Gargantua/Chapter VIII

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How they apparelled Gargantua

Being of this age, his father ordained to have clothes made to him in his own livery, which was white and blue. To work then went the tailors, and with great expedition were those clothes made, cut, and sewed, according to the fashion that was then in request. I find by the ancient records or pancarts, to be seen in the chamber of accounts, or court of the exchequer at Montsoreau, that he was accoutred in manner as followeth. To make him every shirt of his were taken up nine hundred ells of Chasteleraud linen, and two hundred for the gussets, in manner of cushions, which they put under his armpits. His shirt was not gathered nor plaited, for the plaiting of shirts was not found out till the seamstresses (when the point of their needle (Besongner du cul, Englished The eye of the needle.) was broken) began to work and occupy with the tail. There were taken up for his doublet, eight hundred and thirteen ells of white satin, and for his points fifteen hundred and nine dogs' skins and a half. Then was it that men began to tie their breeches to their doublets, and not their doublets to their breeches: for it is against nature, as hath most amply been showed by Ockham upon the exponibles of Master Haultechaussade.

For his breeches were taken up eleven hundred and five ells and a third of white broadcloth. They were cut in the form of pillars, chamfered, channelled and pinked behind that they might not over-heat his reins: and were, within the panes, puffed out with the lining of as much blue damask as was needful: and remark, that he had very good leg-harness, proportionable to the rest of his stature.

For his codpiece were used sixteen ells and a quarter of the same cloth, and it was fashioned on the top like unto a triumphant arch, most gallantly fastened with two enamelled clasps, in each of which was set a great emerald, as big as an orange; for, as says Orpheus, lib. de lapidibus, and Plinius, libro ultimo, it hath an erective virtue and comfortative of the natural member. The exiture, outjecting or outstanding, of his codpiece was of the length of a yard, jagged and pinked, and withal bagging, and strutting out with the blue damask lining, after the manner of his breeches. But had you seen the fair embroidery of the small needlework purl, and the curiously interlaced knots, by the goldsmith's art set out and trimmed with rich diamonds, precious rubies, fine turquoises, costly emeralds, and Persian pearls, you would have compared it to a fair cornucopia, or horn of abundance, such as you see in antiques, or as Rhea gave to the two nymphs, Amalthea and Ida, the nurses of Jupiter.

And, like to that horn of abundance, it was still gallant, succulent, droppy, sappy, pithy, lively, always flourishing, always fructifying, full of juice, full of flower, full of fruit, and all manner of delight. I avow God, it would have done one good to have seen him, but I will tell you more of him in the book which I have made of the dignity of codpieces. One thing I will tell you, that as it was both long and large, so was it well furnished and victualled within, nothing like unto the hypocritical codpieces of some fond wooers and wench-courtiers, which are stuffed only with wind, to the great prejudice of the female sex.