—And pray what do you call this gentleman? quoth my father, rather sportingly: This tomb, said the young Benedictine, looking downwards, contains the bones of Saint Maxima, who came from Ravenna on purpose to touch the body—
—Of Saint Maximus, said my father, popping in with his saint before him,—they were two of the greatest saints in the whole martyrology, added my father—Excuse me, said the sacristan—'twas to touch the bones of Saint Germain, the builder of the abbey—And what did she get by it? said my uncle Toby—What does any woman get by it? said my father—Martyrdome; replied the young Benedictine, making a bow down to the ground, and uttering the word with so humble, but decisive a cadence, it disarmed my father for a moment. 'Tis supposed, continued the Benedictine, that St. Maxima has lain in this tomb four hundred years, and two hundred before her canonization—'Tis but a slow rise, brother Toby, quoth my father, in this self-same army of martyrs.—A desperate slow one, an' please your honour, said Trim, unless one could purchase—I should rather sell out entirely, quoth my uncle Toby—I am pretty much of your opinion, brother Toby, said my father.
—Poor St. Maxima! said my uncle Toby low to himself, as we turn'd from her tomb: She was one of the fairest and most beautiful ladies either of Italy or France, continued the sacristan—But who the duce has got lain down here, besides her? quoth my father, pointing with his cane to a large tomb as we walked on—It is Saint Optat, Sir, answered the sacristan—And properly is Saint Optat plac'd! said my father: And what is Saint Optat's story? continued he. Saint Optat, replied the sacristan, was a bishop—
—I thought so, by heaven! cried my father, interrupting him—Saint Optat!—how should Saint Optat fail? so snatching out his pocket-book, and the young Benedictine holding him the torch as he wrote, he set it down as a new prop to his system of Christian names, and I will be bold to say, so disinterested was he in the search of truth, that had he found a treasure in Saint Optat's tomb, it would not have made him half so rich: 'Twas as successful a short visit as ever was paid to the dead; and so highly was his fancy pleas'd with all that had passed in it,—that he determined at once to stay another day in Auxerre.
—I'll see the rest of these good gentry to-morrow, said my father, as we cross'd over the square—And while you are paying that visit, brother Shandy, quoth my uncle Toby—the corporal and I will mount the ramparts.
—Now this is the most puzzled skein of all—for in this last chapter, as far at least as it has help'd me through Auxerre, I have been getting forwards in two different journies together, and with the same dash of the pen—for I have got entirely out of Auxerre in this journey which I am writing now, and I am got half way out of Auxerre in that which I shall write hereafter—There is but a certain degree of perfection in every thing; and by pushing at something beyond that, I have brought myself into such a situation, as no traveller ever stood before me; for I am this moment walking across the market-place of Auxerre with my father and my uncle Toby, in our way back to dinner—and I am this moment also entering Lyons with my post-chaise broke into a thousand pieces—and I am moreover this moment in a handsome pavillion built by Pringello (The same Don Pringello, the celebrated Spanish architect, of whom my cousin Antony has made such honourable mention in a scholium to the Tale inscribed to his name. Vid. p.129, small edit.), upon the banks of the Garonne, which Mons. Sligniac has lent me, and where I now sit rhapsodising all these affairs.
—Let me collect myself, and pursue my journey.
I am glad of it, said I, settling the account with myself, as I walk'd into Lyons—my chaise being all laid higgledy-piggledy with my baggage in a cart, which was moving slowly before me—I am heartily glad, said I, that 'tis all broke to pieces; for now I can go directly by water to Avignon, which will carry me on a hundred and twenty miles of my journey, and not cost me seven livres—and from thence, continued I, bringing forwards the account, I can hire a couple of mules—or asses, if I like, (for nobody knows me,) and cross the plains of Languedoc for almost nothing—I shall gain four hundred livres by the misfortune clear into my purse: and pleasure! worth—worth double the money by it. With what velocity, continued I, clapping my two hands together, shall I fly down the rapid Rhone, with the Vivares on my right hand, and Dauphiny on my left, scarce seeing the ancient cities of Vienne, Valence, and Vivieres. What a flame will it rekindle in the lamp, to snatch a blushing grape from the Hermitage and Cote roti, as I shoot by the foot of them! and what a fresh spring in the blood! to behold upon the banks advancing and retiring, the castles of romance, whence courteous knights have whilome rescued the distress'd—and see vertiginous, the rocks, the mountains, the cataracts, and all the hurry which Nature is in with all her great works about her.
As I went on thus, methought my chaise, the wreck of which look'd stately enough at the first, insensibly grew less and less in its size; the freshness of the painting was no more—the gilding lost its lustre—and the whole affair appeared so poor in my eyes—so sorry!—so contemptible! and, in a word, so much worse than the abbess of Andouillets' itself—that I was just opening my mouth to give it to the devil—when a pert vamping chaise-undertaker, stepping nimbly across the street, demanded if Monsieur would have his chaise refitted—No, no, said I, shaking my head sideways—Would Monsieur choose to sell it? rejoined the undertaker—With all my soul, said I—the iron work is worth forty livres—and the glasses worth forty more—and the leather you may take to live on.
What a mine of wealth, quoth I, as he counted me the money, has this post-chaise brought me in? And this is my usual method of book-keeping, at least with the disasters of life—making a penny of every one of 'em as they happen to me—
—Do, my dear Jenny, tell the world for me, how I behaved under one, the most oppressive of its kind, which could befal me as a man, proud as he ought to be of his manhood—
'Tis enough, saidst thou, coming close up to me, as I stood with my garters in my hand, reflecting upon what had not pass'd—'Tis enough, Tristram, and I am satisfied, saidst thou, whispering these words in my ear,.......... .........;—.........—any other man would have sunk down to the centre—
—Every thing is good for something, quoth I.
—I'll go into Wales for six weeks, and drink goat's whey—and I'll gain seven years longer life for the accident. For which reason I think myself inexcusable, for blaming Fortune so often as I have done, for pelting me all my life long, like an ungracious duchess, as I call'd her, with so many small evils: surely, if I have any cause to be angry with her, 'tis that she has not sent me great ones—a score of good cursed, bouncing losses, would have been as good as a pension to me.
—One of a hundred a year, or so, is all I wish—I would not be at the plague of paying land-tax for a larger.
To those who call vexations, Vexations, as knowing what they are, there could not be a greater, than to be the best part of a day at Lyons, the most opulent and flourishing city in France, enriched with the most fragments of antiquity—and not be able to see it. To be withheld upon any account, must be a vexation; but to be withheld by a vexation—must certainly be, what philosophy justly calls Vexation upon Vexation.
I had got my two dishes of milk coffee (which by the bye is excellently good for a consumption, but you must boil the milk and coffee together—otherwise 'tis only coffee and milk)—and as it was no more than eight in the morning, and the boat did not go off till noon, I had time to see enough of Lyons to tire the patience of all the friends I had in the world with it. I will take a walk to the cathedral, said I, looking at my list, and see the wonderful mechanism of this great clock of Lippius of Basil, in the first place—
Now, of all things in the world, I understand the least of mechanism—I have neither genius, or taste, or fancy—and have a brain so entirely unapt for every thing of that kind, that I solemnly declare I was never yet able to comprehend the principles of motion of a squirrel cage, or a common knife-grinder's wheel—tho' I have many an hour of my life look'd up with great devotion at the one—and stood by with as much patience as any christian ever could do, at the other—
I'll go see the surprising movements of this great clock, said I, the very first thing I do: and then I will pay a visit to the great library of the Jesuits, and procure, if possible, a sight of the thirty volumes of the general history of China, wrote (not in the Tartarean, but) in the Chinese language, and in the Chinese character too.
