The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

by Laurence Sterne

Ollibrary's note: Tristram Shandy is a novel with chaotic form and punctuation. In order to make it cleaner, i have replaced "⸻" with "-" or white-space. For the original text, please read it at Gutenberg.


It can hardly be said that Sterne was an unfortunate person during his lifetime, though he seems to have thought himself so. His childhood was indeed a little necessitous, and he died early, and in debt, after some years of very bad health. But from the time when he went to Cambridge, things went on the whole very fairly well with him in respect of fortune; his ill-health does not seem to have caused him much disquiet; his last ten years gave him fame, flirting, wandering, and other pleasures and diversions to his heart’s content; and his debts only troubled those he left behind him. He delighted in his daughter; he was able to get rid of his wife, when he was more than usually fatigatus et aegrotus of her, with singular ease. During the unknown, or almost unknown, middle of his life he had friends of the kind most congenial to him; and both in his time of preparation and his time of production in literature, he was able to indulge his genius in a way by no means common with men of letters. If his wish to die in a certain manner and circumstance was only bravado⁠ - and borrowed bravado⁠ - still it was granted; and it is quite certain that to him an old age of real illness would have been unmitigated torture. Even if we admit the ghastly stories of the fate of his remains, there was very little reason why anyone should not have anticipated Mr. Swinburne’s words on the morrow of Sterne’s death and said, “Oh! brother, the gods were good to you,” though even then he might have said it with a sort of mental reservation on the question whether Sterne had been very good to the gods.

Nemesis, for the purpose of adjusting things, played him the exceptionally savage trick of using the intervention of his idolised daughter. Little or nothing seems to be known of “Lydia Sterne de Medalle,” as she was pleased to sign herself; “Mrs. Medalle,” as her bluff British contemporaries call her. But that she must have been either a very silly, a very stupid, or an excessively callous person, appears certain. It would seem, indeed, to require a combination of the flightiness and lack of taste which her father too often displayed, with the stolidity which (from rather unfair inference through Mrs. Shandy) is sometimes supposed to have characterised her mother, to prompt or permit a daughter to publish such a collection of letters as those which were first given to the world in 1775. Charity, not unsupported by probability, has trusted that Madame de Medalle could not read Latin, but she certainly could read English; and only an utterly corrupted heart, or an incurably dense or featherbrained head, could hide from her the fact that not a few of the English letters she published were damaging to her father’s character. Her alleged excuse⁠ - that her mother, who was then dead, had desired her, if any letters should be published under her father’s name, to publish these, and that the “Yorick and Eliza” correspondence had appeared⁠ - is utterly insufficient. For Mrs. Sterne, of whose conduct we know nothing unfavourable, and one or two things decidedly to her credit, could only have meant “such of these as will put your father in a favourable light,” else she would have published them herself. Yet though Lydia could, while taking no editorial trouble whatever, go out of her way to make a silly missish apology for publishing a passage in which her charms and merits are celebrated, she seems never to have given a thought to what she was doing in other ways. Nor were Sterne’s misfortunes in this way over with the publication of these things; for the subsequently discovered Fourmentelle correspondence sunk him, with precise judges, a little deeper. No doubt Tristram Shandy, the Sentimental Journey, and the curious stories or traditions about their author, were not exactly calculated to give Sterne a very high reputation with grave authorities. But it is these unlucky letters which put him almost hopelessly out of court. Even the slight relenting of fortune which gave him at last, in Mr. Percy Fitzgerald, a biographer very good-natured, very indefatigable, and with a natural genius for detecting undiscovered facts and documents, only made matters worse in some ways. And the consequence is, that it has become a commonplace and almost a necessity to make up for praising Sterne’s genius by damning his character. Johnson, while declining to deny him ability, seems to have been too much disgusted to talk freely about him; Scott’s natural kindliness, warm admiration for my Uncle Toby, and total freedom from squeamish prudery, seem yet to have left him ill at ease and tongue-tied in discussing Sterne; Thackeray, as is well known, exceeded all measure in denouncing him; and his chief recent critical biographer, Mr. Traill, who is probably as free from cant, Britannic or other, as any man who ever wrote in English, speaks his mind in the most unsparing fashion.

For my own part, I do not hesitate to say that I do not think letters of this kind ought to be published at all; and though it may seem paradoxical or foolish, I am by no means sure that, if they are published, they ought to be admitted as evidence. That which is not written for the public, is no business of the public’s; and I never read letters of this kind, published for the first time, without feeling like an eavesdropper.[1] Unluckily, the evidence furnished by the letters fits in only too well with that furnished by the published works, by his favourite cronies and companions, and by his general reputation, so that “what the prisoner says” must, no doubt, “be used against him.”

* * * * *

It may be doubted whether it was accident or his usual deliberate fantasticality that made Sterne, in the well-known summary of his life which (very late in it) he drew up for his daughter, devote almost the whole space to his childhood. Perhaps it may be accounted for, reasonably enough, by supposing that of his later years he thought his daughter knew quite as much as he wished her to know, while of the middle period he had little or nothing to tell. In fact, of the two earlier divisions we still know very little but what he has chosen to tell us in one of the most characteristic and not the least charming excursions of his pen. Laurence Sterne was, with two sisters, the only “permanent child” (to borrow a pleasant phrase of Mr. Traill’s) out of a very plentiful but most impermanent family, borne in the most inconvenient circumstances possible by Agnes Nuttle or Herbert or Sterne, a widow, and daughter or stepdaughter of a sutler of our army in Flanders, to Roger, second son of Simon Sterne of Elvington, in Yorkshire, who was the third son of Dr. Richard Sterne, Archbishop of York. The Sternes were of a gentle if not very distinguished family, which, after being seated in Suffolk, migrated to Nottinghamshire. After the promotion of the archbishop (who had been a stout cavalier, as Master of Jesus at Cambridge, in the bad times), they obtained, as was fitting, divers establishments by marriage or benefice in Yorkshire itself. Very little endowment of any kind, however, fell to the lot of Roger Sterne, who was an ensign in what ranked later as the 34th regiment. Laurence, his eldest son, was born at Clonmel, in Ireland, where his mother’s relations lived, and just after his father’s regiment had been disbanded. It was shortly reestablished, however, and became the most “marching” of all marching corps; for though its headquarters were generally in Ireland, it was constantly being ordered elsewhere, and Roger Sterne saw active service both at Vigo and Gibraltar. In this latter station he fought a duel of an extremely Shandean character “about a goose.” He was run through the body and pinned to the wall; whereupon, it is said, he requested his antagonist to be so kind as to wipe the plaster off the sword before pulling it out of his body. In despite of this thoughtfulness, however, and of an immediate recovery, the wound so weakened him that, being ordered to Jamaica, he took fever and died there in March 1731. As Lawrence had been born on November 24, 1713, he was nearly eighteen; and the family had meanwhile been increased by four other children who all died, and a youngest daughter, Catherine, who, like the eldest, Mary, lived. Till he was about nine or ten the boy followed the exceedingly fluctuating fortunes of his family, which he diversified further on by falling through, not a millrace, but a going mill. Then he was sent to school at Halifax, in Yorkshire, and soon after practically adopted by his cousin Sterne of Elvington, who, when the time came, sent him to Jesus College at Cambridge, the family connection with which had begun with his great-grandfather. He was admitted there on July 6, 1733, being then nearly twenty, and took his degree of B.A. in 1736, and that of M.A. in 1740. The only tradition of his school career is his own story that, having written his name on the school ceiling, he was whipped by the usher, but complimented as a “boy of genius” by the master, who said the name should never be effaced. This anecdote, as might be expected, has not escaped the aqua fortis of criticism.

We know practically nothing of Sterne’s Cambridge career except the dates above mentioned, the fact of his being elected first to a sizarship and then as founder’s kin to a scholarship endowed by Archbishop Sterne, and the incident told by himself that he there contracted his lifelong friendship with a distant relative and fellow Jesus man, John Hall, or John Hall Stevenson, of whom more presently. But Sterne had further reason to acknowledge that his family stood together. He had no sooner taken his degree, than he was taken up by a brother of his father’s, Jaques Sterne, a great pluralist in the diocese of York, a very busy and masterful person, and a strong Whig and Hanoverian. Under his care, Sterne took deacon’s orders in March 1736 at the hands of the Bishop of Lincoln; and as soon as, two years later, he had been ordained priest, he was appointed to the living of Sutton-on-the-Forest, eight miles from York. The uncle and nephew some years later quarrelled bitterly⁠ - according to the latter’s account, because he would not write “dirty paragraphs in the newspapers,” being “no party man.” That Sterne would have been particularly squeamish about what he wrote may be doubted; but it is certain that he shows no partisan spirit anywhere, and very little interest in politics as such. However, for some years his uncle was certainly his active patron, and obtained for him two prebends and some other special preferments in connection with the diocese and chapter of York, so that he became, as Tristram shows, intimately acquainted with cathedral society there.

It has been a steady rule in the Anglican Church (if not, as in the Greek, a sine quâ non) that when a man has been provided with a living, he should, if he has not done so before, provide himself with a wife; and Sterne was a very unlikely man to break good custom in this respect. Very soon at least after his ordination he fell in love with Elizabeth Lumley, a young lady of a good Yorkshire family, and of some little fortune, which, however, for a time she thought “not enough” to share with him, but which, as she told him during a fit of illness, she left to him in her will. On the strength of two quite unauthenticated and, I believe, not now traceable portraits seen by this or that person in printshops or elsewhere, she is said to have been plain. Certain expressions in Sterne’s letters seem to imply that she had a rather exasperatingly steady and not too intelligent will of her own; and some twenty or five and twenty years after the marriage, M. Tollot, a gossiping Frenchman, with French ideas on the duty of husbands and wives going separate ways, said that she wished to have a finger in every pie, and pestered “the good and agreeable Tristram” with her presence. But Sterne, despite his reckless confessions of conjugal indifference, and worse, says nothing serious or even ill-natured of her; and one or two traits and sayings of hers, especially her refusal to listen to a meddlesome person who wished to tell her tales about “Eliza,” seem to argue sense and dignity. That in the latter years she cared little to be with a husband who had long been “tired and sick” of her is not to her discredit. Their daughter, with the almost invariable ill-luck or ill-judgment which seems to have attended her, printed certain letters of this courtship time, though she gave nothing for many years afterwards. The use made of these Strephon or Damon blandishments, in contrast with the expressions used by the writer of his wife, and of other women, long afterwards, is perhaps a little unfair; but it must be admitted that though far too characteristic and amusing to be omitted, they are anything but brilliant specimens of their kind. In particular, Thackeray’s bitter fun on the ineffably lackadaisical passage, “My L. has seen a polyanthus blow in December,” is pretty fully justified.

If, however, the marriage, which, difficulties being removed, took place on Easter Monday, March 30, 1741, did not bring lasting happiness to Sterne, it probably brought him some at the time, and it certainly brought him an accession of fortune; for in addition to what little money Miss Lumley had, a friend of hers bestowed the additional living of Stillington on her husband. These various sources of income must have made a tolerable revenue, which, after the publication of Tristram, was further supplemented by yet another benefice given him by Lord Falconbridge at Coxwold, a living of no great value, but a pleasant place of residence. Add to this the profits of his books in the last eight years of his life, which were for that day considerable, and it will be seen that, as has been said above, Sterne might have been much worse off in this world’s goods than he was. He seems, like other people, to have made some rather costly experiments in farming; and his way of life latterly, what with his own journeys and sojourns in London, and the long separate residence of his wife and daughter in France, was expensive. But he complains little of poverty; and though he died in debt, much of that debt was due to no fault of his, but to the burning of the parsonage of Sutton.

It is all the more remarkable in one way, though the absence of any pressure of want may explain it in another, that Sterne’s great literary gifts should have remained so long without finding any kind of literary expression, unless it was in the newspaper way, in respect to which he first obliged and afterwards disobliged his uncle. There is, I believe, no dispute about the fact that he distances, and that by many years, every other man of letters of anything like his rank⁠ - except Cowper, whose affliction puts him out of comparison⁠ - in the lateness of his fruiting time. All but a quarter of a century had passed since he took his degree when Tristram Shandy appeared; and, putting sermons aside, the very earliest thing of his known, The History of a Good Watch Coat, only antedated Tristram by two years or rather less. He was no doubt “making himself all this time;” but the making must have been an uncommonly slow process. Nor did he, like a good many writers, occupy the time in preparing what he was afterwards to publish, unless in the case of a few of his sermons. It is positively known that Tristram was written merely as it was published, and the Journey likewise. Nor is even the first by any means a long book. It is as nearly as possible the same length as Fielding’s Amelia when printed straight on; and even then more allowance has to be made, not merely for its free and audacious plagiarisms, but for its constantly broken paragraphs, stars, dashes, and other trickeries. If it were possible to squeeze it up, as one squeezes a sponge, into the solid texture of an ordinary book, I doubt whether it would be very much longer than Joseph Andrews.

It will probably be admitted, however, that the idiosyncrasy of the writings of Sterne’s last and incomplete decade, even if it be in part only an idiosyncrasy of mannerism, is almost great enough to justify the nearly three decades of Lehrjahre (starting from his entrance at Cambridge) which preceded it. It is true that of the actual occupations of these years we know extremely little⁠ - indeed, what we know as distinguished from what is guesswork and inference is mostly summed up by Sterne’s own current and curvetting pen thus: “I remained near twenty years at Sutton, doing duty at both places [i.e., Sutton and Stillington]. I had then very good health. Books, painting, fiddling, and shooting were my amusements;” to which he adds only that he and the squire of Sutton were not very good friends, but that at Stillington the Croft family were extremely kind and amiable. From other sources, including, it is true, his own letters⁠ - though the dates and allusions of these are so uncertain that they are very doubtful guides⁠ - we find that his chief crony during this period, as during his life, was the already-mentioned John Hall, who had taken to the name of Stevenson, and was master of Skelton Castle, a very old and curious house on the border of the Cleveland moors, not far from the town of Guisborough. The master of “Crazy” Castle⁠ - he liked to give his house this name, which he afterwards used in entitling his book of Crazy Tales⁠ - his ways and his library, have usually been charged with debauching Sterne’s innocent mind, which I should imagine lent itself to that process in a most docile and morigerant fashion; but whether this was the case or not, it is clear that Stevenson bore no very good reputation. It is not certain, but was asserted, that he had been a monk of Medmenham. He gathered about him at Skelton a society which, though no such imputations were made on it as on that of Wilkes and Dashwood, was of a pretty loose kind; he was a humourist, both in the old and the modern sense; and his Crazy Tales were, if not very mad, rather sad and bad exercises of the imagination.

Amid all this dream- and guesswork, almost the only solid facts in Sterne’s life are the births of two daughters, one in 1745, and the other two years later. Both were christened Lydia; the first died soon after she was born, the second lived to be the darling of both her parents, the object of the most respectable emotions of Sterne’s life, the wife of an unknown Frenchman, M. de Medalle, and, as has been said, the probably unwitting destroyer of her father’s last chance of reputation.

Our exuberant nescience in matters Sternian extends up to the very publication of Tristram, as far as the determining causes of its production are concerned. It is true that in passages of the letters Sterne seems to say that his experiment with the pen was prompted by a desire to make good some losses in farming, and elsewhere that he was tired of employing his brains for other people’s advantage, as he had done for some years for an ungrateful person, that is to say, his uncle. This last passage was written just before Tristram came out; but at no time was Sterne a very trustworthy reporter of his own motives, and it would seem that the quarrel with his uncle must have been a good deal earlier. At any rate, the year 1759 seems to have been spent in writing the first two volumes of the book, and The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent., published by John Hinxham, Stonegate, York, but obtainable also from divers London booksellers, appeared on the 1st of January 1760. I wish Sterne had thought of keeping it till the 1st of April, which he would probably then have done.

The comparatively short last scenes of his life were as busy and varied as his long middle course had been outwardly monotonous. Although his book was nominally published at York, he had gone up to London to superintend arrangements for its sale there, perhaps not without a hope of triumph. If so, Fortune chose not to play him her usual tricks. In York, the extreme personality of the book excited interest of a twofold and dubious kind; but, to play on some words of Dryden’s, “London liked grossly” and swallowed Tristram Shandy whole with singular avidity. Its author came to town just in time to enjoy the results of this, and was one of the chief lions of the season of 1760, a position which he enjoyed with a childish frankness that is not the least pleasant thing in his history. One, probably of the least important, though by accident one of the best known of his innumerable flirtations, with a Miss Fourmentelle, was apparently quenched by this distraction when it was on the point of going such lengths that the lady had actually come up alone to London to meet Sterne there. He was introduced to persons as different as Garrick and Warburton, from the latter of whom he received, in rather mysterious circumstances, a present of money. He haunted Ministers and Knights of the Garter; he was overwhelmed with invitations and callers; and, as has been said, he received one very solid present in the shape of the living of Coxwold. Tristram went into a second edition rapidly; its author was enabled to announce a collection of “Sermons by Mr. Yorick” in April; and he went to his new living in the early summer, determined to set to work vigorously on more of the work that had been so fortunate. By the end of the year he was ready with two more volumes, again came up to town, and again, when vols. iii and iv had appeared, at the end of January 1761, was besieged by admirers. For these two he received £380 from Dodsley, who had fought shy of the book earlier. They were quite as successful as the first pair; and again Sterne stayed all the spring and earlier summer in London, returning to Yorkshire to make more Shandy in the autumn. He was still quicker over the third batch, and it was published in December 1761, when he was again in town, but he now meditated a longer flight. His health had been really declining, and he obtained leave from the archbishop for a year certain, and perhaps two, that he might go to the south of France. He was warmly received in Paris, where his work had obtained a popularity which it has never wholly lost, and the framework of fact (including the passport difficulties) for the Sentimental Journey, as well as for the seventh volume of Tristram, was laid during the spring. His plans were now changed, it being determined that his wife and daughter (who had inherited his constitution) should join him. They did so after some difficulties, and the consumptive novelist, having spent all the winter in one of the worst climates in Europe, that of the French capital, started with his family in the torrid heats of July for Toulouse, where at last they were established about the middle of August.

Toulouse became Sterne’s abode for nearly a year, his headquarters for a somewhat longer period, and the home of his wife and daughter, with migrations to Bagnères, Montpellier, and a great many other places in France, for about five years. He himself⁠ - he had been ill at Toulouse, and worse at Montpellier⁠ - reached England again (after a short stay in Paris) during the early summer of 1764. Nor was it till January 1765 that the seventh and eighth volumes of Tristram appeared. As usual Sterne went to town to receive the congratulations of the public, which seem to have been fairly hearty; for though the instalment immediately preceding had not been an entire success, the longer interval had now had its effect not merely on the art and materials of the caterer, but on the appetite of his guests. He followed this up with two more volumes of Sermons, of a much more characteristic kind than his earlier venture in this way, and published partly by subscription. These, however, were not actually issued till 1766. Meanwhile, in October 1765, Sterne had set out for his second attempt in travel on the Continent, which was to supply the remaining material for the Sentimental Journey, and to be prolonged as far as Naples. Little is known of his winter stay at that city and in Rome. On his way homeward he met his wife and daughter in Franche-Comté, but at Mrs. Sterne’s request left them there, and went on alone to Coxwold.

He reached England in extremely bad health, and never left it again; but he had still nearly two years of fairly well filled life to run. The ninth, or last volume of Tristram occupied him during the autumn of 1766, and was produced with the invariable accompaniment of its author’s appearance in London during January 1767. This visit, which lasted till May, saw the flirtation with “Eliza” Draper, the young wife of an Indian official, who was at home for her health, an affair which exalted Sterne in the eyes of eighteenth-century sensibility, especially in France, about as much as it has depressed him in the eyes not merely of the propriety, not merely of the common sense, but of the romance of later times. He was very ill when he got back to Coxwold, but recovered, and in October was joined by his wife and daughter. Even then, however, the community was a very temporary and divided one, for he took a house for them at York, and they were not to stay in England beyond the spring. He himself finished what we have of the Sentimental Journey, and went to London with it, where it was published rather later than usual, on the 27th February 1768. Three weeks later its author, at his lodgings at 41 New Bond Street, in the presence only of a hired nurse and a footman, who had been sent by some of his friends to inquire after him, took a journey other than sentimental, and so far unreported. Some odd but not very well authenticated stories gathered round his death, which occurred on Friday the 18th March. It was said, and it is probable enough, that his gold sleeve-links were stolen by his landlady. After his funeral, scantily attended, at the burying-ground of St. George’s, Hanover Square, opposite Hyde Park (which used to be known by the squalid brown of its unrestored, and afterwards made more hideous by the bedizened red of its restored chapel), his body is said to have been snatched by resurrection men. And the myth is rounded off by the addition that the remains, having been sold to the professor of anatomy at Cambridge, were dissected there in public, one of the spectators, a friend of Sterne’s, recognising the face too late, and fainting.

His affairs, which had never been managed in a very businesslike manner, were in considerable disorder. Some years before, the carelessness of his curate had caused or allowed the parsonage at Sutton to be burnt to the ground; and Sterne, besides losing valuable effects of his own, was of course liable for the rebuilding. He managed to put this off till his death, after which his widow and administratrix was sued for dilapidations. These, as she was in very poor circumstances, had to be compounded for sixty pounds only, but they probably ranked for a much larger sum in the £1,100 at which Sterne’s indebtedness was reckoned. His widow had a little money of her own: £800 was collected for her and her daughter at York races; there must have been profits from the copyrights; and a fresh collection of Sermons was issued by subscription. But though very little is known about the pair, they are said to have been ill off. They applied first to Wilkes and then to Stevenson to write a life of Sterne to prefix to his Works, but neither complied. Mr. Fitzgerald, who seldom deserves the curse laid on those who use harsh judgment, is very severe on both for this. Yet surely each, considering his own reputation, must have felt that he was the last person to set Sterne right with the stricter part of society, and that to write a “Crazy” or “Shandean” life of him would be a cruel crime. It is not known exactly when Lydia married, or when either she or her mother died. Mrs. Sterne must have been dead by 1775, the date of the publication of the letters; Lydia is said to have perished in the French Revolution.

Beginning authorship very late in life, having schooled himself to an intensely artificial method, both in style and in construction, and not allowed by Fate more than a few years in which to write at all, Sterne, as is natural, displays a great uniformity throughout his work. Indeed, it might be said that he has written but one book, Tristram Shandy. The Sentimental Journey (as to the relative merits of which, compared with the earlier and larger work, there is a polemos aspondos between the Big-endians and the Little-endians of Sternism) is after all only an expansion of the seventh book of Tristram, with fioriture, variations, and new divertisements. The sermon which occurs so early is an actual sermon of “Yorick’s,” and a sufficient specimen of his more serious concionatory vein; many, if not most of his letters might have been twined into Tristram without being in the least degree more out of place than most of its actual contents. And so there is more propriety than depends upon the mere fact that Tristram Shandy is the earliest and the largest part of its author’s work, in making no extremely scholastic distinction between the specially Shandean and the generally Sternian characteristics; for, indeed, all Sterne is in it more or less eminently.

No less a critic than M. Scherer has given his sanction to the idea that in Sterne we have a special, if not even the special, type of the humourist; and probably few people who have given no particular thought or attention to the matter, would refuse to agree with him. I am myself inclined rather to a demur, or, at any rate, to a distinction, though few better things have been written about humour itself than a passage in M. Scherer’s essay on our author. Sterne has no doubt in a very eminent degree the sense of contrast, which all the best critics admit to be the root of humour⁠ - the note of the humourist. But he has it partially, occasionally, and, I should even go as far as to say, not greatly. The great English humourists, I take it, are Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Thackeray, and Carlyle. All these⁠ - even Fielding, whose eighteenth-century manner, the contemporary and counterpart of Sterne’s, cannot hide the truth⁠ - apply the humourist contrast, the humourist sense of the irony of existence, to the great things, the prima et novissima. They see, and feel, and show the simultaneous sense of Death and Life, of Love and Loss, of the Finite and the Infinite. Sterne stops a long way short of this; les grands sujets lui sont défendus in another sense than La Bruyère’s. It is scarcely too much to say that his ostentatious preference for the bagatelle was a real, and not in the least affected fact. Nowhere, not in the true pathos of the famous deathbed letter to Mrs. James, not in the, as it seems to me, by no means wholly true pathos of the Le Fever episode, does he pierce to “the accepted hells beneath.” He has an unmatched command of the lesser and lower varieties of the humorous contrast⁠ - over the odd, the petty, the queer, above all, over what the French untranslatably call the saugrenu. His forte is the foible; his cheval de bataille, the hobbyhorse. If you want to soar into the heights, or plunge into the depths of humour, Sterne is not for you. But if you want what his own generation called a frisk on middle, very middle-earth, a hunt in curiosity-shops (especially of the technically “curious” description), a peep into all manner of coulisses and behind-scenes of human nature, a ride on a sort of intellectual switchback, a view of moral, mental, religious, sentimental dancing of all the kinds that have delighted man, from the rope to the skirt, then have with Sterne in any direction he pleases. He may sometimes a very little disgust you, but you will seldom have just cause to complain that he disappoints and deceives.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent. (which, as it has been excellently observed, is in reality based on the life of the gent’s uncle, and the opinions of the gent’s father), is the largest and in every way the chief field for these diversions. The apparatus, and, so far as there can be said to have been one, the object with which Sterne marked it out and filled it up, are clear, and even the former must have been clear enough to anybody of some reading and some intelligence long before the excellent Dr. Ferriar, in the spirit of a reverent iconoclast, set himself to work to point out Sterne’s exact indebtedness to Rabelais, Burton, Beroalde (if Beroalde wrote the Moyen de Parvenir), Bruscambille, and the rest. Of this particular part of the matter I do not think it necessary to say much. The charge of plagiarism is usually an excessively idle one; for when a man of genius steals, he always makes the thefts his own; and when a man steals without genius, the thefts are mere fairy gold which turns to leaves and pebbles under his hand. No doubt Sterne “lifted” in Tristram, and still more in the Sermons, with rather more freedom and audacity than most men of genius; but when we remember that he took Burton’s denunciation of the practice and reproduced it (all but in Burton’s very words) as his own, it must be clear to anyone who is not very dull indeed that he was playing an audacious practical joke. Where he is best, he does not steal at all, and that is the only point of real importance.

It is somewhat more, I think, the business of the critic (who is here more especially bound not to look only at the stopwatch) to note the far more striking way in which Sterne borrowed, not actual passages and words, but manner and style. Here, perhaps, we shall find him accountant for a greater debt; and here also we may think that though his genius is indisputable, he gives more reason to those who should deny him the highest kind of genius. Beyond doubt not merely his reading, but his temper and his characteristics of all kinds, inclined him to the style to which the French fifteenth and sixteenth centuries gave the name of fatrasie, or pillar-to-post divagation, with more or less of a covert satiric aim. But if we compare the dealing of Swift with Cyrano de Bergerac, the dealing of Fielding with the romance and novel as it existed before his time, nay, the dealing of Shakespeare with the Marlowe drama, we shall note a marked difference in Sterne’s procedure. Nobody, even in his own day, who knew Rabelais at all could fail to detect the almost servile following of manner in great things and in small which Tristram displays. No one⁠ - a much smaller designation⁠ - who knows the strange, unedifying, but very far from commonplace book of which, as I have hinted, I never can quite believe that Beroalde de Verville was the author, can fail to detect an even closer, though a somewhat less obvious and, so to speak, less verifiable following here.

In another region⁠ - the purgatory of all Sterne’s commentators⁠ - we can trace this corrupt following as distinctly at least, though it has, I think, been less often definitely attributed. Sterne’s too celebrated indecency, is, with one exception, sui generis. No doubt much nonsense has been and is talked about “indecency” in general literature. When it is indulged, as it has been, for instance, in French of late, it becomes a nuisance of the most loathsome kind. It is always perhaps better left alone. But if it be a sin to laugh now and then frankly at what were once called “gentlemen’s stories,” then not merely many a gallant, noble, and not unwise gentleman, but I fear not a few ladies, both fair and fine, are damned, with Shakespeare and Scott and Southey, with Margaret of Navarre and Marie de Sévigné, to keep them in countenance. Yet to merit indulgence, this questionable quality, in addition to being treated as genius treats, must have certain sub-qualities, or freedoms from quality, of its own. It must not be brutal and inhuman, since the quality of humanity is the main thing that saves it. It must not be underhand and sniggering. It must be frank and jovial, or frank and passionate. Perhaps, in some cases, it may be saved, as Swift’s is to a great extent, by the overmastering pessimism of despair, which enforces its contempt of man and man’s fate by bringing forward these evidences of his weakness. But Sterne can plead none of these exemptions. He has neither the frank laughter of Aristophanes and Rabelais, nor the frank passion of Catullus and Donne. He was incapable of feeling any sæva indignatio whatever. The attraction of the thing for him was, I fear, merely the attraction of the improper, because it is improper; because it shocks people, or makes them blush, or gives them an unholy little quiver of sordid shamefaced delectation. His famous apology of the child playing on the floor and showing in innocence what is not usually shown, was desperately unlucky. For his displays are those of educated and economic un-innocency. And he took this manner, I am nearly sure, wholly and directly from Voltaire, who enjoys the unenviable copyright and patent of it.

The third characteristic which Sterne took from others, which dyed his work deeply, and which injured more than it helped it, was his famous, his unrivalled, Sensibility or Sentimentalism. A great deal has been written about this admired eighteenth-century device, and there is no space here for discussing it. Suffice it to say, that although Sterne certainly did not invent it⁠ - it had been inculcated by two whole generations of French novelists before him, and had been familiar in England for half a century⁠ - he has the glory, such as it is, of carrying it to the farthest possible. The dead donkey and the live donkey, the latter (as I humbly but proudly join myself to Mr. Thackeray and Mr. Traill in thinking) far the finer animal; Le Fever and La Fleur; Maria and Eliza; Uncle Toby’s fly, and poor Mrs. Sterne’s antenuptial polyanthus; the stoics that Mr. Sterne (with a generous sense that he was in no danger of that lash) wished to be whipped, and the critics from whom he would have fled from Dan to Beersheba to be delivered; all the celebrated persons and passages of his works, all the decorations and fireworks thereof, are directed mainly to the exhibition of Sensibility, once so charming, now, alas! hooted and contemned of the people!

And now it will be possible to have done with his foibles, all the rest in Sterne being for praise, with hardly any mixture of blame. We have seen what he borrowed from others, mostly to his hurt; let us now see what he contributed of his own, almost wholly to his credit and advantage. He had, in the first place, what most writers when they begin almost invariably and almost inevitably lack, a long and carefully amassed store, not merely of reading, but of observation of mankind. Although his nearly fifty years of life had been in the ordinary sense uneventful, they had given him opportunities which he had amply taken. A “son of the regiment,” he had evidently studied with the greatest and most loving care the ways of an army which still included a large proportion of Marlborough’s veterans; and it has been constantly and reasonably held that his chief study had been his father, whom he evidently adored in a way. Roger Sterne is the admitted model of my Uncle Toby; and I at least have no doubt that he was the original of Mr. Shandy also, for some of the qualities which appear in his son’s character of him are Walter’s, not Toby’s. It would have required, perhaps, even greater genius than Sterne possessed, and an environment less saturated with the delusive theory of the “ruling passion,” to have given us the mixed and blended temperament instead of separating it into two gentlemen at once, and making Walter Shandy all wayward intellect, and Tobias all gentle goodness. But if it had been done⁠ - as Shakespeare perhaps alone could have done it⁠ - we should have had a greater and more human figure than either. Mr. Shandy would then never have come near, as he does sometimes, to being a bore; and my Uncle Toby (if I may say so without taking the wings of the morning to flee from the wrath of the extreme Tobyolaters) would have been saved from the occasional appearance of being something like a fool.

Still, these two are delightful even in their present dichotomy; and Sterne was amply provided by his genius, working on his experience, with company for them. His fancy portrait of himself as “Yorick” (his unfeigned Shakespearianism is one of his best traits) is a little vague and fantastic; and that of Eugenius, which is supposed to represent John Hall Stevenson, is almost as slight as it is flattering. But Dr. Slop, who is known to have been drawn (with somewhat unmerciful fidelity in externals, but not at all unkindly when we look deeper) from Dr. Burton, a well-known Jacobite practitioner who had suffered from the Hanoverian zeal of Yorick’s uncle Jaques in the ’45, is a masterpiece. The York dignitaries are veritable etchings in outline, more instinct with life and individuality than a thousand elaborately painted pictures; all the servants, Obadiah, Susannah, Bridget, and the rest, are the equals of Fielding’s, or of Thackeray’s domestics; and though Tristram himself is the shadow of a shade, I confess that I seem to see a vivid portrait in the three or four strokes which alone give us “my dear, dear Jenny.” Mr. Fitzgerald, succumbing to a not unnatural temptation, considering the close juxtaposition in time, approximates this to the “dear, dear Kitty” of the letters to Miss Catherine de Fourmentelle. But this, taking all things together, would be a rather serious scandalum damigellarum; and I do not think it necessary to identify, though the traits seem to me to suit not ill with the few genuine ones in the letters about Mrs. Sterne herself. That the “dear, dear” should be ironical more or less is quite Shandean. All these, if not drawn directly from individuals (the lower exercise), are first generalised and then precipitated into individuality from a large observation (which is the infinitely higher and better). I fear I must except Widow Wadman, save in the sentry-box scene, from this encomium. But then Widow Wadman is not really a real person. She is partly an instrument to put my Uncle Toby through some new motions, and partly a cue to enable Sterne to indulge in his worst foible. As for Trim, quis vituperavit Trim? The lover of the “popish clergywoman” is simply perfect, with a not much less good heart and a much better head than his master’s, and in his own degree hardly less of a gentleman.

The manner in which these delightful persons (I observe with shame that I had omitted the modest worth of Mrs. Shandy, nearly the most delightful of them all) are introduced to the reader, may have suffered a little from that corrupt following of which enough has been said. I can only say, that I would compound for a good deal more corruption of the same kind, allied with a good deal less genius. It can scarcely be doubted that there was a real preestablished harmony between Sterne’s gifts and the fatrasie manner; certainly this manner, if it sometimes exhibited his weaknesses, gave rare opportunities to his strength. And the same may be said of his style. He might certainly have given us less of the typographical tricks with which he chose to bedizen and bedaub it, and sometimes in his ultra-Rabelaisian moods⁠ - I do not mean of gauloiserie but of sheer fooling⁠ - we feel the falsetto rather disastrously. It is constantly forgotten by unfavourable critics of Rabelais that his extravagances were to a great extent, at any rate, quite natural outbursts of animal spirits. The Middle Ages, though it has become the fashion with those who know nothing about them to represent them as ages of gloom, were probably the merriest time of this world’s history; and the Reformation and the Renaissance, with their pedantry and their puritanism, and worst of all their physical science, had not quite killed the merriment when Rabelais wrote. But though animal spirits still survived in Sterne’s day, it cannot be said that in England, any more than elsewhere, there was much genuine merriment of the honest, childish, medieval kind, and thus his manner perpetually jars. Still the style, independently of the tricks, was excellently suited for the work. It is a moot point how far the extremely loose and ungirt character of this style, which sometimes, and indeed often, reaches sheer slovenliness and solecism, was intentional. I think myself that it was nearly as deliberate as the asterisks, and the black and marble pages. We know from the Sermons that Sterne could write carefully enough when he chose, and we know from the MS. of the Journey that he corrected sedulously. Nor is it likely that he had the excuse of hurry. The shortest time that he ever took over one of his two-volume batches was more than six months; and looking at the practice, not of miracles of industry and facility like Scott, but of rather dilatory writers like Thackeray, one would think that the quantity (which is not more than a couple of hundred pages of one of these present volumes) might be written in little more than six weeks. At any rate, the style, conversational, unpretentious, too easy to be jerky, and yet too broken to be sustained, suits subject and scheme as few others could.

* * * * *

But there is perhaps little need to say more about a book which, though some say that few read it through nowadays, is thoroughly well known in outline and in its salient passages, and which will pretty certainly lay hold of all fit readers as soon as they take to it. Of its writer a very little more may perhaps be said, all the more so because those who, not understanding critical admiration, think that biographers and editors ought not only to be just and a little kind, but extravagantly partial to their subjects, may conceive that I have been a little unjust, or, at any rate, a little unkind to Sterne. If so, they have not read his own extremely ingenious, and in general, if not in particular, very sound attack on the adage de mortuis. But if not nil nisi, there is yet very much bonum to be said of Sterne. He was not merely endowed with a singular and essential genius; he was not merely the representative and mouthpiece, in a way hardly surpassed by anyone, of a certain way of thought and feeling more or less peculiar to his time. These were his merits, his very great merits as a writer. But he had others, and great, if not very great ones, as a man. Though never rich, he seems to have been free from the fault of parsimony; and albeit he died in debt, not deeply tainted with that of extravagance in money matters. For most of his later expenditure was on others, and he might justly calculate on his pen paying, and more than paying, his shot. Little love as there was lost between him and his wife, he always took the greatest care to provide for her wants in the rather costly severance of their establishments, and never even in his most indiscreet moments hints a grumble at her expenditure, a vice of which some people of much higher general reputation have been known to be guilty. Though he was certainly pleased at the attentions of “the great,” I do not know that there is any just cause for accusing him of truckling to, or fawning on them beyond the custom and courtesy of the time. For all his reckless humour, there was no ill-nature in him. His worst enemies have admitted that his affection for his daughter was very pretty and quite unaffected; and his letters to and of Mrs. James show that he could think of a woman nobly and wholesomely as a friend, for all his ignoble and unwholesome ways of thought in regard to the sex. If it had not been for the cruel indiscretion of his Lydia (which, however, has something of the old virtue of conveying the balm as well as the sting), he would probably have been much better thought of than he is. And considering the delightful books here once more presented, I think we may consent to forgive the faults which, after all, were mainly his own business, for the merits by which we so largely benefit and for which he reaped no over-bounteous guerdon.
George Saintsbury

Ταράσσει τοὺς Ἀνθρώπους οὐ τὰ Πράγματα,
Ἀλλὰ τὰ περὶ τῶν Πραγμάτων Δόγματα.

To the Right Honourable Mr. Pitt

Sir,⁠ Never poor Wight of a Dedicator had less hopes from his Dedication, than I have from this of mine; for it is written in a bye corner of the kingdom, and in a retir’d thatch’d house, where I live in a constant endeavour to fence against the infirmities of ill health, and other evils of life, by mirth; being firmly persuaded that every time a man smiles, ⁠but much more so, when he laughs, it adds something to this Fragment of Life.

I humbly beg, Sir, that you will honour this book, by taking it - (not under your Protection, ⁠it must protect itself, but) - ⁠into the country with you; where, if I am ever told, it has made you smile; or can conceive it has beguiled you of one moment’s pain - ⁠I shall think myself as happy as a minister of state; perhaps much happier than anyone (one only excepted) that I have read or heard of.
I am, great sir,
(and what is more to your Honour)
I am, good sir,
Your Well-wisher, and
most humble Fellow-subject,
The Author.


Chapter I

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were then doing; that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind; and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;⁠ ⁠Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly, ⁠I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world from that in which the reader is likely to see me.⁠ Believe me, good folks, this is not so inconsiderable a thing as many of you may think it; you have all, I dare say, heard of the animal spirits, as how they are transfused from father to son, etc., etc.⁠, and a great deal to that purpose:⁠ Well, you may take my word, that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracts and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, ’tis not a halfpenny matter,⁠ away they go cluttering like hey-go mad; and by treading the same steps over and over again, they presently make a road of it, as plain and as smooth as a garden-walk, which, when they are once used to, the Devil himself sometimes shall not be able to drive them off it.

Pray, my Dear, quoth my mother, have you not forgot to wind up the clock? - Good G - ! cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time, ⁠Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question? Pray, what was your father saying? Nothing.

Chapter II

Then, positively, there is nothing in the question that I can see, either good or bad.⁠ ⁠Then, let me tell you, Sir, it was a very unseasonable question at least,⁠ because it scattered and dispersed the animal spirits, whose business it was to have escorted and gone hand in hand with the Homunculus, and conducted him safe to the place destined for his reception.

The Homunculus, Sir, in however low and ludicrous a light he may appear, in this age of levity, to the eye of folly or prejudice; to the eye of reason in scientifick research, he stands confess’d⁠ - a Being guarded and circumscribed with rights.⁠ ⁠The minutest philosophers, who, by the by, have the most enlarged understandings (their souls being inversely as their enquiries), show us incontestably, that the Homunculus is created by the same hand,⁠ engender’d in the same course of nature,⁠ endow’d with the same locomotive powers and faculties with us:⁠ That he consists as we do, of skin, hair, fat, flesh, veins, arteries, ligaments, nerves, cartilages, bones, marrow, brains, glands, genitals, humours, and articulations; is a Being of as much activity,⁠ and, in all senses of the word, as much and as truly our fellow-creature as my Lord Chancellor of England.⁠ He may be benefited,⁠ he may be injured,⁠ he may obtain redress; in a word, he has all the claims and rights of humanity, which Tully, Puffendorf, or the best ethick writers allow to arise out of that state and relation.

Now, dear Sir, what if any accident had befallen him in his way alone!⁠ or that, through terror of it, natural to so young a traveller, my little Gentleman had got to his journey’s end miserably spent; his muscular strength and virility worn down to a thread; his own animal spirits ruffled beyond description,⁠ and that in this sad disordered state of nerves, he had lain down a prey to sudden starts, or a series of melancholy dreams and fancies, for nine long, long months together.⁠ I tremble to think what a foundation had been laid for a thousand weaknesses both of body and mind, which no skill of the physician or the philosopher could ever afterwards have set thoroughly to rights.

Chapter III

To my uncle Mr. Toby Shandy do I stand indebted for the preceding anecdote, to whom my father, who was an excellent natural philosopher, and much given to close reasoning upon the smallest matters, had oft, and heavily complained of the injury; but once more particularly, as my uncle Toby well remember’d, upon his observing a most unaccountable obliquity (as he call’d it) in my manner of setting up my top, and justifying the principles upon which I had done it,⁠ the old gentleman shook his head, and in a tone more expressive by half of sorrow than reproach,⁠ he said his heart all along foreboded, and he saw it verified in this, and from a thousand other observations he had made upon me, That I should neither think nor act like any other man’s child:⁠ But alas! continued he, shaking his head a second time, and wiping away a tear which was trickling down his cheeks, My Tristram’s misfortunes began nine months before ever he came into the world.

My mother, who was sitting by, look’d up,⁠ but she knew no more than her backside what my father meant,⁠ but my uncle, Mr. Toby Shandy, who had been often informed of the affair,⁠ understood him very well.

Chapter IV

I know there are readers in the world, as well as many other good people in it, who are no readers at all, who find themselves ill at ease, unless they are let into the whole secret from first to last, of everything which concerns you.

It is in pure compliance with this humour of theirs, and from a backwardness in my nature to disappoint any one soul living, that I have been so very particular already. As my life and opinions are likely to make some noise in the world, and, if I conjecture right, will take in all ranks, professions, and denominations of men whatever,⁠ be no less read than the Pilgrim’s Progress itself⁠ - and in the end, prove the very thing which Montaigne dreaded his Essays should turn out, that is, a book for a parlour-window; I find it necessary to consult every one a little in his turn; and therefore must beg pardon for going on a little farther in the same way: For which cause, right glad I am, that I have begun the history of myself in the way I have done; and that I am able to go on, tracing everything in it, as Horace says, ab Ovo.

Horace, I know, does not recommend this fashion altogether: But that gentleman is speaking only of an epic poem or a tragedy; (I forget which),⁠ besides, if it was not so, I should beg Mr. Horace’s pardon; for in writing what I have set about, I shall confine myself neither to his rules, nor to any man’s rules that ever lived.

To such, however, as do not choose to go so far back into these things, I can give no better advice, than that they skip over the remaining part of this chapter; for I declare beforehand, ’tis wrote only for the curious and inquisitive.

——————Shut the door.—————— I was begot in the night, betwixt the first Sunday and the first Monday in the month of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighteen. I am positive I was.⁠ But how I came to be so very particular in my account of a thing which happened before I was born, is owing to another small anecdote known only in our own family, but now made publick for the better clearing up this point.

My father, you must know, who was originally a Turkey merchant, but had left off business for some years, in order to retire to, and die upon, his paternal estate in the county of, was, I believe, one of the most regular men in everything he did, whether ’twas matter of business, or matter of amusement, that ever lived. As a small specimen of this extreme exactness of his, to which he was in truth a slave,⁠ he had made it a rule for many years of his life,⁠ on the first Sunday-night of every month throughout the whole year,⁠ as certain as ever the Sunday-night came, ⁠to wind up a large house-clock, which we had standing on the backstairs head, with his own hands:⁠ And being somewhere between fifty and sixty years of age at the time I have been speaking of,⁠ he had likewise gradually brought some other little family concernments to the same period, in order, as he would often say to my uncle Toby, to get them all out of the way at one time, and be no more plagued and pestered with them the rest of the month.

It was attended but with one misfortune, which, in a great measure, fell upon myself, and the effects of which I fear I shall carry with me to my grave; namely, that from an unhappy association of ideas, which have no connection in nature, it so fell out at length, that my poor mother could never hear the said clock wound up, ⁠but the thoughts of some other things unavoidably popped into her head⁠ - and vice versa: Which strange combination of ideas, the sagacious Locke, who certainly understood the nature of these things better than most men, affirms to have produced more wry actions than all other sources of prejudice whatsoever.

But this by the by.

Now it appears by a memorandum in my father’s pocketbook, which now lies upon the table, “That on Lady-day, which was on the 25th of the same month in which I date my geniture, ⁠my father set out upon his journey to London, with my eldest brother Bobby, to fix him at Westminster school;” and, as it appears from the same authority, “That he did not get down to his wife and family till the second week in May following,”⁠ - it brings the thing almost to a certainty. However, what follows in the beginning of the next chapter, puts it beyond all possibility of doubt.

But pray, Sir, What was your father doing all December, January, and February? - ⁠Why, Madam,⁠ he was all that time afflicted with a Sciatica.

Chapter V

On the fifth day of November, 1718, which to the æra fixed on, was as near nine calendar months as any husband could in reason have expected,⁠ was I Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, brought forth into this scurvy and disasterous world of ours.⁠ ⁠I wish I had been born in the Moon, or in any of the planets (except Jupiter or Saturn, because I never could bear cold weather) for it could not well have fared worse with me in any of them (though I will not answer for Venus) than it has in this vile, dirty planet of ours,⁠ which, o’ my conscience, with reverence be it spoken, I take to be made up of the shreds and clippings of the rest;⁠ ⁠not but the planet is well enough, provided a man could be born in it to a great title or to a great estate; or could anyhow contrive to be called up to publick charges, and employments of dignity or power;⁠ ⁠but that is not my case;⁠ ⁠and therefore every man will speak of the fair as his own market has gone in it; for which cause I affirm it over again to be one of the vilest worlds that ever was made; for I can truly say, that from the first hour I drew my breath in it, to this, that I can now scarce draw it at all, for an asthma I got in scating against the wind in Flanders; I have been the continual sport of what the world calls Fortune; and though I will not wrong her by saying, She has ever made me feel the weight of any great or signal evil;⁠ ⁠yet with all the good temper in the world, I affirm it of her, that in every stage of my life, and at every turn and corner where she could get fairly at me, the ungracious duchess has pelted me with a set of as pitiful misadventures and cross accidents as ever small Hero sustained.

Chapter VI

In the beginning of the last chapter, I informed you exactly when I was born; but I did not inform you how. No, that particular was reserved entirely for a chapter by itself; besides, Sir, as you and I are in a manner perfect strangers to each other, it would not have been proper to have let you into too many circumstances relating to myself all at once.⁠ You must have a little patience. I have undertaken, you see, to write not only my life, but my opinions also; hoping and expecting that your knowledge of my character, and of what kind of a mortal I am, by the one, would give you a better relish for the other: As you proceed farther with me, the slight acquaintance, which is now beginning betwixt us, will grow into familiarity; and that, unless one of us is in fault, will terminate in friendship.⁠ O diem præclarum!⁠ - then nothing which has touched me will be thought trifling in its nature, or tedious in its telling. Therefore, my dear friend and companion, if you should think me somewhat sparing of my narrative on my first setting out⁠ - bear with me,⁠ and let me go on, and tell my story my own way:⁠ Or, if I should seem now and then to trifle upon the road,⁠ or should sometimes put on a fool’s cap with a bell to it, for a moment or two as we pass along,⁠ don’t fly off,⁠ but rather courteously give me credit for a little more wisdom than appears upon my outside; and as we jog on, either laugh with me, or at me, or in short, do anything,⁠ only keep your temper.

Chapter VII

In the same village where my father and my mother dwelt, dwelt also a thin, upright, motherly, notable, good old body of a midwife, who with the help of a little plain good sense, and some years full employment in her business, in which she had all along trusted little to her own efforts, and a great deal to those of dame Nature,⁠ had acquired, in her way, no small degree of reputation in the world: by which word world, need I in this place inform your worship, that I would be understood to mean no more of it, than a small circle described upon the circle of the great world, of four English miles diameter, or thereabouts, of which the cottage where the good old woman lived, is supposed to be the centre?⁠ She had been left, it seems, a widow in great distress, with three or four small children, in her forty-seventh year; and as she was at that time a person of decent carriage,⁠ grave deportment,⁠ a woman moreover of few words, and withal an object of compassion, whose distress, and silence under it, called out the louder for a friendly lift: the wife of the parson of the parish was touched with pity; and having often lamented an inconvenience, to which her husband’s flock had for many years been exposed, inasmuch as there was no such thing as a midwife, of any kind or degree, to be got at, let the case have been never so urgent, within less than six or seven long miles riding; which seven said long miles in dark nights and dismal roads, the country thereabouts being nothing but a deep clay, was almost equal to fourteen; and that in effect was sometimes next to having no midwife at all; it came into her head, that it would be doing as seasonable a kindness to the whole parish, as to the poor creature herself, to get her a little instructed in some of the plain principles of the business, in order to set her up in it. As no woman thereabouts was better qualified to execute the plan she had formed than herself, the gentlewoman very charitably undertook it; and having great influence over the female part of the parish, she found no difficulty in effecting it to the utmost of her wishes. In truth, the parson join’d his interest with his wife’s in the whole affair; and in order to do things as they should be, and give the poor soul as good a title by law to practise, as his wife had given by institution,⁠ he cheerfully paid the fees for the ordinary’s licence himself, amounting in the whole, to the sum of eighteen shillings and four pence; so that betwixt them both, the good woman was fully invested in the real and corporal possession of her office, together with all its rights, members, and appurtenances whatsoever.

These last words, you must know, were not according to the old form in which such licences, faculties, and powers usually ran, which in like cases had heretofore been granted to the sisterhood. But it was according to a neat Formula of Didius his own devising, who having a particular turn for taking to pieces, and new framing over again, all kind of instruments in that way, not only hit upon this dainty amendment, but coaxed many of the old licensed matrons in the neighbourhood, to open their faculties afresh, in order to have this wham-wham of his inserted.

I own I never could envy Didius in these kinds of fancies of his:⁠ But every man to his own taste.⁠ Did not Dr. Kunastrokius, that great man, at his leisure hours, take the greatest delight imaginable in combing of asses tails, and plucking the dead hairs out with his teeth, though he had tweezers always in his pocket? Nay, if you come to that, Sir, have not the wisest of men in all ages, not excepting Solomon himself,⁠ have they not had their Hobbyhorses; their running horses,⁠ their coins and their cockleshells, their drums and their trumpets, their fiddles, their pallets,⁠ their maggots and their butterflies?⁠ and so long as a man rides his Hobbyhorse peaceably and quietly along the King’s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him,⁠ pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?

Chapter VIII

De gustibus non est disputandum; that is, there is no disputing against Hobbyhorses; and for my part, I seldom do; nor could I with any sort of grace, had I been an enemy to them at the bottom; for happening, at certain intervals and changes of the moon, to be both fidler and painter, according as the fly stings:⁠ Be it known to you, that I keep a couple of pads myself, upon which, in their turns, (nor do I care who knows it) I frequently ride out and take the air; though sometimes, to my shame be it spoken, I take somewhat longer journies than what a wise man would think altogether right.⁠ But the truth is,⁠ I am not a wise man; and besides am a mortal of so little consequence in the world, it is not much matter what I do: so I seldom fret or fume at all about it: Nor does it much disturb my rest, when I see such great Lords and tall Personages as hereafter follow; such, for instance, as my Lord A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, and so on, all of a row, mounted upon their several horses; some with large stirrups, getting on in a more grave and sober pace;⁠ ⁠others on the contrary, tucked up to their very chins, with whips across their mouths, scouring and scampering it away like so many little particoloured devils astride a mortgage,⁠ and as if some of them were resolved to break their necks.⁠ ⁠So much the better⁠ - say I to myself; for in case the worst should happen, the world will make a shift to do excellently well without them; and for the rest, ⁠why - ⁠God speed them - ⁠e’en let them ride on without opposition from me; for were their lordships unhorsed this very night⁠ - ’tis ten to one but that many of them would be worse mounted by one half before tomorrow morning.

Not one of these instances therefore can be said to break in upon my rest.⁠ ⁠But there is an instance, which I own puts me off my guard, and that is, when I see one born for great actions, and what is still more for his honour, whose nature ever inclines him to good ones; when I behold such a one, my Lord, like yourself, whose principles and conduct are as generous and noble as his blood, and whom, for that reason, a corrupt world cannot spare one moment; when I see such a one, my Lord, mounted, though it is but for a minute beyond the time which my love to my country has prescribed to him, and my zeal for his glory wishes,⁠ then, my Lord, I cease to be a philosopher, and in the first transport of an honest impatience, I wish the Hobbyhorse, with all his fraternity, at the Devil.

“My Lord,
“I maintain this to be a dedication, notwithstanding its singularity in the three great essentials of matter, form, and place: I beg, therefore, you will accept it as such, and that you will permit me to lay it, with the most respectful humility, at your Lordship’s feet,⁠ when you are upon them,⁠ which you can be when you please; and that is, my Lord, whenever there is occasion for it, and I will add, to the best purposes too. I have the honour to be,
“My Lord,
Your Lordship’s most obedient,
and most devoted,
and most humble servant,
Tristram Shandy.”

Chapter IX

I solemnly declare to all mankind, that the above dedication was made for no one Prince, Prelate, Pope, or Potentate,⁠ Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount, or Baron, of this, or any other Realm in Christendom;⁠ ⁠nor has it yet been hawked about, or offered publicly or privately, directly or indirectly, to any one person or personage, great or small; but is honestly a true Virgin-Dedication untried on, upon any soul living.

I labour this point so particularly, merely to remove any offence or objection which might arise against it from the manner in which I propose to make the most of it; which is the putting it up fairly to public sale; which I now do.

Every author has a way of his own in bringing his points to bear; for my own part, as I hate chaffering and higgling for a few guineas in a dark entry; I resolved within myself, from the very beginning, to deal squarely and openly with your Great Folks in this affair, and try whether I should not come off the better by it.

If therefore there is any one Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount, or Baron, in these his Majesty’s dominions, who stands in need of a tight, genteel dedication, and whom the above will suit, (for by the by, unless it suits in some degree, I will not part with it) - ⁠it is much at his service for fifty guineas;⁠ ⁠which I am positive is twenty guineas less than it ought to be afforded for, by any man of genius.

My Lord, if you examine it over again, it is far from being a gross piece of daubing, as some dedications are. The design, your Lordship sees, is good,⁠ the colouring transparent,⁠ the drawing not amiss; or to speak more like a man of science,⁠ and measure my piece in the painter’s scale, divided into 20,⁠ I believe, my Lord, the outlines will turn out as 12,⁠ the composition as 9,⁠ the colouring as 6,⁠ the expression 13 and a half,⁠ and the design,⁠ if I may be allowed, my Lord, to understand my own design, and supposing absolute perfection in designing, to be as 20,⁠ I think it cannot well fall short of 19. Besides all this,⁠ there is keeping in it, and the dark strokes in the Hobbyhorse, (which is a secondary figure, and a kind of background to the whole) give great force to the principal lights in your own figure, and make it come off wonderfully;⁠ ⁠and besides, there is an air of originality in the tout ensemble.

Be pleased, my good Lord, to order the sum to be paid into the hands of Mr. Dodsley, for the benefit of the author; and in the next edition care shall be taken that this chapter be expunged, and your Lordship’s titles, distinctions, arms, and good actions, be placed at the front of the preceding chapter: All which, from the words, De gustibus non est disputandum, and whatever else in this book relates to Hobbyhorses, but no more, shall stand dedicated to your Lordship.⁠ The rest I dedicate to the Moon, who, by the by, of all the Patrons or Matrons I can think of, has most power to set my book a-going, and make the world run mad after it.

Bright Goddess,
If thou art not too busy with Candid and Miss Cunegund’s affairs,⁠ take Tristram Shandy’s under thy protection also.

Chapter X

Whatever degree of small merit the act of benignity in favour of the midwife might justly claim, or in whom that claim truly rested,⁠ at first sight seems not very material to this history;⁠ ⁠certain however it was, that the gentlewoman, the parson’s wife, did run away at that time with the whole of it: And yet, for my life, I cannot help thinking but that the parson himself, though he had not the good fortune to hit upon the design first,⁠ yet, as he heartily concurred in it the moment it was laid before him, and as heartily parted with his money to carry it into execution, had a claim to some share of it,⁠ if not to a full half of whatever honour was due to it.

The world at that time was pleased to determine the matter otherwise.

Lay down the book, and I will allow you half a day to give a probable guess at the grounds of this procedure.

Be it known then, that, for about five years before the date of the midwife’s licence, of which you have had so circumstantial an account,⁠ the parson we have to do with had made himself a country-talk by a breach of all decorum, which he had committed against himself, his station, and his office; and that was in never appearing better, or otherwise mounted, than upon a lean, sorry, jackass of a horse, value about one pound fifteen shillings; who, to shorten all description of him, was full brother to Rosinante, as far as similitude congenial could make him; for he answered his description to a hair-breadth in everything,⁠ except that I do not remember ’tis anywhere said, that Rosinante was broken-winded; and that, moreover, Rosinante, as is the happiness of most Spanish horses, fat or lean,⁠ was undoubtedly a horse at all points.

I know very well that the Hero’s horse was a horse of chaste deportment, which may have given grounds for the contrary opinion: But it is as certain at the same time, that Rosinante’s continency (as may be demonstrated from the adventure of the Yanguesian carriers) proceeded from no bodily defect or cause whatsoever, but from the temperance and orderly current of his blood.⁠ And let me tell you, Madam, there is a great deal of very good chastity in the world, in behalf of which you could not say more for your life.

Let that be as it may, as my purpose is to do extra justice to every creature brought upon the stage of this dramatic work,⁠ I could not stifle this distinction in favour of Don Quixote’s horse;⁠ ⁠in all other points, the parson’s horse, I say, was just such another,⁠ for he was as lean, and as lank, and as sorry a jade, as Humility herself could have bestrided.

In the estimation of here and there a man of weak judgment, it was greatly in the parson’s power to have helped the figure of this horse of his,⁠ for he was master of a very handsome demi-peak’d saddle, quilted on the seat with green plush, garnished with a double row of silver-headed studs, and a noble pair of shining brass stirrups, with a housing altogether suitable, of grey superfine cloth, with an edging of black lace, terminating in a deep, black, silk fringe, poudré d’or,⁠ all which he had purchased in the pride and prime of his life, together with a grand embossed bridle, ornamented at all points as it should be.⁠ ⁠But not caring to banter his beast, he had hung all these up behind his study door:⁠ and, in lieu of them, had seriously befitted him with just such a bridle and such a saddle, as the figure and value of such a steed might well and truly deserve.

In the several sallies about his parish, and in the neighbouring visits to the gentry who lived around him,⁠ you will easily comprehend, that the parson, so appointed, would both hear and see enough to keep his philosophy from rusting. To speak the truth, he never could enter a village, but he caught the attention of both old and young.⁠ ⁠Labour stood still as he pass’d - ⁠the bucket hung suspended in the middle of the well, ⁠the spinning-wheel forgot its round, ⁠even chuck-farthing and shuffle-cap themselves stood gaping till he had got out of sight; and as his movement was not of the quickest, he had generally time enough upon his hands to make his observations,⁠ to hear the groans of the serious,⁠ and the laughter of the lighthearted; all which he bore with excellent tranquillity.⁠ His character was,⁠ he loved a jest in his heart⁠ - and as he saw himself in the true point of ridicule, he would say he could not be angry with others for seeing him in a light, in which he so strongly saw himself: So that to his friends, who knew his foible was not the love of money, and who therefore made the less scruple in bantering the extravagance of his humour,⁠ instead of giving the true cause,⁠ he chose rather to join in the laugh against himself; and as he never carried one single ounce of flesh upon his own bones, being altogether as spare a figure as his beast,⁠ he would sometimes insist upon it, that the horse was as good as the rider deserved; that they were, centaur-like,⁠ both of a piece. At other times, and in other moods, when his spirits were above the temptation of false wit,⁠ he would say, he found himself going off fast in a consumption; and, with great gravity, would pretend, he could not bear the sight of a fat horse, without a dejection of heart, and a sensible alteration in his pulse; and that he had made choice of the lean one he rode upon, not only to keep himself in countenance, but in spirits.

At different times he would give fifty humorous and apposite reasons for riding a meek-spirited jade of a broken-winded horse, preferably to one of mettle; for on such a one he could sit mechanically, and meditate as delightfully de vanitate mundi et fugâ sæculi, as with the advantage of a death’s-head before him; that, in all other exercitations, he could spend his time, as he rode slowly along,⁠ to as much account as in his study; that he could draw up an argument in his sermon,⁠ or a hole in his breeches, as steadily on the one as in the other; that brisk trotting and slow argumentation, like wit and judgment, were two incompatible movements.⁠ But that upon his steed⁠ - he could unite and reconcile everything,⁠ he could compose his sermon⁠ - he could compose his cough, ⁠and, in case nature gave a call that way, he could likewise compose himself to sleep.⁠ In short, the parson upon such encounters would assign any cause but the true cause,⁠ and he withheld the true one, only out of a nicety of temper, because he thought it did honour to him.

But the truth of the story was as follows: In the first years of this gentleman’s life, and about the time when the superb saddle and bridle were purchased by him, it had been his manner, or vanity, or call it what you will,⁠ to run into the opposite extreme.⁠ In the language of the county where he dwelt, he was said to have loved a good horse, and generally had one of the best in the whole parish standing in his stable always ready for saddling; and as the nearest midwife, as I told you, did not live nearer to the village than seven miles, and in a vile country,⁠ it so fell out that the poor gentleman was scarce a whole week together without some piteous application for his beast; and as he was not an unkind-hearted man, and every case was more pressing and more distressful than the last,⁠ as much as he loved his beast, he had never a heart to refuse him; the upshot of which was generally this, that his horse was either clapp’d, or spavin’d, or greaz’d; or he was twitter-bon’d, or broken-winded, or something, in short, or other had befallen him, which would let him carry no flesh; so that he had every nine or ten months a bad horse to get rid of,⁠ and a good horse to purchase in his stead.

What the loss on such a balance might amount to, communibus annis, I would leave to a special jury of sufferers in the same traffick, to determine; but let it be what it would, the honest gentleman bore it for many years without a murmur, till at length, by repeated ill accidents of the kind, he found it necessary to take the thing under consideration; and upon weighing the whole, and summing it up in his mind, he found it not only disproportioned to his other expenses, but withal so heavy an article in itself, as to disable him from any other act of generosity in his parish: Besides this, he considered that with half the sum thus galloped away, he could do ten times as much good; and what still weighed more with him than all other considerations put together, was this, that it confined all his charity into one particular channel, and where, as he fancied, it was the least wanted, namely, to the childbearing and child-getting part of his parish; reserving nothing for the impotent,⁠ nothing for the aged,⁠ nothing for the many comfortless scenes he was hourly called forth to visit, where poverty, and sickness, and affliction dwelt together.

For these reasons he resolved to discontinue the expense; and there appeared but two possible ways to extricate him clearly out of it; and these were, either to make it an irrevocable law never more to lend his steed upon any application whatever,⁠ or else be content to ride the last poor devil, such as they had made him, with all his aches and infirmities, to the very end of the chapter.

As he dreaded his own constancy in the first⁠ - he very cheerfully betook himself to the second; and though he could very well have explained it, as I said, to his honour,⁠ yet, for that very reason, he had a spirit above it; choosing rather to bear the contempt of his enemies, and the laughter of his friends, than undergo the pain of telling a story, which might seem a panegyrick upon himself.

I have the highest idea of the spiritual and refined sentiments of this reverend gentleman, from this single stroke in his character, which I think comes up to any of the honest refinements of the peerless knight of La Mancha, whom, by the by, with all his follies, I love more, and would actually have gone farther to have paid a visit to, than the greatest hero of antiquity.

But this is not the moral of my story: The thing I had in view was to show the temper of the world in the whole of this affair.⁠ For you must know, that so long as this explanation would have done the parson credit,⁠ the devil a soul could find it out,⁠ I suppose his enemies would not, and that his friends could not.⁠ ⁠But no sooner did he bestir himself in behalf of the midwife, and pay the expenses of the ordinary’s licence to set her up,⁠ but the whole secret came out; every horse he had lost, and two horses more than ever he had lost, with all the circumstances of their destruction, were known and distinctly remembered.⁠ The story ran like wildfire⁠ - “The parson had a returning fit of pride which had just seized him; and he was going to be well mounted once again in his life; and if it was so, ’twas plain as the sun at noonday, he would pocket the expense of the licence, ten times told, the very first year:⁠ So that everybody was left to judge what were his views in this act of charity.”

What were his views in this, and in every other action of his life,⁠ or rather what were the opinions which floated in the brains of other people concerning it, was a thought which too much floated in his own, and too often broke in upon his rest, when he should have been sound asleep.

About ten years ago this gentleman had the good fortune to be made entirely easy upon that score,⁠ it being just so long since he left his parish,⁠ and the whole world at the same time behind him,⁠ and stands accountable to a Judge of whom he will have no cause to complain.

But there is a fatality attends the actions of some men: Order them as they will, they pass thro’ a certain medium, which so twists and refracts them from their true directions - ⁠that, with all the titles to praise which a rectitude of heart can give, the doers of them are nevertheless forced to live and die without it.

Of the truth of which, this gentleman was a painful example.⁠ ⁠But to know by what means this came to pass,⁠ and to make that knowledge of use to you, I insist upon it that you read the two following chapters, which contain such a sketch of his life and conversation, as will carry its moral along with it.⁠ When this is done, if nothing stops us in our way, we will go on with the midwife.

Chapter XI

Yorick was this parson’s name, and, what is very remarkable in it (as appears from a most ancient account of the family, wrote upon strong vellum, and now in perfect preservation) it had been exactly so spelt for near, ⁠I was within an ace of saying nine hundred years;⁠ ⁠but I would not shake my credit in telling an improbable truth, however indisputable in itself;⁠ ⁠and therefore I shall content myself with only saying - ⁠It had been exactly so spelt, without the least variation or transposition of a single letter, for I do not know how long; which is more than I would venture to say of one half of the best surnames in the kingdom; which, in a course of years, have generally undergone as many chops and changes as their owners.⁠ Has this been owing to the pride, or to the shame of the respective proprietors?⁠ In honest truth, I think sometimes to the one, and sometimes to the other, just as the temptation has wrought. But a villainous affair it is, and will one day so blend and confound us altogether, that no one shall be able to stand up and swear, “That his own great grandfather was the man who did either this or that.”

This evil had been sufficiently fenced against by the prudent care of the Yorick’s family, and their religious preservation of these records I quote, which do farther inform us, That the family was originally of Danish extraction, and had been transplanted into England as early as in the reign of Horwendillus, king of Denmark, in whose court, it seems, an ancestor of this Mr. Yorick’s, and from whom he was lineally descended, held a considerable post to the day of his death. Of what nature this considerable post was, this record saith not; It only adds, That, for near two centuries, it had been totally abolished, as altogether unnecessary, not only in that court, but in every other court of the Christian world.

It has often come into my head, that this post could be no other than that of the king’s chief Jester; and that Hamlet’s Yorick, in our Shakespeare, many of whose plays, you know, are founded upon authenticated facts, was certainly the very man.

I have not the time to look into Saxo-Grammaticus’s Danish History, to know the certainty of this; but if you have leisure, and can easily get at the book, you may do it full as well yourself.

I had just time, in my travels through Denmark with Mr. Noddy’s eldest son, whom, in the year 1741, I accompanied as governor, riding along with him at a prodigious rate thro’ most parts of Europe, and of which original journey performed by us two, a most delectable narrative will be given in the progress of this work; I had just time, I say, and that was all, to prove the truth of an observation made by a long sojourner in that country;⁠ ⁠namely, “That nature was neither very lavish, nor was she very stingy in her gifts of genius and capacity to its inhabitants; but, like a discreet parent, was moderately kind to them all; observing such an equal tenor in the distribution of her favours, as to bring them, in those points, pretty near to a level with each other; so that you will meet with few instances in that kingdom of refined parts; but a great deal of good plain household understanding amongst all ranks of people, of which everybody has a share;” which is, I think, very right.

With us, you see, the case is quite different:⁠ we are all ups and downs in this matter; you are a great genius; or ’tis fifty to one, Sir, you are a great dunce and a blockhead; not that there is a total want of intermediate steps,⁠ no,⁠ we are not so irregular as that comes to; but the two extremes are more common, and in a greater degree in this unsettled island, where nature, in her gifts and dispositions of this kind, is most whimsical and capricious; fortune herself not being more so in the bequest of her goods and chattels than she.

This is all that ever staggered my faith in regard to Yorick’s extraction, who, by what I can remember of him, and by all the accounts I could ever get of him, seemed not to have had one single drop of Danish blood in his whole crasis; in nine hundred years, it might possibly have all run out: I will not philosophize one moment with you about it; for happen how it would, the fact was this:⁠ That instead of that cold phlegm and exact regularity of sense and humours, you would have looked for, in one so extracted; he was, on the contrary, as mercurial and sublimated a composition,⁠ as heteroclite a creature in all his declensions; with as much life and whim, and gaité de cœur about him, as the kindliest climate could have engendered and put together. With all this sail, poor Yorick carried not one ounce of ballast; he was utterly unpractised in the world; and, at the age of twenty-six, knew just about as well how to steer his course in it, as a romping, unsuspicious girl of thirteen: So that upon his first setting out, the brisk gale of his spirits, as you will imagine, ran him foul ten times in a day of somebody’s tackling; and as the grave and more slow-paced were oftenest in his way, ⁠you may likewise imagine, ’twas with such he had generally the ill luck to get the most entangled. For aught I know there might be some mixture of unlucky wit at the bottom of such Fracas: For, to speak the truth, Yorick had an invincible dislike and opposition in his nature to gravity; not to gravity as such; for where gravity was wanted, he would be the most grave or serious of mortal men for days and weeks together; but he was an enemy to the affectation of it, and declared open war against it, only as it appeared a cloak for ignorance, or for folly: and then, whenever it fell in his way, however sheltered and protected, he seldom gave it much quarter.

Sometimes, in his wild way of talking, he would say that Gravity was an errant scoundrel, and he would add,⁠ of the most dangerous kind too,⁠ because a sly one; and that he verily believed, more honest, well-meaning people were bubbled out of their goods and money by it in one twelvemonth, than by pocket-picking and shoplifting in seven. In the naked temper which a merry heart discovered, he would say, there was no danger,⁠ but to itself:⁠ whereas the very essence of gravity was design, and consequently deceit; ’twas a taught trick to gain credit of the world for more sense and knowledge than a man was worth; and that, with all its pretensions,⁠ it was no better, but often worse, than what a French wit had long ago defined it,⁠ viz. A mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the mind; which definition of gravity, Yorick, with great imprudence, would say, deserved to be wrote in letters of gold.

But, in plain truth, he was a man unhackneyed and unpractised in the world, and was altogether as indiscreet and foolish on every other subject of discourse where policy is wont to impress restraint. Yorick had no impression but one, and that was what arose from the nature of the deed spoken of; which impression he would usually translate into plain English without any periphrasis; and too oft without much distinction of either person, time, or place; so that when mention was made of a pitiful or an ungenerous proceeding - ⁠he never gave himself a moment’s time to reflect who was the hero of the piece, ⁠what his station, ⁠or how far he had power to hurt him hereafter;⁠ ⁠but if it was a dirty action,⁠ without more ado,⁠ The man was a dirty fellow,⁠ and so on.⁠ And as his comments had usually the ill fate to be terminated either in a bon mot, or to be enlivened throughout with some drollery or humour of expression, it gave wings to Yorick’s indiscretion. In a word, though he never sought, yet, at the same time, as he seldom shunned occasions of saying what came uppermost, and without much ceremony;⁠ ⁠he had but too many temptations in life, of scattering his wit and his humour,⁠ his gibes and his jests about him.⁠ ⁠They were not lost for want of gathering.

What were the consequences, and what was Yorick’s catastrophe thereupon, you will read in the next chapter.

Chapter XII

The Mortgager and Mortgagée differ the one from the other, not more in length of purse, than the Jester and Jestée do, in that of memory. But in this the comparison between them runs, as the scholiasts call it, upon all-four; which, by the by, is upon one or two legs more than some of the best of Homer’s can pretend to; namely, That the one raises a sum, and the other a laugh at your expense, and thinks no more about it. Interest, however, still runs on in both cases; the periodical or accidental payments of it, just serving to keep the memory of the affair alive; till, at length, in some evil hour,⁠ pop comes the creditor upon each, and by demanding principal upon the spot, together with full interest to the very day, makes them both feel the full extent of their obligations.

As the reader (for I hate your ifs) has a thorough knowledge of human nature, I need not say more to satisfy him, that my Hero could not go on at this rate without some slight experience of these incidental mementos. To speak the truth, he had wantonly involved himself in a multitude of small book-debts of this stamp, which, notwithstanding Eugenius’s frequent advice, he too much disregarded; thinking, that as not one of them was contracted thro’ any malignancy; but, on the contrary, from an honesty of mind, and a mere jocundity of humour, they would all of them be cross’d out in course.

Eugenius would never admit this; and would often tell him, that one day or other he would certainly be reckoned with; and he would often add, in an accent of sorrowful apprehension,⁠ to the uttermost mite. To which Yorick, with his usual carelessness of heart, would as often answer with a pshaw!⁠ and if the subject was started in the fields⁠ - with a hop, skip, and a jump at the end of it; but if close pent up in the social chimney-corner, where the culprit was barricado’d in, with a table and a couple of armchairs, and could not so readily fly off in a tangent,⁠ Eugenius would then go on with his lecture upon discretion in words to this purpose, though somewhat better put together.

Trust me, dear Yorick, this unwary pleasantry of thine will sooner or later bring thee into scrapes and difficulties, which no after-wit can extricate thee out of.⁠ ⁠In these sallies, too oft, I see, it happens, that a person laughed at, considers himself in the light of a person injured, with all the rights of such a situation belonging to him; and when thou viewest him in that light too, and reckons up his friends, his family, his kindred and allies, ⁠and musters up with them the many recruits which will list under him from a sense of common danger;⁠ ’tis no extravagant arithmetick to say, that for every ten jokes,⁠ thou hast got an hundred enemies; and till thou hast gone on, and raised a swarm of wasps about thine ears, and art half stung to death by them, thou wilt never be convinced it is so.

I cannot suspect it in the man whom I esteem, that there is the least spur from spleen or malevolence of intent in these sallies - ⁠I believe and know them to be truly honest and sportive:⁠ But consider, my dear lad, that fools cannot distinguish this,⁠ and that knaves will not: and thou knowest not what it is, either to provoke the one, or to make merry with the other: whenever they associate for mutual defence, depend upon it, they will carry on the war in such a manner against thee, my dear friend, as to make thee heartily sick of it, and of thy life too.

Revenge from some baneful corner shall level a tale of dishonour at thee, which no innocence of heart or integrity of conduct shall set right.⁠ ⁠The fortunes of thy house shall totter,⁠ thy character, which led the way to them, shall bleed on every side of it,⁠ thy faith questioned,⁠ thy works belied,⁠ thy wit forgotten,⁠ thy learning trampled on. To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy, Cruelty and Cowardice, twin ruffians, hired and set on by Malice in the dark, shall strike together at all thy infirmities and mistakes: The best of us, my dear lad, lie open there, ⁠and trust me, ⁠trust me, Yorick, when to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and an helpless creature shall be sacrificed, ’tis an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it has strayed, to make a fire to offer it up with.

Yorick scarce ever heard this sad vaticination of his destiny read over to him, but with a fear stealing from his eye, and a promissory look attending it, that he was resolved, for the time to come, to ride his tit with more sobriety.⁠ But, alas, too late!⁠ a grand confederacy, with ***** and ***** at the head of it, was formed before the first prediction of it.⁠ The whole plan of the attack, just as Eugenius had foreboded, was put in execution all at once,⁠ with so little mercy on the side of the allies,⁠ and so little suspicion in Yorick, of what was carrying on against him,⁠ that when he thought, good easy man! full surely preferment was o’ ripening,⁠ they had smote his root, and then he fell, as many a worthy man had fallen before him.

Yorick, however, fought it out with all imaginable gallantry for some time; till, overpowered by numbers, and worn out at length by the calamities of the war,⁠ but more so, by the ungenerous manner in which it was carried on,⁠ he threw down the sword; and though he kept up his spirits in appearance to the last, he died, nevertheless, as was generally thought, quite brokenhearted.

What inclined Eugenius to the same opinion was as follows:

A few hours before Yorick breathed his last, Eugenius stepped in with an intent to take his last sight and last farewell of him. Upon his drawing Yorick’s curtain, and asking how he felt himself, Yorick looking up in his face took hold of his hand,⁠ and after thanking him for the many tokens of his friendship to him, for which, he said, if it was their fate to meet hereafter,⁠ he would thank him again and again,⁠ he told him, he was within a few hours of giving his enemies the slip forever.⁠ I hope not, answered Eugenius, with tears trickling down his cheeks, and with the tenderest tone that ever man spoke.⁠ I hope not, Yorick, said he.⁠ ⁠Yorick replied, with a look up, and a gentle squeeze of Eugenius’s hand, and that was all,⁠ but it cut Eugenius to his heart,⁠ Come⁠ - come, Yorick, quoth Eugenius, wiping his eyes, and summoning up the man within him,⁠ my dear lad, be comforted,⁠ let not all thy spirits and fortitude forsake thee at this crisis when thou most wants them;⁠ ⁠who knows what resources are in store, and what the power of God may yet do for thee?⁠ ⁠Yorick laid his hand upon his heart, and gently shook his head; For my part, continued Eugenius, crying bitterly as he uttered the words,⁠ I declare I know not, Yorick, how to part with thee, and would gladly flatter my hopes, added Eugenius, cheering up his voice, that there is still enough left of thee to make a bishop, and that I may live to see it.⁠ ⁠I beseech thee, Eugenius, quoth Yorick, taking off his nightcap as well as he could with his left hand, ⁠his right being still grasped close in that of Eugenius, ⁠I beseech thee to take a view of my head.⁠ I see nothing that ails it, replied Eugenius. Then, alas! my friend, said Yorick, let me tell you, that ’tis so bruised and mis-shapened with the blows which ***** and *****, and some others have so unhandsomely given me, in the dark, that I might say with Sancho Pança, that should I recover, and “Mitres thereupon be suffered to rain down from heaven as thick as hail, not one of them would fit it.” - ⁠Yorick’s last breath was hanging upon his trembling lips ready to depart as he uttered this: yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantick tone;⁠ ⁠and as he spoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up for a moment in his eyes;⁠ ⁠faint picture of those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakespeare said of his ancestor) were wont to set the table in a roar!

Eugenius was convinced from this, that the heart of his friend was broke: he squeezed his hand, ⁠and then walked softly out of the room, weeping as he walked. Yorick followed Eugenius with his eyes to the door,⁠ he then closed them,⁠ and never opened them more.

He lies buried in the corner of his churchyard, in the parish of, under a plain marble slab, which his friend Eugenius, by leave of his executors, laid upon his grave, with no more than these three words of inscription, serving both for his epitaph and elegy.

Alas, poor Yorick!

Ten times a day has Yorick’s ghost the consolation to hear his monumental inscription read over with such a variety of plaintive tones, as denote a general pity and esteem for him;⁠ ⁠a foot-way crossing the churchyard close by the side of his grave,⁠ not a passenger goes by without stopping to cast a look upon it,⁠ and sighing as he walks on,

Alas, poor Yorick!

Chapter XIII

It is so long since the reader of this rhapsodical work has been parted from the midwife, that it is high time to mention her again to him, merely to put him in mind that there is such a body still in the world, and whom, upon the best judgment I can form upon my own plan at present,⁠ I am going to introduce to him for good and all: But as fresh matter may be started, and much unexpected business fall out betwixt the reader and myself, which may require immediate dispatch;⁠ ’twas right to take care that the poor woman should not be lost in the meantime; because when she is wanted, we can no way do without her.

I think I told you that this good woman was a person of no small note and consequence throughout our whole village and township; that her fame had spread itself to the very out-edge and circumference of that circle of importance, of which kind every soul living, whether he has a shirt to his back or no, ⁠has one surrounding him; which said circle, by the way, whenever ’tis said that such a one is of great weight and importance in the world, ⁠I desire may be enlarged or contracted in your worship’s fancy, in a compound ratio of the station, profession, knowledge, abilities, height and depth (measuring both ways) of the personage brought before you.

In the present case, if I remember, I fixed it about four or five miles, which not only comprehended the whole parish, but extended itself to two or three of the adjacent hamlets in the skirts of the next parish; which made a considerable thing of it. I must add, That she was, moreover, very well looked on at one large grange-house, and some other odd houses and farms within two or three miles, as I said, from the smoke of her own chimney: But I must here, once for all, inform you, that all this will be more exactly delineated and explain’d in a map, now in the hands of the engraver, which, with many other pieces and developements of this work, will be added to the end of the twentieth volume,⁠ not to swell the work,⁠ I detest the thought of such a thing; but by way of commentary, scholium, illustration, and key to such passages, incidents, or innuendos as shall be thought to be either of private interpretation, or of dark or doubtful meaning, after my life and my opinions shall have been read over (now don’t forget the meaning of the word) by all the world;⁠ ⁠which, betwixt you and me, and in spite of all the gentlemen-reviewers in Great Britain, and of all that their worships shall undertake to write or say to the contrary,⁠ I am determined shall be the case.⁠ I need not tell your worship, that all this is spoke in confidence.

Chapter XIV

Upon looking into my mother’s marriage-settlement, in order to satisfy myself and reader in a point necessary to be cleared up, before we could proceed any farther in this history; I had the good fortune to pop upon the very thing I wanted before I had read a day and a half straight forwards,⁠ it might have taken me up a month; which shows plainly, that when a man sits down to write a history,⁠ though it be but the history of Jack Hickathrift or Tom Thumb, he knows no more than his heels what lets and confounded hindrances he is to meet with in his way,⁠ or what a dance he may be led, by one excursion or another, before all is over. Could a historiographer drive on his history, as a muleteer drives on his mule,⁠ straight forward;⁠ ⁠for instance, from Rome all the way to Loretto, without ever once turning his head aside either to the right hand or to the left, ⁠he might venture to foretell you to an hour when he should get to his journey’s end;⁠ ⁠but the thing is, morally speaking, impossible: For, if he is a man of the least spirit, he will have fifty deviations from a straight line to make with this or that party as he goes along, which he can no ways avoid. He will have views and prospects to himself perpetually soliciting his eye, which he can no more help standing still to look at than he can fly; he will moreover have various

Accounts to reconcile:
Anecdotes to pick up:
Inscriptions to make out:
Stories to weave in:
Traditions to sift:
Personages to call upon:
Panegyricks to paste up at this door;

Pasquinades at that: All which both the man and his mule are quite exempt from. To sum up all; there are archives at every stage to be look’d into, and rolls, records, documents, and endless genealogies, which justice ever and anon calls him back to stay the reading of: In short, there is no end of it;⁠ ⁠for my own part, I declare I had been at it these six weeks, making all the speed I possibly could,⁠ and am not yet born:⁠ I have just been able, and that’s all, to tell you when it happen’d, but not how; so that you see the thing is yet far from being accomplished.

These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out; but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance,⁠ have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow;⁠ ⁠and that is,⁠ not to be in a hurry; but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year;⁠ ⁠which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can make a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live.

Chapter XV

The article in my mother’s marriage-settlement, which I told the reader I was at the pains to search for, and which, now that I have found it, I think proper to lay before him,⁠ is so much more fully express’d in the deed itself, than ever I can pretend to do it, that it would be barbarity to take it out of the lawyer’s hand:⁠ It is as follows.

