Ay, but say you, God might as soon have given me seventy-eight thousand as the thirteenth part of one half; for he is omnipotent, and a million of gold is no more to him than one farthing. Oh, ho! pray tell me who taught you to talk at this rate of the power and predestination of God, poor silly people? Peace, tush, st, st, st! fall down before his sacred face and own the nothingness of your nothing.
Upon this, O ye that labour under the affliction of the gout, I ground my hopes; firmly believing, that if so it pleases the divine goodness, you shall obtain health; since you wish and ask for nothing else, at least for the present. Well, stay yet a little longer with half an ounce of patience.
The Genoese do not use, like you, to be satisfied with wishing health alone, when after they have all the livelong morning been in a brown study, talked, pondered, ruminated, and resolved in the counting-houses of whom and how they may squeeze the ready, and who by their craft must be hooked in, wheedled, bubbled, sharped, overreached, and choused; they go to the exchange, and greet one another with a Sanita e guadagno, Messer! health and gain to you, sir! Health alone will not go down with the greedy curmudgeons; they over and above must wish for gain, with a pox to ’em; ay, and for the fine crowns, or scudi di Guadaigne; whence, heaven be praised! it happens many a time that the silly wishers and woulders are baulked, and get neither.
Now, my lads, as you hope for good health, cough once aloud with lungs of leather; take me off three swingeing bumpers; prick up your ears; and you shall hear me tell wonders of the noble and good Pantagruel.
THE FOURTH BOOK.
How Pantagruel went to sea to visit the oracle of Bacbuc, alias the Holy Bottle.
In the month of June, on Vesta’s holiday, the very numerical day on which Brutus, conquering Spain, taught its strutting dons to truckle under him, and that niggardly miser Crassus was routed and knocked on the head by the Parthians, Pantagruel took his leave of the good Gargantua, his royal father. The old gentleman, according to the laudable custom of the primitive Christians, devoutly prayed for the happy voyage of his son and his whole company, and then they took shipping at the port of Thalassa. Pantagruel had with him Panurge, Friar John des Entomeures, alias of the Funnels, Epistemon, Gymnast, Eusthenes, Rhizotome, Carpalin, cum multis aliis, his ancient servants and domestics; also Xenomanes, the great traveller, who had crossed so many dangerous roads, dikes, ponds, seas, and so forth, and was come some time before, having been sent for by Panurge.
For certain good causes and considerations him thereunto moving, he had left with Gargantua, and marked out, in his great and universal hydrographical chart, the course which they were to steer to visit the Oracle of the Holy Bottle Bacbuc. The number of ships were such as I described in the third book, convoyed by a like number of triremes, men of war, galleons, and feluccas, well-rigged, caulked, and stored with a good quantity of Pantagruelion.