Now I almost know as little of the Chinese language, as I do of the mechanism of Lippius's clock-work; so, why these should have jostled themselves into the two first articles of my list—I leave to the curious as a problem of Nature. I own it looks like one of her ladyship's obliquities; and they who court her, are interested in finding out her humour as much as I.
When these curiosities are seen, quoth I, half addressing myself to my valet de place, who stood behind me—'twill be no hurt if we go to the church of St. Irenaeus, and see the pillar to which Christ was tied—and after that, the house where Pontius Pilate lived—'Twas at the next town, said the valet de place—at Vienne; I am glad of it, said I, rising briskly from my chair, and walking across the room with strides twice as long as my usual pace—'for so much the sooner shall I be at the Tomb of the two lovers.'
What was the cause of this movement, and why I took such long strides in uttering this—I might leave to the curious too; but as no principle of clock-work is concerned in it—'twill be as well for the reader if I explain it myself.
O! there is a sweet aera in the life of man, when (the brain being tender and fibrillous, and more like pap than any thing else)—a story read of two fond lovers, separated from each other by cruel parents, and by still more cruel destiny—
Amandus—He Amanda—She— each ignorant of the other's course, He—east She—west
Amandus taken captive by the Turks, and carried to the emperor of Morocco's court, where the princess of Morocco falling in love with him, keeps him twenty years in prison for the love of his Amanda.—
She—(Amanda) all the time wandering barefoot, and with dishevell'd hair, o'er rocks and mountains, enquiring for Amandus!—Amandus! Amandus!—making every hill and valley to echo back his name—Amandus! Amandus! at every town and city, sitting down forlorn at the gate—Has Amandus!—has my Amandus enter'd?—till,—going round, and round, and round the world—chance unexpected bringing them at the same moment of the night, though by different ways, to the gate of Lyons, their native city, and each in well-known accents calling out aloud,
Is Amandus / Is my Amanda still alive?
they fly into each other's arms, and both drop down dead for joy.
There is a soft aera in every gentle mortal's life, where such a story affords more pabulum to the brain, than all the Frusts, and Crusts, and Rusts of antiquity, which travellers can cook up for it.
—'Twas all that stuck on the right side of the cullender in my own, of what Spon and others, in their accounts of Lyons, had strained into it; and finding, moreover, in some Itinerary, but in what God knows—That sacred to the fidelity of Amandus and Amanda, a tomb was built without the gates, where, to this hour, lovers called upon them to attest their truths—I never could get into a scrape of that kind in my life, but this tomb of the lovers would, somehow or other, come in at the close—nay such a kind of empire had it establish'd over me, that I could seldom think or speak of Lyons—and sometimes not so much as see even a Lyons-waistcoat, but this remnant of antiquity would present itself to my fancy; and I have often said in my wild way of running on—tho' I fear with some irreverence—'I thought this shrine (neglected as it was) as valuable as that of Mecca, and so little short, except in wealth, of the Santa Casa itself, that some time or other, I would go a pilgrimage (though I had no other business at Lyons) on purpose to pay it a visit.'
In my list, therefore, of Videnda at Lyons, this, tho' last,—was not, you see, least; so taking a dozen or two of longer strides than usual cross my room, just whilst it passed my brain, I walked down calmly into the basse cour, in order to sally forth; and having called for my bill—as it was uncertain whether I should return to my inn, I had paid it—had moreover given the maid ten sous, and was just receiving the dernier compliments of Monsieur Le Blanc, for a pleasant voyage down the Rhone—when I was stopped at the gate—
—'Twas by a poor ass, who had just turned in with a couple of large panniers upon his back, to collect eleemosynary turnip-tops and cabbage-leaves; and stood dubious, with his two fore-feet on the inside of the threshold, and with his two hinder feet towards the street, as not knowing very well whether he was to go in or no.
Now, 'tis an animal (be in what hurry I may) I cannot bear to strike—there is a patient endurance of sufferings, wrote so unaffectedly in his looks and carriage, which pleads so mightily for him, that it always disarms me; and to that degree, that I do not like to speak unkindly to him: on the contrary, meet him where I will—whether in town or country—in cart or under panniers—whether in liberty or bondage—I have ever something civil to say to him on my part; and as one word begets another (if he has as little to do as I)—I generally fall into conversation with him; and surely never is my imagination so busy as in framing his responses from the etchings of his countenance—and where those carry me not deep enough—in flying from my own heart into his, and seeing what is natural for an ass to think—as well as a man, upon the occasion. In truth, it is the only creature of all the classes of beings below me, with whom I can do this: for parrots, jackdaws, &c.—I never exchange a word with them—nor with the apes, &c. for pretty near the same reason; they act by rote, as the others speak by it, and equally make me silent: nay my dog and my cat, though I value them both—(and for my dog he would speak if he could)—yet somehow or other, they neither of them possess the talents for conversation—I can make nothing of a discourse with them, beyond the proposition, the reply, and rejoinder, which terminated my father's and my mother's conversations, in his beds of justice—and those utter'd—there's an end of the dialogue—
—But with an ass, I can commune for ever.
Come, Honesty! said I,—seeing it was impracticable to pass betwixt him and the gate—art thou for coming in, or going out?
The ass twisted his head round to look up the street—
Well—replied I—we'll wait a minute for thy driver:
—He turned his head thoughtful about, and looked wistfully the opposite way—
I understand thee perfectly, answered I—If thou takest a wrong step in this affair, he will cudgel thee to death—Well! a minute is but a minute, and if it saves a fellow-creature a drubbing, it shall not be set down as ill-spent.
He was eating the stem of an artichoke as this discourse went on, and in the little peevish contentions of nature betwixt hunger and unsavouriness, had dropt it out of his mouth half a dozen times, and pick'd it up again—God help thee, Jack! said I, thou hast a bitter breakfast on't—and many a bitter day's labour,—and many a bitter blow, I fear, for its wages—'tis all—all bitterness to thee, whatever life is to others.—And now thy mouth, if one knew the truth of it, is as bitter, I dare say, as soot—(for he had cast aside the stem) and thou hast not a friend perhaps in all this world, that will give thee a macaroon.—In saying this, I pull'd out a paper of 'em, which I had just purchased, and gave him one—and at this moment that I am telling it, my heart smites me, that there was more of pleasantry in the conceit, of seeing how an ass would eat a macaroon—than of benevolence in giving him one, which presided in the act.
When the ass had eaten his macaroon, I press'd him to come in—the poor beast was heavy loaded—his legs seem'd to tremble under him—he hung rather backwards, and as I pull'd at his halter, it broke short in my hand—he look'd up pensive in my face—'Don't thrash me with it—but if you will, you may'—If I do, said I, I'll be d....d.
The word was but one-half of it pronounced, like the abbess of Andouillet's—(so there was no sin in it)—when a person coming in, let fall a thundering bastinado upon the poor devil's crupper, which put an end to the ceremony.
Out upon it! cried I—but the interjection was equivocal—and, I think, wrong placed too—for the end of an osier which had started out from the contexture of the ass's panier, had caught hold of my breeches pocket, as he rush'd by me, and rent it in the most disastrous direction you can imagine—so that the
Out upon it! in my opinion, should have come in here—but this I leave to be settled by
The Reviewers of My Breeches,
which I have brought over along with me for that purpose.
When all was set to rights, I came down stairs again into the basse cour with my valet de place, in order to sally out towards the tomb of the two lovers, &c.—and was a second time stopp'd at the gate—not by the ass—but by the person who struck him; and who, by that time, had taken possession (as is not uncommon after a defeat) of the very spot of ground where the ass stood.
