, wedded, and married, but that you shall furthermore cohabit and live jollily and merrily with your wife; for Pythagoras called five the nuptial number, which, together with marriage, signifieth the consummation of matrimony, because it is composed of a ternary, the first of the odd, and binary, the first of the even numbers, as of a male and female knit and united together. In very deed it was the fashion of old in the city of Rome at marriage festivals to light five wax tapers; nor was it permitted to kindle any more at the magnific nuptials of the most potent and wealthy, nor yet any fewer at the penurious weddings of the poorest and most abject of the world. Moreover, in times