Welcome, in good faith, my dear master, welcome! It did me good to hear you talk, the Lord be praised for all! I do not remember to have seen you before now, since the last time that you acted at Montpellier with our ancient friends, Anthony Saporra, Guy Bourguyer, Balthasar Noyer, Tolet, John Quentin, Francis Robinet, John Perdrier, and Francis Rabelais, the moral comedy of him who had espoused and married a dumb wife. I was there, quoth Epistemon. The good honest man her husband was very earnestly urgent to have the fillet of her tongue untied, and would needs have her speak by any means. At his desire some pains were taken on her, and partly by the industry of the physician, other part by the expertness of the surgeon, the encyliglotte which she had under her tongue being cut, she spoke and spoke again; yea, within a few hours she spoke so loud, so much, so fiercely, and so long, that her poor husband returned to the same physician for a recipe to make her hold her peace. There are, quoth the physician, many proper remedies in our art to make dumb women speak, but there are none that ever I could learn therein to make them silent. The only cure which I have found out is their husband’s deafness. The wretch became within few weeks thereafter, by virtue of some drugs, charms, or enchantments which the physician had prescribed unto him, so deaf that he could not have heard the thundering of nineteen hundred cannons at a salvo. His wife perceiving that indeed he was as deaf as a door-nail, and that her scolding was but in vain, sith that he heard her not, she grew stark mad.
Some time after the doctor asked for his fee of the husband, who answered that truly he was deaf, and so was not able to understand what the tenour of his demand might be. Whereupon the leech bedusted him with a little, I know not what, sort of powder, which rendered him a fool immediately, so great was the stultificating virtue of that strange kind of pulverized dose. Then did this fool of a husband and his mad wife join together, and, falling on the doctor and the surgeon, did so scratch, bethwack, and bang them that they were left half dead upon the place, so furious were the blows which they received. I never in my lifetime laughed so much as at the acting of that buffoonery.
Let us come to where we left off, quoth Panurge. Your words, being translated from the clapper-dudgeons to plain English, do signify that it is not very inexpedient that I marry, and that I should not care for being a cuckold. You have there hit the nail on the head. I believe, master doctor, that on the day of my marriage you will be so much taken up with your patients, or otherwise so seriously employed, that we shall not enjoy your company. Sir, I will heartily excuse your absence.
Stercus et urina medici sunt prandia prima.
Ex aliis paleas, ex istis collige grana.
You are mistaken, quoth Rondibilis, in the second verse of our distich, for it ought to run thus—