It was a commissary sent to me from the post-office, with a rescript in his hand for the payment of some six livres odd sous.
Upon what account? said I.—'Tis upon the part of the king, replied the commissary, heaving up both his shoulders—
—My good friend, quoth I—as sure as I am I—and you are you—
—And who are you? said he.—Don't puzzle me; said I.
—But it is an indubitable verity, continued I, addressing myself to the commissary, changing only the form of my asseveration—that I owe the king of France nothing but my good will; for he is a very honest man, and I wish him all health and pastime in the world—
Pardonnez moi—replied the commissary, you are indebted to him six livres four sous, for the next post from hence to St. Fons, in your route to Avignon—which being a post royal, you pay double for the horses and postillion—otherwise 'twould have amounted to no more than three livres two sous—
—But I don't go by land; said I.
—You may if you please; replied the commissary—
Your most obedient servant—said I, making him a low bow—
The commissary, with all the sincerity of grave good breeding—made me one, as low again.—I never was more disconcerted with a bow in my life.
—The devil take the serious character of these people! quoth I—(aside) they understand no more of Irony than this—
The comparison was standing close by with his panniers—but something seal'd up my lips—I could not pronounce the name—
Sir, said I, collecting myself—it is not my intention to take post—
—But you may—said he, persisting in his first reply—you may take post if you chuse—
—And I may take salt to my pickled herring, said I, if I chuse—
—But I do not chuse—
—But you must pay for it, whether you do or no.
Aye! for the salt; said I (I know)—
—And for the post too; added he. Defend me! cried I—
I travel by water—I am going down the Rhone this very afternoon—my baggage is in the boat—and I have actually paid nine livres for my passage—
C'est tout egal—'tis all one; said he.
Bon Dieu! what, pay for the way I go! and for the way I do not go!
—C'est tout egal; replied the commissary—
—The devil it is! said I—but I will go to ten thousand Bastiles first—
O England! England! thou land of liberty, and climate of good sense, thou tenderest of mothers—and gentlest of nurses, cried I, kneeling upon one knee, as I was beginning my apostrophe.
When the director of Madam Le Blanc's conscience coming in at that instant, and seeing a person in black, with a face as pale as ashes, at his devotions—looking still paler by the contrast and distress of his drapery—ask'd, if I stood in want of the aids of the church—
I go by Water—said I—and here's another will be for making me pay for going by Oil.
As I perceived the commissary of the post-office would have his six livres four sous, I had nothing else for it, but to say some smart thing upon the occasion, worth the money:
And so I set off thus:—
—And pray, Mr. Commissary, by what law of courtesy is a defenceless stranger to be used just the reverse from what you use a Frenchman in this matter?
By no means; said he.
Excuse me; said I—for you have begun, Sir, with first tearing off my breeches-and now you want my pocket—
Whereas—had you first taken my pocket, as you do with your own people—and then left me bare a..'d after—I had been a beast to have complain'd—
As it is—
—'Tis contrary to the law of nature.
—'Tis contrary to reason.
—'Tis contrary to the Gospel.
But not to this—said he—putting a printed paper into my hand,
Par le Roy.
—'Tis a pithy prolegomenon, quoth I—and so read on....
—By all which it appears, quoth I, having read it over, a little too rapidly, that if a man sets out in a post-chaise from Paris—he must go on travelling in one, all the days of his life—or pay for it.—Excuse me, said the commissary, the spirit of the ordinance is this—That if you set out with an intention of running post from Paris to Avignon, &c. you shall not change that intention or mode of travelling, without first satisfying the fermiers for two posts further than the place you repent at—and 'tis founded, continued he, upon this, that the Revenues are not to fall short through your fickleness—
—O by heavens! cried I—if fickleness is taxable in France—we have nothing to do but to make the best peace with you we can—
And So the Peace Was Made;
—And if it is a bad one—as Tristram Shandy laid the corner-stone of it—nobody but Tristram Shandy ought to be hanged.
Though I was sensible I had said as many clever things to the commissary as came to six livres four sous, yet I was determined to note down the imposition amongst my remarks before I retired from the place; so putting my hand into my coat-pocket for my remarks—(which, by the bye, may be a caution to travellers to take a little more care of their remarks for the future) 'my remarks were stolen'—Never did sorry traveller make such a pother and racket about his remarks as I did about mine, upon the occasion.
Heaven! earth! sea! fire! cried I, calling in every thing to my aid but what I should—My remarks are stolen!—what shall I do?—Mr. Commissary! pray did I drop any remarks, as I stood besides you?—
You dropp'd a good many very singular ones; replied he—Pugh! said I, those were but a few, not worth above six livres two sous—but these are a large parcel—He shook his head—Monsieur Le Blanc! Madam Le Blanc! did you see any papers of mine?—you maid of the house! run up stairs—Francois! run up after her—
—I must have my remarks—they were the best remarks, cried I, that ever were made—the wisest—the wittiest—What shall I do?—which way shall I turn myself?
Sancho Panca, when he lost his ass's Furniture, did not exclaim more bitterly.
When the first transport was over, and the registers of the brain were beginning to get a little out of the confusion into which this jumble of cross accidents had cast them—it then presently occurr'd to me, that I had left my remarks in the pocket of the chaise—and that in selling my chaise, I had sold my remarks along with it, to the chaise-vamper. I leave this void space that the reader may swear into it any oath that he is most accustomed to—For my own part, if ever I swore a whole oath into a vacancy in my life, I think it was into that—........., said I—and so my remarks through France, which were as full of wit, as an egg is full of meat, and as well worth four hundred guineas, as the said egg is worth a penny—have I been selling here to a chaise-vamper—for four Louis d'Ors—and giving him a post-chaise (by heaven) worth six into the bargain; had it been to Dodsley, or Becket, or any creditable bookseller, who was either leaving off business, and wanted a post-chaise—or who was beginning it—and wanted my remarks, and two or three guineas along with them—I could have borne it—but to a chaise-vamper!—shew me to him this moment, Francois,—said I—The valet de place put on his hat, and led the way—and I pull'd off mine, as I pass'd the commissary, and followed him.
When we arrived at the chaise-vamper's house, both the house and the shop were shut up; it was the eighth of September, the nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God—
—Tantarra-ra-tan-tivi—the whole world was gone out a May-poling—frisking here—capering there—no body cared a button for me or my remarks; so I sat me down upon a bench by the door, philosophating upon my condition: by a better fate than usually attends me, I had not waited half an hour, when the mistress came in to take the papilliotes from off her hair, before she went to the May-poles—
The French women, by the bye, love May-poles, a la folie—that is, as much as their matins—give 'em but a May-pole, whether in May, June, July or September—they never count the times—down it goes—'tis meat, drink, washing, and lodging to 'em—and had we but the policy, an' please your worships (as wood is a little scarce in France), to send them but plenty of May-poles—
The women would set them up; and when they had done, they would dance round them (and the men for company) till they were all blind.
The wife of the chaise-vamper stepp'd in, I told you, to take the papilliotes from off her hair—the toilet stands still for no man—so she jerk'd off her cap, to begin with them as she open'd the door, in doing which, one of them fell upon the ground—I instantly saw it was my own writing—
O Seigneur! cried I—you have got all my remarks upon your head, Madam!—J'en suis bien mortifiee, said she—'tis well, thinks I, they have stuck there—for could they have gone deeper, they would have made such confusion in a French woman's noddle—She had better have gone with it unfrizled, to the day of eternity.
Tenez—said she—so without any idea of the nature of my suffering, she took them from her curls, and put them gravely one by one into my hat—one was twisted this way—another twisted that—ey! by my faith; and when they are published, quoth I,—
They will be worse twisted still.
