I asked what sort of study they applied themselves to; and was told that from their youth they learned to be evidences, affidavit-men, and vouchers, and were instructed in the art of swearing; in which they soon became such proficients, that when they left that country, and went back into their own, they set up for themselves and very honestly lived by their trade of evidencing, positively giving their testimony of all things whatsoever to those who feed them most roundly to do a job of journey-work for them; and all this by hearsay.
You may think what you will of it; but I can assure you they gave some of us corners of their cakes, and we merrily helped to empty their hogsheads. Then, in a friendly manner, they advised us to be as sparing of truth as possibly we could if ever we had a mind to get court preferment.
How we came in sight of Lantern-land.
Having been but scurvily entertained in the land of Satin, we went o’ board, and having set sail, in four days came near the coast of Lantern-land. We then saw certain little hovering fires on the sea.
For my part, I did not take them to be lanterns, but rather thought they were fishes which lolled their flaming tongues on the surface of the sea, or lampyrides, which some call cicindelas, or glowworms, shining there as ripe barley does o’ nights in my country.
But the skipper satisfied us that they were the lanterns of the watch, or, more properly, lighthouses, set up in many places round the precinct of the place to discover the land, and for the safe piloting in of some outlandish lanterns, which, like good Franciscan and Jacobin friars, were coming to make their personal appearance at the provincial chapter.
However, some of us were somewhat suspicious that these fires were the forerunners of some storm, but the skipper assured us again they were not.
How we landed at the port of the Lychnobii, and came to Lantern-land.
Soon after we arrived at the port of Lantern-land, where Pantagruel discovered on a high tower the lantern of Rochelle, that stood us in good stead, for it cast a great light. We also saw the lantern of Pharos, that of Nauplion, and that of Acropolis at Athens, sacred to Pallas.
Near the port there’s a little hamlet inhabited by the Lychnobii, that live by lanterns, as the gulligutted friars in our country live by nuns; they are studious people, and as honest men as ever shit in a trumpet. Demosthenes had formerly lanternized there.
We were conducted from that place to the palace by three obeliscolichnys (’A kind of beacons.’—Motteux.), military guards of the port, with high-crowned hats, whom we acquainted with the cause of our voyage, and our design, which was to desire the queen of the country to grant us a lantern to light and conduct us during our voyage to the Oracle of the Holy Bottle.