“And this Indenture further witnesseth, That the said Walter Shandy, merchant, in consideration of the said intended marriage to be had, and, by God’s blessing, to be well and truly solemnised and consummated between the said Walter Shandy and Elizabeth Mollineux aforesaid, and divers other good and valuable causes and considerations him thereunto specially moving,⁠ doth grant, covenant, condescend, consent, conclude, bargain, and fully agree to and with John Dixon, and James Turner, Esqrs. the above-named Trustees, etc. etc.⁠ - to Wit,⁠ That in case it should hereafter so fall out, chance, happen, or otherwise come to pass,⁠ That the said Walter Shandy, merchant, shall have left off business before the time or times, that the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall, according to the course of nature, or otherwise, have left off bearing and bringing forth children; and that, in consequence of the said Walter Shandy having so left off business, he shall in despight, and against the free-will, consent, and good-liking of the said Elizabeth Mollineux,⁠ make a departure from the city of London, in order to retire to, and dwell upon, his estate at Shandy Hall, in the county of, or at any other country-seat, castle, hall, mansion-house, messuage or grainge-house, now purchased, or hereafter to be purchased, or upon any part or parcel thereof:⁠ That then, and as often as the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall happen to be enceint with child or children severally and lawfully begot, or to be begotten, upon the body of the said Elizabeth Mollineux, during her said coverture,⁠ he the said Walter Shandy shall, at his own proper cost and charges, and out of his own proper monies, upon good and reasonable notice, which is hereby agreed to be within six weeks of her the said Elizabeth Mollineux’s full reckoning, or time of supposed and computed delivery,⁠ pay, or cause to be paid, the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds of good and lawful money, to John Dixon, and James Turner, Esqrs. or assigns,⁠ upon trust and confidence, and for and unto the use and uses, intent, end, and purpose following:⁠ That is to say,⁠ That the said sum of one hundred and twenty pounds shall be paid into the hands of the said Elizabeth Mollineux, or to be otherwise applied by them the said Trustees, for the well and truly hiring of one coach, with able and sufficient horses, to carry and convey the body of the said Elizabeth Mollineux, and the child or children which she shall be then and there enceint and pregnant with,⁠ unto the city of London; and for the further paying and defraying of all other incidental costs, charges, and expenses whatsoever,⁠ in and about, and for, and relating to, her said intended delivery and lying-in, in the said city or suburbs thereof. And that the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall and may, from time to time, and at all such time and times as are here covenanted and agreed upon,⁠ peaceably and quietly hire the said coach and horses, and have free ingress, egress, and regress throughout her journey, in and from the said coach, according to the tenor, true intent, and meaning of these presents, without any let, suit, trouble, disturbance, molestation, discharge, hindrance, forfeiture, eviction, vexation, interruption, or incumbrance whatsoever.⁠ And that it shall moreover be lawful to and for the said Elizabeth Mollineux, from time to time, and as oft or often as she shall well and truly be advanced in her said pregnancy, to the time heretofore stipulated and agreed upon,⁠ to live and reside in such place or places, and in such family or families, and with such relations, friends, and other persons within the said city of London, as she at her own will and pleasure, notwithstanding her present coverture, and as if she was a femme sole and unmarried,⁠ shall think fit.⁠ And this Indenture further Witnesseth, That for the more effectually carrying of the said covenant into execution, the said Walter Shandy, merchant, doth hereby grant, bargain, sell, release, and confirm unto the said John Dixon, and James Turner, Esqrs. their heirs, executors, and assigns, in their actual possession now being, by virtue of an indenture of bargain and sale for a year to them the said John Dickson, and James Turner, Esqrs. by him the said Walter Shandy, merchant, thereof made; which said bargain and sale for a year, bears date the day next before the date of these presents, and by force and virtue of the statute for transferring of uses into possession,⁠ All that the manor and lordship of Shandy, in the county of, with all the rights, members, and appurtenances thereof; and all and every the messuages, houses, buildings, barns, stables, orchards, gardens, backsides, tofts, crofts, garths, cottages, lands, meadows, feedings, pastures, marshes, commons, woods, underwoods, drains, fisheries, waters, and watercourses; together with all rents, reversions, services, annuities, fee-farms, knights fees, views of frankpledge, escheats, reliefs, mines, quarries, goods and chattels of felons and fugitives, felons of themselves, and put in exigent, deodands, free warrens, and all other royalties and seigniories, rights and jurisdictions, privileges and hereditaments whatsoever.⁠ ⁠And also the advowson, donation, presentation, and free disposition of the rectory or parsonage of Shandy aforesaid, and all and every the tenths, tythes, glebe-lands.” - ⁠In three words, “My mother was to lay in, (if she chose it) in London.”

But in order to put a stop to the practice of any unfair play on the part of my mother, which a marriage-article of this nature too manifestly opened a door to, and which indeed had never been thought of at all, but for my uncle Toby Shandy; a clause was added in security of my father, which was this:⁠ “That in case my mother hereafter should, at any time, put my father to the trouble and expense of a London journey, upon false cries and tokens;⁠ ⁠that for every such instance, she should forfeit all the right and title which the covenant gave her to the next turn;⁠ ⁠but to no more,⁠ and so on, toties quoties, in as effectual a manner, as if such a covenant betwixt them had not been made.”⁠ - This, by the way, was no more than what was reasonable; and yet, as reasonable as it was, I have ever thought it hard that the whole weight of the article should have fallen entirely, as it did, upon myself.

But I was begot and born to misfortunes:⁠ for my poor mother, whether it was wind or water⁠ - or a compound of both,⁠ or neither; or whether it was simply the mere swell of imagination and fancy in her; or how far a strong wish and desire to have it so, might mislead her judgment:⁠ in short, whether she was deceived or deceiving in this matter, it no way becomes me to decide. The fact was this, That in the latter end of September 1717, which was the year before I was born, my mother having carried my father up to town much against the grain,⁠ he peremptorily insisted upon the clause; so that I was doom’d, by marriage-articles, to have my nose squeez’d as flat to my face, as if the destinies had actually spun me without one.

How this event came about,⁠ and what a train of vexatious disappointments, in one stage or other of my life, have pursued me from the mere loss, or rather compression, of this one single member,⁠ shall be laid before the reader all in due time.

Chapter XVI

My father, as anybody may naturally imagine, came down with my mother into the country, in but a pettish kind of a humour. The first twenty or five-and-twenty miles he did nothing in the world but fret and tease himself, and indeed my mother too, about the cursed expense, which he said might every shilling of it have been saved; then what vexed him more than everything else was, the provoking time of the year,⁠ which, as I told you, was towards the end of September, when his wall-fruit and green gages especially, in which he was very curious, were just ready for pulling: “Had he been whistled up to London, upon a Tom Fool’s errand, in any other month of the whole year, he should not have said three words about it.”

For the next two whole stages, no subject would go down, but the heavy blow he had sustain’d from the loss of a son, whom it seems he had fully reckon’d upon in his mind, and register’d down in his pocketbook, as a second staff for his old age, in case Bobby should fail him. The disappointment of this, he said, was ten times more to a wise man, than all the money which the journey, etc., had cost him, put together,⁠ rot the hundred and twenty pounds, ⁠he did not mind it a rush.

From Stilton, all the way to Grantham, nothing in the whole affair provoked him so much as the condolences of his friends, and the foolish figure they should both make at church, the first Sunday;⁠ ⁠of which, in the satirical vehemence of his wit, now sharpen’d a little by vexation, he would give so many humorous and provoking descriptions,⁠ and place his rib and self in so many tormenting lights and attitudes in the face of the whole congregation; that my mother declared, these two stages were so truly tragicomical, that she did nothing but laugh and cry in a breath, from one end to the other of them all the way.

From Grantham, till they had cross’d the Trent, my father was out of all kind of patience at the vile trick and imposition which he fancied my mother had put upon him in this affair⁠ - “Certainly,” he would say to himself, over and over again, “the woman could not be deceived herself - ⁠if she could, ⁠what weakness!”⁠ - tormenting word!⁠ which led his imagination a thorny dance, and, before all was over, play’d the duce and all with him;⁠ ⁠for sure as ever the word weakness was uttered, and struck full upon his brain⁠ - so sure it set him upon running divisions upon how many kinds of weaknesses there were;⁠ ⁠that there was such a thing as weakness of the body, ⁠as well as weakness of the mind,⁠ and then he would do nothing but syllogize within himself for a stage or two together, How far the cause of all these vexations might, or might not, have arisen out of himself.

In short, he had so many little subjects of disquietude springing out of this one affair, all fretting successively in his mind as they rose up in it, that my mother, whatever was her journey up, had but an uneasy journey of it down.⁠ ⁠In a word, as she complained to my uncle Toby, he would have tired out the patience of any flesh alive.

Chapter XVII

Though my father travelled homewards, as I told you, in none of the best of moods,⁠ pshawing and pishing all the way down,⁠ yet he had the complaisance to keep the worst part of the story still to himself; which was the resolution he had taken of doing himself the justice, which my uncle Toby’s clause in the marriage-settlement empowered him; nor was it till the very night in which I was begot, which was thirteen months after, that she had the least intimation of his design: when my father, happening, as you remember, to be a little chagrin’d and out of temper, ⁠took occasion as they lay chatting gravely in bed afterwards, talking over what was to come, ⁠to let her know that she must accommodate herself as well as she could to the bargain made between them in their marriage-deeds; which was to lye-in of her next child in the country, to balance the last year’s journey.

My father was a gentleman of many virtues,⁠ but he had a strong spice of that in his temper, which might, or might not, add to the number.⁠ ’Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause,⁠ and of obstinacy in a bad one: Of this my mother had so much knowledge, that she knew ’twas to no purpose to make any remonstrance,⁠ so she e’en resolved to sit down quietly, and make the most of it.

Chapter XVIII

As the point was that night agreed, or rather determined, that my mother should lye-in of me in the country, she took her measures accordingly; for which purpose, when she was three days, or thereabouts, gone with child, she began to cast her eyes upon the midwife, whom you have so often heard me mention; and before the week was well got round, as the famous Dr. Manningham was not to be had, she had come to a final determination in her mind, ⁠notwithstanding there was a scientific operator within so near a call as eight miles of us, and who, moreover, had expressly wrote a five shillings book upon the subject of midwifery, in which he had exposed, not only the blunders of the sisterhood itself, ⁠but had likewise superadded many curious improvements for the quicker extraction of the fœtus in cross births, and some other cases of danger, which belay us in getting into the world; notwithstanding all this, my mother, I say, was absolutely determined to trust her life, and mine with it, into no soul’s hand but this old woman’s only.⁠ Now this I like; when we cannot get at the very thing we wish - ⁠never to take up with the next best in degree to it:⁠ no; that’s pitiful beyond description; it is no more than a week from this very day, in which I am now writing this book for the edification of the world; which is March 9, 1759, ⁠that my dear, dear Jenny, observing I looked a little grave, as she stood cheapening a silk of five-and-twenty shillings a yard,⁠ told the mercer, she was sorry she had given him so much trouble; and immediately went and bought herself a yard-wide stuff of tenpence a yard.⁠ ’Tis the duplication of one and the same greatness of soul; only what lessened the honour of it, somewhat, in my mother’s case, was, that she could not heroine it into so violent and hazardous an extreme, as one in her situation might have wished, because the old widwife had really some little claim to be depended upon,⁠ as much, at least, as success could give her; having, in the course of her practice of near twenty years in the parish, brought every mother’s son of them into the world without any one slip or accident which could fairly be laid to her account.

These facts, though they had their weight, yet did not altogether satisfy some few scruples and uneasinesses which hung upon my father’s spirits in relation to this choice.⁠ To say nothing of the natural workings of humanity and justice⁠ - or of the yearnings of parental and connubial love, all which prompted him to leave as little to hazard as possible in a case of this kind;⁠ ⁠he felt himself concerned in a particular manner, that all should go right in the present case; from the accumulated sorrow he lay open to, should any evil betide his wife and child in lying-in at Shandy-Hall.⁠ ⁠He knew the world judged by events, and would add to his afflictions in such a misfortune, by loading him with the whole blame of it.⁠ “Alas, o’day; had Mrs. Shandy, poor gentlewoman! had but her wish in going up to town just to lye-in and come down again; which, they say, she begged and prayed for upon her bare knees, ⁠and which, in my opinion, considering the fortune which Mr. Shandy got with her,⁠ was no such mighty matter to have complied with, the lady and her babe might both of them have been alive at this hour.”

This exclamation, my father knew, was unanswerable; and yet, it was not merely to shelter himself,⁠ nor was it altogether for the care of his offspring and wife that he seemed so extremely anxious about this point; my father had extensive views of things, ⁠and stood moreover, as he thought, deeply concerned in it for the publick good, from the dread he entertained of the bad uses an ill-fated instance might be put to.

He was very sensible that all political writers upon the subject had unanimously agreed and lamented, from the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign down to his own time, that the current of men and money towards the metropolis, upon one frivolous errand or another,⁠ set in so strong,⁠ as to become dangerous to our civil rights,⁠ though, by the by, ⁠a current was not the image he took most delight in,⁠ a distemper was here his favourite metaphor, and he would run it down into a perfect allegory, by maintaining it was identically the same in the body national as in the body natural where the blood and spirits were driven up into the head faster than they could find their ways down;⁠ ⁠a stoppage of circulation must ensue, which was death in both cases.

There was little danger, he would say, of losing our liberties by French politicks or French invasions;⁠ ⁠nor was he so much in pain of a consumption from the mass of corrupted matter and ulcerated humours in our constitution, which he hoped was not so bad as it was imagined; but he verily feared, that in some violent push, we should go off, all at once, in a state-apoplexy; and then he would say, The Lord have mercy upon us all.

My father was never able to give the history of this distemper,⁠ without the remedy along with it.

“Was I an absolute prince,” he would say, pulling up his breeches with both his hands, as he rose from his armchair, “I would appoint able judges, at every avenue of my metropolis, who should take cognizance of every fool’s business who came there; and if, upon a fair and candid hearing, it appeared not of weight sufficient to leave his own home, and come up, bag and baggage, with his wife and children, farmer’s sons, etc., etc., at his backside, they should be all sent back, from constable to constable, like vagrants as they were, to the place of their legal settlements. By this means I shall take care, that my metropolis totter’d not thro’ its own weight; that the head be no longer too big for the body; that the extremes, now wasted and pinn’d in, be restored to their due share of nourishment, and regain with it their natural strength and beauty:⁠ I would effectually provide, That the meadows and cornfields of my dominions, should laugh and sing; that good cheer and hospitality flourish once more; and that such weight and influence be put thereby into the hands of the Squirality of my kingdom, as should counterpoise what I perceive my Nobility are now taking from them.

“Why are there so few palaces and gentlemen’s seats,” he would ask, with some emotion, as he walked across the room, “throughout so many delicious provinces in France? Whence is it that the few remaining Châteaus amongst them are so dismantled,⁠ so unfurnished, and in so ruinous and desolate a condition?⁠ ⁠Because, Sir,” (he would say) “in that kingdom no man has any country-interest to support; the little interest of any kind which any man has anywhere in it, is concentrated in the court, and the looks of the Grand Monarch: by the sunshine of whose countenance, or the clouds which pass across it, every French man lives or dies.”

Another political reason which prompted my father so strongly to guard against the least evil accident in my mother’s lying-in in the country, ⁠was, That any such instance would infallibly throw a balance of power, too great already, into the weaker vessels of the gentry, in his own, or higher stations;⁠ ⁠which, with the many other usurped rights which that part of the constitution was hourly establishing,⁠ would, in the end, prove fatal to the monarchical system of domestick government established in the first creation of things by God.

In this point he was entirely of Sir Robert Filmer’s opinion, That the plans and institutions of the greatest monarchies in the eastern parts of the world were, originally, all stolen from that admirable pattern and prototype of this household and paternal power; which, for a century, he said, and more, had gradually been degenerating away into a mix’d government;⁠ ⁠the form of which, however desirable in great combinations of the species, ⁠was very troublesome in small ones,⁠ and seldom produced anything, that he saw, but sorrow and confusion.

For all these reasons, private and publick, put together,⁠ my father was for having the man-midwife by all means,⁠ my mother by no means. My father begg’d and intreated she would for once recede from her prerogative in this matter, and suffer him to choose for her; my mother, on the contrary, insisted upon her privilege in this matter, to choose for herself,⁠ and have no mortal’s help but the old woman’s.⁠ What could my father do? He was almost at his wit’s end;⁠ ⁠talked it over with her in all moods; placed his arguments in all lights; argued the matter with her like a christian,⁠ like a heathen,⁠ like a husband,⁠ like a father,⁠ like a patriot,⁠ like a man:⁠ My mother answered everything only like a woman; which was a little hard upon her; for as she could not assume and fight it out behind such a variety of characters,⁠ ’twas no fair match:⁠ ’twas seven to one.⁠ What could my mother do?⁠ ⁠She had the advantage (otherwise she had been certainly overpowered) of a small reinforcement of chagrin personal at the bottom, which bore her up, and enabled her to dispute the affair with my father with so equal an advantage, ⁠that both sides sung Te Deum. In a word, my mother was to have the old woman,⁠ and the operator was to have licence to drink a bottle of wine with my father and my uncle Toby Shandy in the back parlour,⁠ for which he was to be paid five guineas.

I must beg leave, before I finish this chapter, to enter a caveat in the breast of my fair reader; and it is this, ⁠Not to take it absolutely for granted, from an unguarded word or two which I have dropp’d in it, “That I am a married man.”⁠ - I own, the tender appellation of my dear, dear Jenny,⁠ with some other strokes of conjugal knowledge, interspersed here and there, might, naturally enough, have misled the most candid judge in the world into such a determination against me.⁠ All I plead for, in this case, Madam, is strict justice, and that you do so much of it, to me as well as to yourself,⁠ as not to prejudge, or receive such an impression of me, till you have better evidence, than, I am positive, at present can be produced against me.⁠ Not that I can be so vain or unreasonable, Madam, as to desire you should therefore think, that my dear, dear Jenny is my kept mistress; no,⁠ that would be flattering my character in the other extreme, and giving it an air of freedom, which, perhaps, it has no kind of right to. All I contend for, is the utter impossibility, for some volumes, that you, or the most penetrating spirit upon earth, should know how this matter really stands.⁠ It is not impossible, but that my dear, dear Jenny! tender as the appellation is, may be my child.⁠ ⁠Consider,⁠ I was born in the year eighteen.⁠ Nor is there anything unnatural or extravagant in the supposition, that my dear Jenny may be my friend.⁠ Friend!⁠ My friend.⁠ Surely, Madam, a friendship between the two sexes may subsist, and be supported without - Fy! Mr. Shandy:⁠ Without anything, Madam, but that tender and delicious sentiment, which ever mixes in friendship, where there is a difference of sex. Let me intreat you to study the pure and sentimental parts of the best French Romances; it will really, Madam, astonish you to see with what a variety of chaste expressions this delicious sentiment, which I have the honour to speak of, is dress’d out.

Chapter XIX

I would sooner undertake to explain the hardest problem in geometry, than pretend to account for it, that a gentleman of my father’s great good sense, ⁠knowing, as the reader must have observed him, and curious too in philosophy,⁠ wise also in political reasoning,⁠ and in polemical (as he will find) no way ignorant,⁠ could be capable of entertaining a notion in his head, so out of the common track,⁠ that I fear the reader, when I come to mention it to him, if he is the least of a cholerick temper, will immediately throw the book by; if mercurial, he will laugh most heartily at it; and if he is of a grave and saturnine cast, he will, at first sight, absolutely condemn as fanciful and extravagant; and that was in respect to the choice and imposition of christian names, on which he thought a great deal more depended than what superficial minds were capable of conceiving.

His opinion, in this matter, was, That there was a strange kind of magick bias, which good or bad names, as he called them, irresistibly impressed upon our characters and conduct.

The hero of Cervantes argued not the point with more seriousness, ⁠nor had he more faith, ⁠or more to say on the powers of necromancy in dishonouring his deeds,⁠ or on Dulcinea’s name, in shedding lustre upon them, than my father had on those of Trismegistus or Archimedes, on the one hand⁠ - or of Nyky and Simkin on the other. How many Caesars and Pompeys, he would say, by mere inspiration of the names, have been rendered worthy of them? And how many, he would add, are there, who might have done exceeding well in the world, had not their characters and spirits been totally depressed and Nicomedus’d into nothing?

I see plainly, Sir, by your looks (or as the case happened), my father would say⁠ - that you do not heartily subscribe to this opinion of mine,⁠ which, to those, he would add, who have not carefully sifted it to the bottom,⁠ I own has an air more of fancy than of solid reasoning in it;⁠ ⁠and yet, my dear Sir, if I may presume to know your character, I am morally assured, I should hazard little in stating a case to you,⁠ not as a party in the dispute,⁠ but as a judge, and trusting my appeal upon it to your own good sense and candid disquisition in this matter;⁠ ⁠you are a person free from as many narrow prejudices of education as most men; and, if I may presume to penetrate farther into you,⁠ of a liberality of genius above bearing down an opinion, merely because it wants friends. Your son,⁠ your dear son,⁠ from whose sweet and open temper you have so much to expect.⁠ Your Billy, Sir!⁠ would you, for the world, have called him Judas?⁠ Would you, my dear Sir, he would say, laying his hand upon your breast, with the genteelest address,⁠ and in that soft and irresistible piano of voice, which the nature of the argumentum ad hominem absolutely requires,⁠ Would you, Sir, if a Jew of a godfather had proposed the name for your child, and offered you his purse along with it, would you have consented to such a desecration of him?⁠ ⁠O my God! he would say, looking up, if I know your temper right, Sir,⁠ you are incapable of it;⁠ ⁠you would have trampled upon the offer; you would have thrown the temptation at the tempter’s head with abhorrence.

Your greatness of mind in this action, which I admire, with that generous contempt of money, which you show me in the whole transaction, is really noble; and what renders it more so, is the principle of it; the workings of a parent’s love upon the truth and conviction of this very hypothesis, namely, That was your son called Judas,⁠ the sordid and treacherous idea, so inseparable from the name, would have accompanied him through life like his shadow, and, in the end, made a miser and a rascal of him, in spite, Sir, of your example.

I never knew a man able to answer this argument.⁠ ⁠But, indeed, to speak of my father as he was; he was certainly irresistible; both in his orations and disputations; he was born an orator; Θεοδίδακτος.⁠ Persuasion hung upon his lips, and the elements of Logick and Rhetorick were so blended up in him,⁠ and, withal, he had so shrewd a guess at the weaknesses and passions of his respondent, ⁠that Nature might have stood up and said,⁠ “This man is eloquent.”⁠ - In short, whether he was on the weak or the strong side of the question, ’twas hazardous in either case to attack him.⁠ And yet, ’tis strange, he had never read Cicero, nor Quintilian de Oratore, nor Isocrates, nor Aristotle, nor Longinus amongst the ancients; nor Vossius, nor Skioppius, nor Ramus, nor Farnaby amongst the moderns; and what is more astonishing, he had never in his whole life the least light or spark of subtlety struck into his mind, by one single lecture upon Crackenthorp or Burgersdicius, or any Dutch logician or commentator; he knew not so much as in what the difference of an argument ad ignorantiam, and an argument ad hominem consisted; so that I well remember, when he went up along with me to enter my name at Jesus College in ****,⁠ it was a matter of just wonder with my worthy tutor, and two or three fellows of that learned society,⁠ that a man who knew not so much as the names of his tools, should be able to work after that fashion with them.

To work with them in the best manner he could, was what my father was, however, perpetually forced upon;⁠ ⁠for he had a thousand little sceptical notions of the comick kind to defend - ⁠most of which notions, I verily believe, at first entered upon the footing of mere whims, and of a vive la Bagatelle; and as such he would make merry with them for half an hour or so, and having sharpened his wit upon them, dismiss them till another day.

I mention this, not only as matter of hypothesis or conjecture upon the progress and establishment of my father’s many odd opinions,⁠ but as a warning to the learned reader against the indiscreet reception of such guests, who, after a free and undisturbed entrance, for some years, into our brains,⁠ at length claim a kind of settlement there, ⁠working sometimes like yeast; but more generally after the manner of the gentle passion, beginning in jest,⁠ but ending in downright earnest.

Whether this was the case of the singularity of my father’s notions⁠ - or that his judgment, at length, became the dupe of his wit; or how far, in many of his notions, he might, though odd, be absolutely right;⁠ ⁠the reader, as he comes at them, shall decide. All that I maintain here, is, that in this one, of the influence of christian names, however it gained footing, he was serious; he was all uniformity; he was systematical, and, like all systematick reasoners, he would move both heaven and earth, and twist and torture everything in nature, to support his hypothesis. In a word, I repeat it over again; he was serious; and, in consequence of it, he would lose all kind of patience whenever he saw people, especially of condition, who should have known better, ⁠as careless and as indifferent about the name they imposed upon their child,⁠ or more so, than in the choice of Ponto or Cupid for their puppy-dog.

This, he would say, look’d ill; and had, moreover, this particular aggravation in it, viz., That when once a vile name was wrongfully or injudiciously given, ’twas not like the case of a man’s character, which, when wrong’d, might hereafter be cleared;⁠ ⁠and, possibly, some time or other, if not in the man’s life, at least after his death,⁠ be, somehow or other, set to rights with the world: But the injury of this, he would say, could never be undone; nay, he doubted even whether an act of parliament could reach it: He knew as well as you, that the legislature assumed a power over surnames; but for very strong reasons, which he could give, it had never yet adventured, he would say, to go a step farther.

It was observable, that though my father, in consequence of this opinion, had, as I have told you, the strongest likings and dislikings towards certain names; that there were still numbers of names which hung so equally in the balance before him, that they were absolutely indifferent to him. Jack, Dick, and Tom were of this class: These my father called neutral names; affirming of them, without a satire, That there had been as many knaves and fools, at least, as wise and good men, since the world began, who had indifferently borne them; so that, like equal forces acting against each other in contrary directions, he thought they mutually destroyed each other’s effects; for which reason, he would often declare, He would not give a cherrystone to choose amongst them. Bob, which was my brother’s name, was another of these neutral kinds of christian names, which operated very little either way; and as my father happen’d to be at Epsom, when it was given him,⁠ he would ofttimes thank Heaven it was no worse. Andrew was something like a negative quantity in Algebra with him; ’twas worse, he said, than nothing.⁠ William stood pretty high: Numps again was low with him:⁠ and Nick, he said, was the Devil.

But, of all the names in the universe, he had the most unconquerable aversion for Tristram; he had the lowest and most contemptible opinion of it of anything in the world,⁠ thinking it could possibly produce nothing in rerum naturâ, but what was extremely mean and pitiful: So that in the midst of a dispute on the subject, in which, by the by, he was frequently involved, ⁠he would sometimes break off in a sudden and spirited Epiphonema, or rather Erotesis, raised a third, and sometimes a full fifth above the key of the discourse, ⁠and demand it categorically of his antagonist, Whether he would take upon him to say, he had ever remembered, ⁠whether he had ever read,⁠ or even whether he had ever heard tell of a man, called Tristram, performing anything great or worth recording?⁠ No,⁠ he would say,⁠ Tristram!⁠ - The thing is impossible.

What could be wanting in my father but to have wrote a book to publish this notion of his to the world? Little boots it to the subtle speculatist to stand single in his opinions,⁠ unless he gives them proper vent:⁠ It was the identical thing which my father did:⁠ for in the year sixteen, which was two years before I was born, he was at the pains of writing an express Dissertation simply upon the word Tristram,⁠ showing the world, with great candour and modesty, the grounds of his great abhorrence to the name.

When this story is compared with the title-page,⁠ Will not the gentle reader pity my father from his soul?⁠ to see an orderly and well-disposed gentleman, who though singular,⁠ yet inoffensive in his notions,⁠ so played upon in them by cross purposes;⁠ ⁠to look down upon the stage, and see him baffled and overthrown in all his little systems and wishes; to behold a train of events perpetually falling out against him, and in so critical and cruel a way, as if they had purposedly been plann’d and pointed against him, merely to insult his speculations.⁠ ⁠In a word, to behold such a one, in his old age, ill-fitted for troubles, ten times in a day suffering sorrow; ten times in a day calling the child of his prayers Tristram!⁠ - Melancholy dissyllable of sound! which, to his ears, was unison to Nincompoop, and every name vituperative under heaven.⁠ ⁠By his ashes! I swear it,⁠ if ever malignant spirit took pleasure, or busied itself in traversing the purposes of mortal man,⁠ it must have been here; and if it was not necessary I should be born before I was christened, I would this moment give the reader an account of it.

Chapter XX

How could you, Madam, be so inattentive in reading the last chapter? I told you in it, That my mother was not a papist.⁠ ⁠Papist! You told me no such thing, Sir.⁠ Madam, I beg leave to repeat it over again, that I told you as plain, at least, as words, by direct inference, could tell you such a thing.⁠ Then, Sir, I must have miss’d a page.⁠ No, Madam,⁠ you have not miss’d a word.⁠ ⁠Then I was asleep, Sir.⁠ My pride, Madam, cannot allow you that refuge.⁠ ⁠Then, I declare, I know nothing at all about the matter.⁠ That, Madam, is the very fault I lay to your charge; and as a punishment for it, I do insist upon it, that you immediately turn back, that is, as soon as you get to the next full stop, and read the whole chapter over again. I have imposed this penance upon the lady, neither out of wantonness nor cruelty; but from the best of motives; and therefore shall make her no apology for it when she returns back:⁠ ’Tis to rebuke a vicious taste, which has crept into thousands besides herself,⁠ of reading straight forwards, more in quest of the adventures, than of the deep erudition and knowledge which a book of this cast, if read over as it should be, would infallibly impart with them - ⁠The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the younger affirm, “That he never read a book so bad, but he drew some profit from it.” The stories of Greece and Rome, run over without this turn and application,⁠ do less service, I affirm it, than the history of Parismus and Parismenus, or of the Seven Champions of England, read with it.

But here comes my fair lady. Have you read over again the chapter, Madam, as I desired you?⁠ You have: And did you not observe the passage, upon the second reading, which admits the inference?⁠ ⁠Not a word like it! Then, Madam, be pleased to ponder well the last line but one of the chapter, where I take upon me to say, “It was necessary I should be born before I was christen’d.” Had my mother, Madam, been a Papist, that consequence did not follow.[2]

It is a terrible misfortune for this same book of mine, but more so to the Republick of letters; so that my own is quite swallowed up in the consideration of it,⁠ that this selfsame vile pruriency for fresh adventures in all things, has got so strongly into our habit and humour,⁠ and so wholly intent are we upon satisfying the impatience of our concupiscence that way,⁠ that nothing but the gross and more carnal parts of a composition will go down:⁠ The subtle hints and sly communications of science fly off, like spirits upwards, ⁠the heavy moral escapes downwards; and both the one and the other are as much lost to the world, as if they were still left in the bottom of the ink-horn.

I wish the male-reader has not pass’d by many a one, as quaint and curious as this one, in which the female-reader has been detected. I wish it may have its effects; and that all good people, both male and female, from her example, may be taught to think as well as read.

Memoire presenté à Messieurs les Docteurs de Sorbonne[3]

Un Chirurgien Accoucheur, represente à Messieurs les Docteurs de Sorbonne, qu’il y a des cas, quoique très rares, où une mere ne sçauroit accoucher, & même où l’enfant est tellement renfermé dans le sein de sa mere, qu’il ne fait parôitre aucune partie de son corps, ce qui seroit un cas, suivant les Rituels, de lui conférer, du moins sous condition, le baptême. Le Chirurgien, qui consulte, prétend, par le moyen d’une petite canulle, de pouvoir baptiser immediatement l’enfant, sans faire aucun tort à la mere.⁠ ⁠Il demand si ce moyen, qu’il vient de proposer, est permis & légitime, & s’il peut s’en servir dans les cas qu’il vient d’exposer.


Le Conseil estime, que la question proposée souffre de grandes difficultés. Les Théologiens posent d’un côté pour principe, que le baptême, qui est une naissance spirituelle, suppose une premiere naissance; il faut être né dans le monde, pour renaître en Jesus Christ, comme ils l’enseignent. S. Thomas, 3 part, quæst. 88, artic. II, suit cette doctrine comme une verité constante; l’on ne peut, dit ce S. Docteur, baptiser les enfans qui sont renfermés dans le sein de leurs meres, & S. Thomas est fondé sur ce, que les enfans ne sont point nés, & ne peuvent être comptés parmi les autres hommes; d’où il conclud, qu’ils ne peuvent être l’objet d’une action extérieure, pour reçevoir par leur ministére, les sacremens nécessaires au salut: Pueri in maternis uteris existentes nondum prodierunt in lucem ut cum aliis hominibus vitam ducant; unde non possunt subjici actioni humanæ, ut per eorum ministerium sacramenta recipiant ad salutem. Les rituels ordonnent dans la pratique ce que les théologiens ont établi sur les mêmes matiéres, & ils deffendent tous d’une maniére uniforme, de baptiser les enfants qui sont renfermés dans le sein de leurs meres, s’ils ne font paroître quelque partie de leurs corps. Le concours des théologiens, & des rituels, qui sont les régles des diocéses, paroit former une autorité qui termine la question presente; cependant le conseil de conscience considerant d’un côté, que le raisonnement des théologiens est uniquement fondé sur une raison de convenance, & que la deffense des rituels suppose que l’on ne peut baptiser immediatement les enfans ainsi renfermés dans le sein de leurs meres, ce qui est contre la supposition presente; & d’un autre côté, considerant que les mêmes théologiens enseignent, que l’on peut risquer les sacremens que Jesus Christ a établis comme des moyens faciles, mais nécessaires pour sanctifier les hommes; & d’ailleurs estimant, que les enfans renfermés dans le sein de leurs meres, pourroient être capables de salut, parcequ’ils sont capables de damnation; pour ces considerations, & en egard à l’exposé, suivant lequel on assure avoir trouvé un moyen certain de baptiser ces enfans ainsi renfermés, sans faire aucun tort à la mere, le Conseil estime que l’on pourroit se servir du moyen proposé, dans la confiance qu’il a, que Dieu n’a point laissé ces sortes d’enfans sans aucuns secours, & supposant, comme il est exposé, que le moyen dont il s’agit est propre à leur procurer le baptême; cependant comme il s’agiroit, en autorisant la pratique proposée, de changer une regie universellement établie, le Conseil croit que celui qui consulte doit s’addresser à son evêque, & à qui il appartient de juger de l’utilité, & du danger du moyen proposé, & comme, sous le bon plaisir de l’evêque, le Conseil estime qu’il faudroit recourir au Pape, qui a le droit d’expliquer les régles de l’eglise, & d’y déroger dans le cas, ou la loi ne sçauroit obliger, quelque sage & quelque utile que paroisse la maniére de baptiser dont il s’agit, le Conseil ne pourroit l’approuver sans le concours de ces deux autorités. On conseile au moins à celui qui consulte, de s’addresser à son evêque, & de lui faire part de la presente décision, afin que, si le prelat entre dans les raisons sur lesquelles les docteurs soussignés s’appuyent, il puisse être autorisé dans le cas de nécessité, ou il risqueroit trop d’attendre que la permission fût demandée & accordée d’employer le moyen qu’il propose si avantageux au salut de l’enfant. Au reste, le Conseil, en estimant que l’on pourroit s’en servir, croit cependant, que si les enfans dont il s’agit, venoient au monde, contre l’esperance de ceux qui se seroient servis du même moyen, il seroit nécessaire de les baptiser sous condition; & en cela le Conseil se conforme à tous les rituels, qui en autorisant le baptême d’un enfant qui fait paroître quelque partie de son corps, enjoignent néantmoins, & ordonnent de le baptiser sous condition, s’il vient heureusement au monde.

Deliberé en Sorbonne, le 10 Avril, 1733.
A. Le Moyne.
L. De Romigny.
De Marcilly.

Mr. Tristram Shandy’s compliments to Messrs. Le Moyne, De Romigny, and De Marcilly; hopes they all rested well the night after so tiresome a consultation.⁠ He begs to know, whether after the ceremony of marriage, and before that of consummation, the baptizing all the Homunculi at once, slapdash, by injection, would not be a shorter and safer cut still; on condition, as above, That if the Homunculi do well, and come safe into the world after this, that each and every of them shall be baptized again (sous condition) - ⁠And provided, in the second place, That the thing can be done, which Mr. Shandy apprehends it may, par le moyen d’une petite canulle, and sans faire aucun tort au père.

Chapter XXI

I wonder what’s all that noise, and running backwards and forwards for, above stairs, quoth my father, addressing himself, after an hour and a half’s silence, to my uncle Toby, ⁠who, you must know, was sitting on the opposite side of the fire, smoking his social pipe all the time, in mute contemplation of a new pair of black plush-breeches which he had got on:⁠ What can they be doing, brother?⁠ quoth my father,⁠ we can scarce hear ourselves talk.

I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth, and striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left thumb, as he began his sentence, ⁠I think, says he: But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby’s sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to enter first a little into his character, the outlines of which I shall just give you, and then the dialogue between him and my father will go on as well again.

Pray what was that man’s name,⁠ for I write in such a hurry, I have no time to recollect or look for it, ⁠who first made the observation, “That there was great inconstancy in our air and climate?” Whoever he was, ’twas a just and good observation in him.⁠ But the corollary drawn from it, namely, “That it is this which has furnished us with such a variety of odd and whimsical characters;”⁠ - that was not his; it was found out by another man, at least a century and a half after him: Then again,⁠ that this copious storehouse of original materials, is the true and natural cause that our Comedies are so much better than those of France, or any others that either have, or can be wrote upon the Continent: that discovery was not fully made till about the middle of King William’s reign,⁠ when the great Dryden, in writing one of his long prefaces, (if I mistake not) most fortunately hit upon it. Indeed toward the latter end of Queen Anne, the great Addison began to patronize the notion, and more fully explained it to the world in one or two of his Spectators; but the discovery was not his.⁠ Then, fourthly and lastly, that this strange irregularity in our climate, producing so strange an irregularity in our characters, ⁠doth thereby, in some sort, make us amends, by giving us somewhat to make us merry with when the weather will not suffer us to go out of doors,⁠ that observation is my own; and was struck out by me this very rainy day, March 26, 1759, and betwixt the hours of nine and ten in the morning.

Thus⁠ - thus, my fellow-labourers and associates in this great harvest of our learning, now ripening before our eyes; thus it is, by slow steps of casual increase, that our knowledge physical, metaphysical, physiological, polemical, nautical, mathematical, ænigmatical, technical, biographical, romantical, chemical, and obstetrical, with fifty other branches of it, (most of ’em ending as these do, in ical) have for these two last centuries and more, gradually been creeping upwards towards that Ἀκμὴ of their perfections, from which, if we may form a conjecture from the advances of these last seven years, we cannot possibly be far off.

When that happens, it is to be hoped, it will put an end to all kind of writings whatsoever; the want of all kind of writing will put an end to all kind of reading; and that in time, As war begets poverty; poverty peace, ⁠must, in course, put an end to all kind of knowledge,⁠ and then - ⁠we shall have all to begin over again; or, in other words, be exactly where we started.

Happy! thrice happy times! I only wish that the æra of my begetting, as well as the mode and manner of it, had been a little alter’d, ⁠or that it could have been put off, with any convenience to my father or mother, for some twenty or five-and-twenty years longer, when a man in the literary world might have stood some chance.⁠⁠

But I forget my uncle Toby, whom all this while we have left knocking the ashes out of his tobacco-pipe.

His humour was of that particular species, which does honour to our atmosphere; and I should have made no scruple of ranking him amongst one of the first-rate productions of it, had not there appeared too many strong lines in it of a family-likeness, which showed that he derived the singularity of his temper more from blood, than either wind or water, or any modifications or combinations of them whatever: And I have, therefore, ofttimes wondered, that my father, though I believe he had his reasons for it, upon his observing some tokens of eccentricity, in my course, when I was a boy,⁠ should never once endeavour to account for them in this way: for all the Shandy Family were of an original character throughout: I mean the males,⁠ the females had no character at all,⁠ except, indeed, my great aunt Dinah, who, about sixty years ago, was married and got with child by the coachman, for which my father, according to his hypothesis of christian names, would often say, She might thank her godfathers and godmothers.

It will seem very strange, ⁠and I would as soon think of dropping a riddle in the reader’s way, which is not my interest to do, as set him upon guessing how it could come to pass, that an event of this kind, so many years after it had happened, should be reserved for the interruption of the peace and unity, which otherwise so cordially subsisted, between my father and my uncle Toby. One would have thought, that the whole force of the misfortune should have spent and wasted itself in the family at first,⁠ as is generally the case.⁠ But nothing ever wrought with our family after the ordinary way. Possibly at the very time this happened, it might have something else to afflict it; and as afflictions are sent down for our good, and that as this had never done the Shandy Family any good at all, it might lie waiting till apt times and circumstances should give it an opportunity to discharge its office.⁠ ⁠Observe, I determine nothing upon this.⁠ ⁠My way is ever to point out to the curious, different tracts of investigation, to come at the first springs of the events I tell; not with a pedantic Fescue,⁠ or in the decisive manner of Tacitus, who outwits himself and his reader; but with the officious humility of a heart devoted to the assistance merely of the inquisitive; to them I write, ⁠and by them I shall be read, ⁠if any such reading as this could be supposed to hold out so long,⁠ to the very end of the world.

Why this cause of sorrow, therefore, was thus reserved for my father and uncle, is undetermined by me. But how and in what direction it exerted itself so as to become the cause of dissatisfaction between them, after it began to operate, is what I am able to explain with great exactness, and is as follows:

My uncle Toby Shandy, Madam, was a gentleman, who, with the virtues which usually constitute the character of a man of honour and rectitude, ⁠possessed one in a very eminent degree, which is seldom or never put into the catalogue; and that was a most extreme and unparallel’d modesty of nature;⁠ ⁠though I correct the word nature, for this reason, that I may not prejudge a point which must shortly come to a hearing, and that is, Whether this modesty of his was natural or acquir’d.⁠ ⁠Whichever way my uncle Toby came by it, ’twas nevertheless modesty in the truest sense of it; and that is, Madam, not in regard to words, for he was so unhappy as to have very little choice in them,⁠ but to things;⁠ ⁠and this kind of modesty so possessed him, and it arose to such a height in him, as almost to equal, if such a thing could be, even the modesty of a woman: That female nicety, Madam, and inward cleanliness of mind and fancy, in your sex, which makes you so much the awe of ours.

You will imagine, Madam, that my uncle Toby had contracted all this from this very source; that he had spent a great part of his time in converse with your sex; and that from a thorough knowledge of you, and the force of imitation which such fair examples render irresistible, he had acquired this amiable turn of mind.

I wish I could say so,⁠ for unless it was with his sister-in-law, my father’s wife and my mother - ⁠my uncle Toby scarce exchanged three words with the sex in as many years; no, he got it, Madam, by a blow.⁠ ⁠A blow!⁠ Yes, Madam, it was owing to a blow from a stone, broke off by a ball from the parapet of a horn-work at the siege of Namur, which struck full upon my uncle Toby’s groin.⁠ Which way could that effect it? The story of that, Madam, is long and interesting; but it would be running my history all upon heaps to give it you here.⁠ ’Tis for an episode hereafter; and every circumstance relating to it, in its proper place, shall be faithfully laid before you:⁠ ’Till then, it is not in my power to give farther light into this matter, or say more than what I have said already, ⁠That my uncle Toby was a gentleman of unparallel’d modesty, which happening to be somewhat subtilized and rarified by the constant heat of a little family pride, ⁠they both so wrought together within him, that he could never bear to hear the affair of my aunt Dinah touch’d upon, but with the greatest emotion.⁠ ⁠The least hint of it was enough to make the blood fly into his face; but when my father enlarged upon the story in mixed companies, which the illustration of his hypothesis frequently obliged him to do,⁠ the unfortunate blight of one of the fairest branches of the family, would set my uncle Toby’s honour and modesty o’bleeding; and he would often take my father aside, in the greatest concern imaginable, to expostulate and tell him, he would give him anything in the world, only to let the story rest.

My father, I believe, had the truest love and tenderness for my uncle Toby, that ever one brother bore towards another, and would have done anything in nature, which one brother in reason could have desir’d of another, to have made my uncle Toby’s heart easy in this, or any other point. But this lay out of his power.

My father, as I told you, was a philosopher in grain,⁠ speculative,⁠ systematical; and my aunt Dinah’s affair was a matter of as much consequence to him, as the retrogradation of the planets to Copernicus:⁠ The backslidings of Venus in her orbit fortified the Copernican system, called so after his name; and the backslidings of my aunt Dinah in her orbit, did the same service in establishing my father’s system, which, I trust, will forever hereafter be called the Shandean System, after this.

In any other family dishonour, my father, I believe, had as nice a sense of shame as any man whatever;⁠ ⁠and neither he, nor, I dare say, Copernicus, would have divulged the affair in either case, or have taken the least notice of it to the world, but for the obligations they owed, as they thought, to truth.⁠ Amicus Plato, my father would say, construing the words to my uncle Toby, as he went along, Amicus Plato; that is, Dinah was my aunt; sed magis amica veritas - ⁠but Truth is my sister.

This contrariety of humours betwixt my father and my uncle, was the source of many a fraternal squabble. The one could not bear to hear the tale of family disgrace recorded, ⁠and the other would scarce ever let a day pass to an end without some hint at it.

For God’s sake, my uncle Toby would cry, ⁠and for my sake, and for all our sakes, my dear brother Shandy,⁠ do let this story of our aunt’s and her ashes sleep in peace;⁠ ⁠how can you, ⁠how can you have so little feeling and compassion for the character of our family?⁠ ⁠What is the character of a family to an hypothesis? my father would reply.⁠ ⁠Nay, if you come to that⁠ - what is the life of a family?⁠ ⁠The life of a family!⁠ my uncle Toby would say, throwing himself back in his arm chair, and lifting up his hands, his eyes, and one leg.⁠ ⁠Yes, the life, ⁠my father would say, maintaining his point. How many thousands of ’em are there every year that come cast away, (in all civilized countries at least) - ⁠and considered as nothing but common air, in competition of an hypothesis. In my plain sense of things, my uncle Toby would answer, ⁠every such instance is downright Murder, let who will commit it.⁠ ⁠There lies your mistake, my father would reply;⁠ ⁠for, in Foro Scientiæ there is no such thing as Murder, ’tis only Death, brother.

My uncle Toby would never offer to answer this by any other kind of argument, than that of whistling half a dozen bars of Lillabullero.⁠ ⁠You must know it was the usual channel thro’ which his passions got vent, when anything shocked or surprised him: but especially when anything, which he deem’d very absurd, was offered.

As not one of our logical writers, nor any of the commentators upon them, that I remember, have thought proper to give a name to this particular species of argument,⁠ I here take the liberty to do it myself, for two reasons. First, That, in order to prevent all confusion in disputes, it may stand as much distinguished forever, from every other species of argument - as the Argumentum ad Verecundiam, ex Absurdo, ex Fortiori, or any other argument whatsoever: And, secondly, That it may be said by my children’s children, when my head is laid to rest, ⁠that their learn’d grandfather’s head had been busied to as much purpose once, as other people’s; That he had invented a name,⁠ and generously thrown it into the Treasury of the Ars Logica, for one of the most unanswerable arguments in the whole science. And, if the end of disputation is more to silence than convince,⁠ they may add, if they please, to one of the best arguments too.

I do therefore, by these presents, strictly order and command, That it be known and distinguished by the name and title of the Argumentum Fistulatorium, and no other; and that it rank hereafter with the Argumentum Baculinum and the Argumentum ad Crumenam, and forever hereafter be treated of in the same chapter.

As for the Argumentum Tripodium, which is never used but by the woman against the man; and the Argumentum ad Rem, which, contrarywise, is made use of by the man only against the woman; As these two are enough in conscience for one lecture;⁠ ⁠and, moreover, as the one is the best answer to the other,⁠ let them likewise be kept apart, and be treated of in a place by themselves.

Chapter XXII

The learned Bishop Hall, I mean the famous Dr. Joseph Hall, who was Bishop of Exeter in King James the First’s reign, tells us in one of his Decads, at the end of his divine art of meditation, imprinted at London, in the year 1610, by John Beal, dwelling in Aldersgate-street, “That it is an abominable thing for a man to commend himself;” - ⁠and I really think it is so.

And yet, on the other hand, when a thing is executed in a masterly kind of a fashion, which thing is not likely to be found out; I think it is full as abominable, that a man should lose the honour of it, and go out of the world with the conceit of it rotting in his head.

This is precisely my situation.

For in this long digression which I was accidentally led into, as in all my digressions (one only excepted) there is a masterstroke of digressive skill, the merit of which has all along, I fear, been overlooked by my reader,⁠ not for want of penetration in him,⁠ but because ’tis an excellence seldom looked for, or expected indeed, in a digression; and it is this: That though my digressions are all fair, as you observe,⁠ and that I fly off from what I am about, as far, and as often too, as any writer in Great Britain; yet I constantly take care to order affairs so that my main business does not stand still in my absence.

I was just going, for example, to have given you the great outlines of my uncle Toby’s most whimsical character; when my aunt Dinah and the coachman came across us, and led us a vagary some millions of miles into the very heart of the planetary system: Notwithstanding all this, you perceive that the drawing of my uncle Toby’s character went on gently all the time; not the great contours of it,⁠ that was impossible,⁠ but some familiar strokes and faint designations of it, were here and there touch’d on, as we went along, so that you are much better acquainted with my uncle Toby now than you was before.

By this contrivance the machinery of my work is of a species by itself; two contrary motions are introduced into it, and reconciled, which were thought to be at variance with each other. In a word, my work is digressive, and it is progressive too,⁠ and at the same time.

This, Sir, is a very different story from that of the earth’s moving round her axis, in her diurnal rotation, with her progress in her elliptick orbit which brings about the year, and constitutes that variety and vicissitude of seasons we enjoy; though I own it suggested the thought,⁠ as I believe the greatest of our boasted improvements and discoveries have come from such trifling hints.

Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;⁠ ⁠they are the life, the soul of reading!⁠ take them out of this book, for instance,⁠ you might as well take the book along with them; one cold eternal winter would reign in every page of it; restore them to the writer; he steps forth like a bridegroom,⁠ bids All-hail; brings in variety, and forbids the appetite to fail.

All the dexterity is in the good cookery and management of them, so as to be not only for the advantage of the reader, but also of the author, whose distress, in this matter, is truly pitiable: For, if he begins a digression,⁠ from that moment, I observe, his whole work stands stock still; and if he goes on with his main work,⁠ then there is an end of his digression.

This is vile work.⁠ For which reason, from the beginning of this, you see, I have constructed the main work and the adventitious parts of it with such intersections, and have so complicated and involved the digressive and progressive movements, one wheel within another, that the whole machine, in general, has been kept a-going; and, what’s more, it shall be kept a-going these forty years, if it pleases the fountain of health to bless me so long with life and good spirits.

Chapter XXIII

I have a strong propensity in me to begin this chapter very nonsensically, and I will not baulk my fancy.⁠ Accordingly I set off thus:

If the fixture of Momus’s glass in the human breast, according to the proposed emendation of that arch-critick, had taken place, ⁠first, This foolish consequence would certainly have followed,⁠ That the very wisest and very gravest of us all, in one coin or other, must have paid window-money every day of our lives.

And, secondly, That had the said glass been there set up, nothing more would have been wanting, in order to have taken a man’s character, but to have taken a chair and gone softly, as you would to a dioptrical beehive, and look’d in,⁠ view’d the soul stark naked; observed all her motions,⁠ her machinations; traced all her maggots from their first engendering to their crawling forth; watched her loose in her frisks, her gambols, her capricios; and after some notice of her more solemn deportment, consequent upon such frisks, etc.⁠ ⁠then taken your pen and ink and set down nothing but what you had seen, and could have sworn to:⁠ But this is an advantage not to be had by the biographer in this planet; in the planet Mercury (belike) it may be so, if not better still for him;⁠ ⁠for there the intense heat of the country, which is proved by computators, from its vicinity to the sun, to be more than equal to that of red-hot iron,⁠ must, I think, long ago have vitrified the bodies of the inhabitants, (as the efficient cause) to suit them for the climate (which is the final cause); so that betwixt them both, all the tenements of their souls, from top to bottom, may be nothing else, for aught the soundest philosophy can show to the contrary, but one fine transparent body of clear glass (bating the umbilical knot)⁠ - so that, till the inhabitants grow old and tolerably wrinkled, whereby the rays of light, in passing through them, become so monstrously refracted, ⁠or return reflected from their surfaces in such transverse lines to the eye, that a man cannot be seen through; his soul might as well, unless for mere ceremony, or the trifling advantage which the umbilical point gave her,⁠ might, upon all other accounts, I say, as well play the fool out o’doors as in her own house.

But this, as I said above, is not the case of the inhabitants of this earth; our minds shine not through the body, but are wrapt up here in a dark covering of uncrystalized flesh and blood; so that, if we would come to the specific characters of them, we must go some other way to work.

Many, in good truth, are the ways, which human wit has been forced to take, to do this thing with exactness.

Some, for instance, draw all their characters with wind-instruments.⁠ Virgil takes notice of that way in the affair of Dido and Aeneas; but it is as fallacious as the breath of fame; and, moreover, bespeaks a narrow genius. I am not ignorant that the Italians pretend to a mathematical exactness in their designations of one particular sort of character among them, from the forte or piano of a certain wind-instrument they use,⁠ which they say is infallible.⁠ I dare not mention the name of the instrument in this place; ’tis sufficient we have it amongst us,⁠ but never think of making a drawing by it; this is ænigmatical, and intended to be so, at least ad populum:⁠ And therefore, I beg, Madam, when you come here, that you read on as fast as you can, and never stop to make any inquiry about it.

There are others again, who will draw a man’s character from no other helps in the world, but merely from his evacuations; but this often gives a very incorrect outline,⁠ unless, indeed, you take a sketch of his repletions too; and by correcting one drawing from the other, compound one good figure out of them both.

I should have no objection to this method, but that I think it must smell too strong of the lamp,⁠ and be render’d still more operose, by forcing you to have an eye to the rest of his Non-naturals.⁠ ⁠Why the most natural actions of a man’s life should be called his Non-naturals,⁠ is another question.

There are others, fourthly, who disdain every one of these expedients; not from any fertility of their own, but from the various ways of doing it, which they have borrowed from the honourable devices which the Pentagraphic Brethren[4] of the brush have shown in taking copies.⁠ These, you must know, are your great historians.

One of these you will see drawing a full-length character against the light; that’s illiberal,⁠ dishonest,⁠ and hard upon the character of the man who sits.

Others, to mend the matter, will make a drawing of you in the Camera; that is most unfair of all,⁠ because, there you are sure to be represented in some of your most ridiculous attitudes.

To avoid all and every one of these errors in giving you my uncle Toby’s character, I am determined to draw it by no mechanical help whatever;⁠ ⁠nor shall my pencil be guided by any one wind-instrument which ever was blown upon, either on this, or on the other side of the Alps; nor will I consider either his repletions or his discharges,⁠ or touch upon his Non-naturals⁠ - but, in a word, I will draw my uncle Toby’s character from his Hobbyhorse.

Chapter XXIV

If I was not morally sure that the reader must be out of all patience for my uncle Toby’s character, ⁠I would here previously have convinced him that there is no instrument so fit to draw such a thing with, as that which I have pitch’d upon.

A man and his Hobbyhorse, though I cannot say that they act and react exactly after the same manner in which the soul and body do upon each other: Yet doubtless there is a communication between them of some kind; and my opinion rather is, that there is something in it more of the manner of electrified bodies,⁠ and that, by means of the heated parts of the rider, which come immediately into contact with the back of the Hobbyhorse,⁠ by long journeys and much friction, it so happens, that the body of the rider is at length fill’d as full of Hobbyhorsical matter as it can hold;⁠ ⁠so that if you are able to give but a clear description of the nature of the one, you may form a pretty exact notion of the genius and character of the other.

Now the Hobbyhorse which my uncle Toby always rode upon, was in my opinion a Hobbyhorse well worth giving a description of, if it was only upon the score of his great singularity; for you might have travelled from York to Dover,⁠ from Dover to Penzance in Cornwall, and from Penzance to York back again, and not have seen such another upon the road; or if you had seen such a one, whatever haste you had been in, you must infallibly have stopp’d to have taken a view of him. Indeed, the gait and figure of him was so strange, and so utterly unlike was he, from his head to his tail, to any one of the whole species, that it was now and then made a matter of dispute, ⁠whether he was really a Hobbyhorse or no: but as the Philosopher would use no other argument to the Sceptic, who disputed with him against the reality of motion, save that of rising up upon his legs, and walking across the room; so would my uncle Toby use no other argument to prove his Hobbyhorse was a Hobbyhorse indeed, but by getting upon his back and riding him about; leaving the world, after that, to determine the point as it thought fit.

In good truth, my uncle Toby mounted him with so much pleasure, and he carried my uncle Toby so well, ⁠that he troubled his head very little with what the world either said or thought about it.

It is now high time, however, that I give you a description of him:⁠ But to go on regularly, I only beg you will give me leave to acquaint you first, how my uncle Toby came by him.

Chapter XXV

The wound in my uncle Toby’s groin, which he received at the siege of Namur, rendering him unfit for the service, it was thought expedient he should return to England, in order, if possible, to be set to rights.

He was four years totally confined,⁠ part of it to his bed, and all of it to his room: and in the course of his cure, which was all that time in hand, suffer’d unspeakable miseries,⁠ owing to a succession of exfoliations from the os pubis, and the outward edge of that part of the coxendix called the os illium, ⁠both which bones were dismally crush’d, as much by the irregularity of the stone, which I told you was broke off the parapet,⁠ as by its size,⁠ (though it was pretty large) which inclined the surgeon all along to think, that the great injury which it had done my uncle Toby’s groin, was more owing to the gravity of the stone itself, than to the projectile force of it,⁠ which he would often tell him was a great happiness.

My father at that time was just beginning business in London, and had taken a house; and as the truest friendship and cordiality subsisted between the two brothers,⁠ and that my father thought my uncle Toby could no where be so well nursed and taken care of as in his own house, ⁠he assign’d him the very best apartment in it.⁠ And what was a much more sincere mark of his affection still, he would never suffer a friend or an acquaintance to step into the house on any occasion, but he would take him by the hand, and lead him upstairs to see his brother Toby, and chat an hour by his bedside.

The history of a soldier’s wound beguiles the pain of it; my uncle’s visitors at least thought so, and in their daily calls upon him, from the courtesy arising out of that belief, they would frequently turn the discourse to that subject,⁠ and from that subject the discourse would generally roll on to the siege itself.

These conversations were infinitely kind; and my uncle Toby received great relief from them, and would have received much more, but that they brought him into some unforeseen perplexities, which, for three months together, retarded his cure greatly; and if he had not hit upon an expedient to extricate himself out of them, I verily believe they would have laid him in his grave.

What these perplexities of my uncle Toby were, ’tis impossible for you to guess; if you could,⁠ I should blush; not as a relation,⁠ not as a man,⁠ nor even as a woman,⁠ but I should blush as an author; inasmuch as I set no small store by myself upon this very account, that my reader has never yet been able to guess at anything. And in this, Sir, I am of so nice and singular a humour, that if I thought you was able to form the least judgment or probable conjecture to yourself, of what was to come in the next page,⁠ I would tear it out of my book.


Chapter I

I have begun a new book, on purpose that I might have room enough to explain the nature of the perplexities in which my uncle Toby was involved, from the many discourses and interrogations about the siege of Namur, where he received his wound.

I must remind the reader, in case he has read the history of King William’s wars,⁠ but if he has not,⁠ I then inform him, that one of the most memorable attacks in that siege, was that which was made by the English and Dutch upon the point of the advanced counterscarp, between the gate of St. Nicolas, which enclosed the great sluice or water-stop, where the English were terribly exposed to the shot of the counter-guard and demi-bastion of St. Roch. The issue of which hot dispute, in three words, was this; That the Dutch lodged themselves upon the counter-guard,⁠ and that the English made themselves masters of the covered-way before St. Nicolas-gate, notwithstanding the gallantry of the French officers, who exposed themselves upon the glacis sword in hand.

As this was the principal attack of which my uncle Toby was an eyewitness at Namur, ⁠the army of the besiegers being cut off, by the confluence of the Maes and Sambre, from seeing much of each other’s operations, ⁠my uncle Toby was generally more eloquent and particular in his account of it; and the many perplexities he was in, arose out of the almost insurmountable difficulties he found in telling his story intelligibly, and giving such clear ideas of the differences and distinctions between the scarp and counter-scarp,⁠ the glacis and covered-way,⁠ the half-moon and ravelin,⁠ as to make his company fully comprehend where and what he was about.

Writers themselves are too apt to confound these terms; so that you will the less wonder, if in his endeavours to explain them, and in opposition to many misconceptions, that my uncle Toby did ofttimes puzzle his visitors, and sometimes himself too.

To speak the truth, unless the company my father led upstairs were tolerably clearheaded, or my uncle Toby was in one of his explanatory moods, ’twas a difficult thing, do what he could, to keep the discourse free from obscurity.

What rendered the account of this affair the more intricate to my uncle Toby, was this,⁠ that in the attack of the counterscarp, before the gate of St. Nicolas, extending itself from the bank of the Maes, quite up to the great water-stop,⁠ the ground was cut and cross cut with such a multitude of dykes, drains, rivulets, and sluices, on all sides,⁠ and he would get so sadly bewildered, and set fast amongst them, that frequently he could neither get backwards or forwards to save his life; and was ofttimes obliged to give up the attack upon that very account only.

These perplexing rebuffs gave my uncle Toby Shandy more perturbations than you would imagine: and as my father’s kindness to him was continually dragging up fresh friends and fresh enquirers, ⁠he had but a very uneasy task of it.

No doubt my uncle Toby had great command of himself, could guard appearances, I believe, as well as most men; yet anyone may imagine, that when he could not retreat out of the ravelin without getting into the half-moon, or get out of the covered-way without falling down the counterscarp, nor cross the dyke without danger of slipping into the ditch, but that he must have fretted and fumed inwardly:⁠ He did so; and the little and hourly vexations, which may seem trifling and of no account to the man who has not read Hippocrates, yet, whoever has read Hippocrates, or Dr. James Mackenzie, and has considered well the effects which the passions and affections of the mind have upon the digestion⁠ - (Why not of a wound as well as of a dinner?)⁠ - may easily conceive what sharp paroxysms and exacerbations of his wound my uncle Toby must have undergone upon that score only.

My uncle Toby could not philosophize upon it; ’twas enough he felt it was so,⁠ and having sustained the pain and sorrows of it for three months together, he was resolved some way or other to extricate himself.

He was one morning lying upon his back in his bed, the anguish and nature of the wound upon his groin suffering him to lie in no other position, when a thought came into his head, that if he could purchase such a thing, and have it pasted down upon a board, as a large map of the fortification of the town and citadel of Namur, with its environs, it might be a means of giving him ease.⁠ I take notice of his desire to have the environs along with the town and citadel, for this reason,⁠ because my uncle Toby’s wound was got in one of the traverses, about thirty toises from the returning angle of the trench, opposite to the salient angle of the demi-bastion of St. Roch: so that he was pretty confident he could stick a pin upon the identical spot of ground where he was standing on when the stone struck him.

All this succeeded to his wishes, and not only freed him from a world of sad explanations, but, in the end, it proved the happy means, as you will read, of procuring my uncle Toby his Hobbyhorse.

Chapter II

There is nothing so foolish, when you are at the expense of making an entertainment of this kind, as to order things so badly, as to let your criticks and gentry of refined taste run it down: Nor is there anything so likely to make them do it, as that of leaving them out of the party, or, what is full as offensive, of bestowing your attention upon the rest of your guests in so particular a way, as if there was no such thing as a critick (by occupation) at table.

I guard against both; for, in the first place, I have left half a dozen places purposely open for them; and in the next place, I pay them all court.⁠ Gentlemen, I kiss your hands, I protest no company could give me half the pleasure,⁠ by my soul I am glad to see you - I beg only you will make no strangers of yourselves, but sit down without any ceremony, and fall on heartily.

I said I had left six places, and I was upon the point of carrying my complaisance so far, as to have left a seventh open for them,⁠ and in this very spot I stand on; but being told by a Critick (though not by occupation,⁠ but by nature) that I had acquitted myself well enough, I shall fill it up directly, hoping, in the meantime, that I shall be able to make a great deal of more room next year.

How, in the name of wonder! could your uncle Toby, who, it seems, was a military man, and whom you have represented as no fool, ⁠be at the same time such a confused, pudding-headed, muddleheaded, fellow, as⁠ - Go look.

So, Sir Critick, I could have replied; but I scorn it.⁠ ’Tis language unurbane,⁠ and only befitting the man who cannot give clear and satisfactory accounts of things, or dive deep enough into the first causes of human ignorance and confusion. It is moreover the reply valiant⁠ - and therefore I reject it: for though it might have suited my uncle Toby’s character as a soldier excellently well, and had he not accustomed himself, in such attacks, to whistle the Lillabullero, as he wanted no courage, ’tis the very answer he would have given; yet it would by no means have done for me. You see as plain as can be, that I write as a man of erudition; that even my similies, my allusions, my illustrations, my metaphors, are erudite,⁠ and that I must sustain my character properly, and contrast it properly too,⁠ else what would become of me? Why, Sir, I should be undone; at this very moment that I am going here to fill up one place against a critick,⁠ I should have made an opening for a couple.

Therefore I answer thus:

Pray, Sir, in all the reading which you have ever read, did you ever read such a book as Locke’s Essay Upon the Human Understanding?⁠ ⁠Don’t answer me rashly⁠ - because many, I know, quote the book, who have not read it⁠ - and many have read it who understand it not:⁠ If either of these is your case, as I write to instruct, I will tell you in three words what the book is.⁠ It is a history.⁠ A history! of who? what? where? when? Don’t hurry yourself - ⁠It is a history-book, Sir (which may possibly recommend it to the world) of what passes in a man’s own mind; and if you will say so much of the book, and no more, believe me, you will cut no contemptible figure in a metaphysick circle.

But this by the way.

Now if you will venture to go along with me, and look down into the bottom of this matter, it will be found that the cause of obscurity and confusion, in the mind of a man, is threefold.

Dull organs, dear Sir, in the first place. Secondly, slight and transient impressions made by the objects, when the said organs are not dull. And thirdly, a memory like unto a sieve, not able to retain what it has received.⁠ Call down Dolly your chambermaid, and I will give you my cap and bell along with it, if I make not this matter so plain that Dolly herself should understand it as well as Malbranch.⁠ ⁠When Dolly has indited her epistle to Robin, and has thrust her arm into the bottom of her pocket hanging by her right side; take that opportunity to recollect that the organs and faculties of perception can, by nothing in this world, be so aptly typified and explained as by that one thing which Dolly’s hand is in search of.⁠ Your organs are not so dull that I should inform you⁠ - ’tis an inch, Sir, of red seal-wax.

When this is melted, and dropped upon the letter, if Dolly fumbles too long for her thimble, till the wax is over hardened, it will not receive the mark of her thimble from the usual impulse which was wont to imprint it. Very well. If Dolly’s wax, for want of better, is beeswax, or of a temper too soft,⁠ though it may receive,⁠ it will not hold the impression, how hard soever Dolly thrusts against it; and last of all, supposing the wax good, and eke the thimble, but applied thereto in careless haste, as her Mistress rings the bell;⁠ ⁠in any one of these three cases the print left by the thimble will be as unlike the prototype as a brass-jack.

Now you must understand that not one of these was the true cause of the confusion in my uncle Toby’s discourse; and it is for that very reason I enlarge upon them so long, after the manner of great physiologists⁠ - to show the world, what it did not arise from.

What it did arise from, I have hinted above, and a fertile source of obscurity it is,⁠ and ever will be,⁠ and that is the unsteady uses of words, which have perplexed the clearest and most exalted understandings.

It is ten to one (at Arthur’s) whether you have ever read the literary histories of past ages; if you have, what terrible battles, ’yclept logomachies, have they occasioned and perpetuated with so much gall and ink-shed,⁠ that a good-natured man cannot read the accounts of them without tears in his eyes.

Gentle critick! when thou hast weighed all this, and considered within thyself how much of thy own knowledge, discourse, and conversation has been pestered and disordered at one time or other, by this, and this only:⁠ What a pudder and racket in Councils about οὐσία and ὑπόστασις; and in the Schools of the learned about power and about spirit; about essences, and about quintessences;⁠ ⁠about substances, and about space.⁠ ⁠What confusion in greater Theatres from words of little meaning, and as indeterminate a sense! when thou considerest this, thou wilt not wonder at my uncle Toby’s perplexities,⁠ thou wilt drop a tear of pity upon his scarp and his counterscarp; his glacis and his covered way; his ravelin and his half-moon: ’Twas not by ideas,⁠ by Heaven; his life was put in jeopardy by words.

Chapter III

When my uncle Toby got his map of Namur to his mind, he began immediately to apply himself, and with the utmost diligence, to the study of it; for nothing being of more importance to him than his recovery, and his recovery depending, as you have read, upon the passions and affections of his mind, it behoved him to take the nicest care to make himself so far master of his subject, as to be able to talk upon it without emotion.

In a fortnight’s close and painful application, which, by the by, did my uncle Toby’s wound, upon his groin, no good,⁠ he was enabled, by the help of some marginal documents at the feet of the elephant, together with Gobesius’s military architecture and pyroballogy, translated from the Flemish, to form his discourse with passable perspicuity; and before he was two full months gone,⁠ he was right eloquent upon it, and could make not only the attack of the advanced counterscarp with great order;⁠ ⁠but having, by that time, gone much deeper into the art, than what his first motive made necessary, my uncle Toby was able to cross the Maes and Sambre; make diversions as far as Vauban’s line, the abbey of Salsines, etc., and give his visitors as distinct a history of each of their attacks, as of that of the gate of St. Nicolas, where he had the honour to receive his wound.

But desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it. The more my uncle Toby pored over his map, the more he took a liking to it!⁠ by the same process and electrical assimilation, as I told you, through which I ween the souls of connoisseurs themselves, by long friction and incumbition, have the happiness, at length, to get all be-virtu’d⁠ - be-pictured,⁠ be-butterflied, and befiddled.

The more my uncle Toby drank of this sweet fountain of science, the greater was the heat and impatience of his thirst, so that before the first year of his confinement had well gone round, there was scarce a fortified town in Italy or Flanders, of which, by one means or other, he had not procured a plan, reading over as he got them, and carefully collating therewith the histories of their sieges, their demolitions, their improvements, and new works, all which he would read with that intense application and delight, that he would forget himself, his wound, his confinement, his dinner.

In the second year my uncle Toby purchased Ramelli and Cataneo, translated from the Italian; likewise Stevinus, Moralis, the Chevalier de Ville, Lorini, Cochorn, Sheeter, the Count de Pagan, the Marshal Vauban, Mons. Blondel, with almost as many more books of military architecture, as Don Quixote was found to have of chivalry, when the curate and barber invaded his library.

Towards the beginning of the third year, which was in August, ninety-nine, my uncle Toby found it necessary to understand a little of projectiles:⁠ and having judged it best to draw his knowledge from the fountainhead, he began with N. Tartaglia, who it seems was the first man who detected the imposition of a cannonball’s doing all that mischief under the notion of a right line⁠ - This N. Tartaglia proved to my uncle Toby to be an impossible thing.

Endless is the search of Truth.

No sooner was my uncle Toby satisfied which road the cannonball did not go, but he was insensibly led on, and resolved in his mind to enquire and find out which road the ball did go: For which purpose he was obliged to set off afresh with old Maltus, and studied him devoutly.⁠ He proceeded next to Galileo and Torricellius, wherein, by certain Geometrical rules, infallibly laid down, he found the precise part to be a Parabola⁠ - or else an Hyperbola,⁠ and that the parameter, or latus rectum, of the conic section of the said path, was to the quantity and amplitude in a direct ratio, as the whole line to the sine of double the angle of incidence, formed by the breech upon an horizontal plane; and that the semiparameter, ⁠stop! my dear uncle Toby - ⁠stop!⁠ go not one foot farther into this thorny and bewildered track,⁠ intricate are the steps! intricate are the mazes of this labyrinth! intricate are the troubles which the pursuit of this bewitching phantom Knowledge will bring upon thee.⁠ O my uncle; fly⁠ - fly, fly from it as from a serpent.⁠ ⁠Is it fit - ⁠good-natured man! thou should’st sit up, with the wound upon thy groin, whole nights baking thy blood with hectic watchings?⁠ ⁠Alas! ’twill exasperate thy symptoms,⁠ check thy perspirations⁠ - evaporate thy spirits⁠ - waste thy animal strength,⁠ dry up thy radical moisture, bring thee into a costive habit of body, ⁠impair thy health, ⁠and hasten all the infirmities of thy old age.⁠ ⁠O my uncle! my uncle Toby.

Chapter IV

I would not give a groat for that man’s knowledge in pencraft, who does not understand this, ⁠That the best plain narrative in the world, tacked very close to the last spirited apostrophe to my uncle Toby - ⁠would have felt both cold and vapid upon the reader’s palate; therefore I forthwith put an end to the chapter, though I was in the middle of my story.

Writers of my stamp have one principle in common with painters. Where an exact copying makes our pictures less striking, we choose the less evil; deeming it even more pardonable to trespass against truth, than beauty. This is to be understood cum grano salis; but be it as it will,⁠ as the parallel is made more for the sake of letting the apostrophe cool, than anything else,⁠ ’tis not very material whether upon any other score the reader approves of it or not.

In the latter end of the third year, my uncle Toby perceiving that the parameter and semiparameter of the conic section angered his wound, he left off the study of projectiles in a kind of a huff, and betook himself to the practical part of fortification only; the pleasure of which, like a spring held back, returned upon him with redoubled force.

It was in this year that my uncle began to break in upon the daily regularity of a clean shirt, ⁠to dismiss his barber unshaven, ⁠and to allow his surgeon scarce time sufficient to dress his wound, concerning himself so little about it, as not to ask him once in seven times dressing, how it went on: when, lo!⁠ all of a sudden, for the change was quick as lightning, he began to sigh heavily for his recovery, ⁠complained to my father, grew impatient with the surgeon: and one morning, as he heard his foot coming upstairs, he shut up his books, and thrust aside his instruments, in order to expostulate with him upon the protraction of the cure, which, he told him, might surely have been accomplished at least by that time:⁠ He dwelt long upon the miseries he had undergone, and the sorrows of his four years melancholy imprisonment; adding, that had it not been for the kind looks and fraternal cheerings of the best of brothers,⁠ he had long since sunk under his misfortunes.⁠ ⁠My father was by: My uncle Toby’s eloquence brought tears into his eyes;⁠ ’twas unexpected: My uncle Toby, by nature was not eloquent; it had the greater effect: The surgeon was confounded;⁠ ⁠not that there wanted grounds for such, or greater marks of impatience,⁠ but ’twas unexpected too; in the four years he had attended him, he had never seen anything like it in my uncle Toby’s carriage; he had never once dropped one fretful or discontented word;⁠ ⁠he had been all patience,⁠ all submission.

We lose the right of complaining sometimes by forbearing it; but we often treble the force:⁠ The surgeon was astonished; but much more so, when he heard my uncle Toby go on, and peremptorily insist upon his healing up the wound directly,⁠ or sending for Monsieur Ronjat, the king’s serjeant-surgeon, to do it for him.

The desire of life and health is implanted in man’s nature;⁠ ⁠the love of liberty and enlargement is a sister-passion to it: These my uncle Toby had in common with his species;⁠ ⁠and either of them had been sufficient to account for his earnest desire to get well and out of doors;⁠ ⁠but I have told you before, that nothing wrought with our family after the common way;⁠ ⁠and from the time and manner in which this eager desire showed itself in the present case, the penetrating reader will suspect there was some other cause or crotchet for it in my uncle Toby’s head: There was so, and ’tis the subject of the next chapter to set forth what that cause and crotchet was. I own, when that’s done, ’twill be time to return back to the parlour fireside, where we left my uncle Toby in the middle of his sentence.

Chapter V

When a man gives himself up to the government of a ruling passion,⁠ or, in other words, when his Hobbyhorse grows headstrong, ⁠farewel cool reason and fair discretion!

My uncle Toby’s wound was near well, and as soon as the surgeon recovered his surprise, and could get leave to say as much - ⁠he told him, ’twas just beginning to incarnate; and that if no fresh exfoliation happened, which there was no sign of,⁠ it would be dried up in five or six weeks. The sound of as many Olympiads, twelve hours before, would have conveyed an idea of shorter duration to my uncle Toby’s mind.⁠ ⁠The succession of his ideas was now rapid,⁠ he broiled with impatience to put his design in execution;⁠ ⁠and so, without consulting farther with any soul living,⁠ which, by the by, I think is right, when you are predetermined to take no one soul’s advice, ⁠he privately ordered Trim, his man, to pack up a bundle of lint and dressings, and hire a chariot-and-four to be at the door exactly by twelve o’clock that day, when he knew my father would be upon ’Change.⁠ ⁠So leaving a banknote upon the table for the surgeon’s care of him, and a letter of tender thanks for his brother’s⁠ - he packed up his maps, his books of fortification, his instruments, etc., and by the help of a crutch on one side, and Trim on the other, ⁠my uncle Toby embarked for Shandy-Hall.

The reason, or rather the rise of this sudden demigration was as follows:

The table in my uncle Toby’s room, and at which, the night before this change happened, he was sitting with his maps, etc., about him⁠ - being somewhat of the smallest, for that infinity of great and small instruments of knowledge which usually lay crowded upon it⁠ - he had the accident, in reaching over for his tobacco-box, to throw down his compasses, and in stooping to take the compasses up, with his sleeve he threw down his case of instruments and snuffers; and as the dice took a run against him, in his endeavouring to catch the snuffers in falling, ⁠he thrust Monsieur Blondel off the table, and Count de Pagan o’top of him.

’Twas to no purpose for a man, lame as my uncle Toby was, to think of redressing these evils by himself,⁠ he rung his bell for his man Trim; Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, prithee see what confusion I have here been making⁠ - I must have some better contrivance, Trim.⁠ ⁠Can’st not thou take my rule, and measure the length and breadth of this table, and then go and bespeak me one as big again?⁠ ⁠Yes, an’ please your Honour, replied Trim, making a bow; but I hope your Honour will be soon well enough to get down to your country-seat, where,⁠ as your Honour takes so much pleasure in fortification, we could manage this matter to a T.

I must here inform you, that this servant of my uncle Toby’s, who went by the name of Trim, had been a corporal in my uncle’s own company,⁠ his real name was James Butler,⁠ but having got the nickname of Trim in the regiment, my uncle Toby, unless when he happened to be very angry with him, would never call him by any other name.

The poor fellow had been disabled for the service, by a wound on his left knee by a musket-bullet, at the battle of Landen, which was two years before the affair of Namur; and as the fellow was well-beloved in the regiment, and a handy fellow into the bargain, my uncle Toby took him for his servant; and of an excellent use was he, attending my uncle Toby in the camp and in his quarters as a valet, groom, barber, cook, sempster, and nurse; and indeed, from first to last, waited upon him and served him with great fidelity and affection.

My uncle Toby loved the man in return, and what attached him more to him still, was the similitude of their knowledge.⁠ ⁠For Corporal Trim (for so, for the future, I shall call him), by four years occasional attention to his Master’s discourse upon fortified towns, and the advantage of prying and peeping continually into his Master’s plans, etc., exclusive and besides what he gained Hobbyhorsically, as a body-servant, Non Hobbyhorsical per se;⁠ ⁠had become no mean proficient in the science; and was thought, by the cook and chambermaid, to know as much of the nature of strongholds as my uncle Toby himself.

I have but one more stroke to give to finish Corporal Trim’s character, ⁠and it is the only dark line in it.⁠ The fellow loved to advise,⁠ or rather to hear himself talk; his carriage, however, was so perfectly respectful, ’twas easy to keep him silent when you had him so; but set his tongue a-going,⁠ you had no hold of him⁠ - he was voluble; the eternal interlardings of your Honour, with the respectfulness of Corporal Trim’s manner, interceding so strong in behalf of his elocution,⁠ that though you might have been incommoded, ⁠you could not well be angry. My uncle Toby was seldom either the one or the other with him,⁠ or, at least, this fault, in Trim, broke no squares with them. My uncle Toby, as I said, loved the man;⁠ ⁠and besides, as he ever looked upon a faithful servant,⁠ but as an humble friend,⁠ he could not bear to stop his mouth.⁠ ⁠Such was Corporal Trim.

If I durst presume, continued Trim, to give your Honour my advice, and speak my opinion in this matter.⁠ Thou art welcome, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby⁠ - speak, ⁠speak what thou thinkest upon the subject, man, without fear. Why then, replied Trim (not hanging his ears and scratching his head like a country-lout, but) stroking his hair back from his forehead, and standing erect as before his division,⁠ I think, quoth Trim, advancing his left, which was his lame leg, a little forwards,⁠ and pointing with his right hand open towards a map of Dunkirk, which was pinned against the hangings, ⁠I think, quoth Corporal Trim, with humble submission to your Honour’s better judgment, ⁠that these ravelins, bastions, curtins, and horn-works, make but a poor, contemptible, fiddle-faddle piece of work of it here upon paper, compared to what your Honour and I could make of it were we in the country by ourselves, and had but a rood, or a rood and a half of ground to do what we pleased with: As summer is coming on, continued Trim, your Honour might sit out of doors, and give me the nography⁠ - (Call it ichnography, quoth my uncle) - ⁠of the town or citadel, your Honour was pleased to sit down before,⁠ and I will be shot by your Honour upon the glacis of it, if I did not fortify it to your Honour’s mind - ⁠I dare say thou would’st, Trim, quoth my uncle.⁠ For if your Honour, continued the Corporal, could but mark me the polygon, with its exact lines and angles⁠ - That I could do very well, quoth my uncle.⁠ I would begin with the fossé, and if your Honour could tell me the proper depth and breadth⁠ - I can to a hair’s breadth, Trim, replied my uncle.⁠ I would throw out the earth upon this hand towards the town for the scarp,⁠ and on that hand towards the campaign for the counterscarp.⁠ Very right, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby: And when I had sloped them to your mind, ⁠an’ please your Honour, I would face the glacis, as the finest fortifications are done in Flanders, with sods, ⁠and as your Honour knows they should be,⁠ and I would make the walls and parapets with sods too.⁠ The best engineers call them gazons, Trim, said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Whether they are gazons or sods, is not much matter, replied Trim; your Honour knows they are ten times beyond a facing either of brick or stone.⁠ ⁠I know they are, Trim, in some respects, ⁠quoth my uncle Toby, nodding his head; for a cannonball enters into the gazon right onwards, without bringing any rubbish down with it, which might fill the fossé (as was the case at St. Nicolas’s gate), and facilitate the passage over it.

Your Honour understands these matters, replied Corporal Trim, better than any officer in his Majesty’s service;⁠ ⁠but would your Honour please to let the bespeaking of the table alone, and let us but go into the country, I would work under your Honour’s directions like a horse, and make fortifications for you something like a tansy, with all their batteries, saps, ditches, and palisadoes, that it should be worth all the world’s riding twenty miles to go and see it.

My uncle Toby blushed as red as scarlet as Trim went on; but it was not a blush of guilt,⁠ of modesty,⁠ or of anger,⁠ it was a blush of joy; he was fired with Corporal Trim’s project and description.⁠ ⁠Trim! said my uncle Toby, thou hast said enough.⁠ We might begin the campaign, continued Trim, on the very day that his Majesty and the Allies take the field, and demolish them town by town as fast as⁠ - Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, say no more. Your Honour, continued Trim, might sit in your armchair (pointing to it) this fine weather, giving me your orders, and I would - ⁠Say no more, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby - ⁠Besides, your Honour would get not only pleasure and good pastime,⁠ but good air, and good exercise, and good health,⁠ and your Honour’s wound would be well in a month. Thou hast said enough, Trim,⁠ quoth my uncle Toby (putting his hand into his breeches-pocket) - ⁠I like thy project mightily.⁠ And if your Honour pleases, I’ll this moment go and buy a pioneer’s spade to take down with us, and I’ll bespeak a shovel and a pickaxe, and a couple of - ⁠Say no more, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, leaping up upon one leg, quite overcome with rapture,⁠ and thrusting a guinea into Trim’s hand,⁠ Trim, said my uncle Toby, say no more; but go down, Trim, this moment, my lad, and bring up my supper this instant.

Trim ran down and brought up his master’s supper, ⁠to no purpose:⁠ Trim’s plan of operation ran so in my uncle Toby’s head, he could not taste it.⁠ Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, get me to bed.⁠ ’Twas all one.⁠ Corporal Trim’s description had fired his imagination,⁠ my uncle Toby could not shut his eyes.⁠ The more he considered it, the more bewitching the scene appeared to him; so that, two full hours before daylight, he had come to a final determination, and had concerted the whole plan of his and Corporal Trim’s decampment.

