Chapter 11 How Pantagruel showeth the trial of one's fortune by th_hrowing of dice to be unlawful
It would be sooner done, quoth Panurge, and more expeditely, if we should tr_he matter at the chance of three fair dice. Quoth Pantagruel, That sort o_ottery is deceitful, abusive, illicitous, and exceedingly scandalous. Neve_rust in it. The accursed book of the Recreation of Dice was a great while ag_xcogitated in Achaia, near Bourre, by that ancient enemy of mankind, th_nfernal calumniator, who, before the statue or massive image of the Bourrai_ercules, did of old, and doth in several places of the world as yet, mak_any simple souls to err and fall into his snares. You know how my fathe_argantua hath forbidden it over all his kingdoms and dominions; how he hat_aused burn the moulds and draughts thereof, and altogether suppressed,
abolished, driven forth, and cast it out of the land, as a most dangerou_lague and infection to any well-polished state or commonwealth. What I hav_old you of dice, I say the same of the play at cockall. It is a lottery o_he like guile and deceitfulness; and therefore do not for convincing of m_llege in opposition to this my opinion, or bring in the example of th_ortunate cast of Tiberius, within the fountain of Aponus, at the oracle o_erion. These are the baited hooks by which the devil attracts and drawet_nto him the foolish souls of silly people into eternal perdition.
Nevertheless, to satisfy your humour in some measure, I am content you thro_hree dice upon this table, that, according to the number of the blots whic_hall happen to be cast up, we may hit upon a verse of that page which in th_etting open of the book you shall have pitched upon.
Have you any dice in your pocket? A whole bagful, answered Panurge. That i_rovision against the devil, as is expounded by Merlin Coccaius, Lib. 2. D_atria Diabolorum. The devil would be sure to take me napping, and very muc_t unawares, if he should find me without dice. With this, the three dic_eing taken out, produced, and thrown, they fell so pat upon the lower point_hat the cast was five, six, and five. These are, quoth Panurge, sixteen i_ll. Let us take the sixteenth line of the page. The number pleaseth me ver_ell; I hope we shall have a prosperous and happy chance. May I be throw_midst all the devils of hell, even as a great bowl cast athwart at a set o_inepins, or cannon-ball shot among a battalion of foot, in case so many time_ do not boult my future wife the first night of our marriage! Of that,
forsooth, I make no doubt at all, quoth Pantagruel. You needed not to hav_apped forth such a horrid imprecation, the sooner to procure credit for th_erformance of so small a business, seeing possibly the first bout will b_miss, and that you know is usually at tennis called fifteen. At the nex_ustling turn you may readily amend that fault, and so complete your reckonin_f sixteen. Is it so, quoth Panurge, that you understand the matter? And mus_y words be thus interpreted? Nay, believe me never yet was any solecis_ommitted by that valiant champion who often hath for me in Belly-dale stoo_entry at the hypogastrian cranny. Did you ever hitherto find me in th_onfraternity of the faulty? Never, I trow; never, nor ever shall, for eve_nd a day. I do the feat like a goodly friar or father confessor, withou_efault. And therein am I willing to be judged by the players. He had n_ooner spoke these words than the works of Virgil were brought in. But befor_he book was laid open, Panurge said to Pantagruel, My heart, like the furc_f a hart in a rut, doth beat within my breast. Be pleased to feel and grop_y pulse a little on this artery of my left arm. At its frequent rise and fal_ou would say that they swinge and belabour me after the manner of _robationer, posed and put to a peremptory trial in the examination of hi_ufficiency for the discharge of the learned duty of a graduate in som_minent degree in the college of the Sorbonists.
But would you not hold it expedient, before we proceed any further, that w_hould invocate Hercules and the Tenetian goddesses who in the chamber of lot_re said to rule, sit in judgment, and bear a presidential sway? Neither hi_or them, answered Pantagruel; only open up the leaves of the book with you_ingers, and set your nails awork.