us, for the stables are never on the top of the house.
You may be mistaken, said the steward, for I know
some places at Lyons, at the Basmette, at Chaisnon,
and elsewhere, which have their stables at the very
tops of the houses: so it may be that behind
the house there is a way to come to this ascent.
But I will question with him further. Then
said he to Gargantua, My pretty little boy, whither
do you lead us? To the stable, said he, of my
great horses. We are almost come to it; we have
but these stairs to go up at. Then leading them
alongst another great hall, he brought them into his
chamber, and, opening the door, said unto them, This
is the stable you ask for; this is my jennet; this
is my gelding; this is my courser, and this is my hackney,
and laid on them with a great lever. I will
bestow upon you, said he, this Friesland horse; I
had him from Frankfort, yet will I give him you; for
he is a pretty little nag, and will go very well,
with a tessel of goshawks, half a dozen of spaniels,
and a brace of greyhounds: thus are you king
of the hares and partridges for all this winter.
By St. John, said they, now we are paid, he hath
gleeked us to some purpose, bobbed we are now for ever.
I deny it, said he,—he was not here above
three days. Judge you now, whether they had
most cause, either to hide their heads for shame, or
to laugh at the jest. As they were going down
again thus amazed, he asked them, Will you have a
whimwham (Aubeliere.)? What is that, said they?
It is, said he, five turds to make you a muzzle.
To-day, said the steward, though we happen to be
roasted, we shall not be burnt, for we are pretty
well quipped and larded, in my opinion. O my
jolly dapper boy, thou hast given us a gudgeon; I
hope to see thee Pope before I die. I think so,
said he, myself; and then shall you be a puppy, and
this gentle popinjay a perfect papelard, that is,
dissembler. Well, well, said the harbinger.
But, said Gargantua, guess how many stitches there
are in my mother’s smock. Sixteen, quoth
the harbinger. You do not speak gospel, said
Gargantua, for there is cent before, and cent behind,
and you did not reckon them ill, considering the two
under holes. When? said the harbinger.
Even then, said Gargantua, when they made a shovel
of your nose to take up a quarter of dirt, and of
your throat a funnel, wherewith to put it into another
vessel, because the bottom of the old one was out.
Cocksbod, said the steward, we have met with a prater.
Farewell, master tattler, God keep you, so goodly
are the words which you come out with, and so fresh
in your mouth, that it had need to be salted.
Thus going down in great haste, under the arch of
the stairs they let fall the great lever, which he
had put upon their backs; whereupon Gargantua said,
What a devil! you are, it seems, but bad horsemen,
that suffer your bilder to fail you when you need
him most. If you were to go from hence to Cahusac,
whether had you rather, ride on a gosling or lead a
sow in a leash? I had rather drink, said the
harbinger. With this they entered into the lower
hall, where the company was, and relating to them this
new story, they made them laugh like a swarm of flies.