How Friar John made trial of the nature of the catchpoles.
This story would seem pleasant enough, said Pantagruel, were we not to have always the fear of God before our eyes. It had been better, said Epistemon, if those gauntlets had fallen upon the fat prior. Since he took a pleasure in spending his money partly to vex Basche, partly to see those catchpoles banged, good lusty thumps would have done well on his shaved crown, considering the horrid concussions nowadays among those puny judges. What harm had done those poor devils the catchpoles? This puts me in mind, said Pantagruel, of an ancient Roman named L. Neratius. He was of noble blood, and for some time was rich; but had this tyrannical inclination, that whenever he went out of doors he caused his servants to fill their pockets with gold and silver, and meeting in the street your spruce gallants and better sort of beaux, without the least provocation, for his fancy, he used to strike them hard on the face with his fist; and immediately after that, to appease them and hinder them from complaining to the magistrates, he would give them as much money as satisfied them according to the law of the twelve tables. Thus he used to spend his revenue, beating people for the price of his money. By St. Bennet’s sacred boot, quoth Friar John, I will know the truth of it presently.