My uncle Toby had a little neat country-house of his own, in the village where my father’s estate lay at Shandy, which had been left him by an old uncle, with a small estate of about one hundred pounds a-year. Behind this house, and contiguous to it, was a kitchen-garden of about half an acre; and at the bottom of the garden, and cut off from it by a tall yew hedge, was a bowling-green, containing just about as much ground as Corporal Trim wished for; so that as Trim uttered the words, “A rood and a half of ground to do what they would with,”⁠ - this identical bowling-green instantly presented itself, and became curiously painted all at once, upon the retina of my uncle Toby’s fancy; which was the physical cause of making him change colour, or at least of heightening his blush, to that immoderate degree I spoke of.

Never did lover post down to a beloved mistress with more heat and expectation, than my uncle Toby did, to enjoy this selfsame thing in private; I say in private; for it was sheltered from the house, as I told you, by a tall yew hedge, and was covered on the other three sides, from mortal sight, by rough holly and thickset flowering shrubs:⁠ so that the idea of not being seen, did not a little contribute to the idea of pleasure preconceived in my uncle Toby’s mind.⁠ Vain thought! however thick it was planted about, ⁠or private soever it might seem,⁠ to think, dear uncle Toby, of enjoying a thing which took up a whole rood and a half of ground, ⁠and not have it known!

How my uncle Toby and Corporal Trim managed this matter, ⁠with the history of their campaigns, which were no way barren of events, ⁠may make no uninteresting under-plot in the epitasis and working-up of this drama.⁠ At present the scene must drop,⁠ and change for the parlour fireside.

Chapter VI

What can they be doing, brother? said my father.⁠ I think, replied my uncle Toby,⁠ taking, as I told you, his pipe from his mouth, and striking the ashes out of it as he began his sentence;⁠ ⁠I think, replied he,⁠ it would not be amiss, brother, if we rung the bell.

Pray, what’s all that racket over our heads, Obadiah? - ⁠quoth my father;⁠ ⁠my brother and I can scarce hear ourselves speak.

Sir, answered Obadiah, making a bow towards his left shoulder,⁠ my Mistress is taken very badly.⁠ And where’s Susannah running down the garden there, as if they were going to ravish her?⁠ ⁠Sir, she is running the shortest cut into the town, replied Obadiah, to fetch the old midwife.⁠ Then saddle a horse, quoth my father, and do you go directly for Dr. Slop, the man-midwife, with all our services, ⁠and let him know your mistress is fallen into labour - ⁠and that I desire he will return with you with all speed.

It is very strange, says my father, addressing himself to my uncle Toby, as Obadiah shut the door, ⁠as there is so expert an operator as Dr. Slop so near,⁠ that my wife should persist to the very last in this obstinate humour of hers, in trusting the life of my child, who has had one misfortune already, to the ignorance of an old woman;⁠ ⁠and not only the life of my child, brother, ⁠but her own life, and with it the lives of all the children I might, peradventure, have begot out of her hereafter.

Mayhap, brother, replied my uncle Toby, my sister does it to save the expense:⁠ A pudding’s end,⁠ replied my father, ⁠the Doctor must be paid the same for inaction as action, ⁠if not better,⁠ to keep him in temper.

Then it can be out of nothing in the whole world, quoth my uncle Toby, in the simplicity of his heart,⁠ but Modesty.⁠ My sister, I dare say, added he, does not care to let a man come so near her ****. I will not say whether my uncle Toby had completed the sentence or not;⁠ ’tis for his advantage to suppose he had, ⁠as, I think, he could have added no One Word which would have improved it.

If, on the contrary, my uncle Toby had not fully arrived at the period’s end,⁠ then the world stands indebted to the sudden snapping of my father’s tobacco-pipe for one of the neatest examples of that ornamental figure in oratory, which Rhetoricians stile the Aposiopesis.⁠ ⁠Just Heaven! how does the Poco piu and the Poco meno of the Italian artists; the insensible more or less, determine the precise line of beauty in the sentence, as well as in the statute! How do the slight touches of the chisel, the pencil, the pen, the fiddlestick, et cætera,⁠ give the true swell, which gives the true pleasure!⁠ O my countrymen; be nice; be cautious of your language; and never, O! never let it be forgotten upon what small particles your eloquence and your fame depend.

“My sister, mayhap,” quoth my uncle Toby, “does not choose to let a man come so near her ****.” Make this dash,⁠ ’tis an Aposiopesis.⁠ Take the dash away, and write Backside, ’tis Bawdy.⁠ Scratch Backside out, and put Cover’d way in, ’tis a Metaphor; and, I dare say, as fortification ran so much in my uncle Toby’s head, that if he had been left to have added one word to the sentence, ⁠that word was it.

But whether that was the case or not the case; or whether the snapping of my father’s tobacco-pipe, so critically, happened through accident or anger, will be seen in due time.

Chapter VII

Though my father was a good natural philosopher,⁠ yet he was something of a moral philosopher too; for which reason, when his tobacco-pipe snapp’d short in the middle,⁠ he had nothing to do, as such, but to have taken hold of the two pieces, and thrown them gently upon the back of the fire.⁠ ⁠He did no such thing;⁠ ⁠he threw them with all the violence in the world; and, to give the action still more emphasis,⁠ he started upon both his legs to do it.

This looked something like heat; and the manner of his reply to what my uncle Toby was saying, proved it was so.

“Not choose,” quoth my father, (repeating my uncle Toby’s words) “to let a man come so near her!” - ⁠By Heaven, brother Toby! you would try the patience of Job; and I think I have the plagues of one already without it.⁠ ⁠Why?⁠ ⁠Where?⁠ ⁠Wherein?⁠ ⁠Wherefore?⁠ ⁠Upon what account? replied my uncle Toby, in the utmost astonishment.⁠ To think, said my father, of a man living to your age, brother, and knowing so little about women!⁠ ⁠I know nothing at all about them,⁠ replied my uncle Toby: And I think, continued he, that the shock I received the year after the demolition of Dunkirk, in my affair with widow Wadman; which shock you know I should not have received, but from my total ignorance of the sex,⁠ has given me just cause to say, That I neither know nor do pretend to know anything about ’em or their concerns either.⁠ Methinks, brother, replied my father, you might, at least, know so much as the right end of a woman from the wrong.

It is said in Aristotle’s Masterpiece, “That when a man doth think of anything which is past, ⁠he looketh down upon the ground;⁠ ⁠but that when he thinketh of something that is to come, he looketh up towards the heavens.”

My uncle Toby, I suppose, thought of neither, for he look’d horizontally.⁠ Right end! quoth my uncle Toby, muttering the two words low to himself, and fixing his two eyes insensibly as he muttered them, upon a small crevice, formed by a bad joint in the chimneypiece - ⁠Right end of a woman!⁠ ⁠I declare, quoth my uncle, I know no more which it is than the man in the moon;⁠ ⁠and if I was to think, continued my uncle Toby (keeping his eye still fixed upon the bad joint) this month together, I am sure I should not be able to find it out.

Then, brother Toby, replied my father, I will tell you.

Everything in this world, continued my father (filling a fresh pipe)⁠ - everything in this world, my dear brother Toby, has two handles.⁠ ⁠Not always, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠At least, replied my father, everyone has two hands, ⁠which comes to the same thing.⁠ ⁠Now, if a man was to sit down coolly, and consider within himself the make, the shape, the construction, come-at-ability, and convenience of all the parts which constitute the whole of that animal, called Woman, and compare them analogically - ⁠I never understood rightly the meaning of that word,⁠ quoth my uncle Toby.⁠

Analogy, replied my father, is the certain relation and agreement which different - ⁠Here a devil of a rap at the door snapped my father’s definition (like his tobacco-pipe) in two,⁠ and, at the same time, crushed the head of as notable and curious a dissertation as ever was engendered in the womb of speculation; it was some months before my father could get an opportunity to be safely delivered of it:⁠ And, at this hour, it is a thing full as problematical as the subject of the dissertation itself,⁠ (considering the confusion and distresses of our domestick misadventures, which are now coming thick one upon the back of another) whether I shall be able to find a place for it in the third volume or not.

Chapter VIII

It is about an hour and a half’s tolerable good reading since my uncle Toby rung the bell, when Obadiah was ordered to saddle a horse, and go for Dr. Slop, the man-midwife; so that no one can say, with reason, that I have not allowed Obadiah time enough, poetically speaking, and considering the emergency too, both to go and come;⁠ ⁠though, morally and truly speaking, the man perhaps has scarce had time to get on his boots.

If the hypercritick will go upon this; and is resolved after all to take a pendulum, and measure the true distance betwixt the ringing of the bell, and the rap at the door; and, after finding it to be no more than two minutes, thirteen seconds, and three fifths,⁠ should take upon him to insult over me for such a breach in the unity, or rather probability of time; I would remind him, that the idea of duration, and of its simple modes, is got merely from the train and succession of our ideas, ⁠and is the true scholastic pendulum, ⁠and by which, as a scholar, I will be tried in this matter,⁠ abjuring and detesting the jurisdiction of all other pendulums whatever.

I would therefore desire him to consider that it is but poor eight miles from Shandy-Hall to Dr. Slop, the man-midwife’s house; and that whilst Obadiah has been going those said miles and back, I have brought my uncle Toby from Namur, quite across all Flanders, into England:⁠ That I have had him ill upon my hands near four years; and have since travelled him and Corporal Trim in a chariot-and-four, a journey of near two hundred miles down into Yorkshire, ⁠all which put together, must have prepared the reader’s imagination for the entrance of Dr. Slop upon the stage,⁠ as much, at least (I hope) as a dance, a song, or a concerto between the acts.

If my hypercritick is intractable, alleging, that two minutes and thirteen seconds are no more than two minutes and thirteen seconds,⁠ when I have said all I can about them; and that this plea, though it might save me dramatically, will damn me biographically, rendering my book from this very moment, a professed Romance, which, before, was a book apocryphal: If I am thus pressed⁠ - I then put an end to the whole objection and controversy about it all at once, ⁠by acquainting him, that Obadiah had not got above threescore yards from the stable-yard before he met with Dr. Slop; and indeed he gave a dirty proof that he had met with him, and was within an ace of giving a tragical one too.

Imagine to yourself; but this had better begin a new chapter.

Chapter IX

Imagine to yourself a little squat, uncourtly figure of a Doctor Slop, of about four feet and a half perpendicular height, with a breadth of back, and a sesquipedality of belly, which might have done honour to a serjeant in the horse-guards.

Such were the outlines of Dr. Slop’s figure, which,⁠ if you have read Hogarth’s analysis of beauty, and if you have not, I wish you would;⁠ ⁠you must know, may as certainly be caricatured, and conveyed to the mind by three strokes as three hundred.

Imagine such a one, ⁠for such, I say, were the outlines of Dr. Slop’s figure, coming slowly along, foot by foot, waddling thro’ the dirt upon the vertebrae of a little diminutive pony, of a pretty colour - ⁠but of strength, ⁠alack!⁠ ⁠scarce able to have made an amble of it, under such a fardel, had the roads been in an ambling condition.⁠ ⁠They were not.⁠ ⁠Imagine to yourself, Obadiah mounted upon a strong monster of a coach-horse, pricked into a full gallop, and making all practicable speed the adverse way.

Pray, Sir, let me interest you a moment in this description.

Had Dr. Slop beheld Obadiah a mile off, posting in a narrow lane directly towards him, at that monstrous rate,⁠ splashing and plunging like a devil thro’ thick and thin, as he approached, would not such a phænomenon, with such a vortex of mud and water moving along with it, round its axis,⁠ have been a subject of juster apprehension to Dr. Slop in his situation, than the worst of Whiston’s comets?⁠ To say nothing of the Nucleus; that is, of Obadiah and the coach-horse.⁠ In my idea, the vortex alone of ’em was enough to have involved and carried, if not the doctor, at least the doctor’s pony, quite away with it. What then do you think must the terror and hydrophobia of Dr. Slop have been, when you read (which you are just going to do) that he was advancing thus warily along towards Shandy-Hall, and had approached to within sixty yards of it, and within five yards of a sudden turn, made by an acute angle of the garden-wall,⁠ and in the dirtiest part of a dirty lane,⁠ when Obadiah and his coach-horse turned the corner, rapid, furious,⁠ pop,⁠ full upon him!⁠ Nothing, I think, in nature, can be supposed more terrible than such a rencounter,⁠ so imprompt! so ill prepared to stand the shock of it as Dr. Slop was.

What could Dr. Slop do?⁠ ⁠he crossed himself +⁠ - Pugh!⁠ but the doctor, Sir, was a Papist.⁠ No matter; he had better have kept hold of the pummel⁠ - He had so; nay, as it happened, he had better have done nothing at all; for in crossing himself he let go his whip, ⁠and in attempting to save his whip betwixt his knee and his saddle’s skirt, as it slipped, he lost his stirrup, ⁠in losing which he lost his seat;⁠ ⁠and in the multitude of all these losses (which, by the by, shows what little advantage there is in crossing) the unfortunate doctor lost his presence of mind. So that without waiting for Obadiah’s onset, he left his pony to its destiny, tumbling off it diagonally, something in the stile and manner of a pack of wool, and without any other consequence from the fall, save that of being left (as it would have been) with the broadest part of him sunk about twelve inches deep in the mire.

Obadiah pull’d off his cap twice to Dr. Slop; once as he was falling,⁠ and then again when he saw him seated.⁠ ⁠Ill-timed complaisance; had not the fellow better have stopped his horse, and got off and help’d him?⁠ Sir, he did all that his situation would allow; but the Momentum of the coach-horse was so great, that Obadiah could not do it all at once; he rode in a circle three times round Dr. Slop, before he could fully accomplish it anyhow; and at the last, when he did stop his beast, ’twas done with such an explosion of mud, that Obadiah had better have been a league off. In short, never was a Dr. Slop so beluted, and so transubstantiated, since that affair came into fashion.

Chapter X

When Dr. Slop entered the back parlour, where my father and my uncle Toby were discoursing upon the nature of women, ⁠it was hard to determine whether Dr. Slop’s figure, or Dr. Slop’s presence, occasioned more surprise to them; for as the accident happened so near the house, as not to make it worth while for Obadiah to remount him, ⁠Obadiah had led him in as he was, unwiped, unappointed, unannealed, with all his stains and blotches on him.⁠ He stood like Hamlet’s ghost, motionless and speechless, for a full minute and a half at the parlour-door (Obadiah still holding his hand) with all the majesty of mud. His hinder parts, upon which he had received his fall, totally besmeared, ⁠and in every other part of him, blotched over in such a manner with Obadiah’s explosion, that you would have sworn (without mental reservation) that every grain of it had taken effect.

Here was a fair opportunity for my uncle Toby to have triumphed over my father in his turn; for no mortal, who had beheld Dr. Slop in that pickle, could have dissented from so much at least, of my uncle Toby’s opinion, “That mayhap his sister might not care to let such a Dr. Slop come so near her ****.” But it was the Argumentum ad hominem; and if my uncle Toby was not very expert at it, you may think, he might not care to use it.⁠ ⁠No; the reason was,⁠ ’twas not his nature to insult.

Dr. Slop’s presence at that time, was no less problematical than the mode of it; though it is certain, one moment’s reflection in my father might have solved it; for he had apprized Dr. Slop but the week before, that my mother was at her full reckoning; and as the doctor had heard nothing since, ’twas natural and very political too in him, to have taken a ride to Shandy-Hall, as he did, merely to see how matters went on.

But my father’s mind took unfortunately a wrong turn in the investigation; running, like the hypercritick’s, altogether upon the ringing of the bell and the rap upon the door,⁠ measuring their distance, and keeping his mind so intent upon the operation as to have power to think of nothing else, ⁠commonplace infirmity of the greatest mathematicians! working with might and main at the demonstration, and so wasting all their strength upon it, that they have none left in them to draw the corollary, to do good with.

The ringing of the bell, and the rap upon the door, struck likewise strong upon the sensorium of my uncle Toby,⁠ but it excited a very different train of thoughts; the two irreconcileable pulsations instantly brought Stevinus, the great engineer, along with them, into my uncle Toby’s mind. What business Stevinus had in this affair,⁠ is the greatest problem of all: It shall be solved,⁠ but not in the next chapter.

Chapter XI

Writing, when properly managed (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation. As no one, who knows what he is about in good company, would venture to talk all;⁠ ⁠so no author, who understands the just boundaries of decorum and good-breeding, would presume to think all: The truest respect which you can pay to the reader’s understanding, is to halve this matter amicably, and leave him something to imagine, in his turn, as well as yourself.

For my own part, I am eternally paying him compliments of this kind, and do all that lies in my power to keep his imagination as busy as my own.

’Tis his turn now; I have given an ample description of Dr. Slop’s sad overthrow, and of his sad appearance in the back-parlour; his imagination must now go on with it for a while.

Let the reader imagine then, that Dr. Slop has told his tale⁠ - and in what words, and with what aggravations, his fancy chooses; Let him suppose, that Obadiah has told his tale also, and with such rueful looks of affected concern, as he thinks best will contrast the two figures as they stand by each other.⁠ ⁠Let him imagine, that my father has stepped upstairs to see my mother.⁠ And, to conclude this work of imagination⁠ - let him imagine the doctor washed,⁠ rubbed down, and condoled,⁠ felicitated,⁠ got into a pair of Obadiah’s pumps, stepping forwards towards the door, upon the very point of entering upon action.

Truce!⁠ truce, good Dr. Slop:⁠ stay thy obstetrick hand;⁠ ⁠return it safe into thy bosom to keep it warm;⁠ ⁠little dost thou know what obstacles, little dost thou think what hidden causes, retard its operation!⁠ ⁠Hast thou, Dr. Slop,⁠ hast thou been entrusted with the secret articles of the solemn treaty which has brought thee into this place?⁠ Art thou aware that at this instant, a daughter of Lucina is put obstetrically over thy head? Alas!⁠ ’tis too true.⁠ Besides, great son of Pilumnus! what canst thou do?⁠ Thou hast come forth unarm’d; thou hast left thy tire-tête,⁠ thy new-invented forceps,⁠ thy crotchet,⁠ thy squirt, and all thy instruments of salvation and deliverance, behind thee,⁠ By Heaven! at this moment they are hanging up in a green bays bag, betwixt thy two pistols, at the bed’s head!⁠ Ring; call; send Obadiah back upon the coach-horse to bring them with all speed.

Make great haste, Obadiah, quoth my father, and I’ll give thee a crown!⁠ and quoth my uncle Toby, I’ll give him another.

Chapter XII

Your sudden and unexpected arrival, quoth my uncle Toby, addressing himself to Dr. Slop (all three of them sitting down to the fire together, as my uncle Toby began to speak)⁠ - instantly brought the great Stevinus into my head, who, you must know, is a favourite author with me.⁠ Then, added my father, making use of the argument Ad Crumenam,⁠ I will lay twenty guineas to a single crown-piece (which will serve to give away to Obadiah when he gets back) that this same Stevinus was some engineer or other,⁠ or has wrote something or other, either directly or indirectly, upon the science of fortification.

He has so,⁠ replied my uncle Toby.⁠ I knew it, said my father, though, for the soul of me, I cannot see what kind of connection there can be betwixt Dr. Slop’s sudden coming, and a discourse upon fortification; yet I fear’d it.⁠ Talk of what we will, brother, ⁠or let the occasion be never so foreign or unfit for the subject,⁠ you are sure to bring it in. I would not, brother Toby, continued my father, I declare I would not have my head so full of curtins and hornworks.⁠ That I dare say you would not, quoth Dr. Slop, interrupting him, and laughing most immoderately at his pun.

Dennis the critic could not detest and abhor a pun, or the insinuation of a pun, more cordially than my father; he would grow testy upon it at any time; but to be broke in upon by one, in a serious discourse, was as bad, he would say, as a fillip upon the nose;⁠ ⁠he saw no difference.

Sir, quoth my uncle Toby, addressing himself to Dr. Slop,⁠ the curtins my brother Shandy mentions here, have nothing to do with bedsteads; though, I know Du Cange says, “That bed-curtains, in all probability, have taken their name from them;”⁠ - nor have the hornworks he speaks of, anything in the world to do with the horn-works of cuckoldom:⁠ But the Curtin, Sir, is the word we use in fortification, for that part of the wall or rampart which lies between the two bastions and joins them⁠ - Besiegers seldom offer to carry on their attacks directly against the curtin, for this reason, because they are so well flanked. (’Tis the case of other curtains, quoth Dr. Slop, laughing.) However, continued my uncle Toby, to make them sure, we generally choose to place ravelins before them, taking care only to extend them beyond the fossé or ditch: The common men, who know very little of fortification, confound the ravelin and the half-moon together,⁠ though they are very different things; not in their figure or construction, for we make them exactly alike, in all points; for they always consist of two faces, making a salient angle, with the gorges, not straight, but in form of a crescent: Where then lies the difference? (quoth my father, a little testily).⁠ In their situations, answered my uncle Toby:⁠ For when a ravelin, brother, stands before the curtin, it is a ravelin; and when a ravelin stands before a bastion, then the ravelin is not a ravelin; it is a half-moon; a half-moon likewise is a half-moon, and no more, so long as it stands before its bastion;⁠ ⁠but was it to change place, and get before the curtin,⁠ ’twould be no longer a half-moon; a half-moon, in that case, is not a half-moon; ’tis no more than a ravelin.⁠ ⁠I think, quoth my father, that the noble science of defence has its weak sides - ⁠as well as others.

As for the horn-work (high! ho! sigh’d my father) which, continued my uncle Toby, my brother was speaking of, they are a very considerable part of an outwork;⁠ ⁠they are called by the French engineers, Ouvrage à corne, and we generally make them to cover such places as we suspect to be weaker than the rest; ’tis formed by two epaulments or demi-bastions⁠ - they are very pretty,⁠ and if you will take a walk, I’ll engage to show you one well worth your trouble.⁠ I own, continued my uncle Toby, when we crown them,⁠ they are much stronger, but then they are very expensive, and take up a great deal of ground, so that, in my opinion, they are most of use to cover or defend the head of a camp; otherwise the double tenaille⁠ - By the mother who bore us!⁠ ⁠brother Toby, quoth my father, not able to hold out any longer, ⁠you would provoke a saint;⁠ ⁠here have you got us, I know not how, not only souse into the middle of the old subject again:⁠ But so full is your head of these confounded works, that though my wife is this moment in the pains of labour, and you hear her cry out, yet nothing will serve you but to carry off the man-midwife.⁠ ⁠Accoucheur,⁠ if you please, quoth Dr. Slop.⁠ ⁠With all my heart, replied my father, I don’t care what they call you,⁠ but I wish the whole science of fortification, with all its inventors, at the devil; it has been the death of thousands,⁠ and it will be mine in the end,⁠ I would not, I would not, brother Toby, have my brains so full of saps, mines, blinds, gabions, pallisadoes, ravelins, half-moons, and such trumpery, to be proprietor of Namur, and of all the towns in Flanders with it.

My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries; not from want of courage,⁠ I have told you in a former chapter, “that he was a man of courage:”⁠ - And will add here, that where just occasions presented, or called it forth,⁠ I know no man under whose arm I would have sooner taken shelter;⁠ ⁠nor did this arise from any insensibility or obtuseness of his intellectual parts; for he felt this insult of my father’s as feelingly as a man could do; but he was of a peaceful, placid nature,⁠ no jarring element in it,⁠ all was mixed up so kindly within him; my uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly.

Go⁠ - says he, one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinnertime,⁠ and which after infinite attempts, he had caught at last, as it flew by him; I’ll not hurt thee, says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room, with the fly in his hand, ⁠I’ll not hurt a hair of thy head:⁠ Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape; go, poor devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee?⁠ ⁠This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.

I was but ten years old when this happened: but whether it was, that the action itself was more in unison to my nerves at that age of pity, which instantly set my whole frame into one vibration of most pleasurable sensation; or how far the manner and expression of it might go towards it; or in what degree, or by what secret magick,⁠ a tone of voice and harmony of movement, attuned by mercy, might find a passage to my heart, I know not; this I know, that the lesson of universal goodwill then taught and imprinted by my uncle Toby, has never since been worn out of my mind: And though I would not depreciate what the study of the Literæ humaniores, at the university, have done for me in that respect, or discredit the other helps of an expensive education bestowed upon me, both at home and abroad since; yet I often think that I owe one half of my philanthropy to that one accidental impression.

☞ This is to serve for parents and governors instead of a whole volume upon the subject.

I could not give the reader this stroke in my uncle Toby’s picture, by the instrument with which I drew the other parts of it,⁠ that taking in no more than the mere Hobbyhorsical likeness: this is a part of his moral character. My father, in this patient endurance of wrongs, which I mention, was very different, as the reader must long ago have noted; he had a much more acute and quick sensibility of nature, attended with a little soreness of temper; though this never transported him to anything which looked like malignancy:⁠ yet in the little rubs and vexations of life, ’twas apt to show itself in a drollish and witty kind of peevishness: He was, however, frank and generous in his nature;⁠ ⁠at all times open to conviction; and in the little ebullitions of this subacid humour towards others, but particularly towards my uncle Toby, whom he truly loved: he would feel more pain, ten times told (except in the affair of my aunt Dinah, or where an hypothesis was concerned) than what he ever gave.

The characters of the two brothers, in this view of them, reflected light upon each other, and appeared with great advantage in this affair which arose about Stevinus.

I need not tell the reader, if he keeps a Hobbyhorse, ⁠that a man’s Hobbyhorse is as tender a part as he has about him; and that these unprovoked strokes at my uncle Toby’s could not be unfelt by him.⁠ ⁠No: - as I said above, my uncle Toby did feel them, and very sensibly too.

Pray, Sir, what said he?⁠ How did he behave?⁠ O, Sir!⁠ it was great: For as soon as my father had done insulting his Hobbyhorse, he turned his head without the least emotion, from Dr. Slop, to whom he was addressing his discourse, and looking up into my father’s face, with a countenance spread over with so much good-nature;⁠ ⁠so placid;⁠ ⁠so fraternal;⁠ ⁠so inexpressibly tender towards him:⁠ it penetrated my father to his heart: He rose up hastily from his chair, and seizing hold of both my uncle Toby’s hands as he spoke:⁠ Brother Toby, said he,⁠ I beg thy pardon;⁠ ⁠forgive, I pray thee, this rash humour which my mother gave me.⁠ ⁠My dear, dear brother, answered my uncle Toby, rising up by my father’s help, say no more about it; you are heartily welcome, had it been ten times as much, brother. But ’tis ungenerous, replied my father, to hurt any man;⁠ ⁠a brother worse;⁠ ⁠but to hurt a brother of such gentle manners,⁠ so unprovoking,⁠ and so unresenting;⁠ ’tis base: By Heaven, ’tis cowardly.⁠ You are heartily welcome, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, had it been fifty times as much.⁠ ⁠Besides, what have I to do, my dear Toby, cried my father, either with your amusements or your pleasures, unless it was in my power (which it is not) to increase their measure?

Brother Shandy, answered my uncle Toby, looking wistfully in his face, ⁠you are much mistaken in this point:⁠ for you do increase my pleasure very much, in begetting children for the Shandy family at your time of life.⁠ But, by that, Sir, quoth Dr. Slop, Mr. Shandy increases his own.⁠ Not a jot, quoth my father.

Chapter XIII

My brother does it, quoth my uncle Toby, out of principle.⁠ ⁠In a family way, I suppose, quoth Dr. Slop.⁠ ⁠Pshaw!⁠ said my father,⁠ ’tis not worth talking of.

Chapter XIV

At the end of the last chapter, my father and my uncle Toby were left both standing, like Brutus and Cassius, at the close of the scene, making up their accounts.

As my father spoke the three last words, ⁠he sat down; my uncle Toby exactly followed his example, only, that before he took his chair, he rung the bell, to order Corporal Trim, who was in waiting, to step home for Stevinus:⁠ my uncle Toby’s house being no farther off than the opposite side of the way.

Some men would have dropped the subject of Stevinus;⁠ ⁠but my uncle Toby had no resentment in his heart, and he went on with the subject, to show my father that he had none.

Your sudden appearance, Dr. Slop, quoth my uncle, resuming the discourse, instantly brought Stevinus into my head. (My father, you may be sure, did not offer to lay any more wagers upon Stevinus’s head.) - ⁠Because, continued my uncle Toby, the celebrated sailing chariot, which belonged to Prince Maurice, and was of such wonderful contrivance and velocity, as to carry half a dozen people thirty German miles, in I don’t know how few minutes, ⁠was invented by Stevinus, that great mathematician and engineer.

You might have spared your servant the trouble, quoth Dr. Slop (as the fellow is lame) of going for Stevinus’s account of it, because in my return from Leyden thro’ the Hague, I walked as far as Schevling, which is two long miles, on purpose to take a view of it.

That’s nothing, replied my uncle Toby, to what the learned Peireskius did, who walked a matter of five hundred miles, reckoning from Paris to Schevling, and from Schevling to Paris back again, in order to see it,⁠ and nothing else.

Some men cannot bear to be out-gone.

The more fool Peireskius, replied Dr. Slop. But mark, ’twas out of no contempt of Peireskius at all;⁠ ⁠but that Peireskius’s indefatigable labour in trudging so far on foot, out of love for the sciences, reduced the exploit of Dr. Slop, in that affair, to nothing:⁠ the more fool Peireskius, said he again.⁠ Why so?⁠ replied my father, taking his brother’s part, not only to make reparation as fast as he could for the insult he had given him, which sat still upon my father’s mind;⁠ ⁠but partly, that my father began really to interest himself in the discourse.⁠ ⁠Why so?⁠ ⁠said he. Why is Peireskius, or any man else, to be abused for an appetite for that, or any other morsel of sound knowledge: For notwithstanding I know nothing of the chariot in question, continued he, the inventor of it must have had a very mechanical head; and though I cannot guess upon what principles of philosophy he has achieved it; yet certainly his machine has been constructed upon solid ones, be they what they will, or it could not have answered at the rate my brother mentions.

It answered, replied my uncle Toby, as well, if not better; for, as Peireskius elegantly expresses it, speaking of the velocity of its motion, Tam citus erat, quam erat ventus; which, unless I have forgot my Latin, is, that it was as swift as the wind itself.

But pray, Dr. Slop, quoth my father, interrupting my uncle (though not without begging pardon for it at the same time) upon what principles was this selfsame chariot set a-going?⁠ Upon very pretty principles to be sure, replied Dr. Slop:⁠ And I have often wondered, continued he, evading the question, why none of our gentry, who live upon large plains like this of ours,⁠ (especially they whose wives are not past childbearing) attempt nothing of this kind; for it would not only be infinitely expeditious upon sudden calls, to which the sex is subject,⁠ if the wind only served,⁠ but would be excellent good husbandry to make use of the winds, which cost nothing, and which eat nothing, rather than horses, which (the devil take ’em) both cost and eat a great deal.

For that very reason, replied my father, “Because they cost nothing, and because they eat nothing,”⁠ - the scheme is bad; it is the consumption of our products, as well as the manufactures of them, which gives bread to the hungry, circulates trade,⁠ brings in money, and supports the value of our lands:⁠ and though, I own, if I was a Prince, I would generously recompense the scientifick head which brought forth such contrivances; yet I would as peremptorily suppress the use of them.

My father here had got into his element, ⁠and was going on as prosperously with his dissertation upon trade, as my uncle Toby had before, upon his of fortification; but to the loss of much sound knowledge, the destinies in the morning had decreed that no dissertation of any kind should be spun by my father that day, ⁠for as he opened his mouth to begin the next sentence.

Chapter XV

In popped Corporal Trim with Stevinus:⁠ But ’twas too late,⁠ all the discourse had been exhausted without him, and was running into a new channel.⁠ You may take the book home again, Trim, said my uncle Toby, nodding to him.

But prithee, Corporal, quoth my father, drolling,⁠ look first into it, and see if thou canst spy aught of a sailing chariot in it.

Corporal Trim, by being in the service, had learned to obey,⁠ and not to remonstrate; so taking the book to a side-table, and running over the leaves; An’ please your Honour, said Trim, I can see no such thing; however, continued the Corporal, drolling a little in his turn, I’ll make sure work of it, an’ please your Honour; so taking hold of the two covers of the book, one in each hand, and letting the leaves fall down, as he bent the covers back, he gave the book a good sound shake.

There is something falling out, however, said Trim, an’ please your Honour; but it is not a chariot, or anything like one:⁠ Prithee, Corporal, said my father, smiling, what is it then?⁠ I think, answered Trim, stooping to take it up, ’tis more like a sermon, for it begins with a text of scripture, and the chapter and verse; and then goes on, not as a chariot, but like a sermon directly.

The company smiled.

I cannot conceive how it is possible, quoth my uncle Toby, for such a thing as a sermon to have got into my Stevinus.

I think ’tis a sermon, replied Trim; but if it please your Honours, as it is a fair hand, I will read you a page; for Trim, you must know, loved to hear himself read almost as well as talk.

I have ever a strong propensity, said my father, to look into things which cross my way, by such strange fatalities as these; and as we have nothing better to do, at least till Obadiah gets back, I shall be obliged to you, brother, if Dr. Slop has no objection to it, to order the Corporal to give us a page or two of it,⁠ if he is as able to do it, as he seems willing. An’ please your Honour, quoth Trim, I officiated two whole campaigns, in Flanders, as clerk to the chaplain of the regiment.⁠ ⁠He can read it, quoth my uncle Toby, as well as I can.⁠ ⁠Trim, I assure you, was the best scholar in my company, and should have had the next halberd, but for the poor fellow’s misfortune. Corporal Trim laid his hand upon his heart, and made an humble bow to his master; then laying down his hat upon the floor, and taking up the sermon in his left hand, in order to have his right at liberty, ⁠he advanced, nothing doubting, into the middle of the room, where he could best see, and be best seen by his audience.

Chapter XVI

If you have any objection,⁠ said my father, addressing himself to Dr. Slop. Not in the least, replied Dr. Slop; for it does not appear on which side of the question it is wrote;⁠ ⁠it may be a composition of a divine of our church, as well as yours,⁠ so that we run equal risques.⁠ ’Tis wrote upon neither side, quoth Trim, for ’tis only upon Conscience, an’ please your Honours.

Trim’s reason put his audience into good-humour,⁠ all but Dr. Slop, who turning his head about towards Trim, looked a little angry.

Begin, Trim,⁠ and read distinctly, quoth my father.⁠ I will, an’ please your Honour, replied the Corporal, making a bow, and bespeaking attention with a slight movement of his right hand.

Chapter XVII

But before the Corporal begins, I must first give you a description of his attitude;⁠ ⁠otherwise he will naturally stand represented, by your imagination, in an uneasy posture,⁠ stiff,⁠ perpendicular,⁠ dividing the weight of his body equally upon both legs;⁠ ⁠his eye fixed, as if on duty; his look determined,⁠ clenching the sermon in his left hand, like his firelock.⁠ ⁠In a word, you would be apt to paint Trim, as if he was standing in his platoon ready for action.⁠ His attitude was as unlike all this as you can conceive.

He stood before them with his body swayed, and bent forwards just so far, as to make an angle of 85 degrees and a half upon the plain of the horizon; which sound orators, to whom I address this, know very well to be the true persuasive angle of incidence; in any other angle you may talk and preach; ’tis certain; and it is done every day; but with what effect,⁠ I leave the world to judge!

The necessity of this precise angle, of 85 degrees and a half to a mathematical exactness, ⁠does it not show us, by the way, how the arts and sciences mutually befriend each other?

How the duce Corporal Trim, who knew not so much as an acute angle from an obtuse one, came to hit it so exactly;⁠ ⁠or whether it was chance or nature, or good sense or imitation, etc., shall be commented upon in that part of the cyclopædia of arts and sciences, where the instrumental parts of the eloquence of the senate, the pulpit, and the bar, the coffeehouse, the bedchamber, and fireside, fall under consideration.

He stood, ⁠for I repeat it, to take the picture of him in at one view, with his body swayed, and somewhat bent forwards,⁠ his right leg from under him, sustaining seven-eighths of his whole weight, the foot of his left leg, the defect of which was no disadvantage to his attitude, advanced a little,⁠ not laterally, nor forwards, but in a line betwixt them; his knee bent, but that not violently,⁠ but so as to fall within the limits of the line of beauty; and I add, of the line of science too; for consider, it had one eighth part of his body to bear up; so that in this case the position of the leg is determined,⁠ because the foot could be no farther advanced, or the knee more bent, than what would allow him, mechanically to receive an eighth part of his whole weight under it, and to carry it too.

☞ This I recommend to painters:⁠ need I add,⁠ to orators!⁠ I think not; for unless they practise it, they must fall upon their noses.

So much for Corporal Trim’s body and legs.⁠ ⁠He held the sermon loosely, not carelessly, in his left hand, raised something above his stomach, and detached a little from his breast;⁠ ⁠his right arm falling negligently by his side, as nature and the laws of gravity ordered it, ⁠but with the palm of it open and turned towards his audience, ready to aid the sentiment in case it stood in need.

Corporal Trim’s eyes and the muscles of his face were in full harmony with the other parts of him; he looked frank,⁠ unconstrained,⁠ something assured,⁠ but not bordering upon assurance.

Let not the critic ask how Corporal Trim could come by all this.⁠ ⁠I’ve told him it should be explained; but so he stood before my father, my uncle Toby, and Dr. Slop,⁠ so swayed his body, so contrasted his limbs, and with such an oratorical sweep throughout the whole figure, ⁠a statuary might have modelled from it;⁠ ⁠nay, I doubt whether the oldest Fellow of a College,⁠ or the Hebrew Professor himself, could have much mended it.

Trim made a bow, and read as follows:

Hebrews 13:18

For we trust we have a good Conscience

Trust! - ⁠Trust we have a good conscience!”

[Certainly, Trim, quoth my father, interrupting him, you give that sentence a very improper accent; for you curl up your nose, man, and read it with such a sneering tone, as if the Parson was going to abuse the Apostle.

He is, an’ please your Honour, replied Trim. Pugh! said my father, smiling.

Sir, quoth Dr. Slop, Trim is certainly in the right; for the writer (who I perceive is a Protestant) by the snappish manner in which he takes up the apostle, is certainly going to abuse him; if this treatment of him has not done it already. But from whence, replied my father, have you concluded so soon, Dr. Slop, that the writer is of our church?⁠ for aught I can see yet,⁠ he may be of any church.⁠ ⁠Because, answered Dr. Slop, if he was of ours,⁠ he durst no more take such a licence,⁠ than a bear by his beard:⁠ If, in our communion, Sir, a man was to insult an apostle, ⁠a saint, ⁠or even the paring of a saint’s nail,⁠ he would have his eyes scratched out.⁠ What, by the saint? quoth my uncle Toby. No, replied Dr. Slop, he would have an old house over his head. Pray is the Inquisition an ancient building, answered my uncle Toby, or is it a modern one?⁠ I know nothing of architecture, replied Dr. Slop.⁠ An’ please your Honours, quoth Trim, the Inquisition is the vilest - ⁠Prithee spare thy description, Trim, I hate the very name of it, said my father.⁠ No matter for that, answered Dr. Slop,⁠ it has its uses; for though I’m no great advocate for it, yet, in such a case as this, he would soon be taught better manners; and I can tell him, if he went on at that rate, would be flung into the Inquisition for his pains. God help him then, quoth my uncle Toby. Amen, added Trim; for Heaven above knows, I have a poor brother who has been fourteen years a captive in it.⁠ I never heard one word of it before, said my uncle Toby, hastily:⁠ How came he there, Trim? - ⁠O, Sir! the story will make your heart bleed,⁠ as it has made mine a thousand times; but it is too long to be told now; your Honour shall hear it from first to last some day when I am working beside you in our fortifications; but the short of the story is this; That my brother Tom went over a servant to Lisbon,⁠ and then married a Jew’s widow, who kept a small shop, and sold sausages, which somehow or other, was the cause of his being taken in the middle of the night out of his bed, where he was lying with his wife and two small children, and carried directly to the Inquisition, where, God help him, continued Trim, fetching a sigh from the bottom of his heart,⁠ the poor honest lad lies confined at this hour; he was as honest a soul, added Trim, (pulling out his handkerchief) as ever blood warmed.⁠⁠

The tears trickled down Trim’s cheeks faster than he could well wipe them away.⁠ And dead silence in the room ensued for some minutes.⁠ Certain proof of pity!

Come, Trim, quoth my father, after he saw the poor fellow’s grief had got a little vent,⁠ read on,⁠ and put this melancholy story out of thy head:⁠ I grieve that I interrupted thee; but prithee begin the sermon again; for if the first sentence in it is matter of abuse, as thou sayest, I have a great desire to know what kind of provocation the apostle has given.

Corporal Trim wiped his face, and returned his handkerchief into his pocket, and, making a bow as he did it,⁠ he began again.]

Hebrews 13:18

For we trust we have a good Conscience

Trust! - ⁠Trust we have a good conscience! Surely if there is anything in this life which a man may depend upon, and to the knowledge of which he is capable of arriving upon the most indisputable evidence, it must be this very thing,⁠ whether he has a good conscience or no.”

[I am positive I am right, quoth Dr. Slop.]

“If a man thinks at all, he cannot well be a stranger to the true state of this account;⁠ ⁠he must be privy to his own thoughts and desires; he must remember his past pursuits, and know certainly the true springs and motives, which, in general, have governed the actions of his life.”

[I defy him, without an assistant, quoth Dr. Slop.]

“In other matters we may be deceived by false appearances; and, as the wise man complains, hardly do we guess aright at the things that are upon the earth, and with labour do we find the things that are before us. But here the mind has all the evidence and facts within herself;⁠ ⁠is conscious of the web she has wove;⁠ ⁠knows its texture and fineness, and the exact share which every passion has had in working upon the several designs which virtue or vice has planned before her.”

[The language is good, and I declare Trim reads very well, quoth my father.]

“Now,⁠ as conscience is nothing else but the knowledge which the mind has within herself of this; and the judgment, either of approbation or censure, which it unavoidably makes upon the successive actions of our lives; ’tis plain you will say, from the very terms of the proposition,⁠ whenever this inward testimony goes against a man, and he stands self-accused, that he must necessarily be a guilty man.⁠ And, on the contrary, when the report is favourable on his side, and his heart condemns him not:⁠ that it is not a matter of trust, as the apostle intimates, but a matter of certainty and fact, that the conscience is good, and that the man must be good also.”

[Then the apostle is altogether in the wrong, I suppose, quoth Dr. Slop, and the Protestant divine is in the right. Sir, have patience, replied my father, for I think it will presently appear that St. Paul and the Protestant divine are both of an opinion.⁠ As nearly so, quoth Dr. Slop, as east is to west; but this, continued he, lifting both hands, comes from the liberty of the press.

It is no more, at the worst, replied my uncle Toby, than the liberty of the pulpit; for it does not appear that the sermon is printed, or ever likely to be.

Go on, Trim, quoth my father.]

“At first sight this may seem to be a true state of the case: and I make no doubt but the knowledge of right and wrong is so truly impressed upon the mind of man,⁠ that did no such thing ever happen, as that the conscience of a man, by long habits of sin, might (as the scripture assures it may) insensibly become hard; and, like some tender parts of his body, by much stress and continual hard usage, lose by degrees that nice sense and perception with which God and nature endowed it:⁠ Did this never happen; or was it certain that self-love could never hang the least bias upon the judgment; or that the little interests below could rise up and perplex the faculties of our upper regions, and encompass them about with clouds and thick darkness: Could no such thing as favour and affection enter this sacred Court:⁠ Did Wit disdain to take a bribe in it; or was ashamed to show its face as an advocate for an unwarrantable enjoyment: Or, lastly, were we assured that Interest stood always unconcerned whilst the cause was hearing⁠ - and that Passion never got into the judgment-seat, and pronounced sentence in the stead of Reason, which is supposed always to preside and determine upon the case:⁠ Was this truly so, as the objection must suppose; no doubt then the religious and moral state of a man would be exactly what he himself esteemed it:⁠ and the guilt or innocence of every man’s life could be known, in general, by no better measure, than the degrees of his own approbation and censure.

“I own, in one case, whenever a man’s conscience does accuse him (as it seldom errs on that side) that he is guilty; and unless in melancholy and hypocondriac cases, we may safely pronounce upon it, that there is always sufficient grounds for the accusation.

“But the converse of the proposition will not hold true; namely, that whenever there is guilt, the conscience must accuse; and if it does not, that a man is therefore innocent.⁠ ⁠This is not fact - So that the common consolation which some good christian or other is hourly administering to himself,⁠ that he thanks God his mind does not misgive him; and that, consequently, he has a good conscience, because he hath a quiet one,⁠ is fallacious; and as current as the inference is, and as infallible as the rule appears at first sight, yet when you look nearer to it, and try the truth of this rule upon plain facts, ⁠you see it liable to so much error from a false application;⁠ ⁠the principle upon which it goes so often perverted;⁠ ⁠the whole force of it lost, and sometimes so vilely cast away, that it is painful to produce the common examples from human life, which confirm the account.

“A man shall be vicious and utterly debauched in his principles; exceptionable in his conduct to the world; shall live shameless, in the open commission of a sin which no reason or pretence can justify, ⁠a sin by which, contrary to all the workings of humanity, he shall ruin forever the deluded partner of his guilt; rob her of her best dowry; and not only cover her own head with dishonour; but involve a whole virtuous family in shame and sorrow for her sake. Surely, you will think conscience must lead such a man a troublesome life; he can have no rest night or day from its reproaches.

“Alas! Conscience had something else to do all this time, than break in upon him; as Elijah reproached the god Baal, ⁠this domestic god was either talking, or pursuing, or was in a journey, or peradventure he slept and could not be awoke.

“Perhaps He was gone out in company with Honour to fight a duel: to pay off some debt at play;⁠ ⁠or dirty annuity, the bargain of his lust; Perhaps Conscience all this time was engaged at home, talking aloud against petty larceny, and executing vengeance upon some such puny crimes as his fortune and rank of life secured him against all temptation of committing; so that he lives as merrily” - [If he was of our church, though, quoth Dr. Slop, he could not]⁠ - “sleeps as soundly in his bed; and at last meets death as unconcernedly; perhaps much more so, than a much better man.”

[All this is impossible with us, quoth Dr. Slop, turning to my father,⁠ the case could not happen in our church.⁠ It happens in ours, however, replied my father, but too often.⁠ ⁠I own, quoth Dr. Slop, (struck a little with my father’s frank acknowledgment)⁠ - that a man in the Romish church may live as badly; but then he cannot easily die so.⁠ ’Tis little matter, replied my father, with an air of indifference,⁠ how a rascal dies.⁠ I mean, answered Dr. Slop, he would be denied the benefits of the last sacraments.⁠ Pray how many have you in all, said my uncle Toby, ⁠for I always forget?⁠ ⁠Seven, answered Dr. Slop.⁠ ⁠Humph!⁠ said my uncle Toby; though not accented as a note of acquiescence,⁠ but as an interjection of that particular species of surprise, when a man in looking into a drawer, finds more of a thing than he expected.⁠ ⁠Humph! replied my uncle Toby. Dr. Slop, who had an ear, understood my uncle Toby as well as if he had wrote a whole volume against the seven sacraments.⁠ ⁠Humph! replied Dr. Slop (stating my uncle Toby’s argument over again to him) - ⁠Why, Sir, are there not seven cardinal virtues?⁠ ⁠Seven mortal sins?⁠ ⁠Seven golden candlesticks?⁠ ⁠Seven heavens?⁠ ’Tis more than I know, replied my uncle Toby. Are there not seven wonders of the world?⁠ ⁠Seven days of the creation?⁠ ⁠Seven planets?⁠ ⁠Seven plagues?⁠ ⁠That there are, quoth my father with a most affected gravity. But prithee, continued he, go on with the rest of thy characters, Trim.]

“Another is sordid, unmerciful,” (here Trim waved his right hand) “a strait-hearted, selfish wretch, incapable either of private friendship or public spirit. Take notice how he passes by the widow and orphan in their distress, and sees all the miseries incident to human life without a sigh or a prayer.” [An’ please your honours, cried Trim, I think this a viler man than the other.]

“Shall not conscience rise up and sting him on such occasions?⁠ ⁠No; thank God there is no occasion, I pay every man his own; I have no fornication to answer to my conscience; no faithless vows or promises to make up; I have debauched no man’s wife or child; thank God, I am not as other men, adulterers, unjust, or even as this libertine, who stands before me.

“A third is crafty and designing in his nature. View his whole life; ’tis nothing but a cunning contexture of dark arts and unequitable subterfuges, basely to defeat the true intent of all laws, ⁠plain-dealing and the safe enjoyment of our several properties.⁠ ⁠You will see such a one working out a frame of little designs upon the ignorance and perplexities of the poor and needy man; shall raise a fortune upon the inexperience of a youth, or the unsuspecting temper of his friend, who would have trusted him with his life.

“When old age comes on, and repentance calls him to look back upon this black account, and state it over again with his conscience⁠ - Conscience looks into the Statutes at Large; finds no express law broken by what he has done; perceives no penalty or forfeiture of goods and chattels incurred; sees no scourge waving over his head, or prison opening his gates upon him:⁠ What is there to affright his conscience?⁠ Conscience has got safely entrenched behind the Letter of the Law; sits there invulnerable, fortified with Cases and Reports so strongly on all sides; that it is not preaching can dispossess it of its hold.”

[Here Corporal Trim and my uncle Toby exchanged looks with each other.⁠ Aye, aye, Trim! quoth my uncle Toby, shaking his head, these are but sorry fortifications, Trim. O! very poor work, answered Trim, to what your Honour and I make of it.⁠ ⁠The character of this last man, said Dr. Slop, interrupting Trim, is more detestable than all the rest; and seems to have been taken from some pettifogging Lawyer amongst you:⁠ Amongst us, a man’s conscience could not possibly continue so long blinded, ⁠three times in a year, at least, he must go to confession. Will that restore it to sight? quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Go on, Trim, quoth my father, or Obadiah will have got back before thou hast got to the end of thy sermon.⁠ ’Tis a very short one, replied Trim.⁠ ⁠I wish it was longer, quoth my uncle Toby, for I like it hugely.⁠ Trim went on.]

“A fourth man shall want even this refuge; shall break through all their ceremony of slow chicane;⁠ ⁠scorns the doubtful workings of secret plots and cautious trains to bring about his purpose: See the barefaced villain, how he cheats, lies, perjures, robs, murders!⁠ Horrid!⁠ But indeed much better was not to be expected, in the present case⁠ - the poor man was in the dark! - his priest had got the keeping of his conscience;⁠ ⁠and all he would let him know of it, was, That he must believe in the Pope; go to Mass; cross himself; tell his beads; be a good Catholic, and that this, in all conscience, was enough to carry him to heaven. What; if he perjures!⁠ Why; he had a mental reservation in it.⁠ But if he is so wicked and abandoned a wretch as you represent him; if he robs,⁠ if he stabs, will not conscience, on every such act, receive a wound itself?⁠ Aye,⁠ but the man has carried it to confession;⁠ ⁠the wound digests there, and will do well enough, and in a short time be quite healed up by absolution. O Popery! what hast thou to answer for?⁠ ⁠when, not content with the too many natural and fatal ways, thro’ which the heart of man is every day thus treacherous to itself above all things; thou hast wilfully set open the wide gate of deceit before the face of this unwary traveller, too apt, God knows, to go astray of himself; and confidently speak peace to himself, when there is no peace.

“Of this the common instances which I have drawn out of life, are too notorious to require much evidence. If any man doubts the reality of them, or thinks it impossible for a man to be such a bubble to himself,⁠ I must refer him a moment to his own reflections, and will then venture to trust my appeal with his own heart.

“Let him consider in how different a degree of detestation, numbers of wicked actions stand there, though equally bad and vicious in their own natures; he will soon find, that such of them as strong inclination and custom have prompted him to commit, are generally dressed out and painted with all the false beauties which a soft and a flattering hand can give them; and that the others, to which he feels no propensity, appear, at once, naked and deformed, surrounded with all the true circumstances of folly and dishonour.

“When David surprised Saul sleeping in the cave, and cut off the skirt of his robe⁠ - we read his heart smote him for what he had done: But in the matter of Uriah, where a faithful and gallant servant, whom he ought to have loved and honoured, fell to make way for his lust,⁠ where conscience had so much greater reason to take the alarm, his heart smote him not. A whole year had almost passed from the first commission of that crime, to the time Nathan was sent to reprove him; and we read not once of the least sorrow or compunction of heart which he testified, during all that time, for what he had done.

“Thus conscience, this once able monitor, ⁠placed on high as a judge within us, and intended by our Maker as a just and equitable one too,⁠ by an unhappy train of causes and impediments, takes often such imperfect cognizance of what passes, ⁠does its office so negligently, ⁠sometimes so corruptly⁠ - that it is not to be trusted alone; and therefore we find there is a necessity, an absolute necessity, of joining another principle with it, to aid, if not govern, its determinations.

“So that if you would form a just judgment of what is of infinite importance to you not to be misled in,⁠ namely, in what degree of real merit you stand either as an honest man, an useful citizen, a faithful subject to your king, or a good servant to your God, ⁠call in religion and morality.⁠ Look, What is written in the law of God?⁠ ⁠How readest thou?⁠ Consult calm reason and the unchangeable obligations of justice and truth;⁠ ⁠what say they?

“Let Conscience determine the matter upon these reports;⁠ ⁠and then if thy heart condemns thee not, which is the case the apostle supposes, ⁠the rule will be infallible;”⁠ - [Here Dr. Slop fell asleep]⁠ - “thou wilt have confidence towards God;⁠ ⁠that is, have just grounds to believe the judgment thou hast past upon thyself, is the judgment of God; and nothing else but an anticipation of that righteous sentence which will be pronounced upon thee hereafter by that Being, to whom thou art finally to give an account of thy actions.

Blessed is the man, indeed, then, as the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus expresses it, who is not pricked with the multitude of his sins: Blessed is the man whose heart hath not condemned him; whether he be rich, or whether he be poor, if he have a good heart (a heart thus guided and informed) he shall at all times rejoice in a cheerful countenance; his mind shall tell him more than seven watchmen that sit above upon a tower on high.”⁠ - [A tower has no strength, quoth my uncle Toby, unless ’tis flank’d.]⁠ - “In the darkest doubts it shall conduct him safer than a thousand casuists, and give the state he lives in, a better security for his behaviour than all the causes and restrictions put together which lawmakers are forced to multiply:⁠ Forced, I say, as things stand; human laws not being a matter of original choice, but of pure necessity, brought in to fence against the mischievous effects of those consciences which are no law unto themselves; well intending, by the many provisions made,⁠ that in all such corrupt and misguided cases, where principles and the checks of conscience will not make us upright,⁠ to supply their force, and, by the terrors of gaols and halters, oblige us to it.”

[I see plainly, said my father, that this sermon has been composed to be preached at the Temple, ⁠or at some Assize.⁠ I like the reasoning,⁠ and am sorry that Dr. Slop has fallen asleep before the time of his conviction:⁠ for it is now clear, that the Parson, as I thought at first, never insulted St. Paul in the least; nor has there been, brother, the least difference between them.⁠ ⁠A great matter, if they had differed, replied my uncle Toby,⁠ the best friends in the world may differ sometimes.⁠ ⁠True,⁠ brother Toby, quoth my father, shaking hands with him,⁠ we’ll fill our pipes, brother, and then Trim shall go on.

Well, ⁠what dost thou think of it? said my father speaking to Corporal Trim, as he reached his tobacco-box.

I think, answered the Corporal, that the seven watchmen upon the tower, who, I suppose, are all sentinels there,⁠ are more, an’ please your Honour, than were necessary; and, to go on at that rate, would harrass a regiment all to pieces, which a commanding officer, who loves his men, will never do, if he can help it, because two sentinels, added the Corporal, are as good as twenty.⁠ I have been a commanding officer myself in the Corps de Garde a hundred times, continued Trim, rising an inch higher in his figure, as he spoke,⁠ and all the time I had the honour to serve his Majesty King William, in relieving the most considerable posts, I never left more than two in my life.⁠ ⁠Very right, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby,⁠ but you do not consider, Trim, that the towers, in Solomon’s days, were not such things as our bastions, flanked and defended by other works; this, Trim, was an invention since Solomon’s death; nor had they horn-works, or ravelins before the curtin, in his time;⁠ ⁠or such a fossé as we make with a cuvette in the middle of it, and with covered ways and counterscarps pallisadoed along it, to guard against a Coup de main:⁠ So that the seven men upon the tower were a party, I dare say, from the Corps de Garde, set there, not only to look out, but to defend it.⁠ They could be no more, an’ please your Honour, than a Corporal’s Guard.⁠ My father smiled inwardly, but not outwardly; the subject being rather too serious, considering what had happened, to make a jest of.⁠ So putting his pipe into his mouth, which he had just lighted,⁠ he contented himself with ordering Trim to read on. He read on as follows:]

“To have the fear of God before our eyes, and, in our mutual dealings with each other, to govern our actions by the eternal measures of right and wrong: The first of these will comprehend the duties of religion; the second, those of morality, which are so inseparably connected together, that you cannot divide these two tables, even in imagination (though the attempt is often made in practice) without breaking and mutually destroying them both.

“I said the attempt is often made; and so it is;⁠ ⁠there being nothing more common than to see a man who has no sense at all of religion, and indeed has so much honesty as to pretend to none, who would take it as the bitterest affront, should you but hint at a suspicion of his moral character, ⁠or imagine he was not conscientiously just and scrupulous to the uttermost mite.

“When there is some appearance that it is so,⁠ though one is unwilling even to suspect the appearance of so amiable a virtue as moral honesty, yet were we to look into the grounds of it, in the present case, I am persuaded we should find little reason to envy such a one the honour of his motive.

“Let him declaim as pompously as he chooses upon the subject, it will be found to rest upon no better foundation than either his interest, his pride, his ease, or some such little and changeable passion as will give us but small dependence upon his actions in matters of great distress.

“I will illustrate this by an example.

“I know the banker I deal with, or the physician I usually call in”⁠ - [There is no need, cried Dr. Slop (waking), to call in any physician in this case] - “to be neither of them men of much religion: I hear them make a jest of it every day, and treat all its sanctions with so much scorn, as to put the matter past doubt. Well; notwithstanding this, I put my fortune into the hands of the one:⁠ and what is dearer still to me, I trust my life to the honest skill of the other.

“Now let me examine what is my reason for this great confidence. Why, in the first place, I believe there is no probability that either of them will employ the power I put into their hands to my disadvantage; I consider that honesty serves the purposes of this life:⁠ I know their success in the world depends upon the fairness of their characters.⁠ In a word, I’m persuaded that they cannot hurt me without hurting themselves more.

“But put it otherwise, namely, that interest lay, for once, on the other side; that a case should happen, wherein the one, without stain to his reputation, could secrete my fortune, and leave me naked in the world; or that the other could send me out of it, and enjoy an estate by my death, without dishonour to himself or his art:⁠ In this case, what hold have I of either of them?⁠ Religion, the strongest of all motives, is out of the question; Interest, the next most powerful motive in the world, is strongly against me: - What have I left to cast into the opposite scale to balance this temptation? Alas! I have nothing, ⁠nothing but what is lighter than a bubble - I must lie at the mercy of Honour, or some such capricious principle⁠ - Strait security for two of the most valuable blessings!⁠ my property and myself.

“As, therefore, we can have no dependence upon morality without religion; so, on the other hand, there is nothing better to be expected from religion without morality; nevertheless, ’tis no prodigy to see a man whose real moral character stands very low, who yet entertains the highest notion of himself in the light of a religious man.

“He shall not only be covetous, revengeful, implacable,⁠ but even wanting in points of common honesty; yet inasmuch as he talks aloud against the infidelity of the age, ⁠is zealous for some points of religion, ⁠goes twice a day to church,⁠ attends the sacraments,⁠ and amuses himself with a few instrumental parts of religion,⁠ shall cheat his conscience into a judgment, that, for this, he is a religious man, and has discharged truly his duty to God: And you will find such a man, through force of this delusion, generally looks down with spiritual pride upon every other man who has less affectation of piety,⁠ though, perhaps, ten times more real honesty than himself.

This likewise is a sore evil under the sun; and I believe, there is no one mistaken principle, which, for its time, has wrought more serious mischiefs. For a general proof of this,⁠ examine the history of the Romish church;”⁠ - [Well, what can you make of that? cried Dr. Slop]⁠ - “see what scenes of cruelty, murder, rapine, bloodshed,” - [They may thank their own obstinacy, cried Dr. Slop] - “have all been sanctified by a religion not strictly governed by morality.

“In how many kingdoms of the world”⁠ - [Here Trim kept waving his right hand from the sermon to the extent of his arm, returning it backwards and forwards to the conclusion of the paragraph.]

“In how many kingdoms of the world has the crusading sword of this misguided saint-errant, spared neither age nor merit, or sex, or condition?⁠ and, as he fought under the banners of a religion which set him loose from justice and humanity, he showed none; mercilessly trampled upon both,⁠ heard neither the cries of the unfortunate, nor pitied their distresses.”

[I have been in many a battle, an’ please your Honour, quoth Trim, sighing, but never in so melancholy a one as this,⁠ I would not have drawn a tricker in it against these poor souls, ⁠to have been made a general officer.⁠ ⁠Why? what do you understand of the affair? said Dr. Slop, looking towards Trim, with something more of contempt than the Corporal’s honest heart deserved.⁠ ⁠What do you know, friend, about this battle you talk of?⁠ I know, replied Trim, that I never refused quarter in my life to any man who cried out for it;⁠ ⁠but to a woman or a child, continued Trim, before I would level my musket at them, I would lose my life a thousand times.⁠ ⁠Here’s a crown for thee, Trim, to drink with Obadiah tonight, quoth my uncle Toby, and I’ll give Obadiah another too.⁠ God bless your Honour, replied Trim, ⁠I had rather these poor women and children had it.⁠ ⁠Thou art an honest fellow, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠My father nodded his head, as much as to say,⁠ and so he is.⁠⁠

But prithee, Trim, said my father, make an end,⁠ for I see thou hast but a leaf or two left.

Corporal Trim read on.]

“If the testimony of past centuries in this matter is not sufficient,⁠ consider at this instant, how the votaries of that religion are every day thinking to do service and honour to God, by actions which are a dishonour and scandal to themselves.

“To be convinced of this, go with me for a moment into the prisons of the Inquisition.”⁠ - [God help my poor brother Tom.]⁠ - “Behold Religion, with Mercy and Justice chained down under her feet, ⁠there sitting ghastly upon a black tribunal, propped up with racks and instruments of torment. Hark!⁠ hark! what a piteous groan!”⁠ - [Here Trim’s face turned as pale as ashes.] - “See the melancholy wretch who uttered it”⁠ - [Here the tears began to trickle down.] - “just brought forth to undergo the anguish of a mock trial, and endure the utmost pains that a studied system of cruelty has been able to invent.”⁠ - [D - ⁠n them all, quoth Trim, his colour returning into his face as red as blood.]⁠ - “Behold this helpless victim delivered up to his tormentors,⁠ his body so wasted with sorrow and confinement.” - [Oh! ’tis my brother, cried poor Trim in a most passionate exclamation, dropping the sermon upon the ground, and clapping his hands together⁠ - I fear ’tis poor Tom. My father’s and my uncle Toby’s heart yearned with sympathy for the poor fellow’s distress; even Slop himself acknowledged pity for him.⁠ ⁠Why, Trim, said my father, this is not a history, ’tis a sermon thou art reading; prithee begin the sentence again.] - “Behold this helpless victim delivered up to his tormentors,⁠ his body so wasted with sorrow and confinement, you will see every nerve and muscle as it suffers.

“Observe the last movement of that horrid engine!”⁠ - [I would rather face a cannon, quoth Trim, stamping.]⁠ - “See what convulsions it has thrown him into!⁠ ⁠Consider the nature of the posture in which he now lies stretched,⁠ what exquisite tortures he endures by it!”⁠ - [I hope ’tis not in Portugal.]⁠ - “ ’Tis all nature can bear! Good God! see how it keeps his weary soul hanging upon his trembling lips!” [I would not read another line of it, quoth Trim, for all this world; I fear, an’ please your Honours, all this is in Portugal, where my poor brother Tom is. I tell thee, Trim, again, quoth my father, ’tis not an historical account,⁠ ’tis a description.⁠ ’Tis only a description, honest man, quoth Slop, there’s not a word of truth in it.⁠ ⁠That’s another story, replied my father.⁠ However, as Trim reads it with so much concern,⁠ ’tis cruelty to force him to go on with it.⁠ Give me hold of the sermon, Trim,⁠ I’ll finish it for thee, and thou may’st go. I must stay and hear it, too, replied Trim, if your Honour will allow me; though I would not read it myself for a Colonel’s pay. Poor Trim! quoth my uncle Toby. My father went on.]⁠—

“ ⁠Consider the nature of the posture in which he now lies stretched,⁠ what exquisite torture he endures by it!⁠ ’Tis all nature can bear! Good God! See how it keeps his weary soul hanging upon his trembling lips,⁠ willing to take its leave, ⁠but not suffered to depart!⁠ Behold the unhappy wretch led back to his cell!” - [Then, thank God, however, quoth Trim, they have not killed him.]⁠ - “See him dragged out of it again to meet the flames, and the insults in his last agonies, which this principle,⁠ this principle, that there can be religion without mercy, has prepared for him.” - [Then, thank God, ⁠he is dead, quoth Trim,⁠ he is out of his pain,⁠ and they have done their worst at him.⁠ O Sirs!⁠ Hold your peace, Trim, said my father, going on with the sermon, lest Trim should incense Dr. Slop,⁠ we shall never have done at this rate.]

“The surest way to try the merit of any disputed notion is, to trace down the consequences such a notion has produced, and compare them with the spirit of Christianity;⁠ ’tis the short and decisive rule which our Saviour hath left us, for these and suchlike cases, and it is worth a thousand arguments - ⁠By their fruits ye shall know them.

“I will add no farther to the length of this sermon, than by two or three short and independent rules deducible from it.

First, Whenever a man talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not his reason, but his passions, which have got the better of his Creed. A bad life and a good belief are disagreeable and troublesome neighbours, and where they separate, depend upon it, ’tis for no other cause but quietness’ sake.

Secondly, When a man, thus represented, tells you in any particular instance, ⁠That such a thing goes against his conscience, ⁠always believe he means exactly the same thing, as when he tells you such a thing goes against his stomach; a present want of appetite being generally the true cause of both.

“In a word,⁠ trust that man in nothing, who has not a Conscience in everything.

“And, in your own case, remember this plain distinction, a mistake in which has ruined thousands,⁠ that your conscience is not a law:⁠ No, God and reason made the law, and have placed conscience within you to determine;⁠ ⁠not, like an Asiatic Qadi, according to the ebbs and flows of his own passions,⁠ but like a British judge in this land of liberty and good sense, who makes no new law, but faithfully declares that law which he knows already written.”


Thou hast read the sermon extremely well, Trim, quoth my father.⁠ If he had spared his comments, replied Dr. Slop, ⁠he would have read it much better. I should have read it ten times better, Sir, answered Trim, but that my heart was so full.⁠ That was the very reason, Trim, replied my father, which has made thee read the sermon as well as thou hast done; and if the clergy of our church, continued my father, addressing himself to Dr. Slop, would take part in what they deliver as deeply as this poor fellow has done,⁠ as their compositions are fine; [I deny it, quoth Dr. Slop]⁠ - I maintain it,⁠ that the eloquence of our pulpits, with such subjects to enflame it, would be a model for the whole world: But alas! continued my father, and I own it, Sir, with sorrow, that, like French politicians in this respect, what they gain in the cabinet they lose in the field.⁠ ’Twere a pity, quoth my uncle, that this should be lost. I like the sermon well, replied my father, ’tis dramatick,⁠ and there is something in that way of writing, when skilfully managed, which catches the attention.⁠ ⁠We preach much in that way with us, said Dr. Slop.⁠ I know that very well, said my father, ⁠but in a tone and manner which disgusted Dr. Slop, full as much as his assent, simply, could have pleased him.⁠ ⁠But in this, added Dr. Slop, a little piqued,⁠ our sermons have greatly the advantage, that we never introduce any character into them below a patriarch or a patriarch’s wife, or a martyr or a saint.⁠ There are some very bad characters in this, however, said my father, and I do not think the sermon a jot the worse for ’em.⁠ ⁠But pray, quoth my uncle Toby,⁠ who’s can this be?⁠ How could it get into my Stevinus? A man must be as great a conjurer as Stevinus, said my father, to resolve the second question:⁠ The first, I think, is not so difficult; for unless my judgment greatly deceives me, ⁠I know the author, for ’tis wrote, certainly, by the parson of the parish.

The similitude of the stile and manner of it, with those my father constantly had heard preached in his parish-church, was the ground of his conjecture,⁠ proving it as strongly, as an argument à priori could prove such a thing to a philosophic mind, That it was Yorick’s and no one’s else:⁠ It was proved to be so, a posteriori, the day after, when Yorick sent a servant to my uncle Toby’s house to enquire after it.

It seems that Yorick, who was inquisitive after all kinds of knowledge, had borrowed Stevinus of my uncle Toby, and had carelessly popped his sermon, as soon as he had made it, into the middle of Stevinus; and by an act of forgetfulness, to which he was ever subject, he had sent Stevinus home, and his sermon to keep him company.

Ill-fated sermon! Thou wast lost, after this recovery of thee, a second time, dropped thro’ an unsuspected fissure in thy master’s pocket, down into a treacherous and a tattered lining,⁠ trod deep into the dirt by the left hind-foot of his Rosinante inhumanly stepping upon thee as thou falledst; buried ten days in the mire, ⁠raised up out of it by a beggar,⁠ sold for a halfpenny to a parish-clerk, ⁠transferred to his parson, ⁠lost forever to thy own, the remainder of his days, ⁠nor restored to his restless Manes till this very moment, that I tell the world the story.

Can the reader believe, that this sermon of Yorick’s was preached at an assize, in the cathedral of York, before a thousand witnesses, ready to give oath of it, by a certain prebendary of that church, and actually printed by him when he had done, ⁠and within so short a space as two years and three months after Yorick’s death?⁠ Yorick indeed, was never better served in his life; but it was a little hard to maltreat him after, and plunder him after he was laid in his grave.

However, as the gentleman who did it was in perfect charity with Yorick,⁠ and, in conscious justice, printed but a few copies to give away; and that I am told he could moreover have made as good a one himself, had he thought fit,⁠ I declare I would not have published this anecdote to the world;⁠ ⁠nor do I publish it with an intent to hurt his character and advancement in the church;⁠ ⁠I leave that to others; but I find myself impelled by two reasons, which I cannot withstand.

The first is, That in doing justice, I may give rest to Yorick’s ghost;⁠ ⁠which⁠ - as the country-people, and some others, believe, ⁠still walks.

The second reason is, That, by laying open this story to the world, I gain an opportunity of informing it,⁠ That in case the character of parson Yorick, and this sample of his sermons, is liked, ⁠there are now in the possession of the Shandy family, as many as will make a handsome volume, at the world’s service, ⁠and much good may they do it.

Chapter XVIII

Obadiah gained the two crowns without dispute; for he came in jingling, with all the instruments in the green bays bag we spoke of, slung across his body, just as Corporal Trim went out of the room.

It is now proper, I think, quoth Dr. Slop (clearing up his looks), as we are in a condition to be of some service to Mrs. Shandy, to send upstairs to know how she goes on.

I have ordered, answered my father, the old midwife to come down to us upon the least difficulty; for you must know, Dr. Slop, continued my father, with a perplexed kind of a smile upon his countenance, that by express treaty, solemnly ratified between me and my wife, you are no more than an auxiliary in this affair,⁠ and not so much as that,⁠ unless the lean old mother of a midwife above stairs cannot do without you.⁠ Women have their particular fancies, and in points of this nature, continued my father, where they bear the whole burden, and suffer so much acute pain for the advantage of our families, and the good of the species,⁠ they claim a right of deciding, en Souveraines, in whose hands, and in what fashion, they choose to undergo it.

They are in the right of it, ⁠quoth my uncle Toby. But, Sir, replied Dr. Slop, not taking notice of my uncle Toby’s opinion, but turning to my father,⁠ they had better govern in other points;⁠ ⁠and a father of a family, who wishes its perpetuity, in my opinion, had better exchange this prerogative with them, and give up some other rights in lieu of it.⁠ ⁠I know not, quoth my father, answering a little too testily, to be quite dispassionate in what he said,⁠ I know not, quoth he, what we have left to give up, in lieu of who shall bring our children into the world, unless that,⁠ of who shall beget them. One would almost give up anything, replied Dr. Slop.⁠ I beg your pardon, ⁠answered my uncle Toby.⁠ Sir, replied Dr. Slop, it would astonish you to know what improvements we have made of late years in all branches of obstetrical knowledge, but particularly in that one single point of the safe and expeditious extraction of the fœtus, ⁠which has received such lights, that, for my part (holding up his hands) I declare I wonder how the world has - ⁠I wish, quoth my uncle Toby, you had seen what prodigious armies we had in Flanders.

Chapter XIX

I have dropped the curtain over this scene for a minute, ⁠to remind you of one thing, ⁠and to inform you of another.

What I have to inform you, comes, I own, a little out of its due course;⁠ ⁠for it should have been told a hundred and fifty pages ago, but that I foresaw then ’twould come in pat hereafter, and be of more advantage here than elsewhere.⁠ Writers had need look before them, to keep up the spirit and connection of what they have in hand.

When these two things are done,⁠ the curtain shall be drawn up again, and my uncle Toby, my father, and Dr. Slop, shall go on with their discourse, without any more interruption.

First, then, the matter which I have to remind you of, is this;⁠ ⁠that from the specimens of singularity in my father’s notions in the point of christian-names, and that other previous point thereto,⁠ you was led, I think, into an opinion (and I am sure I said as much), that my father was a gentleman altogether as odd and whimsical in fifty other opinions. In truth, there was not a stage in the life of man, from the very first act of his begetting, ⁠down to the lean and slippered pantaloon in his second childishness, but he had some favourite notion to himself, springing out of it, as sceptical, and as far out of the highway of thinking, as these two which have been explained.

Mr. Shandy, my father, Sir, would see nothing in the light in which others placed it; he placed things in his own light; he would weigh nothing in common scales; no, he was too refined a researcher to lie open to so gross an imposition.⁠ To come at the exact weight of things in the scientific steelyard, the fulcrum, he would say, should be almost invisible, to avoid all friction from popular tenets; without this the minutiæ of philosophy, which would always turn the balance, will have no weight at all. Knowledge, like matter, he would affirm, was divisible in infinitum;⁠ ⁠that the grains and scruples were as much a part of it, as the gravitation of the whole world.⁠ In a word, he would say, error was error,⁠ no matter where it fell, ⁠whether in a fraction,⁠ or a pound,⁠ ’twas alike fatal to truth, and she was kept down at the bottom of her well, as inevitably by a mistake in the dust of a butterfly’s wings, ⁠as in the disk of the sun, the moon, and all the stars of heaven put together.

He would often lament that it was for want of considering this properly, and of applying it skilfully to civil matters, as well as to speculative truths, that so many things in this world were out of joint;⁠ ⁠that the political arch was giving way;⁠ ⁠and that the very foundations of our excellent constitution, in church and state, were so sapped as estimators had reported.

You cry out, he would say, we are a ruined, undone people. Why? he would ask, making use of the sorites or syllogism of Zeno and Chrysippus, without knowing it belonged to them.⁠ Why? why are we a ruined people?⁠ Because we are corrupted.⁠ Whence is it, dear Sir, that we are corrupted?⁠ ⁠Because we are needy;⁠ ⁠our poverty, and not our wills, consent.⁠ ⁠And wherefore, he would add, are we needy?⁠ From the neglect, he would answer, of our pence and our halfpence:⁠ Our bank notes, Sir, our guineas,⁠ nay, our shillings take care of themselves.

’Tis the same, he would say, throughout the whole circle of the sciences; the great, the established points of them, are not to be broke in upon.⁠ The laws of nature will defend themselves; but error - (he would add, looking earnestly at my mother) - ⁠error, Sir, creeps in thro’ the minute holes and small crevices which human nature leaves unguarded.

This turn of thinking in my father, is what I had to remind you of:⁠ The point you are to be informed of, and which I have reserved for this place, is as follows.

Amongst the many and excellent reasons, with which my father had urged my mother to accept of Dr. Slop’s assistance preferably to that of the old woman, ⁠there was one of a very singular nature; which, when he had done arguing the manner with her as a Christian, and came to argue it over again with her as a philosopher, he had put his whole strength to, depending indeed upon it as his sheet-anchor.⁠ ⁠It failed him; though from no defect in the argument itself; but that, do what he could, he was not able for his soul to make her comprehend the drift of it.⁠ ⁠Cursed luck!⁠ ⁠said he to himself, one afternoon, as he walked out of the room, after he had been stating it for an hour and a half to her, to no manner of purpose; cursed luck! said he, biting his lip as he shut the door, ⁠for a man to be master of one of the finest chains of reasoning in nature,⁠ and have a wife at the same time with such a headpiece, that he cannot hang up a single inference within side of it, to save his soul from destruction.

This argument, though it was entirely lost upon my mother, ⁠had more weight with him, than all his other arguments joined together:⁠ I will therefore endeavour to do it justice,⁠ and set it forth with all the perspicuity I am master of.

My father set out upon the strength of these two following axioms:

First, That an ounce of a man’s own wit, was worth a ton of other people’s; and,

Secondly (Which by the by, was the groundwork of the first axiom, ⁠though it comes last), That every man’s wit must come from every man’s own soul, ⁠and no other body’s.

Now, as it was plain to my father, that all souls were by nature equal, ⁠and that the great difference between the most acute and the most obtuse understanding - ⁠was from no original sharpness or bluntness of one thinking substance above or below another, ⁠but arose merely from the lucky or unlucky organisation of the body, in that part where the soul principally took up her residence, ⁠he had made it the subject of his enquiry to find out the identical place.

Now, from the best accounts he had been able to get of this matter, he was satisfied it could not be where Des Cartes had fixed it, upon the top of the pineal gland of the brain; which, as he philosophized, formed a cushion for her about the size of a marrow pea; though, to speak the truth, as so many nerves did terminate all in that one place,⁠ ’twas no bad conjecture;⁠ ⁠and my father had certainly fallen with that great philosopher plumb into the centre of the mistake, had it not been for my uncle Toby, who rescued him out of it, by a story he told him of a Walloon officer at the battle of Landen, who had one part of his brain shot away by a musket-ball,⁠ and another part of it taken out after by a French surgeon; and after all, recovered, and did his duty very well without it.

If death, said my father, reasoning with himself, is nothing but the separation of the soul from the body; and if it is true that people can walk about and do their business without brains,⁠ then certes the soul does not inhabit there. Q.E.D.

As for that certain, very thin, subtle and very fragrant juice which Coglionissimo Borri, the great Milanese physician affirms, in a letter to Bartholine, to have discovered in the cellulæ of the occipital parts of the cerebellum, and which he likewise affirms to be the principal seat of the reasonable soul (for, you must know, in these latter and more enlightened ages, there are two souls in every man living,⁠ the one, according to the great Metheglingius, being called the Animus, the other, the Anima;)⁠ - as for the opinion, I say, of Borri,⁠ my father could never subscribe to it by any means; the very idea of so noble, so refined, so immaterial, and so exalted a being as the Anima, or even the Animus, taking up her residence, and sitting dabbling, like a tadpole all day long, both summer and winter, in a puddle, ⁠or in a liquid of any kind, how thick or thin soever, he would say, shocked his imagination; he would scarce give the doctrine a hearing.

What, therefore, seemed the least liable to objections of any, was that the chief sensorium, or headquarters of the soul, and to which place all intelligences were referred, and from whence all her mandates were issued,⁠ was in, or near, the cerebellum,⁠ or rather somewhere about the medulla oblongata, wherein it was generally agreed by Dutch anatomists, that all the minute nerves from all the organs of the seven senses concentered, like streets and winding alleys, into a square.

So far there was nothing singular in my father’s opinion,⁠ he had the best of philosophers, of all ages and climates, to go along with him.⁠ ⁠But here he took a road of his own, setting up another Shandean hypothesis upon these cornerstones they had laid for him;⁠ ⁠and which said hypothesis equally stood its ground; whether the subtlety and fineness of the soul depended upon the temperature and clearness of the said liquor, or of the finer network and texture in the cerebellum itself; which opinion he favoured.

He maintained, that next to the due care to be taken in the act of propagation of each individual, which required all the thought in the world, as it laid the foundation of this incomprehensible contexture, in which wit, memory, fancy, eloquence, and what is usually meant by the name of good natural parts, do consist; that next to this and his christian-name, which were the two original and most efficacious causes of all;⁠ ⁠that the third cause, or rather what logicians call the Causa sine quâ non, and without which all that was done was of no manner of significance, ⁠was the preservation of this delicate and finespun web, from the havock which was generally made in it by the violent compression and crush which the head was made to undergo, by the nonsensical method of bringing us into the world by that foremost.

This requires explanation.

My father, who dipped into all kinds of books, upon looking into Lithopædus Senonesis de Partu difficili,[5] published by Adrianus Smelvgot, had found out, that the lax and pliable state of a child’s head in parturition, the bones of the cranium having no sutures at that time, was such, ⁠that by force of the woman’s efforts, which, in strong labour-pains, was equal, upon an average, to the weight of 470 pounds averdupois acting perpendicularly upon it; it so happened, that in 49 instances out of 50, the said head was compressed and moulded into the shape of an oblong conical piece of dough, such as a pastry-cook generally rolls up in order to make a pye of.⁠ Good God! cried my father, what havock and destruction must this make in the infinitely fine and tender texture of the cerebellum!⁠ Or if there is such a juice as Borri pretends,⁠ is it not enough to make the clearest liquid in the world both feculent and mothery?

But how great was his apprehension, when he farther understood, that this force acting upon the very vertex of the head, not only injured the brain itself, or cerebrum,⁠ but that it necessarily squeezed and propelled the cerebrum towards the cerebellum, which was the immediate seat of the understanding!⁠ ⁠Angels and ministers of grace defend us! cried my father, ⁠can any soul withstand this shock?⁠ No wonder the intellectual web is so rent and tattered as we see it; and that so many of our best heads are no better than a puzzled skein of silk, ⁠all perplexity, ⁠all confusion within-side.

But when my father read on, and was let into the secret, that when a child was turned topsy-turvy, which was easy for an operator to do, and was extracted by the feet; that instead of the cerebrum being propelled towards the cerebellum, the cerebellum, on the contrary, was propelled simply towards the cerebrum, where it could do no manner of hurt: By heavens! cried he, the world is in conspiracy to drive out what little wit God has given us, ⁠and the professors of the obstetric art are lifted into the same conspiracy.⁠ What is it to me which end of my son comes foremost into the world, provided all goes right after, and his cerebellum escapes uncrushed?

It is the nature of an hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it, that it assimilates everything to itself, as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, it generally grows the stronger by everything you see, hear, read, or understand. This is of great use.

When my father was gone with this about a month, there was scarce a phænomenon of stupidity or of genius, which he could not readily solve by it; it accounted for the eldest son being the greatest blockhead in the family.⁠ ⁠Poor devil, he would say,⁠ he made way for the capacity of his younger brothers.⁠ ⁠It unriddled the observations of drivellers and monstrous heads, ⁠showing à priori, it could not be otherwise, ⁠unless **** I don’t know what. It wonderfully explained and accounted for the acumen of the Asiatic genius, and that sprightlier turn, and a more penetrating intuition of minds, in warmer climates; not from the loose and commonplace solution of a clearer sky, and a more perpetual sunshine, etc.⁠, which for aught he knew, might as well rarefy and dilute the faculties of the soul into nothing, by one extreme,⁠ as they are condensed in colder climates by the other;⁠ ⁠but he traced the affair up to its spring-head; showed that, in warmer climates, nature had laid a lighter tax upon the fairest parts of the creation; their pleasures more; the necessity of their pains less, insomuch that the pressure and resistance upon the vertex was so slight, that the whole organisation of the cerebellum was preserved;⁠ ⁠nay, he did not believe, in natural births, that so much as a single thread of the network was broke or displaced, ⁠so that the soul might just act as she liked.

When my father had got so far, what a blaze of light did the accounts of the Caesarian section, and of the towering geniuses who had come safe into the world by it, cast upon this hypothesis? Here you see, he would say, there was no injury done to the sensorium; no pressure of the head against the pelvis;⁠ ⁠no propulsion of the cerebrum towards the cerebellum, either by the os pubis on this side, or the os coxygis on that; and pray, what were the happy consequences? Why, Sir, your Julius Caesar, who gave the operation a name; and your Hermes Trismegistus, who was born so before ever the operation had a name;⁠ ⁠your Scipio Africanus; your Manlius Torquatus; our Edward the Sixth,⁠ who, had he lived, would have done the same honour to the hypothesis: These, and many more who figured high in the annals of fame,⁠ all came sideway, Sir, into the world.

The incision of the abdomen and uterus ran for six weeks together in my father’s head;⁠ ⁠he had read, and was satisfied, that wounds in the epigastrium, and those in the matrix, were not mortal; so that the belly of the mother might be opened extremely well to give a passage to the child.⁠ He mentioned the thing one afternoon to my mother, merely as a matter of fact; but seeing her turn as pale as ashes at the very mention of it, as much as the operation flattered his hopes,⁠ he thought it as well to say no more of it, ⁠contenting himself with admiring,⁠ what he thought was to no purpose to propose.

