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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Chapter 5.XXV.

How the thirty-two persons at the ball fought.

The two companies having taken their stations, the music struck up, and with a martial sound, which had something of horrid in it, like a point of war, roused and alarmed both parties, who now began to shiver, and then soon were warmed with warlike rage; and having got in readiness to fight desperately, impatient of delay stood waiting for the charge.

Then the music of the silvered band ceased playing, and the instruments of the golden side alone were heard, which denoted that the golden party attacked.  Accordingly, a new movement was played for the onset, and we saw the nymph who stood before the queen turn to the left towards her king, as it were to ask leave to fight; and thus saluting her company at the same time, she moved two squares forwards, and saluted the adverse party.

Now the music of the golden brigade ceased playing, and their antagonists began again.  I ought to have told you that the nymph who began by saluting her company, had by that formality also given them to understand that they were to fall on.  She was saluted by them in the same manner, with a full turn to the left, except the queen, who went aside towards her king to the right; and the same manner of salutation was observed on both sides during the whole ball.

The silvered nymph that stood before her queen likewise moved as soon as the music of her party sounded a charge; her salutations, and those of her side, were to the right, and her queen’s to the left.  She moved in the second square forwards, and saluted her antagonists, facing the first golden nymph; so that there was not any distance between them, and you would have thought they two had been going to fight; but they only strike sideways.

Their comrades, whether silvered or golden, followed ’em in an intercalary figure, and seemed to skirmish a while, till the golden nymph who had first entered the lists, striking a silvered nymph in the hand on the right, put her out of the field, and set herself in her place.  But soon the music playing a new measure, she was struck by a silvered archer, who after that was obliged himself to retire.  A silvered knight then sallied out, and the golden queen posted herself before her king.

Then the silvered king, dreading the golden queen’s fury, removed to the right, to the place where his warden stood, which seemed to him strong and well guarded.

The two knights on the left, whether golden or silvered, marched up, and on either side took up many nymphs who could not retreat; principally the golden knight, who made this his whole business; but the silvered knight had greater designs, dissembling all along, and even sometimes not taking a nymph when he could have done it, still moving on till he was come up to the main body of the enemies in such a manner that he saluted their king with a God save you, sir!

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