I then went to pluck some mirobolans off of a piece of tapestry whereon they hung, but the devil a bit I could chew or swallow ’em; and had you had them betwixt your teeth you would have sworn they had been thrown silk; there was no manner of savour in ’em.
One might be apt to think Heliogabalus had taken a hint from thence, to feast those whom he had caused to fast a long time, promising them a sumptuous, plentiful, and imperial feast after it; for all the treat used to amount to no more than several sorts of meat in wax, marble, earthenware, painted and figured tablecloths.
While we were looking up and down to find some more substantial food, we heard a loud various noise, like that of paper-mills (or women bucking of linen); so with all speed we went to the place whence the noise came, where we found a diminutive, monstrous, misshapen old fellow, called Hearsay. His mouth was slit up to his ears, and in it were seven tongues, each of them cleft into seven parts. However, he chattered, tattled, and prated with all the seven at once, of different matters, and in divers languages.
He had as many ears all over his head and the rest of his body as Argus formerly had eyes, and was as blind as a beetle, and had the palsy in his legs.
About him stood an innumerable number of men and women, gaping, listening, and hearing very intensely. Among ’em I observed some who strutted like crows in a gutter, and principally a very handsome bodied man in the face, who held then a map of the world, and with little aphorisms compendiously explained everything to ’em; so that those men of happy memories grew learned in a trice, and would most fluently talk with you of a world of prodigious things, the hundredth part of which would take up a man’s whole life to be fully known.
Among the rest they descanted with great prolixity on the pyramids and hieroglyphics of Egypt, of the Nile, of Babylon, of the Troglodytes, the Hymantopodes, or crump-footed nation, the Blemiae, people that wear their heads in the middle of their breasts, the Pigmies, the Cannibals, the Hyperborei and their mountains, the Egypanes with their goat’s feet, and the devil and all of others; every individual word of it by hearsay.
I am much mistaken if I did not see among them Herodotus, Pliny, Solinus, Berosus, Philostratus, Pomponius Mela, Strabo, and God knows how many other antiquaries.
Then Albert, the great Jacobin friar, Peter Tesmoin, alias Witness, Pope Pius the Second, Volaterranus, Paulus Jovius the valiant, Jemmy Cartier, Chaton the Armenian, Marco Polo the Venetian, Ludovico Romano, Pedro Aliares, and forty cartloads of other modern historians, lurking behind a piece of tapestry, where they were at it ding-dong, privately scribbling the Lord knows what, and making rare work of it; and all by hearsay.
Behind another piece of tapestry (on which Naboth and Susanna’s accusers were fairly represented), I saw close by Hearsay, good store of men of the country of Perce and Maine, notable students, and young enough.