This was my father Mr. Shandy’s hypothesis; concerning which I have only to add, that my brother Bobby did as great honour to it (whatever he did to the family) as any one of the great heroes we spoke of: For happening not only to be christened, as I told you, but to be born too, when my father was at Epsom, ⁠being moreover my mother’s first child,⁠ coming into the world with his head foremost,⁠ and turning out afterwards a lad of wonderful slow parts, ⁠my father spelt all these together into his opinion: and as he had failed at one end,⁠ he was determined to try the other.

This was not to be expected from one of the sisterhood, who are not easily to be put out of their way, ⁠and was therefore one of my father’s great reasons in favour of a man of science, whom he could better deal with.

Of all men in the world, Dr. Slop was the fittest for my father’s purpose;⁠ ⁠for though this new-invented forceps was the armour he had proved, and what he maintained to be the safest instrument of deliverance, yet, it seems, he had scattered a word or two in his book, in favour of the very thing which ran in my father’s fancy;⁠ ⁠though not with a view to the soul’s good in extracting by the feet, as was my father’s system,⁠ but for reasons merely obstetrical.

This will account for the coalition betwixt my father and Dr. Slop, in the ensuing discourse, which went a little hard against my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠In what manner a plain man, with nothing but common sense, could bear up against two such allies in science,⁠ is hard to conceive.⁠ You may conjecture upon it, if you please, ⁠and whilst your imagination is in motion, you may encourage it to go on, and discover by what causes and effects in nature it could come to pass, that my uncle Toby got his modesty by the wound he received upon his groin.⁠ You may raise a system to account for the loss of my nose by marriage-articles,⁠ and show the world how it could happen, that I should have the misfortune to be called Tristam, in opposition to my father’s hypothesis, and the wish of the whole family, Godfathers and Godmothers not excepted.⁠ These, with fifty other points left yet unravelled, you may endeavour to solve if you have time;⁠ ⁠but I tell you beforehand it will be in vain, for not the sage Alquife, the magician in Don Belianis of Greece, nor the no less famous Urganda, the sorceress his wife, (were they alive), could pretend to come within a league of the truth.

The reader will be content to wait for a full explanation of these matters till the next year, ⁠when a series of things will be laid open which he little expects.


Multitudinis imperitæ non formido judicia; meis tamen, rogo, parcant opusculis - in quibus fuit propositi semper, a jocis ad seria, a seriis vicissim ad jocos transire.
Joan. Saresberiensis, Episcopus Lugdun

Chapter I

I wish, Dr. Slop,” quoth my uncle Toby, (repeating his wish for Dr. Slop a second time, and with a degree of more zeal and earnestness in his manner of wishing, than he had wished at first[6]) - “I wish, Dr. Slop,” quoth my uncle Toby, “you had seen what prodigious armies we had in Flanders.”

My uncle Toby’s wish did Dr. Slop a disservice which his heart never intended any man,⁠ Sir, it confounded him - ⁠and thereby putting his ideas first into confusion, and then to flight, he could not rally them again for the soul of him.

In all disputes, ⁠male or female, ⁠whether for honour, for profit, or for love,⁠ it makes no difference in the case; nothing is more dangerous, Madam, than a wish coming sideways in this unexpected manner upon a man: the safest way in general to take off the force of the wish, is for the party wish’d at, instantly to get upon his legs⁠ - and wish the wisher something in return, of pretty near the same value, ⁠so balancing the account upon the spot, you stand as you were⁠ - nay sometimes gain the advantage of the attack by it.

This will be fully illustrated to the world in my chapter of wishes.⁠

Dr. Slop did not understand the nature of this defence; he was puzzled with it, and it put an entire stop to the dispute for four minutes and a half; five had been fatal to it:⁠ my father saw the danger⁠ - the dispute was one of the most interesting disputes in the world, “Whether the child of his prayers and endeavours should be born without a head or with one:”⁠ - he waited to the last moment, to allow Dr. Slop, in whose behalf the wish was made, his right of returning it; but perceiving, I say, that he was confounded, and continued looking with that perplexed vacuity of eye which puzzled souls generally stare with⁠ - first in my uncle Toby’s face⁠ - then in his⁠ - then up⁠ - then down⁠ - then east⁠ - east and by east, and so on, ⁠coasting it along by the plinth of the wainscot till he had got to the opposite point of the compass, ⁠and that he had actually begun to count the brass nails upon the arm of his chair,⁠ my father thought there was no time to be lost with my uncle Toby, so took up the discourse as follows.

Chapter II

“⁠ What prodigious armies you had in Flanders!”—

Brother Toby, replied my father, taking his wig from off his head with his right hand, and with his left pulling out a striped India handkerchief from his right coat pocket, in order to rub his head, as he argued the point with my uncle Toby.⁠⁠

Now, in this I think my father was much to blame; and I will give you my reasons for it.

Matters of no more seeming consequence in themselves than, “Whether my father should have taken off his wig with his right hand or with his left,” - ⁠have divided the greatest kingdoms, and made the crowns of the monarchs who governed them, to totter upon their heads.⁠ ⁠But need I tell you, Sir, that the circumstances with which everything in this world is begirt, give everything in this world its size and shape!⁠ and by tightening it, or relaxing it, this way or that, make the thing to be, what it is⁠ - great⁠ - little⁠ - good⁠ - bad⁠ - indifferent or not indifferent, just as the case happens?

As my father’s India handkerchief was in his right coat pocket, he should by no means have suffered his right hand to have got engaged: on the contrary, instead of taking off his wig with it, as he did, he ought to have committed that entirely to the left; and then, when the natural exigency my father was under of rubbing his head, called out for his handkerchief, he would have had nothing in the world to have done, but to have put his right hand into his right coat pocket and taken it out;⁠ ⁠which he might have done without any violence, or the least ungraceful twist in any one tendon or muscle of his whole body

In this case, (unless, indeed, my father had been resolved to make a fool of himself by holding the wig stiff in his left hand - ⁠or by making some nonsensical angle or other at his elbow-joint, or armpit)⁠ - his whole attitude had been easy⁠ - natural⁠ - unforced: Reynolds himself, as great and gracefully as he paints, might have painted him as he sat.

Now as my father managed this matter,⁠ consider what a devil of a figure my father made of himself.

In the latter end of Queen Anne’s reign, and in the beginning of the reign of King George the first⁠ - “Coat pockets were cut very low down in the skirt.”⁠ - I need say no more⁠ - the father of mischief, had he been hammering at it a month, could not have contrived a worse fashion for one in my father’s situation.

Chapter III

It was not an easy matter in any king’s reign (unless you were as lean a subject as myself) to have forced your hand diagonally, quite across your whole body, so as to gain the bottom of your opposite coat pocket.⁠ ⁠In the year one thousand seven hundred and eighteen, when this happened, it was extremely difficult; so that when my uncle Toby discovered the transverse zig-zaggery of my father’s approaches towards it, it instantly brought into his mind those he had done duty in, before the gate of St. Nicolas;⁠ ⁠the idea of which drew off his attention so entirely from the subject in debate, that he had got his right hand to the bell to ring up Trim to go and fetch his map of Namur, and his compasses and sector along with it, to measure the returning angles of the traverses of that attack,⁠ but particularly of that one, where he received his wound upon his groin.

My father knit his brows, and as he knit them, all the blood in his body seemed to rush up into his face - ⁠my uncle Toby dismounted immediately.

I did not apprehend your uncle Toby was o’ horseback.⁠

Chapter IV

A man’s body and his mind, with the utmost reverence to both I speak it, are exactly like a jerkin, and a jerkin’s lining; rumple the one,⁠ you rumple the other. There is one certain exception however in this case, and that is, when you are so fortunate a fellow, as to have had your jerkin made of gum-taffeta, and the body-lining to it of a sarcenet, or thin persian.

Zeno, Cleanthes, Diogenes Babylonius, Dionysius, Heracleotes, Antipater, Panætius, and Posidonius amongst the Greeks;⁠ ⁠Cato and Varro and Seneca amongst the Romans;⁠ ⁠Pantæonus and Clemens Alexandrinus and Montaigne amongst the Christians; and a score and a half of good, honest, unthinking Shandean people as ever lived, whose names I can’t recollect,⁠ all pretended that their jerkins were made after this fashion,⁠ you might have rumpled and crumpled, and doubled and creased, and fretted and fridged the outside of them all to pieces;⁠ ⁠in short, you might have played the very devil with them, and at the same time, not one of the insides of them would have been one button the worse, for all you had done to them.

I believe in my conscience that mine is made up somewhat after this sort: for never poor jerkin has been tickled off at such a rate as it has been these last nine months together, ⁠and yet I declare, the lining to it, as far as I am a judge of the matter, ⁠is not a threepenny piece the worse; pell-mell, helter-skelter, dingdong, cut and thrust, back stroke and fore stroke, side way and long way, have they been trimming it for me:⁠ had there been the least gumminess in my lining,⁠ by heaven! it had all of it long ago been frayed and fretted to a thread.

You Messrs. the Monthly reviewers! - how could you cut and slash my jerkin as you did?⁠ ⁠how did you know but you would cut my lining too?

Heartily and from my soul, to the protection of that Being who will injure none of us, do I recommend you and your affairs,⁠ so God bless you; only next month, if any one of you should gnash his teeth, and storm and rage at me, as some of you did last May (in which I remember the weather was very hot)⁠ - don’t be exasperated, if I pass it by again with good temper,⁠ being determined as long as I live or write (which in my case means the same thing) never to give the honest gentleman a worse word or a worse wish than my uncle Toby gave the fly which buzz’d about his nose all dinnertime, “Go,⁠ go, poor devil,” quoth he,⁠ “get thee gone,⁠ why should I hurt thee? This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me.”

Chapter V

Any man, Madam, reasoning upwards, and observing the prodigious suffusion of blood in my father’s countenance,⁠ by means of which (as all the blood in his body seemed to rush into his face, as I told you) he must have reddened, pictorically and scientifically speaking, six whole tints and a half, if not a full octave above his natural colour:⁠ any man, Madam, but my uncle Toby, who had observed this, together with the violent knitting of my father’s brows, and the extravagant contortion of his body during the whole affair,⁠ would have concluded my father in a rage; and taking that for granted,⁠ had he been a lover of such kind of concord as arises from two such instruments being put in exact tune,⁠ he would instantly have skrew’d up his, to the same pitch; and then the devil and all had broke loose⁠ - the whole piece, Madam, must have been played off like the sixth of Avison Scarlatti⁠ - con furia,⁠ like mad.⁠ Grant me patience!⁠ ⁠What has con furia, ⁠con strepito, ⁠or any other hurly burly whatever to do with harmony?

Any man, I say, Madam, but my uncle Toby, the benignity of whose heart interpreted every motion of the body in the kindest sense the motion would admit of, would have concluded my father angry, and blamed him too. My uncle Toby blamed nothing but the tailor who cut the pocket-hole;⁠ ⁠so sitting still till my father had got his handkerchief out of it, and looking all the time up in his face with inexpressible goodwill - ⁠my father, at length, went on as follows.

Chapter VI

“What prodigious armies you had in Flanders!” - ⁠Brother Toby, quoth my father, I do believe thee to be as honest a man, and with as good and as upright a heart as ever God created; nor is it thy fault, if all the children which have been, may, can, shall, will, or ought to be begotten, come with their heads foremost into the world: but believe me, dear Toby, the accidents which unavoidably waylay them, not only in the article of our begetting ’em - ⁠though these, in my opinion, are well worth considering, ⁠but the dangers and difficulties our children are beset with, after they are got forth into the world, are enow⁠ - little need is there to expose them to unnecessary ones in their passage to it.⁠ ⁠Are these dangers, quoth my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon my father’s knee, and looking up seriously in his face for an answer, ⁠are these dangers greater now o’ days, brother, than in times past? Brother Toby, answered my father, if a child was but fairly begot, and born alive, and healthy, and the mother did well after it,⁠ our forefathers never looked farther.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby instantly withdrew his hand from off my father’s knee, reclined his body gently back in his chair, raised his head till he could just see the cornice of the room, and then directing the buccinatory muscles along his cheeks, and the orbicular muscles around his lips to do their duty⁠ - he whistled Lillabullero.

Chapter VII

Whilst my uncle Toby was whistling Lillabullero to my father,⁠ Dr. Slop was stamping, and cursing and damning at Obadiah at a most dreadful rate, it would have done your heart good, and cured you, Sir, forever of the vile sin of swearing, to have heard him; I am determined therefore to relate the whole affair to you.

When Dr. Slop’s maid delivered the green bays bag with her master’s instruments in it, to Obadiah, she very sensibly exhorted him to put his head and one arm through the strings, and ride with it slung across his body: so undoing the bowknot, to lengthen the strings for him, without any more ado, she helped him on with it. However, as this, in some measure, unguarded the mouth of the bag, lest anything should bolt out in galloping back, at the speed Obadiah threatened, they consulted to take it off again: and in the great care and caution of their hearts, they had taken the two strings and tied them close (pursing up the mouth of the bag first) with half a dozen hard knots, each of which Obadiah, to make all safe, had twitched and drawn together with all the strength of his body.

This answered all that Obadiah and the maid intended; but was no remedy against some evils which neither he or she foresaw. The instruments, it seems, as tight as the bag was tied above, had so much room to play in it, towards the bottom (the shape of the bag being conical) that Obadiah could not make a trot of it, but with such a terrible jingle, what with the tire tête, forceps, and squirt, as would have been enough, had Hymen been taking a jaunt that way, to have frightened him out of the country; but when Obadiah accelerated his motion, and from a plain trot assayed to prick his coach-horse into a full gallop - ⁠by Heaven! Sir, the jingle was incredible.

As Obadiah had a wife and three children - ⁠the turpitude of fornication, and the many other political ill consequences of this jingling, never once entered his brain, ⁠he had however his objection, which came home to himself, and weighed with him, as it has ofttimes done with the greatest patriots.⁠ “The poor fellow, Sir, was not able to hear himself whistle.

Chapter VIII

As Obadiah loved wind-music preferably to all the instrumental music he carried with him,⁠ he very considerately set his imagination to work, to contrive and to invent by what means he should put himself in a condition of enjoying it.

In all distresses (except musical) where small cords are wanted, nothing is so apt to enter a man’s head as his hatband: the philosophy of this is so near the surface - ⁠I scorn to enter into it.

As Obadiah’s was a mix’d case - ⁠mark, Sirs, ⁠I say, a mixed case; for it was obstetrical, ⁠scriptical, squirtical, papistical - ⁠and as far as the coach-horse was concerned in it, ⁠caballistical - ⁠and only partly musical; Obadiah made no scruple of availing himself of the first expedient which offered; so taking hold of the bag and instruments, and griping them hard together with one hand, and with the finger and thumb of the other putting the end of the hatband betwixt his teeth, and then slipping his hand down to the middle of it,⁠ he tied and cross-tied them all fast together from one end to the other (as you would cord a trunk) with such a multiplicity of roundabouts and intricate cross turns, with a hard knot at every intersection or point where the strings met,⁠ that Dr. Slop must have had three-fifths of Job’s patience at least to have unloosed them.⁠ I think in my conscience, that had Nature been in one of her nimble moods, and in humour for such a contest - ⁠and she and Dr. Slop both fairly started together - ⁠there is no man living who had seen the bag with all that Obadiah had done to it, ⁠and known likewise the great speed the Goddess can make when she thinks proper, who would have had the least doubt remaining in his mind⁠ - which of the two would have carried off the prize. My mother, Madam, had been delivered sooner than the green bag infallibly - ⁠at least by twenty knots.⁠ ⁠Sport of small accidents, Tristram Shandy! that thou art, and ever will be! had that trial been for thee, and it was fifty to one but it had, ⁠thy affairs had not been so depress’d⁠ - (at least by the depression of thy nose) as they have been; nor had the fortunes of thy house and the occasions of making them, which have so often presented themselves in the course of thy life, to thee, been so often, so vexatiously, so tamely, so irrecoverably abandoned⁠ - as thou hast been forced to leave them;⁠ ⁠but ’tis over, ⁠all but the account of ’em, which cannot be given to the curious till I am got out into the world.

Chapter IX

Great wits jump: for the moment Dr. Slop cast his eyes upon his bag (which he had not done till the dispute with my uncle Toby about midwifery put him in mind of it)⁠ - the very same thought occurred.⁠ ’Tis God’s mercy, quoth he (to himself) that Mrs. Shandy has had so bad a time of it, ⁠else she might have been brought to bed seven times told, before one half of these knots could have got untied.⁠ ⁠But here you must distinguish⁠ - the thought floated only in Dr. Slop’s mind, without sail or ballast to it, as a simple proposition; millions of which, as your worship knows, are every day swimming quietly in the middle of the thin juice of a man’s understanding, without being carried backwards or forwards, till some little gusts of passion or interest drive them to one side.

A sudden trampling in the room above, near my mother’s bed, did the proposition the very service I am speaking of. By all that’s unfortunate, quoth Dr. Slop, unless I make haste, the thing will actually befall me as it is.

Chapter X

In the case of knots,⁠ by which, in the first place, I would not be understood to mean slipknots⁠ - because in the course of my life and opinions⁠ - my opinions concerning them will come in more properly when I mention the catastrophe of my great uncle Mr. Hammond Shandy,⁠ a little man,⁠ but of high fancy:⁠ he rushed into the duke of Monmouth’s affair: nor, secondly, in this place, do I mean that particular species of knots called bowknots; there is so little address, or skill, or patience required in the unloosing them, that they are below my giving any opinion at all about them.⁠ But by the knots I am speaking of, may it please your reverences to believe, that I mean good, honest, devilish tight, hard knots, made bona fide, as Obadiah made his;⁠ ⁠in which there is no quibbling provision made by the duplication and return of the two ends of the strings thro’ the annulus or noose made by the second implication of them⁠ - to get them slipp’d and undone by.⁠ I hope you apprehend me.

In the case of these knots then, and of the several obstructions, which, may it please your reverences, such knots cast in our way in getting through life - ⁠every hasty man can whip out his penknife and cut through them.⁠ ’Tis wrong. Believe me, Sirs, the most virtuous way, and which both reason and conscience dictate - ⁠is to take our teeth or our fingers to them.⁠ ⁠Dr. Slop had lost his teeth⁠ - his favourite instrument, by extracting in a wrong direction, or by some misapplication of it, unfortunately slipping, he had formerly, in a hard labour, knock’d out three of the best of them with the handle of it: - he tried his fingers⁠ - alas; the nails of his fingers and thumbs were cut close.⁠ ⁠The duce take it! I can make nothing of it either way, cried Dr. Slop.⁠ ⁠The trampling overhead near my mother’s bedside increased.⁠ Pox take the fellow! I shall never get the knots untied as long as I live.⁠ ⁠My mother gave a groan.⁠ ⁠Lend me your penknife - ⁠I must e’en cut the knots at last - ⁠pugh!⁠ ⁠psha!⁠ Lord! I have cut my thumb quite across to the very bone - ⁠curse the fellow⁠ - if there was not another man-midwife within fifty miles - ⁠I am undone for this bout⁠ - I wish the scoundrel hang’d⁠ - I wish he was shot - ⁠I wish all the devils in hell had him for a blockhead!—

My father had a great respect for Obadiah, and could not bear to hear him disposed of in such a manner⁠ - he had moreover some little respect for himself⁠ - and could as ill bear with the indignity offered to himself in it.

Had Dr. Slop cut any part about him, but his thumb - ⁠my father had pass’d it by⁠ - his prudence had triumphed: as it was, he was determined to have his revenge.

Small curses, Dr. Slop, upon great occasions, quoth my father (condoling with him first upon the accident), are but so much waste of our strength and soul’s health to no manner of purpose.⁠ I own it, replied Dr. Slop.⁠ They are like sparrow-shot, quoth my uncle Toby (suspending his whistling), fired against a bastion.⁠ ⁠They serve, continued my father, to stir the humours - ⁠but carry off none of their acrimony:⁠ for my own part, I seldom swear or curse at all⁠ - I hold it bad - ⁠but if I fall into it by surprise, I generally retain so much presence of mind (right, quoth my uncle Toby) as to make it answer my purpose - ⁠that is, I swear on till I find myself easy. A wise and a just man however would always endeavour to proportion the vent given to these humours, not only to the degree of them stirring within himself⁠ - but to the size and ill intent of the offence upon which they are to fall.⁠ “Injuries come only from the heart,”⁠ - quoth my uncle Toby. For this reason, continued my father, with the most Cervantick gravity, I have the greatest veneration in the world for that gentleman, who, in distrust of his own discretion in this point, sat down and composed (that is at his leisure) fit forms of swearing suitable to all cases, from the lowest to the highest provocation which could possibly happen to him - ⁠which forms being well considered by him, and such moreover as he could stand to, he kept them ever by him on the chimneypiece, within his reach, ready for use.⁠ I never apprehended, replied Dr. Slop, that such a thing was ever thought of - ⁠much less executed. I beg your pardon, answered my father; I was reading, though not using, one of them to my brother Toby this morning, whilst he pour’d out the tea⁠ - ’tis here upon the shelf over my head; but if I remember right, ’tis too violent for a cut of the thumb.⁠ Not at all, quoth Dr. Slop⁠ - the devil take the fellow.⁠ ⁠Then, answered my father, ’Tis much at your service, Dr. Slop⁠ - on condition you will read it aloud;⁠ ⁠so rising up and reaching down a form of excommunication of the church of Rome, a copy of which, my father (who was curious in his collections) had procured out of the leger-book of the church of Rochester, writ by Ernulphus the bishop - ⁠with a most affected seriousness of look and voice, which might have cajoled Ernulphus himself⁠ - he put it into Dr. Slop’s hands.⁠ ⁠Dr. Slop wrapt his thumb up in the corner of his handkerchief, and with a wry face, though without any suspicion, read aloud, as follows - my uncle Toby whistling Lillabullero as loud as he could all the time.

Textus de Ecclesiâ Roffensi, per Ernulfum Episcopum.

Chapter XI

Ex auctoritate Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filij, et Spiritus Sancti, et sanctorum canonum, sanctæque et intemeratæ Virginis Dei genetricis Mariæ,⁠
Atque omnium cœlestium virtutum, angelorum, archangelorum, thronorum, dominationum, potestatuum, cherubin ac seraphin, & sanctorum patriarchum, prophetarum, & omnium apolstolorum & evangelistarum, & sanctorum innocentum, qui in conspectu Agni soli digni inventi sunt canticum cantare novum, et sanctorum martyrum et sanctorum confessorum, et sanctarum virginum, atque omnium simul sanctorum et electorum Dei,——Excommunicamus, et
                       vel     os              s     vel os
anathematizamus hunc furem, vel hunc
malefactorem, N.N. et a liminibus sanctæ Dei ecclesiæ sequestramus, et æternis
                       vel i               n
suppliciis excruciandus, mancipetur, cum Dathan et Abiram, et cum his qui dixerunt Domino Deo, Recede à nobis, scientiam viarum tuarum nolumus: et ficut aquâ ignis extinguatur lu-
                       vel eorum
cerna ejus in secula seculorum nisi resque-
      n                     n
rit, et ad satisfactionem venerit.   Amen.
Maledicat illum Deus Pater qui homi-
nem creavit. Maledicat illum Dei Filius qui pro homine passus est. Maledicat
illum Spiritus Sanctus qui in baptismo ef-
fusus est. Maledicat illum sancta crux, quam Christus pro nostrâ salute hostem triumphans ascendit.
Maledicat illum sancta Dei genetrix et
perpetua Virgo Maria. Maledicat illum sanctus Michael, animarum susceptor sa-
crarum. Maledicant illum omnes angeli et archangeli, principatus et potestates, omnisque militia cœlestis.
Maledicat illum patriarcharum et prophetarum laudabilis numerus. Maledicat
illum sanctus Johannes Præcursor et Baptista Christi, et sanctus Petrus, et sanctus Paulus, atque sanctus Andreas, omnesque Christi apostoli, simul et cæteri discipuli, quatuor quoque evangelistæ, qui sua prædicatione mundum universum converte-
runt. Maledicat illum cuneus martyrum et confessorum mirificus, qui Deo bonis operibus placitus inventus est.
Maledicant illum sacrarum virginum chori, quæ mundi vana causa honoris Christi respuenda contempserunt. Male-
dicant illum omnes sancti qui ab initio mundi usque in finem seculi Deo dilecti inveniuntur.
Maledicant illum cœli et terra, et omnia sancta in eis manentia.
        i  n        n
Maledictus sit ubicunque, fuerit, sive in domo, sive in agro, sive in viâ, sive in semitâ, sive in silvâ, sive in aquâ, sive in ecclesiâ.
        i  n
Maledictus sit vivendo, moriendo,
———   ———   ———
———   ———   ———
———   ———   ———
———   ———   ———
———   ———   ———
———   ———   ———
manducando, bibendo, esuriendo, sitiendo, jejunando, dormitando, dormiendo, vigilando, ambulando, stando, sedendo, jacendo, operando, quiescendo, mingendo, cacando, flebotomando.
        i  n
Maledictus sit in totis viribus corporis.
        i  n
Maledictus sit intus et exterius.
        i  n        i
Maledictus sit in capillis; maledictus
n        i  n
sit in cerebro. Maledictus sit in vertice, in temporibus, in fronte, in auriculis, in superciliis, in oculis, in genis, in maxillis, in naribus, in dentibus, mordacibus, in labris sive molibus, in labiis, in guttere, in humeris, in harnis, in brachiis, in manubus, in digitis, in pectore, in corde, et in omnibus interioribus stomacho tenus, in renibus, in inguinibus, in femore, in genitalibus, in coxis, in genubus, in cruribus, in pedibus, et in unguibus.
Maledictus sit in totis compagibus membrorum, a vertice capitis, usque ad plantam pedis—non sit in eo sanitas.
Maledicat illum Christus Filius Dei vivi toto suæ majestatis imperio——
et insurgat adversus illum cœlum cum omnibus virtutibus quæ in eo moventur ad damnandum eum, nisi penituerit et ad satisfactionem venerit.Amen.
Fiat, fiat. Amen.

Chapter XI

“By the authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and of the holy canons, and of the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour.” I think there is no necessity, quoth Dr. Slop, dropping the paper down to his knee, and addressing himself to my father - ⁠as you have read it over, Sir, so lately, to read it aloud - ⁠and as Captain Shandy seems to have no great inclination to hear it - I may as well read it to myself. That’s contrary to treaty, replied my father: - besides, there is something so whimsical, especially in the latter part of it, I should grieve to lose the pleasure of a second reading. Dr. Slop did not altogether like it, but my uncle Toby offering at that instant to give over whistling, and read it himself to them; Dr. Slop thought he might as well read it under the cover of my uncle Toby’s whistling - as suffer my uncle Toby to read it alone;⁠ ⁠so raising up the paper to his face, and holding it quite parallel to it, in order to hide his chagrin - he read it aloud as follows - ⸺⁠my uncle Toby whistling Lillabullero, though not quite so loud as before.

“By the authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and of the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour, and of all the celestial virtues, angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, cherubins and seraphins, and of all the holy patriarchs, prophets, and of all the apostles and evangelists, and of the holy innocents, who in the sight of the Holy Lamb, are found worthy to sing the new song of the holy martyrs and holy confessors, and of the holy virgins, and of all the saints, together with the holy and elect of God, ⁠May he” (Obadiah) “be damn’d” (for tying these knots) - “We excommunicate, and anathematize him, and from the thresholds of the holy church of God Almighty we sequester him, that he may be tormented, disposed, and delivered over with Dathan and Abiram, and with those who say unto the Lord God, Depart from us, we desire none of thy ways. And as fire is quenched with water, so let the light of him be put out for evermore, unless it shall repent him” (Obadiah, of the knots which he has tied) “and make satisfaction” (for them) “Amen.”

“May the Father who created man, curse him.⁠ ⁠May the Son who suffered for us, curse him.⁠ ⁠May the Holy Ghost, who was given to us in baptism, curse him (Obadiah) - ⁠May the holy cross which Christ, for our salvation triumphing over his enemies, ascended, curse him.

“May the holy and eternal Virgin Mary, mother of God, curse him. May St. Michael, the advocate of holy souls, curse him.⁠ ⁠May all the angels and archangels, principalities and powers, and all the heavenly armies, curse him.” [Our armies swore terribly in Flanders, cried my uncle Toby, but nothing to this. For my own part I could not have a heart to curse my dog so.]

“May St. John, the Præcursor, and St. John the Baptist, and St. Peter and St. Paul, and St. Andrew, and all other Christ’s apostles, together curse him. And may the rest of his disciples and four evangelists, who by their preaching converted the universal world, and may the holy and wonderful company of martyrs and confessors who by their holy works are found pleasing to God Almighty, curse him” (Obadiah).

“May the holy choir of the holy virgins, who for the honour of Christ have despised the things of the world, damn him - ⁠May all the saints, who from the beginning of the world to everlasting ages are found to be beloved of God, damn him - May the heavens and earth, and all the holy things remaining therein, damn him” (Obadiah) “or her” (or whoever else had a hand in tying these knots).

“May he (Obadiah) be damn’d wherever he be - ⁠whether in the house or the stables, the garden or the field, or the highway, or in the path, or in the wood, or in the water, or in the church.⁠ ⁠May he be cursed in living, in dying.” [Here my uncle Toby, taking the advantage of a minim in the second bar of his tune, kept whistling one continued note to the end of the sentence.⁠ ⁠Dr. Slop, with his division of curses moving under him, like a running bass all the way.] “May he be cursed in eating, and drinking, in being hungry, in being thirsty, in fasting, in sleeping, in slumbering, in walking, in standing, in sitting, in lying, in working, in resting, in pissing, in shitting, and in bloodletting!”

“May he” (Obadiah) “be cursed in all the faculties of his body!

“May he be cursed inwardly and outwardly! - May he be cursed in the hair of his head!⁠ ⁠May he be cursed in his brains, and in his vertex” (that is a sad curse, quoth my father), “in his temples, in his forehead, in his ears, in his eyebrows, in his cheeks, in his jawbones, in his nostrils, in his fore-teeth and grinders, in his lips, in his throat, in his shoulders, in his wrists, in his arms, in his hands, in his fingers!

“May he be damn’d in his mouth, in his breast, in his heart and purtenance, down to the very stomach!

“May he be cursed in his reins, and in his groin” (God in heaven forbid! quoth my uncle Toby), “in his thighs, in his genitals” (my father shook his head), “and in his hips, and in his knees, his legs, and feet, and toenails!

“May he be cursed in all the joints and articulations of his members, from the top of his head to the sole of his foot! May there be no soundness in him!

“May the Son of the living God, with all the glory of his Majesty” - [Here my uncle Toby, throwing back his head, gave a monstrous, long, loud Whew⁠ - w⁠ - w - ⸺⁠something betwixt the interjectional whistle of Hay-day! and the word itself.⁠

By the golden beard of Jupiter⁠ - and of Juno (if her majesty wore one) and by the beards of the rest of your heathen worships, which by the by was no small number, since what with the beards of your celestial gods, and gods aerial and aquatick⁠ - to say nothing of the beards of town-gods and country-gods, or of the celestial goddesses your wives, or of the infernal goddesses your whores and concubines (that is in case they wore them) - all which beards, as Varro tells me, upon his word and honour, when mustered up together, made no less than thirty thousand effective beards upon the Pagan establishment;⁠ ⁠every beard of which claimed the rights and privileges of being stroken and sworn by⁠ - by all these beards together then - ⁠I vow and protest, that of the two bad cassocks I am worth in the world, I would have given the better of them, as freely as ever Cid Hamet offered his - ⁠to have stood by, and heard my uncle Toby’s accompanyment.]

“curse him!” continued Dr. Slop,⁠ “and may heaven, with all the powers which move therein, rise up against him, curse and damn him” (Obadiah) “unless he repent and make satisfaction! Amen. So be it,⁠ so be it. Amen.”

I declare, quoth my uncle Toby, my heart would not let me curse the devil himself with so much bitterness.⁠ He is the father of curses, replied Dr. Slop.⁠ ⁠So am not I, replied my uncle.⁠ ⁠But he is cursed, and damn’d already, to all eternity, replied Dr. Slop.

I am sorry for it, quoth my uncle Toby.

Dr. Slop drew up his mouth, and was just beginning to return my uncle Toby the compliment of his Whu⁠ - u⁠ - u⁠ - or interjectional whistle - ⁠when the door hastily opening in the next chapter but one - ⁠put an end to the affair.

Chapter XII

Now don’t let us give ourselves a parcel of airs, and pretend that the oaths we make free with in this land of liberty of ours are our own; and because we have the spirit to swear them, ⁠imagine that we have had the wit to invent them too.

I’ll undertake this moment to prove it to any man in the world, except to a connoisseur: though I declare I object only to a connoisseur in swearing, ⁠as I would do to a connoisseur in painting, etc., etc., the whole set of ’em are so hung round and befetish’d with the bobs and trinkets of criticism, ⁠or to drop my metaphor, which by the by is a pity, ⁠for I have fetch’d it as far as from the coast of Guiney; their heads, Sir, are stuck so full of rules and compasses, and have that eternal propensity to apply them upon all occasions, that a work of genius had better go to the devil at once, than stand to be prick’d and tortured to death by ’em.

And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night?⁠ Oh, against all rule, my lord,⁠ most ungrammatically! betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach thus,⁠ stopping, as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times three seconds and three-fifths by a stopwatch, my lord, each time,⁠ Admirable grammarian!⁠ ⁠But in suspending his voice - ⁠was the sense suspended likewise? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm?⁠ ⁠Was the eye silent? Did you narrowly look? I look’d only at the stopwatch, my lord.⁠ Excellent observer!

And what of this new book the whole world makes such a rout about?⁠ ⁠Oh! ’tis out of all plumb, my lord, ⁠quite an irregular thing!⁠ not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle.⁠ I had my rule and compasses, etc., my lord, in my pocket.⁠ Excellent critick!

And for the epick poem your lordship bid me look at - ⁠upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu’s - ’tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.⁠ Admirable connoisseur!

And did you step in, to take a look at the grand picture in your way back?⁠ ’Tis a melancholy daub! my lord; not one principle of the pyramid in any one group!⁠ ⁠and what a price!⁠ ⁠for there is nothing of the colouring of Titian⁠ - the expression of Rubens⁠ - the grace of Raphael⁠ - the purity of Dominichino⁠ - the corregiescity of Corregio⁠ - the learning of Poussin⁠ - the airs of Guido⁠ - the taste of the Carrachis⁠ - or the grand contour of Angela.⁠ Grant me patience, just Heaven!⁠ Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world⁠ - though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst - ⁠the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!

I would go fifty miles on foot, for I have not a horse worth riding on, to kiss the hand of that man whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author’s hands - ⁠be pleased he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.

Great Apollo! if thou art in a giving humour⁠ - give me⁠ - I ask no more, but one stroke of native humour, with a single spark of thy own fire along with it - ⁠and send Mercury, with the rules and compasses, if he can be spared, with my compliments to⁠ - no matter.

Now to anyone else I will undertake to prove, that all the oaths and imprecations which we have been puffing off upon the world for these two hundred and fifty years last past as originals - ⁠except St. Paul’s thumb - ⁠God’s flesh and God’s fish, which were oaths monarchical, and, considering who made them, not much amiss; and as kings’ oaths, ’tis not much matter whether they were fish or flesh; else I say, there is not an oath, or at least a curse amongst them, which has not been copied over and over again out of Ernulphus a thousand times: but, like all other copies, how infinitely short of the force and spirit of the original!⁠ It is thought to be no bad oath - ⁠and by itself passes very well⁠ - “G - ⁠d damn you.”⁠ - Set it beside Ernulphus’s - “God Almighty the Father damn you⁠ - God the Son damn you⁠ - God the Holy Ghost damn you”⁠ - you see ’tis nothing.⁠ There is an orientality in his, we cannot rise up to: besides, he is more copious in his invention⁠ - possess’d more of the excellencies of a swearer - ⁠had such a thorough knowledge of the human frame, its membranes, nerves, ligaments, knittings of the joints, and articulations, ⁠that when Ernulphus cursed⁠ - no part escaped him.⁠ ’Tis true there is something of a hardness in his manner - ⁠and, as in Michaelangelo, a want of grace - ⁠but then there is such a greatness of gusto!

My father, who generally look’d upon everything in a light very different from all mankind, would, after all, never allow this to be an original.⁠ ⁠He considered rather, Ernulphus’s anathema, as an institute of swearing, in which, as he suspected, upon the decline of swearing in some milder pontificate, Ernulphus, by order of the succeeding pope, had with great learning and diligence collected together all the laws of it; for the same reason that Justinian, in the decline of the empire, had ordered his chancellor Tribonian to collect the Roman or civil laws all together into one code or digest - ⁠lest, through the rust of time - ⁠and the fatality of all things committed to oral tradition⁠ - they should be lost to the world forever.

For this reason my father would ofttimes affirm, there was not an oath, from the great and tremendous oath of William the Conqueror (By the splendour of God) down to the lowest oath of a scavenger (Damn your eyes) which was not to be found in Ernulphus.⁠ In short, he would add⁠ - I defy a man to swear out of it.

The hypothesis is, like most of my father’s, singular and ingenious too;⁠ ⁠nor have I any objection to it, but that it overturns my own.

Chapter XIII

Bless my soul!⁠ my poor mistress is ready to faint - ⁠and her pains are gone⁠ - and the drops are done⁠ - and the bottle of julap is broke - ⁠and the nurse has cut her arm⁠ - (and I, my thumb, cried Dr. Slop,) and the child is where it was, continued Susannah,⁠ and the midwife has fallen backwards upon the edge of the fender, and bruised her hip as black as your hat.⁠ I’ll look at it, quoth Dr. Slop.⁠ There is no need of that, replied Susannah,⁠ you had better look at my mistress⁠ - but the midwife would gladly first give you an account how things are, so desires you would go upstairs and speak to her this moment.

Human nature is the same in all professions.

The midwife had just before been put over Dr. Slop’s head⁠ - He had not digested it,⁠ No, replied Dr. Slop, ’twould be full as proper, if the midwife came down to me.⁠ I like subordination, quoth my uncle Toby,⁠ and but for it, after the reduction of Lisle, I know not what might have become of the garrison of Ghent, in the mutiny for bread, in the year Ten.⁠ Nor, replied Dr. Slop, (parodying my uncle Toby’s hobbyhorsical reflection; though full as hobbyhorsical himself) - do I know, Captain Shandy, what might have become of the garrison above stairs, in the mutiny and confusion I find all things are in at present, but for the subordination of fingers and thumbs to ****** - the application of which, Sir, under this accident of mine, comes in so apropos, that without it, the cut upon my thumb might have been felt by the Shandy family, as long as the Shandy family had a name.

Chapter XIV

Let us go back to the ****** - ⁠in the last chapter.

It is a singular stroke of eloquence (at least it was so, when eloquence flourished at Athens and Rome, and would be so now, did orators wear mantles) not to mention the name of a thing, when you had the thing about you in petto, ready to produce, pop, in the place you want it. A scar, an axe, a sword, a pink’d doublet, a rusty helmet, a pound and a half of pot-ashes in an urn, or a three-halfpenny pickle pot⁠ - but above all, a tender infant royally accoutred.⁠ Though if it was too young, and the oration as long as Tully’s second Philippick⁠ - it must certainly have beshit the orator’s mantle.⁠ And then again, if too old,⁠ it must have been unwieldy and incommodious to his action⁠ - so as to make him lose by his child almost as much as he could gain by it.⁠ Otherwise, when a state orator has hit the precise age to a minute - ⁠hid his bambino in his mantle so cunningly that no mortal could smell it - ⁠and produced it so critically, that no soul could say, it came in by head and shoulders⁠ - Oh Sirs! it has done wonders⁠ - It has open’d the sluices, and turn’d the brains, and shook the principles, and unhinged the politicks of half a nation.

These feats however are not to be done, except in those states and times, I say, where orators wore mantles - ⁠and pretty large ones too, my brethren, with some twenty or five-and-twenty yards of good purple, superfine, marketable cloth in them⁠ - with large flowing folds and doubles, and in a great style of design.⁠ All which plainly shows, may it please your worships, that the decay of eloquence, and the little good service it does at present, both within and without doors, is owing to nothing else in the world, but short coats, and the disuse of trunk-hose.⁠ ⁠We can conceal nothing under ours, Madam, worth showing.

Chapter XV

Dr. Slop was within an ace of being an exception to all this argumentation: for happening to have his green bays bag upon his knees, when he began to parody my uncle Toby⁠ - ’twas as good as the best mantle in the world to him: for which purpose, when he foresaw the sentence would end in his new-invented forceps, he thrust his hand into the bag in order to have them ready to clap in, when your reverences took so much notice of the ***, which had he managed - ⁠my uncle Toby had certainly been overthrown: the sentence and the argument in that case jumping closely in one point, so like the two lines which form the salient angle of a ravelin, ⁠Dr. Slop would never have given them up; and my uncle Toby would as soon have thought of flying, as taking them by force: but Dr. Slop fumbled so vilely in pulling them out, it took off the whole effect, and what was a ten times worse evil (for they seldom come alone in this life) in pulling out his forceps, his forceps unfortunately drew out the squirt along with it.

When a proposition can be taken in two senses⁠ - ’tis a law in disputation, That the respondent may reply to which of the two he pleases, or finds most convenient for him.⁠ ⁠This threw the advantage of the argument quite on my uncle Toby’s side.⁠ “Good God!” cried my uncle Toby, “are children brought into the world with a squirt?

Chapter XVI

Upon my honour, Sir, you have tore every bit of skin quite off the back of both my hands with your forceps, cried my uncle Toby⁠ - and you have crush’d all my knuckles into the bargain with them to a jelly. ’Tis your own fault, said Dr. Slop - ⁠you should have clinch’d your two fists together into the form of a child’s head as I told you, and sat firm. I did so, answered my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Then the points of my forceps have not been sufficiently arm’d, or the rivet wants closing⁠ - or else the cut in my thumb has made me a little awkward⁠ - or possibly⁠ - ’Tis well, quoth my father, interrupting the detail of possibilities⁠ - that the experiment was not first made upon my child’s headpiece. It would not have been a cherrystone the worse, answered Dr. Slop.⁠ I maintain it, said my uncle Toby, it would have broke the cerebellum (unless indeed the skull had been as hard as a granado) and turn’d it all into a perfect posset. Pshaw! replied Dr. Slop, a child’s head is naturally as soft as the pap of an apple; the sutures give way⁠ - and besides, I could have extracted by the feet after.⁠ Not you, said she.⁠ ⁠I rather wish you would begin that way, quoth my father.

Pray do, added my uncle Toby.

Chapter XVII

And pray, good woman, after all, will you take upon you to say, it may not be the child’s hip, as well as the child’s head? ’Tis most certainly the head, replied the midwife. Because, continued Dr. Slop (turning to my father) as positive as these old ladies generally are⁠ - ’tis a point very difficult to know⁠ - and yet of the greatest consequence to be known;⁠ ⁠because, Sir, if the hip is mistaken for the head⁠ - there is a possibility (if it is a boy) that the forceps * * * * * *

What the possibility was, Dr. Slop whispered very low to my father, and then to my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠There is no such danger, continued he, with the head.⁠ No, in truth, quoth my father⁠ - but when your possibility has taken place at the hip⁠ - you may as well take off the head too.

It is morally impossible the reader should understand this - ’tis enough Dr. Slop understood it;⁠ ⁠so taking the green bays bag in his hand, with the help of Obadiah’s pumps, he tripp’d pretty nimbly, for a man of his size, across the room to the door - and from the door was shown the way, by the good old midwife, to my mother’s apartments.

Chapter XVIII

It is two hours, and ten minutes⁠ - and no more⁠ - cried my father, looking at his watch, since Dr. Slop and Obadiah arrived⁠ - and I know not how it happens, brother Toby⁠ - but to my imagination it seems almost an age.

Here⁠ - pray, Sir, take hold of my cap⁠ - nay, take the bell along with it, and my pantoufles too.

Now, Sir, they are all at your service; and I freely make you a present of ’em, on condition you give me all your attention to this chapter.

Though my father said, “he knew not how it happen’d,”⁠ - yet he knew very well how it happen’d;⁠ ⁠and at the instant he spoke it, was predetermined in his mind to give my uncle Toby a clear account of the matter by a metaphysical dissertation upon the subject of duration and its simple modes, in order to show my uncle Toby by what mechanism and mensurations in the brain it came to pass, that the rapid succession of their ideas, and the eternal scampering of the discourse from one thing to another, since Dr. Slop had come into the room, had lengthened out so short a period to so inconceivable an extent.⁠ “I know not how it happens⁠ - cried my father,⁠ but it seems an age.”

’Tis owing entirely, quoth my uncle Toby, to the succession of our ideas.

My father, who had an itch, in common with all philosophers, of reasoning upon everything which happened, and accounting for it too⁠ - proposed infinite pleasure to himself in this, of the succession of ideas, and had not the least apprehension of having it snatch’d out of his hands by my uncle Toby, who (honest man!) generally took everything as it happened;⁠ ⁠and who, of all things in the world, troubled his brain the least with abstruse thinking; the ideas of time and space⁠ - or how we came by those ideas⁠ - or of what stuff they were made - ⁠or whether they were born with us⁠ - or we picked them up afterwards as we went along⁠ - or whether we did it in frocks - ⁠or not till we had got into breeches⁠ - with a thousand other inquiries and disputes about infinity, prescience, liberty, necessity, and so forth, upon whose desperate and unconquerable theories so many fine heads have been turned and cracked - ⁠never did my uncle Toby’s the least injury at all; my father knew it⁠ - and was no less surprised than he was disappointed, with my uncle’s fortuitous solution.

Do you understand the theory of that affair? replied my father.

Not I, quoth my uncle.

But you have some ideas, said my father, of what you talk about?⁠

No more than my horse, replied my uncle Toby.

Gracious heaven! cried my father, looking upwards, and clasping his two hands together - ⁠there is a worth in thy honest ignorance, brother Toby - ’twere almost a pity to exchange it for a knowledge.⁠ But I’ll tell thee.⁠⁠

To understand what time is aright, without which we never can comprehend infinity, insomuch as one is a portion of the other - ⁠we ought seriously to sit down and consider what idea it is we have of duration, so as to give a satisfactory account how we came by it.⁠ ⁠What is that to anybody? quoth my uncle Toby.[8] For if you will turn your eyes inwards upon your mind, continued my father, and observe attentively, you will perceive, brother, that whilst you and I are talking together, and thinking, and smoking our pipes, or whilst we receive successively ideas in our minds, we know that we do exist, and so we estimate the existence, or the continuation of the existence of ourselves, or anything else, commensurate to the succession of any ideas in our minds, the duration of ourselves, or any such other thing coexisting with our thinking - ⁠and so according to that preconceived - You puzzle me to death, cried my uncle Toby.

’Tis owing to this, replied my father, that in our computations of time, we are so used to minutes, hours, weeks, and months - ⁠and of clocks (I wish there was not a clock in the kingdom) to measure out their several portions to us, and to those who belong to us - ⁠that ’twill be well, if in time to come, the succession of our ideas be of any use or service to us at all.

Now, whether we observe it or no, continued my father, in every sound man’s head, there is a regular succession of ideas of one sort or other, which follow each other in train just like - A train of artillery? said my uncle Toby - ⁠A train of a fiddlestick!⁠ quoth my father⁠ - which follow and succeed one another in our minds at certain distances, just like the images in the inside of a lantern turned round by the heat of a candle.⁠ I declare, quoth my uncle Toby, mine are more like a smoak-jack. Then, brother Toby, I have nothing more to say to you upon that subject, said my father.

Chapter XIX

What a conjecture was here lost!⁠ ⁠My father in one of his best explanatory moods⁠ - in eager pursuit of a metaphysical point into the very regions, where clouds and thick darkness would soon have encompassed it about; my uncle Toby in one of the finest dispositions for it in the world; his head like a smoak-jack;⁠ ⁠the funnel unswept, and the ideas whirling round and round about in it, all obfuscated and darkened over with fuliginous matter!⁠ By the tombstone of Lucian - ⁠if it is in being - ⁠if not, why then by his ashes! by the ashes of my dear Rabelais, and dearer Cervantes! - my father and my uncle Toby’s discourse upon time and eternity - ⁠was a discourse devoutly to be wished for! and the petulancy of my father’s humour, in putting a stop to it as he did, was a robbery of the Ontologic Treasury of such a jewel, as no coalition of great occasions and great men are ever likely to restore to it again.

Chapter XX

Though my father persisted in not going on with the discourse⁠ - yet he could not get my uncle Toby’s smoak-jack out of his head⁠ - piqued as he was at first with it; there was something in the comparison at the bottom, which hit his fancy; for which purpose, resting his elbow upon the table, and reclining the right side of his head upon the palm of his hand - ⁠but looking first steadfastly in the fire - ⁠he began to commune with himself, and philosophize about it: but his spirits being wore out with the fatigues of investigating new tracts, and the constant exertion of his faculties upon that variety of subjects which had taken their turn in the discourse - the idea of the smoak-jack soon turned all his ideas upside down⁠ - so that he fell asleep almost before he knew what he was about.

As for my uncle Toby, his smoak-jack had not made a dozen revolutions, before he fell asleep also.⁠ ⁠Peace be with them both!⁠ ⁠Dr. Slop is engaged with the midwife and my mother above stairs.⁠ ⁠Trim is busy in turning an old pair of jackboots into a couple of mortars, to be employed in the siege of Messina next summer⁠ - and is this instant boring the touch-holes with the point of a hot poker.⁠ ⁠All my heroes are off my hands; ’tis the first time I have had a moment to spare⁠ - and I’ll make use of it, and write my preface.

The Author’s Preface

No, I’ll not say a word about it - ⁠here it is; in publishing it⁠ - I have appealed to the world - ⁠and to the world I leave it; it must speak for itself.

All I know of the matter is⁠ - when I sat down, my intent was to write a good book; and as far as the tenuity of my understanding would hold out⁠ - a wise, aye, and a discreet⁠ - taking care only, as I went along, to put into it all the wit and the judgment (be it more or less) which the great Author and Bestower of them had thought fit originally to give me - so that, as your worships see⁠ - ’tis just as God pleases.

Now, Agelastes (speaking dispraisingly) sayeth, That there may be some wit in it, for aught he knows - ⁠but no judgment at all. And Triptolemus and Phutatorius agreeing thereto, ask, How is it possible there should? for that wit and judgment in this world never go together; inasmuch as they are two operations differing from each other as wide as east from west - So, says Locke - ⁠so are farting and hickuping, say I. But in answer to this, Didius the great church lawyer, in his code de fartendi et illustrandi fallaciis, doth maintain and make fully appear, That an illustration is no argument - ⁠nor do I maintain the wiping of a looking-glass clean to be a syllogism;⁠ ⁠but you all, may it please your worships, see the better for it - so that the main good these things do is only to clarify the understanding, previous to the application of the argument itself, in order to free it from any little motes, or specks of opacular matter, which, if left swimming therein, might hinder a conception and spoil all.

Now, my dear anti-Shandeans, and thrice able criticks, and fellow-labourers (for to you I write this Preface) - and to you, most subtle statesmen and discreet doctors (do⁠ - pull off your beards) renowned for gravity and wisdom;⁠ ⁠Monopolus, my politician⁠ - Didius, my counsel; Kysarcius, my friend; Phutatorius, my guide;⁠ ⁠Gastripheres, the preserver of my life; Somnolentius, the balm and repose of it - ⁠not forgetting all others, as well sleeping as waking, ecclesiastical as civil, whom for brevity, but out of no resentment to you, I lump all together. Believe me, right worthy,

My most zealous wish and fervent prayer in your behalf, and in my own too, in case the thing is not done already for us - ⁠is, that the great gifts and endowments both of wit and judgment, with everything which usually goes along with them - such as memory, fancy, genius, eloquence, quick parts, and whatnot, may this precious moment, without stint or measure, let or hindrance, be poured down warm as each of us could bear it⁠ - scum and sediment and all (for I would not have a drop lost) into the several receptacles, cells, cellules, domiciles, dormitories, refectories, and spare places of our brains - in such sort, that they might continue to be injected and tunn’d into, according to the true intent and meaning of my wish, until every vessel of them, both great and small, be so replenish’d, saturated, and filled up therewith, that no more, would it save a man’s life, could possibly be got either in or out.

Bless us!⁠ what noble work we should make!⁠ ⁠how should I tickle it off!⁠ ⁠and what spirits should I find myself in, to be writing away for such readers!⁠ ⁠and you⁠ - just heaven!⁠ ⁠with what raptures would you sit and read⁠ - but oh!⁠ ’tis too much - ⁠I am sick - ⁠I faint away deliciously at the thoughts of it⁠ - ’tis more than nature can bear!⁠ lay hold of me - ⁠I am giddy⁠ - I am stone blind⁠ - I’m dying⁠ - I am gone.⁠ Help! Help! Help!⁠ But hold⁠ - I grow something better again, for I am beginning to foresee, when this is over, that as we shall all of us continue to be great wits⁠ - we should never agree amongst ourselves, one day to an end: there would be so much satire and sarcasm - ⁠scoffing and flouting, with raillying and reparteeing of it⁠ - thrusting and parrying in one corner or another - ⁠there would be nothing but mischief among us - ⁠Chaste stars! what biting and scratching, and what a racket and a clatter we should make, what with breaking of heads, rapping of knuckles, and hitting of sore places⁠ - there would be no such thing as living for us.

But then again, as we should all of us be men of great judgment, we should make up matters as fast as ever they went wrong; and though we should abominate each other ten times worse than so many devils or devilesses, we should nevertheless, my dear creatures, be all courtesy and kindness, milk and honey⁠ - ’twould be a second land of promise⁠ - a paradise upon earth, if there was such a thing to be had⁠ - so that upon the whole we should have done well enough.

All I fret and fume at, and what most distresses my invention at present, is how to bring the point itself to bear; for as your worships well know, that of these heavenly emanations of wit and judgment, which I have so bountifully wished both for your worships and myself⁠ - there is but a certain quantum stored up for us all, for the use and behoof of the whole race of mankind; and such small modicums of ’em are only sent forth into this wide world, circulating here and there in one bye corner or another⁠ - and in such narrow streams, and at such prodigious intervals from each other, that one would wonder how it holds out, or could be sufficient for the wants and emergencies of so many great estates, and populous empires.

Indeed there is one thing to be considered, that in Nova Zembla, North Lapland, and in all those cold and dreary tracts of the globe, which lie more directly under the arctick and antarctick circles, where the whole province of a man’s concernments lies for near nine months together within the narrow compass of his cave⁠ - where the spirits are compressed almost to nothing⁠ - and where the passions of a man, with everything which belongs to them, are as frigid as the zone itself⁠ - there the least quantity of judgment imaginable does the business⁠ - and of wit - ⁠there is a total and an absolute saving⁠ - for as not one spark is wanted⁠ - so not one spark is given. Angels and ministers of grace defend us! what a dismal thing would it have been to have governed a kingdom, to have fought a battle, or made a treaty, or run a match, or wrote a book, or got a child, or held a provincial chapter there, with so plentiful a lack of wit and judgment about us! For mercy’s sake, let us think no more about it, but travel on as fast as we can southwards into Norway⁠ - crossing over Swedeland, if you please, through the small triangular province of Angermania to the lake of Bothnia; coasting along it through east and west Bothnia, down to Carelia, and so on, through all those states and provinces which border upon the far side of the Gulf of Finland, and the northeast of the Baltick, up to Petersbourg, and just stepping into Ingria; then stretching over directly from thence through the north parts of the Russian empire⁠ - leaving Siberia a little upon the left hand, till we got into the very heart of Russian and Asiatick Tartary.

Now throughout this long tour which I have led you, you observe the good people are better off by far, than in the polar countries which we have just left:⁠ for if you hold your hand over your eyes, and look very attentively, you may perceive some small glimmerings (as it were) of wit, with a comfortable provision of good plain household judgment, which, taking the quality and quantity of it together, they make a very good shift with - and had they more of either the one or the other, it would destroy the proper balance betwixt them, and I am satisfied moreover they would want occasions to put them to use.

Now, Sir, if I conduct you home again into this warmer and more luxuriant island, where you perceive the spring-tide of our blood and humours runs high - where we have more ambition, and pride, and envy, and lechery, and other whoreson passions upon our hands to govern and subject to reason - the height of our wit, and the depth of our judgment, you see, are exactly proportioned to the length and breadth of our necessities - and accordingly we have them sent down amongst us in such a flowing kind of descent and creditable plenty, that no one thinks he has any cause to complain.

It must however be confessed on this head, that, as our air blows hot and cold⁠ - wet and dry, ten times in a day, we have them in no regular and settled way; so that sometimes for near half a century together, there shall be very little wit or judgment either to be seen or heard of amongst us: the small channels of them shall seem quite dried up - ⁠then all of a sudden the sluices shall break out, and take a fit of running again like fury - ⁠you would think they would never stop: and then it is, that in writing, and fighting, and twenty other gallant things, we drive all the world before us.

It is by these observations, and a wary reasoning by analogy in that kind of argumentative process, which Suidas calls dialectick induction - that I draw and set up this position as most true and veritable;

That of these two luminaries so much of their irradiations are suffered from time to time to shine down upon us, as he, whose infinite wisdom which dispenses everything in exact weight and measure, knows will just serve to light us on our way in this night of our obscurity; so that your reverences and worships now find out, nor is it a moment longer in my power to conceal it from you, That the fervent wish in your behalf with which I set out, was no more than the first insinuating How d’ye of a caressing prefacer, stifling his reader, as a lover sometimes does a coy mistress, into silence. For alas! could this effusion of light have been as easily procured, as the exordium wished it⁠ - I tremble to think how many thousands for it, of benighted travellers (in the learned sciences at least) must have groped and blundered on in the dark, all the nights of their lives - ⁠running their heads against posts, and knocking out their brains without ever getting to their journies end;⁠ ⁠some falling with their noses perpendicularly into sinks - ⁠others horizontally with their tails into kennels. Here one half of a learned profession tilting full but against the other half of it, and then tumbling and rolling one over the other in the dirt like hogs.⁠ Here the brethren of another profession, who should have run in opposition to each other, flying on the contrary like a flock of wild geese, all in a row the same way.⁠ What confusion!⁠ what mistakes!⁠ ⁠fiddlers and painters judging by their eyes and ears⁠ - admirable!⁠ trusting to the passions excited⁠ - in an air sung, or a story painted to the heart - ⁠instead of measuring them by a quadrant.

In the foreground of this picture, a statesman turning the political wheel, like a brute, the wrong way round - ⁠against the stream of corruption⁠ - by Heaven!⁠ ⁠instead of with it.

In this corner, a son of the divine Esculapius, writing a book against predestination; perhaps worse⁠ - feeling his patient’s pulse, instead of his apothecary’s - ⁠a brother of the Faculty in the background upon his knees in tears⁠ - drawing the curtains of a mangled victim to beg his forgiveness; offering a fee⁠ - instead of taking one.

In that spacious hall, a coalition of the gown, from all the bars of it, driving a damn’d, dirty, vexatious cause before them, with all their might and main, the wrong way!⁠ ⁠kicking it out of the great doors, instead of in - ⁠and with such fury in their looks, and such a degree of inveteracy in their manner of kicking it, as if the laws had been originally made for the peace and preservation of mankind: perhaps a more enormous mistake committed by them still - a litigated point fairly hung up; for instance, Whether John o’Nokes his nose could stand in Tom o’Stiles his face, without a trespass, or not⁠ - rashly determined by them in five-and-twenty minutes, which, with the cautious pros and cons required in so intricate a proceeding, might have taken up as many months - ⁠and if carried on upon a military plan, as your honours know an action should be, with all the stratagems practicable therein, such as feints, ⁠forced marches, ⁠surprises - ⁠ambuscades - ⁠mask-batteries, and a thousand other strokes of generalship, which consist in catching at all advantages on both sides - might reasonably have lasted them as many years, finding food and raiment all that term for a centumvirate of the profession.

As for the Clergy - No - ⁠if I say a word against them, I’ll be shot.⁠ ⁠I have no desire; and besides, if I had⁠ - I durst not for my soul touch upon the subject - ⁠with such weak nerves and spirits, and in the condition I am in at present, ’twould be as much as my life was worth, to deject and contrist myself with so bad and melancholy an account⁠ - and therefore ’tis safer to draw a curtain across, and hasten from it, as fast as I can, to the main and principal point I have undertaken to clear up - ⁠and that is, How it comes to pass, that your men of least wit are reported to be men of most judgment.⁠ ⁠But mark⁠ - I say, reported to be⁠ - for it is no more, my dear Sirs, than a report, and which, like twenty others taken up every day upon trust, I maintain to be a vile and a malicious report into the bargain.

This by the help of the observation already premised, and I hope already weighed and perpended by your reverences and worships, I shall forthwith make appear.

I hate set dissertations - ⁠and above all things in the world, ’tis one of the silliest things in one of them, to darken your hypothesis by placing a number of tall, opake words, one before another, in a right line, betwixt your own and your reader’s conception⁠ - when in all likelihood, if you had looked about, you might have seen something standing, or hanging up, which would have cleared the point at once⁠ - “for what hindrance, hurt, or harm doth the laudable desire of knowledge bring to any man, if even from a sot, a pot, a fool, a stool, a winter-mittain, a truckle for a pully, the lid of a goldsmith’s crucible, an oil bottle, an old slipper, or a cane chair?”⁠ - I am this moment sitting upon one. Will you give me leave to illustrate this affair of wit and judgment, by the two knobs on the top of the back of it?⁠ they are fastened on, you see, with two pegs stuck slightly into two gimlet-holes, and will place what I have to say in so clear a light, as to let you see through the drift and meaning of my whole preface, as plainly as if every point and particle of it was made up of sunbeams.

I enter now directly upon the point.

Here stands wit⁠ - and there stands judgment, close beside it, just like the two knobs I’m speaking of, upon the back of this selfsame chair on which I am sitting.

You see, they are the highest and most ornamental parts of its frame⁠ - as wit and judgment are of ours⁠ - and like them too, indubitably both made and fitted to go together, in order, as we say in all such cases of duplicated embellishments - ⸺⁠to answer one another.

Now for the sake of an experiment, and for the clearer illustrating this matter⁠ - let us for a moment take off one of these two curious ornaments (I care not which) from the point or pinnacle of the chair it now stands on⁠ - nay, don’t laugh at it,⁠ but did you ever see, in the whole course of your lives, such a ridiculous business as this has made of it?⁠ Why, ’tis as miserable a sight as a sow with one ear; and there is just as much sense and symmetry in the one as in the other: do - ⁠pray, get off your seats only to take a view of it.⁠ ⁠Now would any man who valued his character a straw, have turned a piece of work out of his hand in such a condition?⁠ nay, lay your hands upon your hearts, and answer this plain question, Whether this one single knob, which now stands here like a blockhead by itself, can serve any purpose upon earth, but to put one in mind of the want of the other?⁠ and let me farther ask, in case the chair was your own, if you would not in your consciences think, rather than be as it is, that it would be ten times better without any knob at all?

Now these two knobs - or top ornaments of the mind of man, which crown the whole entablature - ⁠being, as I said, wit and judgment, which of all others, as I have proved it, are the most needful - ⁠the most priz’d⁠ - the most calamitous to be without, and consequently the hardest to come at⁠ - for all these reasons put together, there is not a mortal among us, so destitute of a love of good fame or feeding - ⁠or so ignorant of what will do him good therein⁠ - who does not wish and steadfastly resolve in his own mind, to be, or to be thought at least, master of the one or the other, and indeed of both of them, if the thing seems anyway feasible, or likely to be brought to pass.

Now your graver gentry having little or no kind of chance in aiming at the one⁠ - unless they laid hold of the other, ⁠pray what do you think would become of them?⁠ ⁠Why, Sirs, in spite of all their gravities, they must e’en have been contented to have gone with their insides naked - ⁠this was not to be borne, but by an effort of philosophy not to be supposed in the case we are upon - ⁠so that no one could well have been angry with them, had they been satisfied with what little they could have snatched up and secreted under their cloaks and great perriwigs, had they not raised a hue and cry at the same time against the lawful owners.

I need not tell your worships, that this was done with so much cunning and artifice - ⁠that the great Locke, who was seldom outwitted by false sounds - was nevertheless bubbled here. The cry, it seems, was so deep and solemn a one, and what with the help of great wigs, grave faces, and other implements of deceit, was rendered so general a one against the poor wits in this matter, that the philosopher himself was deceived by it⁠ - it was his glory to free the world from the lumber of a thousand vulgar errors;⁠ ⁠but this was not of the number; so that instead of sitting down coolly, as such a philosopher should have done, to have examined the matter of fact before he philosophised upon it - ⁠on the contrary he took the fact for granted, and so joined in with the cry, and halloo’d it as boisterously as the rest.

This has been made the Magna Charta of stupidity ever since - ⁠but your reverences plainly see, it has been obtained in such a manner, that the title to it is not worth a groat: which by the by is one of the many and vile impositions which gravity and grave folks have to answer for hereafter.

As for great wigs, upon which I may be thought to have spoken my mind too freely - I beg leave to qualify whatever has been unguardedly said to their dispraise or prejudice, by one general declaration - ⁠That I have no abhorrence whatever, nor do I detest and abjure either great wigs or long beards, any farther than when I see they are bespoke and let grow on purpose to carry on this selfsame imposture⁠ - for any purpose - ⁠peace be with them!⁠ ☞ mark only - ⁠I write not for them.

Chapter XXI

Every day for at least ten years together did my father resolve to have it mended⁠ - ’tis not mended yet; no family but ours would have borne with it an hour - ⁠and what is most astonishing, there was not a subject in the world upon which my father was so eloquent, as upon that of door-hinges.⁠ ⁠And yet at the same time, he was certainly one of the greatest bubbles to them, I think, that history can produce: his rhetorick and conduct were at perpetual handy-cuffs.⁠ Never did the parlour-door open⁠ - but his philosophy or his principles fell a victim to it;⁠ ⁠three drops of oil with a feather, and a smart stroke of a hammer, had saved his honour forever.

Inconsistent soul that man is!⁠ ⁠languishing under wounds, which he has the power to heal!⁠ his whole life a contradiction to his knowledge!⁠ his reason, that precious gift of God to him⁠ - (instead of pouring in oil) serving but to sharpen his sensibilities⁠ - to multiply his pains, and render him more melancholy and uneasy under them⁠ - Poor unhappy creature, that he should do so!⁠ ⁠Are not the necessary causes of misery in this life enow, but he must add voluntary ones to his stock of sorrow; struggle against evils which cannot be avoided, and submit to others, which a tenth part of the trouble they create him would remove from his heart forever?

By all that is good and virtuous, if there are three drops of oil to be got, and a hammer to be found within ten miles of Shandy Hall - the parlour door hinge shall be mended this reign.

Chapter XXII

When Corporal Trim had brought his two mortars to bear, he was delighted with his handy-work above measure; and knowing what a pleasure it would be to his master to see them, he was not able to resist the desire he had of carrying them directly into his parlour.

Now next to the moral lesson I had in view in mentioning the affair of hinges, I had a speculative consideration arising out of it, and it is this.

Had the parlour door opened and turn’d upon its hinges, as a door should do⁠—

Or for example, as cleverly as our government has been turning upon its hinges - (that is, in case things have all along gone well with your worship,⁠ otherwise I give up my simile)⁠ - in this case, I say, there had been no danger either to master or man, in Corporal Trim’s peeping in: the moment he had beheld my father and my uncle Toby fast asleep⁠ - the respectfulness of his carriage was such, he would have retired as silent as death, and left them both in their armchairs, dreaming as happy as he had found them: but the thing was, morally speaking, so very impracticable, that for the many years in which this hinge was suffered to be out of order, and amongst the hourly grievances my father submitted to upon its account⁠ - this was one; that he never folded his arms to take his nap after dinner, but the thoughts of being unavoidably awakened by the first person who should open the door, was always uppermost in his imagination, and so incessantly stepp’d in betwixt him and the first balmy presage of his repose, as to rob him, as he often declared, of the whole sweets of it.

When things move upon bad hinges, an’ please your lordships, how can it be otherwise?

Pray what’s the matter? Who is there? cried my father, waking, the moment the door began to creak.⁠ ⁠I wish the smith would give a peep at that confounded hinge.⁠ ’Tis nothing, an’ please your honour, said Trim, but two mortars I am bringing in.⁠ They shan’t make a clatter with them here, cried my father hastily.⁠ If Dr. Slop has any drugs to pound, let him do it in the kitchen.⁠ May it please your honour, cried Trim, they are two mortar-pieces for a siege next summer, which I have been making out of a pair of jackboots, which Obadiah told me your honour had left off wearing.⁠ By Heaven! cried my father, springing out of his chair, as he swore - ⁠I have not one appointment belonging to me, which I set so much store by as I do by these jackboots - ⁠they were our great grandfather’s, brother Toby⁠ - they were hereditary. Then I fear, quoth my uncle Toby, Trim has cut off the entail.⁠ I have only cut off the tops, an’ please your honour, cried Trim - ⁠I hate perpetuities as much as any man alive, cried my father - ⁠but these jackboots, continued he (smiling, though very angry at the same time) have been in the family, brother, ever since the civil wars;⁠ ⁠Sir Roger Shandy wore them at the battle of Marston-Moor.⁠ I declare I would not have taken ten pounds for them.⁠ ⁠I’ll pay you the money, brother Shandy, quoth my uncle Toby, looking at the two mortars with infinite pleasure, and putting his hand into his breeches pocket as he viewed them - ⁠I’ll pay you the ten pounds this moment with all my heart and soul.⁠⁠

Brother Toby, replied my father, altering his tone, you care not what money you dissipate and throw away, provided, continued he, ’tis but upon a siege.⁠ ⁠Have I not one hundred and twenty pounds a year, besides my half pay? cried my uncle Toby.⁠ What is that⁠ - replied my father hastily⁠ - to ten pounds for a pair of jackboots?⁠ twelve guineas for your pontoons?⁠ half as much for your Dutch drawbridge?⁠ to say nothing of the train of little brass artillery you bespoke last week, with twenty other preparations for the siege of Messina: believe me, dear brother Toby, continued my father, taking him kindly by the hand⁠ - these military operations of yours are above your strength; you mean well, brother - ⁠but they carry you into greater expenses than you were first aware of; and take my word, dear Toby, they will in the end quite ruin your fortune, and make a beggar of you.⁠ What signifies it if they do, brother, replied my uncle Toby, so long as we know ’tis for the good of the nation?⁠ ⁠

My father could not help smiling for his soul⁠ - his anger at the worst was never more than a spark; and the zeal and simplicity of Trim⁠ - and the generous (though hobbyhorsical) gallantry of my uncle Toby, brought him into perfect good humour with them in an instant.

Generous souls!⁠ God prosper you both, and your mortar-pieces too! quoth my father to himself.

Chapter XXIII

All is quiet and hush, cried my father, at least above stairs⁠ - I hear not one foot stirring.⁠ Prithee, Trim, who’s in the kitchen? There is no one soul in the kitchen, answered Trim, making a low bow as he spoke, except Dr. Slop.⁠ Confusion! cried my father (getting up upon his legs a second time)⁠ - not one single thing was gone right this day! had I faith in astrology, brother (which, by the by, my father had), I would have sworn some retrograde planet was hanging over this unfortunate house of mine, and turning every individual thing in it out of its place.⁠ ⁠Why, I thought Dr. Slop had been above stairs with my wife, and so said you.⁠ ⁠What can the fellow be puzzling about in the kitchen!⁠ He is busy, an’ please your honour, replied Trim, in making a bridge.⁠ ’Tis very obliging in him, quoth my uncle Toby: - pray, give my humble service to Dr. Slop, Trim, and tell him I thank him heartily.

You must know, my uncle Toby mistook the bridge⁠ - as widely as my father mistook the mortars;⁠ ⁠but to understand how my uncle Toby could mistake the bridge⁠ - I fear I must give you an exact account of the road which led to it; or to drop my metaphor (for there is nothing more dishonest in an historian than the use of one) - ⁠in order to conceive the probability of this error in my uncle Toby aright, I must give you some account of an adventure of Trim’s, though much against my will, I say much against my will, only because the story, in one sense, is certainly out of its place here; for by right it should come in, either amongst the anecdotes of my uncle Toby’s amours with widow Wadman, in which corporal Trim was no mean actor⁠ - or else in the middle of his and my uncle Toby’s campaigns on the bowling-green⁠ - for it will do very well in either place; but then if I reserve it for either of those parts of my story - ⁠I ruin the story I’m upon;⁠ ⁠and if I tell it here⁠ - I anticipate matters, and ruin it there.

What would your worships have me to do in this case?

Tell it, Mr. Shandy, by all means.⁠ You are a fool, Tristram, if you do.

O ye powers! (for powers ye are, and great ones too)⁠ - which enable mortal man to tell a story worth the hearing - that kindly show him, where he is to begin it⁠ - and where he is to end it - ⁠what he is to put into it - ⁠and what he is to leave out⁠ - how much of it he is to cast into a shade⁠ - and whereabouts he is to throw his light!⁠ Ye, who preside over this vast empire of biographical freebooters, and see how many scrapes and plunges your subjects hourly fall into;⁠ ⁠will you do one thing?

I beg and beseech you (in case you will do nothing better for us) that wherever in any part of your dominions it so falls out, that three several roads meet in one point, as they have done just here - ⁠that at least you set up a guidepost in the centre of them, in mere charity, to direct an uncertain devil which of the three he is to take.

Chapter XXIV

Though the shock my uncle Toby received the year after the demolition of Dunkirk, in his affair with widow Wadman, had fixed him in a resolution never more to think of the sex⁠ - or of aught which belonged to it; yet corporal Trim had made no such bargain with himself. Indeed in my uncle Toby’s case there was a strange and unaccountable concurrence of circumstances, which insensibly drew him in, to lay siege to that fair and strong citadel.⁠ ⁠In Trim’s case there was a concurrence of nothing in the world, but of him and Bridget in the kitchen; though in truth, the love and veneration he bore his master was such, and so fond was he of imitating him in all he did, that had my uncle Toby employed his time and genius in tagging of points - ⁠I am persuaded the honest corporal would have laid down his arms, and followed his example with pleasure. When therefore my uncle Toby sat down before the mistress⁠ - corporal Trim incontinently took ground before the maid.

Now, my dear friend Garrick, whom I have so much cause to esteem and honour⁠ - (why, or wherefore, ’tis no matter)⁠ - can it escape your penetration⁠ - I defy it⁠ - that so many playwrights, and opificers of chitchat have ever since been working upon Trim’s and my uncle Toby’s pattern.⁠ ⁠I care not what Aristotle, or Pacuvius, or Bossu, or Ricaboni say⁠ - (though I never read one of them) - ⁠there is not a greater difference between a single-horse chair and madam Pompadour’s vis-à-vis; than betwixt a single amour, and an amour thus nobly doubled, and going upon all four, prancing throughout a grand drama - ⁠Sir, a simple, single, silly affair of that kind⁠ - is quite lost in five acts; but that is neither here nor there.

After a series of attacks and repulses in a course of nine months on my uncle Toby’s quarter, a most minute account of every particular of which shall be given in its proper place, my uncle Toby, honest man! found it necessary to draw off his forces and raise the siege somewhat indignantly.

Corporal Trim, as I said, had made no such bargain either with himself - ⁠or with anyone else - ⁠the fidelity however of his heart not suffering him to go into a house which his master had forsaken with disgust - ⁠he contented himself with turning his part of the siege into a blockade; that is, he kept others off; for though he never after went to the house, yet he never met Bridget in the village, but he would either nod or wink, or smile, or look kindly at her⁠ - or (as circumstances directed) he would shake her by the hand⁠ - or ask her lovingly how she did⁠ - or would give her a ribbon⁠ - and now-and-then, though never but when it could be done with decorum, would give Bridget a⁠—

Precisely in this situation, did these things stand for five years; that is, from the demolition of Dunkirk in the year 13, to the latter end of my uncle Toby’s campaign in the year 18, which was about six or seven weeks before the time I’m speaking of.⁠ ⁠When Trim, as his custom was, after he had put my uncle Toby to bed, going down one moonshiny night to see that everything was right at his fortifications - ⁠in the lane separated from the bowling-green with flowering shrubs and holly⁠ - he espied his Bridget.

As the corporal thought there was nothing in the world so well worth showing as the glorious works which he and my uncle Toby had made, Trim courteously and gallantly took her by the hand, and led her in: this was not done so privately, but that the foul-mouth’d trumpet of Fame carried it from ear to ear, till at length it reach’d my father’s, with this untoward circumstance along with it, that my uncle Toby’s curious drawbridge, constructed and painted after the Dutch fashion, and which went quite across the ditch⁠ - was broke down, and somehow or other crushed all to pieces that very night.

My father, as you have observed, had no great esteem for my uncle Toby’s hobbyhorse, he thought it the most ridiculous horse that ever gentleman mounted; and indeed unless my uncle Toby vexed him about it, could never think of it once, without smiling at it - ⁠so that it could never get lame or happen any mischance, but it tickled my father’s imagination beyond measure; but this being an accident much more to his humour than any one which had yet befall’n it, it proved an inexhaustible fund of entertainment to him.⁠ ⁠Well - ⁠but dear Toby! my father would say, do tell me seriously how this affair of the bridge happened.⁠ ⁠How can you tease me so much about it? my uncle Toby would reply⁠ - I have told it you twenty times, word for word as Trim told it me.⁠ Prithee, how was it then, corporal? my father would cry, turning to Trim.⁠ It was a mere misfortune, an’ please your honour;⁠ ⁠I was showing Mrs. Bridget our fortifications, and in going too near the edge of the fosse, I unfortunately slipp’d in - ⁠Very well, Trim! my father would cry - (smiling mysteriously, and giving a nod⁠ - but without interrupting him) - ⁠and being link’d fast, an’ please your honour, arm in arm with Mrs. Bridget, I dragg’d her after me, by means of which she fell backwards soss against the bridge - ⁠and Trim’s foot (my uncle Toby would cry, taking the story out of his mouth) getting into the cuvette, he tumbled full against the bridge too.⁠ It was a thousand to one, my uncle Toby would add, that the poor fellow did not break his leg. Ay truly, my father would say - ⁠a limb is soon broke, brother Toby, in such encounters.⁠ ⁠And so, an’ please your honour, the bridge, which your honour knows was a very slight one, was broke down betwixt us, and splintered all to pieces.

At other times, but especially when my uncle Toby was so unfortunate as to say a syllable about cannons, bombs, or petards⁠ - my father would exhaust all the stores of his eloquence (which indeed were very great) in a panegyric upon the battering-rams of the ancients⁠ - the vinea which Alexander made use of at the siege of Troy.⁠ He would tell my uncle Toby of the catapultæ of the Syrians, which threw such monstrous stones so many hundred feet, and shook the strongest bulwarks from their very foundation:⁠ he would go on and describe the wonderful mechanism of the ballista which Marcellinus makes so much rout about!⁠ the terrible effects of the pyroboli, which cast fire;⁠ ⁠the danger of the terebra and scorpio, which cast javelins.⁠ ⁠But what are these, would he say, to the destructive machinery of corporal Trim? - ⁠Believe me, brother Toby, no bridge, or bastion, or sally-port, that ever was constructed in this world, can hold out against such artillery.

My uncle Toby would never attempt any defence against the force of this ridicule, but that of redoubling the vehemence of smoaking his pipe; in doing which, he raised so dense a vapour one night after supper, that it set my father, who was a little phthisical, into a suffocating fit of violent coughing: my uncle Toby leap’d up without feeling the pain upon his groin⁠ - and, with infinite pity, stood beside his brother’s chair, tapping his back with one hand, and holding his head with the other, and from time to time wiping his eyes with a clean cambrick handkerchief, which he pulled out of his pocket.⁠ ⁠The affectionate and endearing manner in which my uncle Toby did these little offices⁠ - cut my father thro’ his reins, for the pain he had just been giving him.⁠ ⁠May my brains be knock’d out with a battering-ram or a catapulta, I care not which, quoth my father to himself⁠ - if ever I insult this worthy soul more!

Chapter XXV

The drawbridge being held irreparable, Trim was ordered directly to set about another - but not upon the same model: for cardinal Alberoni’s intrigues at that time being discovered, and my uncle Toby rightly foreseeing that a flame would inevitably break out betwixt Spain and the Empire, and that the operations of the ensuing campaign must in all likelihood be either in Naples or Sicily - ⁠he determined upon an Italian bridge⁠ - (my uncle Toby, by the by, was not far out of his conjectures) - ⁠but my father, who was infinitely the better politician, and took the lead as far of my uncle Toby in the cabinet, as my uncle Toby took it of him in the field - convinced him, that if the king of Spain and the Emperor went together by the ears, England and France and Holland must, by force of their pre-engagements, all enter the lists too;⁠ ⁠and if so, he would say, the combatants, brother Toby, as sure as we are alive, will fall to it again, pell-mell, upon the old prizefighting stage of Flanders; then what will you do with your Italian bridge?

We will go on with it then upon the old model, cried my uncle Toby.

When Corporal Trim had about half finished it in that style - ⁠my uncle Toby found out a capital defect in it, which he had never thoroughly considered before. It turned, it seems, upon hinges at both ends of it, opening in the middle, one half of which turning to one side of the fosse, and the other to the other; the advantage of which was this, that by dividing the weight of the bridge into two equal portions, it impowered my uncle Toby to raise it up or let it down with the end of his crutch, and with one hand, which, as his garrison was weak, was as much as he could well spare⁠ - but the disadvantages of such a construction were insurmountable;⁠ ⁠for by this means, he would say, I leave one half of my bridge in my enemy’s possession - ⁠and pray of what use is the other?

The natural remedy for this was, no doubt, to have his bridge fast only at one end with hinges, so that the whole might be lifted up together, and stand bolt upright - but that was rejected for the reason given above.

For a whole week after he was determined in his mind to have one of that particular construction which is made to draw back horizontally, to hinder a passage; and to thrust forwards again to gain a passage⁠ - of which sorts your worship might have seen three famous ones at Spires before its destruction⁠ - and one now at Brisac, if I mistake not; but my father advising my uncle Toby, with great earnestness, to have nothing more to do with thrusting bridges⁠ - and my uncle foreseeing moreover that it would but perpetuate the memory of the Corporal’s misfortune⁠ - he changed his mind for that of the marquis d’Hôpital’s invention, which the younger Bernouilli has so well and learnedly described, as your worships may see - Act. Erud. Lips. an. 1695⁠ - to these a lead weight is an eternal balance, and keeps watch as well as a couple of sentinels, inasmuch as the construction of them was a curve line approximating to a cycloid - if not a cycloid itself.

My uncle Toby understood the nature of a parabola as well as any man in England⁠ - but was not quite such a master of the cycloid;⁠ ⁠he talked however about it every day - ⁠the bridge went not forwards.⁠ ⁠We’ll ask somebody about it, cried my uncle Toby to Trim.

Chapter XXVI

When Trim came in and told my father, that Dr. Slop was in the kitchen, and busy in making a bridge⁠ - my uncle Toby - ⁠the affair of the jackboots having just then raised a train of military ideas in his brain - ⁠took it instantly for granted that Dr. Slop was making a model of the marquis d’Hôpital’s bridge.⁠ ’Tis very obliging in him, quoth my uncle Toby; pray give my humble service to Dr. Slop, Trim, and tell him I thank him heartily.

Had my uncle Toby’s head been a Savoyard’s box, and my father peeping in all the time at one end of it - ⁠it could not have given him a more distinct conception of the operations of my uncle Toby’s imagination, than what he had; so, notwithstanding the catapulta and battering-ram, and his bitter imprecation about them, he was just beginning to triumph—

When Trim’s answer, in an instant, tore the laurel from his brows, and twisted it to pieces.

Chapter XXVII

This unfortunate drawbridge of yours, quoth my father - ⁠God bless your honour, cried Trim, ’tis a bridge for master’s nose.⁠ ⁠In bringing him into the world with his vile instruments, he has crushed his nose, Susannah says, as flat as a pancake to his face, and he is making a false bridge with a piece of cotton and a thin piece of whalebone out of Susannah’s stays, to raise it up.

Lead me, brother Toby, cried my father, to my room this instant.

Chapter XXVIII

From the first moment I sat down to write my life for the amusement of the world, and my opinions for its instruction, has a cloud insensibly been gathering over my father.⁠ ⁠A tide of little evils and distresses has been setting in against him.⁠ Not one thing, as he observed himself, has gone right: and now is the storm thicken’d and going to break, and pour down full upon his head.

