Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.
and chequers, besides full bowls of gold crowns, for those who had a mind to have a game or two and try their chance.  Under this I saw a jolly company of mules in stately trappings, with velvet footcloths, and a troop of ambling nags, some for men and some for women; besides I don’t know how many litters all lined with velvet, and some coaches of Ferrara make; all this for those who had a mind to take the air.

This did not seem strange to me; but if anything did ’twas certainly the queen’s way of eating, and truly ’twas very new, and very odd; for she chewed nothing, the good lady; not but that she had good sound teeth, and her meat required to be masticated, but such was her highness’s custom.  When her praegustators had tasted the meat, her masticators took it and chewed it most nobly; for their dainty chops and gullets were lined through with crimson satin, with little welts and gold purls, and their teeth were of delicate white ivory.  Thus, when they had chewed the meat ready for her highness’s maw, they poured it down her throat through a funnel of fine gold, and so on to her craw.  For that reason they told us she never visited a close-stool but by proxy.

Chapter 5.XXIV.

How there was a ball in the manner of a tournament, at which Queen Whims was present.

After supper there was a ball in the form of a tilt or a tournament, not only worth seeing, but also never to be forgotten.  First, the floor of the hall was covered with a large piece of velveted white and yellow chequered tapestry, each chequer exactly square, and three full spans in breadth.

Then thirty-two young persons came into the hall; sixteen of them arrayed in cloth of gold, and of these eight were young nymphs such as the ancients described Diana’s attendants; the other eight were a king, a queen, two wardens of the castle, two knights, and two archers.  Those of the other band were clad in cloth of silver.

They posted themselves on the tapestry in the following manner:  the kings on the last line on the fourth square; so that the golden king was on a white square, and the silvered king on a yellow square, and each queen by her king; the golden queen on a yellow square, and the silvered queen on a white one:  and on each side stood the archers to guide their kings and queens; by the archers the knights, and the wardens by them.  In the next row before ’em stood the eight nymphs; and between the two bands of nymphs four rows of squares stood empty.

Each band had its musicians, eight on each side, dressed in its livery; the one with orange-coloured damask, the other with white; and all played on different instruments most melodiously and harmoniously, still varying in time and measure as the figure of the dance required.  This seemed to me an admirable thing, considering the numerous diversity of steps, back-steps, bounds, rebounds, jerks, paces, leaps, skips, turns, coupes, hops, leadings, risings, meetings, flights, ambuscadoes, moves, and removes.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.