but in liberty, for they left off when they pleased,
and that was commonly when they did sweat over all
their body, or were otherwise weary. Then were
they very well wiped and rubbed, shifted their shirts,
and, walking soberly, went to see if dinner was ready.
Whilst they stayed for that, they did clearly and
eloquently pronounce some sentences that they had retained
of the lecture. In the meantime Master Appetite
came, and then very orderly sat they down at table.
At the beginning of the meal there was read some pleasant
history of the warlike actions of former times, until
he had taken a glass of wine. Then, if they
thought good, they continued reading, or began to
discourse merrily together; speaking first of the virtue,
propriety, efficacy, and nature of all that was served
in at the table; of bread, of wine, of water, of salt,
of fleshes, fishes, fruits, herbs, roots, and of their
dressing. By means whereof he learned in a little
time all the passages competent for this that were
to be found in Pliny, Athenaeus, Dioscorides, Julius
Pollux, Galen, Porphyry, Oppian, Polybius, Heliodore,
Aristotle, Aelian, and others. Whilst they talked
of these things, many times, to be the more certain,
they caused the very books to be brought to the table,
and so well and perfectly did he in his memory retain
the things above said, that in that time there was
not a physician that knew half so much as he did.
Afterwards they conferred of the lessons read in the
morning, and, ending their repast with some conserve
or marmalade of quinces, he picked his teeth with
mastic tooth-pickers, washed his hands and eyes with
fair fresh water, and gave thanks unto God in some
fine cantiques, made in praise of the divine bounty
and munificence. This done, they brought in
cards, not to play, but to learn a thousand pretty
tricks and new inventions, which were all grounded
upon arithmetic. By this means he fell in love
with that numerical science, and every day after dinner
and supper he passed his time in it as pleasantly
as he was wont to do at cards and dice; so that at
last he understood so well both the theory and practical
part thereof, that Tunstall the Englishman, who had
written very largely of that purpose, confessed that
verily in comparison of him he had no skill at all.
And not only in that, but in the other mathematical
sciences, as geometry, astronomy, music, &c.
For in waiting on the concoction and attending the
digestion of his food, they made a thousand pretty
instruments and geometrical figures, and did in some
measure practise the astronomical canons.
After this they recreated themselves with singing
musically, in four or five parts, or upon a set theme
or ground at random, as it best pleased them.
In matter of musical instruments, he learned to play
upon the lute, the virginals, the harp, the Almain
flute with nine holes, the viol, and the sackbut.
This hour thus spent, and digestion finished, he did
purge his body of natural excrements, then betook