I listen to you with both my ears, quoth Friar John, and that with no small pleasure, I’ll assure you. But I must tell you that the vicar of Jambert ascribed this copious prolification of the women, not to that sort of food that we chiefly eat in Lent, but to the little licensed stooping mumpers, your little booted Lent-preachers, your little draggle-tailed father confessors, who during all that time of their reign damn all husbands that run astray three fathom and a half below the very lowest pit of hell. So the silly cod’s-headed brothers of the noose dare not then stumble any more at the truckle-bed, to the no small discomfort of their maids, and are even forced, poor souls, to take up with their own bodily wives. Dixi; I have done.
You may descant on the institution of Lent as much as you please, cried Epistemon; so many men so many minds; but certainly all the physicians will be against its being suppressed, though I think that time is at hand. I know they will, and have heard ’em say were it not for Lent their art would soon fall into contempt, and they’d get nothing, for hardly anybody would be sick.
All distempers are sowed in lent; ’tis the true seminary and native bed of all diseases; nor does it only weaken and putrefy bodies, but it also makes souls mad and uneasy. For then the devils do their best, and drive a subtle trade, and the tribe of canting dissemblers come out of their holes. ’Tis then term-time with your cucullated pieces of formality that have one face to God and another to the devil; and a wretched clutter they make with their sessions, stations, pardons, syntereses, confessions, whippings, anathematizations, and much prayer with as little devotion. However, I’ll not offer to infer from this that the Arimaspians are better than we are in that point; yet I speak to the purpose.
Well, quoth Panurge to the Semiquaver friar, who happened to be by, dear bumbasting, shaking, trilling, quavering cod, what thinkest thou of this fellow? Is he a rank heretic? Fri. Much.
Pan. Ought he not to be singed? Fri. Well.
Pan. As soon as may be? Fri. Right.
Pan. Should not he be scalded first? Fri. No.
Pan. How then, should he be roasted? Fri. Quick.
Pan. Till at last he be? Fri. Dead.
Pan. What has he made you? Fri. Mad.
Pan. What d’ye take him to be? Fri. Damned.
Pan. What place is he to go to? Fri. Hell.
Pan. But, first, how would you have ’em served here? Fri. Burnt.
Pan. Some have been served so? Fri. Store.
Pan. That were heretics? Fri. Less.
Pan. And the number of those that are to be
warmed thus hereafter is?
Pan. How many of ’em do you intend to save? Fri. None.
Pan. So you’d have them burned? Fri. All.