I enter upon this part of my story in the most pensive and melancholy frame of mind that ever sympathetic breast was touched with.⁠ ⁠My nerves relax as I tell it.⁠ ⁠Every line I write, I feel an abatement of the quickness of my pulse, and of that careless alacrity with it, which every day of my life prompts me to say and write a thousand things I should not.⁠ ⁠And this moment that I last dipp’d my pen into my ink, I could not help taking notice what a cautious air of sad composure and solemnity there appear’d in my manner of doing it.⁠ ⁠Lord! how different from the rash jerks and hair-brain’d squirts thou art wont, Tristram, to transact it with in other humours⁠ - dropping thy pen - ⁠spurting thy ink about thy table and thy books⁠ - as if thy pen and thy ink, thy books and furniture cost thee nothing!

Chapter XXIX

I won’t go about to argue the point with you⁠ - ’tis so - ⁠and I am persuaded of it, madam, as much as can be, “That both man and woman bear pain or sorrow (and, for aught I know, pleasure too) best in a horizontal position.”

The moment my father got up into his chamber, he threw himself prostrate across the bed in the wildest disorder imaginable, but at the same time in the most lamentable attitude of a man borne down with sorrows, that ever the eye of pity dropp’d a tear for.⁠ ⁠The palm of his right hand, as he fell upon the bed, receiving his forehead, and covering the greatest part of both his eyes, gently sunk down with his head (his elbow giving way backwards) till his nose touch’d the quilt;⁠ ⁠his left arm hung insensible over the side of the bed, his knuckles reclining upon the handle of the chamberpot, which peep’d out beyond the valance⁠ - his right leg (his left being drawn up towards his body) hung half over the side of the bed, the edge of it pressing upon his shinbone⁠ - He felt it not. A fix’d, inflexible sorrow took possession of every line of his face.⁠ He sigh’d once - ⁠heaved his breast often⁠ - but uttered not a word.

An old set-stitch’d chair, valanced and fringed around with particoloured worsted bobs, stood at the bed’s head, opposite to the side where my father’s head reclined.⁠ My uncle Toby sat him down in it.

Before an affliction is digested⁠ - consolation ever comes too soon; and after it is digested⁠ - it comes too late: so that you see, madam, there is but a mark between these two, as fine almost as a hair, for a comforter to take aim at: my uncle Toby was always either on this side, or on that of it, and would often say, he believed in his heart he could as soon hit the longitude; for this reason, when he sat down in the chair, he drew the curtain a little forwards, and having a tear at everyone’s service - ⁠he pull’d out a cambrick handkerchief - ⁠gave a low sigh - ⁠but held his peace.

Chapter XXX

All is not gain that is got into the purse.”⁠ - So that notwithstanding my father had the happiness of reading the oddest books in the universe, and had moreover, in himself, the oddest way of thinking that ever man in it was bless’d with, yet it had this drawback upon him after all - that it laid him open to some of the oddest and most whimsical distresses; of which this particular one, which he sunk under at present, is as strong an example as can be given.

No doubt, the breaking down of the bridge of a child’s nose, by the edge of a pair of forceps⁠ - however scientifically applied⁠ - would vex any man in the world, who was at so much pains in begetting a child, as my father was⁠ - yet it will not account for the extravagance of his affliction, nor will it justify the unchristian manner he abandoned and surrendered him self up to.

To explain this, I must leave him upon the bed for half an hour⁠ - and my uncle Toby in his old fringed chair sitting beside him.

Chapter XXXI

I think it a very unreasonable demand⁠ - cried my great-grandfather, twisting up the paper, and throwing it upon the table.⁠ ⁠By this account, madam, you have but two thousand pounds fortune, and not a shilling more⁠ - and you insist upon having three hundred pounds a year jointure for it.⁠

“Because,” replied my great-grandmother, “you have little or no nose, Sir.”⁠

Now before I venture to make use of the word Nose a second time⁠ - to avoid all confusion in what will be said upon it, in this interesting part of my story, it may not be amiss to explain my own meaning, and define, with all possible exactness and precision, what I would willingly be understood to mean by the term: being of opinion, that ’tis owing to the negligence and perverseness of writers in despising this precaution, and to nothing else - ⁠that all the polemical writings in divinity are not as clear and demonstrative as those upon a Will o’ the Wisp, or any other sound part of philosophy, and natural pursuit; in order to which, what have you to do, before you set out, unless you intend to go puzzling on to the day of judgment - ⁠but to give the world a good definition, and stand to it, of the main word you have most occasion for - ⁠changing it, Sir, as you would a guinea, into small coin?⁠ which done⁠ - let the father of confusion puzzle you, if he can; or put a different idea either into your head, or your reader’s head, if he knows how.

In books of strict morality and close reasoning, such as this I am engaged in⁠ - the neglect is inexcusable; and Heaven is witness, how the world has revenged itself upon me for leaving so many openings to equivocal strictures⁠ - and for depending so much as I have done, all along, upon the cleanliness of my readers’ imaginations.

Here are two senses, cried Eugenius, as we walk’d along, pointing with the forefinger of his right hand to the word Crevice, in the one hundred and seventy-eighth page of the first volume of this book of books; here are two senses⁠ - quoth he⁠ - And here are two roads, replied I, turning short upon him - ⁠a dirty and a clean one - ⁠which shall we take?⁠ The clean, by all means, replied Eugenius. Eugenius, said I, stepping before him, and laying my hand upon his breast - ⁠to define⁠ - is to distrust.⁠ ⁠Thus I triumph’d over Eugenius; but I triumph’d over him as I always do, like a fool.⁠ ’Tis my comfort, however, I am not an obstinate one: therefore

I define a nose as follows⁠ - intreating only beforehand, and beseeching my readers, both male and female, of what age, complexion, and condition soever, for the love of God and their own souls, to guard against the temptations and suggestions of the devil, and suffer him by no art or wile to put any other ideas into their minds, than what I put into my definition⁠ - For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs⁠ - I declare, by that word I mean a nose, and nothing more, or less.

Chapter XXXII

“Because,” quoth my great-grandmother, repeating the words again⁠ - “you have little or no nose, Sir.”—

S’death! cried my great-grandfather, clapping his hand upon his nose,⁠ ’tis not so small as that comes to;⁠ ’tis a full inch longer than my father’s.⁠ Now, my great-grandfather’s nose was for all the world like unto the noses of all the men, women, and children, whom Pantagruel found dwelling upon the island of Ennasin. By the way, if you would know the strange way of getting akin amongst so flat-nosed a people - ⁠you must read the book;⁠ ⁠find it out yourself, you never can.⁠⁠

’Twas shaped, Sir, like an ace of clubs.

’Tis a full inch, continued my grandfather, pressing up the ridge of his nose with his finger and thumb; and repeating his assertion - ’tis a full inch longer, madam, than my father’s - ⁠You must mean your uncle’s, replied my great-grandmother.

My great-grandfather was convinced.⁠ He untwisted the paper, and signed the article.

Chapter XXXIII

What an unconscionable jointure, my dear, do we pay out of this small estate of ours, quoth my grandmother to my grandfather.

My father, replied my grandfather, had no more nose, my dear, saving the mark, than there is upon the back of my hand.

Now, you must know, that my great-grandmother outlived my grandfather twelve years; so that my father had the jointure to pay, a hundred and fifty pounds half-yearly⁠ - (on Michaelmas and Lady-day),⁠ during all that time.

No man discharged pecuniary obligations with a better grace than my father. And as far as a hundred pounds went, he would fling it upon the table, guinea by guinea, with that spirited jerk of an honest welcome, which generous souls, and generous souls only, are able to fling down money: but as soon as ever he enter’d upon the odd fifty⁠ - he generally gave a loud Hem! rubb’d the side of his nose leisurely with the flat part of his fore finger - ⁠inserted his hand cautiously betwixt his head and the cawl of his wig⁠ - look’d at both sides of every guinea as he parted with it - ⁠and seldom could get to the end of the fifty pounds, without pulling out his handkerchief, and wiping his temples.

Defend me, gracious Heaven! from those persecuting spirits who make no allowances for these workings within us.⁠ Never⁠ - O never may I lay down in their tents, who cannot relax the engine, and feel pity for the force of education, and the prevalence of opinions long derived from ancestors!

For three generations at least this tenet in favour of long noses had gradually been taking root in our family. Tradition was all along on its side, and Interest was every half-year stepping in to strengthen it; so that the whimsicality of my father’s brain was far from having the whole honour of this, as it had of almost all his other strange notions.⁠ For in a great measure he might be said to have suck’d this in with his mother’s milk. He did his part however.⁠ ⁠If education planted the mistake (in case it was one) my father watered it, and ripened it to perfection.

He would often declare, in speaking his thoughts upon the subject, that he did not conceive how the greatest family in England could stand it out against an uninterrupted succession of six or seven short noses.⁠ And for the contrary reason, he would generally add, That it must be one of the greatest problems in civil life, where the same number of long and jolly noses, following one another in a direct line, did not raise and hoist it up into the best vacancies in the kingdom. He would often boast that the Shandy family rank’d very high in King Harry the VIII’s time, but owed its rise to no state engine⁠ - he would say⁠ - but to that only;⁠ ⁠but that, like other families, he would add - ⁠it had felt the turn of the wheel, and had never recovered the blow of my great-grandfather’s nose.⁠ ⁠It was an ace of clubs indeed, he would cry, shaking his head⁠ - and as vile a one for an unfortunate family as ever turn’d up trumps.

Fair and softly, gentle reader! - where is thy fancy carrying thee?⁠ ⁠If there is truth in man, by my great-grandfather’s nose, I mean the external organ of smelling, or that part of man which stands prominent in his face - ⁠and which painters say, in good jolly noses and well-proportioned faces, should comprehend a full third - ⁠that is, measured downwards from the setting on of the hair.⁠⁠

What a life of it has an author, at this pass!

Chapter XXXIV

It is a singular blessing, that nature has form’d the mind of man with the same happy backwardness and renitency against conviction, which is observed in old dogs⁠ - “of not learning new tricks.”

What a shuttlecock of a fellow would the greatest philosopher that ever existed be whisk’d into at once, did he read such books, and observe such facts, and think such thoughts, as would eternally be making him change sides!

Now, my father, as I told you last year, detested all this⁠ - He pick’d up an opinion, Sir, as a man in a state of nature picks up an apple.⁠ It becomes his own⁠ - and if he is a man of spirit, he would lose his life rather than give it up.

I am aware that Didius, the great civilian, will contest this point; and cry out against me, Whence comes this man’s right to this apple? ex confesso, he will say⁠ - things were in a state of nature⁠ - The apple, as much Frank’s apple as John’s. Pray, Mr. Shandy, what patent has he to show for it? and how did it begin to be his? was it, when he set his heart upon it? or when he gathered it? or when he chew’d it? or when he roasted it? or when he peel’d, or when he brought it home? or when he digested?⁠ or when he - ?⁠ ⁠For ’tis plain, Sir, if the first picking up of the apple, made it not his⁠ - that no subsequent act could.

Brother Didius, Tribonius will answer⁠ - (now Tribonius the civilian and church lawyer’s beard being three inches and a half and three eighths longer than Didius his beard⁠ - I’m glad he takes up the cudgels for me, so I give myself no farther trouble about the answer).⁠ Brother Didius, Tribonius will say, it is a decreed case, as you may find it in the fragments of Gregorius and Hermogines’s codes, and in all the codes from Justinian’s down to the codes of Louis and Des Eaux⁠ - That the sweat of a man’s brows, and the exsudations of a man’s brains, are as much a man’s own property as the breeches upon his backside; which said exsudations, etc., being dropp’d upon the said apple by the labour of finding it, and picking it up; and being moreover indissolubly wasted, and as indissolubly annex’d, by the picker up, to the thing pick’d up, carried home, roasted, peel’d, eaten, digested, and so on;⁠ ’tis evident that the gatherer of the apple, in so doing, has mix’d up something which was his own, with the apple which was not his own, by which means he has acquired a property; or, in other words, the apple is John’s apple.

By the same learned chain of reasoning my father stood up for all his opinions; he had spared no pains in picking them up, and the more they lay out of the common way, the better still was his title.⁠ ⁠No mortal claimed them; they had cost him moreover as much labour in cooking and digesting as in the case above, so that they might well and truly be said to be of his own goods and chattles.⁠ Accordingly he held fast by ’em, both by teeth and claws⁠ - would fly to whatever he could lay his hands on⁠ - and, in a word, would intrench and fortify them round with as many circumvallations and breastworks, as my uncle Toby would a citadel.

There was one plaguy rub in the way of this - ⁠the scarcity of materials to make anything of a defence with, in case of a smart attack; inasmuch as few men of great genius had exercised their parts in writing books upon the subject of great noses: by the trotting of my lean horse, the thing is incredible! and I am quite lost in my understanding, when I am considering what a treasure of precious time and talents together has been wasted upon worse subjects⁠ - and how many millions of books in all languages, and in all possible types and bindings, have been fabricated upon points not half so much tending to the unity and peacemaking of the world. What was to be had, however, he set the greater store by; and though my father would ofttimes sport with my uncle Toby’s library⁠ - which, by the by, was ridiculous enough⁠ - yet at the very same time he did it, he collected every book and treatise which had been systematically wrote upon noses, with as much care as my honest uncle Toby had done those upon military architecture.⁠ ’Tis true, a much less table would have held them⁠ - but that was not thy transgression, my dear uncle.⁠

Here - ⁠but why here - ⁠rather than in any other part of my story - ⁠I am not able to tell: - but here it is - my heart stops me to pay to thee, my dear uncle Toby, once for all, the tribute I owe thy goodness.⁠ ⁠Here let me thrust my chair aside, and kneel down upon the ground, whilst I am pouring forth the warmest sentiment of love for thee, and veneration for the excellency of thy character, that ever virtue and nature kindled in a nephew’s bosom.⁠ ⁠Peace and comfort rest for evermore upon thy head!⁠ Thou enviedst no man’s comforts - ⁠insultedst no man’s opinions - ⁠Thou blackenedst no man’s character⁠ - devouredst no man’s bread: gently, with faithful Trim behind thee, didst thou amble round the little circle of thy pleasures, jostling no creature in thy way:⁠ for each one’s sorrow thou hadst a tear,⁠ for each man’s need, thou hadst a shilling.

Whilst I am worth one, to pay a weeder⁠ - thy path from thy door to thy bowling-green shall never be grown up.⁠ ⁠Whilst there is a rood and a half of land in the Shandy family, thy fortifications, my dear uncle Toby, shall never be demolish’d.

Chapter XXXV

My father’s collection was not great, but to make amends, it was curious; and consequently he was some time in making it; he had the great good fortune however, to set off well, in getting Bruscambille’s prologue upon long noses, almost for nothing⁠ - for he gave no more for Bruscambille than three half-crowns; owing indeed to the strong fancy which the stall-man saw my father had for the book the moment he laid his hands upon it.⁠ ⁠There are not three Bruscambilles in Christendom⁠ - said the stall-man, except what are chain’d up in the libraries of the curious. My father flung down the money as quick as lightning - ⁠took Bruscambille into his bosom - ⁠hied home from Piccadilly to Coleman-street with it, as he would have hied home with a treasure, without taking his hand once off from Bruscambille all the way.

To those who do not yet know of which gender Bruscambille is - inasmuch as a prologue upon long noses might easily be done by either - ’twill be no objection against the simile⁠ - to say, That when my father got home, he solaced himself with Bruscambille after the manner in which, ’tis ten to one, your worship solaced yourself with your first mistress - that is, from morning even unto night: which, by the by, how delightful soever it may prove to the inamorato⁠ - is of little or no entertainment at all to bystanders.⁠ ⁠Take notice, I go no farther with the simile⁠ - my father’s eye was greater than his appetite⁠ - his zeal greater than his knowledge⁠ - he cool’d⁠ - his affections became divided - ⁠he got hold of Prignitz⁠ - purchased Scroderus, Andrea Paræus, Bouchet’s Evening Conferences, and above all, the great and learned Hafen Slawkenbergius; of which, as I shall have much to say by and by⁠ - I will say nothing now.

Chapter XXXVI

Of all the tracts my father was at the pains to procure and study in support of his hypothesis, there was not any one wherein he felt a more cruel disappointment at first, than in the celebrated dialogue between Pamphagus and Cocles, written by the chaste pen of the great and venerable Erasmus, upon the various uses and seasonable applications of long noses. Now don’t let Satan, my dear girl, in this chapter, take advantage of any one spot of rising ground to get astride of your imagination, if you can any ways help it; or if he is so nimble as to slip on⁠ - let me beg of you, like an unback’d filly, to frisk it, to squirt it, to jump it, to rear it, to bound it⁠ - and to kick it, with long kicks and short kicks, till, like Tickletoby’s mare, you break a strap or a crupper and throw his worship into the dirt.⁠ You need not kill him.⁠

And pray who was Tickletoby’s mare?⁠ ’tis just as discreditable and unscholarlike a question, Sir, as to have asked what year (ab. urb. con.) the second Punic war broke out.⁠ Who was Tickletoby’s mare?⁠ ⁠Read, read, read, read, my unlearned reader! read⁠ - or by the knowledge of the great saint Paraleipomenon⁠ - I tell you beforehand, you had better throw down the book at once; for without much reading, by which your reverence knows I mean much knowledge, you will no more be able to penetrate the moral of the next marbled page (motly emblem of my work!) than the world with all its sagacity has been able to unravel the many opinions, transactions, and truths which still lie mystically hid under the dark veil of the black one.

Chapter XXXVII

Nihil me pœnitet hujus nasi,” quoth Pamphagus;⁠ ⁠that is⁠ - “My nose has been the making of me.” - “Nec est cur pœniteat,” replies Cocles; that is, “How the duce should such a nose fail?”

The doctrine, you see, was laid down by Erasmus, as my father wished it, with the utmost plainness; but my father’s disappointment was, in finding nothing more from so able a pen, but the bare fact itself; without any of that speculative subtlety or ambidexterity of argumentation upon it, which Heaven had bestow’d upon man on purpose to investigate truth, and fight for her on all sides.⁠ ⁠My father pish’d and pugh’d at first most terribly - ’tis worth something to have a good name. As the dialogue was of Erasmus, my father soon came to himself, and read it over and over again with great application, studying every word and every syllable of it thro’ and thro’ in its most strict and literal interpretation⁠ - he could still make nothing of it, that way. Mayhap there is more meant, than is said in it, quoth my father.⁠ ⁠Learned men, brother Toby, don’t write dialogues upon long noses for nothing. I’ll study the mystick and the allegorick sense - ⁠here is some room to turn a man’s self in, brother.

My father read on. Now I find it needful to inform your reverences and worships, that besides the many nautical uses of long noses enumerated by Erasmus, the dialogist affirmeth that a long nose is not without its domestic conveniencies also; for that in a case of distress⁠ - and for want of a pair of bellows, it will do excellently well, ad ixcitandum focum (to stir up the fire).

Nature had been prodigal in her gifts to my father beyond measure, and had sown the seeds of verbal criticism as deep within him, as she had done the seeds of all other knowledge - so that he had got out his penknife, and was trying experiments upon the sentence, to see if he could not scratch some better sense into it.⁠ ⁠I’ve got within a single letter, brother Toby, cried my father, of Erasmus his mystic meaning.⁠ You are near enough, brother, replied my uncle, in all conscience. Pshaw! cried my father, scratching on - ⁠I might as well be seven miles off.⁠ I’ve done it⁠ - said my father, snapping his fingers⁠ - See, my dear brother Toby, how I have mended the sense.⁠ ⁠But you have marr’d a word, replied my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠My father put on his spectacles - ⁠bit his lip - and tore out the leaf in a passion.


O Slawkenbergius! thou faithful analyzer of my Disgrazias⁠ - thou sad foreteller of so many of the whips and short turns which in one stage or other of my life have come slap upon me from the shortness of my nose, and no other cause, that I am conscious of.⁠ Tell me, Slawkenbergius! what secret impulse was it? what intonation of voice? whence came it? how did it sound in thy ears?⁠ ⁠art thou sure thou heard’st it?⁠ ⁠which first cried out to thee - go - go, Slawkenbergius! dedicate the labours of thy life - ⁠neglect thy pastimes - call forth all the powers and faculties of thy nature - ⁠macerate thyself in the service of mankind, and write a grand folio for them, upon the subject of their noses.

How the communication was conveyed into Slawkenbergius’s sensorium - ⁠so that Slawkenbergius should know whose finger touch’d the key⁠ - and whose hand it was that blew the bellows - ⁠as Hafen Slawkenbergius has been dead and laid in his grave above fourscore and ten years - we can only raise conjectures.

Slawkenbergius was play’d upon, for aught I know, like one of Whitefield’s disciples - ⁠that is, with such a distinct intelligence, Sir, of which of the two masters it was that had been practising upon his instrument - as to make all reasoning upon it needless.

For in the account which Hafen Slawkenbergius gives the world of his motives and occasions for writing, and spending so many years of his life upon this one work⁠ - towards the end of his prolegomena, which by the by should have come first - ⁠but the bookbinder has most injudiciously placed it betwixt the analytical contents of the book, and the book itself⁠ - he informs his reader, that ever since he had arrived at the age of discernment, and was able to sit down coolly, and consider within himself the true state and condition of man, and distinguish the main end and design of his being;⁠ ⁠or⁠ - to shorten my translation, for Slawkenbergius’s book is in Latin, and not a little prolix in this passage⁠ - ever since I understood, quoth Slawkenbergius, anything - ⁠or rather what was what - ⁠and could perceive that the point of long noses had been too loosely handled by all who had gone before;⁠ ⁠have I, Slawkenbergius, felt a strong impulse, with a mighty and unresistible call within me, to gird up myself to this undertaking.

And to do justice to Slawkenbergius, he has entered the list with a stronger lance, and taken a much larger career in it than any one man who had ever entered it before him - ⁠and indeed, in many respects, deserves to be en-nich’d as a prototype for all writers, of voluminous works at least, to model their books by - ⁠for he has taken in, Sir, the whole subject⁠ - examined every part of it dialectically - then brought it into full day; dilucidating it with all the light which either the collision of his own natural parts could strike⁠ - or the profoundest knowledge of the sciences had impowered him to cast upon it⁠ - collating, collecting, and compiling - begging, borrowing, and stealing, as he went along, all that had been wrote or wrangled thereupon in the schools and porticos of the learned: so that Slawkenbergius his book may properly be considered, not only as a model⁠ - but as a thorough-stitched digest and regular institute of noses, comprehending in it all that is or can be needful to be known about them.

For this cause it is that I forbear to speak of so many (otherwise) valuable books and treatises of my father’s collecting, wrote either, plump upon noses - ⁠or collaterally touching them; such for instance as Prignitz, now lying upon the table before me, who with infinite learning, and from the most candid and scholar-like examination of above four thousand different skulls, in upwards of twenty charnel-houses in Silesia, which he had rummaged - has informed us, that the mensuration and configuration of the osseous or bony parts of human noses, in any given tract of country, except Crim Tartary, where they are all crush’d down by the thumb, so that no judgment can be formed upon them⁠ - are much nearer alike, than the world imagines; the difference amongst them being, he says, a mere trifle, not worth taking notice of;⁠ ⁠but that the size and jollity of every individual nose, and by which one nose ranks above another, and bears a higher price, is owing to the cartilaginous and muscular parts of it, into whose ducts and sinuses the blood and animal spirits being impell’d and driven by the warmth and force of the imagination, which is but a step from it (bating the case of idiots, whom Prignitz, who had lived many years in Turky, supposes under the more immediate tutelage of Heaven)⁠ - it so happens, and ever must, says Prignitz, that the excellency of the nose is in a direct arithmetical proportion to the excellency of the wearer’s fancy.

It is for the same reason, that is, because ’tis all comprehended in Slawkenbergius, that I say nothing likewise of Scroderus (Andrea) who, all the world knows, set himself to oppugn Prignitz with great violence⁠ - proving it in his own way, first logically, and then by a series of stubborn facts, “That so far was Prignitz from the truth, in affirming that the fancy begat the nose, that on the contrary⁠ - the nose begat the fancy.”

The learned suspected Scroderus of an indecent sophism in this⁠ - and Prignitz cried out aloud in the dispute, that Scroderus had shifted the idea upon him - ⁠but Scroderus went on, maintaining his thesis.

My father was just balancing within himself, which of the two sides he should take in this affair; when Ambrose Paræus decided it in a moment, and by overthrowing the systems, both of Prignitz and Scroderus, drove my father out of both sides of the controversy at once.

Be witness—

I don’t acquaint the learned reader⁠ - in saying it, I mention it only to show the learned, I know the fact myself—

That this Ambrose Paræus was chief surgeon and nose-mender to Francis the ninth of France, and in high credit with him and the two preceding, or succeeding kings (I know not which)⁠ - and that, except in the slip he made in his story of Taliacotius’s noses, and his manner of setting them on⁠ - he was esteemed by the whole college of physicians at that time, as more knowing in matters of noses, than anyone who had ever taken them in hand.

Now Ambrose Paræus convinced my father, that the true and efficient cause of what had engaged so much the attention of the world, and upon which Prignitz and Scroderus had wasted so much learning and fine parts - ⁠was neither this nor that - ⁠but that the length and goodness of the nose was owing simply to the softness and flaccidity in the nurse’s breast - as the flatness and shortness of puisne noses was to the firmness and elastic repulsion of the same organ of nutrition in the hale and lively⁠ - which, though happy for the woman, was the undoing of the child, inasmuch as his nose was so snubb’d, so rebuff’d, so rebated, and so refrigerated thereby, as never to arrive ad mensuram suam legitimam;⁠ ⁠but that in case of the flaccidity and softness of the nurse or mother’s breast⁠ - by sinking into it, quoth Paræus, as into so much butter, the nose was comforted, nourish’d, plump’d up, refresh’d, refocillated, and set a growing forever.

I have but two things to observe of Paræus; first, That he proves and explains all this with the utmost chastity and decorum of expression:⁠ for which may his soul forever rest in peace!

And, secondly, that besides the systems of Prignitz and Scroderus, which Ambrose Paræus his hypothesis effectually overthrew⁠ - it overthrew at the same time the system of peace and harmony of our family; and for three days together, not only embroiled matters between my father and my mother, but turn’d likewise the whole house and everything in it, except my uncle Toby, quite upside down.

Such a ridiculous tale of a dispute between a man and his wife, never surely in any age or country got vent through the keyhole of a street-door.

My mother, you must know - but I have fifty things more necessary to let you know first - ⁠I have a hundred difficulties which I have promised to clear up, and a thousand distresses and domestick misadventures crowding in upon me thick and threefold, one upon the neck of another. A cow broke in (tomorrow morning) to my uncle Toby’s fortifications, and eat up two rations and a half of dried grass, tearing up the sods with it, which faced his horn-work and covered way.⁠ ⁠Trim insists upon being tried by a court-martial⁠ - the cow to be shot⁠ - Slop to be crucifix’d⁠ - myself to be tristram’d and at my very baptism made a martyr of;⁠ ⁠poor unhappy devils that we all are!⁠ ⁠I want swaddling - but there is no time to be lost in exclamations - I have left my father lying across his bed, and my uncle Toby in his old fringed chair, sitting beside him, and promised I would go back to them in half an hour; and five-and-thirty minutes are laps’d already. Of all the perplexities a mortal author was ever seen in - ⁠this certainly is the greatest, for I have Hafen Slawkenbergius’s folio, Sir, to finish - ⁠a dialogue between my father and my uncle Toby, upon the solution of Prignitz, Scroderus, Ambrose Paræus, Ponocrates, and Grangousier to relate⁠ - a tale out of Slawkenbergius to translate, and all this in five minutes less than no time at all; such a head!⁠ would to Heaven my enemies only saw the inside of it!

Chapter XXXIX

There was not any one scene more entertaining in our family⁠ - and to do it justice in this point;⁠ ⁠and I here put off my cap and lay it upon the table close beside my ink-horn, on purpose to make my declaration to the world concerning this one article the more solemn - ⁠that I believe in my soul (unless my love and partiality to my understanding blinds me) the hand of the supreme Maker and first Designer of all things never made or put a family together (in that period at least of it which I have sat down to write the story of) - ⁠where the characters of it were cast or contrasted with so dramatick a felicity as ours was, for this end; or in which the capacities of affording such exquisite scenes, and the powers of shifting them perpetually from morning to night, were lodged and entrusted with so unlimited a confidence, as in the Shandy Family.

Not any one of these was more diverting, I say, in this whimsical theatre of ours - ⁠than what frequently arose out of this selfsame chapter of long noses - especially when my father’s imagination was heated with the enquiry, and nothing would serve him but to heat my uncle Toby’s too.

My uncle Toby would give my father all possible fair play in this attempt; and with infinite patience would sit smoaking his pipe for whole hours together, whilst my father was practising upon his head, and trying every accessible avenue to drive Prignitz and Scroderus’s solutions into it.

Whether they were above my uncle Toby’s reason - or contrary to it - or that his brain was like damp timber, and no spark could possibly take hold - ⁠or that it was so full of saps, mines, blinds, curtins, and such military disqualifications to his seeing clearly into Prignitz and Scroderus’s doctrines - ⁠I say not⁠ - let schoolmen⁠ - scullions, anatomists, and engineers, fight for it among themselves—

’Twas some misfortune, I make no doubt, in this affair, that my father had every word of it to translate for the benefit of my uncle Toby, and render out of Slawkenbergius’s Latin, of which, as he was no great master, his translation was not always of the purest - ⁠and generally least so where ’twas most wanted.⁠ This naturally open’d a door to a second misfortune;⁠ ⁠that in the warmer paroxysms of his zeal to open my uncle Toby’s eyes - my father’s ideas ran on as much faster than the translation, as the translation outmoved my uncle Toby’s - neither the one or the other added much to the perspicuity of my father’s lecture.

Chapter XL

The gift of ratiocination and making syllogisms - ⁠I mean in man⁠ - for in superior classes of being, such as angels and spirits - ’tis all done, may it please your worships, as they tell me, by Intuition; and beings inferior, as your worships all know - ⁠syllogize by their noses: though there is an island swimming in the sea (though not altogether at its ease) whose inhabitants, if my intelligence deceives me not, are so wonderfully gifted, as to syllogize after the same fashion, and ofttimes to make very well out too: - but that’s neither here nor there—

The gift of doing it as it should be, amongst us, or⁠ - the great and principal act of ratiocination in man, as logicians tell us, is the finding out the agreement or disagreement of two ideas one with another, by the intervention of a third (called the medius terminus); just as a man, as Locke well observes, by a yard, finds two men’s ninepin-alleys to be of the same length, which could not be brought together, to measure their equality, by juxtaposition.

Had the same great reasoner looked on, as my father illustrated his systems of noses, and observed my uncle Toby’s deportment⁠ - what great attention he gave to every word⁠ - and as oft as he took his pipe from his mouth, with what wonderful seriousness he contemplated the length of it - ⁠surveying it transversely as he held it betwixt his finger and his thumb - then fore-right - then this way, and then that, in all its possible directions and foreshortenings - he would have concluded my uncle Toby had got hold of the medius terminus, and was syllogizing and measuring with it the truth of each hypothesis of long noses, in order, as my father laid them before him. This, by the by, was more than my father wanted - ⁠his aim in all the pains he was at in these philosophick lectures⁠ - was to enable my uncle Toby not to discuss - ⁠but comprehend - ⁠to hold the grains and scruples of learning - ⁠not to weigh them.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby, as you will read in the next chapter, did neither the one or the other.

Chapter XLI

’Tis a pity, cried my father one winter’s night, after a three hours’ painful translation of Slawkenbergius - ’tis a pity, cried my father, putting my mother’s thread-paper into the book for a mark, as he spoke - ⁠that truth, brother Toby, should shut herself up in such impregnable fastnesses, and be so obstinate as not to surrender herself sometimes up upon the closest siege.⁠⁠

Now it happened then, as indeed it had often done before, that my uncle Toby’s fancy, during the time of my father’s explanation of Prignitz to him - having nothing to stay it there, had taken a short flight to the bowling-green! - his body might as well have taken a turn there too⁠ - so that with all the semblance of a deep schoolman intent upon the medius terminus - my uncle Toby was in fact as ignorant of the whole lecture, and all its pros and cons, as if my father had been translating Hafen Slawkenbergius from the Latin tongue into the Cherokee. But the word siege, like a talismanic power, in my father’s metaphor, wafting back my uncle Toby’s fancy, quick as a note could follow the touch⁠ - he open’d his ears - ⁠and my father observing that he took his pipe out of his mouth, and shuffled his chair nearer the table, as with a desire to profit⁠ - my father with great pleasure began his sentence again - ⁠changing only the plan, and dropping the metaphor of the siege of it, to keep clear of some dangers my father apprehended from it.

’Tis a pity, said my father, that truth can only be on one side, brother Toby - considering what ingenuity these learned men have all shown in their solutions of noses.⁠ ⁠Can noses be dissolved? replied my uncle Toby.

My father thrust back his chair - rose up⁠ - put on his hat - took four long strides to the door - jerked it open - ⁠thrust his head half way out - ⁠shut the door again - ⁠took no notice of the bad hinge - ⁠returned to the table⁠ - pluck’d my mother’s thread-paper out of Slawkenbergius’s book - went hastily to his bureau⁠ - walked slowly back⁠ - twisted my mother’s thread-paper about his thumb⁠ - unbutton’d his waistcoat⁠ - threw my mother’s thread-paper into the fire - ⁠bit her sattin pincushion in two, fill’d his mouth with bran⁠ - confounded it; but mark!⁠ the oath of confusion was levell’d at my uncle Toby’s brain⁠ - which was e’en confused enough already - ⁠the curse came charged only with the bran⁠ - the bran, may it please your honours, was no more than powder to the ball.

’Twas well my father’s passions lasted not long; for so long as they did last, they led him a busy life on’t; and it is one of the most unaccountable problems that ever I met with in my observations of human nature, that nothing should prove my father’s mettle so much, or make his passions go off so like gunpowder, as the unexpected strokes his science met with from the quaint simplicity of my uncle Toby’s questions.⁠ ⁠Had ten dozen of hornets stung him behind in so many different places all at one time⁠ - he could not have exerted more mechanical functions in fewer seconds - or started half so much, as with one single quære of three words unseasonably popping in full upon him in his hobbyhorsical career.

’Twas all one to my uncle Toby - he smoaked his pipe on with unvaried composure - ⁠his heart never intended offence to his brother⁠ - and as his head could seldom find out where the sting of it lay - ⁠he always gave my father the credit of cooling by himself.⁠ ⁠He was five minutes and thirty-five seconds about it in the present case.

By all that’s good! said my father, swearing, as he came to himself, and taking the oath out of Ernulphus’s digest of curses - (though to do my father justice it was a fault (as he told Dr. Slop in the affair of Ernulphus) which he as seldom committed as any man upon earth) - By all that’s good and great! brother Toby, said my father, if it was not for the aids of philosophy, which befriend one so much as they do⁠ - you would put a man beside all temper.⁠ ⁠Why, by the solutions of noses, of which I was telling you, I meant, as you might have known, had you favoured me with one grain of attention, the various accounts which learned men of different kinds of knowledge have given the world of the causes of short and long noses.⁠ ⁠There is no cause but one, replied my uncle Toby - ⁠why one man’s nose is longer than another’s, but because that God pleases to have it so.⁠ ⁠That is Grangousier’s solution, said my father.⁠ ’Tis he, continued my uncle Toby, looking up, and not regarding my father’s interruption, who makes us all, and frames and puts us together in such forms and proportions, and for such ends, as is agreeable to his infinite wisdom.⁠ ’Tis a pious account, cried my father, but not philosophical - ⁠there is more religion in it than sound science. ’Twas no inconsistent part of my uncle Toby’s character - ⁠that he feared God, and reverenced religion.⁠ ⁠So the moment my father finished his remark - ⁠my uncle Toby fell a whistling Lillabullero with more zeal (though more out of tune) than usual.⁠

What is become of my wife’s thread-paper?

Chapter XLII

No matter⁠ - as an appendage to seamstressy, the thread-paper might be of some consequence to my mother⁠ - of none to my father, as a mark in Slawkenbergius. Slawkenbergius in every page of him was a rich treasure of inexhaustible knowledge to my father⁠ - he could not open him amiss; and he would often say in closing the book, that if all the arts and sciences in the world, with the books which treated of them, were lost⁠ - should the wisdom and policies of governments, he would say, through disuse, ever happen to be forgot, and all that statesmen had wrote or caused to be written, upon the strong or the weak sides of courts and kingdoms, should they be forgot also⁠ - and Slawkenbergius only left - ⁠there would be enough in him in all conscience, he would say, to set the world a-going again. A treasure therefore was he indeed! an institute of all that was necessary to be known of noses, and everything else⁠ - at matin, noon, and vespers was Hafen Slawkenbergius his recreation and delight: ’twas forever in his hands - ⁠you would have sworn, Sir, it had been a canon’s prayerbook⁠ - so worn, so glazed, so contrited and attrited was it with fingers and with thumbs in all its parts, from one end even unto the other.

I am not such a bigot to Slawkenbergius as my father;⁠ ⁠there is a fund in him, no doubt: but in my opinion, the best, I don’t say the most profitable, but the most amusing part of Hafen Slawkenbergius, is his tales - and, considering he was a German, many of them told not without fancy: - these take up his second book, containing nearly one half of his folio, and are comprehended in ten decads, each decad containing ten tales - Philosophy is not built upon tales; and therefore ’twas certainly wrong in Slawkenbergius to send them into the world by that name!⁠ ⁠there are a few of them in his eighth, ninth, and tenth decads, which I own seem rather playful and sportive, than speculative⁠ - but in general they are to be looked upon by the learned as a detail of so many independent facts, all of them turning round somehow or other upon the main hinges of his subject, and collected by him with great fidelity, and added to his work as so many illustrations upon the doctrines of noses.

As we have leisure enough upon our hands - ⁠if you give me leave, madam, I’ll tell you the ninth tale of his tenth decad.


Slawkenbergii Fabella[9]

Vespera quâdam frigidulâ, posteriori in parte mensis Augusti, peregrinus, mulo fusco colore insidens, manticâ a tergo, paucis indusiis, binis calceis, braccisque sericis coccineis repleta, Argentoratum ingressus est.

Militi eum percontanti, quum portas intraret dixit, se apud Nasorum promontorium fuisse, Francofurtum proficisci, et Argentoratum, transitu ad fines Sarmatiæ mensis intervallo, reversurum.

Miles peregrini in faciem suspexit - ⁠Dî boni, nova forma nasi!

At multum mihi profuit, inquit peregrinus, carpum amento extrahens, e quo pependit acinaces: Loculo manum inseruit; et magnâ cum urbanitate, pilei parte anteriore tactâ manu sinistrâ, ut extendit dextram, militi florinum dedit et processit.

Dolet mihi, ait miles, tympanistam nanum et valgum alloquens, virum adeo urbanum vaginam perdidisse: itinerari haud poterit nudâ acinaci; neque vaginam toto Argentorato, habilem inveniet. Nullam unquam habui, respondit peregrinus respiciens - seque comiter inclinans⁠ - hoc more gesto, nudam acinacem elevans, mulo lentò progrediente, ut nasum tueri possim.

Non immerito, benigne peregrine, respondit miles.

Nihili æstimo, ait ille tympanista, e pergamenâ factitius est.

Prout christianus sum, inquit miles, nasus ille, ni sexties major sit, meo esset conformis.

Crepitare audivi ait tympanista.

Mehercule! sanguinem emisit, respondit miles.

Miseret me, inquit tympanista, qui non ambo tetigimus!

Eodem temporis puncto, quo hæc res argumentata fuit inter militem et tympanistam, disceptabatur ibidem tubicine et uxore suâ qui tunc accesserunt, et peregrino prætereunte, restiterunt.

Quantus nasus! æque longus est, ait tubicina, ac tuba.

Et ex eodem metallo, ait tubicen, velut sternutamento audias.

Tantum abest, respondit illa, quod fistulam dulcedine vincit.

Æneus est, ait tubicen.

Nequaquam, respondit uxor.

Rursum affirmo, ait tubicen, quod æneus est.

Rem penitus explorabo; prius, enim digito tangam, ait uxor, quam dormivero.

Mulus peregrini gradu lento progressus est, ut unumquodque verbum controversiæ, non tantum inter militem et tympanistam, verum etiam inter tubicinem et uxorem ejus, audiret.

Nequaquam, ait ille, in muli collum fræna demittens, et manibus ambabus in pectus positis, (mulo lentè progrediente) nequaquam, ait ille respiciens, non necesse est ut res isthæc dilucidata foret. Minime gentium! meus nasus nunquam tangetur, dum spiritus hos reget artus⁠ - Ad quid agendum? ait uxor burgomagistri.

Peregrinus illi non respondit. Votum faciebat tunc temporis sancto Nicolao; quo facto, in sinum dextrum inserens, e quâ negligenter pependit acinaces, lento gradu processit per plateam Argentorati latam quæ ad diversorium templo ex adversum ducit.

Peregrinus mulo descendens stabulo includi, et manticam inferri jussit: quâ apertâ et coccineis sericis femoralibus extractis cum argenteo laciniato Περιζώματα, his sese induit, statimque, acinaci in manu, ad forum deambulavit.

Quod ubi peregrinus esset ingressus, uxorem tubicinis obviam euntem aspicit; illico cursum flectit, metuens ne nasus suus exploraretur, atque ad diversorium regressus est⁠ - exuit se vestibus; braccas coccineas sericas manticæ imposuit mulumque educi jussit.

Francofurtum proficiscor, ait ille, et Argentoratum quatuor abhinc hebdomadis revertar.

Bene curasti hoc jumentum? (ait) muli faciem manu demulcens⁠ - me, manticamque mean, plus sexcentis mille passibus portavit.

Longa via est! respondet hospes, nisi plurimum esset negoti.⁠ Enimvero, ait peregrinus, a Nasorum promontorio redii, et nasum speciosissimum, egregiosissimumque quem unquam quisquam sortitus est, acquisivi.

Dum peregrinus hanc miram rationem de seipso reddit, hospes et uxor ejus, oculis intentis, peregrini nasum contemplantur - ⁠Per sanctos sanctasque omnes, ait hospitis uxor, nasis duodecim maximis in toto Argentorato major est!⁠ estne, ait illa mariti in aurem insusurrans, nonne est nasus prægrandis?

Dolus inest, anime mî, ait hospes⁠ - nasus est falsus.

Verus est, respondit uxor - ⁠

Ex abiete factus est, ait ille, terebinthinum olet -

Carbunculus inest, ait uxor.

Mortuus est nasus, respondit hospes.

Vivus est ait illa,⁠ et si ipsa vivam tangam.

Votum feci sancto Nicolao, ait peregrinus, nasum meum intactum fore usque ad⁠ - Quodnam tempus? illico respondit illa.

Minimo tangetur, inquit ille (manibus in pectus compositis) usque ad illam horam - Quam horam? ait illa - Nullam, respondit peregrinus, donec pervenio ad⁠ - Quem locum,⁠ obsecro? ait illa - ⁠Peregrinus nil respondens mulo conscenso discessit.

Slawkenbergius’s Tale

It was one cool refreshing evening, at the close of a very sultry day, in the latter end of the month of August, when a stranger, mounted upon a dark mule, with a small cloak-bag behind him, containing a few shirts, a pair of shoes, and a crimson-sattin pair of breeches, entered the town of Strasburg.

He told the sentinel, who questioned him as he entered the gates, that he had been at the Promontory of Noses⁠ - was going on to Frankfort - ⁠and should be back again at Strasburg that day month, in his way to the borders of Crim Tartary.

The sentinel looked up into the stranger’s face - ⁠he never saw such a Nose in his life!

I have made a very good venture of it, quoth the stranger⁠ - so slipping his wrist out of the loop of a black ribbon, to which a short scymetar was hung, he put his hand into his pocket, and with great courtesy touching the fore part of his cap with his left hand, as he extended his right - ⁠he put a florin into the sentinel’s hand, and passed on.

It grieves me, said the sentinel, speaking to a little dwarfish bandy-legg’d drummer, that so courteous a soul should have lost his scabbard - he cannot travel without one to his scymetar, and will not be able to get a scabbard to fit it in all Strasburg.⁠ ⁠I never had one, replied the stranger, looking back to the sentinel, and putting his hand up to his cap as he spoke - ⁠I carry it, continued he, thus - ⁠holding up his naked scymetar, his mule moving on slowly all the time⁠ - on purpose to defend my nose.

It is well worth it, gentle stranger, replied the sentinel.

’Tis not worth a single stiver, said the bandy-legg’d drummer - ’tis a nose of parchment.

As I am a true catholic⁠ - except that it is six times as big⁠ - ’tis a nose, said the sentinel, like my own.

I heard it crackle, said the drummer.

By dunder, said the sentinel, I saw it bleed.

What a pity, cried the bandy-legg’d drummer, we did not both touch it!

At the very time that this dispute was maintaining by the sentinel and the drummer⁠ - was the same point debating betwixt a trumpeter and a trumpeter’s wife, who were just then coming up, and had stopped to see the stranger pass by.

Benedicity! - What a nose! ’tis as long, said the trumpeter’s wife, as a trumpet.

And of the same metal, said the trumpeter, as you hear by its sneezing.

’Tis as soft as a flute, said she.

’Tis brass, said the trumpeter.

’Tis a pudding’s end, said his wife.

I tell thee again, said the trumpeter, ’tis a brazen nose.

I’ll know the bottom of it, said the trumpeter’s wife, for I will touch it with my finger before I sleep.

The stranger’s mule moved on at so slow a rate, that he heard every word of the dispute, not only betwixt the sentinel and the drummer, but betwixt the trumpeter and trumpeter’s wife.

No! said he, dropping his reins upon his mule’s neck, and laying both his hands upon his breast, the one over the other, in a saintlike position (his mule going on easily all the time) No! said he, looking up⁠ - I am not such a debtor to the world - ⁠slandered and disappointed as I have been⁠ - as to give it that conviction - ⁠no! said he, my nose shall never be touched whilst Heaven gives me strength - ⁠To do what? said a burgomaster’s wife.

The stranger took no notice of the burgomaster’s wife - he was making a vow to Saint Nicolas; which done, having uncrossed his arms with the same solemnity with which he crossed them, he took up the reins of his bridle with his left hand, and putting his right hand into his bosom, with his scymetar hanging loosely to the wrist of it, he rode on, as slowly as one foot of the mule could follow another, thro’ the principal streets of Strasburg, till chance brought him to the great inn in the marketplace over against the church.

The moment the stranger alighted, he ordered his mule to be led into the stable, and his cloak-bag to be brought in; then opening, and taking out of it his crimson-sattin breeches, with a silver-fringed⁠ - (appendage to them, which I dare not translate)⁠ - he put his breeches, with his fringed codpiece on, and forthwith, with his short scymetar in his hand, walked out on to the grand parade.

The stranger had just taken three turns upon the parade, when he perceived the trumpeter’s wife at the opposite side of it⁠ - so turning short, in pain lest his nose should be attempted, he instantly went back to his inn⁠ - undressed himself, packed up his crimson-sattin breeches, etc., in his cloak-bag, and called for his mule.

I am going forwards, said the stranger, for Frankfort - ⁠and shall be back at Strasburg this day month.

I hope, continued the stranger, stroking down the face of his mule with his left hand as he was going to mount it, that you have been kind to this faithful slave of mine⁠ - it has carried me and my cloak-bag, continued he, tapping the mule’s back, above six hundred leagues.

’Tis a long journey, Sir, replied the master of the inn - ⁠unless a man has great business.⁠ ⁠Tut! tut! said the stranger, I have been at the Promontory of Noses; and have got me one of the goodliest, thank Heaven, that ever fell to a single man’s lot.

Whilst the stranger was giving this odd account of himself, the master of the inn and his wife kept both their eyes fixed full upon the stranger’s nose - ⁠By saint Radagunda, said the innkeeper’s wife to herself, there is more of it than in any dozen of the largest noses put together in all Strasburg! is it not, said she, whispering her husband in his ear, is it not a noble nose?

’Tis an imposture, my dear, said the master of the inn - ’tis a false nose.

’Tis a true nose, said his wife.

’Tis made of fir-tree, said he, I smell the turpentine.⁠

There’s a pimple on it, said she.

’Tis a dead nose, replied the innkeeper.

’Tis a live nose, and if I am alive myself, said the innkeeper’s wife, I will touch it.

I have made a vow to saint Nicolas this day, said the stranger, that my nose shall not be touched till⁠ - Here the stranger, suspending his voice, looked up. Till when? said she hastily.

It never shall be touched, said he, clasping his hands and bringing them close to his breast, till that hour⁠ - What hour? cried the innkeeper’s wife.⁠ Never!⁠ never! said the stranger, never till I am got⁠ - For Heaven’s sake, into what place? said she - The stranger rode away without saying a word.

The stranger had not got half a league on his way towards Frankfort before all the city of Strasburg was in an uproar about his nose. The Compline bells were just ringing to call the Strasburgers to their devotions, and shut up the duties of the day in prayer:⁠ no soul in all Strasburg heard ’em⁠ - the city was like a swarm of bees - men, women, and children (the Compline bells tinkling all the time) flying here and there⁠ - in at one door, out at another - ⁠this way and that way⁠ - long ways and cross ways⁠ - up one street, down another street - ⁠in at this alley, out of that - did you see it? did you see it? did you see it? O! did you see it? who saw it? who did see it? for mercy’s sake, who saw it?

Alack o’day! I was at vespers!⁠ I was washing, I was starching, I was scouring, I was quilting - ⁠God help me! I never saw it - ⁠I never touch’d it!⁠ ⁠would I had been a sentinel, a bandy-legg’d drummer, a trumpeter, a trumpeter’s wife, was the general cry and lamentation in every street and corner of Strasburg.

Whilst all this confusion and disorder triumphed throughout the great city of Strasburg, was the courteous stranger going on as gently upon his mule in his way to Frankfort, as if he had no concern at all in the affair - talking all the way he rode in broken sentences, sometimes to his mule⁠ - sometimes to himself⁠ - sometimes to his Julia.

O Julia, my lovely Julia!⁠ nay, I cannot stop to let thee bite that thistle - ⁠that ever the suspected tongue of a rival should have robbed me of enjoyment when I was upon the point of tasting it.⁠⁠

Pugh!⁠ ’tis nothing but a thistle⁠ - never mind it - ⁠thou shalt have a better supper at night.

Banish’d from my country - ⁠my friends - ⁠from thee.⁠⁠

Poor devil, thou’rt sadly tired with thy journey!⁠ ⁠come⁠ - get on a little faster⁠ - there’s nothing in my cloak-bag but two shirts - ⁠a crimson-sattin pair of breeches, and a fringed - ⁠Dear Julia.

But why to Frankfort⁠ - is it that there is a hand unfelt, which secretly is conducting me through these meanders and unsuspected tracts?

Stumbling! by saint Nicolas! every step⁠ - why, at this rate we shall be all night in getting in—

To happiness - ⁠or am I to be the sport of fortune and slander⁠ - destined to be driven forth unconvicted - ⁠unheard - ⁠untouch’d - ⁠if so, why did I not stay at Strasburg, where justice⁠ - but I had sworn! Come, thou shalt drink⁠ - to St. Nicolas⁠ - O Julia! - What dost thou prick up thy ears at?⁠ ’tis nothing but a man, etc.

The stranger rode on communing in this manner with his mule and Julia⁠ - till he arrived at his inn, where, as soon as he arrived, he alighted - saw his mule, as he had promised it, taken good care of - ⁠took off his cloak-bag, with his crimson-sattin breeches, etc., in it⁠ - called for an omelet to his supper, went to his bed about twelve o’clock, and in five minutes fell fast asleep.

It was about the same hour when the tumult in Strasburg being abated for that night,⁠ the Strasburgers had all got quietly into their beds⁠ - but not like the stranger, for the rest either of their minds or bodies; queen Mab, like an elf as she was, had taken the stranger’s nose, and without reduction of its bulk, had that night been at the pains of slitting and dividing it into as many noses of different cuts and fashions, as there were heads in Strasburg to hold them. The abbess of Quedlingberg, who with the four great dignitaries of her chapter, the prioress, the deaness, the sub-chantress, and senior canoness, had that week come to Strasburg to consult the university upon a case of conscience relating to their placket-holes - was ill all the night.

The courteous stranger’s nose had got perched upon the top of the pineal gland of her brain, and made such rousing work in the fancies of the four great dignitaries of her chapter, they could not get a wink of sleep the whole night thro’ for it - ⁠there was no keeping a limb still amongst them - ⁠in short, they got up like so many ghosts.

The penitentiaries of the third order of saint Francis - ⁠the nuns of mount Calvary - ⁠the Præmonstratenses - ⁠the Clunienses[10] - ⁠the Carthusians, and all the severer orders of nuns who lay that night in blankets or haircloth, were still in a worse condition than the abbess of Quedlingberg⁠ - by tumbling and tossing, and tossing and tumbling from one side of their beds to the other the whole night long - ⁠the several sisterhoods had scratch’d and maul’d themselves all to death - ⁠they got out of their beds almost flay’d alive⁠ - everybody thought saint Antony had visited them for probation with his fire - ⁠they had never once, in short, shut their eyes the whole night long from vespers to matins.

The nuns of saint Ursula acted the wisest⁠ - they never attempted to go to bed at all.

The dean of Strasburg, the prebendaries, the capitulars and domiciliars (capitularly assembled in the morning to consider the case of butter’d buns) all wished they had followed the nuns of saint Ursula’s example.⁠

In the hurry and confusion everything had been in the night before, the bakers had all forgot to lay their leaven⁠ - there were no butter’d buns to be had for breakfast in all Strasburg⁠ - the whole close of the cathedral was in one eternal commotion - ⁠such a cause of restlessness and disquietude, and such a zealous inquiry into the cause of that restlessness, had never happened in Strasburg, since Martin Luther, with his doctrines, had turned the city upside down.

If the stranger’s nose took this liberty of thrusting himself thus into the dishes[11] of religious orders, etc., what a carnival did his nose make of it, in those of the laity!⁠ ’tis more than my pen, worn to the stump as it is, has power to describe; though I acknowledge, (cries Slawkenbergius, with more gaiety of thought than I could have expected from him) that there is many a good simile now subsisting in the world which might give my countrymen some idea of it; but at the close of such a folio as this, wrote for their sakes, and in which I have spent the greatest part of my life - ⁠though I own to them the simile is in being, yet would it not be unreasonable in them to expect I should have either time or inclination to search for it? Let it suffice to say, that the riot and disorder it occasioned in the Strasburgers’ fantasies was so general⁠ - such an overpowering mastership had it got of all the faculties of the Strasburgers’ minds⁠ - so many strange things, with equal confidence on all sides, and with equal eloquence in all places, were spoken and sworn to concerning it, that turned the whole stream of all discourse and wonder towards it⁠ - every soul, good and bad⁠ - rich and poor⁠ - learned and unlearned - ⁠doctor and student - ⁠mistress and maid - ⁠gentle and simple - ⁠nun’s flesh and woman’s flesh, in Strasburg spent their time in hearing tidings about it⁠ - every eye in Strasburg languished to see it - ⁠every finger - ⁠every thumb in Strasburg burned to touch it.

Now what might add, if anything may be thought necessary to add, to so vehement a desire⁠ - was this, that the sentinel, the bandy-legg’d drummer, the trumpeter, the trumpeter’s wife, the burgomaster’s widow, the master of the inn, and the master of the inn’s wife, how widely soever they all differed every one from another in their testimonies and description of the stranger’s nose⁠ - they all agreed together in two points⁠ - namely, that he was gone to Frankfort, and would not return to Strasburg till that day month; and secondly, whether his nose was true or false, that the stranger himself was one of the most perfect paragons of beauty⁠ - the finest-made man⁠ - the most genteel!⁠ the most generous of his purse⁠ - the most courteous in his carriage that had ever entered the gates of Strasburg⁠ - that as he rode, with scymetar slung loosely to his wrist, thro’ the streets⁠ - and walked with his crimson-sattin breeches across the parade⁠ - ’twas with so sweet an air of careless modesty, and so manly withal - ⁠as would have put the heart in jeopardy (had his nose not stood in his way) of every virgin who had cast her eyes upon him.

I call not upon that heart which is a stranger to the throbs and yearnings of curiosity, so excited, to justify the abbess of Quedlingberg, the prioress, the deaness, and sub-chantress, for sending at noonday for the trumpeter’s wife: she went through the streets of Strasburg with her husband’s trumpet in her hand, ⁠the best apparatus the straitness of the time would allow her, for the illustration of her theory⁠ - she stayed no longer than three days.

The sentinel and bandy-legg’d drummer!⁠ ⁠nothing on this side of old Athens could equal them! they read their lectures under the city-gates to comers and goers, with all the pomp of a Chrysippus and a Crantor in their porticos.

The master of the inn, with his ostler on his left-hand, read his also in the same stile⁠ - under the portico or gateway of his stable-yard⁠ - his wife, hers more privately in a back room: all flocked to their lectures; not promiscuously⁠ - but to this or that, as is ever the way, as faith and credulity marshal’d them - ⁠in a word, each Strasburger came crouding for intelligence - ⁠and every Strasburger had the intelligence he wanted.

’Tis worth remarking, for the benefit of all demonstrators in natural philosophy, etc., that as soon as the trumpeter’s wife had finished the abbess of Quedlingberg’s private lecture, and had begun to read in public, which she did upon a stool in the middle of the great parade, ⁠she incommoded the other demonstrators mainly, by gaining incontinently the most fashionable part of the city of Strasburg for her auditory - ⁠But when a demonstrator in philosophy (cries Slawkenbergius) has a trumpet for an apparatus, pray what rival in science can pretend to be heard besides him?

Whilst the unlearned, thro’ these conduits of intelligence, were all busied in getting down to the bottom of the well, where Truth keeps her little court - were the learned in their way as busy in pumping her up thro’ the conduits of dialect induction - ⁠they concerned themselves not with facts - they reasoned—

Not one profession had thrown more light upon this subject than the Faculty⁠ - had not all their disputes about it run into the affair of Wens and œdematous swellings, they could not keep clear of them for their bloods and souls - the stranger’s nose had nothing to do either with wens or œdematous swellings.

It was demonstrated however very satisfactorily, that such a ponderous mass of heterogeneous matter could not be congested and conglomerated to the nose, whilst the infant was in Utero, without destroying the statical balance of the fœtus, and throwing it plump upon its head nine months before the time.⁠

The opponents granted the theory - ⁠they denied the consequences.

And if a suitable provision of veins, arteries, etc., said they, was not laid in, for the due nourishment of such a nose, in the very first stamina and rudiments of its formation, before it came into the world (bating the case of Wens) it could not regularly grow and be sustained afterwards.

This was all answered by a dissertation upon nutriment, and the effect which nutriment had in extending the vessels, and in the increase and prolongation of the muscular parts of the greatest growth and expansion imaginable⁠ - In the triumph of which theory, they went so far as to affirm, that there was no cause in nature, why a nose might not grow to the size of the man himself.

The respondents satisfied the world this event could never happen to them so long as a man had but one stomach and one pair of lungs - ⁠For the stomach, said they, being the only organ destined for the reception of food, and turning it into chyle⁠ - and the lungs the only engine of sanguification⁠ - it could possibly work off no more, than what the appetite brought it: or admitting the possibility of a man’s overloading his stomach, nature had set bounds however to his lungs⁠ - the engine was of a determined size and strength, and could elaborate but a certain quantity in a given time - that is, it could produce just as much blood as was sufficient for one single man, and no more; so that, if there was as much nose as man - ⁠they proved a mortification must necessarily ensue; and forasmuch as there could not be a support for both, that the nose must either fall off from the man, or the man inevitably fall off from his nose.

Nature accommodates herself to these emergencies, cried the opponents⁠ - else what do you say to the case of a whole stomach⁠ - a whole pair of lungs, and but half a man, when both his legs have been unfortunately shot off?

He dies of a plethora, said they⁠ - or must spit blood, and in a fortnight or three weeks go off in a consumption.⁠

It happens otherwise⁠ - replied the opponents.⁠⁠

It ought not, said they.

The more curious and intimate inquirers after nature and her doings, though they went hand in hand a good way together, yet they all divided about the nose at last, almost as much as the Faculty itself.

They amicably laid it down, that there was a just and geometrical arrangement and proportion of the several parts of the human frame to its several destinations, offices, and functions which could not be transgressed but within certain limits⁠ - that nature, though she sported - ⁠she sported within a certain circle; and they could not agree about the diameter of it.

The logicians stuck much closer to the point before them than any of the classes of the literati; they began and ended with the word Nose; and had it not been for a petitio principii, which one of the ablest of them ran his head against in the beginning of the combat, the whole controversy had been settled at once.

A nose, argued the logician, cannot bleed without blood⁠ - and not only blood⁠ - but blood circulating in it to supply the phænomenon with a succession of drops⁠ - (a stream being but a quicker succession of drops, that is included, said he).⁠ ⁠Now death, continued the logician, being nothing but the stagnation of the blood—

I deny the definition - ⁠Death is the separation of the soul from the body, said his antagonist - ⁠Then we don’t agree about our weapons, said the logician⁠ - Then there is an end of the dispute, replied the antagonist.

The civilians were still more concise: what they offered being more in the nature of a decree - ⁠than a dispute.

Such a monstrous nose, said they, had it been a true nose, could not possibly have been suffered in civil society - ⁠and if false⁠ - to impose upon society with such false signs and tokens, was a still greater violation of its rights, and must have had still less mercy shown it.

The only objection to this was, that if it proved anything, it proved the stranger’s nose was neither true nor false.

This left room for the controversy to go on. It was maintained by the advocates of the ecclesiastic court, that there was nothing to inhibit a decree, since the stranger ex mero motu had confessed he had been at the Promontory of Noses, and had got one of the goodliest, etc. etc. To this it was answered, it was impossible there should be such a place as the Promontory of Noses, and the learned be ignorant where it lay. The commissary of the bishop of Strasburg undertook the advocates, explained this matter in a treatise upon proverbial phrases, showing them, that the Promontory of Noses was a mere allegorick expression, importing no more than that nature had given him a long nose: in proof of which, with great learning, he cited the underwritten authorities,[12] which had decided the point incontestably, had it not appeared that a dispute about some franchises of dean and chapter-lands had been determined by it nineteen years before.

It happened - ⁠I must not say unluckily for Truth, because they were giving her a lift another way in so doing; that the two universities of Strasburg - ⁠the Lutheran, founded in the year 1538 by Jacobus Surmis, counsellor of the senate, ⁠and the Popish, founded by Leopold, archduke of Austria, were, during all this time, employing the whole depth of their knowledge (except just what the affair of the abbess of Quedlingberg’s placket-holes required) - ⁠in determining the point of Martin Luther’s damnation.

The Popish doctors had undertaken to demonstrate à priori, that from the necessary influence of the planets on the twenty-second day of October 1483 - when the moon was in the twelfth house, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus in the third, the Sun, Saturn, and Mercury, all got together in the fourth⁠ - that he must in course, and unavoidably, be a damn’d man⁠ - and that his doctrines, by a direct corollary, must be damn’d doctrines too.

By inspection into his horoscope, where five planets were in coition all at once with Scorpio[13] (in reading this my father would always shake his head) in the ninth house, which the Arabians allotted to religion⁠ - it appeared that Martin Luther did not care one stiver about the matter - and that from the horoscope directed to the conjunction of Mars⁠ - they made it plain likewise he must die cursing and blaspheming - ⁠with the blast of which his soul (being steep’d in guilt) sailed before the wind, in the lake of hellfire.

The little objection of the Lutheran doctors to this, was, that it must certainly be the soul of another man, born Oct. 22, 83, which was forced to sail down before the wind in that manner⁠ - inasmuch as it appeared from the register of Islaben in the county of Mansfelt, that Luther was not born in the year 1483, but in 84; and not on the 22nd day of October, but on the 10th of November, the eve of Martinmas day, from whence he had the name of Martin.

[ - ⁠I must break off my translation for a moment; for if I did not, I know I should no more be able to shut my eyes in bed, than the abbess of Quedlingberg - ⁠It is to tell the reader, that my father never read this passage of Slawkenbergius to my uncle Toby, but with triumph - not over my uncle Toby, for he never opposed him in it - ⁠but over the whole world.

Now you see, brother Toby, he would say, looking up, “that christian names are not such indifferent things;” - had Luther here been called by any other name but Martin, he would have been damn’d to all eternity - Not that I look upon Martin, he would add, as a good name - ⁠far from it - ’tis something better than a neutral, and but a little - ⁠yet little as it is, you see it was of some service to him.

My father knew the weakness of this prop to his hypothesis, as well as the best logician could show him - ⁠yet so strange is the weakness of man at the same time, as it fell in his way, he could not for his life but make use of it; and it was certainly for this reason, that though there are many stories in Hafen Slawkenbergius’s Decads full as entertaining as this I am translating, yet there is not one amongst them which my father read over with half the delight - it flattered two of his strangest hypotheses together - ⁠his Names and his Noses.⁠ ⁠I will be bold to say, he might have read all the books in the Alexandrian Library, had not fate taken other care of them, and not have met with a book or passage in one, which hit two such nails as these upon the head at one stroke.]

The two universities of Strasburg were hard tugging at this affair of Luther’s navigation. The Protestant doctors had demonstrated, that he had not sailed right before the wind, as the Popish doctors had pretended; and as everyone knew there was no sailing full in the teeth of it⁠ - they were going to settle, in case he had sailed, how many points he was off; whether Martin had doubled the cape, or had fallen upon a lee-shore; and no doubt, as it was an enquiry of much edification, at least to those who understood this sort of navigation, they had gone on with it in spite of the size of the stranger’s nose, had not the size of the stranger’s nose drawn off the attention of the world from what they were about - ⁠it was their business to follow.

The abbess of Quedlingberg and her four dignitaries was no stop; for the enormity of the stranger’s nose running full as much in their fancies as their case of conscience - ⁠the affair of their placket-holes kept cold⁠ - in a word, the printers were ordered to distribute their types - ⁠all controversies dropp’d.

’Twas a square cap with a silver tassel upon the crown of it⁠ - to a nutshell⁠ - to have guessed on which side of the nose the two universities would split.

’Tis above reason, cried the doctors on one side.

’Tis below reason, cried the others.

’Tis faith, cried one.

’Tis a fiddlestick, said the other.

’Tis possible, cried the one.

’Tis impossible, said the other.

God’s power is infinite, cried the Nosarians, he can do anything.

He can do nothing, replied the Antinosarians, which implies contradictions.

He can make matter think, said the Nosarians.

As certainly as you can make a velvet cap out of a sow’s ear, replied the Antinosarians.

He cannot make two and two five, replied the Popish doctors.⁠ ’Tis false, said their other opponents.⁠⁠

Infinite power is infinite power, said the doctors who maintained the reality of the nose.⁠ It extends only to all possible things, replied the Lutherans.

By God in heaven, cried the Popish doctors, he can make a nose, if he thinks fit, as big as the steeple of Strasburg.

Now the steeple of Strasburg being the biggest and the tallest church-steeple to be seen in the whole world, the Antinosarians denied that a nose of 575 geometrical feet in length could be worn, at least by a middle-siz’d man - ⁠The Popish doctors swore it could⁠ - The Lutheran doctors said No; it could not.

This at once started a new dispute, which they pursued a great way, upon the extent and limitation of the moral and natural attributes of God⁠ - That controversy led them naturally into Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas Aquinas to the devil.

The stranger’s nose was no more heard of in the dispute⁠ - it just served as a frigate to launch them into the gulf of school-divinity - ⁠and then they all sailed before the wind.

Heat is in proportion to the want of true knowledge.

The controversy about the attributes, etc., instead of cooling, on the contrary had inflamed the Strasburgers’ imaginations to a most inordinate degree - ⁠The less they understood of the matter, the greater was their wonder about it⁠ - they were left in all the distresses of desire unsatisfied - ⁠saw their doctors, the Parchmentarians, the Brassarians, the Turpentarians, on one side⁠ - the Popish doctors on the other, like Pantagruel and his companions in quest of the oracle of the bottle, all embarked out of sight.

The poor Strasburgers left upon the beach!

What was to be done?⁠ No delay⁠ - the uproar increased - ⁠everyone in disorder - ⁠the city gates set open.⁠⁠

Unfortunate Strasburgers! was there in the storehouse of nature - was there in the lumber-rooms of learning - was there in the great arsenal of chance, one single engine left undrawn forth to torture your curiosities, and stretch your desires, which was not pointed by the hand of Fate to play upon your hearts?⁠ ⁠I dip not my pen into my ink to excuse the surrender of yourselves⁠ - ’tis to write your panegyrick. Show me a city so macerated with expectation - ⁠who neither eat, or drank, or slept, or prayed, or hearkened to the calls either of religion or nature for seven-and-twenty days together, who could have held out one day longer.

On the twenty-eighth the courteous stranger had promised to return to Strasburg.

Seven thousand coaches (Slawkenbergius must certainly have made some mistake in his numerical characters) 7,000 coaches - ⁠15,000 single-horse chairs⁠ - 20,000 wagons, crowded as full as they could all hold with senators, counsellors, syndicks⁠ - beguines, widows, wives, virgins, canons, concubines, all in their coaches⁠ - The abbess of Quedlingberg, with the prioress, the deaness and sub-chantress, leading the procession in one coach, and the dean of Strasburg, with the four great dignitaries of his chapter, on her left-hand⁠ - the rest following higglety-pigglety as they could; some on horseback - ⁠some on foot - ⁠some led - ⁠some driven - ⁠some down the Rhine - ⁠some this way - ⁠some that - ⁠all set out at sunrise to meet the courteous stranger on the road.

Haste we now towards the catastrophe of my tale - I say Catastrophe (cries Slawkenbergius) inasmuch as a tale, with parts rightly disposed, not only rejoiceth (gaudet) in the Catastrophe and Peripetia of a Drama, but rejoiceth moreover in all the essential and integrant parts of it - ⁠it has its Protasis, Epitasis, Catastasis, its Catastrophe or Peripetia growing one out of the other in it, in the order Aristotle first planted them - ⁠without which a tale had better never be told at all, says Slawkenbergius, but be kept to a man’s self.

In all my ten tales, in all my ten decads, have I Slawkenbergius tied down every tale of them as tightly to this rule, as I have done this of the stranger and his nose.

From his first parley with the sentinel, to his leaving the city of Strasburg, after pulling off his crimson-sattin pair of breeches, is the Protasis or first entrance - ⁠where the characters of the Personæ Dramatis are just touched in, and the subject slightly begun.

The Epitasis, wherein the action is more fully entered upon and heightened, till it arrives at its state or height called the Catastasis, and which usually takes up the 2nd and 3rd act, is included within that busy period of my tale, betwixt the first night’s uproar about the nose, to the conclusion of the trumpeter’s wife’s lectures upon it in the middle of the grand parade: and from the first embarking of the learned in the dispute⁠ - to the doctors finally sailing away, and leaving the Strasburgers upon the beach in distress, is the Catastasis or the ripening of the incidents and passions for their bursting forth in the fifth act.

This commences with the setting out of the Strasburgers in the Frankfort road, and terminates in unwinding the labyrinth and bringing the hero out of a state of agitation (as Aristotle calls it) to a state of rest and quietness.

This, says Hafen Slawkenbergius, constitutes the Catastrophe or Peripetia of my tale⁠ - and that is the part of it I am going to relate.

We left the stranger behind the curtain asleep - ⁠he enters now upon the stage.

What dost thou prick up thy ears at?⁠ ’tis nothing but a man upon a horse - ⁠was the last word the stranger uttered to his mule. It was not proper then to tell the reader, that the mule took his master’s word for it; and without any more ifs or ands, let the traveller and his horse pass by.

The traveller was hastening with all diligence to get to Strasburg that night. What a fool am I, said the traveller to himself, when he had rode about a league farther, to think of getting into Strasburg this night.⁠ Strasburg! - ⁠the great Strasburg! - ⁠Strasburg, the capital of all Alsatia! Strasburg, an imperial city! Strasburg, a sovereign state! Strasburg, garrisoned with five thousand of the best troops in all the world!⁠ Alas! if I was at the gates of Strasburg this moment, I could not gain admittance into it for a ducat⁠ - nay a ducat and half⁠ - ’tis too much - ⁠better go back to the last inn I have passed - ⁠than lie I know not where - ⁠or give I know not what. The traveller, as he made these reflections in his mind, turned his horse’s head about, and three minutes after the stranger had been conducted into his chamber, he arrived at the same inn.

We have bacon in the house, said the host, and bread - and till eleven o’clock this night had three eggs in it - ⁠but a stranger, who arrived an hour ago, has had them dressed into an omelet, and we have nothing.⁠

Alas! said the traveller, harassed as I am, I want nothing but a bed. I have one as soft as is in Alsatia, said the host.

The stranger, continued he, should have slept in it, for ’tis my best bed, but upon the score of his nose.⁠ ⸺⁠He has got a defluxion, said the traveller.⁠ ⁠Not that I know, cried the host.⁠ ⁠But ’tis a camp-bed, and Jacinta, said he, looking towards the maid, imagined there was not room in it to turn his nose in. Why so? cried the traveller, starting back.⁠ It is so long a nose, replied the host.⁠ ⁠The traveller fixed his eyes upon Jacinta, then upon the ground⁠ - kneeled upon his right knee⁠ - had just got his hand laid upon his breast - Trifle not with my anxiety, said he, rising up again.⁠ ’Tis no trifle, said Jacinta, ’tis the most glorious nose!⁠ ⁠The traveller fell upon his knee again⁠ - laid his hand upon his breast⁠ - then, said he, looking up to heaven, thou hast conducted me to the end of my pilgrimage.⁠ ’Tis Diego.

The traveller was the brother of the Julia, so often invoked that night by the stranger as he rode from Strasburg upon his mule; and was come, on her part, in quest of him. He had accompanied his sister from Valadolid across the Pyrenean mountains through France, and had many an entangled skein to wind off in pursuit of him through the many meanders and abrupt turnings of a lover’s thorny tracks.

Julia had sunk under it - and had not been able to go a step farther than to Lyons, where, with the many disquietudes of a tender heart, which all talk of - ⁠but few feel⁠ - she sicken’d, but had just strength to write a letter to Diego; and having conjured her brother never to see her face till he had found him out, and put the letter into his hands, Julia took to her bed.

Fernandez (for that was her brother’s name) - ⁠though the camp-bed was as soft as any one in Alsace, yet he could not shut his eyes in it.⁠ ⁠As soon as it was day he rose, and hearing Diego was risen too, he entered his chamber, and discharged his sister’s commission.

The letter was as follows:

“Seig. Diego,
“Whether my suspicions of your nose were justly excited or not - ’tis not now to inquire⁠ - it is enough I have not had firmness to put them to farther tryal.
“How could I know so little of myself, when I sent my Duenna to forbid your coming more under my lattice? or how could I know so little of you, Diego, as to imagine you would not have stayed one day in Valadolid to have given ease to my doubts?⁠ Was I to be abandoned, Diego, because I was deceived? or was it kind to take me at my word, whether my suspicions were just or no, and leave me, as you did, a prey to much uncertainty and sorrow?
“In what manner Julia has resented this - ⁠my brother, when he puts this letter into your hands, will tell you; He will tell you in how few moments she repented of the rash message she had sent you - ⁠in what frantic haste she flew to her lattice, and how many days and nights together she leaned immoveably upon her elbow, looking through it towards the way which Diego was wont to come.
“He will tell you, when she heard of your departure⁠ - how her spirits deserted her - ⁠how her heart sicken’d - ⁠how piteously she mourned - ⁠how low she hung her head. O Diego! how many weary steps has my brother’s pity led me by the hand languishing to trace out yours; how far has desire carried me beyond strength - ⁠and how oft have I fainted by the way, and sunk into his arms, with only power to cry out⁠ - O my Diego!
“If the gentleness of your carriage has not belied your heart, you will fly to me, almost as fast as you fled from me⁠ - haste as you will - ⁠you will arrive but to see me expire. ’Tis a bitter draught, Diego, but oh! ’tis embitter’d still more by dying un - ⸺”

She could proceed no farther.

Slawkenbergius supposes the word intended was unconvinced, but her strength would not enable her to finish her letter.

The heart of the courteous Diego overflowed as he read the letter - he ordered his mule forthwith and Fernandez’s horse to be saddled; and as no vent in prose is equal to that of poetry in such conflicts - ⁠chance, which as often directs us to remedies as to diseases, having thrown a piece of charcoal into the window - ⁠Diego availed himself of it, and whilst the hostler was getting ready his mule, he eased his mind against the wall as follows.


Harsh and untuneful are the notes of love,
Unless my Julia strikes the key,
Her hand alone can touch the part,
Whose dulcet move—
ment charms the heart,
And governs all the man with sympathetick sway.


O Julia!

The lines were very natural - ⁠for they were nothing at all to the purpose, says Slawkenbergius, and ’tis a pity there were no more of them; but whether it was that Seig. Diego was slow in composing verses⁠ - or the hostler quick in saddling mules - ⁠is not averred; certain it was, that Diego’s mule and Fernandez’s horse were ready at the door of the inn, before Diego was ready for his second stanza; so without staying to finish his ode, they both mounted, sallied forth, passed the Rhine, traversed Alsace, shaped their course towards Lyons, and before the Strasburgers and the abbess of Quedlingberg had set out on their cavalcade, had Fernandez, Diego, and his Julia, crossed the Pyrenean mountains, and got safe to Valadolid.

’Tis needless to inform the geographical reader, that when Diego was in Spain, it was not possible to meet the courteous stranger in the Frankfort road; it is enough to say, that of all restless desires, curiosity being the strongest - ⁠the Strasburgers felt the full force of it; and that for three days and nights they were tossed to and fro in the Frankfort road, with the tempestuous fury of this passion, before they could submit to return home.⁠ ⁠When alas! an event was prepared for them, of all other, the most grievous that could befall a free people.

As this revolution of the Strasburgers’ affairs is often spoken of, and little understood, I will, in ten words, says Slawkenbergius, give the world an explanation of it, and with it put an end to my tale.

Every body knows of the grand system of Universal Monarchy, wrote by order of Mons. Colbert, and put in manuscript into the hands of Lewis the fourteenth, in the year 1664.

’Tis as well known, that one branch out of many of that system, was the getting possession of Strasburg, to favour an entrance at all times into Suabia, in order to disturb the quiet of Germany - ⁠and that in consequence of this plan, Strasburg unhappily fell at length into their hands.

It is the lot of a few to trace out the true springs of this and suchlike revolutions⁠ - The vulgar look too high for them⁠ - Statesmen look too low - ⁠Truth (for once) lies in the middle.

What a fatal thing is the popular pride of a free city! cries one historian⁠ - The Strasburgers deemed it a diminution of their freedom to receive an imperial garrison - ⁠so fell a prey to a French one.

The fate, says another, of the Strasburgers, may be a warning to all free people to save their money. They anticipated their revenues - ⁠brought themselves under taxes, exhausted their strength, and in the end became so weak a people, they had not strength to keep their gates shut, and so the French pushed them open.

Alas! alas! cries Slawkenbergius, ’twas not the French, ’twas curiosity pushed them open - The French indeed, who are ever upon the catch, when they saw the Strasburgers, men, women, and children, all marched out to follow the stranger’s nose - ⁠each man followed his own, and marched in.

Trade and manufactures have decayed and gradually grown down ever since⁠ - but not from any cause which commercial heads have assigned; for it is owing to this only, that Noses have ever so run in their heads, that the Strasburgers could not follow their business.

Alas! alas! cries Slawkenbergius, making an exclamation⁠ - it is not the first - ⁠and I fear will not be the last fortress that has been either won - ⁠or lost by Noses.

The end of
Slawkenbergius’s Tale

Chapter I

With all this learning upon Noses running perpetually in my father’s fancy - ⁠with so many family prejudices⁠ - and ten decads of such tales running on for ever along with them - ⁠how was it possible with such exquisite - ⁠was it a true nose?⁠ ⁠That a man with such exquisite feelings as my father had, could bear the shock at all below stairs - ⁠or indeed above stairs, in any other posture, but the very posture I have described?

Throw yourself down upon the bed, a dozen times - ⁠taking care only to place a looking-glass first in a chair on one side of it, before you do it⁠ - But was the stranger’s nose a true nose, or was it a false one?

To tell that beforehand, madam, would be to do injury to one of the best tales in the Christian-world; and that is the tenth of the tenth decad, which immediately follows this.

This tale, cried Slawkenbergius, somewhat exultingly, has been reserved by me for the concluding tale of my whole work; knowing right well, that when I shall have told it, and my reader shall have read it thro’⁠ - ’twould be even high time for both of us to shut up the book; inasmuch, continues Slawkenbergius, as I know of no tale which could possibly ever go down after it.

’Tis a tale indeed!

This sets out with the first interview in the inn at Lyons, when Fernandez left the courteous stranger and his sister Julia alone in her chamber, and is overwritten

The Intricacies
Diego and Julia

Heavens! thou art a strange creature, Slawkenbergius! what a whimsical view of the involutions of the heart of woman hast thou opened! how this can ever be translated, and yet if this specimen of Slawkenbergius’s tales, and the exquisitiveness of his moral, should please the world⁠ - translated shall a couple of volumes be. Else, how this can ever be translated into good English, I have no sort of conception.⁠ There seems in some passages to want a sixth sense to do it rightly.⁠ ⁠What can he mean by the lambent pupilability of slow, low, dry chat, five notes below the natural tone - ⁠which you know, madam, is little more than a whisper? The moment I pronounced the words, I could perceive an attempt towards a vibration in the strings, about the region of the heart. The brain made no acknowledgment.⁠ ⁠There’s often no good understanding betwixt ’em⁠ - I felt as if I understood it.⁠ ⁠I had no ideas.⁠ ⁠The movement could not be without cause.⁠ I’m lost. I can make nothing of it⁠ - unless, may it please your worships, the voice, in that case being little more than a whisper, unavoidably forces the eyes to approach not only within six inches of each other⁠ - but to look into the pupils⁠ - is not that dangerous?⁠ ⁠But it can’t be avoided⁠ - for to look up to the ceiling, in that case the two chins unavoidably meet - ⁠and to look down into each other’s lap, the foreheads come to immediate contact, which at once puts an end to the conference - ⁠I mean to the sentimental part of it.⁠ ⁠What is left, madam, is not worth stooping for.

Chapter II

My father lay stretched across the bed as still as if the hand of death had pushed him down, for a full hour and a half before he began to play upon the floor with the toe of that foot which hung over the bedside; my uncle Toby’s heart was a pound lighter for it. In a few moments, his left-hand, the knuckles of which had all the time reclined upon the handle of the chamberpot, came to its feeling⁠ - he thrust it a little more within the valance⁠ - drew up his hand, when he had done, into his bosom⁠ - gave a hem! My good uncle Toby, with infinite pleasure, answered it; and full gladly would have ingrafted a sentence of consolation upon the opening it afforded: but having no talents, as I said, that way, and fearing moreover that he might set out with something which might make a bad matter worse, he contented himself with resting his chin placidly upon the cross of his crutch.

Now whether the compression shortened my uncle Toby’s face into a more pleasurable oval⁠ - or that the philanthropy of his heart, in seeing his brother beginning to emerge out of the sea of his afflictions, had braced up his muscles - ⁠so that the compression upon his chin only doubled the benignity which was there before, is not hard to decide.⁠ ⁠My father, in turning his eyes, was struck with such a gleam of sunshine in his face, as melted down the sullenness of his grief in a moment.

He broke silence as follows.

Chapter III

Did ever man, brother Toby, cried my father, raising himself upon his elbow, and turning himself round to the opposite side of the bed, where my uncle Toby was sitting in his old fringed chair, with his chin resting upon his crutch - ⁠did ever a poor unfortunate man, brother Toby, cried my father, receive so many lashes?⁠ ⁠The most I ever saw given, quoth my uncle Toby (ringing the bell at the bed’s head for Trim) was to a grenadier, I think in Mackay’s regiment.

Had my uncle Toby shot a bullet through my father’s heart, he could not have fallen down with his nose upon the quilt more suddenly.

Bless me! said my uncle Toby.

Chapter IV

Was it Mackay’s regiment, quoth my uncle Toby, where the poor grenadier was so unmercifully whipp’d at Bruges about the ducats?⁠ O Christ! he was innocent! cried Trim, with a deep sigh.⁠ And he was whipp’d, may it please your honour, almost to death’s door.⁠ They had better have shot him outright, as he begg’d, and he had gone directly to heaven, for he was as innocent as your honour. I thank thee, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠I never think of his, continued Trim, and my poor brother Tom’s misfortunes, for we were all three schoolfellows, but I cry like a coward.⁠ ⁠Tears are no proof of cowardice, Trim.⁠ I drop them ofttimes myself, cried my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠I know your honour does, replied Trim, and so am not ashamed of it myself.⁠ But to think, may it please your honour, continued Trim, a tear stealing into the corner of his eye as he spoke⁠ - to think of two virtuous lads with hearts as warm in their bodies, and as honest as God could make them⁠ - the children of honest people, going forth with gallant spirits to seek their fortunes in the world⁠ - and fall into such evils!⁠ poor Tom! to be tortured upon a rack for nothing⁠ - but marrying a Jew’s widow who sold sausages⁠ - honest Dick Johnson’s soul to be scourged out of his body, for the ducats another man put into his knapsack!⁠ O!⁠ these are misfortunes, cried Trim,⁠ pulling out his handkerchief⁠ - these are misfortunes, may it please your honour, worth lying down and crying over.