And now for Lippius's clock! said I, with the air of a man, who had got thro' all his difficulties—nothing can prevent us seeing that, and the Chinese history, &c. except the time, said Francois—for 'tis almost eleven—then we must speed the faster, said I, striding it away to the cathedral.
I cannot say, in my heart, that it gave me any concern in being told by one of the minor canons, as I was entering the west door,—That Lippius's great clock was all out of joints, and had not gone for some years—It will give me the more time, thought I, to peruse the Chinese history; and besides I shall be able to give the world a better account of the clock in its decay, than I could have done in its flourishing condition—
—And so away I posted to the college of the Jesuits.
Now it is with the project of getting a peep at the history of China in Chinese characters—as with many others I could mention, which strike the fancy only at a distance; for as I came nearer and nearer to the point—my blood cool'd—the freak gradually went off, till at length I would not have given a cherry-stone to have it gratified—The truth was, my time was short, and my heart was at the Tomb of the Lovers—I wish to God, said I, as I got the rapper in my hand, that the key of the library may be but lost; it fell out as well—
For all the Jesuits had got the cholic—and to that degree, as never was known in the memory of the oldest practitioner.
As I knew the geography of the Tomb of the Lovers, as well as if I had lived twenty years in Lyons, namely, that it was upon the turning of my right hand, just without the gate, leading to the Fauxbourg de Vaise—I dispatched Francois to the boat, that I might pay the homage I so long ow'd it, without a witness of my weakness—I walk'd with all imaginable joy towards the place—when I saw the gate which intercepted the tomb, my heart glowed within me—
—Tender and faithful spirits! cried I, addressing myself to Amandus and Amanda—long—long have I tarried to drop this tear upon your tomb—I come—I come—
When I came—there was no tomb to drop it upon.
What would I have given for my uncle Toby, to have whistled Lillo bullero!
No matter how, or in what mood—but I flew from the tomb of the lovers—or rather I did not fly from it—(for there was no such thing existing) and just got time enough to the boat to save my passage;—and ere I had sailed a hundred yards, the Rhone and the Saon met together, and carried me down merrily betwixt them.
But I have described this voyage down the Rhone, before I made it—
—So now I am at Avignon, and as there is nothing to see but the old house, in which the duke of Ormond resided, and nothing to stop me but a short remark upon the place, in three minutes you will see me crossing the bridge upon a mule, with Francois upon a horse with my portmanteau behind him, and the owner of both, striding the way before us, with a long gun upon his shoulder, and a sword under his arm, lest peradventure we should run away with his cattle. Had you seen my breeches in entering Avignon,—Though you'd have seen them better, I think, as I mounted—you would not have thought the precaution amiss, or found in your heart to have taken it in dudgeon; for my own part, I took it most kindly; and determined to make him a present of them, when we got to the end of our journey, for the trouble they had put him to, of arming himself at all points against them.
Before I go further, let me get rid of my remark upon Avignon, which is this: That I think it wrong, merely because a man's hat has been blown off his head by chance the first night he comes to Avignon,—that he should therefore say, 'Avignon is more subject to high winds than any town in all France:' for which reason I laid no stress upon the accident till I had enquired of the master of the inn about it, who telling me seriously it was so—and hearing, moreover, the windiness of Avignon spoke of in the country about as a proverb—I set it down, merely to ask the learned what can be the cause—the consequence I saw—for they are all Dukes, Marquisses, and Counts, there—the duce a Baron, in all Avignon—so that there is scarce any talking to them on a windy day.
Prithee, friend, said I, take hold of my mule for a moment—for I wanted to pull off one of my jack-boots, which hurt my heel—the man was standing quite idle at the door of the inn, and as I had taken it into my head, he was someway concerned about the house or stable, I put the bridle into his hand—so begun with the boot:—when I had finished the affair, I turned about to take the mule from the man, and thank him—
—But Monsieur le Marquis had walked in—
I had now the whole south of France, from the banks of the Rhone to those of the Garonne, to traverse upon my mule at my own leisure—at my own leisure—for I had left Death, the Lord knows—and He only—how far behind me—'I have followed many a man thro' France, quoth he—but never at this mettlesome rate.'—Still he followed,—and still I fled him—but I fled him cheerfully—still he pursued—but, like one who pursued his prey without hope—as he lagg'd, every step he lost, softened his looks—why should I fly him at this rate?
So notwithstanding all the commissary of the post-office had said, I changed the mode of my travelling once more; and, after so precipitate and rattling a course as I had run, I flattered my fancy with thinking of my mule, and that I should traverse the rich plains of Languedoc upon his back, as slowly as foot could fall.
There is nothing more pleasing to a traveller—or more terrible to travel-writers, than a large rich plain; especially if it is without great rivers or bridges; and presents nothing to the eye, but one unvaried picture of plenty: for after they have once told you, that 'tis delicious! or delightful! (as the case happens)—that the soil was grateful, and that nature pours out all her abundance, &c...they have then a large plain upon their hands, which they know not what to do with—and which is of little or no use to them but to carry them to some town; and that town, perhaps of little more, but a new place to start from to the next plain—and so on.
—This is most terrible work; judge if I don't manage my plains better.
I had not gone above two leagues and a half, before the man with his gun began to look at his priming.
I had three several times loiter'd terribly behind; half a mile at least every time; once, in deep conference with a drum-maker, who was making drums for the fairs of Baucaira and Tarascone—I did not understand the principles—
The second time, I cannot so properly say, I stopp'd—for meeting a couple of Franciscans straitened more for time than myself, and not being able to get to the bottom of what I was about—I had turn'd back with them—
The third, was an affair of trade with a gossip, for a hand-basket of Provence figs for four sous; this would have been transacted at once; but for a case of conscience at the close of it; for when the figs were paid for, it turn'd out, that there were two dozen of eggs covered over with vine-leaves at the bottom of the basket—as I had no intention of buying eggs—I made no sort of claim of them—as for the space they had occupied—what signified it? I had figs enow for my money—
—But it was my intention to have the basket—it was the gossip's intention to keep it, without which, she could do nothing with her eggs—and unless I had the basket, I could do as little with my figs, which were too ripe already, and most of 'em burst at the side: this brought on a short contention, which terminated in sundry proposals, what we should both do—
—How we disposed of our eggs and figs, I defy you, or the Devil himself, had he not been there (which I am persuaded he was), to form the least probable conjecture: You will read the whole of it—not this year, for I am hastening to the story of my uncle Toby's amours—but you will read it in the collection of those which have arose out of the journey across this plain—and which, therefore, I call my
How far my pen has been fatigued, like those of other travellers, in this journey of it, over so barren a track—the world must judge—but the traces of it, which are now all set o' vibrating together this moment, tell me 'tis the most fruitful and busy period of my life; for as I had made no convention with my man with the gun, as to time—by stopping and talking to every soul I met, who was not in a full trot—joining all parties before me—waiting for every soul behind—hailing all those who were coming through cross-roads—arresting all kinds of beggars, pilgrims, fiddlers, friars—not passing by a woman in a mulberry-tree without commending her legs, and tempting her into conversation with a pinch of snuff—In short, by seizing every handle, of what size or shape soever, which chance held out to me in this journey—I turned my plain into a city—I was always in company, and with great variety too; and as my mule loved society as much as myself, and had some proposals always on his part to offer to every beast he met—I am confident we could have passed through Pall-Mall, or St. James's-Street, for a month together, with fewer adventures—and seen less of human nature.
O! there is that sprightly frankness, which at once unpins every plait of a Languedocian's dress—that whatever is beneath it, it looks so like the simplicity which poets sing of in better days—I will delude my fancy, and believe it is so.
