The Fifth Book/Chapter XIX

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

How we arrived at the queendom of Whims or Entelechy

We did as he directed us for about twelve hours, and on the third day the sky seemed to us somewhat clearer, and we happily arrived at the port of Mateotechny, not far distant from Queen Whims, alias the Quintessence.

We met full butt on the quay a great number of guards and other military men that garrisoned the arsenal, and we were somewhat frighted at first because they made us all lay down our arms, and in a haughty manner asked us whence we came.

Cousin, quoth Panurge to him that asked the question, we are of Touraine, and come from France, being ambitious of paying our respects to the Lady Quintessence and visit this famous realm of Entelechy.

What do you say? cried they; do you call it Entelechy or Endelechy? Truly, truly, sweet cousins, quoth Panurge, we are a silly sort of grout-headed lobcocks, an't please you; be so kind as to forgive us if we chance to knock words out of joint. As for anything else, we are downright honest fellows and true hearts.

We have not asked you this question without a cause, said they; for a great number of others who have passed this way from your country of Touraine seemed as mere jolt-headed doddipolls as ever were scored o'er the coxcomb, yet spoke as correct as other folks. But there has been here from other countries a pack of I know not what overweening self-conceited prigs, as moody as so many mules and as stout as any Scotch lairds, and nothing would serve these, forsooth, but they must wilfully wrangle and stand out against us at their coming; and much they got by it after all. Troth, we e'en fitted them and clawed 'em off with a vengeance, for all they looked so big and so grum.

Pray tell me, does your time lie so heavy upon you in your world that you do not know how to bestow it better than in thus impudently talking, disputing, and writing of our sovereign lady? There was much need that your Tully, the consul, should go and leave the care of his commonwealth to busy himself idly about her; and after him your Diogenes Laertius, the biographer, and your Theodorus Gaza, the philosopher, and your Argiropilus, the emperor, and your Bessario, the cardinal, and your Politian, the pedant, and your Budaeus, the judge, and your Lascaris, the ambassador, and the devil and all of those you call lovers of wisdom; whose number, it seems, was not thought great enough already, but lately your Scaliger, Bigot, Chambrier, Francis Fleury, and I cannot tell how many such other junior sneaking fly-blows must take upon 'em to increase it.

A squinsy gripe the cod's-headed changelings at the swallow and eke at the cover-weasel; we shall make 'em--But the deuce take 'em! (They flatter the devil here, and smoothify his name, quoth Panurge, between his teeth.) You don't come here, continued the captain, to uphold 'em in their folly; you have no commission from 'em to this effect; well then, we will talk no more on't.

Aristotle, that first of men and peerless pattern of all philosophy, was our sovereign lady's godfather, and wisely and properly gave her the name of Entelechy. Her true name then is Entelechy, and may he be in tail beshit, and entail a shit-a-bed faculty and nothing else on his family, who dares call her by any other name; for whoever he is, he does her wrong, and is a very impudent person. You are heartily welcome, gentlemen. With this they colled and clipped us about the neck, which was no small comfort to us, I'll assure you.

Panurge then whispered me, Fellow-traveller, quoth he, hast thou not been somewhat afraid this bout? A little, said I. To tell you the truth of it, quoth he, never were the Ephraimites in a greater fear and quandary when the Gileadites killed and drowned them for saying sibboleth instead of shibboleth; and among friends, let me tell you that perhaps there is not a man in the whole country of Beauce but might easily have stopped my bunghole with a cartload of hay.

The captain afterwards took us to the queen's palace, leading us silently with great formality. Pantagruel would have said something to him, but the other, not being able to come up to his height, wished for a ladder or a very long pair of stilts; then said, Patience, if it were our sovereign lady's will, we would be as tall as you; well, we shall when she pleases.

In the first galleries we saw great numbers of sick persons, differently placed according to their maladies. The leprous were apart; those that were poisoned on one side; those that had got the plague on another; those that had the pox in the first rank, and the rest accordingly.