My father could not help blushing.

’Twould be a pity, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, thou shouldst ever feel sorrow of thy own⁠ - thou feelest it so tenderly for others.⁠ Alack-o-day, replied the corporal, brightening up his face - your honour knows I have neither wife or child - ⁠I can have no sorrows in this world.⁠ ⁠My father could not help smiling.⁠ As few as any man, Trim, replied my uncle Toby; nor can I see how a fellow of thy light heart can suffer, but from the distress of poverty in thy old age⁠ - when thou art passed all services, Trim⁠ - and hast outlived thy friends.⁠ ⁠An’ please your honour, never fear, replied Trim, cheerily.⁠ ⁠But I would have thee never fear, Trim, replied my uncle Toby, and therefore, continued my uncle Toby, throwing down his crutch, and getting up upon his legs as he uttered the word therefore⁠ - in recompence, Trim, of thy long fidelity to me, and that goodness of thy heart I have had such proofs of⁠ - whilst thy master is worth a shilling - ⁠thou shalt never ask elsewhere, Trim, for a penny. Trim attempted to thank my uncle Toby⁠ - but had not power - ⁠tears trickled down his cheeks faster than he could wipe them off⁠ - He laid his hands upon his breast - ⁠made a bow to the ground, and shut the door.

I have left Trim my bowling-green, cried my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠My father smiled. I have left him moreover a pension, continued my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠My father looked grave.

Chapter V

Is this a fit time, said my father to himself, to talk of pensions and grenadiers?

Chapter VI

When my uncle Toby first mentioned the grenadier, my father, I said, fell down with his nose flat to the quilt, and as suddenly as if my uncle Toby had shot him; but it was not added that every other limb and member of my father instantly relapsed with his nose into the same precise attitude in which he lay first described; so that when corporal Trim left the room, and my father found himself disposed to rise off the bed⁠ - he had all the little preparatory movements to run over again, before he could do it. Attitudes are nothing, madam - ’tis the transition from one attitude to another - ⁠like the preparation and resolution of the discord into harmony, which is all in all.

For which reason my father played the same jig over again with his toe upon the floor - ⁠pushed the chamberpot still a little farther within the valance⁠ - gave a hem⁠ - raised himself up upon his elbow⁠ - and was just beginning to address himself to my uncle Toby⁠ - when recollecting the unsuccessfulness of his first effort in that attitude - ⁠he got upon his legs, and in making the third turn across the room, he stopped short before my uncle Toby: and laying the three first fingers of his right-hand in the palm of his left, and stooping a little, he addressed himself to my uncle Toby as follows:

Chapter VII

When I reflect, brother Toby, upon man; and take a view of that dark side of him which represents his life as open to so many causes of trouble⁠ - when I consider, brother Toby, how oft we eat the bread of affliction, and that we are born to it, as to the portion of our inheritance - I was born to nothing, quoth my uncle Toby, interrupting my father⁠ - but my commission. Zooks! said my father, did not my uncle leave you a hundred and twenty pounds a year? What could I have done without it? replied my uncle Toby - That’s another concern, said my father testily⁠ - But I say, Toby, when one runs over the catalogue of all the cross-reckonings and sorrowful Items with which the heart of man is overcharged, ’tis wonderful by what hidden resources the mind is enabled to stand out, and bear itself up, as it does, against the impositions laid upon our nature. ’Tis by the assistance of Almighty God, cried my uncle Toby, looking up, and pressing the palms of his hands close together - ’tis not from our own strength, brother Shandy - ⁠a sentinel in a wooden centry-box might as well pretend to stand it out against a detachment of fifty men.⁠ ⁠We are upheld by the grace and the assistance of the best of Beings.

That is cutting the knot, said my father, instead of untying it.⁠ ⁠But give me leave to lead you, brother Toby, a little deeper into the mystery.

With all my heart, replied my uncle Toby.

My father instantly exchanged the attitude he was in, for that in which Socrates is so finely painted by Raffael in his school of Athens; which your connoisseurship knows is so exquisitely imagined, that even the particular manner of the reasoning of Socrates is expressed by it⁠ - for he holds the forefinger of his left hand between the forefinger and the thumb of his right, and seems as if he was saying to the libertine he is reclaiming - “You grant me this - ⁠and this: and this, and this, I don’t ask of you⁠ - they follow of themselves in course.”

So stood my father, holding fast his forefinger betwixt his finger and his thumb, and reasoning with my uncle Toby as he sat in his old fringed chair, valanced around with particoloured worsted bobs - ⁠O Garrick!⁠ - what a rich scene of this would thy exquisite powers make! and how gladly would I write such another to avail myself of thy immortality, and secure my own behind it.

Chapter VIII

Though man is of all others the most curious vehicle, said my father, yet at the same time ’tis of so slight a frame, and so totteringly put together, that the sudden jerks and hard jostlings it unavoidably meets with in this rugged journey, would overset and tear it to pieces a dozen times a day - ⁠was it not, brother Toby, that there is a secret spring within us.⁠ Which spring, said my uncle Toby, I take to be Religion.⁠ Will that set my child’s nose on? cried my father, letting go his finger, and striking one hand against the other.⁠ ⁠It makes everything straight for us, answered my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Figuratively speaking, dear Toby, it may, for aught I know, said my father; but the spring I am speaking of, is that great and elastic power within us of counterbalancing evil, which, like a secret spring in a well-ordered machine, though it can’t prevent the shock - ⁠at least it imposes upon our sense of it.

Now, my dear brother, said my father, replacing his forefinger, as he was coming closer to the point - ⁠had my child arrived safe into the world, unmartyr’d in that precious part of him⁠ - fanciful and extravagant as I may appear to the world in my opinion of christian names, and of that magic bias which good or bad names irresistibly impress upon our characters and conducts⁠ - Heaven is witness! that in the warmest transports of my wishes for the prosperity of my child, I never once wished to crown his head with more glory and honour than what George or Edward would have spread around it.

But alas! continued my father, as the greatest evil has befallen him - ⁠I must counteract and undo it with the greatest good.

He shall be christened Trismegistus, brother.

I wish it may answer - ⁠replied my uncle Toby, rising up.

Chapter IX

What a chapter of chances, said my father, turning himself about upon the first landing, as he and my uncle Toby were going downstairs⁠ - what a long chapter of chances do the events of this world lay open to us! Take pen and ink in hand, brother Toby, and calculate it fairly - ⁠I know no more of calculation than this balluster, said my uncle Toby (striking short of it with his crutch, and hitting my father a desperate blow souse upon his shinbone) - ’Twas a hundred to one⁠ - cried my uncle Toby⁠ - I thought, quoth my father (rubbing his shin), you had known nothing of calculations, brother Toby. ’Tis a mere chance, said my uncle Toby. Then it adds one to the chapter - ⁠replied my father.

The double success of my father’s repartees tickled off the pain of his shin at once⁠ - it was well it so fell out⁠ - (chance! again)⁠ - or the world to this day had never known the subject of my father’s calculation - ⁠to guess it⁠ - there was no chance - ⁠What a lucky chapter of chances has this turned out! for it has saved me the trouble of writing one express, and in truth I have enough already upon my hands without it.⁠ Have not I promised the world a chapter of knots? two chapters upon the right and the wrong end of a woman? a chapter upon whiskers? a chapter upon wishes?⁠ ⁠a chapter of noses?⁠ No, I have done that⁠ - a chapter upon my uncle Toby’s modesty? to say nothing of a chapter upon chapters, which I will finish before I sleep⁠ - by my great-grandfather’s whiskers, I shall never get half of ’em through this year.

Take pen and ink in hand, and calculate it fairly, brother Toby, said my father, and it will turn out a million to one, that of all the parts of the body, the edge of the forceps should have the ill luck just to fall upon and break down that one part, which should break down the fortunes of our house with it.

It might have been worse, replied my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠I don’t comprehend, said my father. Suppose the hip had presented, replied my uncle Toby, as Dr. Slop foreboded.

My father reflected half a minute⁠ - looked down - ⁠touched the middle of his forehead slightly with his finger—

True, said he.

Chapter X

Is it not a shame to make two chapters of what passed in going down one pair of stairs? for we are got no farther yet than to the first landing, and there are fifteen more steps down to the bottom; and for aught I know, as my father and my uncle Toby are in a talking humour, there may be as many chapters as steps: let that be as it will, Sir, I can no more help it than my destiny:⁠ A sudden impulse comes across me - ⁠drop the curtain, Shandy - ⁠I drop it⁠ - Strike a line here across the paper, Tristram⁠ - I strike it⁠ - and hey for a new chapter.

The deuce of any other rule have I to govern myself by in this affair⁠ - and if I had one⁠ - as I do all things out of all rule⁠ - I would twist it and tear it to pieces, and throw it into the fire when I had done⁠ - Am I warm? I am, and the cause demands it - ⁠a pretty story! is a man to follow rules - or rules to follow him?

Now this, you must know, being my chapter upon chapters, which I promised to write before I went to sleep, I thought it meet to ease my conscience entirely before I laid down, by telling the world all I knew about the matter at once: Is not this ten times better than to set out dogmatically with a sententious parade of wisdom, and telling the world a story of a roasted horse - ⁠that chapters relieve the mind⁠ - that they assist⁠ - or impose upon the imagination⁠ - and that in a work of this dramatic cast they are as necessary as the shifting of scenes - ⁠with fifty other cold conceits, enough to extinguish the fire which roasted him?⁠ O! but to understand this, which is a puff at the fire of Diana’s temple⁠ - you must read Longinus⁠ - read away⁠ - if you are not a jot the wiser by reading him the first time over⁠ - never fear⁠ - read him again⁠ - Avicenna and Licetus read Aristotle’s metaphysicks forty times through apiece, and never understood a single word.⁠ But mark the consequence⁠ - Avicenna turned out a desperate writer at all kinds of writing⁠ - for he wrote books de omni scribili; and for Licetus (Fortunio) though all the world knows he was born a fœtus,[14] of no more than five inches and a half in length, yet he grew to that astonishing height in literature, as to write a book with a title as long as himself - the learned know I mean his Gonopsychanthropologia, upon the origin of the human soul.

So much for my chapter upon chapters, which I hold to be the best chapter in my whole work; and take my word, whoever reads it, is full as well employed, as in picking straws.

Chapter XI

We shall bring all things to rights, said my father, setting his foot upon the first step from the landing.⁠ This Trismegistus, continued my father, drawing his leg back and turning to my uncle Toby - ⁠was the greatest (Toby) of all earthly beings⁠ - he was the greatest king - ⁠the greatest lawgiver - ⁠the greatest philosopher - ⁠and the greatest priest - ⁠and engineer⁠ - said my uncle Toby.

In course, said my father.

Chapter XII

And how does your mistress? cried my father, taking the same step over again from the landing, and calling to Susannah, whom he saw passing by the foot of the stairs with a huge pincushion in her hand⁠ - how does your mistress? As well, said Susannah, tripping by, but without looking up, as can be expected.⁠ What a fool am I! said my father, drawing his leg back again⁠ - let things be as they will, brother Toby, ’tis ever the precise answer - ⁠And how is the child, pray?⁠ ⁠No answer. And where is Dr. Slop? added my father, raising his voice aloud, and looking over the ballusters⁠ - Susannah was out of hearing.

Of all the riddles of a married life, said my father, crossing the landing in order to set his back against the wall, whilst he propounded it to my uncle Toby - ⁠of all the puzzling riddles, said he, in a marriage state, ⁠of which you may trust me, brother Toby, there are more asses loads than all Job’s stock of asses could have carried - ⁠there is not one that has more intricacies in it than this⁠ - that from the very moment the mistress of the house is brought to bed, every female in it, from my lady’s gentlewoman down to the cinder-wench, becomes an inch taller for it; and give themselves more airs upon that single inch, than all their other inches put together.

I think rather, replied my uncle Toby, that ’tis we who sink an inch lower.⁠ If I meet but a woman with child⁠ - I do it.⁠ ’Tis a heavy tax upon that half of our fellow-creatures, brother Shandy, said my uncle Toby⁠ - ’Tis a piteous burden upon ’em, continued he, shaking his head⁠ - Yes, yes, ’tis a painful thing⁠ - said my father, shaking his head too - ⁠but certainly since shaking of heads came into fashion, never did two heads shake together, in concert, from two such different springs.

God bless / Deuce take ’em all - said my uncle Toby and my father, each to himself.

Chapter XIII

Holla!⁠ ⁠you, chairman!⁠ ⁠here’s sixpence - ⁠do step into that bookseller’s shop, and call me a day-tall critick. I am very willing to give any one of ’em a crown to help me with his tackling, to get my father and my uncle Toby off the stairs, and to put them to bed.

’Tis even high time; for except a short nap, which they both got whilst Trim was boring the jackboots⁠ - and which, by the by, did my father no sort of good, upon the score of the bad hinge⁠ - they have not else shut their eyes, since nine hours before the time that Dr. Slop was led into the back parlour in that dirty pickle by Obadiah.

Was every day of my life to be as busy a day as this⁠ - and to take up⁠ - Truce.

I will not finish that sentence till I have made an observation upon the strange state of affairs between the reader and myself, just as things stand at present⁠ - an observation never applicable before to any one biographical writer since the creation of the world, but to myself⁠ - and I believe, will never hold good to any other, until its final destruction⁠ - and therefore, for the very novelty of it alone, it must be worth your worships attending to.

I am this month one whole year older than I was this time twelvemonth; and having got, as you perceive, almost into the middle of my fourth volume⁠ - and no farther than to my first day’s life⁠ - ’tis demonstrative that I have three hundred and sixty-four days more life to write just now, than when I first set out; so that instead of advancing, as a common writer, in my work with what I have been doing at it⁠ - on the contrary, I am just thrown so many volumes back⁠ - was every day of my life to be as busy a day as this⁠ - And why not?⁠ ⁠and the transactions and opinions of it to take up as much description⁠ - And for what reason should they be cut short? as at this rate I should just live 364 times faster than I should write⁠ - It must follow, an’ please your worships, that the more I write, the more I shall have to write⁠ - and consequently, the more your worships read, the more your worships will have to read.

Will this be good for your worships’ eyes?

It will do well for mine; and, was it not that my Opinions will be the death of me, I perceive I shall lead a fine life of it out of this selfsame life of mine; or, in other words, shall lead a couple of fine lives together.

As for the proposal of twelve volumes a year, or a volume a month, it no way alters my prospect⁠ - write as I will, and rush as I may into the middle of things, as Horace advises⁠ - I shall never overtake myself whipp’d and driven to the last pinch; at the worst I shall have one day the start of my pen⁠ - and one day is enough for two volumes - ⁠and two volumes will be enough for one year.⁠

Heaven prosper the manufacturers of paper under this propitious reign, which is now opened to us - ⁠as I trust its providence will prosper everything else in it that is taken in hand.⁠⁠

As for the propagation of Geese⁠ - I give myself no concern⁠ - Nature is all bountiful⁠ - I shall never want tools to work with.

So then, friend! you have got my father and my uncle Toby off the stairs, and seen them to bed? And how did you manage it?⁠ ⁠You dropp’d a curtain at the stair-foot⁠ - I thought you had no other way for it - Here’s a crown for your trouble.

Chapter XIV

Then reach me my breeches off the chair, said my father to Susannah.⁠ ⁠There is not a moment’s time to dress you, Sir, cried Susannah⁠ - the child is as black in the face as my - ⁠As your what? said my father, for like all orators, he was a dear searcher into comparisons.⁠ Bless me, Sir, said Susannah, the child’s in a fit.⁠ And where’s Mr. Yorick?⁠ - Never where he should be, said Susannah, but his curate’s in the dressing-room, with the child upon his arm, waiting for the name⁠ - and my mistress bid me run as fast as I could to know, as captain Shandy is the godfather, whether it should not be called after him.

Were one sure, said my father to himself, scratching his eyebrow, that the child was expiring, one might as well compliment my brother Toby as not⁠ - and it would be a pity, in such a case, to throw away so great a name as Trismegistus upon him - ⁠but he may recover.

No, no, ⁠said my father to Susannah, I’ll get up - There is no time, cried Susannah, the child’s as black as my shoe. Trismegistus, said my father - But stay⁠ - thou art a leaky vessel, Susannah, added my father; canst thou carry Trismegistus in thy head, the length of the gallery without scattering? Can I? cried Susannah, shutting the door in a huff.⁠ ⁠If she can, I’ll be shot, said my father, bouncing out of bed in the dark, and groping for his breeches.

Susannah ran with all speed along the gallery.

My father made all possible speed to find his breeches.

Susannah got the start, and kept it⁠ - ’Tis Tris⁠ - something, cried Susannah⁠ - There is no christian-name in the world, said the curate, beginning with Tris⁠ - but Tristram. Then ’tis Tristram-gistus, quoth Susannah.

There is no gistus to it, noodle!⁠ ’tis my own name, replied the curate, dipping his hand, as he spoke, into the bason⁠ - Tristram! said he, etc. etc. etc. etc., so Tristram was I called, and Tristram shall I be to the day of my death.

My father followed Susannah, with his nightgown across his arm, with nothing more than his breeches on, fastened through haste with but a single button, and that button through haste thrust only half into the buttonhole.

She has not forgot the name? cried my father, half opening the door.⁠ ⁠No, no, said the curate, with a tone of intelligence.⁠ ⁠And the child is better, cried Susannah.⁠ ⁠And how does your mistress? As well, said Susannah, as can be expected.⁠ Pish! said my father, the button of his breeches slipping out of the buttonhole⁠ - So that whether the interjection was levelled at Susannah, or the buttonhole⁠ - whether Pish was an interjection of contempt or an interjection of modesty, is a doubt, and must be a doubt till I shall have time to write the three following favourite chapters, that is, my chapter of chambermaids, my chapter of pishes, and my chapter of buttonholes.

All the light I am able to give the reader at present is this, that the moment my father cried Pish! he whisk’d himself about⁠ - and with his breeches held up by one hand, and his nightgown thrown across the arm of the other, he turned along the gallery to bed, something slower than he came.

Chapter XV

I wish I could write a chapter upon sleep.

A fitter occasion could never have presented itself, than what this moment offers, when all the curtains of the family are drawn⁠ - the candles put out⁠ - and no creature’s eyes are open but a single one, for the other has been shut these twenty years, of my mother’s nurse.

It is a fine subject!

And yet, as fine as it is, I would undertake to write a dozen chapters upon buttonholes, both quicker and with more fame, than a single chapter upon this.

Buttonholes! there is something lively in the very idea of ’em - ⁠and trust me, when I get amongst ’em - ⁠You gentry with great beards - ⁠look as grave as you will - I’ll make merry work with my buttonholes⁠ - I shall have ’em all to myself⁠ - ’tis a maiden subject⁠ - I shall run foul of no man’s wisdom or fine sayings in it.

But for sleep - ⁠I know I shall make nothing of it before I begin⁠ - I am no dab at your fine sayings in the first place⁠ - and in the next, I cannot for my soul set a grave face upon a bad matter, and tell the world⁠ - ’tis the refuge of the unfortunate⁠ - the enfranchisement of the prisoner⁠ - the downy lap of the hopeless, the weary, and the brokenhearted; nor could I set out with a lye in my mouth, by affirming, that of all the soft and delicious functions of our nature, by which the great Author of it, in his bounty, has been pleased to recompense the sufferings wherewith his justice and his good pleasure has wearied us - ⁠that this is the chiefest (I know pleasures worth ten of it); or what a happiness it is to man, when the anxieties and passions of the day are over, and he lies down upon his back, that his soul shall be so seated within him, that whichever way she turns her eyes, the heavens shall look calm and sweet above her⁠ - no desire⁠ - or fear⁠ - or doubt that troubles the air, nor any difficulty past, present, or to come, that the imagination may not pass over without offence, in that sweet secession.

“God’s blessing,” said Sancho Pança, “be upon the man who first invented this selfsame thing called sleep⁠ - it covers a man all over like a cloak.” Now there is more to me in this, and it speaks warmer to my heart and affections, than all the dissertations squeez’d out of the heads of the learned together upon the subject.

Not that I altogether disapprove of what Montaigne advances upon it⁠ - ’tis admirable in its way⁠ - (I quote by memory).

The world enjoys other pleasures, says he, as they do that of sleep, without tasting or feeling it as it slips and passes by.⁠ We should study and ruminate upon it, in order to render proper thanks to him who grants it to us.⁠ For this end I cause myself to be disturbed in my sleep, that I may the better and more sensibly relish it.⁠ ⁠And yet I see few, says he again, who live with less sleep, when need requires; my body is capable of a firm, but not of a violent and sudden agitation⁠ - I evade of late all violent exercises - ⁠I am never weary with walking - ⁠but from my youth, I never liked to ride upon pavements. I love to lie hard and alone, and even without my wife - ⁠This last word may stagger the faith of the world - ⁠but remember, “La Vraisemblance (as Bayle says in the affair of Liceti) n’est pas toujours du Côté de la Verité.” And so much for sleep.

Chapter XVI

If my wife will but venture him⁠ - brother Toby, Trismegistus shall be dress’d and brought down to us, whilst you and I are getting our breakfasts together.⁠

Go, tell Susannah, Obadiah, to step here.

She is run upstairs, answered Obadiah, this very instant, sobbing and crying, and wringing her hands as if her heart would break.

We shall have a rare month of it, said my father, turning his head from Obadiah, and looking wistfully in my uncle Toby’s face for some time⁠ - we shall have a devilish month of it, brother Toby, said my father, setting his arms akimbo, and shaking his head; fire, water, women, wind⁠ - brother Toby!⁠ - ’Tis some misfortune, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠That it is, cried my father⁠ - to have so many jarring elements breaking loose, and riding triumph in every corner of a gentleman’s house⁠ - Little boots it to the peace of a family, brother Toby, that you and I possess ourselves, and sit here silent and unmoved - ⁠whilst such a storm is whistling over our heads.⁠

And what’s the matter, Susannah? They have called the child Tristram - ⁠and my mistress is just got out of an hysterick fit about it - ⁠No - ’tis not my fault, said Susannah⁠ - I told him it was Tristram-gistus.

Make tea for yourself, brother Toby, said my father, taking down his hat - ⁠but how different from the sallies and agitations of voice and members which a common reader would imagine!

For he spake in the sweetest modulation⁠ - and took down his hat with the genteelest movement of limbs, that ever affliction harmonized and attuned together.

Go to the bowling-green for corporal Trim, said my uncle Toby, speaking to Obadiah, as soon as my father left the room.

Chapter XVII

When the misfortune of my Nose fell so heavily upon my father’s head; the reader remembers that he walked instantly upstairs, and cast himself down upon his bed; and from hence, unless he has a great insight into human nature, he will be apt to expect a rotation of the same ascending and descending movements from him, upon his misfortune of my Name;⁠ ⁠no.

The different weight, dear Sir - ⁠nay even the different package of two vexations of the same weight - ⁠makes a very wide difference in our manner of bearing and getting through with them.⁠ ⁠It is not half an hour ago, when (in the great hurry and precipitation of a poor devil’s writing for daily bread) I threw a fair sheet, which I had just finished, and carefully wrote out, slap into the fire, instead of the foul one.

Instantly I snatch’d off my wig, and threw it perpendicularly, with all imaginable violence, up to the top of the room⁠ - indeed I caught it as it fell - ⁠but there was an end of the matter; nor do I think anything else in Nature would have given such immediate ease: She, dear Goddess, by an instantaneous impulse, in all provoking cases, determines us to a sally of this or that member⁠ - or else she thrusts us into this or that place or posture of body, we know not why - ⁠But mark, madam, we live amongst riddles and mysteries - ⁠the most obvious things, which come in our way, have dark sides, which the quickest sight cannot penetrate into; and even the clearest and most exalted understandings amongst us find ourselves puzzled and at a loss in almost every cranny of nature’s works: so that this, like a thousand other things, falls out for us in a way, which though we cannot reason upon it⁠ - yet we find the good of it, may it please your reverences and your worships - ⁠and that’s enough for us.

Now, my father could not lie down with this affliction for his life - ⁠nor could he carry it upstairs like the other⁠ - he walked composedly out with it to the fishpond.

Had my father leaned his head upon his hand, and reasoned an hour which way to have gone - reason, with all her force, could not have directed him to anything like it: there is something, Sir, in fishponds - ⁠but what it is, I leave to system-builders and fishpond-diggers betwixt ’em to find out⁠ - but there is something, under the first disorderly transport of the humours, so unaccountably becalming in an orderly and a sober walk towards one of them, that I have often wondered that neither Pythagoras, nor Plato, nor Solon, nor Lycurgus, nor Muhammad, nor any one of your noted lawgivers, ever gave order about them.

Chapter XVIII

Your honour, said Trim, shutting the parlour-door before he began to speak, has heard, I imagine, of this unlucky accident - ⁠O yes, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and it gives me great concern.⁠ I am heartily concerned too, but I hope your honour, replied Trim, will do me the justice to believe, that it was not in the least owing to me.⁠ ⁠To thee⁠ - Trim?⁠ - cried my uncle Toby, looking kindly in his face - ’twas Susannah’s and the curate’s folly betwixt them. What business could they have together, an’ please your honour, in the garden?⁠ ⁠In the gallery thou meanest, replied my uncle Toby.

Trim found he was upon a wrong scent, and stopped short with a low bow - ⁠Two misfortunes, quoth the corporal to himself, are twice as many at least as are needful to be talked over at one time;⁠ ⁠the mischief the cow has done in breaking into the fortifications, may be told his honour hereafter.⁠ ⁠Trim’s casuistry and address, under the cover of his low bow, prevented all suspicion in my uncle Toby, so he went on with what he had to say to Trim as follows:

For my own part, Trim, though I can see little or no difference betwixt my nephew’s being called Tristram or Trismegistus⁠ - yet as the thing sits so near my brother’s heart, Trim - I would freely have given a hundred pounds rather than it should have happened.⁠ ⁠A hundred pounds, an’ please your honour! replied Trim, ⁠I would not give a cherrystone to boot.⁠ ⁠Nor would I, Trim, upon my own account, quoth my uncle Toby, ⸺⁠but my brother, whom there is no arguing with in this case⁠ - maintains that a great deal more depends, Trim, upon christian-names, than what ignorant people imagine - ⁠for he says there never was a great or heroic action performed since the world began by one called Tristram⁠ - nay, he will have it, Trim, that a man can neither be learned, or wise, or brave.⁠ ’Tis all fancy, an’ please your honour⁠ - I fought just as well, replied the corporal, when the regiment called me Trim, as when they called me James Butler.⁠ ⁠And for my own part, said my uncle Toby, though I should blush to boast of myself, Trim - ⁠yet had my name been Alexander, I could have done no more at Namur than my duty.⁠ Bless your honour! cried Trim, advancing three steps as he spoke, does a man think of his christian-name when he goes upon the attack? Or when he stands in the trench, Trim? cried my uncle Toby, looking firm.⁠ ⁠Or when he enters a breach? said Trim, pushing in between two chairs.⁠ ⁠Or forces the lines? cried my uncle, rising up, and pushing his crutch like a pike.⁠ ⁠Or facing a platoon? cried Trim, presenting his stick like a firelock.⁠ ⁠Or when he marches up the glacis? cried my uncle Toby, looking warm and setting his foot upon his stool.⁠

Chapter XIX

My father was returned from his walk to the fishpond - ⁠and opened the parlour-door in the very height of the attack, just as my uncle Toby was marching up the glacis - ⁠Trim recovered his arms - ⁠never was my uncle Toby caught in riding at such a desperate rate in his life! Alas! my uncle Toby! had not a weightier matter called forth all the ready eloquence of my father⁠ - how hadst thou then and thy poor Hobbyhorse too been insulted!

My father hung up his hat with the same air he took it down; and after giving a slight look at the disorder of the room, he took hold of one of the chairs which had formed the corporal’s breach, and placing it over-against my uncle Toby, he sat down in it, and as soon as the tea-things were taken away, and the door shut, he broke out in a lamentation as follows.

My Father’s Lamentation
It is in vain longer, said my father, addressing himself as much to Ernulphus’s curse, which was laid upon the corner of the chimneypiece - ⁠as to my uncle Toby who sat under it - ⁠it is in vain longer, said my father, in the most querulous monotony imaginable, to struggle as I have done against this most uncomfortable of human persuasions - ⁠I see it plainly, that either for my own sins, brother Toby, or the sins and follies of the Shandy family, Heaven has thought fit to draw forth the heaviest of its artillery against me; and that the prosperity of my child is the point upon which the whole force of it is directed to play. Such a thing would batter the whole universe about our ears, brother Shandy, said my uncle Toby⁠ - if it was so⁠ - Unhappy Tristram: child of wrath! child of decrepitude! interruption! mistake! and discontent! What one misfortune or disaster in the book of embryotic evils, that could unmechanize thy frame, or entangle thy filaments! which has not fallen upon thy head, or ever thou camest into the world - ⁠what evils in thy passage into it! - what evils since!⁠ ⁠produced into being, in the decline of thy father’s days - ⁠when the powers of his imagination and of his body were waxing feeble - ⁠when radical heat and radical moisture, the elements which should have temper’d thine, were drying up; and nothing left to found thy stamina in, but negations⁠ - ’tis pitiful - brother Toby, at the best, and called out for all the little helps that care and attention on both sides could give it. But how were we defeated! You know the event, brother Toby - ’tis too melancholy a one to be repeated now - ⁠when the few animal spirits I was worth in the world, and with which memory, fancy, and quick parts should have been convey’d - were all dispersed, confused, confounded, scattered, and sent to the devil.⁠

Here then was the time to have put a stop to this persecution against him; and tried an experiment at least - whether calmness and serenity of mind in your sister, with a due attention, brother Toby, to her evacuations and repletions - and the rest of her non-naturals, might not, in a course of nine months gestation, have set all things to rights. My child was bereft of these! - What a teazing life did she lead herself, and consequently her fœtus too, with that nonsensical anxiety of hers about lying-in in town? I thought my sister submitted with the greatest patience, replied my uncle Toby - ⸺⁠I never heard her utter one fretful word about it. She fumed inwardly, cried my father; and that, let me tell you, brother, was ten times worse for the child⁠ - and then! what battles did she fight with me, and what perpetual storms about the midwife. There she gave vent, said my uncle Toby. Vent! cried my father, looking up.

But what was all this, my dear Toby, to the injuries done us by my child’s coming head foremost into the world, when all I wished, in this general wreck of his frame, was to have saved this little casket unbroke, unrifled.⁠

With all my precautions, how was my system turned topside-turvy in the womb with my child! his head exposed to the hand of violence, and a pressure of 470 pounds avoirdupois weight acting so perpendicularly upon its apex⁠ - that at this hour ’tis ninety percent insurance, that the fine network of the intellectual web be not rent and torn to a thousand tatters.

Still we could have done.⁠ ⁠Fool, coxcomb, puppy - ⁠give him but a Nose - ⁠Cripple, Dwarf, Driveller, Goosecap - (shape him as you will) the door of fortune stands open⁠ - O Licetus! Licetus! had I been blest with a fœtus five inches long and a half, like thee⁠ - Fate might have done her worst.

Still, brother Toby, there was one cast of the dye left for our child after all⁠ - O Tristram! Tristram! Tristram!

We will send for Mr. Yorick, said my uncle Toby.

You may send for whom you will, replied my father.

Chapter XX

What a rate have I gone on at, curvetting and frisking it away, two up and two down for four volumes together, without looking once behind, or even on one side of me, to see whom I trod upon!⁠ I’ll tread upon no one - ⁠quoth I to myself when I mounted - I’ll take a good rattling gallop; but I’ll not hurt the poorest jackass upon the road.⁠ ⁠So off I set - ⁠up one lane - down another, through this turnpike - ⁠over that, as if the arch-jockey of jockeys had got behind me.

Now ride at this rate with what good intention and resolution you may - ’tis a million to one you’ll do someone a mischief, if not yourself - He’s flung⁠ - he’s off⁠ - he’s lost his hat⁠ - he’s down - he’ll break his neck - ⁠see!⁠ ⁠if he has not galloped full among the scaffolding of the undertaking criticks!⁠ ⁠he’ll knock his brains out against some of their posts⁠ - he’s bounced out!⁠ look⁠ - he’s now riding like a madcap full tilt through a whole crowd of painters, fiddlers, poets, biographers, physicians, lawyers, logicians, players, schoolmen, churchmen, statesmen, soldiers, casuists, connoisseurs, prelates, popes, and engineers.⁠ Don’t fear, said I⁠ - I’ll not hurt the poorest jackass upon the king’s highway.⁠ But your horse throws dirt; see you’ve splash’d a bishop.⁠ ⁠I hope in God, ’twas only Ernulphus, said I. But you have squirted full in the faces of Mess. Le Moyne, De Romigny, and De Marcilly, doctors of the Sorbonne. That was last year, replied I.⁠ But you have trod this moment upon a king.⁠ ⁠Kings have bad times on’t, said I, to be trod upon by such people as me.

You have done it, replied my accuser.

I deny it, quoth I, and so have got off, and here am I standing with my bridle in one hand, and with my cap in the other, to tell my story. And what is it? You shall hear in the next chapter.

Chapter XXI

As Francis the first of France was one winterly night warming himself over the embers of a wood fire, and talking with his first minister of sundry things for the good of the state[15]⁠ - It would not be amiss, said the king, stirring up the embers with his cane, if this good understanding betwixt ourselves and Switzerland was a little strengthened.⁠ There is no end, Sire, replied the minister, in giving money to these people⁠ - they would swallow up the treasury of France.⁠ Poo! poo! answered the king⁠ - there are more ways, Mons. le Premier, of bribing states, besides that of giving money⁠ - I’ll pay Switzerland the honour of standing godfather for my next child.⁠ ⁠Your majesty, said the minister, in so doing, would have all the grammarians in Europe upon your back;⁠ ⁠Switzerland, as a republick, being a female, can in no construction be godfather.⁠ She may be godmother, replied Francis hastily⁠ - so announce my intentions by a courier tomorrow morning.

I am astonished, said Francis the First, (that day fortnight) speaking to his minister as he entered the closet, that we have had no answer from Switzerland.⁠ ⁠Sire, I wait upon you this moment, said Mons. le Premier, to lay before you my dispatches upon that business.⁠ They take it kindly, said the king.⁠ They do, Sire, replied the minister, and have the highest sense of the honour your majesty has done them - ⁠but the republick, as godmother, claims her right, in this case, of naming the child.

In all reason, quoth the king - ⁠she will christen him Francis, or Henry, or Lewis, or some name that she knows will be agreeable to us. Your majesty is deceived, replied the minister - ⁠I have this hour received a dispatch from our resident, with the determination of the republick on that point also.⁠ ⁠And what name has the republick fixed upon for the Dauphin?⁠ ⁠Shadrach, Meshech, Abed-nego, replied the minister.⁠ By Saint Peter’s girdle, I will have nothing to do with the Swiss, cried Francis the First, pulling up his breeches and walking hastily across the floor.

Your majesty, replied the minister calmly, cannot bring yourself off.

We’ll pay them in money - said the king.

Sire, there are not sixty thousand crowns in the treasury, answered the minister.⁠ ⁠I’ll pawn the best jewel in my crown, quoth Francis the First.

Your honour stands pawn’d already in this matter, answered Monsieur le Premier.

Then, Mons. le Premier, said the king, by - we’ll go to war with ’em.

Chapter XXII

Albeit, gentle reader, I have lusted earnestly, and endeavoured carefully (according to the measure of such a slender skill as God has vouchsafed me, and as convenient leisure from other occasions of needful profit and healthful pastime have permitted) that these little books which I here put into thy hands, might stand instead of many bigger books⁠ - yet have I carried myself towards thee in such fanciful guise of careless disport, that right sore am I ashamed now to intreat thy lenity seriously - in beseeching thee to believe it of me, that in the story of my father and his christian-names⁠ - I have no thoughts of treading upon Francis the First - ⁠nor in the affair of the nose⁠ - upon Francis the Ninth⁠ - nor in the character of my uncle Toby - ⁠of characterizing the militiating spirits of my country⁠ - the wound upon his groin, is a wound to every comparison of that kind⁠ - nor by Trim⁠ - that I meant the duke of Ormond - ⁠or that my book is wrote against predestination, or free-will, or taxes⁠ - If ’tis wrote against anything, ’tis wrote, an’ please your worships, against the spleen! in order, by a more frequent and a more convulsive elevation and depression of the diaphragm, and the succussations of the intercostal and abdominal muscles in laughter, to drive the gall and other bitter juices from the gallbladder, liver, and sweetbread of his majesty’s subjects, with all the inimicitious passions which belong to them, down into their duodenums.

Chapter XXIII

But can the thing be undone, Yorick? said my father⁠ - for in my opinion, continued he, it cannot. I am a vile canonist, replied Yorick⁠ - but of all evils, holding suspense to be the most tormenting, we shall at least know the worst of this matter. I hate these great dinners - ⁠said my father⁠ - The size of the dinner is not the point, answered Yorick - ⁠we want, Mr. Shandy, to dive into the bottom of this doubt, whether the name can be changed or not⁠ - and as the beards of so many commissaries, officials, advocates, proctors, registers, and of the most eminent of our school-divines, and others, are all to meet in the middle of one table, and Didius has so pressingly invited you⁠ - who in your distress would miss such an occasion? All that is requisite, continued Yorick, is to apprize Didius, and let him manage a conversation after dinner so as to introduce the subject.⁠ Then my brother Toby, cried my father, clapping his two hands together, shall go with us.

Let my old tye-wig, quoth my uncle Toby, and my laced regimentals, be hung to the fire all night, Trim.

Chapter XXV

No doubt, Sir,⁠ there is a whole chapter wanting here⁠ - and a chasm of ten pages made in the book by it⁠ - but the bookbinder is neither a fool, or a knave, or a puppy⁠ - nor is the book a jot more imperfect (at least upon that score) - ⁠but, on the contrary, the book is more perfect and complete by wanting the chapter, than having it, as I shall demonstrate to your reverences in this manner.⁠ I question first, by the by, whether the same experiment might not be made as successfully upon sundry other chapters - but there is no end, an’ please your reverences, in trying experiments upon chapters - we have had enough of it - ⁠So there’s an end of that matter.

* * * * *

But before I begin my demonstration, let me only tell you, that the chapter which I have torn out, and which otherwise you would all have been reading just now, instead of this - ⁠was the description of my father’s, my uncle Toby’s, Trim’s, and Obadiah’s setting out and journeying to the visitation at ****.

We’ll go in the coach, said my father⁠ - Prithee, have the arms been altered, Obadiah?⁠ - It would have made my story much better to have begun with telling you, that at the time my mother’s arms were added to the Shandy’s, when the coach was repainted upon my father’s marriage, it had so fallen out, that the coach-painter, whether by performing all his works with the left-hand, like Turpilius the Roman, or Hans Holbein of Basil - ⁠or whether ’twas more from the blunder of his head than hand - ⁠or whether, lastly, it was from the sinister turn which everything relating to our family was apt to take - ⁠it so fell out, however, to our reproach, that instead of the bend-dexter, which since Harry the Eighth’s reign was honestly our due - a bend-sinister, by some of these fatalities, had been drawn quite across the field of the Shandy arms. ’Tis scarce credible that the mind of so wise a man as my father was, could be so much incommoded with so small a matter. The word coach⁠ - let it be whose it would⁠ - or coachman, or coach-horse, or coach-hire, could never be named in the family, but he constantly complained of carrying this vile mark of illegitimacy upon the door of his own; he never once was able to step into the coach, or out of it, without turning round to take a view of the arms, and making a vow at the same time, that it was the last time he would ever set his foot in it again, till the bend-sinister was taken out⁠ - but like the affair of the hinge, it was one of the many things which the Destinies had set down in their books ever to be grumbled at (and in wiser families than ours) - ⁠but never to be mended.

Has the bend-sinister been brush’d out, I say? said my father.⁠ ⁠There has been nothing brush’d out, Sir, answered Obadiah, but the lining. We’ll go o’horseback, said my father, turning to Yorick.⁠ ⁠Of all things in the world, except politicks, the clergy know the least of heraldry, said Yorick.⁠ No matter for that, cried my father - ⁠I should be sorry to appear with a blot in my escutcheon before them.⁠ Never mind the bend-sinister, said my uncle Toby, putting on his tye-wig.⁠ ⁠No, indeed, said my father⁠ - you may go with my aunt Dinah to a visitation with a bend-sinister, if you think fit⁠ - My poor uncle Toby blush’d. My father was vexed at himself. No - ⁠my dear brother Toby, said my father, changing his tone - ⁠but the damp of the coach-lining about my loins, may give me the sciatica again, as it did December, January, and February last winter⁠ - so if you please you shall ride my wife’s pad - ⁠and as you are to preach, Yorick, you had better make the best of your way before - ⁠and leave me to take care of my brother Toby, and to follow at our own rates.

Now the chapter I was obliged to tear out, was the description of this cavalcade, in which Corporal Trim and Obadiah, upon two coach-horses abreast, led the way as slow as a patrole - ⁠whilst my uncle Toby, in his laced regimentals and tye-wig, kept his rank with my father, in deep roads and dissertations alternately upon the advantage of learning and arms, as each could get the start.

But the painting of this journey, upon reviewing it, appears to be so much above the stile and manner of anything else I have been able to paint in this book, that it could not have remained in it, without depreciating every other scene; and destroying at the same time that necessary equipoise and balance, (whether of good or bad) betwixt chapter and chapter, from whence the just proportions and harmony of the whole work results. For my own part, I am but just set up in the business, so know little about it⁠ - but, in my opinion, to write a book is for all the world like humming a song⁠ - but in tune with yourself, madam, ’tis no matter how high or how low you take it.

This is the reason, may it please your reverences, that some of the lowest and flattest compositions pass off very well - (as Yorick told my uncle Toby one night) by siege.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby looked brisk at the sound of the word siege, but could make neither head or tail of it.

I’m to preach at court next Sunday, said Homenas - ⁠run over my notes - ⁠so I humm’d over doctor Homenas’s notes⁠ - the modulation’s very well - ’twill do, Homenas, if it holds on at this rate - ⁠so on I humm’d - ⁠and a tolerable tune I thought it was; and to this hour, may it please your reverences, had never found out how low, how flat, how spiritless and jejune it was, but that all of a sudden, up started an air in the middle of it, so fine, so rich, so heavenly,⁠ it carried my soul up with it into the other world; now had I (as Montaigne complained in a parallel accident)⁠ - had I found the declivity easy, or the ascent accessible - certes I had been outwitted. Your notes, Homenas, I should have said, are good notes;⁠ ⁠but it was so perpendicular a precipice - so wholly cut off from the rest of the work, that by the first note I humm’d I found myself flying into the other world, and from thence discovered the vale from whence I came, so deep, so low, and dismal, that I shall never have the heart to descend into it again.

☞ A dwarf who brings a standard along with him to measure his own size⁠ - take my word, is a dwarf in more articles than one.⁠ And so much for tearing out of chapters.

Chapter XXVI

See if he is not cutting it into slips, and giving them about him to light their pipes!⁠ ’Tis abominable, answered Didius; it should not go unnoticed, said doctor Kysarcius - ☞ he was of the Kysarcii of the Low Countries.

Methinks, said Didius, half rising from his chair, in order to remove a bottle and a tall decanter, which stood in a direct line betwixt him and Yorick - ⁠you might have spared this sarcastic stroke, and have hit upon a more proper place, Mr. Yorick⁠ - or at least upon a more proper occasion to have shown your contempt of what we have been about: If the sermon is of no better worth than to light pipes with - ’twas certainly, Sir, not good enough to be preached before so learned a body; and if ’twas good enough to be preached before so learned a body - ’twas certainly, Sir, too good to light their pipes with afterwards.

I have got him fast hung up, quoth Didius to himself, upon one of the two horns of my dilemma - ⁠let him get off as he can.

I have undergone such unspeakable torments, in bringing forth this sermon, quoth Yorick, upon this occasion - that I declare, Didius, I would suffer martyrdom⁠ - and if it was possible my horse with me, a thousand times over, before I would sit down and make such another: I was delivered of it at the wrong end of me - ⁠it came from my head instead of my heart - and it is for the pain it gave me, both in the writing and preaching of it, that I revenge myself of it, in this manner⁠ - To preach, to show the extent of our reading, or the subtleties of our wit⁠ - to parade in the eyes of the vulgar with the beggarly accounts of a little learning, tinsel’d over with a few words which glitter, but convey little light and less warmth - ⁠is a dishonest use of the poor single half hour in a week which is put into our hands⁠ - ’Tis not preaching the gospel⁠ - but ourselves - ⁠For my own part, continued Yorick, I had rather direct five words point-blank to the heart.⁠

As Yorick pronounced the word point-blank, my uncle Toby rose up to say something upon projectiles - ⁠when a single word and no more uttered from the opposite side of the table drew everyone’s ears towards it⁠ - a word of all others in the dictionary the last in that place to be expected⁠ - a word I am ashamed to write⁠ - yet must be written - ⁠must be read⁠ - illegal⁠ - uncanonical⁠ - guess ten thousand guesses, multiplied into themselves⁠ - rack⁠ - torture your invention forever, you’re where you was - ⸺⁠In short, I’ll tell it in the next chapter.

Chapter XXVII

Zounds!!————————Zds! cried Phutatorius, partly to himself - ⁠and yet high enough to be heard⁠ - and what seemed odd, ’twas uttered in a construction of look, and in a tone of voice, somewhat between that of a man in amazement and one in bodily pain.

One or two who had very nice ears, and could distinguish the expression and mixture of the two tones as plainly as a third or a fifth, or any other chord in music⁠ - were the most puzzled and perplexed with it⁠ - the concord was good in itself⁠ - but then ’twas quite out of the key, and no way applicable to the subject started;⁠ ⁠so that with all their knowledge, they could not tell what in the world to make of it.

Others who knew nothing of musical expression, and merely lent their ears to the plain import of the word, imagined that Phutatorius, who was somewhat of a cholerick spirit, was just going to snatch the cudgels out of Didius’s hands, in order to bemaul Yorick to some purpose⁠ - and that the desperate monosyllable Z - ⁠ds was the exordium to an oration, which, as they judged from the sample, presaged but a rough kind of handling of him; so that my uncle Toby’s good-nature felt a pang for what Yorick was about to undergo. But seeing Phutatorius stop short, without any attempt or desire to go on⁠ - a third party began to suppose, that it was no more than an involuntary respiration, casually forming itself into the shape of a twelve-penny oath⁠ - without the sin or substance of one.

Others, and especially one or two who sat next him, looked upon it on the contrary as a real and substantial oath, propensly formed against Yorick, to whom he was known to bear no good liking⁠ - which said oath, as my father philosophized upon it, actually lay fretting and fuming at that very time in the upper regions of Phutatorius’s purtenance; and so was naturally, and according to the due course of things, first squeezed out by the sudden influx of blood which was driven into the right ventricle of Phutatorius’s heart, by the stroke of surprise which so strange a theory of preaching had excited.

How finely we argue upon mistaken facts!

There was not a soul busied in all these various reasonings upon the monosyllable which Phutatorius uttered - ⁠who did not take this for granted, proceeding upon it as from an axiom, namely, that Phutatorius’s mind was intent upon the subject of debate which was arising between Didius and Yorick; and indeed as he looked first towards the one and then towards the other, with the air of a man listening to what was going forwards⁠ - who would not have thought the same? But the truth was, that Phutatorius knew not one word or one syllable of what was passing⁠ - but his whole thoughts and attention were taken up with a transaction which was going forwards at that very instant within the precincts of his own Galligaskins, and in a part of them, where of all others he stood most interested to watch accidents: So that notwithstanding he looked with all the attention in the world, and had gradually skrewed up every nerve and muscle in his face, to the utmost pitch the instrument would bear, in order, as it was thought, to give a sharp reply to Yorick, who sat over-against him - ⁠yet, I say, was Yorick never once in any one domicile of Phutatorius’s brain - ⁠but the true cause of his exclamation lay at least a yard below.

This I will endeavour to explain to you with all imaginable decency.

You must be informed then, that Gastripheres, who had taken a turn into the kitchen a little before dinner, to see how things went on⁠ - observing a wicker-basket of fine chesnuts standing upon the dresser, had ordered that a hundred or two of them might be roasted and sent in, as soon as dinner was over - ⁠Gastripheres inforcing his orders about them, that Didius, but Phutatorius especially, were particularly fond of ’em.

About two minutes before the time that my uncle Toby interrupted Yorick’s harangue⁠ - Gastripheres’s chesnuts were brought in⁠ - and as Phutatorius’s fondness for ’em was uppermost in the waiter’s head, he laid them directly before Phutatorius, wrapt up hot in a clean damask napkin.

Now whether it was physically impossible, with half a dozen hands all thrust into the napkin at a time⁠ - but that some one chesnut, of more life and rotundity than the rest, must be put in motion⁠ - it so fell out, however, that one was actually sent rolling off the table; and as Phutatorius sat straddling under - ⁠it fell perpendicularly into that particular aperture of Phutatorius’s breeches, for which, to the shame and indelicacy of our language be it spoke, there is no chaste word throughout all Johnson’s dictionary - ⁠let it suffice to say - ⁠it was that particular aperture which, in all good societies, the laws of decorum do strictly require, like the temple of Janus (in peace at least) to be universally shut up.

The neglect of this punctilio in Phutatorius (which by the by should be a warning to all mankind) had opened a door to this accident.⁠⁠

Accident I call it, in compliance to a received mode of speaking - but in no opposition to the opinion either of Acrites or Mythogeras in this matter; I know they were both prepossessed and fully persuaded of it⁠ - and are so to this hour, That there was nothing of accident in the whole event - ⁠but that the chesnut’s taking that particular course and in a manner of its own accord⁠ - and then falling with all its heat directly into that one particular place, and no other - ⁠was a real judgment upon Phutatorius, for that filthy and obscene treatise de Concubinis retinendis, which Phutatorius had published about twenty years ago - ⁠and was that identical week going to give the world a second edition of.

It is not my business to dip my pen in this controversy - ⁠much undoubtedly may be wrote on both sides of the question⁠ - all that concerns me as an historian, is to represent the matter of fact, and render it credible to the reader, that the hiatus in Phutatorius’s breeches was sufficiently wide to receive the chesnut;⁠ ⁠and that the chesnut, somehow or other, did fall perpendicularly and piping hot into it, without Phutatorius’s perceiving it, or anyone else at that time.

The genial warmth which the chesnut imparted, was not undelectable for the first twenty or five-and-twenty seconds - ⁠and did no more than gently solicit Phutatorius’s attention towards the part: - But the heat gradually increasing, and in a few seconds more getting beyond the point of all sober pleasure, and then advancing with all speed into the regions of pain, the soul of Phutatorius, together with all his ideas, his thoughts, his attention, his imagination, judgment, resolution, deliberation, ratiocination, memory, fancy, with ten battalions of animal spirits, all tumultuously crowded down, through different defiles and circuits, to the place of danger, leaving all his upper regions, as you may imagine, as empty as my purse.

With the best intelligence which all these messengers could bring him back, Phutatorius was not able to dive into the secret of what was going forwards below, nor could he make any kind of conjecture, what the devil was the matter with it: However, as he knew not what the true cause might turn out, he deemed it most prudent, in the situation he was in at present, to bear it, if possible, like a Stoick; which, with the help of some wry faces and compursions of the mouth, he had certainly accomplished, had his imagination continued neuter;⁠ ⁠but the sallies of the imagination are ungovernable in things of this kind⁠ - a thought instantly darted into his mind, that though the anguish had the sensation of glowing heat⁠ - it might, notwithstanding that, be a bite as well as a burn; and if so, that possibly a Newt or an Asker, or some such detested reptile, had crept up, and was fastening his teeth - ⁠the horrid idea of which, with a fresh glow of pain arising that instant from the chesnut, seized Phutatorius with a sudden panick, and in the first terrifying disorder of the passion, it threw him, as it has done the best generals upon earth, quite off his guard: the effect of which was this, that he leapt incontinently up, uttering as he rose that interjection of surprise so much descanted upon, with the aposiopestic break after it, marked thus, Z - ⁠ds⁠ - which, though not strictly canonical, was still as little as any man could have said upon the occasion; and which, by the by, whether canonical or not, Phutatorius could no more help than he could the cause of it.

Though this has taken up some time in the narrative, it took up little more time in the transaction, than just to allow for Phutatorius to draw forth the chesnut, and throw it down with violence upon the floor⁠ - and for Yorick to rise from his chair, and pick the chesnut up.

It is curious to observe the triumph of slight incidents over the mind: What incredible weight they have in forming and governing our opinions, both of men and things - ⁠that trifles, light as air, shall waft a belief into the soul, and plant it so immoveably within it - ⁠that Euclid’s demonstrations, could they be brought to batter it in breach, should not all have power to overthrow it.

Yorick, I said, picked up the chesnut which Phutatorius’s wrath had flung down - ⁠the action was trifling - ⁠I am ashamed to account for it⁠ - he did it, for no reason, but that he thought the chesnut not a jot worse for the adventure⁠ - and that he held a good chesnut worth stooping for. But this incident, trifling as it was, wrought differently in Phutatorius’s head: He considered this act of Yorick’s in getting off his chair and picking up the chesnut, as a plain acknowledgment in him, that the chesnut was originally his⁠ - and in course, that it must have been the owner of the chesnut, and no one else, who could have played him such a prank with it: What greatly confirmed him in this opinion, was this, that the table being parallelogramical and very narrow, it afforded a fair opportunity for Yorick, who sat directly over against Phutatorius, of slipping the chesnut in - ⁠and consequently that he did it. The look of something more than suspicion, which Phutatorius cast full upon Yorick as these thoughts arose, too evidently spoke his opinion - ⁠and as Phutatorius was naturally supposed to know more of the matter than any person besides, his opinion at once became the general one;⁠ ⁠and for a reason very different from any which have been yet given - ⁠in a little time it was put out of all manner of dispute.

When great or unexpected events fall out upon the stage of this sublunary world - ⁠the mind of man, which is an inquisitive kind of substance, naturally takes a flight behind the scenes to see what is the cause and first spring of them.⁠ The search was not long in this instance.

It was well known that Yorick had never a good opinion of the treatise which Phutatorius had wrote de Concubinis retinendis, as a thing which he feared had done hurt in the world - ⁠and ’twas easily found out, that there was a mystical meaning in Yorick’s prank⁠ - and that his chucking the chesnut hot into Phutatorius’s *** - *****, was a sarcastical fling at his book⁠ - the doctrines of which, they said, had enflamed many an honest man in the same place.

This conceit awaken’d Somnolentus - ⁠made Agelastes smile - ⁠and if you can recollect the precise look and air of a man’s face intent in finding out a riddle - it threw Gastripheres’s into that form⁠ - and in short was thought by many to be a masterstroke of arch-wit.

This, as the reader has seen from one end to the other, was as groundless as the dreams of philosophy: Yorick, no doubt, as Shakespeare said of his ancestor - “was a man of jest,” but it was temper’d with something which withheld him from that, and many other ungracious pranks, of which he as undeservedly bore the blame; but it was his misfortune all his life long to bear the imputation of saying and doing a thousand things, of which (unless my esteem blinds me) his nature was incapable. All I blame him for - ⁠or rather, all I blame and alternately like him for, was that singularity of his temper, which would never suffer him to take pains to set a story right with the world, however in his power. In every ill usage of that sort, he acted precisely as in the affair of his lean horse - ⁠he could have explained it to his honour, but his spirit was above it; and besides, he ever looked upon the inventor, the propagator and believer of an illiberal report alike so injurious to him⁠ - he could not stoop to tell his story to them⁠ - and so trusted to time and truth to do it for him.

This heroic cast produced him inconveniences in many respects⁠ - in the present it was followed by the fixed resentment of Phutatorius, who, as Yorick had just made an end of his chesnut, rose up from his chair a second time, to let him know it⁠ - which indeed he did with a smile; saying only⁠ - that he would endeavour not to forget the obligation.

But you must mark and carefully separate and distinguish these two things in your mind.

The smile was for the company.

The threat was for Yorick.

Chapter XXVIII

Can you tell me, quoth Phutatorius, speaking to Gastripheres who sat next to him - ⁠for one would not apply to a surgeon in so foolish an affair - ⁠can you tell me, Gastripheres, what is best to take out the fire?⁠ ⁠Ask Eugenius, said Gastripheres.⁠ ⁠That greatly depends, said Eugenius, pretending ignorance of the adventure, upon the nature of the part - ⁠If it is a tender part, and a part which can conveniently be wrapt up - It is both the one and the other, replied Phutatorius, laying his hand as he spoke, with an emphatical nod of his head, upon the part in question, and lifting up his right leg at the same time to ease and ventilate it. If that is the case, said Eugenius, I would advise you, Phutatorius, not to tamper with it by any means; but if you will send to the next printer, and trust your cure to such a simple thing as a soft sheet of paper just come off the press⁠ - you need do nothing more than twist it round.⁠ The damp paper, quoth Yorick (who sat next to his friend Eugenius) though I know it has a refreshing coolness in it⁠ - yet I presume is no more than the vehicle⁠ - and that the oil and lampblack with which the paper is so strongly impregnated, does the business.⁠ Right, said Eugenius, and is, of any outward application I would venture to recommend, the most anodyne and safe.

Was it my case, said Gastripheres, as the main thing is the oil and lampblack, I should spread them thick upon a rag, and clap it on directly. That would make a very devil of it, replied Yorick.⁠ ⁠And besides, added Eugenius, it would not answer the intention, which is the extreme neatness and elegance of the prescription, which the Faculty hold to be half in half;⁠ ⁠for consider, if the type is a very small one (which it should be) the sanative particles, which come into contact in this form, have the advantage of being spread so infinitely thin, and with such a mathematical equality (fresh paragraphs and large capitals excepted) as no art or management of the spatula can come up to. It falls out very luckily, replied Phutatorius, that the second edition of my treatise de Concubinis retinendis is at this instant in the press. You may take any leaf of it, said Eugenius - no matter which.⁠ ⁠Provided, quoth Yorick, there is no bawdry in it.⁠

They are just now, replied Phutatorius, printing off the ninth chapter - ⁠which is the last chapter but one in the book.⁠ ⁠Pray what is the title of that chapter? said Yorick; making a respectful bow to Phutatorius as he spoke. I think, answered Phutatorius, ’tis that de re concubinariâ.

For Heaven’s sake keep out of that chapter, quoth Yorick.

By all means⁠ - added Eugenius.

Chapter XXIX

Now, quoth Didius, rising up, and laying his right hand with his fingers spread upon his breast - ⁠had such a blunder about a christian-name happened before the Reformation - [It happened the day before yesterday, quoth my uncle Toby to himself] and when baptism was administer’d in Latin⁠ - [’Twas all in English, said my uncle] - many things might have coincided with it, and upon the authority of sundry decreed cases, to have pronounced the baptism null, with a power of giving the child a new name⁠ - Had a priest, for instance, which was no uncommon thing, through ignorance of the Latin tongue, baptized a child of Tom-o’Stiles, in nomine patriæ & filia & spiritum sanctos⁠ - the baptism was held null.⁠ ⁠I beg your pardon, replied Kysarcius - ⁠in that case, as the mistake was only the terminations, the baptism was valid - ⁠and to have rendered it null, the blunder of the priest should have fallen upon the first syllable of each noun - and not, as in your case, upon the last.

My father delighted in subtleties of this kind, and listen’d with infinite attention.

Gastripheres, for example, continued Kysarcius, baptizes a child of John Stradling’s in Gomine gatris, etc., etc., instead of in Nomine patris, etc.⁠ ⁠Is this a baptism? No⁠ - say the ablest canonists; in as much as the radix of each word is hereby torn up, and the sense and meaning of them removed and changed quite to another object; for Gomine does not signify a name, nor gatris a father.⁠ What do they signify? said my uncle Toby.⁠ Nothing at all - quoth Yorick.⁠ ⁠Ergo, such a baptism is null, said Kysarcius.⁠⁠

In course, answered Yorick, in a tone two parts jest and one part earnest.⁠⁠

But in the case cited, continued Kysarcius, where patriæ is put for patris, filia for filii, and so on - ⁠as it is a fault only in the declension, and the roots of the words continue untouch’d, the inflections of their branches either this way or that, does not in any sort hinder the baptism, inasmuch as the same sense continues in the words as before.⁠ ⁠But then, said Didius, the intention of the priest’s pronouncing them grammatically must have been proved to have gone along with it. Right, answered Kysarcius; and of this, brother Didius, we have an instance in a decree of the decretals of Pope Leo the III - ⁠But my brother’s child, cried my uncle Toby, has nothing to do with the Pope - ’tis the plain child of a Protestant gentleman, christen’d Tristram against the wills and wishes both of his father and mother, and all who are akin to it.⁠⁠

If the wills and wishes, said Kysarcius, interrupting my uncle Toby, of those only who stand related to Mr. Shandy’s child, were to have weight in this matter, Mrs. Shandy, of all people, has the least to do in it.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby lay’d down his pipe, and my father drew his chair still closer to the table, to hear the conclusion of so strange an introduction.

It has not only been a question, Captain Shandy, amongst the[16] best lawyers and civilians in this land, continued Kysarcius, “Whether the mother be of kin to her child,”⁠ - but, after much dispassionate enquiry and jactitation of the arguments on all sides⁠ - it has been abjudged for the negative⁠ - namely, “That the mother is not of kin to her child.[17] My father instantly clapp’d his hand upon my uncle Toby’s mouth, under colour of whispering in his ear; the truth was, he was alarmed for Lillabullero⁠ - and having a great desire to hear more of so curious an argument⁠ - he begg’d my uncle Toby, for Heaven’s sake, not to disappoint him in it.⁠ My uncle Toby gave a nod⁠ - resumed his pipe, and contenting himself with whistling Lillabullero inwardly - ⁠Kysarcius, Didius, and Triptolemus went on with the discourse as follows.

This determination, continued Kysarcius, how contrary soever it may seem to run to the stream of vulgar ideas, yet had reason strongly on its side; and has been put out of all manner of dispute from the famous case, known commonly by the name of the Duke of Suffolk’s case. It is cited in Brook, said Triptolemus - And taken notice of by Lord Coke, added Didius.⁠ And you may find it in Swinburn on Testaments, said Kysarcius.

The case, Mr. Shandy, was this.

In the reign of Edward the Sixth, Charles duke of Suffolk having issue a son by one venter, and a daughter by another venter, made his last will, wherein he devised goods to his son, and died; after whose death the son died also - ⁠but without will, without wife, and without child⁠ - his mother and his sister by the father’s side (for she was born of the former venter) then living. The mother took the administration of her son’s goods, according to the statute of the 21st of Harry the Eighth, whereby it is enacted, That in case any person die intestate the administration of his goods shall be committed to the next of kin.

The administration being thus (surreptitiously) granted to the mother, the sister by the father’s side commenced a suit before the Ecclesiastical Judge, alleging, 1st, That she herself was next of kin; and 2ndly, That the mother was not of kin at all to the party deceased; and therefore prayed the court, that the administration granted to the mother might be revoked, and be committed unto her, as next of kin to the deceased, by force of the said statute.

Hereupon, as it was a great cause, and much depending upon its issue⁠ - and many causes of great property likely to be decided in times to come, by the precedent to be then made - ⁠the most learned, as well in the laws of this realm, as in the civil law, were consulted together, whether the mother was of kin to her son, or no.⁠ Whereunto not only the temporal lawyers - ⁠but the church lawyers⁠ - the juris-consulti⁠ - the juris-prudentes⁠ - the civilians⁠ - the advocates⁠ - the commissaries⁠ - the judges of the consistory and prerogative courts of Canterbury and York, with the master of the faculties, were all unanimously of opinion, That the mother was not of[18] kin to her child.⁠⁠

And what said the duchess of Suffolk to it? said my uncle Toby.

The unexpectedness of my uncle Toby’s question, confounded Kysarcius more than the ablest advocate - ⁠He stopp’d a full minute, looking in my uncle Toby’s face without replying - ⁠and in that single minute Triptolemus put by him, and took the lead as follows.

’Tis a ground and principle in the law, said Triptolemus, that things do not ascend, but descend in it; and I make no doubt ’tis for this cause, that however true it is, that the child may be of the blood and seed of its parents - ⁠that the parents, nevertheless, are not of the blood and seed of it; inasmuch as the parents are not begot by the child, but the child by the parents⁠ - For so they write, Liberi sunt de sanguine patris & matris, sed pater & mater non sunt de sanguine liberorum.

But this, Triptolemus, cried Didius, proves too much⁠ - for from this authority cited it would follow, not only what indeed is granted on all sides, that the mother is not of kin to her child⁠ - but the father likewise.⁠ ⁠It is held, said Triptolemus, the better opinion; because the father, the mother, and the child, though they be three persons, yet are they but (una caro)[19] one flesh; and consequently no degree of kindred - ⁠or any method of acquiring one in nature.⁠ ⁠There you push the argument again too far, cried Didius - ⁠for there is no prohibition in nature, though there is in the Levitical law - ⁠but that a man may beget a child upon his grandmother - ⁠in which case, supposing the issue a daughter, she would stand in relation both of - ⁠But who ever thought, cried Kysarcius, of lying with his grandmother? The young gentleman, replied Yorick, whom Selden speaks of - ⁠who not only thought of it, but justified his intention to his father by the argument drawn from the law of retaliation.⁠ “You lay, Sir, with my mother,” said the lad⁠ - “why may not I lie with yours?” - ’Tis the Argumentum commune, added Yorick.⁠ ’Tis as good, replied Eugenius, taking down his hat, as they deserve.

The company broke up.

Chapter XXX

And pray, said my uncle Toby, leaning upon Yorick, as he and my father were helping him leisurely down the stairs - ⁠don’t be terrified, madam, this staircase conversation is not so long as the last - ⁠And pray, Yorick, said my uncle Toby, which way is this said affair of Tristram at length settled by these learned men? Very satisfactorily, replied Yorick; no mortal, Sir, has any concern with it - ⁠for Mrs. Shandy the mother is nothing at all akin to him - ⁠and as the mother’s is the surest side - ⁠Mr. Shandy, in course, is still less than nothing - In short, he is not as much akin to him, Sir, as I am.⁠⁠

That may well be, said my father, shaking his head.

Let the learned say what they will, there must certainly, quoth my uncle Toby, have been some sort of consanguinity betwixt the duchess of Suffolk and her son.

The vulgar are of the same opinion, quoth Yorick, to this hour.

Chapter XXXI

Though my father was hugely tickled with the subtleties of these learned discourses - ’twas still but like the anointing of a broken bone - The moment he got home, the weight of his afflictions returned upon him but so much the heavier, as is ever the case when the staff we lean on slips from under us.⁠ He became pensive⁠ - walked frequently forth to the fishpond⁠ - let down one loop of his hat - ⁠sigh’d often - ⁠forbore to snap⁠ - and, as the hasty sparks of temper, which occasion snapping, so much assist perspiration and digestion, as Hippocrates tells us⁠ - he had certainly fallen ill with the extinction of them, had not his thoughts been critically drawn off, and his health rescued by a fresh train of disquietudes left him, with a legacy of a thousand pounds, by my aunt Dinah.

My father had scarce read the letter, when taking the thing by the right end, he instantly began to plague and puzzle his head how to lay it out mostly to the honour of his family.⁠ A hundred-and-fifty odd projects took possession of his brains by turns⁠ - he would do this, and that, and t’other⁠ - He would go to Rome - ⁠he would go to law - ⁠he would buy stock - ⁠he would buy John Hobson’s farm⁠ - he would new forefront his house, and add a new wing to make it even - ⁠There was a fine water-mill on this side, and he would build a windmill on the other side of the river in full view to answer it⁠ - But above all things in the world, he would enclose the great Ox-moor, and send out my brother Bobby immediately upon his travels.

But as the sum was finite, and consequently could not do everything - ⁠and in truth very few of these to any purpose⁠ - of all the projects which offered themselves upon this occasion, the two last seemed to make the deepest impression; and he would infallibly have determined upon both at once, but for the small inconvenience hinted at above, which absolutely put him under a necessity of deciding in favour either of the one or the other.

This was not altogether so easy to be done; for though ’tis certain my father had long before set his heart upon this necessary part of my brother’s education, and like a prudent man had actually determined to carry it into execution, with the first money that returned from the second creation of actions in the Missisippi-scheme, in which he was an adventurer - ⁠yet the Ox-moor, which was a fine, large, whinny, undrained, unimproved common, belonging to the Shandy-estate, had almost as old a claim upon him: he had long and affectionately set his heart upon turning it likewise to some account.

But having never hitherto been pressed with such a conjuncture of things, as made it necessary to settle either the priority or justice of their claims - ⁠like a wise man he had refrained entering into any nice or critical examination about them: so that upon the dismission of every other project at this crisis - the two old projects, the Ox-moor and my Brother, divided him again; and so equal a match were they for each other, as to become the occasion of no small contest in the old gentleman’s mind⁠ - which of the two should be set o’going first.

People may laugh as they will⁠ - but the case was this.

It had ever been the custom of the family, and by length of time was almost become a matter of common right, that the eldest son of it should have free ingress, egress, and regress into foreign parts before marriage⁠ - not only for the sake of bettering his own private parts, by the benefit of exercise and change of so much air⁠ - but simply for the mere delectation of his fancy, by the feather put into his cap, of having been abroad⁠ - tantum valet, my father would say, quantum sonat.

Now as this was a reasonable, and in course a most christian indulgence - ⁠to deprive him of it, without why or wherefore - ⁠and thereby make an example of him, as the first Shandy unwhirl’d about Europe in a post-chaise, and only because he was a heavy lad - ⁠would be using him ten times worse than a Turk.

On the other hand, the case of the Ox-moor was full as hard.

Exclusive of the original purchase-money, which was eight hundred pounds - ⁠it had cost the family eight hundred pounds more in a lawsuit about fifteen years before⁠ - besides the Lord knows what trouble and vexation.

It had been moreover in possession of the Shandy-family ever since the middle of the last century; and though it lay full in view before the house, bounded on one extremity by the water-mill, and on the other by the projected windmill, spoken of above⁠ - and for all these reasons seemed to have the fairest title of any part of the estate to the care and protection of the family⁠ - yet by an unaccountable fatality, common to men, as well as the ground they tread on - ⁠it had all along most shamefully been overlook’d; and to speak the truth of it, had suffered so much by it, that it would have made any man’s heart have bled (Obadiah said) who understood the value of the land, to have rode over it, and only seen the condition it was in.

However, as neither the purchasing this tract of ground - ⁠nor indeed the placing of it where it lay, were either of them, properly speaking, of my father’s doing - ⁠he had never thought himself anyway concerned in the affair - till the fifteen years before, when the breaking out of that cursed lawsuit mentioned above (and which had arose about its boundaries) - which being altogether my father’s own act and deed, it naturally awakened every other argument in its favour, and upon summing them all up together, he saw, not merely in interest, but in honour, he was bound to do something for it - ⁠and that now or never was the time.

I think there must certainly have been a mixture of ill-luck in it, that the reasons on both sides should happen to be so equally balanced by each other; for though my father weigh’d them in all humours and conditions - spent many an anxious hour in the most profound and abstracted meditation upon what was best to be done⁠ - reading books of farming one day - books of travels another - ⁠laying aside all passion whatever⁠ - viewing the arguments on both sides in all their lights and circumstances⁠ - communing every day with my uncle Toby⁠ - arguing with Yorick, and talking over the whole affair of the Ox-moor with Obadiah - yet nothing in all that time appeared so strongly in behalf of the one, which was not either strictly applicable to the other, or at least so far counterbalanced by some consideration of equal weight, as to keep the scales even.

For to be sure, with proper helps, and in the hands of some people, though the Ox-moor would undoubtedly have made a different appearance in the world from what it did, or ever could do in the condition it lay - ⁠yet every tittle of this was true, with regard to my brother Bobby - ⁠let Obadiah say what he would.⁠

In point of interest - ⁠the contest, I own, at first sight, did not appear so undecisive betwixt them; for whenever my father took pen and ink in hand, and set about calculating the simple expense of paring and burning, and fencing in the Ox-moor etc. etc.⁠, with the certain profit it would bring him in return - ⁠the latter turned out so prodigiously in his way of working the account, that you would have sworn the Ox-moor would have carried all before it. For it was plain he should reap a hundred lasts of rape, at twenty pounds a last, the very first year - ⁠besides an excellent crop of wheat the year following - ⁠and the year after that, to speak within bounds, a hundred - ⁠but in all likelihood, a hundred and fifty - if not two hundred quarters of peas and beans - ⁠besides potatoes without end.⁠ ⁠But then, to think he was all this while breeding up my brother, like a hog to eat them - ⁠knocked all on the head again, and generally left the old gentleman in such a state of suspence - ⁠that, as he often declared to my uncle Toby - ⁠he knew no more than his heels what to do.

No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time: for to say nothing of the havock, which by a certain consequence is unavoidably made by it all over the finer system of the nerves, which you know convey the animal spirits and more subtle juices from the heart to the head, and so on - ⁠it is not to be told in what a degree such a wayward kind of friction works upon the more gross and solid parts, wasting the fat and impairing the strength of a man every time as it goes backwards and forwards.

My father had certainly sunk under this evil, as certainly as he had done under that of my christian name - ⁠had he not been rescued out of it, as he was out of that, by a fresh evil - the misfortune of my brother Bobby’s death.

What is the life of man! Is it not to shift from side to side? from sorrow to sorrow? to button up one cause of vexation - and unbutton another?

Chapter XXXII

From this moment I am to be considered as heir-apparent to the Shandy family - ⁠and it is from this point properly, that the story of my Life and my Opinions sets out. With all my hurry and precipitation, I have but been clearing the ground to raise the building - ⁠and such a building do I foresee it will turn out, as never was planned, and as never was executed since Adam. In less than five minutes I shall have thrown my pen into the fire, and the little drop of thick ink which is left remaining at the bottom of my ink-horn, after it⁠ - I have but half a score things to do in the time - ⁠I have a thing to name - ⁠a thing to lament - ⁠a thing to hope - ⁠a thing to promise, and a thing to threaten⁠ - I have a thing to suppose⁠ - a thing to declare - ⁠a thing to conceal - ⁠a thing to choose, and a thing to pray for - This chapter, therefore, I name the chapter of Things - and my next chapter to it, that is, the first chapter of my next volume, if I live, shall be my chapter upon whiskers, in order to keep up some sort of connection in my works.

The thing I lament is, that things have crowded in so thick upon me, that I have not been able to get into that part of my work, towards which I have all the way looked forwards, with so much earnest desire; and that is the Campaigns, but especially the amours of my uncle Toby, the events of which are of so singular a nature, and so Cervantick a cast, that if I can so manage it, as to convey but the same impressions to every other brain, which the occurrences themselves excite in my own⁠ - I will answer for it the book shall make its way in the world, much better than its master has done before it.⁠ ⁠Oh Tristram! Tristram! can this but be once brought about - ⁠the credit, which will attend thee as an author, shall counterbalance the many evils which have befallen thee as a man - ⁠thou wilt feast upon the one - ⁠when thou hast lost all sense and remembrance of the other!⁠ ⁠

No wonder I itch so much as I do, to get at these amours⁠ - They are the choicest morsel of my whole story! and when I do get at ’em - ⁠assure yourselves, good folks⁠ - (nor do I value whose squeamish stomach takes offence at it) I shall not be at all nice in the choice of my words!⁠ ⁠and that’s the thing I have to declare. I shall never get all through in five minutes, that I fear - ⁠and the thing I hope is, that your worships and reverences are not offended⁠ - if you are, depend upon’t I’ll give you something, my good gentry, next year to be offended at - ⁠that’s my dear Jenny’s way⁠ - but who my Jenny is⁠ - and which is the right and which the wrong end of a woman, is the thing to be concealed⁠ - it shall be told you in the next chapter but one to my chapter of Buttonholes - ⁠and not one chapter before.

And now that you have just got to the end of these four volumes - ⁠the thing I have to ask is, how you feel your heads? my own akes dismally! - as for your healths, I know, they are much better.⁠ True Shandeism, think what you will against it, opens the heart and lungs, and like all those affections which partake of its nature, it forces the blood and other vital fluids of the body to run freely through its channels, makes the wheel of life run long and cheerfully round.

Was I left, like Sancho Panca, to choose my kingdom, it should not be maritime⁠ - or a kingdom of blacks to make a penny of; no, it should be a kingdom of hearty laughing subjects: And as the bilious and more saturnine passions, by creating disorders in the blood and humours, have as bad an influence, I see, upon the body politick as body natural - ⁠and as nothing but a habit of virtue can fully govern those passions, and subject them to reason - I should add to my prayer⁠ - that God would give my subjects grace to be as wise as they were merry; and then should I be the happiest monarch, and they the happiest people under heaven.

And so, with this moral for the present, may it please your worships and your reverences, I take my leave of you till this time twelvemonth, when, (unless this vile cough kills me in the meantime) I’ll have another pluck at your beards, and lay open a story to the world you little dream of.


Dixero si quid fortè jocosius, hoc mihi juris
Cum venia dabis.⁠⁠

Si quis calumnietur levius esse quam decet theologum, aut mordacius quam deceat Christianum⁠ - non Ego, sed Democritus dixit.⁠

Si quis Clericus, aut Monachus, verba joculatoria, risum moventia, sciebat, anathema esto.⁠
Second Council of Carthage

To the Right Honourable John, Lord Viscount Spencer

My Lord,
I humbly beg leave to offer you these two Volumes;[20] they are the best my talents, with such bad health as I have, could produce:⁠ had Providence granted me a larger stock of either, they had been a much more proper present to your Lordship.
I beg your Lordship will forgive me, if, at the same time I dedicate this work to you, I join Lady Spencer, in the liberty I take of inscribing the story of Le Fever to her name; for which I have no other motive, which my heart has informed me of, but that the story is a humane one.

My Lord,
Your Lordship’s most devoted
and most humble Servant,
Laur. Sterne.

Chapter I

If it had not been for those two mettlesome tits, and that madcap of a postillion who drove them from Stilton to Stamford, the thought had never entered my head. He flew like lightning - ⁠there was a slope of three miles and a half - ⁠we scarce touched the ground - ⁠the motion was most rapid - ⁠most impetuous - ’twas communicated to my brain⁠ - my heart partook of it - “By the great God of day,” said I, looking towards the sun, and thrusting my arm out of the fore-window of the chaise, as I made my vow, “I will lock up my study-door the moment I get home, and throw the key of it ninety feet below the surface of the earth, into the draw-well at the back of my house.”

The London wagon confirmed me in my resolution; it hung tottering upon the hill, scarce progressive, drag’d⁠ - drag’d up by eight heavy beasts⁠ - “by main strength!⁠ ⁠quoth I, nodding - ⁠but your betters draw the same way - ⁠and something of everybody’s!⁠ ⁠O rare!”

Tell me, ye learned, shall we forever be adding so much to the bulk⁠ - so little to the stock?

Shall we forever make new books, as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring only out of one vessel into another?

Are we forever to be twisting, and untwisting the same rope? forever in the same track⁠ - forever at the same pace?

Shall we be destined to the days of eternity, on holy-days, as well as working-days, to be showing the relicks of learning, as monks do the relicks of their saints⁠ - without working one⁠ - one single miracle with them?

Who made Man, with powers which dart him from earth to heaven in a moment⁠ - that great, that most excellent, and most noble creature of the world⁠ - the miracle of nature, as Zoroaster in his book περι φύσεως called him⁠ - the Shekinah of the divine presence, as Chrysostom - ⁠the image of God, as Moses - ⁠the ray of divinity, as Plato⁠ - the marvel of marvels, as Aristotle⁠ - to go sneaking on at this pitiful⁠ - pimping⁠ - pettifogging rate?

I scorn to be as abusive as Horace upon the occasion - but if there is no catachresis in the wish, and no sin in it, I wish from my soul, that every imitator in Great Britain, France, and Ireland, had the farcy for his pains; and that there was a good farcical house, large enough to hold⁠ - aye⁠ - and sublimate them, shag rag and bobtail, male and female, all together: and this leads me to the affair of Whiskers - ⁠but, by what chain of ideas⁠ - I leave as a legacy in mortmain to Prudes and Tartufs, to enjoy and make the most of.

Upon Whiskers
I’m sorry I made it - ’twas as inconsiderate a promise as ever entered a man’s head - ⁠A chapter upon whiskers! alas! the world will not bear it⁠ - ’tis a delicate world - ⁠but I knew not of what mettle it was made⁠ - nor had I ever seen the underwritten fragment; otherwise, as surely as noses are noses, and whiskers are whiskers still (let the world say what it will to the contrary); so surely would I have steered clear of this dangerous chapter.

The Fragment
* * * * * * * * * *

You are half asleep, my good lady, said the old gentleman, taking hold of the old lady’s hand, and giving it a gentle squeeze, as he pronounced the word Whiskers - ⁠shall we change the subject? By no means, replied the old lady⁠ - I like your account of those matters; so throwing a thin gauze handkerchief over her head, and leaning it back upon the chair with her face turned towards him, and advancing her two feet as she reclined herself - ⁠I desire, continued she, you will go on.

The old gentleman went on as follows: - Whiskers! cried the queen of Navarre, dropping her knotting ball, as La Fosseuse uttered the word - ⁠Whiskers, madam, said La Fosseuse, pinning the ball to the queen’s apron, and making a courtesy as she repeated it.

La Fosseuse’s voice was naturally soft and low, yet ’twas an articulate voice: and every letter of the word Whiskers fell distinctly upon the queen of Navarre’s ear⁠ - Whiskers! cried the queen, laying a greater stress upon the word, and as if she had still distrusted her ears - ⁠Whiskers! replied La Fosseuse, repeating the word a third time - ⁠There is not a cavalier, madam, of his age in Navarre, continued the maid of honour, pressing the page’s interest upon the queen, that has so gallant a pair - ⁠Of what? cried Margaret, smiling⁠ - Of whiskers, said La Fosseuse, with infinite modesty.

The word Whiskers still stood its ground, and continued to be made use of in most of the best companies throughout the little kingdom of Navarre, notwithstanding the indiscreet use which La Fosseuse had made of it: the truth was, La Fosseuse had pronounced the word, not only before the queen, but upon sundry other occasions at court, with an accent which always implied something of a mystery⁠ - And as the court of Margaret, as all the world knows, was at that time a mixture of gallantry and devotion - ⁠and whiskers being as applicable to the one, as the other, the word naturally stood its ground - ⁠it gain’d full as much as it lost; that is, the clergy were for it - ⁠the laity were against it - ⁠and for the women, ⁠they were divided.

The excellency of the figure and mien of the young Sieur De Croix, was at that time beginning to draw the attention of the maids of honour towards the terrace before the palace gate, where the guard was mounted. The lady De Baussiere fell deeply in love with him, ⁠La Battarelle did the same⁠ - it was the finest weather for it, that ever was remembered in Navarre - ⁠La Guyol, La Maronette, La Sabatiere, fell in love with the Sieur De Croix also - ⁠La Rebours and La Fosseuse knew better - ⁠De Croix had failed in an attempt to recommend himself to La Rebours; and La Rebours and La Fosseuse were inseparable.

The queen of Navarre was sitting with her ladies in the painted bow-window, facing the gate of the second court, as De Croix passed through it⁠ - He is handsome, said the Lady Baussiere.⁠ ⁠He has a good mien, said La Battarelle - ⁠He is finely shaped, said La Guyol⁠ - I never saw an officer of the horse-guards in my life, said La Maronette, with two such legs - ⁠Or who stood so well upon them, said La Sabatiere - But he has no whiskers, cried La Fosseuse - ⁠Not a pile, said La Rebours.

The queen went directly to her oratory, musing all the way, as she walked through the gallery, upon the subject; turning it this way and that way in her fancy⁠ - Ave Maria! - what can La Fosseuse mean? said she, kneeling down upon the cushion.

La Guyol, La Battarelle, La Maronette, La Sabatiere, retired instantly to their chambers - Whiskers! said all four of them to themselves, as they bolted their doors on the inside.

The Lady Carnavallette was counting her beads with both hands, unsuspected, under her farthingal - ⁠from St. Antony down to St. Ursula inclusive, not a saint passed through her fingers without whiskers; St. Francis, St. Dominick, St. Bennet, St. Basil, St. Bridget, had all whiskers.

The Lady Baussiere had got into a wilderness of conceits, with moralizing too intricately upon La Fosseuse’s text - ⁠She mounted her palfrey, her page followed her - ⁠the host passed by⁠ - the Lady Baussiere rode on.

One denier, cried the order of mercy⁠ - one single denier, in behalf of a thousand patient captives, whose eyes look towards heaven and you for their redemption.

The Lady Baussiere rode on.