'Twas in the road betwixt Nismes and Lunel, where there is the best Muscatto wine in all France, and which by the bye belongs to the honest canons of Montpellier—and foul befal the man who has drunk it at their table, who grudges them a drop of it.
—The sun was set—they had done their work; the nymphs had tied up their hair afresh—and the swains were preparing for a carousal—my mule made a dead point—'Tis the fife and tabourin, said I—I'm frighten'd to death, quoth he—They are running at the ring of pleasure, said I, giving him a prick—By saint Boogar, and all the saints at the backside of the door of purgatory, said he—(making the same resolution with the abbesse of Andouillets) I'll not go a step further—'Tis very well, sir, said I—I never will argue a point with one of your family, as long as I live; so leaping off his back, and kicking off one boot into this ditch, and t'other into that—I'll take a dance, said I—so stay you here.
A sun-burnt daughter of Labour rose up from the groupe to meet me, as I advanced towards them; her hair, which was a dark chesnut approaching rather to a black, was tied up in a knot, all but a single tress.
We want a cavalier, said she, holding out both her hands, as if to offer them—And a cavalier ye shall have; said I, taking hold of both of them.
Hadst thou, Nannette, been array'd like a duchesse!
—But that cursed slit in thy petticoat!
Nannette cared not for it.
We could not have done without you, said she, letting go one hand, with self-taught politeness, leading me up with the other.
A lame youth, whom Apollo had recompensed with a pipe, and to which he had added a tabourin of his own accord, ran sweetly over the prelude, as he sat upon the bank—Tie me up this tress instantly, said Nannette, putting a piece of string into my hand—It taught me to forget I was a stranger—The whole knot fell down—We had been seven years acquainted.
The youth struck the note upon the tabourin—his pipe followed, and off we bounded—'the duce take that slit!'
The sister of the youth, who had stolen her voice from heaven, sung alternately with her brother—'twas a Gascoigne roundelay.
Viva la Joia! Fidon la Tristessa!
The nymphs join'd in unison, and their swains an octave below them—
I would have given a crown to have it sew'd up—Nannette would not have given a sous—Viva la joia! was in her lips—Viva la joia! was in her eyes. A transient spark of amity shot across the space betwixt us—She look'd amiable!—Why could I not live, and end my days thus? Just Disposer of our joys and sorrows, cried I, why could not a man sit down in the lap of content here—and dance, and sing, and say his prayers, and go to heaven with this nut-brown maid? Capriciously did she bend her head on one side, and dance up insidious—Then 'tis time to dance off, quoth I; so changing only partners and tunes, I danced it away from Lunel to Montpellier—from thence to Pescnas, Beziers—I danced it along through Narbonne, Carcasson, and Castle Naudairy, till at last I danced myself into Perdrillo's pavillion, where pulling out a paper of black lines, that I might go on straight forwards, without digression or parenthesis, in my uncle Toby's amours—
I begun thus—
—But softly—for in these sportive plains, and under this genial sun, where at this instant all flesh is running out piping, fiddling, and dancing to the vintage, and every step that's taken, the judgment is surprised by the imagination, I defy, notwithstanding all that has been said upon straight lines (Vid. Vol. III.) in sundry pages of my book—I defy the best cabbage planter that ever existed, whether he plants backwards or forwards, it makes little difference in the account (except that he will have more to answer for in the one case than in the other)—I defy him to go on coolly, critically, and canonically, planting his cabbages one by one, in straight lines, and stoical distances, especially if slits in petticoats are unsew'd up—without ever and anon straddling out, or sidling into some bastardly digression—In Freeze-land, Fog-land, and some other lands I wot of—it may be done—
But in this clear climate of fantasy and perspiration, where every idea, sensible and insensible, gets vent—in this land, my dear Eugenius—in this fertile land of chivalry and romance, where I now sit, unskrewing my ink-horn to write my uncle Toby's amours, and with all the meanders of Julia's track in quest of her Diego, in full view of my study window—if thou comest not and takest me by the hand—
What a work it is likely to turn out!
Let us begin it.
It is with Love as with Cuckoldom—
But now I am talking of beginning a book, and have long had a thing upon my mind to be imparted to the reader, which, if not imparted now, can never be imparted to him as long as I live (whereas the Comparison may be imparted to him any hour in the day)—I'll just mention it, and begin in good earnest.
The thing is this.
That of all the several ways of beginning a book which are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best—I'm sure it is the most religious—for I begin with writing the first sentence—and trusting to Almighty God for the second.
'Twould cure an author for ever of the fuss and folly of opening his street-door, and calling in his neighbours and friends, and kinsfolk, with the devil and all his imps, with their hammers and engines, &c. only to observe how one sentence of mine follows another, and how the plan follows the whole.
I wish you saw me half starting out of my chair, with what confidence, as I grasp the elbow of it, I look up—catching the idea, even sometimes before it half way reaches me—
I believe in my conscience I intercept many a thought which heaven intended for another man.
Pope and his Portrait (Vid. Pope's Portrait.) are fools to me—no martyr is ever so full of faith or fire—I wish I could say of good works too—but I have no
Zeal or Anger—or Anger or Zeal—
And till gods and men agree together to call it by the same name—the errantest Tartuffe, in science—in politics—or in religion, shall never kindle a spark within me, or have a worse word, or a more unkind greeting, than what he will read in the next chapter.
—Bon jour!—good morrow!—so you have got your cloak on betimes!—but 'tis a cold morning, and you judge the matter rightly—'tis better to be well mounted, than go o' foot—and obstructions in the glands are dangerous—And how goes it with thy concubine—thy wife,—and thy little ones o' both sides? and when did you hear from the old gentleman and lady—your sister, aunt, uncle, and cousins—I hope they have got better of their colds, coughs, claps, tooth-aches, fevers, stranguries, sciaticas, swellings, and sore eyes.
—What a devil of an apothecary! to take so much blood—give such a vile purge—puke—poultice—plaister—night-draught—clyster—blister?—And why so many grains of calomel? santa Maria! and such a dose of opium! peri-clitating, pardi! the whole family of ye, from head to tail—By my great-aunt Dinah's old black velvet mask! I think there is no occasion for it.
Now this being a little bald about the chin, by frequently putting off and on, before she was got with child by the coachman—not one of our family would wear it after. To cover the Mask afresh, was more than the mask was worth—and to wear a mask which was bald, or which could be half seen through, was as bad as having no mask at all—
This is the reason, may it please your reverences, that in all our numerous family, for these four generations, we count no more than one archbishop, a Welch judge, some three or four aldermen, and a single mountebank—
In the sixteenth century, we boast of no less than a dozen alchymists.
'It is with Love as with Cuckoldom'—the suffering party is at least the third, but generally the last in the house who knows any thing about the matter: this comes, as all the world knows, from having half a dozen words for one thing; and so long, as what in this vessel of the human frame, is Love—may be Hatred, in that—Sentiment half a yard higher—and Nonsense—no, Madam,—not there—I mean at the part I am now pointing to with my forefinger—how can we help ourselves?
Of all mortal, and immortal men too, if you please, who ever soliloquized upon this mystic subject, my uncle Toby was the worst fitted, to have push'd his researches, thro' such a contention of feelings; and he had infallibly let them all run on, as we do worse matters, to see what they would turn out—had not Bridget's pre-notification of them to Susannah, and Susannah's repeated manifestoes thereupon to all the world, made it necessary for my uncle Toby to look into the affair.
Why weavers, gardeners, and gladiators—or a man with a pined leg (proceeding from some ailment in the foot)—should ever have had some tender nymph breaking her heart in secret for them, are points well and duly settled and accounted for, by ancient and modern physiologists.
