These words thus spoken, Pantagruel, vailing his cap and making a leg with such a majestic garb as became a person of his paramount degree and eminency, farewelled Trinquamelle, the president and master-speaker of that Mirelinguesian parliament, took his leave of the whole court, and went out of the chamber; at the door whereof finding Panurge, Epistemon, Friar John, and others, he forthwith, attended by them, walked to the outer gate, where all of them immediately took horse to return towards Gargantua. Pantagruel by the way related to them from point to point the manner of Bridlegoose’s sententiating differences at law. Friar John said that he had seen Peter Dandin, and was acquainted with him at that time when he sojourned in the monastery of Fontaine le Comte, under the noble Abbot Ardillon. Gymnast likewise affirmed that he was in the tent of the grand Christian cavalier De Crissie, when the Gascon, after his sleep, made answer to the adventurer. Panurge was somewhat incredulous in the matter of believing that it was morally possible Bridlegoose should have been for such a long space of time so continually fortunate in that aleatory way of deciding law debates. Epistemon said to Pantagruel, Such another story, not much unlike to that in all the circumstances thereof, is vulgarly reported of the provost of Montlehery. In good sooth, such a perpetuity of good luck is to be wondered at. To have hit right twice or thrice in a judgment so given by haphazard might have fallen out well enough, especially in controversies that were ambiguous, intricate, abstruse, perplexed, and obscure.
How Pantagruel relateth a strange history of the perplexity of human judgment.
Seeing you talk, quoth Pantagruel, of dark, difficult, hard, and knotty debates, I will tell you of one controverted before Cneius Dolabella, proconsul in Asia. The case was this.
A wife in Smyrna had of her first husband a child named Abece. He dying, she, after the expiring of a year and day, married again, and to her second husband bore a boy called Effege. A pretty long time thereafter it happened, as you know the affection of stepfathers and stepdams is very rare towards the children of the first fathers and mothers deceased, that this husband, with the help of his son Effege, secretly, wittingly, willingly, and treacherously murdered Abece. The woman came no sooner to get information of the fact, but, that it might not go unpunished, she caused kill them both, to revenge the death of her first son. She was apprehended and carried before Cneius Dolabella, in whose presence she, without dissembling anything, confessed all that was laid to her charge; yet alleged that she had both right and reason on her side for the killing of them. Thus was the state of the question. He found the business so dubious and intricate, that he knew not what to determine therein, nor which of the parties