Pity the unhappy, said a devout, venerable, hoary-headed man, meekly holding up a box, begirt with iron, in his withered hands - ⁠I beg for the unfortunate⁠ - good my Lady, ’tis for a prison⁠ - for an hospital⁠ - ’tis for an old man⁠ - a poor man undone by shipwreck, by suretyship, by fire - ⁠I call God and all his angels to witness - ’tis to clothe the naked - ⁠to feed the hungry - ’tis to comfort the sick and the brokenhearted.

The Lady Baussiere rode on.

A decayed kinsman bowed himself to the ground.

The Lady Baussiere rode on.

He ran begging bareheaded on one side of her palfrey, conjuring her by the former bonds of friendship, alliance, consanguinity, etc.⁠ ⁠Cousin, aunt, sister, mother, ⁠for virtue’s sake, for your own, for mine, for Christ’s sake, remember me - ⁠pity me.

The Lady Baussiere rode on.

Take hold of my whiskers, said the Lady Baussiere - ⁠The page took hold of her palfrey. She dismounted at the end of the terrace.

There are some trains of certain ideas which leave prints of themselves about our eyes and eyebrows; and there is a consciousness of it, somewhere about the heart, which serves but to make these etchings the stronger⁠ - we see, spell, and put them together without a dictionary.

Ha, ha! he, hee! cried La Guyol and La Sabatiere, looking close at each other’s prints - ⁠Ho, ho! cried La Battarelle and Maronette, doing the same:⁠ Whist! cried one⁠ - st, st,⁠ said a second⁠ - hush, quoth a third⁠ - poo, poo, replied a fourth⁠ - gramercy! cried the Lady Carnavallette;⁠ ’twas she who bewhisker’d St. Bridget.

La Fosseuse drew her bodkin from the knot of her hair, and having traced the outline of a small whisker, with the blunt end of it, upon one side of her upper lip, put it into La Rebours’ hand⁠ - La Rebours shook her head.

The Lady Baussiere coughed thrice into the inside of her muff⁠ - La Guyol smiled⁠ - Fy, said the Lady Baussiere. The queen of Navarre touched her eye with the tip of her forefinger⁠ - as much as to say, I understand you all.

’Twas plain to the whole court the word was ruined: La Fosseuse had given it a wound, and it was not the better for passing through all these defiles - ⁠It made a faint stand, however, for a few months, by the expiration of which, the Sieur De Croix, finding it high time to leave Navarre for want of whiskers - ⁠the word in course became indecent, and (after a few efforts) absolutely unfit for use.

The best word, in the best language of the best world, must have suffered under such combinations. The curate of d’Estella wrote a book against them, setting forth the dangers of accessory ideas, and warning the Navarois against them.

Does not all the world know, said the curate d’Estella at the conclusion of his work, that Noses ran the same fate some centuries ago in most parts of Europe, which Whiskers have now done in the kingdom of Navarre?⁠ - The evil indeed spread no farther then⁠ - but have not beds and bolsters, and nightcaps and chamberpots stood upon the brink of destruction ever since? Are not trouse, and placket-holes, and pump-handles⁠ - and spigots and faucets, in danger still from the same association?⁠ ⁠Chastity, by nature, the gentlest of all affections⁠ - give it but its head - ’tis like a ramping and a roaring lion.

The drift of the curate d’Estella’s argument was not understood.⁠ They ran the scent the wrong way.⁠ The world bridled his ass at the tail.⁠ And when the extremes of delicacy, and the beginnings of concupiscence, hold their next provincial chapter together, they may decree that bawdy also.

Chapter II

When my father received the letter which brought him the melancholy account of my brother Bobby’s death, he was busy calculating the expense of his riding post from Calais to Paris, and so on to Lyons.

’Twas a most inauspicious journey; my father having had every foot of it to travel over again, and his calculation to begin afresh, when he had almost got to the end of it, by Obadiah’s opening the door to acquaint him the family was out of yeast⁠ - and to ask whether he might not take the great coach-horse early in the morning and ride in search of some.⁠ With all my heart, Obadiah, said my father (pursuing his journey)⁠ - take the coach-horse, and welcome.⁠ ⁠But he wants a shoe, poor creature! said Obadiah.⁠ ⁠Poor creature! said my uncle Toby, vibrating the note back again, like a string in unison. Then ride the Scotch horse, quoth my father hastily.⁠ He cannot bear a saddle upon his back, quoth Obadiah, for the whole world.⁠ ⁠The devil’s in that horse; then take Patriot, cried my father, and shut the door.⁠ ⁠Patriot is sold, said Obadiah. Here’s for you! cried my father, making a pause, and looking in my uncle Toby’s face, as if the thing had not been a matter of fact.⁠ Your worship ordered me to sell him last April, said Obadiah.⁠ Then go on foot for your pains, cried my father - ⁠I had much rather walk than ride, said Obadiah, shutting the door.

What plagues, cried my father, going on with his calculation.⁠ ⁠But the waters are out, said Obadiah,⁠ opening the door again.

Till that moment, my father, who had a map of Sanson’s, and a book of the post-roads before him, had kept his hand upon the head of his compasses, with one foot of them fixed upon Nevers, the last stage he had paid for⁠ - purposing to go on from that point with his journey and calculation, as soon as Obadiah quitted the room: but this second attack of Obadiah’s, in opening the door and laying the whole country under water, was too much.⁠ ⁠He let go his compasses⁠ - or rather with a mixed motion between accident and anger, he threw them upon the table; and then there was nothing for him to do, but to return back to Calais (like many others) as wise as he had set out.

When the letter was brought into the parlour, which contained the news of my brother’s death, my father had got forwards again upon his journey to within a stride of the compasses of the very same stage of Nevers.⁠ ⁠By your leave, Mons. Sanson, cried my father, striking the point of his compasses through Nevers into the table⁠ - and nodding to my uncle Toby to see what was in the letter⁠ - twice of one night, is too much for an English gentleman and his son, Mons. Sanson, to be turned back from so lousy a town as Nevers⁠ - What think’st thou, Toby? added my father in a sprightly tone.⁠ ⁠Unless it be a garrison town, said my uncle Toby - ⁠for then - ⁠I shall be a fool, said my father, smiling to himself, as long as I live.⁠ So giving a second nod⁠ - and keeping his compasses still upon Nevers with one hand, and holding his book of the post-roads in the other⁠ - half calculating and half listening, he leaned forwards upon the table with both elbows, as my uncle Toby hummed over the letter.

⸻ ⸻ ⸻ ⸻ ⸻ ⸻ ⸻ he’s gone! said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Where - ⁠Who? cried my father.⁠ ⁠My nephew, said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠What⁠ - without leave⁠ - without money⁠ - without governor? cried my father in amazement. No: he is dead, my dear brother, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ Without being ill? cried my father again.⁠ I dare say not, said my uncle Toby, in a low voice, and fetching a deep sigh from the bottom of his heart, he has been ill enough, poor lad! I’ll answer for him - ⁠for he is dead.

When Agrippina was told of her son’s death, Tacitus informs us, that, not being able to moderate the violence of her passions, she abruptly broke off her work.⁠ My father stuck his compasses into Nevers, but so much the faster.⁠ What contrarieties! his, indeed, was matter of calculation!⁠ Agrippina’s must have been quite a different affair; who else could pretend to reason from history?

How my father went on, in my opinion, deserves a chapter to itself.⁠

Chapter III

⸺⁠And a chapter it shall have, and a devil of a one too⁠ - so look to yourselves.

’Tis either Plato, or Plutarch, or Seneca, or Xenophon, or Epictetus, or Theophrastus, or Lucian⁠ - or someone perhaps of later date⁠ - either Cardan, or Budæus, or Petrarch, or Stella⁠ - or possibly it may be some divine or father of the church, St. Austin, or St. Cyprian, or Barnard, who affirms that it is an irresistible and natural passion to weep for the loss of our friends or children⁠ - and Seneca (I’m positive) tells us somewhere, that such griefs evacuate themselves best by that particular channel⁠ - And accordingly we find, that David wept for his son Absalom⁠ - Adrian for his Antinous⁠ - Niobe for her children, and that Apollodorus and Crito both shed tears for Socrates before his death.

My father managed his affliction otherwise; and indeed differently from most men either ancient or modern; for he neither wept it away, as the Hebrews and the Romans⁠ - or slept it off, as the Laplanders⁠ - or hanged it, as the English, or drowned it, as the Germans⁠ - nor did he curse it, or damn it, or excommunicate it, or rhyme it, or lillabullero it.⁠⁠

He got rid of it, however.

Will your worships give me leave to squeeze in a story between these two pages?

When Tully was bereft of his dear daughter Tullia, at first he laid it to his heart,⁠ he listened to the voice of nature, and modulated his own unto it.⁠ O my Tullia! my daughter! my child!⁠ still, still, still,⁠ ’twas O my Tullia!⁠ - my Tullia! Methinks I see my Tullia, I hear my Tullia, I talk with my Tullia.⁠ But as soon as he began to look into the stores of philosophy, and consider how many excellent things might be said upon the occasion⁠ - nobody upon earth can conceive, says the great orator, how happy, how joyful it made me.

My father was as proud of his eloquence as Marcus Tullius Cicero could be for his life, and, for aught I am convinced of to the contrary at present, with as much reason: it was indeed his strength⁠ - and his weakness too.⁠ ⁠His strength⁠ - for he was by nature eloquent; and his weakness⁠ - for he was hourly a dupe to it; and, provided an occasion in life would but permit him to show his talents, or say either a wise thing, a witty, or a shrewd one⁠ - (bating the case of a systematic misfortune)⁠ - he had all he wanted.⁠ A blessing which tied up my father’s tongue, and a misfortune which let it loose with a good grace, were pretty equal: sometimes, indeed, the misfortune was the better of the two; for instance, where the pleasure of the harangue was as ten, and the pain of the misfortune but as five⁠ - my father gained half in half, and consequently was as well again off, as if it had never befallen him.

This clue will unravel what otherwise would seem very inconsistent in my father’s domestic character; and it is this, that, in the provocations arising from the neglects and blunders of servants, or other mishaps unavoidable in a family, his anger or rather the duration of it, eternally ran counter to all conjecture.

My father had a favourite little mare, which he had consigned over to a most beautiful Arabian horse, in order to have a pad out of her for his own riding: he was sanguine in all his projects; so talked about his pad every day with as absolute a security, as if it had been reared, broke,⁠ and bridled and saddled at his door ready for mounting. By some neglect or other in Obadiah, it so fell out, that my father’s expectations were answered with nothing better than a mule, and as ugly a beast of the kind as ever was produced.

My mother and my uncle Toby expected my father would be the death of Obadiah⁠ - and that there never would be an end of the disaster.⁠ ⁠See here! you rascal, cried my father, pointing to the mule, what you have done!⁠ ⁠It was not me, said Obadiah.⁠ ⁠How do I know that? replied my father.

Triumph swam in my father’s eyes, at the repartee⁠ - the Attic salt brought water into them⁠ - and so Obadiah heard no more about it.

Now let us go back to my brother’s death.

Philosophy has a fine saying for everything.⁠ For Death it has an entire set; the misery was, they all at once rushed into my father’s head, that ’twas difficult to string them together, so as to make anything of a consistent show out of them.⁠ He took them as they came.

“ ’Tis an inevitable chance⁠ - the first statute in Magna Charta⁠ - it is an everlasting act of parliament, my dear brother, ⁠All must die.

“If my son could not have died, it had been matter of wonder,⁠ not that he is dead.

“Monarchs and princes dance in the same ring with us.

“⁠ To die, is the great debt and tribute due unto nature: tombs and monuments, which should perpetuate our memories, pay it themselves; and the proudest pyramid of them all, which wealth and science have erected, has lost its apex, and stands obtruncated in the traveller’s horizon.” (My father found he got great ease, and went on)⁠ - “Kingdoms and provinces, and towns and cities, have they not their periods? and when those principles and powers, which at first cemented and put them together, have performed their several evolutions, they fall back.”⁠ - Brother Shandy, said my uncle Toby, laying down his pipe at the word evolutions⁠ - Revolutions, I meant, quoth my father,⁠ by heaven! I meant revolutions, brother Toby⁠ - evolutions is nonsense.⁠ ’Tis not nonsense,⁠ said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠But is it not nonsense to break the thread of such a discourse upon such an occasion? cried my father⁠ - do not⁠ - dear Toby, continued he, taking him by the hand, do not⁠ - do not, I beseech thee, interrupt me at this crisis.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby put his pipe into his mouth.

“Where is Troy and Mycenæ, and Thebes and Delos, and Persepolis and Agrigentum?”⁠ - continued my father, taking up his book of postcards, which he had laid down.⁠ “What is become, brother Toby, of Nineveh and Babylon, of Cizicum and Mitylenæ? The fairest towns that ever the sun rose upon, are now no more; the names only are left, and those (for many of them are wrong spelt) are falling themselves by piece-meals to decay, and in length of time will be forgotten, and involved with everything in a perpetual night: the world itself, brother Toby, must⁠ - must come to an end.

“Returning out of Asia, when I sailed from Ægina towards Megara,” (when can this have been? thought my uncle Toby) “I began to view the country round about. Ægina was behind me, Megara was before, Pyræus on the right hand, Corinth on the left.⁠ What flourishing towns now prostrate upon the earth! Alas! alas! said I to myself, that man should disturb his soul for the loss of a child, when so much as this lies awfully buried in his presence - ⁠Remember, said I to myself again⁠ - remember thou art a man.”⁠

Now my uncle Toby knew not that this last paragraph was an extract of Servius Sulpicius’s consolatory letter to Tully.⁠ He had as little skill, honest man, in the fragments, as he had in the whole pieces of antiquity.⁠ And as my father, whilst he was concerned in the Turkey trade, had been three or four different times in the Levant, in one of which he had stayed a whole year and an half at Zant, my uncle Toby naturally concluded, that, in some one of these periods, he had taken a trip across the Archipelago into Asia; and that all this sailing affair with Ægina behind, and Megara before, and Pyræus on the right hand, etc., etc., was nothing more than the true course of my father’s voyage and reflections.⁠ ’Twas certainly in his manner, and many an undertaking critic would have built two stories higher upon worse foundations.⁠ And pray, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, laying the end of his pipe upon my father’s hand in a kindly way of interruption⁠ - but waiting till he finished the account⁠ - what year of our Lord was this?⁠ ’Twas no year of our Lord, replied my father.⁠ That’s impossible, cried my uncle Toby.⁠ Simpleton! said my father,⁠ ’twas forty years before Christ was born.

My uncle Toby had but two things for it; either to suppose his brother to be the wandering Jew, or that his misfortunes had disordered his brain.⁠ “May the Lord God of heaven and earth protect him and restore him,” said my uncle Toby, praying silently for my father, and with tears in his eyes.

My father placed the tears to a proper account, and went on with his harangue with great spirit.

“There is not such great odds, brother Toby, betwixt good and evil, as the world imagines” - (this way of setting off, by the by, was not likely to cure my uncle Toby’s suspicions.) - “Labour, sorrow, grief, sickness, want, and woe, are the sauces of life.”⁠ - Much good may it do them⁠ - said my uncle Toby to himself.⁠

“My son is dead!⁠ so much the better; ’tis a shame in such a tempest to have but one anchor.”

“But he is gone forever from us!⁠ be it so. He is got from under the hands of his barber before he was bald⁠ - he is but risen from a feast before he was surfeited⁠ - from a banquet before he had got drunken.”

“The Thracians wept when a child was born”⁠ - (and we were very near it, quoth my uncle Toby)⁠ - “and feasted and made merry when a man went out of the world; and with reason.⁠ ⁠Death opens the gate of fame, and shuts the gate of envy after it,⁠ it unlooses the chain of the captive, and puts the bondsman’s task into another man’s hands.”

“Show me the man, who knows what life is, who dreads it, and I’ll show thee a prisoner who dreads his liberty.”

Is it not better, my dear brother Toby, (for mark⁠ - our appetites are but diseases)⁠ - is it not better not to hunger at all, than to eat?⁠ not to thirst, than to take physic to cure it?

Is it not better to be freed from cares and agues, from love and melancholy, and the other hot and cold fits of life, than, like a galled traveller, who comes weary to his inn, to be bound to begin his journey afresh?

There is no terrour, brother Toby, in its looks, but what it borrows from groans and convulsions⁠ - and the blowing of noses and the wiping away of tears with the bottoms of curtains, in a dying man’s room.⁠ Strip it of these, what is it?⁠ ’Tis better in battle than in bed, said my uncle Toby.⁠ Take away its herses, its mutes, and its mourning,⁠ its plumes, scutcheons, and other mechanic aids⁠ - What is it?⁠ ⁠Better in battle! continued my father, smiling, for he had absolutely forgot my brother Bobby⁠ - ’tis terrible no way⁠ - for consider, brother Toby,⁠ when we are⁠ - death is not; and when death is⁠ - we are not. My uncle Toby laid down his pipe to consider the proposition; my father’s eloquence was too rapid to stay for any man⁠ - away it went,⁠ and hurried my uncle Toby’s ideas along with it.⁠⁠

For this reason, continued my father, ’tis worthy to recollect how little alteration, in great men, the approaches of death have made.⁠ Vespasian died in a jest upon his close-stool⁠ - Galba with a sentence⁠ - Septimus Severus in a dispatch⁠ - Tiberius in dissimulation, and Caesar Augustus in a compliment.⁠ I hope ’twas a sincere one⁠ - quoth my uncle Toby.

’Twas to his wife,⁠ said my father.

Chapter IV

And lastly⁠ - for all the choice anecdotes which history can produce of this matter, continued my father,⁠ this, like the gilded dome which covers in the fabric⁠ - crowns all.⁠

’Tis of Cornelius Gallus, the prætor⁠ - which, I dare say, brother Toby, you have read,⁠ I dare say I have not, replied my uncle.⁠ ⁠He died, said my father, as ***************⁠ - And if it was with his wife, said my uncle Toby⁠ - there could be no hurt in it⁠ - That’s more than I know⁠ - replied my father.

Chapter V

My mother was going very gingerly in the dark along the passage which led to the parlour, as my uncle Toby pronounced the word wife.⁠ ’Tis a shrill penetrating sound of itself, and Obadiah had helped it by leaving the door a little ajar, so that my mother heard enough of it to imagine herself the subject of the conversation; so laying the edge of her finger across her two lips⁠ - holding in her breath, and bending her head a little downwards, with a twist of her neck⁠ - (not towards the door, but from it, by which means her ear was brought to the chink)⁠ - she listened with all her powers: the listening slave, with the Goddess of Silence at his back, could not have given a finer thought for an intaglio.

In this attitude I am determined to let her stand for five minutes: till I bring up the affairs of the kitchen (as Rapin does those of the church) to the same period.

Chapter VI

Though in one sense, our family was certainly a simple machine, as it consisted of a few wheels; yet there was thus much to be said for it, that these wheels were set in motion by so many different springs, and acted one upon the other from such a variety of strange principles and impulses - ⁠that though it was a simple machine, it had all the honour and advantages of a complex one, ⁠and a number of as odd movements within it, as ever were beheld in the inside of a Dutch silk-mill.

Amongst these there was one, I am going to speak of, in which, perhaps, it was not altogether so singular, as in many others; and it was this, that whatever motion, debate, harangue, dialogue, project, or dissertation, was going forwards in the parlour, there was generally another at the same time, and upon the same subject, running parallel along with it in the kitchen.

Now to bring this about, whenever an extraordinary message, or letter, was delivered in the parlour⁠ - or a discourse suspended till a servant went out⁠ - or the lines of discontent were observed to hang upon the brows of my father or mother⁠ - or, in short, when anything was supposed to be upon the tapis worth knowing or listening to, ’twas the rule to leave the door, not absolutely shut, but somewhat ajar⁠ - as it stands just now,⁠ which, under covert of the bad hinge (and that possibly might be one of the many reasons why it was never mended), it was not difficult to manage; by which means, in all these cases, a passage was generally left, not indeed as wide as the Dardanelles, but wide enough, for all that, to carry on as much of this windward trade, as was sufficient to save my father the trouble of governing his house; my mother at this moment stands profiting by it.⁠ Obadiah did the same thing, as soon as he had left the letter upon the table which brought the news of my brother’s death, so that before my father had well got over his surprise, and entered upon this harangue,⁠ had Trim got upon his legs, to speak his sentiments upon the subject.

A curious observer of nature, had he been worth the inventory of all Job’s stock⁠ - though by the by, your curious observers are seldom worth a groat⁠ - would have given the half of it, to have heard Corporal Trim and my father, two orators so contrasted by nature and education, haranguing over the same bier.

My father⁠ - a man of deep reading⁠ - prompt memory⁠ - with Cato, and Seneca, and Epictetus, at his fingers ends.⁠

The corporal⁠ - with nothing⁠ - to remember⁠ - of no deeper reading than his muster-roll⁠ - or greater names at his fingers end, than the contents of it.

The one proceeding from period to period, by metaphor and allusion, and striking the fancy as he went along (as men of wit and fancy do) with the entertainment and pleasantry of his pictures and images.

The other, without wit or antithesis, or point, or turn, this way or that; but leaving the images on one side, and the picture on the other, going straight forwards as nature could lead him, to the heart. O Trim! would to heaven thou had’st a better historian!⁠ would thy historian had a better pair of breeches!⁠ ⁠O ye critics! will nothing melt you?

Chapter VII

My young master in London is dead! said Obadiah.⁠

A green sattin nightgown of my mother’s which had been twice scoured, was the first idea which Obadiah’s exclamation brought into Susannah’s head.⁠ Well might Locke write a chapter upon the imperfection of words.⁠ Then, quoth Susannah, we must all go into mourning.⁠ But note a second time: the word mourning, notwithstanding Susannah made use of it herself⁠ - failed also of doing its office; it excited not one single idea, tinged either with grey or black,⁠ all was green.⁠ ⁠The green sattin nightgown hung there still.

O! ’twill be the death of my poor mistress, cried Susannah.⁠ My mother’s whole wardrobe followed.⁠ What a procession! her red damask,⁠ her orange tawney,⁠ her white and yellow lutestrings,⁠ her brown taffata,⁠ her bone-laced caps, her bed-gowns, and comfortable under-petticoats.⁠ Not a rag was left behind.⁠ “No,⁠ she will never look up again,” said Susannah.

We had a fat, foolish scullion⁠ - my father, I think, kept her for her simplicity; she had been all autumn struggling with a dropsy.⁠ He is dead, said Obadiah,⁠ he is certainly dead!⁠ So am not I, said the foolish scullion.

Here is sad news, Trim, cried Susannah, wiping her eyes as Trim stepp’d into the kitchen,⁠ master Bobby is dead and buried⁠ - the funeral was an interpolation of Susannah’s⁠ - we shall have all to go into mourning, said Susannah.

I hope not, said Trim.⁠ You hope not! cried Susannah earnestly.⁠ The mourning ran not in Trim’s head, whatever it did in Susannah’s.⁠ I hope⁠ - said Trim, explaining himself, I hope in God the news is not true.⁠ I heard the letter read with my own ears, answered Obadiah; and we shall have a terrible piece of work of it in stubbing the Ox-moor.⁠ Oh! he’s dead, said Susannah.⁠ As sure, said the scullion, as I’m alive.

I lament for him from my heart and my soul, said Trim, fetching a sigh.⁠ Poor creature!⁠ poor boy!⁠ poor gentleman.

He was alive last Whitsontide! said the coachman.⁠ Whitsontide! alas! cried Trim, extending his right arm, and falling instantly into the same attitude in which he read the sermon,⁠ what is Whitsontide, Jonathan (for that was the coachman’s name), or Shrovetide, or any tide or time past, to this? Are we not here now, continued the corporal (striking the end of his stick perpendicularly upon the floor, so as to give an idea of health and stability)⁠ - and are we not⁠ - (dropping his hat upon the ground) gone! in a moment!⁠ ’Twas infinitely striking! Susannah burst into a flood of tears.⁠ We are not stocks and stones.⁠ Jonathan, Obadiah, the cook-maid, all melted.⁠ The foolish fat scullion herself, who was scouring a fish-kettle upon her knees, was rous’d with it.⁠ The whole kitchen crowded about the corporal.

Now, as I perceive plainly, that the preservation of our constitution in church and state,⁠ and possibly the preservation of the whole world⁠ - or what is the same thing, the distribution and balance of its property and power, may in time to come depend greatly upon the right understanding of this stroke of the corporal’s eloquence⁠ - I do demand your attention⁠ - your worships and reverences, for any ten pages together, take them where you will in any other part of the work, shall sleep for it at your ease.

I said, “we were not stocks and stones”⁠ - ’tis very well. I should have added, nor are we angels, I wish we were,⁠ but men clothed with bodies, and governed by our imaginations; and what a junketing piece of work of it there is, betwixt these and our seven senses, especially some of them, for my own part, I own it, I am ashamed to confess. Let it suffice to affirm, that of all the senses, the eye (for I absolutely deny the touch, though most of your Barbati, I know, are for it) has the quickest commerce with the soul,⁠ gives a smarter stroke, and leaves something more inexpressible upon the fancy, than words can either convey⁠ - or sometimes, get rid of.

I’ve gone a little about⁠ - no matter, ’tis for health⁠ - let us only carry it back in our mind to the mortality of Trim’s hat.⁠ “Are we not here now,⁠ and gone in a moment?”⁠ - There was nothing in the sentence⁠ - ’twas one of your self-evident truths we have the advantage of hearing every day; and if Trim had not trusted more to his hat than his head⁠ - he had made nothing at all of it.

“Are we not here now;” continued the corporal, “and are we not”⁠ - (dropping his hat plump upon the ground⁠ - and pausing, before he pronounced the word)⁠ - “gone! in a moment?” The descent of the hat was as if a heavy lump of clay had been kneeded into the crown of it.⁠ ⁠Nothing could have expressed the sentiment of mortality, of which it was the type and forerunner, like it,⁠ his hand seemed to vanish from under it,⁠ it fell dead,⁠ the corporal’s eye fixed upon it, as upon a corpse,⁠ and Susannah burst into a flood of tears.

Now⁠ - Ten thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand (for matter and motion are infinite) are the ways by which a hat may be dropped upon the ground, without any effect.⁠ ⁠Had he flung it, or thrown it, or cast it, or skimmed it, or squirted it, or let it slip or fall in any possible direction under heaven,⁠ or in the best direction that could be given to it,⁠ had he dropped it like a goose⁠ - like a puppy⁠ - like an ass⁠ - or in doing it, or even after he had done, had he looked like a fool⁠ - like a ninny⁠ - like a nincompoop⁠ - it had fail’d, and the effect upon the heart had been lost.

Ye who govern this mighty world and its mighty concerns with the engines of eloquence,⁠ who heat it, and cool it, and melt it, and mollify it, ⁠and then harden it again to your purpose

Ye who wind and turn the passions with this great windlass, and, having done it, lead the owners of them, whither ye think meet⁠—

Ye, lastly, who drive - ⁠and why not, Ye also who are driven, like turkeys to market with a stick and a red clout⁠ - meditate⁠ - meditate, I beseech you, upon Trim’s hat.

Chapter VIII

Stay - ⁠I have a small account to settle with the reader before Trim can go on with his harangue.⁠ It shall be done in two minutes.

Amongst many other book-debts, all of which I shall discharge in due time,⁠ I own myself a debtor to the world for two items,⁠ a chapter upon chambermaids and buttonholes, which, in the former part of my work, I promised and fully intended to pay off this year: but some of your worships and reverences telling me, that the two subjects, especially so connected together, might endanger the morals of the world,⁠ I pray the chapter upon chambermaids and buttonholes may be forgiven me,⁠ and that they will accept of the last chapter in lieu of it; which is nothing, an’t please your reverences, but a chapter of chambermaids, green gowns, and old hats.

Trim took his off the ground,⁠ put it upon his head,⁠ and then went on with his oration upon death, in manner and form following.

Chapter IX

To us, Jonathan, who know not what want or care is⁠ - who live here in the service of two of the best of masters⁠ - (bating in my own case his majesty King William the Third, whom I had the honour to serve both in Ireland and Flanders)⁠ - I own it, that from Whitsontide to within three weeks of Christmas,⁠ ’tis not long⁠ - ’tis like nothing; but to those, Jonathan, who know what death is, and what havock and destruction he can make, before a man can well wheel about⁠ - ’tis like a whole age.⁠ O Jonathan! ’twould make a good-natured man’s heart bleed, to consider, continued the corporal (standing perpendicularly), how low many a brave and upright fellow has been laid since that time!⁠ And trust me, Susy, added the corporal, turning to Susannah, whose eyes were swimming in water,⁠ before that time comes round again,⁠ many a bright eye will be dim.⁠ Susannah placed it to the right side of the page⁠ - she wept⁠ - but she court’sied too.⁠ Are we not, continued Trim, looking still at Susannah⁠ - are we not like a flower of the field⁠ - a tear of pride stole in betwixt every two tears of humiliation⁠ - else no tongue could have described Susannah’s affliction⁠ - is not all flesh grass?⁠ ’Tis clay,⁠ ’tis dirt.⁠ They all looked directly at the scullion,⁠ the scullion had just been scouring a fish-kettle.⁠ It was not fair.⁠⁠

What is the finest face that ever man looked at!⁠ I could hear Trim talk so forever, cried Susannah,⁠ what is it! (Susannah laid her hand upon Trim’s shoulder)⁠ - but corruption?⁠ ⁠Susannah took it off.

Now I love you for this⁠ - and ’tis this delicious mixture within you which makes you dear creatures what you are⁠ - and he who hates you for it - all I can say of the matter is⁠ - That he has either a pumpkin for his head⁠ - or a pippin for his heart,⁠ and whenever he is dissected ’twill be found so.

Chapter X

Whether Susannah, by taking her hand too suddenly from off the corporal’s shoulder (by the whisking about of her passions) - ⁠broke a little the chain of his reflections—

Or whether the corporal began to be suspicious, he had got into the doctor’s quarters, and was talking more like the chaplain than himself—

Or whether--------------- Or whether - ⁠for in all such cases a man of invention and parts may with pleasure fill a couple of pages with suppositions - ⁠which of all these was the cause, let the curious physiologist, or the curious anybody determine - ’tis certain, at least, the corporal went on thus with his harangue.

For my own part, I declare it, that out of doors, I value not death at all:⁠ not this⁠ ⁠… added the corporal, snapping his fingers,⁠ but with an air which no one but the corporal could have given to the sentiment.⁠ In battle, I value death not this⁠ ⁠… and let him not take me cowardly, like poor Joe Gibbins, in scouring his gun⁠ - What is he? A pull of a trigger⁠ - a push of a bayonet an inch this way or that⁠ - makes the difference.⁠ Look along the line⁠ - to the right⁠ - see! Jack’s down! well,⁠ ’tis worth a regiment of horse to him.⁠ No⁠ - ’tis Dick. Then Jack’s no worse.⁠ Never mind which,⁠ we pass on,⁠ in hot pursuit the wound itself which brings him is not felt,⁠ the best way is to stand up to him,⁠ the man who flies, is in ten times more danger than the man who marches up into his jaws.⁠ I’ve look’d him, added the corporal, an hundred times in the face,⁠ and know what he is.⁠ He’s nothing, Obadiah, at all in the field.⁠ But he’s very frightful in a house, quoth Obadiah.⁠ ⁠I never mind it myself, said Jonathan, upon a coach-box.⁠ It must, in my opinion, be most natural in bed, replied Susannah.⁠ And could I escape him by creeping into the worst calf’s skin that ever was made into a knapsack, I would do it there⁠ - said Trim⁠ - but that is nature.

Nature is nature, said Jonathan.⁠ And that is the reason, cried Susannah, I so much pity my mistress.⁠ She will never get the better of it.⁠ Now I pity the captain the most of anyone in the family, answered Trim.⁠ ⁠Madam will get ease of heart in weeping,⁠ and the Squire in talking about it,⁠ but my poor master will keep it all in silence to himself,⁠ I shall hear him sigh in his bed for a whole month together, as he did for lieutenant Le Fever.⁠ An’ please your honour, do not sigh so piteously, I would say to him as I laid besides him. I cannot help it, Trim, my master would say, ’tis so melancholy an accident⁠ - I cannot get it off my heart.⁠ Your honour fears not death yourself.⁠ I hope, Trim, I fear nothing, he would say, but the doing a wrong thing.⁠ ⁠Well, he would add, whatever betides, I will take care of Le Fever’s boy.⁠ And with that, like a quieting draught, his honour would fall asleep.

I like to hear Trim’s stories about the captain, said Susannah.⁠ He is a kindly-hearted gentleman, said Obadiah, as ever lived.⁠ Aye, and as brave a one too, said the corporal, as ever stepped before a platoon.⁠ There never was a better officer in the king’s army,⁠ or a better man in God’s world; for he would march up to the mouth of a cannon, though he saw the lighted match at the very touch-hole,⁠ and yet, for all that, he has a heart as soft as a child for other people.⁠ ⁠He would not hurt a chicken.⁠ ⁠I would sooner, quoth Jonathan, drive such a gentleman for seven pounds a year⁠ - than some for eight.⁠ Thank thee, Jonathan! for thy twenty shillings,⁠ as much, Jonathan, said the corporal, shaking him by the hand, as if thou hadst put the money into my own pocket.⁠ ⁠I would serve him to the day of my death out of love. He is a friend and a brother to me,⁠ and could I be sure my poor brother Tom was dead,⁠ continued the corporal, taking out his handkerchief,⁠ was I worth ten thousand pounds, I would leave every shilling of it to the captain.⁠ ⁠Trim could not refrain from tears at this testamentary proof he gave of his affection to his master.⁠ ⁠The whole kitchen was affected.⁠ Do tell us the story of the poor lieutenant, said Susannah.⁠ ⁠With all my heart, answered the corporal.

Susannah, the cook, Jonathan, Obadiah, and corporal Trim, formed a circle about the fire; and as soon as the scullion had shut the kitchen door,⁠ the corporal begun.

Chapter XI

I am a Turk if I had not as much forgot my mother, as if Nature had plaistered me up, and set me down naked upon the banks of the river Nile, without one.⁠ ⁠Your most obedient servant, Madam⁠ - I’ve cost you a great deal of trouble,⁠ I wish it may answer; but you have left a crack in my back,⁠ and here’s a great piece fallen off here before,⁠ and what must I do with this foot?⁠ ⁠I shall never reach England with it.

For my own part, I never wonder at anything; and so often has my judgment deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong,⁠ at least I am seldom hot upon cold subjects. For all this, I reverence truth as much as anybody; and when it has slipped us, if a man will but take me by the hand, and go quietly and search for it, as for a thing we have both lost, and can neither of us do well without,⁠ I’ll go to the world’s end with him: But I hate disputes,⁠ and therefore (bating religious points, or such as touch society) I would almost subscribe to anything which does not choke me in the first passage, rather than be drawn into one.⁠ ⁠But I cannot bear suffocation, ⁠and bad smells worst of all.⁠ ⁠For which reasons, I resolved from the beginning, That if ever the army of martyrs was to be augmented,⁠ or a new one raised,⁠ I would have no hand in it, one way or t’other.

Chapter XII

But to return to my mother.

My uncle Toby’s opinion, Madam, “that there could be no harm in Cornelius Gallus, the Roman prætor’s lying with his wife;” - ⁠or rather the last word of that opinion,⁠ (for it was all my mother heard of it) caught hold of her by the weak part of the whole sex: You shall not mistake me,⁠ I mean her curiosity,⁠ she instantly concluded herself the subject of the conversation, and with that prepossession upon her fancy, you will readily conceive every word my father said, was accommodated either to herself, or her family concerns.

Pray, Madam, in what street does the lady live, who would not have done the same?

From the strange mode of Cornelius’s death, my father had made a transition to that of Socrates, and was giving my uncle Toby an abstract of his pleading before his judges;⁠ ’twas irresistible: not the oration of Socrates,⁠ but my father’s temptation to it.⁠ ⁠He had wrote the Life of Socrates[21] himself the year before he left off trade, which, I fear, was the means of hastening him out of it;⁠ ⁠so that no one was able to set out with so full a sail, and in so swelling a tide of heroic loftiness upon the occasion, as my father was. Not a period in Socrates’s oration, which closed with a shorter word than transmigration, or annihilation,⁠ or a worse thought in the middle of it than to be⁠ - or not to be,⁠ the entering upon a new and untried state of things,⁠ or, upon a long, a profound and peaceful sleep, without dreams, without disturbance?⁠ ⁠That we and our children were born to die,⁠ but neither of us born to be slaves.⁠ ⁠No⁠ - there I mistake; that was part of Eleazer’s oration, as recorded by Josephus (de Bell. Judaic.) - ⁠Eleazer owns he had it from the philosophers of India; in all likelihood Alexander the Great, in his irruption into India, after he had overrun Persia, amongst the many things he stole,⁠ stole that sentiment also; by which means it was carried, if not all the way by himself (for we all know he died at Babylon), at least by some of his maroders, into Greece,⁠ from Greece it got to Rome,⁠ from Rome to France,⁠ and from France to England: So things come round.⁠⁠

By land carriage, I can conceive no other way.⁠⁠

By water the sentiment might easily have come down the Ganges into the Sinus Gangeticus, or Bay of Bengal, and so into the Indian Sea; and following the course of trade (the way from India by the Cape of Good Hope being then unknown), might be carried with other drugs and spices up the Red Sea to Joddah, the port of Mekka, or else to Tor or Sues, towns at the bottom of the gulf; and from thence by karrawans to Coptos, but three days’ journey distant, so down the Nile directly to Alexandria, where the sentiment would be landed at the very foot of the great staircase of the Alexandrian library, ⁠and from that storehouse it would be fetched. Bless me! what a trade was driven by the learned in those days!

Chapter XIII

Now my father had a way, a little like that of Job’s (in case there ever was such a man - ⁠if not, there’s an end of the matter.⁠⁠

Though, by the by, because your learned men find some difficulty in fixing the precise æra in which so great a man lived; whether, for instance, before or after the patriarchs, etc.⁠ ⁠to vote, therefore, that he never lived at all, is a little cruel,⁠ ’tis not doing as they would be done by,⁠ happen that as it may) - ⁠My father, I say, had a way, when things went extremely wrong with him, especially upon the first sally of his impatience,⁠ of wondering why he was begot,⁠ wishing himself dead; sometimes worse: And when the provocation ran high, and grief touched his lips with more than ordinary powers⁠ - Sir, you scarce could have distinguished him from Socrates himself.⁠ ⁠Every word would breathe the sentiments of a soul disdaining life, and careless about all its issues; for which reason, though my mother was a woman of no deep reading, yet the abstract of Socrates’s oration, which my father was giving my uncle Toby, was not altogether new to her.⁠ She listened to it with composed intelligence, and would have done so to the end of the chapter, had not my father plunged (which he had no occasion to have done) into that part of the pleading where the great philosopher reckons up his connections, his alliances, and children; but renounces a security to be so won by working upon the passions of his judges.⁠ “I have friends⁠ - I have relations,⁠ I have three desolate children,”⁠ - says Socrates.⁠

Then, cried my mother, opening the door, ⁠you have one more, Mr. Shandy, than I know of.

By heaven! I have one less,⁠ said my father, getting up and walking out of the room.

Chapter XIV

They are Socrates’s children, said my uncle Toby. He has been dead a hundred years ago, replied my mother.

My uncle Toby was no chronologer⁠ - so not caring to advance one step but upon safe ground, he laid down his pipe deliberately upon the table, and rising up, and taking my mother most kindly by the hand, without saying another word, either good or bad, to her, he led her out after my father, that he might finish the ecclaircissement himself.

Chapter XV

Had this volume been a farce, which, unless everyone’s life and opinions are to be looked upon as a farce as well as mine, I see no reason to suppose⁠ - the last chapter, Sir, had finished the first act of it, and then this chapter must have set off thus.

Ptr..r..r..ing⁠ - twing⁠ - twang⁠ - prut⁠ - trut - ’tis a cursed bad fiddle.⁠ Do you know whether my fiddle’s in tune or no?⁠ trut..prut..⁠ They should be fifths.⁠ ’Tis wickedly strung⁠ - tr⁠ ⁠… a.e.i.o.u.-twang.⁠ The bridge is a mile too high, and the sound post absolutely down,⁠ else⁠ - trut . . prut⁠ - hark! ’tis not so bad a tone.⁠ Diddle diddle, diddle diddle, diddle diddle, dum. There is nothing in playing before good judges,⁠ but there’s a man there⁠ - no⁠ - not him with the bundle under his arm⁠ - the grave man in black.⁠ ’Sdeath! not the gentleman with the sword on.⁠ Sir, I had rather play a Caprichio to Calliope herself, than draw my bow across my fiddle before that very man; and yet I’ll stake my Cremona to a Jew’s trump, which is the greatest musical odds that ever were laid, that I will this moment stop three hundred and fifty leagues out of tune upon my fiddle, without punishing one single nerve that belongs to him⁠ - Twaddle diddle, tweddle diddle,⁠ twiddle diddle, ⁠twoddle diddle,⁠ twuddle diddle, ⁠prut trut⁠ - krish⁠ - krash⁠ - krush.⁠ I’ve undone you, Sir,⁠ but you see he’s no worse,⁠ and was Apollo to take his fiddle after me, he can make him no better.

Diddle diddle, diddle diddle, diddle diddle⁠ - hum⁠ - dum⁠ - drum.

Your worships and your reverences love music⁠ - and God has made you all with good ears⁠ - and some of you play delightfully yourselves⁠ - trut-prut,⁠ prut-trut.

O! there is⁠ - whom I could sit and hear whole days,⁠ whose talents lie in making what he fiddles to be felt,⁠ who inspires me with his joys and hopes, and puts the most hidden springs of my heart into motion.⁠ If you would borrow five guineas of me, Sir,⁠ which is generally ten guineas more than I have to spare⁠ - or you Messrs. Apothecary and Taylor, want your bills paying,⁠ that’s your time.

Chapter XVI

The first thing which entered my father’s head, after affairs were a little settled in the family, and Susannah had got possession of my mother’s green sattin nightgown,⁠ was to sit down coolly, after the example of Xenophon, and write a Tristra-pædia, or system of education for me; collecting first for that purpose his own scattered thoughts, counsels, and notions; and binding them together, so as to form an institute for the government of my childhood and adolescence. I was my father’s last stake⁠ - he had lost my brother Bobby entirely,⁠ he had lost, by his own computation, full three-fourths of me⁠ - that is, he had been unfortunate in his three first great casts for me⁠ - my geniture, nose, and name,⁠ there was but this one left; and accordingly my father gave himself up to it with as much devotion as ever my uncle Toby had done to his doctrine of projectils.⁠ The difference between them was, that my uncle Toby drew his whole knowledge of projectils from Nicholas Tartaglia⁠ - My father spun his, every thread of it, out of his own brain,⁠ or reeled and cross-twisted what all other spinners and spinsters had spun before him, that ’twas pretty near the same torture to him.

In about three years, or something more, my father had got advanced almost into the middle of his work.⁠ Like all other writers, he met with disappointments.⁠ He imagined he should be able to bring whatever he had to say, into so small a compass, that when it was finished and bound, it might be rolled up in my mother’s hussive.⁠ Matter grows under our hands.⁠ Let no man say,⁠ “Come⁠ - I’ll write a duodecimo.”

My father gave himself up to it, however, with the most painful diligence, proceeding step by step in every line, with the same kind of caution and circumspection (though I cannot say upon quite so religious a principle) as was used by John de la Casse, the lord archbishop of Benevento, in compassing his Galatea; in which his Grace of Benevento spent near forty years of his life; and when the thing came out, it was not of above half the size or the thickness of a Rider’s Almanac.⁠ How the holy man managed the affair, unless he spent the greatest part of his time in combing his whiskers, or playing at primero with his chaplain,⁠ would pose any mortal not let into the true secret; and therefore ’tis worth explaining to the world, was it only for the encouragement of those few in it, who write not so much to be fed⁠ - as to be famous.

I own had John de la Casse, the archbishop of Benevento, for whose memory (notwithstanding his Galatea) I retain the highest veneration,⁠ had he been, Sir, a slender clerk⁠ - of dull wit⁠ - slow parts⁠ - costive head, and so forth,⁠ he and his Galatea might have jogged on together to the age of Methuselah for me,⁠ the phænomenon had not been worth a parenthesis.⁠

But the reverse of this was the truth: John de la Casse was a genius of fine parts and fertile fancy; and yet with all these advantages of nature, which should have pricked him forwards with his Galatea, he lay under an impuissance at the same time of advancing above a line and a half in the compass of a whole summer’s day: this disability in his Grace arose from an opinion he was afflicted with,⁠ which opinion was this,⁠ viz. that whenever a Christian was writing a book (not for his private amusement, but) where his intent and purpose was, bona fide, to print and publish it to the world, his first thoughts were always the temptations of the evil one.⁠ This was the state of ordinary writers: but when a personage of venerable character and high station, either in church or state, once turned author,⁠ he maintained, that from the very moment he took pen in hand⁠ - all the devils in hell broke out of their holes to cajole him.⁠ ’Twas Term-time with them,⁠ every thought, first and last, was captious; how specious and good soever,⁠ ’twas all one; in whatever form or colour it presented itself to the imagination,⁠ ’twas still a stroke of one or other of ’em levell’d at him, and was to be fenced off.⁠ So that the life of a writer, whatever he might fancy to the contrary, was not so much a state of composition, as a state of warfare; and his probation in it, precisely that of any other man militant upon earth,⁠ both depending alike, not half so much upon the degrees of his wit⁠ - as his resistance.

My father was hugely pleased with this theory of John de la Casse, archbishop of Benevento; and (had it not cramped him a little in his creed) I believe would have given ten of the best acres in the Shandy estate, to have been the broacher of it.⁠ How far my father actually believed in the devil, will be seen, when I come to speak of my father’s religious notions, in the progress of this work: ’tis enough to say here, as he could not have the honour of it, in the literal sense of the doctrine⁠ - he took up with the allegory of it; and would often say, especially when his pen was a little retrograde, there was as much good meaning, truth, and knowledge, couched under the veil of John de la Casse’s parabolical representation,⁠ as was to be found in any one poetic fiction or mystic record of antiquity.⁠ Prejudice of education, he would say, is the devil,⁠ and the multitudes of them which we suck in with our mother’s milk⁠ - are the devil and all.⁠ ⁠We are haunted with them, brother Toby, in all our lucubrations and researches; and was a man fool enough to submit tamely to what they obtruded upon him,⁠ what would his book be? Nothing,⁠ he would add, throwing his pen away with a vengeance,⁠ nothing but a farrago of the clack of nurses, and of the nonsense of the old women (of both sexes) throughout the kingdom.

This is the best account I am determined to give of the slow progress my father made in his Tristra-pædia; at which (as I said) he was three years, and something more, indefatigably at work, and, at last, had scarce completed, by his own reckoning, one half of his undertaking: the misfortune was, that I was all that time totally neglected and abandoned to my mother: and what was almost as bad, by the very delay, the first part of the work, upon which my father had spent the most of his pains, was rendered entirely useless, ⁠every day a page or two became of no consequence.⁠⁠

Certainly it was ordained as a scourge upon the pride of human wisdom, That the wisest of us all should thus outwit ourselves, and eternally forego our purposes, in the intemperate act of pursuing them.

In short, my father was so long in all his acts of resistance,⁠ or in other words,⁠ he advanced so very slow with his work, and I began to live and get forwards at such a rate, that if an event had not happened, ⁠which, when we get to it, if it can be told with decency, shall not be concealed a moment from the reader - ⁠I verily believe, I had put by my father, and left him drawing a sundial, for no better purpose than to be buried underground.

Chapter XVII

’Twas nothing,⁠ I did not lose two drops of blood by it - ⸺’twas not worth calling in a surgeon, had he lived next door to us - ⁠thousands suffer by choice, what I did by accident.⁠ ⁠Doctor Slop made ten times more of it, than there was occasion: some men rise, by the art of hanging great weights upon small wires,⁠ and I am this day (August the 10th, 1761) paying part of the price of this man’s reputation.⁠ ⁠O ’twould provoke a stone, to see how things are carried on in this world!⁠ ⁠The chambermaid had left no ******* *** under the bed: Cannot you contrive, master, quoth Susannah, lifting up the sash with one hand, as she spoke, and helping me up into the window-seat with the other,⁠ cannot you manage, my dear, for a single time, to **** *** ** *** ******?

I was five years old.⁠ ⁠Susannah did not consider that nothing was well hung in our family, ⁠so slap came the sash down like lightning upon us; Nothing is left,⁠ cried Susannah,⁠ nothing is left⁠ - for me, but to run my country.⁠⁠

My uncle Toby’s house was a much kinder sanctuary; and so Susannah fled to it.

Chapter XVIII

When Susannah told the corporal the misadventure of the sash, with all the circumstances which attended the murder of me,⁠ (as she called it)⁠ - the blood forsook his cheeks,⁠ all accessaries in murder being principals,⁠ Trim’s conscience told him he was as much to blame as Susannah,⁠ and if the doctrine had been true, my uncle Toby had as much of the bloodshed to answer for to heaven, as either of ’em; so that neither reason or instinct, separate or together, could possibly have guided Susannah’s steps to so proper an asylum. It is in vain to leave this to the Reader’s imagination:⁠ to form any kind of hypothesis that will render these propositions feasible, he must cudgel his brains sore,⁠ and to do it without,⁠ he must have such brains as no reader ever had before him.⁠ ⁠Why should I put them either to trial or to torture? ’Tis my own affair: I’ll explain it myself.

Chapter XIX

’Tis a pity, Trim, said my uncle Toby, resting with his hand upon the corporal’s shoulder, as they both stood surveying their works,⁠ that we have not a couple of field-pieces to mount in the gorge of that new redoubt;⁠ ’twould secure the lines all along there, and make the attack on that side quite complete: get me a couple cast, Trim.

Your honour shall have them, replied Trim, before tomorrow morning.

It was the joy of Trim’s heart,⁠ nor was his fertile head ever at a loss for expedients in doing it, to supply my uncle Toby in his campaigns, with whatever his fancy called for; had it been his last crown, he would have sat down and hammered it into a paderero, to have prevented a single wish in his Master. The corporal had already,⁠ what with cutting off the ends of my uncle Toby’s spouts⁠ - hacking and chiseling up the sides of his leaden gutters,⁠ melting down his pewter shaving-bason,⁠ and going at last, like Lewis the Fourteenth, on to the top of the church, for spare ends, etc.⁠ ⁠he had that very campaign brought no less than eight new battering cannons, besides three demi-culverins, into the field; my uncle Toby’s demand for two more pieces for the redoubt, had set the corporal at work again; and no better resource offering, he had taken the two leaden weights from the nursery window: and as the sash pullies, when the lead was gone, were of no kind of use, he had taken them away also, to make a couple of wheels for one of their carriages.

He had dismantled every sash-window in my uncle Toby’s house long before, in the very same way,⁠ though not always in the same order; for sometimes the pullies have been wanted, and not the lead,⁠ so then he began with the pullies,⁠ and the pullies being picked out, then the lead became useless,⁠ and so the lead went to pot too.

A great moral might be picked handsomely out of this, but I have not time⁠ - ’tis enough to say, wherever the demolition began, ’twas equally fatal to the sash window.

Chapter XX

The corporal had not taken his measures so badly in this stroke of artilleryship, but that he might have kept the matter entirely to himself, and left Susannah to have sustained the whole weight of the attack, as she could; true courage is not content with coming off so.⁠ ⁠The corporal, whether as general or comptroller of the train,⁠ ’twas no matter, ⁠had done that, without which, as he imagined, the misfortune could never have happened,⁠ at least in Susannah’s hands;⁠ ⁠How would your honours have behaved?⁠ ⁠He determined at once, not to take shelter behind Susannah,⁠ but to give it; and with this resolution upon his mind, he marched upright into the parlour, to lay the whole manoeuvre before my uncle Toby.

My uncle Toby had just then been giving Yorick an account of the battle of Steenkirk, and of the strange conduct of count Solmes in ordering the foot to halt, and the horse to march where it could not act; which was directly contrary to the king’s commands, and proved the loss of the day.

There are incidents in some families so pat to the purpose of what is going to follow,⁠ they are scarce exceeded by the invention of a dramatic writer; I mean of ancient days.⁠

Trim, by the help of his forefinger, laid flat upon the table, and the edge of his hand striking across it at right angles, made a shift to tell his story so, that priests and virgins might have listened to it; and the story being told,⁠ the dialogue went on as follows.

Chapter XXI

I would be picquetted to death, cried the corporal, as he concluded Susannah’s story, before I would suffer the woman to come to any harm,⁠ ’twas my fault, an’ please your honour,⁠ not hers.

Corporal Trim, replied my uncle Toby, putting on his hat which lay upon the table, ⁠if anything can be said to be a fault, when the service absolutely requires it should be done,⁠ ’tis I certainly who deserve the blame, ⁠you obeyed your orders.

Had count Solmes, Trim, done the same at the battle of Steenkirk, said Yorick, drolling a little upon the corporal, who had been run over by a dragoon in the retreat, ⁠he had saved thee;⁠ ⁠Saved! cried Trim, interrupting Yorick, and finishing the sentence for him after his own fashion, ⁠he had saved five battalions, an’ please your reverence, every soul of them: there was Cutts’s⁠ - continued the corporal, clapping the forefinger of his right hand upon the thumb of his left, and counting round his hand, ⁠there was Cutts’s, ⁠Mackay’s, ⁠Angus’s, ⁠Graham’s, ⁠and Leven’s, all cut to pieces;⁠ ⁠and so had the English lifeguards too, had it not been for some regiments upon the right, who marched up boldly to their relief, and received the enemy’s fire in their faces, before any one of their own platoons discharged a musket, ⁠they’ll go to heaven for it,⁠ added Trim.⁠ Trim is right, said my uncle Toby, nodding to Yorick, ⁠he’s perfectly right. What signified his marching the horse, continued the corporal, where the ground was so straight, that the French had such a nation of hedges, and copses, and ditches, and fell’d trees laid this way and that to cover them; (as they always have).⁠ ⁠Count Solmes should have sent us, ⁠we would have fired muzzle to muzzle with them for their lives.⁠ ⁠There was nothing to be done for the horse: he had his foot shot off however for his pains, continued the corporal, the very next campaign at Landen.⁠ Poor Trim got his wound there, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ ’Twas owing, an’ please your honour, entirely to count Solmes, ⁠had he drubb’d them soundly at Steenkirk, they would not have fought us at Landen.⁠ ⁠Possibly not, ⁠Trim, said my uncle Toby;⁠ ⁠though if they have the advantage of a wood, or you give them a moment’s time to intrench themselves, they are a nation which will pop and pop forever at you.⁠ ⁠There is no way but to march coolly up to them, ⁠receive their fire, and fall in upon them, pell-mell - ⁠Ding dong, added Trim.⁠ ⁠Horse and foot, said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Helter skelter, said Trim.⁠ ⁠Right and left, cried my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Blood an’ ounds, shouted the corporal;⁠ ⁠the battle raged, ⁠Yorick drew his chair a little to one side for safety, and after a moment’s pause, my uncle Toby sinking his voice a note,⁠ resumed the discourse as follows.

Chapter XXII

King William, said my uncle Toby, addressing himself to Yorick, was so terribly provoked at count Solmes for disobeying his orders, that he would not suffer him to come into his presence for many months after.⁠ ⁠I fear, answered Yorick, the squire will be as much provoked at the corporal, as the King at the count.⁠ ⁠But ’twould be singularly hard in this case, continued he, if corporal Trim, who has behaved so diametrically opposite to count Solmes, should have the fate to be rewarded with the same disgrace: too oft in this world, do things take that train.⁠ ⁠I would spring a mine, cried my uncle Toby, rising up, ⁠and blow up my fortifications, and my house with them, and we would perish under their ruins, ere I would stand by and see it.⁠ ⁠Trim directed a slight, ⁠but a grateful bow towards his master, ⁠and so the chapter ends.

Chapter XXIII

Then, Yorick, replied my uncle Toby, you and I will lead the way abreast, ⁠and do you, corporal, follow a few paces behind us.⁠ ⁠And Susannah, an’ please your honour, said Trim, shall be put in the rear.⁠ ’Twas an excellent disposition,⁠ and in this order, without either drums beating, or colours flying, they marched slowly from my uncle Toby’s house to Shandy-hall.

I wish, said Trim, as they entered the door,⁠ instead of the sash weights, I had cut off the church spout, as I once thought to have done.⁠ You have cut off spouts enow, replied Yorick.⁠⁠

Chapter XXIV

As many pictures as have been given of my father, how like him soever in different airs and attitudes,⁠ not one, or all of them, can ever help the reader to any kind of preconception of how my father would think, speak, or act, upon any untried occasion or occurrence of life.⁠ There was that infinitude of oddities in him, and of chances along with it, by which handle he would take a thing,⁠ it baffled, Sir, all calculations.⁠ ⁠The truth was, his road lay so very far on one side, from that wherein most men travelled,⁠ that every object before him presented a face and section of itself to his eye, altogether different from the plan and elevation of it seen by the rest of mankind.⁠ In other words, ’twas a different object, and in course was differently considered:

This is the true reason, that my dear Jenny and I, as well as all the world besides us, have such eternal squabbles about nothing.⁠ She looks at her outside,⁠ I, at her in⁠ - . How is it possible we should agree about her value?

Chapter XXV

’Tis a point settled,⁠ and I mention it for the comfort of Confucius,[22] who is apt to get entangled in telling a plain story⁠ - that provided he keeps along the line of his story,⁠ he may go backwards and forwards as he will,⁠ ’tis still held to be no digression.

This being premised, I take the benefit of the act of going backwards myself.

Chapter XXVI

Fifty thousand pannier loads of devils⁠ - (not of the Archbishop of Benevento’s,⁠ I mean of Rabelais’s devils) with their tails chopped off by their rumps, could not have made so diabolical a scream of it, as I did⁠ - when the accident befell me: it summoned up my mother instantly into the nursery,⁠ so that Susannah had but just time to make her escape down the back stairs, as my mother came up the fore.

Now, though I was old enough to have told the story myself,⁠ and young enough, I hope, to have done it without malignity; yet Susannah, in passing by the kitchen, for fear of accidents, had left it in shorthand with the cook⁠ - the cook had told it with a commentary to Jonathan, and Jonathan to Obadiah; so that by the time my father had rung the bell half a dozen times, to know what was the matter above,⁠ was Obadiah enabled to give him a particular account of it, just as it had happened.⁠ I thought as much, said my father, tucking up his nightgown; and so walked upstairs.

One would imagine from this - (though for my own part I somewhat question it)⁠ - that my father, before that time, had actually wrote that remarkable character in the Tristra-pædia, which to me is the most original and entertaining one in the whole book; and that is the chapter upon sash-windows, with a bitter Philippick at the end of it, upon the forgetfulness of chambermaids.⁠ I have but two reasons for thinking otherwise.

First, Had the matter been taken into consideration, before the event happened, my father certainly would have nailed up the sash window for good an’ all; which, considering with what difficulty he composed books,⁠ he might have done with ten times less trouble, than he could have wrote the chapter: this argument I foresee holds good against his writing a chapter, even after the event; but ’tis obviated under the second reason, which I have the honour to offer to the world in support of my opinion, that my father did not write the chapter upon sash-windows and chamberpots, at the time supposed,⁠ and it is this.

That, in order to render the Tristra-pædia complete,⁠ I wrote the chapter myself.

Chapter XXVII

My father put on his spectacles⁠ - looked,⁠ took them off,⁠ put them into the case⁠ - all in less than a statutable minute; and without opening his lips, turned about and walked precipitately downstairs: my mother imagined he had stepped down for lint and basilicon; but seeing him return with a couple of folios under his arm, and Obadiah following him with a large reading-desk, she took it for granted ’twas an herbal, and so drew him a chair to the bedside, that he might consult upon the case at his ease.

If it be but right done,⁠ said my father, turning to the Section⁠ - de sede vel subjecto circumcisionis, ⁠for he had brought up Spenser de Legibus Hebræorum Ritualibus⁠ - and Maimonides, in order to confront and examine us altogether.⁠

If it be but right done, quoth he:⁠ only tell us, cried my mother, interrupting him, what herbs?⁠ ⁠For that, replied my father, you must send for Dr. Slop.

My mother went down, and my father went on, reading the section as follows,

 * * * * *Very well,⁠ said my father,* * * *  - nay, if it has that convenience - ⁠and so without stopping a moment to settle it first in his mind, whether the Jews had it from the Egyptians, or the Egyptians from the Jews,⁠ he rose up, and rubbing his forehead two or three times across with the palm of his hand, in the manner we rub out the footsteps of care, when evil has trod lighter upon us than we foreboded,⁠ he shut the book, and walked downstairs.⁠ Nay, said he, mentioning the name of a different great nation upon every step as he set his foot upon it⁠ - if the Egyptians,⁠ the Syrians,⁠ the Phoenicians,⁠ the Arabians,⁠ the Cappadocians, ⁠if the Colchi, and Troglodytes did it - ⁠if Solon and Pythagoras submitted,⁠ what is Tristram?⁠ ⁠Who am I, that I should fret or fume one moment about the matter?

Chapter XXVIII

Dear Yorick, said my father, smiling (for Yorick had broke his rank with my uncle Toby in coming through the narrow entry, and so had stepped first into the parlour)⁠ - this Tristram of ours, I find, comes very hardly by all his religious rites.⁠ Never was the son of Jew, Christian, Turk, or Infidel initiated into them in so oblique and slovenly a manner.⁠ But he is no worse, I trust, said Yorick.⁠ There has been certainly, continued my father, the deuce and all to do in some part or other of the ecliptic, when this offspring of mine was formed.⁠ That, you are a better judge of than I, replied Yorick.⁠ Astrologers, quoth my father, know better than us both:⁠ the trine and sextil aspects have jumped awry,⁠ or the opposite of their ascendants have not hit it, as they should,⁠ or the lords of the genitures (as they call them) have been at bo-peep,⁠ or something has been wrong above, or below with us.

’Tis possible, answered Yorick.⁠ But is the child, cried my uncle Toby, the worse?⁠ The Troglodytes say not, replied my father. And your theologists, Yorick, tell us⁠ - Theologically? said Yorick,⁠ or speaking after the manner of apothecaries?[23]⁠ - statesmen?[24]⁠ - or washerwomen?[25]

I’m not sure, replied my father,⁠ but they tell us, brother Toby, he’s the better for it.⁠ ⁠Provided, said Yorick, you travel him into Egypt.⁠ ⁠Of that, answered my father, he will have the advantage, when he sees the Pyramids.⁠⁠

Now every word of this, quoth my uncle Toby, is Arabick to me.⁠ ⁠I wish, said Yorick, ’twas so, to half the world.

Ilus,[26] continued my father, circumcised his whole army one morning.⁠ Not without a court martial? cried my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠Though the learned, continued he, taking no notice of my uncle Toby’s remark, but turning to Yorick,⁠ are greatly divided still who Ilus was; some say Saturn; some the Supreme Being; others, no more than a brigadier general under Pharaoh-neco.⁠ ⁠Let him be who he will, said my uncle Toby, I know not by what article of war he could justify it.

The controvertists, answered my father, assign two-and-twenty different reasons for it:⁠ others, indeed, who have drawn their pens on the opposite side of the question, have shown the world the futility of the greatest part of them.⁠ But then again, our best polemic divines⁠ - I wish there was not a polemic divine, said Yorick, in the kingdom; one ounce of practical divinity⁠ - is worth a painted shipload of all their reverences have imported these fifty years.⁠ Pray, Mr. Yorick, quoth my uncle Toby,⁠ do tell me what a polemic divine is?⁠ ⁠The best description, captain Shandy, I have ever read, is of a couple of ’em, replied Yorick, in the account of the battle fought single hands betwixt Gymnast and captain Tripet; which I have in my pocket.⁠ ⁠I beg I may hear it, quoth my uncle Toby earnestly.⁠ You shall, said Yorick.⁠ And as the corporal is waiting for me at the door,⁠ and I know the description of a battle will do the poor fellow more good than his supper,⁠ I beg, brother, you’ll give him leave to come in.⁠ With all my soul, said my father.⁠ ⁠Trim came in, erect and happy as an emperor; and having shut the door, Yorick took a book from his right-hand coat-pocket, and read, or pretended to read, as follows.

Chapter XXIX

“which words being heard by all the soldiers which were there, divers of them being inwardly terrified, did shrink back and make room for the assailant: all this did Gymnast very well remark and consider; and therefore, making as if he would have alighted from off his horse, as he was poising himself on the mounting side, he most nimbly (with his short sword by his thigh) shifting his feet in the stirrup, and performing the stirrup-leather feat, whereby, after the inclining of his body downwards, he forthwith launched himself aloft into the air, and placed both his feet together upon the saddle, standing upright, with his back turned towards his horse’s head,⁠ Now (said he) my case goes forward. Then suddenly in the same posture wherein he was, he fetched a gambol upon one foot, and turning to the left-hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round, just into his former position, without missing one jot.⁠ ⁠Ha! said Tripet, I will not do that at this time,⁠ and not without cause. Well, said Gymnast, I have failed,⁠ I will undo this leap; then with a marvellous strength and agility, turning towards the right-hand, he fetched another frisking gambol as before; which done, he set his right-hand thumb upon the bow of the saddle, raised himself up, and sprung into the air, poising and upholding his whole weight upon the muscle and nerve of the said thumb, and so turned and whirled himself about three times: at the fourth, reversing his body, and overturning it upside down, and foreside back, without touching anything, he brought himself betwixt the horse’s two ears, and then giving himself a jerking swing, he seated himself upon the crupper”

(This can’t be fighting, said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠The corporal shook his head at it.⁠ ⁠Have patience, said Yorick.)

“Then (Tripet) pass’d his right leg over his saddle, and placed himself en croup.⁠ But, said he, ’twere better for me to get into the saddle; then putting the thumbs of both hands upon the crupper before him, and thereupon leaning himself, as upon the only supporters of his body, he incontinently turned heels over head in the air, and strait found himself betwixt the bow of the saddle in a tolerable seat; then springing into the air with a summerset, he turned him about like a windmill, and made above a hundred frisks, turns, and demi-pommadas.”⁠ - Good God! cried Trim, losing all patience,⁠ one home thrust of a bayonet is worth it all.⁠ ⁠I think so too, replied Yorick.⁠⁠

I am of a contrary opinion, quoth my father.

Chapter XXX

No,⁠ I think I have advanced nothing, replied my father, making answer to a question which Yorick had taken the liberty to put to him,⁠ I have advanced nothing in the Tristra-pædia, but what is as clear as any one proposition in Euclid.⁠ Reach me, Trim, that book from off the scrutoir: it has ofttimes been in my mind, continued my father, to have read it over both to you, Yorick, and to my brother Toby, and I think it a little unfriendly in myself, in not having done it long ago: shall we have a short chapter or two now,⁠ and a chapter or two hereafter, as occasions serve; and so on, till we get through the whole? My uncle Toby and Yorick made the obeisance which was proper; and the corporal, though he was not included in the compliment, laid his hand upon his breast, and made his bow at the same time.⁠ ⁠The company smiled. Trim, quoth my father, has paid the full price for staying out the entertainment.⁠ ⁠He did not seem to relish the play, replied Yorick.⁠ ’Twas a Tomfool-battle, an’ please your reverence, of captain Tripet’s and that other officer, making so many summersets, as they advanced;⁠ ⁠the French come on capering now and then in that way,⁠ but not quite so much.

My uncle Toby never felt the consciousness of his existence with more complacency than what the corporal’s, and his own reflections, made him do at that moment;⁠ ⁠he lighted his pipe, ⁠Yorick drew his chair closer to the table,⁠ Trim snuff’d the candle,⁠ my father stirr’d up the fire,⁠ took up the book,⁠ cough’d twice, and begun.

Chapter XXXI

The first thirty pages, said my father, turning over the leaves,⁠ are a little dry; and as they are not closely connected with the subject, ⁠for the present we’ll pass them by: ’tis a prefatory introduction, continued my father, or an introductory preface (for I am not determined which name to give it) upon political or civil government; the foundation of which being laid in the first conjunction betwixt male and female, for procreation of the species - ⁠I was insensibly led into it.⁠ ’Twas natural, said Yorick.

The original of society, continued my father, I’m satisfied is, what Politian tells us, i.e., merely conjugal; and nothing more than the getting together of one man and one woman; to which, (according to Hesiod) the philosopher adds a servant: but supposing in the first beginning there were no men servants born - ⁠he lays the foundation of it, in a man,⁠ a woman⁠ - and a bull.⁠ ⁠I believe ’tis an ox, quoth Yorick, quoting the passage (οἶκον μὲν πρώτιστα, γυναῖκα τε, βοῦν τ’ ἀροτῆρα).⁠ ⁠A bull must have given more trouble than his head was worth.⁠ ⁠But there is a better reason still, said my father (dipping his pen into his ink); for the ox being the most patient of animals, and the most useful withal in tilling the ground for their nourishment,⁠ was the properest instrument, and emblem too, for the new joined couple, that the creation could have associated with them.⁠ And there is a stronger reason, added my uncle Toby, than them all for the ox.⁠ My father had not power to take his pen out of his ink-horn, till he had heard my uncle Toby’s reason.⁠ For when the ground was tilled, said my uncle Toby, and made worth enclosing, then they began to secure it by walls and ditches, which was the origin of fortification.⁠ ⁠True, true, dear Toby, cried my father, striking out the bull, and putting the ox in his place.

My father gave Trim a nod, to snuff the candle, and resumed his discourse.

I enter upon this speculation, said my father carelessly, and half shutting the book, as he went on, merely to show the foundation of the natural relation between a father and his child; the right and jurisdiction over whom he acquires these several ways⁠—

1st, by marriage.
2nd, by adoption.
3rd, by legitimation.
And 4th, by procreation; all which I consider in their order.

I lay a slight stress upon one of them, replied Yorick - ⁠the act, especially where it ends there, in my opinion lays as little obligation upon the child, as it conveys power to the father.⁠ You are wrong,⁠ said my father argutely, and for this plain reason * * * * * * * * * * I own, added my father, that the offspring, upon this account, is not so under the power and jurisdiction of the mother.⁠ But the reason, replied Yorick, equally holds good for her.⁠ ⁠She is under authority herself, said my father:⁠ and besides, continued my father, nodding his head, and laying his finger upon the side of his nose, as he assigned his reason,⁠ she is not the principal agent, Yorick.⁠ In what, quoth my uncle Toby? stopping his pipe.⁠ Though by all means, added my father (not attending to my uncle Toby) “The son ought to pay her respect,” as you may read, Yorick, at large in the first book of the Institutes of Justinian, at the eleventh title and the tenth section,⁠ I can read it as well, replied Yorick, in the Catechism.

Chapter XXXII

Trim can repeat every word of it by heart, quoth my uncle Toby.⁠ Pugh! said my father, not caring to be interrupted with Trim’s saying his Catechism. He can, upon my honour, replied my uncle Toby.⁠ Ask him, Mr. Yorick, any question you please.⁠⁠

The fifth Commandment, Trim⁠ - said Yorick, speaking mildly, and with a gentle nod, as to a modest Catechumen. The corporal stood silent.⁠ You don’t ask him right, said my uncle Toby, raising his voice, and giving it rapidly like the word of command: The fifth - ⸺⁠cried my uncle Toby.⁠ I must begin with the first, an’ please your honour, said the corporal.⁠⁠

Yorick could not forbear smiling.⁠ Your reverence does not consider, said the corporal, shouldering his stick like a musket, and marching into the middle of the room, to illustrate his position,⁠ that ’tis exactly the same thing, as doing one’s exercise in the field.⁠

Join your right-hand to your firelock,” cried the corporal, giving the word of command, and performing the motion.⁠

Poise your firelock,” cried the corporal, doing the duty still both of adjutant and private man.

Rest your firelock;”⁠ - one motion, an’ please your reverence, you see leads into another.⁠ If his honour will begin but with the first⁠—

The first⁠ - cried my uncle Toby, setting his hand upon his side⁠— * * * * * * * * * *

The second⁠ - cried my uncle Toby, waving his tobacco-pipe, as he would have done his sword at the head of a regiment.⁠ The corporal went through his manual with exactness! and having honoured his father and mother, made a low bow, and fell back to the side of the room.

Everything in this world, said my father, is big with jest,⁠ and has wit in it, and instruction too,⁠ if we can but find it out.

Here is the scaffold work of Instruction, its true point of folly, without the building behind it.

Here is the glass for pedagogues, preceptors, tutors, governors, gerund-grinders, and bear-leaders, to view themselves in, in their true dimensions.⁠

Oh! there is a husk and shell, Yorick, which grows up with learning, which their unskilfulness knows not how to fling away!

Sciences may be learned by rote, but Wisdom not.

Yorick thought my father inspired.⁠ I will enter into obligations this moment, said my father, to lay out all my aunt Dinah’s legacy in charitable uses (of which, by the by, my father had no high opinion), if the corporal has any one determinate idea annexed to any one word he has repeated.⁠ Prithee, Trim, quoth my father, turning round to him,⁠ What dost thou mean, by “honouring thy father and mother?

Allowing them, an’ please your honour, three halfpence a day out of my pay, when they grow old.⁠ And didst thou do that, Trim? said Yorick.⁠ He did indeed, replied my uncle Toby.⁠ Then, Trim, said Yorick, springing out of his chair, and taking the corporal by the hand, thou art the best commentator upon that part of the Decalogue; and I honour thee more for it, corporal Trim, than if thou hadst had a hand in the Talmud itself.

Chapter XXXIII

O blessed health! cried my father, making an exclamation, as he turned over the leaves to the next chapter, thou art above all gold and treasure; ’tis thou who enlargest the soul,⁠ and openest all its powers to receive instruction and to relish virtue.⁠ He that has thee, has little more to wish for; and he that is so wretched as to want thee,⁠ wants everything with thee.

I have concentrated all that can be said upon this important head, said my father, into a very little room, therefore we’ll read the chapter quite through.

My father read as follows:

“The whole secret of health depending upon the due contention for mastery betwixt the radical heat and the radical moisture”⁠ - You have proved that matter of fact, I suppose, above, said Yorick. Sufficiently, replied my father.

In saying this, my father shut the book,⁠ not as if he resolved to read no more of it, for he kept his forefinger in the chapter: nor pettishly,⁠ for he shut the book slowly; his thumb resting, when he had done it, upon the upper-side of the cover, as his three fingers supported the lower side of it, without the least compressive violence.⁠⁠

I have demonstrated the truth of that point, quoth my father, nodding to Yorick, most sufficiently in the preceding chapter.

Now could the man in the moon be told, that a man in the earth had wrote a chapter, sufficiently demonstrating, That the secret of all health depended upon the due contention for mastery betwixt the radical heat and the radical moisture,⁠ and that he had managed the point so well, that there was not one single word wet or dry upon radical heat or radical moisture, throughout the whole chapter,⁠ or a single syllable in it, pro or con, directly or indirectly, upon the contention betwixt these two powers in any part of the animal œconomy—

“O thou eternal Maker of all beings!”⁠ - he would cry, striking his breast with his right hand (in case he had one)⁠ - “Thou whose power and goodness can enlarge the faculties of thy creatures to this infinite degree of excellence and perfection,⁠ What have we Moonites done?”

Chapter XXXIV

With two strokes, the one at Hippocrates, the other at Lord Verulam, did my father achieve it.

The stroke at the prince of physicians, with which he began, was no more than a short insult upon his sorrowful complaint of the Ars longa,⁠ and Vita brevis.⁠ ⁠Life short, cried my father,⁠ and the art of healing tedious! And who are we to thank for both the one and the other, but the ignorance of quacks themselves,⁠ and the stage-loads of chymical nostrums, and peripatetic lumber, with which, in all ages, they have first flatter’d the world, and at last deceived it?

O my lord Verulam! cried my father, turning from Hippocrates, and making his second stroke at him, as the principal of nostrum-mongers, and the fittest to be made an example of to the rest, ⁠What shall I say to thee, my great lord Verulam? What shall I say to thy internal spirit,⁠ thy opium,⁠ thy saltpetre, ⁠thy greasy unctions,⁠ thy daily purges,⁠ thy nightly clysters, and succedaneums?

My father was never at a loss what to say to any man, upon any subject; and had the least occasion for the exordium of any man breathing: how he dealt with his lordship’s opinion, ⁠you shall see;⁠ ⁠but when⁠ - I know not;⁠ ⁠we must first see what his lordship’s opinion was.

Chapter XXXV

“The two great causes, which conspire with each other to shorten life, says lord Verulam, are first—

“The internal spirit, which, like a gentle flame, wastes the body down to death:⁠ And secondly, the external air, that parches the body up to ashes:⁠ which two enemies attacking us on both sides of our bodies together, at length destroy our organs, and render them unfit to carry on the functions of life.”

This being the state of the case, the road to Longevity was plain; nothing more being required, says his lordship, but to repair the waste committed by the internal spirit, by making the substance of it more thick and dense, by a regular course of opiates on one side, and by refrigerating the heat of it on the other, by three grains and a half of saltpetre every morning before you got up.⁠⁠

Still this frame of ours was left exposed to the inimical assaults of the air without; but this was fenced off again by a course of greasy unctions, which so fully saturated the pores of the skin, that no spicula could enter;⁠ ⁠nor could any one get out.⁠ ⁠This put a stop to all perspiration, sensible and insensible, which being the cause of so many scurvy distempers⁠ - a course of clysters was requisite to carry off redundant humours,⁠ and render the system complete.

What my father had to say to my lord of Verulam’s opiates, his saltpetre, and greasy unctions and clysters, you shall read,⁠ but not today⁠ - or tomorrow: time presses upon me,⁠ my reader is impatient⁠ - I must get forwards.⁠ ⁠You shall read the chapter at your leisure (if you choose it), as soon as ever the Tristra-pædia is published.⁠⁠

Sufficeth it at present, to say, my father levelled the hypothesis with the ground, and in doing that, the learned know, he built up and established his own.⁠⁠

Chapter XXXVI

The whole secret of health, said my father, beginning the sentence again, depending evidently upon the due contention betwixt the radical heat and radical moisture within us; the least imaginable skill had been sufficient to have maintained it, had not the schoolmen confounded the talk, merely (as Van Helmont, the famous chymist, has proved) by all along mistaking the radical moisture for the tallow and fat of animal bodies.

Now the radical moisture is not the tallow or fat of animals, but an oily and balsamous substance; for the fat and tallow, as also the phlegm or watery parts, are cold; whereas the oily and balsamous parts are of a lively heat and spirit, which accounts for the observation of Aristotle, “Quod omne animal post coitum est triste.

Now it is certain, that the radical heat lives in the radical moisture, but whether vice versa, is a doubt: however, when the one decays, the other decays also; and then is produced, either an unnatural heat, which causes an unnatural dryness - ⁠or an unnatural moisture, which causes dropsies.⁠ ⁠So that if a child, as he grows up, can but be taught to avoid running into fire or water, as either of ’em threaten his destruction, ’twill be all that is needful to be done upon that head.⁠⁠

Chapter XXXVII

The description of the siege of Jericho itself, could not have engaged the attention of my uncle Toby more powerfully than the last chapter; his eyes were fixed upon my father throughout it; he never mentioned radical heat and radical moisture, but my uncle Toby took his pipe out of his mouth, and shook his head; and as soon as the chapter was finished, he beckoned to the corporal to come close to his chair, to ask him the following question,⁠ aside.⁠ ⁠* * * * * * * * * It was at the siege of Limerick, an’ please your honour, replied the corporal, making a bow.

The poor fellow and I, quoth my uncle Toby, addressing himself to my father, were scarce able to crawl out of our tents, at the time the siege of Limerick was raised, upon the very account you mention.⁠ ⁠Now what can have got into that precious noddle of thine, my dear brother Toby? cried my father, mentally.⁠ ⁠By Heaven! continued he, communing still with himself, it would puzzle an Oedipus to bring it in point.⁠⁠

I believe, an’ please your honour, quoth the corporal, that if it had not been for the quantity of brandy we set fire to every night, and the claret and cinnamon with which I plyed your honour off; And the geneva, Trim, added my uncle Toby, which did us more good than all - ⁠I verily believe, continued the corporal, we had both, an’ please your honour, left our lives in the trenches, and been buried in them too.⁠ ⁠The noblest grave, corporal! cried my uncle Toby, his eyes sparkling as he spoke, that a soldier could wish to lie down in.⁠ ⁠But a pitiful death for him! an’ please your honour, replied the corporal.

All this was as much Arabick to my father, as the rites of the Colchi and Troglodites had been before to my uncle Toby; my father could not determine whether he was to frown or to smile.⁠⁠

My uncle Toby, turning to Yorick, resumed the case at Limerick, more intelligibly than he had begun it,⁠ and so settled the point for my father at once.


It was undoubtedly, said my uncle Toby, a great happiness for myself and the corporal, that we had all along a burning fever, attended with a most raging thirst, during the whole five-and-twenty days the flux was upon us in the camp; otherwise what my brother calls the radical moisture, must, as I conceive it, inevitably have got the better.⁠ ⁠My father drew in his lungs top-full of air, and looking up, blew it forth again, as slowly as he possibly could.⁠⁠

It was Heaven’s mercy to us, continued my uncle Toby, which put it into the corporal’s head to maintain that due contention betwixt the radical heat and the radical moisture, by reinforcing the fever, as he did all along, with hot wine and spices; whereby the corporal kept up (as it were) a continual firing, so that the radical heat stood its ground from the beginning to the end, and was a fair match for the moisture, terrible as it was.⁠ ⁠Upon my honour, added my uncle Toby, you might have heard the contention within our bodies, brother Shandy, twenty toises.⁠ If there was no firing, said Yorick.

Well⁠ - said my father, with a full aspiration, and pausing a while after the word⁠ - Was I a judge, and the laws of the country which made me one permitted it, I would condemn some of the worst malefactors, provided they had had their clergy - Yorick, foreseeing the sentence was likely to end with no sort of mercy, laid his hand upon my father’s breast, and begged he would respite it for a few minutes, till he asked the corporal a question.⁠ ⁠Prithee, Trim, said Yorick, without staying for my father’s leave,⁠ tell us honestly⁠ - what is thy opinion concerning this selfsame radical heat and radical moisture?

With humble submission to his honour’s better judgment, quoth the corporal, making a bow to my uncle Toby⁠ - Speak thy opinion freely, corporal, said my uncle Toby.⁠ The poor fellow is my servant,⁠ not my slave,⁠ added my uncle Toby, turning to my father.⁠⁠

The corporal put his hat under his left arm, and with his stick hanging upon the wrist of it, by a black thong split into a tassel about the knot, he marched up to the ground where he had performed his catechism; then touching his under-jaw with the thumb and fingers of his right-hand before he opened his mouth, ⁠he delivered his notion thus.

Chapter XXXIX

Just as the corporal was humming, to begin⁠ - in waddled Dr. Slop.⁠ ’Tis not twopence matter⁠ - the corporal shall go on in the next chapter, let who will come in.⁠⁠

Well, my good doctor, cried my father sportively, for the transitions of his passions were unaccountably sudden,⁠ and what has this whelp of mine to say to the matter?

Had my father been asking after the amputation of the tail of a puppy-dog⁠ - he could not have done it in a more careless air: the system which Dr. Slop had laid down, to treat the accident by, no way allowed of such a mode of enquiry.⁠ He sat down.

Pray, Sir, quoth my uncle Toby, in a manner which could not go unanswered,⁠ in what condition is the boy?⁠ ’Twill end in a phimosis, replied Dr. Slop.

I am no wiser than I was, quoth my uncle Toby⁠ - returning his pipe into his mouth.⁠ ⁠Then let the corporal go on, said my father, with his medical lecture.⁠ The corporal made a bow to his old friend, Dr. Slop, and then delivered his opinion concerning radical heat and radical moisture, in the following words.

Chapter XL

The city of Limerick, the siege of which was begun under his majesty king William himself, the year after I went into the army⁠ - lies, an’ please your honours, in the middle of a devilish wet, swampy country.⁠ ’Tis quite surrounded, said my uncle Toby, with the Shannon, and is, by its situation, one of the strongest fortified places in Ireland.⁠⁠

I think this is a new fashion, quoth Dr. Slop, of beginning a medical lecture.⁠ ’Tis all true, answered Trim.⁠ Then I wish the faculty would follow the cut of it, said Yorick.⁠ ’Tis all cut through, an’ please your reverence, said the corporal, with drains and bogs; and besides, there was such a quantity of rain fell during the siege, the whole country was like a puddle,⁠ ’twas that, and nothing else, which brought on the flux, and which had like to have killed both his honour and myself; now there was no such thing, after the first ten days, continued the corporal, for a soldier to lie dry in his tent, without cutting a ditch round it, to draw off the water; nor was that enough, for those who could afford it, as his honour could, without setting fire every night to a pewter dish full of brandy, which took off the damp of the air, and made the inside of the tent as warm as a stove.⁠

And what conclusion dost thou draw, corporal Trim, cried my father, from all these premises?