A water-drinker, provided he is a profess'd one, and does it without fraud or covin, is precisely in the same predicament: not that, at first sight, there is any consequence, or show of logic in it, 'That a rill of cold water dribbling through my inward parts, should light up a torch in my Jenny's—'
—The proposition does not strike one; on the contrary, it seems to run opposite to the natural workings of causes and effects—
But it shews the weakness and imbecility of human reason.
—'And in perfect good health with it?'
—The most perfect,—Madam, that friendship herself could wish me—
'And drink nothing!—nothing but water?'
—Impetuous fluid! the moment thou pressest against the flood-gates of the brain—see how they give way—!
In swims Curiosity, beckoning to her damsels to follow—they dive into the center of the current—
Fancy sits musing upon the bank, and with her eyes following the stream, turns straws and bulrushes into masts and bow-sprits—And Desire, with vest held up to the knee in one hand, snatches at them, as they swim by her, with the other—
O ye water drinkers! is it then by this delusive fountain, that ye have so often governed and turn'd this world about like a mill-wheel—grinding the faces of the impotent—bepowdering their ribs—bepeppering their noses, and changing sometimes even the very frame and face of nature—
If I was you, quoth Yorick, I would drink more water, Eugenius—And, if I was you, Yorick, replied Eugenius, so would I.
Which shews they had both read Longinus—
For my own part, I am resolved never to read any book but my own, as long as I live.
I wish my uncle Toby had been a water-drinker; for then the thing had been accounted for, That the first moment Widow Wadman saw him, she felt something stirring within her in his favour—Something!—something.
—Something perhaps more than friendship—less than love—something—no matter what—no matter where—I would not give a single hair off my mule's tail, and be obliged to pluck it off myself (indeed the villain has not many to spare, and is not a little vicious into the bargain), to be let by your worships into the secret—
But the truth is, my uncle Toby was not a water-drinker; he drank it neither pure nor mix'd, or any how, or any where, except fortuitously upon some advanced posts, where better liquor was not to be had—or during the time he was under cure; when the surgeon telling him it would extend the fibres, and bring them sooner into contact—my uncle Toby drank it for quietness sake.
Now as all the world knows, that no effect in nature can be produced without a cause, and as it is as well known, that my uncle Toby was neither a weaver—a gardener, or a gladiator—unless as a captain, you will needs have him one—but then he was only a captain of foot—and besides, the whole is an equivocation—There is nothing left for us to suppose, but that my uncle Toby's leg—but that will avail us little in the present hypothesis, unless it had proceeded from some ailment in the foot—whereas his leg was not emaciated from any disorder in his foot—for my uncle Toby's leg was not emaciated at all. It was a little stiff and awkward, from a total disuse of it, for the three years he lay confined at my father's house in town; but it was plump and muscular, and in all other respects as good and promising a leg as the other.
I declare, I do not recollect any one opinion or passage of my life, where my understanding was more at a loss to make ends meet, and torture the chapter I had been writing, to the service of the chapter following it, than in the present case: one would think I took a pleasure in running into difficulties of this kind, merely to make fresh experiments of getting out of 'em—Inconsiderate soul that thou art! What! are not the unavoidable distresses with which, as an author and a man, thou art hemm'd in on every side of thee—are they, Tristram, not sufficient, but thou must entangle thyself still more?
Is it not enough that thou art in debt, and that thou hast ten cart-loads of thy fifth and sixth volumes (Alluding to the first edition.) still—still unsold, and art almost at thy wit's ends, how to get them off thy hands?
To this hour art thou not tormented with the vile asthma that thou gattest in skating against the wind in Flanders? and is it but two months ago, that in a fit of laughter, on seeing a cardinal make water like a quirister (with both hands) thou brakest a vessel in thy lungs, whereby, in two hours, thou lost as many quarts of blood; and hadst thou lost as much more, did not the faculty tell thee—it would have amounted to a gallon?—
—But for heaven's sake, let us not talk of quarts or gallons—let us take the story straight before us; it is so nice and intricate a one, it will scarce bear the transposition of a single tittle; and, somehow or other, you have got me thrust almost into the middle of it—
—I beg we may take more care.
My uncle Toby and the corporal had posted down with so much heat and precipitation, to take possession of the spot of ground we have so often spoke of, in order to open their campaign as early as the rest of the allies; that they had forgot one of the most necessary articles of the whole affair, it was neither a pioneer's spade, a pickax, or a shovel—
—It was a bed to lie on: so that as Shandy-Hall was at that time unfurnished; and the little inn where poor Le Fever died, not yet built; my uncle Toby was constrained to accept of a bed at Mrs. Wadman's, for a night or two, till corporal Trim (who to the character of an excellent valet, groom, cook, sempster, surgeon, and engineer, super-added that of an excellent upholsterer too), with the help of a carpenter and a couple of taylors, constructed one in my uncle Toby's house.
A daughter of Eve, for such was widow Wadman, and 'tis all the character I intend to give of her—
—'That she was a perfect woman—' had better be fifty leagues off—or in her warm bed—or playing with a case-knife—or any thing you please—than make a man the object of her attention, when the house and all the furniture is her own.
There is nothing in it out of doors and in broad day-light, where a woman has a power, physically speaking, of viewing a man in more lights than one—but here, for her soul, she can see him in no light without mixing something of her own goods and chattels along with him—till by reiterated acts of such combination, he gets foisted into her inventory—
—And then good night.
But this is not matter of System; for I have delivered that above—nor is it matter of Breviary—for I make no man's creed but my own—nor matter of Fact—at least that I know of; but 'tis matter copulative and introductory to what follows.
I do not speak it with regard to the coarseness or cleanness of them—or the strength of their gussets—but pray do not night-shifts differ from day-shifts as much in this particular, as in any thing else in the world; that they so far exceed the others in length, that when you are laid down in them, they fall almost as much below the feet, as the day-shifts fall short of them?
Widow Wadman's night-shifts (as was the mode I suppose in King William's and Queen Anne's reigns) were cut however after this fashion; and if the fashion is changed (for in Italy they are come to nothing)—so much the worse for the public; they were two Flemish ells and a half in length, so that allowing a moderate woman two ells, she had half an ell to spare, to do what she would with.
Now from one little indulgence gained after another, in the many bleak and decemberley nights of a seven years widow-hood, things had insensibly come to this pass, and for the two last years had got establish'd into one of the ordinances of the bed-chamber—That as soon as Mrs. Wadman was put to bed, and had got her legs stretched down to the bottom of it, of which she always gave Bridget notice—Bridget, with all suitable decorum, having first open'd the bed-clothes at the feet, took hold of the half-ell of cloth we are speaking of, and having gently, and with both her hands, drawn it downwards to its furthest extension, and then contracted it again side-long by four or five even plaits, she took a large corking-pin out of her sleeve, and with the point directed towards her, pinn'd the plaits all fast together a little above the hem; which done, she tuck'd all in tight at the feet, and wish'd her mistress a good night.
This was constant, and without any other variation than this; that on shivering and tempestuous nights, when Bridget untuck'd the feet of the bed, &c. to do this—she consulted no thermometer but that of her own passions; and so performed it standing—kneeling—or squatting, according to the different degrees of faith, hope, and charity, she was in, and bore towards her mistress that night. In every other respect, the etiquette was sacred, and might have vied with the most mechanical one of the most inflexible bed-chamber in Christendom.
The first night, as soon as the corporal had conducted my uncle Toby up stairs, which was about ten—Mrs. Wadman threw herself into her arm-chair, and crossing her left knee with her right, which formed a resting-place for her elbow, she reclin'd her cheek upon the palm of her hand, and leaning forwards, ruminated till midnight upon both sides of the question.