I infer, an’ please your worship, replied Trim, that the radical moisture is nothing in the world but ditch-water⁠ - and that the radical heat, of those who can go to the expense of it, is burnt brandy,⁠ the radical heat and moisture of a private man, an’ please your honour, is nothing but ditch-water⁠ - and a dram of geneva - ⁠and give us but enough of it, with a pipe of tobacco, to give us spirits, and drive away the vapours⁠ - we know not what it is to fear death.

I am at a loss, Captain Shandy, quoth Dr. Slop, to determine in which branch of learning your servant shines most, whether in physiology or divinity.⁠ Slop had not forgot Trim’s comment upon the sermon.⁠

It is but an hour ago, replied Yorick, since the corporal was examined in the latter, and pass’d muster with great honour.⁠⁠

The radical heat and moisture, quoth Dr. Slop, turning to my father, you must know, is the basis and foundation of our being⁠ - as the root of a tree is the source and principle of its vegetation.⁠ It is inherent in the seeds of all animals, and may be preserved sundry ways, but principally in my opinion by consubstantials, impriments, and occludents.⁠ ⁠Now this poor fellow, continued Dr. Slop, pointing to the corporal, has had the misfortune to have heard some superficial empiric discourse upon this nice point.⁠ ⁠That he has,⁠ said my father.⁠ ⁠Very likely, said my uncle.⁠ I’m sure of it⁠ - quoth Yorick.⁠⁠

Chapter XLI

Doctor Slop being called out to look at a cataplasm he had ordered, it gave my father an opportunity of going on with another chapter in the Tristra-pædia.⁠ ⁠Come! cheer up, my lads; I’ll show you land - for when we have tugged through that chapter, the book shall not be opened again this twelvemonth.⁠ Huzza!⁠

Chapter XLII

Five years with a bib under his chin;

Four years in travelling from Christ-cross-row to Malachi;

A year and a half in learning to write his own name;

Seven long years and more τυπτω-ing it, at Greek and Latin;

Four years at his probations and his negations⁠ - the fine statue still lying in the middle of the marble block,⁠ and nothing done, but his tools sharpened to hew it out!⁠ ’Tis a piteous delay!⁠ Was not the great Julius Scaliger within an ace of never getting his tools sharpened at all? Forty-four years old was he before he could manage his Greek; and Peter Damianus, lord bishop of Ostia, as all the world knows, could not so much as read, when he was of man’s estate.⁠ And Baldus himself, as eminent as he turned out after, entered upon the law so late in life, that everybody imagined he intended to be an advocate in the other world: no wonder, when Eudamidas, the son of Archidamas, heard Xenocrates at seventy-five disputing about wisdom, that he asked gravely,⁠ If the old man be yet disputing and enquiring concerning wisdom,⁠ what time will he have to make use of it?

Yorick listened to my father with great attention; there was a seasoning of wisdom unaccountably mixed up with his strangest whims, and he had sometimes such illuminations in the darkest of his eclipses, as almost atoned for them:⁠ be wary, Sir, when you imitate him.

I am convinced, Yorick, continued my father, half reading and half discoursing, that there is a Northwest passage to the intellectual world; and that the soul of man has shorter ways of going to work, in furnishing itself with knowledge and instruction, than we generally take with it.⁠ ⁠But, alack! all fields have not a river or a spring running besides them; every child, Yorick, has not a parent to point it out.

The whole entirely depends, added my father, in a low voice, upon the auxiliary verbs, Mr. Yorick.

Had Yorick trod upon Virgil’s snake, he could not have looked more surprised.⁠ I am surprised too, cried my father, observing it,⁠ and I reckon it as one of the greatest calamities which ever befell the republic of letters, That those who have been entrusted with the education of our children, and whose business it was to open their minds, and stock them early with ideas, in order to set the imagination loose upon them, have made so little use of the auxiliary verbs in doing it, as they have done - ⁠So that, except Raymond Lullius, and the elder Pelegrini, the last of which arrived to such perfection in the use of ’em, with his topics, that, in a few lessons, he could teach a young gentleman to discourse with plausibility upon any subject, pro and con, and to say and write all that could be spoken or written concerning it, without blotting a word, to the admiration of all who beheld him.⁠ I should be glad, said Yorick, interrupting my father, to be made to comprehend this matter. You shall, said my father.

The highest stretch of improvement a single word is capable of, is a high metaphor, ⁠for which, in my opinion, the idea is generally the worse, and not the better;⁠ ⁠but be that as it may,⁠ when the mind has done that with it⁠ - there is an end,⁠ the mind and the idea are at rest,⁠ until a second idea enters;⁠ ⁠and so on.

Now the use of the Auxiliaries is, at once to set the soul a-going by herself upon the materials as they are brought her; and by the versability of this great engine, round which they are twisted, to open new tracts of enquiry, and make every idea engender millions.

You excite my curiosity greatly, said Yorick.

For my own part, quoth my uncle Toby, I have given it up.⁠ ⁠The Danes, an’ please your honour, quoth the corporal, who were on the left at the siege of Limerick, were all auxiliaries.⁠ ⁠And very good ones, said my uncle Toby.⁠ But the auxiliaries, Trim, my brother is talking about,⁠ I conceive to be different things.⁠⁠

You do? said my father, rising up.

Chapter XLIII

My father took a single turn across the room, then sat down, and finished the chapter.

The verbs auxiliary we are concerned in here, continued my father, are, am; was; have; had; do; did; make; made; suffer; shall; should; will; would; can; could; owe; ought; used; or is wont.⁠ And these varied with tenses, present, past, future, and conjugated with the verb see,⁠ or with these questions added to them; Is it? Was it? Will it be? Would it be? May it be? Might it be? And these again put negatively, Is it not? Was it not? Ought it not?⁠ - Or affirmatively,⁠ It is; It was; It ought to be. Or chronologically,⁠ Has it been always? Lately? How long ago?⁠ - Or hypothetically,⁠ If it was? If it was not? What would follow?⁠ ⁠If the French should beat the English? If the Sun go out of the Zodiac?

Now, by the right use and application of these, continued my father, in which a child’s memory should be exercised, there is no one idea can enter his brain, how barren soever, but a magazine of conceptions and conclusions may be drawn forth from it.⁠ ⁠Didst thou ever see a white bear? cried my father, turning his head round to Trim, who stood at the back of his chair:⁠ No, an’ please your honour, replied the corporal.⁠ ⁠But thou couldst discourse about one, Trim, said my father, in case of need?⁠ How is it possible, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, if the corporal never saw one?⁠ ’Tis the fact I want, replied my father,⁠ and the possibility of it is as follows.

A white bear! Very well. Have I ever seen one? Might I ever have seen one? Am I ever to see one? Ought I ever to have seen one? Or can I ever see one?

Would I had seen a white bear! (for how can I imagine it?)

If I should see a white bear, what would I say? If I should never see a white bear, what then?

If I never have, can, must, or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted?⁠ described? Have I never dreamed of one?

Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear? What would they give? How would they behave? How would the white bear have behaved? Is he wild? Tame? Terrible? Rough? Smooth?

Is the white bear worth seeing?⁠

Is there no sin in it?⁠

Is it better than a black one?


Chapter I

We’ll not stop two moments, my dear Sir,⁠ only, as we have got through these five volumes, (do, Sir, sit down upon a set - ⁠they are better than nothing) let us just look back upon the country we have pass’d through.⁠⁠

What a wilderness has it been! and what a mercy that we have not both of us been lost, or devoured by wild beasts in it!

Did you think the world itself, Sir, had contained such a number of Jack Asses?⁠ ⁠How they view’d and review’d us as we passed over the rivulet at the bottom of that little valley!⁠ ⁠and when we climbed over that hill, and were just getting out of sight⁠ - good God! what a braying did they all set up together!

Prithee, shepherd! who keeps all those Jack Asses? * * *

Heaven be their comforter - ⁠What! are they never curried?⁠ ⁠Are they never taken in in winter?⁠ ⁠Bray bray⁠ - bray. Bray on,⁠ the world is deeply your debtor;⁠ ⁠louder still⁠ - that’s nothing:⁠ in good sooth, you are ill-used: Was I a Jack Asse, I solemnly declare, I would bray in G-fol-re-ut from morning, even unto night.

Chapter II

When my father had danced his white bear backwards and forwards through half a dozen pages, he closed the book for good an’ all,⁠ and in a kind of triumph redelivered it into Trim’s hand, with a nod to lay it upon the ’scrutoire, where he found it.⁠ ⁠Tristram, said he, shall be made to conjugate every word in the dictionary, backwards and forwards the same way;⁠ ⁠every word, Yorick, by this means, you see, is converted into a thesis or an hypothesis; every thesis and hypothesis have an offspring of propositions; and each proposition has its own consequences and conclusions; every one of which leads the mind on again, into fresh tracks of enquiries and doubtings.⁠ ⁠The force of this engine, added my father, is incredible in opening a child’s head.⁠ ’Tis enough, brother Shandy, cried my uncle Toby, to burst it into a thousand splinters.⁠⁠

I presume, said Yorick, smiling,⁠ it must be owing to this, (for let logicians say what they will, it is not to be accounted for sufficiently from the bare use of the ten predicaments) - ⁠That the famous Vincent Quirino, amongst the many other astonishing feats of his childhood, of which the Cardinal Bembo has given the world so exact a story,⁠ should be able to paste up in the public schools at Rome, so early as in the eighth year of his age, no less than four thousand five hundred and fifty different theses, upon the most abstruse points of the most abstruse theology; and to defend and maintain them in such sort, as to cramp and dumbfound his opponents.⁠ ⁠What is that, cried my father, to what is told us of Alphonsus Tostatus, who, almost in his nurse’s arms, learned all the sciences and liberal arts without being taught any one of them?⁠ ⁠What shall we say of the great Piereskius?⁠ - That’s the very man, cried my uncle Toby, I once told you of, brother Shandy, who walked a matter of five hundred miles, reckoning from Paris to Shevling, and from Shevling back again, merely to see Stevinus’s flying chariot.⁠ ⁠He was a very great man! added my uncle Toby (meaning Stevinus)⁠ - He was so, brother Toby, said my father (meaning Piereskius) - ⁠and had multiplied his ideas so fast, and increased his knowledge to such a prodigious stock, that, if we may give credit to an anecdote concerning him, which we cannot withhold here, without shaking the authority of all anecdotes whatever⁠ - at seven years of age, his father committed entirely to his care the education of his younger brother, a boy of five years old,⁠ with the sole management of all his concerns.⁠ Was the father as wise as the son? quoth my uncle Toby:⁠ I should think not, said Yorick:⁠ But what are these, continued my father⁠ - (breaking out in a kind of enthusiasm)⁠ - what are these, to those prodigies of childhood in Grotius, Scioppius, Heinsius, Politian, Pascal, Joseph Scaliger, Ferdinand de Cordouè, and others⁠ - some of which left off their substantial forms at nine years old, or sooner, and went on reasoning without them; others went through their classics at seven; wrote tragedies at eight; Ferdinand de Cordouè was so wise at nine,⁠ ’twas thought the Devil was in him; and at Venice gave such proofs of his knowledge and goodness, that the monks imagined he was Antichrist, or nothing.⁠ ⁠Others were masters of fourteen languages at ten,⁠ finished the course of their rhetoric, poetry, logic, and ethics, at eleven,⁠ put forth their commentaries upon Servius and Martianus Capella at twelve,⁠ and at thirteen received their degrees in philosophy, laws, and divinity: But you forget the great Lipsius, quoth Yorick, who composed a work[27] the day he was born: They should have wiped it up, said my uncle Toby, and said no more about it.

Chapter III

When the cataplasm was ready, a scruple of decorum had unseasonably rose up in Susannah’s conscience about holding the candle, whilst Slop tied it on; Slop had not treated Susannah’s distemper with anodynes,⁠ and so a quarrel had ensued betwixt them.

Oh! oh!⁠ ⁠said Slop, casting a glance of undue freedom in Susannah’s face, as she declined the office;⁠ ⁠then, I think I know you, madam - ⁠You know me, Sir! cried Susannah fastidiously, and with a toss of her head, levelled evidently, not at his profession, but at the doctor himself, ⁠you know me! cried Susannah again.⁠ ⁠Doctor Slop clapped his finger and his thumb instantly upon his nostrils;⁠ ⁠Susannah’s spleen was ready to burst at it;⁠ ’Tis false, said Susannah.⁠ Come, come, Mrs. Modesty, said Slop, not a little elated with the success of his last thrust, ⁠If you won’t hold the candle, and look⁠ - you may hold it and shut your eyes:⁠ That’s one of your popish shifts, cried Susannah:⁠ ’Tis better, said Slop, with a nod, than no shift at all, young woman;⁠ ⁠I defy you, Sir, cried Susannah, pulling her shift sleeve below her elbow.

It was almost impossible for two persons to assist each other in a surgical case with a more splenetic cordiality.

Slop snatched up the cataplasm, ⁠Susannah snatched up the candle;⁠ ⁠a little this way, said Slop; Susannah looking one way, and rowing another, instantly set fire to Slop’s wig, which being somewhat bushy and unctuous withal, was burnt out before it was well kindled. You impudent whore! cried Slop,⁠ (for what is passion, but a wild beast?)⁠ - you impudent whore, cried Slop, getting upright, with the cataplasm in his hand;⁠ ⁠I never was the destruction of anybody’s nose, said Susannah,⁠ which is more than you can say: Is it? cried Slop, throwing the cataplasm in her face;⁠ ⁠Yes, it is, cried Susannah, returning the compliment with what was left in the pan.

Chapter IV

Doctor Slop and Susannah filed crossbills against each other in the parlour; which done, as the cataplasm had failed, they retired into the kitchen to prepare a fomentation for me; and whilst that was doing, my father determined the point as you will read.

Chapter V

You see ’tis high time, said my father, addressing himself equally to my uncle Toby and Yorick, to take this young creature out of these women’s hands, and put him into those of a private governor. Marcus Antoninus provided fourteen governors all at once to superintend his son Commodus’s education,⁠ and in six weeks he cashiered five of them; I know very well, continued my father, that Commodus’s mother was in love with a gladiator at the time of her conception, which accounts for a great many of Commodus’s cruelties when he became emperor; but still I am of opinion, that those five whom Antoninus dismissed, did Commodus’s temper, in that short time, more hurt than the other nine were able to rectify all their lives long.

Now as I consider the person who is to be about my son, as the mirror in which he is to view himself from morning to night, and by which he is to adjust his looks, his carriage, and perhaps the inmost sentiments of his heart; I would have one, Yorick, if possible, polished at all points, fit for my child to look into.⁠ ⁠This is very good sense, quoth my uncle Toby to himself.

There is, continued my father, a certain mien and motion of the body and all its parts, both in acting and speaking, which argues a man well within; and I am not at all surprised that Gregory of Nazianzum, upon observing the hasty and untoward gestures of Julian, should foretel he would one day become an apostate;⁠ ⁠or that St. Ambrose should turn his Amanuensis out of doors, because of an indecent motion of his head, which went backwards and forwards like a flail;⁠ ⁠or that Democritus should conceive Protagoras to be a scholar, from seeing him bind up a faggot, and thrusting, as he did it, the small twigs inwards.⁠ ⁠There are a thousand unnoticed openings, continued my father, which let a penetrating eye at once into a man’s soul; and I maintain it, added he, that a man of sense does not lay down his hat in coming into a room,⁠ or take it up in going out of it, but something escapes, which discovers him.

It is for these reasons, continued my father, that the governor I make choice of shall neither[28] lisp, or squint, or wink, or talk loud, or look fierce, or foolish;⁠ ⁠or bite his lips, or grind his teeth, or speak through his nose, or pick it, or blow it with his fingers.⁠⁠

He shall neither walk fast,⁠ or slow, or fold his arms,⁠ for that is laziness; or hang them down,⁠ for that is folly; or hide them in his pocket, for that is nonsense.⁠⁠

He shall neither strike, or pinch, or tickle,⁠ or bite, or cut his nails, or hawk, or spit, or snift, or drum with his feet or fingers in company;⁠ ⁠nor (according to Erasmus) shall he speak to anyone in making water,⁠ nor shall he point to carrion or excrement.⁠ ⁠Now this is all nonsense again, quoth my uncle Toby to himself.⁠⁠

I will have him, continued my father, cheerful, faceté, jovial; at the same time, prudent, attentive to business, vigilant, acute, argute, inventive, quick in resolving doubts and speculative questions;⁠ ⁠he shall be wise, and judicious, and learned: And why not humble, and moderate, and gentle-tempered, and good? said Yorick: And why not, cried my uncle Toby, free, and generous, and bountiful, and brave?⁠ ⁠He shall, my dear Toby, replied my father, getting up and shaking him by the hand.⁠ Then, brother Shandy, answered my uncle Toby, raising himself off the chair, and laying down his pipe to take hold of my father’s other hand,⁠ I humbly beg I may recommend poor Le Fever’s son to you;⁠ ⁠a tear of joy of the first water sparkled in my uncle Toby’s eye, and another, the fellow to it, in the corporal’s, as the proposition was made;⁠ ⁠you will see why when you read Le Fever’s story: fool that I was! nor can I recollect (nor perhaps you) without turning back to the place, what it was that hindered me from letting the corporal tell it in his own words; but the occasion is lost,⁠ I must tell it now in my own.

Chapter VI

The Story of Le Fever
It was some time in the summer of that year in which Dendermond was taken by the allies,⁠ which was about seven years before my father came into the country,⁠ and about as many, after the time, that my uncle Toby and Trim had privately decamped from my father’s house in town, in order to lay some of the finest sieges to some of the finest fortified cities in Europe - ⁠when my uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper, with Trim sitting behind him at a small sideboard,⁠ I say, sitting⁠ - for in consideration of the corporal’s lame knee (which sometimes gave him exquisite pain)⁠ - when my uncle Toby dined or supped alone, he would never suffer the corporal to stand; and the poor fellow’s veneration for his master was such, that, with a proper artillery, my uncle Toby could have taken Dendermond itself, with less trouble than he was able to gain this point over him; for many a time when my uncle Toby supposed the corporal’s leg was at rest, he would look back, and detect him standing behind him with the most dutiful respect: this bred more little squabbles betwixt them, than all other causes for five-and-twenty years together⁠ - But this is neither here nor there⁠ - why do I mention it?⁠ ⁠Ask my pen,⁠ it governs me,⁠ I govern not it.

He was one evening sitting thus at his supper, when the landlord of a little inn in the village came into the parlour, with an empty phial in his hand, to beg a glass or two of sack; ’Tis for a poor gentleman,⁠ I think, of the army, said the landlord, who has been taken ill at my house four days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a desire to taste anything, till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass of sack and a thin toast, ⁠I think, says he, taking his hand from his forehead, it would comfort me.

If I could neither beg, borrow, or buy such a thing⁠ - added the landlord,⁠ I would almost steal it for the poor gentleman, he is so ill.⁠ ⁠I hope in God he will still mend, continued he,⁠ we are all of us concerned for him.

Thou art a good-natured soul, I will answer for thee, cried my uncle Toby; and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman’s health in a glass of sack thyself,⁠ and take a couple of bottles with my service, and tell him he is heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more if they will do him good.

Though I am persuaded, said my uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the door, he is a very compassionate fellow⁠ - Trim,⁠ yet I cannot help entertaining a high opinion of his guest too; there must be something more than common in him, that in so short a time should win so much upon the affections of his host;⁠ ⁠And of his whole family, added the corporal, for they are all concerned for him.⁠ ⁠Step after him, said my uncle Toby,⁠ do, Trim,⁠ and ask if he knows his name.

I have quite forgot it truly, said the landlord, coming back into the parlour with the corporal,⁠ but I can ask his son again: Has he a son with him then? said my uncle Toby.⁠ A boy, replied the landlord, of about eleven or twelve years of age; but the poor creature has tasted almost as little as his father; he does nothing but mourn and lament for him night and day: He has not stirred from the bedside these two days.

My uncle Toby laid down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from before him, as the landlord gave him the account; and Trim, without being ordered, took away, without saying one word, and in a few minutes after brought him his pipe and tobacco.

Stay in the room a little, said my uncle Toby.

Trim! - ⁠said my uncle Toby, after he lighted his pipe, and smoak’d about a dozen whiffs.⁠ ⁠Trim came in front of his master, and made his bow; my uncle Toby smoak’d on, and said no more.⁠ ⁠Corporal! said my uncle Toby - ⁠the corporal made his bow.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby proceeded no farther, but finished his pipe.

Trim! said my uncle Toby, I have a project in my head, as it is a bad night, of wrapping myself up warm in my roquelaure, and paying a visit to this poor gentleman.⁠ ⁠Your honour’s roquelaure, replied the corporal, has not once been had on, since the night before your honour received your wound, when we mounted guard in the trenches before the gate of St. Nicolas;⁠ ⁠and besides, it is so cold and rainy a night, that what with the roquelaure, and what with the weather, ’twill be enough to give your honour your death, and bring on your honour’s torment in your groin. I fear so, replied my uncle Toby; but I am not at rest in my mind, Trim, since the account the landlord has given me.⁠ ⁠I wish I had not known so much of this affair,⁠ added my uncle Toby,⁠ or that I had known more of it: How shall we manage it? Leave it, an’t please your honour, to me, quoth the corporal;⁠ ⁠I’ll take my hat and stick and go to the house and reconnoitre, and act accordingly; and I will bring your honour a full account in an hour.⁠ ⁠Thou shalt go, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and here’s a shilling for thee to drink with his servant.⁠ ⁠I shall get it all out of him, said the corporal, shutting the door.

My uncle Toby filled his second pipe; and had it not been, that he now and then wandered from the point, with considering whether it was not full as well to have the curtain of the tenaille a straight line, as a crooked one,⁠ he might be said to have thought of nothing else but poor Le Fever and his boy the whole time he smoaked it.

Chapter VII

The Story of Le Fever Continued
It was not till my uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe, that corporal Trim returned from the inn, and gave him the following account.

I despaired, at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back your honour any kind of intelligence concerning the poor sick lieutenant⁠ - Is he in the army, then? said my uncle Toby - ⁠He is, said the corporal - ⁠And in what regiment? said my uncle Toby - ⁠I’ll tell your honour, replied the corporal, everything straight forwards, as I learnt it.⁠ Then, Trim, I’ll fill another pipe, said my uncle Toby, and not interrupt thee till thou hast done; so sit down at thy ease, Trim, in the window-seat, and begin thy story again. The corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke as plain as a bow could speak it⁠ - Your honour is good: And having done that, he sat down, as he was ordered,⁠ and began the story to my uncle Toby over again in pretty near the same words.

I despaired at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back any intelligence to your honour, about the lieutenant and his son; for when I asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself sure of knowing everything which was proper to be asked,⁠ That’s a right distinction, Trim, said my uncle Toby⁠ - I was answered, an’ please your honour, that he had no servant with him;⁠ ⁠that he had come to the inn with hired horses, which, upon finding himself unable to proceed (to join, I suppose, the regiment), he had dismissed the morning after he came.⁠ If I get better, my dear, said he, as he gave his purse to his son to pay the man,⁠ we can hire horses from hence.⁠ ⁠But alas! the poor gentleman will never get from hence, said the landlady to me,⁠ for I heard the deathwatch all night long;⁠ ⁠and when he dies, the youth, his son, will certainly die with him, for he is brokenhearted already.

I was hearing this account, continued the corporal, when the youth came into the kitchen, to order the thin toast the landlord spoke of;⁠ ⁠but I will do it for my father myself, said the youth.⁠ ⁠Pray let me save you the trouble, young gentleman, said I, taking up a fork for the purpose, and offering him my chair to sit down upon by the fire, whilst I did it.⁠ ⁠I believe, Sir, said he, very modestly, I can please him best myself.⁠ ⁠I am sure, said I, his honour will not like the toast the worse for being toasted by an old soldier.⁠ ⁠The youth took hold of my hand, and instantly burst into tears.⁠ ⁠Poor youth! said my uncle Toby,⁠ he has been bred up from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, sounded in his ears like the name of a friend; I wish I had him here.

I never, in the longest march, said the corporal, had so great a mind to my dinner, as I had to cry with him for company:⁠ What could be the matter with me, an’ please your honour? Nothing in the world, Trim, said my uncle Toby, blowing his nose,⁠ but that thou art a good-natured fellow.

When I gave him the toast, continued the corporal, I thought it was proper to tell him I was captain Shandy’s servant, and that your honour (though a stranger) was extremely concerned for his father; and that if there was anything in your house or cellar - (And thou might’st have added my purse too, said my uncle Toby) - ⁠he was heartily welcome to it: He made a very low bow (which was meant to your honour), but no answer⁠ - for his heart was full⁠ - so he went upstairs with the toast; I warrant you, my dear, said I, as I opened the kitchen-door, your father will be well again.⁠ ⁠Mr. Yorick’s curate was smoaking a pipe by the kitchen fire,⁠ but said not a word good or bad to comfort the youth.⁠ ⁠I thought it wrong; added the corporal - ⁠I think so too, said my uncle Toby.

When the lieutenant had taken his glass of sack and toast, he felt himself a little revived, and sent down into the kitchen, to let me know, that in about ten minutes he should be glad if I would step upstairs.⁠ ⁠I believe, said the landlord, he is going to say his prayers, ⁠for there was a book laid upon the chair by his bedside, and as I shut the door, I saw his son take up a cushion.⁠⁠

I thought, said the curate, that you gentlemen of the army, Mr. Trim, never said your prayers at all.⁠ ⁠I heard the poor gentleman say his prayers last night, said the landlady, very devoutly, and with my own ears, or I could not have believed it.⁠ ⁠Are you sure of it? replied the curate.⁠ ⁠A soldier, an’ please your reverence, said I, prays as often (of his own accord) as a parson;⁠ ⁠and when he is fighting for his king, and for his own life, and for his honour too, he has the most reason to pray to God of anyone in the whole world - ’Twas well said of thee, Trim, said my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠But when a soldier, said I, an’ please your reverence, has been standing for twelve hours together in the trenches, up to his knees in cold water,⁠ or engaged, said I, for months together in long and dangerous marches; harassed, perhaps, in his rear today; harassing others tomorrow; detached here; countermanded there; resting this night out upon his arms; beat up in his shirt the next; benumbed in his joints; perhaps without straw in his tent to kneel on; must say his prayers how and when he can.⁠ I believe, said I,⁠ for I was piqued, quoth the corporal, for the reputation of the army,⁠ I believe, an’ please your reverence, said I, that when a soldier gets time to pray,⁠ he prays as heartily as a parson,⁠ though not with all his fuss and hypocrisy.⁠ ⁠Thou shouldst not have said that, Trim, said my uncle Toby,⁠ for God only knows who is a hypocrite, and who is not: At the great and general review of us all, corporal, at the day of judgment (and not till then)⁠ - it will be seen who has done their duties in this world,⁠ and who has not; and we shall be advanced, Trim, accordingly.⁠ ⁠I hope we shall, said Trim.⁠ ⁠It is in the Scripture, said my uncle Toby; and I will show it thee tomorrow:⁠ In the meantime we may depend upon it, Trim, for our comfort, said my uncle Toby, that God Almighty is so good and just a governor of the world, that if we have but done our duties in it,⁠ it will never be enquired into, whether we have done them in a red coat or a black one: I hope not, said the corporal - ⁠But go on, Trim, said my uncle Toby, with thy story.

When I went up, continued the corporal, into the lieutenant’s room, which I did not do till the expiration of the ten minutes,⁠ he was lying in his bed with his head raised upon his hand, with his elbow upon the pillow, and a clean white cambrick handkerchief beside it: The youth was just stooping down to take up the cushion, upon which I supposed he had been kneeling,⁠ the book was laid upon the bed,⁠ and, as he rose, in taking up the cushion with one hand, he reached out his other to take it away at the same time.⁠ ⁠Let it remain there, my dear, said the lieutenant.

He did not offer to speak to me, till I had walked up close to his bedside:⁠ If you are captain Shandy’s servant, said he, you must present my thanks to your master, with my little boy’s thanks along with them, for his courtesy to me; if he was of Leven’s⁠ - said the lieutenant.⁠ I told him your honour was⁠ - Then, said he, I served three campaigns with him in Flanders, and remember him,⁠ but ’tis most likely, as I had not the honour of any acquaintance with him, that he knows nothing of me.⁠ ⁠You will tell him, however, that the person his good-nature has laid under obligations to him, is one Le Fever, a lieutenant in Angus’s - ⁠but he knows me not,⁠ said he, a second time, musing;⁠ ⁠possibly he may my story⁠ - added he⁠ - pray tell the captain, I was the ensign at Breda, whose wife was most unfortunately killed with a musket-shot, as she lay in my arms in my tent.⁠ ⁠I remember the story, an’t please your honour, said I, very well.⁠ ⁠Do you so? said he, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief,⁠ then well may I.⁠ In saying this, he drew a little ring out of his bosom, which seemed tied with a black ribbon about his neck, and kiss’d it twice - ⁠Here, Billy, said he, ⁠the boy flew across the room to the bedside,⁠ and falling down upon his knee, took the ring in his hand, and kissed it too,⁠ then kissed his father, and sat down upon the bed and wept.

I wish, said my uncle Toby, with a deep sigh,⁠ I wish, Trim, I was asleep.

Your honour, replied the corporal, is too much concerned; shall I pour your honour out a glass of sack to your pipe?⁠ ⁠Do, Trim, said my uncle Toby.

I remember, said my uncle Toby, sighing again, the story of the ensign and his wife, with a circumstance his modesty omitted; and particularly well that he, as well as she, upon some account or other (I forget what) was universally pitied by the whole regiment; but finish the story thou art upon:⁠ ’Tis finished already, said the corporal,⁠ for I could stay no longer,⁠ so wished his honour a good night; young Le Fever rose from off the bed, and saw me to the bottom of the stairs; and as we went down together, told me, they had come from Ireland, and were on their route to join the regiment in Flanders.⁠ ⁠But alas! said the corporal,⁠ the lieutenant’s last day’s march is over.⁠ Then what is to become of his poor boy? cried my uncle Toby.

Chapter VIII

The Story of Le Fever Continued
It was to my uncle Toby’s eternal honour, ⁠though I tell it only for the sake of those, who, when coop’d in betwixt a natural and a positive law, know not, for their souls, which way in the world to turn themselves - ⁠That notwithstanding my uncle Toby was warmly engaged at that time in carrying on the siege of Dendermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs on so vigorously, that they scarce allowed him time to get his dinner - ⁠that nevertheless he gave up Dendermond, though he had already made a lodgment upon the counterscarp; and bent his whole thoughts towards the private distresses at the inn; and except that he ordered the garden gate to be bolted up, by which he might be said to have turned the siege of Dendermond into a blockade,⁠ he left Dendermond to itself⁠ - to be relieved or not by the French king, as the French king thought good; and only considered how he himself should relieve the poor lieutenant and his son.

That kind Being, who is a friend to the friendless, shall recompence thee for this.

Thou hast left this matter short, said my uncle Toby to the corporal, as he was putting him to bed, ⁠and I will tell thee in what, Trim.⁠ ⁠In the first place, when thou madest an offer of my services to Le Fever, ⁠as sickness and travelling are both expensive, and thou knowest he was but a poor lieutenant, with a son to subsist as well as himself out of his pay,⁠ that thou didst not make an offer to him of my purse; because, had he stood in need, thou knowest, Trim, he had been as welcome to it as myself.⁠ ⁠Your honour knows, said the corporal, I had no orders;⁠ ⁠True, quoth my uncle Toby,⁠ thou didst very right, Trim, as a soldier,⁠ but certainly very wrong as a man.

In the second place, for which, indeed, thou hast the same excuse, continued my uncle Toby, ⁠when thou offeredst him whatever was in my house, ⁠thou shouldst have offered him my house too: A sick brother officer should have the best quarters, Trim, and if we had him with us,⁠ we could tend and look to him: Thou art an excellent nurse thyself, Trim,⁠ and what with thy care of him, and the old woman’s, and his boy’s, and mine together, we might recruit him again at once, and set him upon his legs.⁠

In a fortnight or three weeks, added my uncle Toby, smiling, ⁠he might march.⁠ ⁠He will never march; an’ please your honour, in this world, said the corporal: He will march; said my uncle Toby, rising up, from the side of the bed, with one shoe off: An’ please your honour, said the corporal, he will never march but to his grave: He shall march, cried my uncle Toby, marching the foot which had a shoe on, though without advancing an inch,⁠ he shall march to his regiment.⁠ ⁠He cannot stand it, said the corporal;⁠ ⁠He shall be supported, said my uncle Toby;⁠ ⁠He’ll drop at last, said the corporal, and what will become of his boy?⁠ ⁠He shall not drop, said my uncle Toby, firmly.⁠ ⁠A-well-o’-day,⁠ do what we can for him, said Trim, maintaining his point,⁠ the poor soul will die: He shall not die, by G, cried my uncle Toby.

The accusing spirit, which flew up to heaven’s chancery with the oath, blush’d as he gave it in; and the recording angel, as he wrote it down, dropp’d a tear upon the word, and blotted it out forever.

Chapter IX

My uncle Toby went to his bureau,⁠ put his purse into his breeches pocket, and having ordered the corporal to go early in the morning for a physician,⁠ he went to bed, and fell asleep.

Chapter X

The Story of Le Fever Continued
The sun looked bright the morning after, to every eye in the village but Le Fever’s and his afflicted son’s; the hand of death press’d heavy upon his eyelids, ⁠and hardly could the wheel at the cistern turn round its circle,⁠ when my uncle Toby, who had rose up an hour before his wonted time, entered the lieutenant’s room, and without preface or apology, sat himself down upon the chair by the bedside, and, independently of all modes and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old friend and brother officer would have done it, and asked him how he did,⁠ how he had rested in the night,⁠ what was his complaint,⁠ where was his pain,⁠ and what he could do to help him: and without giving him time to answer any one of the enquiries, went on, and told him of the little plan which he had been concerting with the corporal the night before for him.⁠⁠

You shall go home directly, Le Fever, said my uncle Toby, to my house,⁠ and we’ll send for a doctor to see what’s the matter,⁠ and we’ll have an apothecary,⁠ and the corporal shall be your nurse;⁠ ⁠and I’ll be your servant, Le Fever.

There was a frankness in my uncle Toby,⁠ not the effect of familiarity,⁠ but the cause of it,⁠ which let you at once into his soul, and showed you the goodness of his nature; to this, there was something in his looks, and voice, and manner, superadded, which eternally beckoned to the unfortunate to come and take shelter under him; so that before my uncle Toby had half finished the kind offers he was making to the father, had the son insensibly pressed up close to his knees, and had taken hold of the breast of his coat, and was pulling it towards him.⁠ ⁠The blood and spirits of Le Fever, which were waxing cold and slow within him, and were retreating to their last citadel, the heart⁠ - rallied back,⁠ the film forsook his eyes for a moment,⁠ he looked up wishfully in my uncle Toby’s face,⁠ then cast a look upon his boy, ⁠and that ligament, fine as it was,⁠ was never broken.⁠

Nature instantly ebb’d again,⁠ the film returned to its place, ⁠the pulse fluttered - ⁠stopp’d - ⁠went on - ⁠throbb’d - ⁠stopp’d again - ⁠moved - ⁠stopp’d - ⁠shall I go on?⁠ ⁠No.

Chapter XI

I am so impatient to return to my own story, that what remains of young Le Fever’s, that is, from this turn of his fortune, to the time my uncle Toby recommended him for my preceptor, shall be told in a very few words in the next chapter.⁠ All that is necessary to be added to this chapter is as follows.⁠

That my uncle Toby, with young Le Fever in his hand, attended the poor lieutenant, as chief mourners, to his grave.

That the governor of Dendermond paid his obsequies all military honours,⁠ and that Yorick, not to be behindhand⁠ - paid him all ecclesiastic⁠ - for he buried him in his chancel:⁠ And it appears likewise, he preached a funeral sermon over him - ⁠I say it appears,⁠ for it was Yorick’s custom, which I suppose a general one with those of his profession, on the first leaf of every sermon which he composed, to chronicle down the time, the place, and the occasion of its being preached: to this, he was ever wont to add some short comment or stricture upon the sermon itself, seldom, indeed, much to its credit:⁠ For instance, This sermon upon the Jewish dispensation⁠ - I don’t like it at all; Though I own there is a world of water-landish knowledge in it,⁠ but ’tis all tritical, and most tritically put together. This is but a flimsy kind of a composition; what was in my head when I made it?

N.B. The excellency of this text is, that it will suit any sermon,⁠ and of this sermon, ⁠that it will suit any text.

⸺⁠For this sermon I shall be hanged,⁠ for I have stolen the greatest part of it. Doctor Paidagunes found me out. ☞ Set a thief to catch a thief.

On the back of half a dozen I find written, So, so, and no more - ⁠and upon a couple Moderato; by which, as far as one may gather from Altieri’s Italian dictionary,⁠ but mostly from the authority of a piece of green whipcord, which seemed to have been the unravelling of Yorick’s whiplash, with which he has left us the two sermons marked Moderato, and the half dozen of So, so, tied fast together in one bundle by themselves,⁠ one may safely suppose he meant pretty near the same thing.

There is but one difficulty in the way of this conjecture, which is this, that the moderato’s are five times better than the so, so’s; show ten times more knowledge of the human heart; have seventy times more wit and spirit in them; (and, to rise properly in my climax)⁠ - discovered a thousand times more genius; and to crown all, are infinitely more entertaining than those tied up with them:⁠ for which reason, whene’er Yorick’s dramatic sermons are offered to the world, though I shall admit but one out of the whole number of the so, so’s, I shall, nevertheless, adventure to print the two moderato’s without any sort of scruple.

What Yorick could mean by the words lentamente,⁠ tenutè,⁠ grave,⁠ and sometimes adagio,⁠ as applied to theological compositions, and with which he has characterised some of these sermons, I dare not venture to guess.⁠ ⁠I am more puzzled still upon finding a l’octava alta! upon one;⁠ ⁠Con strepito upon the back of another;⁠ ⁠Siciliana upon a third;⁠ ⁠Alla capella upon a fourth;⁠ ⁠Con l’arco upon this;⁠ ⁠Senza l’arco upon that.⁠ ⁠All I know is, that they are musical terms, and have a meaning;⁠ ⁠and as he was a musical man, I will make no doubt, but that by some quaint application of such metaphors to the compositions in hand, they impressed very distinct ideas of their several characters upon his fancy,⁠ whatever they may do upon that of others.

Amongst these, there is that particular sermon which has unaccountably led me into this digression - ⁠The funeral sermon upon poor Le Fever, wrote out very fairly, as if from a hasty copy.⁠ I take notice of it the more, because it seems to have been his favourite composition - ⁠It is upon mortality; and is tied lengthways and crossways with a yarn thrum, and then rolled up and twisted round with a half-sheet of dirty blue paper, which seems to have been once the cast cover of a general review, which to this day smells horribly of horse drugs.⁠ ⁠Whether these marks of humiliation were designed,⁠ I something doubt;⁠ ⁠because at the end of the sermon (and not at the beginning of it)⁠ - very different from his way of treating the rest, he had wrote—


Though not very offensively, ⁠for it is at two inches, at least, and a half’s distance from, and below the concluding line of the sermon, at the very extremity of the page, and in that right hand corner of it, which, you know, is generally covered with your thumb; and, to do it justice, it is wrote besides with a crow’s quill so faintly in a small Italian hand, as scarce to solicit the eye towards the place, whether your thumb is there or not,⁠ so that from the manner of it, it stands half excused; and being wrote moreover with very pale ink, diluted almost to nothing,⁠ ’tis more like a ritratto of the shadow of vanity, than of Vanity herself⁠ - of the two; resembling rather a faint thought of transient applause, secretly stirring up in the heart of the composer; than a gross mark of it, coarsely obtruded upon the world.

With all these extenuations, I am aware, that in publishing this, I do no service to Yorick’s character as a modest man; but all men have their failings! and what lessens this still farther, and almost wipes it away, is this; that the word was struck through sometime afterwards (as appears from a different tint of the ink) with a line quite across it in this manner, bravo - ⁠as if he had retracted, or was ashamed of the opinion he had once entertained of it.

These short characters of his sermons were always written, excepting in this one instance, upon the first leaf of his sermon, which served as a cover to it; and usually upon the inside of it, which was turned towards the text; but at the end of his discourse, where, perhaps, he had five or six pages, and sometimes, perhaps, a whole score to turn himself in,⁠ he took a large circuit, and, indeed, a much more mettlesome one; as if he had snatched the occasion of unlacing himself with a few more frolicksome strokes at vice, than the straitness of the pulpit allowed.⁠ These, though hussar-like, they skirmish lightly and out of all order, are still auxiliaries on the side of virtue; tell me then, Mynheer Vander Blonederdondergewdenstronke, why they should not be printed together?

Chapter XII

When my uncle Toby had turned everything into money, and settled all accounts betwixt the agent of the regiment and Le Fever, and betwixt Le Fever and all mankind, ⁠there remained nothing more in my uncle Toby’s hands, than an old regimental coat and a sword; so that my uncle Toby found little or no opposition from the world in taking administration. The coat my uncle Toby gave the corporal;⁠ ⁠Wear it, Trim, said my uncle Toby, as long as it will hold together, for the sake of the poor lieutenant - ⁠And this, ⁠said my uncle Toby, taking up the sword in his hand, and drawing it out of the scabbard as he spoke - ⁠and this, Le Fever, I’ll save for thee,⁠ ’tis all the fortune, continued my uncle Toby, hanging it up upon a crook, and pointing to it,⁠ ’tis all the fortune, my dear Le Fever, which God has left thee; but if he has given thee a heart to fight thy way with it in the world,⁠ and thou doest it like a man of honour,⁠ ’tis enough for us.

As soon as my uncle Toby had laid a foundation, and taught him to inscribe a regular polygon in a circle, he sent him to a public school, where, excepting Whitsontide and Christmas, at which times the corporal was punctually dispatched for him,⁠ he remained to the spring of the year, seventeen; when the stories of the emperor’s sending his army into Hungary against the Turks, kindling a spark of fire in his bosom, he left his Greek and Latin without leave, and throwing himself upon his knees before my uncle Toby, begged his father’s sword, and my uncle Toby’s leave along with it, to go and try his fortune under Eugene.⁠ Twice did my uncle Toby forget his wound and cry out, Le Fever! I will go with thee, and thou shalt fight beside me - ⁠And twice he laid his hand upon his groin, and hung down his head in sorrow and disconsolation.⁠⁠

My uncle Toby took down the sword from the crook, where it had hung untouched ever since the lieutenant’s death, and delivered it to the corporal to brighten up;⁠ ⁠and having detained Le Fever a single fortnight to equip him, and contract for his passage to Leghorn,⁠ he put the sword into his hand.⁠ ⁠If thou art brave, Le Fever, said my uncle Toby, this will not fail thee, ⁠but Fortune, said he (musing a little), ⁠Fortune may - ⁠And if she does,⁠ added my uncle Toby, embracing him, come back again to me, Le Fever, and we will shape thee another course.

The greatest injury could not have oppressed the heart of Le Fever more than my uncle Toby’s paternal kindness;⁠ ⁠he parted from my uncle Toby, as the best of sons from the best of fathers - ⁠both dropped tears - ⁠and as my uncle Toby gave him his last kiss, he slipped sixty guineas, tied up in an old purse of his father’s, in which was his mother’s ring, into his hand, ⁠and bid God bless him.

Chapter XIII

Le Fever got up to the Imperial army just time enough to try what metal his sword was made of, at the defeat of the Turks before Belgrade; but a series of unmerited mischances had pursued him from that moment, and trod close upon his heels for four years together after; he had withstood these buffetings to the last, till sickness overtook him at Marseilles, from whence he wrote my uncle Toby word, he had lost his time, his services, his health, and, in short, everything but his sword;⁠ ⁠and was waiting for the first ship to return back to him.

As this letter came to hand about six weeks before Susannah’s accident, Le Fever was hourly expected; and was uppermost in my uncle Toby’s mind all the time my father was giving him and Yorick a description of what kind of a person he would choose for a preceptor to me: but as my uncle Toby thought my father at first somewhat fanciful in the accomplishments he required, he forebore mentioning Le Fever’s name, ⁠till the character, by Yorick’s interposition, ending unexpectedly, in one, who should be gentle-tempered, and generous, and good, it impressed the image of Le Fever, and his interest, upon my uncle Toby so forcibly, he rose instantly off his chair; and laying down his pipe, in order to take hold of both my father’s hands - ⁠I beg, brother Shandy, said my uncle Toby, I may recommend poor Le Fever’s son to you - ⁠I beseech you do, added Yorick - ⁠He has a good heart, said my uncle Toby - ⁠And a brave one too, an’ please your honour, said the corporal.

The best hearts, Trim, are ever the bravest, replied my uncle Toby.⁠ ⁠And the greatest cowards, an’ please your honour, in our regiment, were the greatest rascals in it.⁠ ⁠There was serjeant Kumber, and ensign—

We’ll talk of them, said my father, another time.

Chapter XIV

What a jovial and a merry world would this be, may it please your worships, but for that inextricable labyrinth of debts, cares, woes, want, grief, discontent, melancholy, large jointures, impositions, and lies!

Doctor Slop, like a son of a w, as my father called him for it,⁠ to exalt himself,⁠ debased me to death,⁠ and made ten thousand times more of Susannah’s accident, than there was any grounds for; so that in a week’s time, or less, it was in everybody’s mouth, That poor Master Shandy * * * * * * * * entirely.⁠ And Fame, who loves to double everything,⁠ in three days more, had sworn, positively she saw it,⁠ and all the world, as usual, gave credit to her evidence - “That the nursery window had not only
* * * * * * * * * *;⁠ ⁠but that * * * * * * * * * * 's also.”

Could the world have been sued like a body-corporate,⁠ my father had brought an action upon the case, and trounced it sufficiently; but to fall foul of individuals about it - ⁠as every soul who had mentioned the affair, did it with the greatest pity imaginable;⁠ ’twas like flying in the very face of his best friends: And yet to acquiesce under the report, in silence⁠ - was to acknowledge it openly,⁠ at least in the opinion of one half of the world; and to make a bustle again, in contradicting it,⁠ was to confirm it as strongly in the opinion of the other half.⁠

Was ever poor devil of a country gentleman so hampered? said my father.

I would show him publickly, said my uncle Toby, at the market cross.

’Twill have no effect, said my father.

Chapter XV

I’ll put him, however, into breeches, said my father,⁠ let the world say what it will.

Chapter XVI

There are a thousand resolutions, Sir, both in church and state, as well as in matters, Madam, of a more private concern; which though they have carried all the appearance in the world of being taken, and entered upon in a hasty, harebrained, and unadvised manner, were, notwithstanding this (and could you or I have got into the cabinet, or stood behind the curtain, we should have found it was so), weighed, poized, and perpended - ⁠argued upon⁠ - canvassed through - ⁠entered into, and examined on all sides with so much coolness, that the goddess of coolness herself (I do not take upon me to prove her existence) could neither have wished it, or done it better.

Of the number of these was my father’s resolution of putting me into breeches; which, though determined at once,⁠ in a kind of huff, and a defiance of all mankind, had, nevertheless, been pro’d and conn’d, and judicially talked over betwixt him and my mother about a month before, in two several beds of justice, which my father had held for that purpose. I shall explain the nature of these beds of justice in my next chapter; and in the chapter following that, you shall step with me, Madam, behind the curtain, only to hear in what kind of manner my father and my mother debated between themselves, this affair of the breeches,⁠ from which you may form an idea, how they debated all lesser matters.

Chapter XVII

The ancient Goths of Germany, who (the learned Cluverius is positive) were first seated in the country between the Vistula and the Oder, and who afterwards incorporated the Herculi, the Bugians, and some other Vandallick clans to ’em⁠ - had all of them a wise custom of debating everything of importance to their state, twice; that is,⁠ once drunk, and once sober: Drunk,⁠ that their councils might not want vigour;⁠ ⁠and sober⁠ - that they might not want discretion.

Now my father being entirely a water-drinker,⁠ was a long time gravelled almost to death, in turning this as much to his advantage, as he did every other thing which the ancients did or said; and it was not till the seventh year of his marriage, after a thousand fruitless experiments and devices, that he hit upon an expedient which answered the purpose;⁠ ⁠and that was, when any difficult and momentous point was to be settled in the family, which required great sobriety, and great spirit too, in its determination, ⁠he fixed and set apart the first Sunday night in the month, and the Saturday night which immediately preceded it, to argue it over, in bed, with my mother: By which contrivance, if you consider, Sir, with yourself, * * * * * * * * * * 

These my father, humorously enough, called his beds of justice;⁠ ⁠for from the two different counsels taken in these two different humours, a middle one was generally found out which touched the point of wisdom as well, as if he had got drunk and sober a hundred times.

It must not be made a secret of to the world, that this answers full as well in literary discussions, as either in military or conjugal; but it is not every author that can try the experiment as the Goths and Vandals did it - ⁠or, if he can, may it be always for his body’s health; and to do it, as my father did it,⁠ am I sure it would be always for his soul’s.

My way is this:

In all nice and ticklish discussions⁠ - (of which, heaven knows, there are but too many in my book),⁠ where I find I cannot take a step without the danger of having either their worships or their reverences upon my back - ⁠I write one-half full,⁠ and t’other fasting;⁠ ⁠or write it all full,⁠ and correct it fasting: or write it fasting,⁠ and correct it full, for they all come to the same thing: So that with a less variation from my father’s plan, than my father’s from the Gothick - ⁠I feel myself upon a par with him in his first bed of justice,⁠ and no way inferior to him in his second.⁠ ⁠These different and almost irreconcileable effects, flow uniformly from the wise and wonderful mechanism of nature,⁠ of which,⁠ be hers the honour.⁠ ⁠All that we can do, is to turn and work the machine to the improvement and better manufactory of the arts and sciences.⁠⁠

Now, when I write full,⁠ I write as if I was never to write fasting again as long as I live;⁠ ⁠that is, I write free from the cares as well as the terrors of the world.⁠ ⁠I count not the number of my scars,⁠ nor does my fancy go forth into dark entries and bye-corners to antedate my stabs.⁠ ⁠In a word, my pen takes its course; and I write on as much from the fullness of my heart, as my stomach.⁠⁠

But when, an’ please your honours, I indite fasting, ’tis a different history.⁠ ⁠I pay the world all possible attention and respect,⁠ and have as great a share (whilst it lasts) of that under-strapping virtue of discretion as the best of you.⁠ ⁠So that betwixt both, I write a careless kind of a civil, nonsensical, good-humoured Shandean book, which will do all your hearts good—

And all your heads too,⁠ provided you understand it.

Chapter XVIII

We should begin, said my father, turning himself half round in bed, and shifting his pillow a little towards my mother’s, as he opened the debate - ⁠We should begin to think, Mrs. Shandy, of putting this boy into breeches.⁠⁠

We should so,⁠ said my mother.⁠ ⁠We defer it, my dear, quoth my father, shamefully.⁠

I think we do, Mr. Shandy,⁠ said my mother.

Not but the child looks extremely well, said my father, in his vests and tunicks.⁠

He does look very well in them,⁠ replied my mother.⁠

And for that reason it would be almost a sin, added my father, to take him out of ’em.⁠⁠

It would so,⁠ said my mother: But indeed he is growing a very tall lad,⁠ rejoined my father.

He is very tall for his age, indeed,⁠ said my mother.⁠⁠

I can not (making two syllables of it) imagine, quoth my father, who the deuce he takes after.⁠⁠

I cannot conceive, for my life,⁠ said my mother.⁠⁠

Humph!⁠ ⁠said my father.

(The dialogue ceased for a moment.)

I am very short myself,⁠ continued my father gravely.

You are very short, Mr. Shandy,⁠ said my mother.

Humph! quoth my father to himself, a second time: in muttering which, he plucked his pillow a little further from my mother’s⁠ - and turning about again, there was an end of the debate for three minutes and a half.

When he gets these breeches made, cried my father in a higher tone, he’ll look like a beast in ’em.

He will be very awkward in them at first, replied my mother.⁠⁠

And ’twill be lucky, if that’s the worst on’t, added my father.

It will be very lucky, answered my mother.

I suppose, replied my father,⁠ making some pause first,⁠ he’ll be exactly like other people’s children.⁠⁠

Exactly, said my mother.⁠

Though I shall be sorry for that, added my father: and so the debate stopp’d again.

They should be of leather, said my father, turning him about again.⁠

They will last him, said my mother, the longest.

But he can have no linings to ’em, replied my father.⁠

He cannot, said my mother.

’Twere better to have them of fustian, quoth my father.

Nothing can be better, quoth my mother.⁠

Except dimity,⁠ replied my father: ’Tis best of all,⁠ replied my mother.

One must not give him his death, however,⁠ interrupted my father.

By no means, said my mother: and so the dialogue stood still again.

I am resolved, however, quoth my father, breaking silence the fourth time, he shall have no pockets in them.⁠

There is no occasion for any, said my mother.⁠

I mean in his coat and waistcoat,⁠ cried my father.

I mean so too,⁠ replied my mother.

Though if he gets a gig or top - ⁠Poor souls! it is a crown and a sceptre to them,⁠ they should have where to secure it.⁠

Order it as you please, Mr. Shandy, replied my mother.⁠

But don’t you think it right? added my father, pressing the point home to her.

Perfectly, said my mother, if it pleases you, Mr. Shandy.⁠

There’s for you! cried my father, losing temper - ⁠Pleases me!⁠ ⁠You never will distinguish, Mrs. Shandy, nor shall I ever teach you to do it, betwixt a point of pleasure and a point of convenience.⁠ ⁠This was on the Sunday night: and further this chapter sayeth not.

Chapter XIX

After my father had debated the affair of the breeches with my mother,⁠ he consulted Albertus Rubenius upon it; and Albertus Rubenius used my father ten times worse in the consultation (if possible) than even my father had used my mother: For as Rubenius had wrote a quarto express, De re Vestiaria Veterum,⁠ it was Rubenius’s business to have given my father some lights.⁠ On the contrary, my father might as well have thought of extracting the seven cardinal virtues out of a long beard,⁠ as of extracting a single word out of Rubenius upon the subject.

Upon every other article of ancient dress, Rubenius was very communicative to my father; gave him a full and satisfactory account of

The Toga, or loose gown.
The Chlamys.
The Ephod.
The Tunica, or Jacket.
The Synthesis.
The Pænula.
The Lacema, with its Cucullus.
The Paludamentum.
The Prætexta.
The Sagum, or soldier’s jerkin.
The Trabea: of which, according to Suetonius, there were three kinds.⁠

But what are all these to the breeches? said my father.

Rubenius threw him down upon the counter all kinds of shoes which had been in fashion with the Romans.⁠

There was,
The open shoe.
The close shoe.
The slip shoe.
The wooden shoe.
The soc.
The buskin.
And The military shoe with hobnails in it, which Juvenal takes notice of.

There were,
The clogs.
The pattins.
The pantoufles.
The brogues.
The sandals, with latchets to them.

There was,
The felt shoe.
The linen shoe.
The laced shoe.
The braided shoe.
The calceus incisus.
And The calceus rostratus.

Rubenius showed my father how well they all fitted,⁠ in what manner they laced on,⁠ with what points, straps, thongs, latchets, ribbons, jaggs, and ends.⁠

But I want to be informed about the breeches, said my father.

Albertus Rubenius informed my father that the Romans manufactured stuffs of various fabrics, ⁠some plain,⁠ some striped,⁠ others diapered throughout the whole contexture of the wool, with silk and gold - ⁠That linen did not begin to be in common use till towards the declension of the empire, when the Egyptians coming to settle amongst them, brought it into vogue.

That persons of quality and fortune distinguished themselves by the fineness and whiteness of their clothes; which colour (next to purple, which was appropriated to the great offices) they most affected, and wore on their birthdays and public rejoicings.⁠ ⁠That it appeared from the best historians of those times, that they frequently sent their clothes to the fuller, to be clean’d and whitened: but that the inferior people, to avoid that expense, generally wore brown clothes, and of a something coarser texture,⁠ till towards the beginning of Augustus’s reign, when the slave dressed like his master, and almost every distinction of habiliment was lost, but the Latus Clavus.

And what was the Latus Clavus? said my father.

Rubenius told him, that the point was still litigating amongst the learned: That Egnatius, Sigonius, Bossius Ticinensis, Bayfius, Budæus, Salmasius, Lipsius, Lazius, Isaac Casaubon, and Joseph Scaliger, all differed from each other,⁠ and he from them: That some took it to be the button,⁠ some the coat itself,⁠ others only the colour of it:⁠ That the great Bayfius, in his Wardrobe of the Ancients, chap. 12⁠ - honestly said, he knew not what it was,⁠ whether a tibula,⁠ a stud,⁠ a button,⁠ a loop,⁠ a buckle,⁠ or clasps and keepers.⁠

My father lost the horse, but not the saddle - ⁠They are hooks and eyes, said my father - ⁠and with hooks and eyes he ordered my breeches to be made.

Chapter XX

We are now going to enter upon a new scene of events.⁠

Leave we then the breeches in the tailor’s hands, with my father standing over him with his cane, reading him as he sat at work a lecture upon the latus clavus, and pointing to the precise part of the waistband, where he was determined to have it sewed on.⁠⁠

Leave we my mother⁠ - (truest of all the Pococurantes of her sex!)⁠ - careless about it, as about everything else in the world which concerned her; that is,⁠ indifferent whether it was done this way or that,⁠ provided it was but done at all.⁠⁠

Leave we Slop likewise to the full profits of all my dishonours.⁠

Leave we poor Le Fever to recover, and get home from Marseilles as he can.⁠ ⁠And last of all,⁠ because the hardest of all—

Let us leave, if possible, myself: But ’tis impossible,⁠ I must go along with you to the end of the work.

Chapter XXI

If the reader has not a clear conception of the rood and the half of ground which lay at the bottom of my uncle Toby’s kitchen-garden, and which was the scene of so many of his delicious hours,⁠ the fault is not in me,⁠ but in his imagination; for I am sure I gave him so minute a description, I was almost ashamed of it.

When Fate was looking forwards one afternoon, into the great transactions of future times,⁠ and recollected for what purposes this little plot, by a decree fast bound down in iron, had been destined, ⁠she gave a nod to Nature,⁠ ’twas enough⁠ - Nature threw half a spade full of her kindliest compost upon it, with just so much clay in it, as to retain the forms of angles and indentings,⁠ and so little of it too, as not to cling to the spade, and render works of so much glory, nasty in foul weather.

My uncle Toby came down, as the reader has been informed, with plans along with him, of almost every fortified town in Italy and Flanders; so let the Duke of Marlborough, or the allies, have set down before what town they pleased, my uncle Toby was prepared for them.

His way, which was the simplest one in the world, was this; as soon as ever a town was invested⁠ - (but sooner when the design was known) to take the plan of it (let it be what town it would), and enlarge it upon a scale to the exact size of his bowling-green; upon the surface of which, by means of a large role of packthread, and a number of small piquets driven into the ground, at the several angles and redans, he transferred the lines from his paper; then taking the profile of the place, with its works, to determine the depths and slopes of the ditches,⁠ the talus of the glacis, and the precise height of the several banquets, parapets, etc.⁠, he set the corporal to work - ⁠and sweetly went it on: The nature of the soil,⁠ the nature of the work itself,⁠ and above all, the good-nature of my uncle Toby sitting by from morning to night, and chatting kindly with the corporal upon past-done deeds,⁠ left labour little else but the ceremony of the name.

When the place was finished in this manner, and put into a proper posture of defence,⁠ it was invested,⁠ and my uncle Toby and the corporal began to run their first parallel.⁠ ⁠I beg I may not be interrupted in my story, by being told, That the first parallel should be at least three hundred toises distant from the main body of the place,⁠ and that I have not left a single inch for it; for my uncle Toby took the liberty of encroaching upon his kitchen-garden, for the sake of enlarging his works on the bowling-green, and for that reason generally ran his first and second parallels betwixt two rows of his cabbages and his cauliflowers; the conveniences and inconveniences of which will be considered at large in the history of my uncle Toby’s and the corporal’s campaigns, of which, this I’m now writing is but a sketch, and will be finished, if I conjecture right, in three pages (but there is no guessing) - ⁠The campaigns themselves will take up as many books; and therefore I apprehend it would be hanging too great a weight of one kind of matter in so flimsy a performance as this, to rhapsodize them, as I once intended, into the body of the work - ⁠surely they had better be printed apart, ⁠we’ll consider the affair - ⁠so take the following sketch of them in the meantime.

Chapter XXII

When the town, with its works, was finished, my uncle Toby and the corporal began to run their first parallel - ⁠not at random, or anyhow - ⁠but from the same points and distances the allies had begun to run theirs; and regulating their approaches and attacks, by the accounts my uncle Toby received from the daily papers,⁠ they went on, during the whole siege, step by step with the allies.

When the duke of Marlborough made a lodgment, ⁠my uncle Toby made a lodgment too, ⁠And when the face of a bastion was battered down, or a defence ruined,⁠ the corporal took his mattock and did as much,⁠ and so on;⁠ ⁠gaining ground, and making themselves masters of the works one after another, till the town fell into their hands.

To one who took pleasure in the happy state of others,⁠ there could not have been a greater sight in the world, than, on a post-morning, in which a practicable breach had been made by the duke of Marlborough, in the main body of the place,⁠ to have stood behind the hornbeam hedge, and observed the spirit with which my uncle Toby, with Trim behind him, sallied forth;⁠ ⁠the one with the Gazette in his hand,⁠ the other with a spade on his shoulder to execute the contents.⁠ ⁠What an honest triumph in my uncle Toby’s looks as he marched up to the ramparts! What intense pleasure swimming in his eye as he stood over the corporal, reading the paragraph ten times over to him, as he was at work, lest, peradventure, he should make the breach an inch too wide,⁠ or leave it an inch too narrow.⁠ ⁠But when the chamade was beat, and the corporal helped my uncle up it, and followed with the colours in his hand, to fix them upon the ramparts⁠ - Heaven! Earth! Sea!⁠ ⁠but what avails apostrophes?⁠ ⁠with all your elements, wet or dry, ye never compounded so intoxicating a draught.

In this track of happiness for many years, without one interruption to it, except now and then when the wind continued to blow due west for a week or ten days together, which detained the Flanders mail, and kept them so long in torture,⁠ but still ’twas the torture of the happy - ⁠In this track, I say, did my uncle Toby and Trim move for many years, every year of which, and sometimes every month, from the invention of either the one or the other of them, adding some new conceit or quirk of improvement to their operations, which always opened fresh springs of delight in carrying them on.

The first year’s campaign was carried on from beginning to end, in the plain and simple method I’ve related.

In the second year, in which my uncle Toby took Liege and Ruremond, he thought he might afford the expense of four handsome drawbridges, of two of which I have given an exact description in the former part of my work.

At the latter end of the same year he added a couple of gates with portcullises: These last were converted afterwards into orgues, as the better thing; and during the winter of the same year, my uncle Toby, instead of a new suit of clothes, which he always had at Christmas, treated himself with a handsome sentry-box, to stand at the corner of the bowling-green, betwixt which point and the foot of the glacis, there was left a little kind of an esplanade for him and the corporal to confer and hold councils of war upon.

The sentry-box was in case of rain.

All these were painted white three times over the ensuing spring, which enabled my uncle Toby to take the field with great splendour.

My father would often say to Yorick, that if any mortal in the whole universe had done such a thing, except his brother Toby, it would have been looked upon by the world as one of the most refined satires upon the parade and prancing manner in which Lewis XIV from the beginning of the war, but particularly that very year, had taken the field - ⁠But ’tis not my brother Toby’s nature, kind soul! my father would add, to insult anyone.

But let us go on.

Chapter XXIII

I must observe, that although in the first year’s campaign, the word town is often mentioned,⁠ yet there was no town at that time within the polygon; that addition was not made till the summer following the spring in which the bridges and sentry-box were painted, which was the third year of my uncle Toby’s campaigns,⁠ when upon his taking Amberg, Bonn, and Rhinberg, and Huy and Limbourg, one after another, a thought came into the corporal’s head, that to talk of taking so many towns, without one town to show for it,⁠ was a very nonsensical way of going to work, and so proposed to my uncle Toby, that they should have a little model of a town built for them,⁠ to be run up together of slit deals, and then painted, and clapped within the interior polygon to serve for all.

My uncle Toby felt the good of the project instantly, and instantly agreed to it, but with the addition of two singular improvements, of which he was almost as proud as if he had been the original inventor of the project itself.

The one was, to have the town built exactly in the style of those of which it was most likely to be the representative: with grated windows, and the gable ends of the houses, facing the streets, etc. etc.⁠, as those in Ghent and Bruges, and the rest of the towns in Brabant and Flanders.

The other was, not to have the houses run up together, as the corporal proposed, but to have every house independent, to hook on, or off, so as to form into the plan of whatever town they pleased. This was put directly into hand, and many and many a look of mutual congratulation was exchanged between my uncle Toby and the corporal, as the carpenter did the work.

It answered prodigiously the next summer - ⁠the town was a perfect Proteus - ⁠It was Landen, and Trerebach, and Santvliet, and Drusen, and Hagenau,⁠ and then it was Ostend and Menin, and Aeth and Dendermond.

Surely never did any town act so many parts, since Sodom and Gomorah, as my uncle Toby’s town did.

In the fourth year, my uncle Toby thinking a town looked foolishly without a church, added a very fine one with a steeple.⁠ ⁠Trim was for having bells in it;⁠ ⁠my uncle Toby said, the metal had better be cast into cannon.

This led the way the next campaign for half a dozen brass field-pieces, to be planted three and three on each side of my uncle Toby’s sentry-box; and in a short time, these led the way for a train of somewhat larger,⁠ and so on⁠ - (as must always be the case in hobbyhorsical affairs) from pieces of half an inch bore, till it came at last to my father’s jack boots.

The next year, which was that in which Lisle was besieged, and at the close of which both Ghent and Bruges fell into our hands,⁠ my uncle Toby was sadly put to it for proper ammunition;⁠ ⁠I say proper ammunition - ⁠because his great artillery would not bear powder; and ’twas well for the Shandy family they would not - ⁠For so full were the papers, from the beginning to the end of the siege, of the incessant firings kept up by the besiegers, ⁠and so heated was my uncle Toby’s imagination with the accounts of them, that he had infallibly shot away all his estate.

Something therefore was wanting as a succedaneum, especially in one or two of the more violent paroxysms of the siege, to keep up something like a continual firing in the imagination, ⁠and this something, the corporal, whose principal strength lay in invention, supplied by an entire new system of battering of his own,⁠ without which, this had been objected to by military critics, to the end of the world, as one of the great desiderata of my uncle Toby’s apparatus.

This will not be explained the worse, for setting off, as I generally do, at a little distance from the subject.

Chapter XXIV

With two or three other trinkets, small in themselves, but of great regard, which poor Tom, the corporal’s unfortunate brother, had sent him over, with the account of his marriage with the Jew’s widow - ⁠there was

A Montero-cap and two Turkish tobacco-pipes.

The Montero-cap I shall describe by and bye.⁠ ⁠The Turkish tobacco-pipes had nothing particular in them, they were fitted up and ornamented as usual, with flexible tubes of Morocco leather and gold wire, and mounted at their ends, the one of them with ivory,⁠ the other with black ebony, tipp’d with silver.

My father, who saw all things in lights different from the rest of the world, would say to the corporal, that he ought to look upon these two presents more as tokens of his brother’s nicety, than his affection.⁠ ⁠Tom did not care, Trim, he would say, to put on the cap, or to smoke in the tobacco-pipe of a Jew.⁠ ⁠God bless your honour, the corporal would say, (giving a strong reason to the contrary)⁠ - how can that be?

The Montero-cap was scarlet, of a superfine Spanish cloth, dyed in grain, and mounted all round with fur, except about four inches in the front, which was faced with a light blue, slightly embroidered,⁠ and seemed to have been the property of a Portuguese quartermaster, not of foot, but of horse, as the word denotes.

The corporal was not a little proud of it, as well for its own sake, as the sake of the giver, so seldom or never put it on but upon Gala-days; and yet never was a Montero-cap put to so many uses; for in all controverted points, whether military or culinary, provided the corporal was sure he was in the right,⁠ it was either his oath,⁠ his wager,⁠ or his gift.

’Twas his gift in the present case.

I’ll be bound, said the corporal, speaking to himself, to give away my Montero-cap to the first beggar who comes to the door, if I do not manage this matter to his honour’s satisfaction.

The completion was no further off than the very next morning; which was that of the storm of the counterscarp betwixt the Lower Deule, to the right, and the gate St. Andrew,⁠ and on the left, between St. Magdalen’s and the river.

As this was the most memorable attack in the whole war,⁠ the most gallant and obstinate on both sides,⁠ and I must add the most bloody too, for it cost the allies themselves that morning above eleven hundred men,⁠ my uncle Toby prepared himself for it with a more than ordinary solemnity.

The eve which preceded, as my uncle Toby went to bed, he ordered his ramallie wig, which had laid inside out for many years in the corner of an old compaigning trunk, which stood by his bedside, to be taken out and laid upon the lid of it, ready for the morning; and the very first thing he did in his shirt, when he had stepped out of bed, my uncle Toby, after he had turned the rough side outwards,⁠ put it on: This done, he proceeded next to his breeches, and having buttoned the waistband, he forthwith buckled on his sword-belt, and had got his sword half way in,⁠ when he considered he should want shaving, and that it would be very inconvenient doing it with his sword on,⁠ so took it off: In assaying to put on his regimental coat and waistcoat, my uncle Toby found the same objection in his wig,⁠ so that went off too:⁠ So that what with one thing and what with another, as always falls out when a man is in the most haste,⁠ ’twas ten o’clock, which was half an hour later than his usual time, before my uncle Toby sallied out.

Chapter XXV

My uncle Toby had scarce turned the corner of his yew hedge, which separated his kitchen-garden from his bowling-green, when he perceived the corporal had begun the attack without him.⁠

Let me stop and give you a picture of the corporal’s apparatus; and of the corporal himself in the height of his attack, just as it struck my uncle Toby, as he turned towards the sentry-box, where the corporal was at work, ⁠for in nature there is not such another, ⁠nor can any combination of all that is grotesque and whimsical in her works produce its equal.

The corporal—

Tread lightly on his ashes, ye men of genius, ⁠for he was your kinsman:

Weed his grave clean, ye men of goodness,⁠ for he was your brother.⁠ Oh corporal! had I thee, but now,⁠ now, that I am able to give thee a dinner and protection,⁠ how would I cherish thee! thou should’st wear thy Montero-cap every hour of the day, and every day of the week,⁠ and when it was worn out, I would purchase thee a couple like it: But alas! alas! alas! now that I can do this in spite of their reverences⁠ - the occasion is lost⁠ - for thou art gone; thy genius fled up to the stars from whence it came; and that warm heart of thine, with all its generous and open vessels, compressed into a clod of the valley!

But what - ⁠what is this, to that future and dreaded page, where I look towards the velvet pall, decorated with the military ensigns of thy master⁠ - the first⁠ - the foremost of created beings;⁠ ⁠where, I shall see thee, faithful servant! laying his sword and scabbard with a trembling hand across his coffin, and then returning pale as ashes to the door, to take his mourning horse by the bridle, to follow his hearse, as he directed thee;⁠ ⁠where⁠ - all my father’s systems shall be baffled by his sorrows; and, in spite of his philosophy, I shall behold him, as he inspects the lackered plate, twice taking his spectacles from off his nose, to wipe away the dew which nature has shed upon them - ⁠When I see him cast in the rosemary with an air of disconsolation, which cries through my ears, ⁠O Toby! in what corner of the world shall I seek thy fellow?

Gracious powers! which erst have opened the lips of the dumb in his distress, and made the tongue of the stammerer speak plain - ⁠when I shall arrive at this dreaded page, deal not with me, then, with a stinted hand.

Chapter XXVI

The corporal, who the night before had resolved in his mind to supply the grand desideratum, of keeping up something like an incessant firing upon the enemy during the heat of the attack,⁠ had no further idea in his fancy at that time, than a contrivance of smoking tobacco against the town, out of one of my uncle Toby’s six field-pieces, which were planted on each side of his sentry-box; the means of effecting which occurring to his fancy at the time same, though he had pledged his cap, he thought it in no danger from the miscarriage of his projects.

Upon turning it this way, and that, a little in his mind, he soon began to find out, that by means of his two Turkish tobacco-pipes, with the supplement of three smaller tubes of wash-leather at each of their lower ends, to be tagg’d by the same number of tin-pipes fitted to the touch-holes, and sealed with clay next the cannon, and then tied hermetically with waxed silk at their several insertions into the Morocco tube,⁠ he should be able to fire the six field-pieces all together, and with the same ease as to fire one.⁠

Let no man say from what taggs and jaggs hints may not be cut out for the advancement of human knowledge. Let no man, who has read my father’s first and second beds of justice, ever rise up and say again, from collision of what kinds of bodies light may or may not be struck out, to carry the arts and sciences up to perfection.⁠ ⁠Heaven! thou knowest how I love them;⁠ ⁠thou knowest the secrets of my heart, and that I would this moment give my shirt - ⁠Thou art a fool, Shandy, says Eugenius, for thou hast but a dozen in the world,⁠ and ’twill break thy set.⁠⁠

No matter for that, Eugenius; I would give the shirt off my back to be burned into tinder, were it only to satisfy one feverish enquirer, how many sparks at one good stroke, a good flint and steel could strike into the tail of it.⁠ ⁠Think ye not that in striking these in,⁠ he might, peradventure, strike something out? as sure as a gun.⁠⁠

But this project, by the by.

The corporal sat up the best part of the night, in bringing his to perfection; and having made a sufficient proof of his cannon, with charging them to the top with tobacco,⁠ he went with contentment to bed.

Chapter XXVII

The corporal had slipped out about ten minutes before my uncle Toby, in order to fix his apparatus, and just give the enemy a shot or two before my uncle Toby came.

He had drawn the six field-pieces for this end, all close up together in front of my uncle Toby’s sentry-box, leaving only an interval of about a yard and a half betwixt the three, on the right and left, for the convenience of charging, etc.⁠, and the sake possibly of two batteries, which he might think double the honour of one.

In the rear and facing this opening, with his back to the door of the sentry-box, for fear of being flanked, had the corporal wisely taken his post: He held the ivory pipe, appertaining to the battery on the right, betwixt the finger and thumb of his right hand,⁠ and the ebony pipe tipp’d with silver, which appertained to the battery on the left, betwixt the finger and thumb of the other - ⁠and with his right knee fixed firm upon the ground, as if in the front rank of his platoon, was the corporal with his Montero-cap upon his head, furiously playing off his two cross batteries at the same time against the counter-guard, which faced the counter-scarp, where the attack was to be made that morning. His first intention, as I said, was no more than giving the enemy a single puff or two; but the pleasure of the puffs, as well as the puffing, had insensibly got hold of the corporal, and drawn him on from puff to puff, into the very height of the attack, by the time my uncle Toby joined him.

’Twas well for my father, that my uncle Toby had not his will to make that day.

Chapter XXVIII

My uncle Toby took the ivory pipe out of the corporal’s hand,⁠ looked at it for half a minute, and returned it.

In less than two minutes, my uncle Toby took the pipe from the corporal again, and raised it half way to his mouth - ⁠then hastily gave it back a second time.

The corporal redoubled the attack, ⁠my uncle Toby smiled, ⁠then looked grave, ⁠then smiled for a moment, ⁠then looked serious for a long time;⁠ ⁠Give me hold of the ivory pipe, Trim, said my uncle Toby - ⁠my uncle Toby put it to his lips, ⁠drew it back directly,⁠ gave a peep over the hornbeam hedge;⁠ ⁠never did my uncle Toby’s mouth water so much for a pipe in his life.⁠ ⁠My uncle Toby retired into the sentry-box with the pipe in his hand.⁠

Dear uncle Toby! don’t go into the sentry-box with the pipe,⁠ there’s no trusting a man’s self with such a thing in such a corner.

Chapter XXIX

I beg the reader will assist me here, to wheel off my uncle Toby’s ordnance behind the scenes, ⁠to remove his sentry-box, and clear the theatre, if possible, of horn-works and half moons, and get the rest of his military apparatus out of the way;⁠ ⁠that done, my dear friend Garrick, we’ll snuff the candles bright,⁠ sweep the stage with a new broom,⁠ draw up the curtain, and exhibit my uncle Toby dressed in a new character, throughout which the world can have no idea how he will act: and yet, if pity be akin to love,⁠ and bravery no alien to it, you have seen enough of my uncle Toby in these, to trace these family likenesses betwixt the two passions (in case there is one) to your heart’s content.

Vain science! thou assistest us in no case of this kind⁠ - and thou puzzlest us in every one.

There was, Madam, in my uncle Toby, a singleness of heart which misled him so far out of the little serpentine tracks in which things of this nature usually go on; you can⁠ - you can have no conception of it: with this, there was a plainness and simplicity of thinking, with such an unmistrusting ignorance of the plies and foldings of the heart of woman;⁠ ⁠and so naked and defenceless did he stand before you (when a siege was out of his head), that you might have stood behind any one of your serpentine walks, and shot my uncle Toby ten times in a day, through his liver, if nine times in a day, Madam, had not served your purpose.

With all this, Madam,⁠ and what confounded everything as much on the other hand, my uncle Toby had that unparalleled modesty of nature I once told you of, and which, by the by, stood eternal sentry upon his feelings, that you might as soon - ⁠But where am I going? these reflections crowd in upon me ten pages at least too soon, and take up that time, which I ought to bestow upon facts.

Chapter XXX

Of the few legitimate sons of Adam whose breasts never felt what the sting of love was,⁠ (maintaining first, all mysogynists to be bastards)⁠ - the greatest heroes of ancient and modern story have carried off amongst them nine parts in ten of the honour; and I wish for their sakes I had the key of my study, out of my draw-well, only for five minutes, to tell you their names⁠ - recollect them I cannot⁠ - so be content to accept of these, for the present, in their stead.⁠

There was the great king Aldrovandus, and Bosphorus, and Cappadocius, and Dardanus, and Pontus, and Asius, ⁠to say nothing of the iron-hearted Charles the XII, whom the Countess of K***** herself could make nothing of.⁠ ⁠There was Babylonicus, and Mediterraneus, and Polixenes, and Persicus, and Prusicus, not one of whom (except Cappadocius and Pontus, who were both a little suspected) ever once bowed down his breast to the goddess - ⁠The truth is, they had all of them something else to do⁠ - and so had my uncle Toby⁠ - till Fate⁠ - till Fate I say, envying his name the glory of being handed down to posterity with Aldrovandus’s and the rest,⁠ she basely patched up the peace of Utrecht.

Believe me, Sirs, ’twas the worst deed she did that year.

Chapter XXXI

Amongst the many ill consequences of the treaty of Utrecht, it was within a point of giving my uncle Toby a surfeit of sieges; and though he recovered his appetite afterwards, yet Calais itself left not a deeper scar in Mary’s heart, than Utrecht upon my uncle Toby’s. To the end of his life he never could hear Utrecht mentioned upon any account whatever,⁠ or so much as read an article of news extracted out of the Utrecht Gazette, without fetching a sigh, as if his heart would break in twain.

My father, who was a great motive-monger, and consequently a very dangerous person for a man to sit by, either laughing or crying,⁠ for he generally knew your motive for doing both, much better than you knew it yourself⁠ - would always console my uncle Toby upon these occasions, in a way, which showed plainly, he imagined my uncle Toby grieved for nothing in the whole affair, so much as the loss of his hobbyhorse.⁠ ⁠Never mind, brother Toby, he would say,⁠ by God’s blessing we shall have another war break out again some of these days; and when it does,⁠ the belligerent powers, if they would hang themselves, cannot keep us out of play.⁠ ⁠I defy ’em, my dear Toby, he would add, to take countries without taking towns, ⁠or towns without sieges.

My uncle Toby never took this backstroke of my father’s at his hobbyhorse kindly.⁠ ⁠He thought the stroke ungenerous; and the more so, because in striking the horse he hit the rider too, and in the most dishonourable part a blow could fall; so that upon these occasions, he always laid down his pipe upon the table with more fire to defend himself than common.

I told the reader, this time two years, that my uncle Toby was not eloquent; and in the very same page gave an instance to the contrary: I repeat the observation, and a fact which contradicts it again.⁠ He was not eloquent,⁠ it was not easy to my uncle Toby to make long harangues,⁠ and he hated florid ones; but there were occasions where the stream overflowed the man, and ran so counter to its usual course, that in some parts my uncle Toby, for a time, was at least equal to Tertullus - ⁠but in others, in my own opinion, infinitely above him.

My father was so highly pleased with one of these apologetical orations of my uncle Toby’s, which he had delivered one evening before him and Yorick, that he wrote it down before he went to bed.

I have had the good fortune to meet with it amongst my father’s papers, with here and there an insertion of his own, betwixt two crooks, thus [ ], and is endorsed,

My Brother Toby’s Justification of His Own Principles and Conduct in Wishing to Continue the War

I may safely say, I have read over this apologetical oration of my uncle Toby’s a hundred times, and think it so fine a model of defence,⁠ and shows so sweet a temperament of gallantry and good principles in him, that I give it the world, word for word (interlineations and all), as I find it.

Chapter XXXII

My Uncle Toby’s Apologetical Oration
I am not insensible, brother Shandy, that when a man whose profession is arms, wishes, as I have done, for war,⁠ it has an ill aspect to the world;⁠ ⁠and that, how just and right soever his motives and intentions may be,⁠ he stands in an uneasy posture in vindicating himself from private views in doing it.

For this cause, if a soldier is a prudent man, which he may be without being a jot the less brave, he will be sure not to utter his wish in the hearing of an enemy; for say what he will, an enemy will not believe him.⁠ ⁠He will be cautious of doing it even to a friend,⁠ lest he may suffer in his esteem: But if his heart is overcharged, and a secret sigh for arms must have its vent, he will reserve it for the ear of a brother, who knows his character to the bottom, and what his true notions, dispositions, and principles of honour are: What, I hope, I have been in all these, brother Shandy, would be unbecoming in me to say: much worse, I know, have I been than I ought,⁠ and something worse, perhaps, than I think: But such as I am, you, my dear brother Shandy, who have sucked the same breasts with me,⁠ and with whom I have been brought up from my cradle,⁠ and from whose knowledge, from the first hours of our boyish pastimes, down to this, I have concealed no one action of my life, and scarce a thought in it - ⁠Such as I am, brother, you must by this time know me, with all my vices, and with all my weaknesses too, whether of my age, my temper, my passions, or my understanding.

Tell me then, my dear brother Shandy, upon which of them it is, that when I condemned the peace of Utrecht, and grieved the war was not carried on with vigour a little longer, you should think your brother did it upon unworthy views; or that in wishing for war, he should be bad enough to wish more of his fellow-creatures slain,⁠ more slaves made, and more families driven from their peaceful habitations, merely for his own pleasure: Tell me, brother Shandy, upon what one deed of mine do you ground it? [The devil a deed do I know of, dear Toby, but one for a hundred pounds, which I lent thee to carry on these cursed sieges.]

If, when I was a schoolboy, I could not hear a drum beat, but my heart beat with it⁠ - was it my fault? Did I plant the propensity there?⁠ ⁠Did I sound the alarm within, or Nature?

When Guy, Earl of Warwick, and Parismus and Parismenus, and Valentine and Orson, and the Seven Champions of England, were handed around the school,⁠ were they not all purchased with my own pocket-money? Was that selfish, brother Shandy? When we read over the siege of Troy, which lasted ten years and eight months, ⁠though with such a train of artillery as we had at Namur, the town might have been carried in a week⁠ - was I not as much concerned for the destruction of the Greeks and Trojans as any boy of the whole school? Had I not three strokes of a ferula given me, two on my right hand, and one on my left, for calling Helena a bitch for it? Did any one of you shed more tears for Hector? And when king Priam came to the camp to beg his body, and returned weeping back to Troy without it,⁠ you know, brother, I could not eat my dinner.⁠

Did that bespeak me cruel? Or because, brother Shandy, my blood flew out into the camp, and my heart panted for war,⁠ was it a proof it could not ache for the distresses of war too?

O brother! ’tis one thing for a soldier to gather laurels,⁠ and ’tis another to scatter cypress.⁠ [Who told thee, my dear Toby, that cypress was used by the ancients on mournful occasions?]

’Tis one thing, brother Shandy, for a soldier to hazard his own life⁠ - to leap first down into the trench, where he is sure to be cut in pieces: ’Tis one thing, from public spirit and a thirst of glory, to enter the breach the first man,⁠ To stand in the foremost rank, and march bravely on with drums and trumpets, and colours flying about his ears: ’Tis one thing, I say, brother Shandy, to do this,⁠ and ’tis another thing to reflect on the miseries of war; to view the desolations of whole countries, and consider the intolerable fatigues and hardships which the soldier himself, the instrument who works them, is forced (for sixpence a day, if he can get it) to undergo.

Need I be told, dear Yorick, as I wa