The second night she went to her bureau, and having ordered Bridget to bring her up a couple of fresh candles and leave them upon the table, she took out her marriage-settlement, and read it over with great devotion: and the third night (which was the last of my uncle Toby's stay) when Bridget had pull'd down the night-shift, and was assaying to stick in the corking pin—
—With a kick of both heels at once, but at the same time the most natural kick that could be kick'd in her situation—for supposing......... to be the sun in its meridian, it was a north-east kick—she kick'd the pin out of her fingers—the etiquette which hung upon it, down—down it fell to the ground, and was shiver'd into a thousand atoms.
From all which it was plain that widow Wadman was in love with my uncle Toby.
My uncle Toby's head at that time was full of other matters, so that it was not till the demolition of Dunkirk, when all the other civilities of Europe were settled, that he found leisure to return this.
This made an armistice (that is, speaking with regard to my uncle Toby—but with respect to Mrs. Wadman, a vacancy)—of almost eleven years. But in all cases of this nature, as it is the second blow, happen at what distance of time it will, which makes the fray—I chuse for that reason to call these the amours of my uncle Toby with Mrs. Wadman, rather than the amours of Mrs. Wadman with my uncle Toby.
This is not a distinction without a difference.
It is not like the affair of an old hat cock'd—and a cock'd old hat, about which your reverences have so often been at odds with one another—but there is a difference here in the nature of things—
And let me tell you, gentry, a wide one too.
Now as widow Wadman did love my uncle Toby—and my uncle Toby did not love widow Wadman, there was nothing for widow Wadman to do, but to go on and love my uncle Toby—or let it alone.
Widow Wadman would do neither the one or the other.
—Gracious heaven!—but I forget I am a little of her temper myself; for whenever it so falls out, which it sometimes does about the equinoxes, that an earthly goddess is so much this, and that, and t'other, that I cannot eat my breakfast for her—and that she careth not three halfpence whether I eat my breakfast or no—
—Curse on her! and so I send her to Tartary, and from Tartary to Terra del Fuogo, and so on to the devil: in short, there is not an infernal nitch where I do not take her divinityship and stick it.
But as the heart is tender, and the passions in these tides ebb and flow ten times in a minute, I instantly bring her back again; and as I do all things in extremes, I place her in the very center of the milky-way—
Brightest of stars! thou wilt shed thy influence upon some one—
—The duce take her and her influence too—for at that word I lose all patience—much good may it do him!—By all that is hirsute and gashly! I cry, taking off my furr'd cap, and twisting it round my finger—I would not give sixpence for a dozen such!
—But 'tis an excellent cap too (putting it upon my head, and pressing it close to my ears)—and warm—and soft; especially if you stroke it the right way—but alas! that will never be my luck—(so here my philosophy is shipwreck'd again.)
—No; I shall never have a finger in the pye (so here I break my metaphor)— Crust and Crumb Inside and out
Top and bottom—I detest it, I hate it, I repudiate it—I'm sick at the sight of it—
'Tis all pepper, garlick, staragen, salt, and
devil's dung—by the great arch-cooks of cooks, who does nothing, I think, from morning to night, but sit down by the fire-side and invent inflammatory dishes for us, I would not touch it for the world—
—O Tristram! Tristram! cried Jenny.
O Jenny! Jenny! replied I, and so went on with the thirty-sixth chapter.
—'Not touch it for the world,' did I say—
Lord, how I have heated my imagination with this metaphor!
Which shews, let your reverences and worships say what you will of it (for as for thinking—all who do think—think pretty much alike both upon it and other matters)—Love is certainly, at least alphabetically speaking, one of the most
A gitating B ewitching C onfounded D evilish affairs of life—the most E xtravagant F utilitous G alligaskinish H andy-dandyish I racundulous (there is no K to it) and L yrical of all human passions: at the same time, the most M isgiving N innyhammering O bstipating P ragmatical S tridulous R idiculous
—though by the bye the R should have gone first—But in short 'tis of such a nature, as my father once told my uncle Toby upon the close of a long dissertation upon the subject—'You can scarce,' said he, 'combine two ideas together upon it, brother Toby, without an hypallage'—What's that? cried my uncle Toby.
The cart before the horse, replied my father—
—And what is he to do there? cried my uncle Toby.
Nothing, quoth my father, but to get in—or let it alone.
Now widow Wadman, as I told you before, would do neither the one or the other.
She stood however ready harnessed and caparisoned at all points, to watch accidents.
The Fates, who certainly all fore-knew of these amours of widow Wadman and my uncle Toby, had, from the first creation of matter and motion (and with more courtesy than they usually do things of this kind), established such a chain of causes and effects hanging so fast to one another, that it was scarce possible for my uncle Toby to have dwelt in any other house in the world, or to have occupied any other garden in Christendom, but the very house and garden which join'd and laid parallel to Mrs. Wadman's; this, with the advantage of a thickset arbour in Mrs. Wadman's garden, but planted in the hedge-row of my uncle Toby's, put all the occasions into her hands which Love-militancy wanted; she could observe my uncle Toby's motions, and was mistress likewise of his councils of war; and as his unsuspecting heart had given leave to the corporal, through the mediation of Bridget, to make her a wicker-gate of communication to enlarge her walks, it enabled her to carry on her approaches to the very door of the sentry-box; and sometimes out of gratitude, to make an attack, and endeavour to blow my uncle Toby up in the very sentry-box itself.
It is a great pity—but 'tis certain from every day's observation of man, that he may be set on fire like a candle, at either end—provided there is a sufficient wick standing out; if there is not—there's an end of the affair; and if there is—by lighting it at the bottom, as the flame in that case has the misfortune generally to put out itself—there's an end of the affair again.
For my part, could I always have the ordering of it which way I would be burnt myself—for I cannot bear the thoughts of being burnt like a beast—I would oblige a housewife constantly to light me at the top; for then I should burn down decently to the socket; that is, from my head to my heart, from my heart to my liver, from my liver to my bowels, and so on by the meseraick veins and arteries, through all the turns and lateral insertions of the intestines and their tunicles to the blind gut—
—I beseech you, doctor Slop, quoth my uncle Toby, interrupting him as he mentioned the blind gut, in a discourse with my father the night my mother was brought to bed of me—I beseech you, quoth my uncle Toby, to tell me which is the blind gut; for, old as I am, I vow I do not know to this day where it lies.
The blind gut, answered doctor Slop, lies betwixt the Ilion and Colon—
In a man? said my father.
—'Tis precisely the same, cried doctor Slop, in a woman.—
That's more than I know; quoth my father.
—And so to make sure of both systems, Mrs. Wadman predetermined to light my uncle Toby neither at this end or that; but, like a prodigal's candle, to light him, if possible, at both ends at once.
Now, through all the lumber rooms of military furniture, including both of horse and foot, from the great arsenal of Venice to the Tower of London (exclusive), if Mrs. Wadman had been rummaging for seven years together, and with Bridget to help her, she could not have found any one blind or mantelet so fit for her purpose, as that which the expediency of my uncle Toby's affairs had fix'd up ready to her hands.
I believe I have not told you—but I don't know—possibly I have—be it as it will, 'tis one of the number of those many things, which a man had better do over again, than dispute about it—That whatever town or fortress the corporal was at work upon, during the course of their campaign, my uncle Toby always took care, on the inside of his sentry-box, which was towards his left hand, to have a plan of the place, fasten'd up with two or three pins at the top, but loose at the bottom, for the conveniency of holding it up to the eye, &c...as occasions required; so that when an attack was resolved upon, Mrs. Wadman had nothing more to do, when she had got advanced to the door of the sentry-box, but to extend her right hand; and edging in her left foot at the same movement, to take hold of the map or plan, or upright, or whatever it was, and with out-stretched neck meeting it half way,—to advance it towards her; on which my uncle Toby's passions were sure to catch fire—for he would instantly take hold of the other corner of the map in his left hand, and with the end of his pipe in the other, begin an explanation.
When the attack was advanced to this point;—the world will naturally enter into the reasons of Mrs. Wadman's next stroke of generalship—which was, to take my uncle Toby's tobacco-pipe out of his hand as soon as she possibly could; which, under one pretence or other, but generally that of pointing more distinctly at some redoubt or breastwork in the map, she would effect before my uncle Toby (poor soul!) had well march'd above half a dozen toises with it.
—It obliged my uncle Toby to make use of his forefinger.
The difference it made in the attack was this; That in going upon it, as in the first case, with the end of her fore-finger against the end of my uncle Toby's tobacco-pipe, she might have travelled with it, along the lines, from Dan to Beersheba, had my uncle Toby's lines reach'd so far, without any effect: For as there was no arterial or vital heat in the end of the tobacco-pipe, it could excite no sentiment—it could neither give fire by pulsation—or receive it by sympathy—'twas nothing but smoke.
Whereas, in following my uncle Toby's forefinger with hers, close thro' all the little turns and indentings of his works—pressing sometimes against the side of it—then treading upon its nail—then tripping it up—then touching it here—then there, and so on—it set something at least in motion.
This, tho' slight skirmishing, and at a distance from the main body, yet drew on the rest; for here, the map usually falling with the back of it, close to the side of the sentry-box, my uncle Toby, in the simplicity of his soul, would lay his hand flat upon it, in order to go on with his explanation; and Mrs. Wadman, by a manoeuvre as quick as thought, would as certainly place her's close beside it; this at once opened a communication, large enough for any sentiment to pass or re-pass, which a person skill'd in the elementary and practical part of love-making, has occasion for—
By bringing up her forefinger parallel (as before) to my uncle Toby's—it unavoidably brought the thumb into action—and the forefinger and thumb being once engaged, as naturally brought in the whole hand. Thine, dear uncle Toby! was never now in 'ts right place—Mrs. Wadman had it ever to take up, or, with the gentlest pushings, protrusions, and equivocal compressions, that a hand to be removed is capable of receiving—to get it press'd a hair breadth of one side out of her way.
Whilst this was doing, how could she forget to make him sensible, that it was her leg (and no one's else) at the bottom of the sentry-box, which slightly press'd against the calf of his—So that my uncle Toby being thus attack'd and sore push'd on both his wings—was it a wonder, if now and then, it put his centre into disorder?—
—The duce take it! said my uncle Toby.
These attacks of Mrs. Wadman, you will readily conceive to be of different kinds; varying from each other, like the attacks which history is full of, and from the same reasons. A general looker-on would scarce allow them to be attacks at all—or if he did, would confound them all together—but I write not to them: it will be time enough to be a little more exact in my descriptions of them, as I come up to them, which will not be for some chapters; having nothing more to add in this, but that in a bundle of original papers and drawings which my father took care to roll up by themselves, there is a plan of Bouchain in perfect preservation (and shall be kept so, whilst I have power to preserve any thing), upon the lower corner of which, on the right hand side, there is still remaining the marks of a snuffy finger and thumb, which there is all the reason in the world to imagine, were Mrs. Wadman's; for the opposite side of the margin, which I suppose to have been my uncle Toby's, is absolutely clean: This seems an authenticated record of one of these attacks; for there are vestigia of the two punctures partly grown up, but still visible on the opposite corner of the map, which are unquestionably the very holes, through which it has been pricked up in the sentry-box—
By all that is priestly! I value this precious relick, with its stigmata and pricks, more than all the relicks of the Romish church—always excepting, when I am writing upon these matters, the pricks which entered the flesh of St. Radagunda in the desert, which in your road from Fesse to Cluny, the nuns of that name will shew you for love.
I think, an' please your honour, quoth Trim, the fortifications are quite destroyed—and the bason is upon a level with the mole—I think so too; replied my uncle Toby with a sigh half suppress'd—but step into the parlour, Trim, for the stipulation—it lies upon the table.
It has lain there these six weeks, replied the corporal, till this very morning that the old woman kindled the fire with it—
—Then, said my uncle Toby, there is no further occasion for our services. The more, an' please your honour, the pity, said the corporal; in uttering which he cast his spade into the wheel-barrow, which was beside him, with an air the most expressive of disconsolation that can be imagined, and was heavily turning about to look for his pickax, his pioneer's shovel, his picquets, and other little military stores, in order to carry them off the field—when a heigh-ho! from the sentry-box, which being made of thin slit deal, reverberated the sound more sorrowfully to his ear, forbad him.
—No; said the corporal to himself, I'll do it before his honour rises to-morrow morning; so taking his spade out of the wheel-barrow again, with a little earth in it, as if to level something at the foot of the glacis—but with a real intent to approach nearer to his master, in order to divert him—he loosen'd a sod or two—pared their edges with his spade, and having given them a gentle blow or two with the back of it, he sat himself down close by my uncle Toby's feet and began as follows.
It was a thousand pities—though I believe, an' please your honour, I am going to say but a foolish kind of a thing for a soldier—
A soldier, cried my uncle Toby, interrupting the corporal, is no more exempt from saying a foolish thing, Trim, than a man of letters—But not so often, an' please your honour, replied the corporal—my uncle Toby gave a nod.
It was a thousand pities then, said the corporal, casting his eye upon Dunkirk, and the mole, as Servius Sulpicius, in returning out of Asia (when he sailed from Aegina towards Megara), did upon Corinth and Pyreus—
—'It was a thousand pities, an' please your honour, to destroy these works—and a thousand pities to have let them stood.'—
—Thou art right, Trim, in both cases; said my uncle Toby.—This, continued the corporal, is the reason, that from the beginning of their demolition to the end—I have never once whistled, or sung, or laugh'd, or cry'd, or talk'd of past done deeds, or told your honour one story good or bad—
—Thou hast many excellencies, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and I hold it not the least of them, as thou happenest to be a story-teller, that of the number thou hast told me, either to amuse me in my painful hours, or divert me in my grave ones—thou hast seldom told me a bad one—
—Because, an' please your honour, except one of a King of Bohemia and his seven castles,—they are all true; for they are about myself—
I do not like the subject the worse, Trim, said my uncle Toby, on that score: But prithee what is this story? thou hast excited my curiosity.
I'll tell it your honour, quoth the corporal, directly—Provided, said my uncle Toby, looking earnestly towards Dunkirk and the mole again—provided it is not a merry one; to such, Trim, a man should ever bring one half of the entertainment along with him; and the disposition I am in at present would wrong both thee, Trim, and thy story—It is not a merry one by any means, replied the corporal—Nor would I have it altogether a grave one, added my uncle Toby—It is neither the one nor the other, replied the corporal, but will suit your honour exactly—Then I'll thank thee for it with all my heart, cried my uncle Toby; so prithee begin it, Trim.
The corporal made his reverence; and though it is not so easy a matter as the world imagines, to pull off a lank Montero-cap with grace—or a whit less difficult, in my conceptions, when a man is sitting squat upon the ground, to make a bow so teeming with respect as the corporal was wont; yet by suffering the palm of his right hand, which was towards his master, to slip backwards upon the grass, a little beyond his body, in order to allow it the greater sweep—and by an unforced compression, at the same time, of his cap with the thumb and the two forefingers of his left, by which the diameter of the cap became reduced, so that it might be said, rather to be insensibly squeez'd—than pull'd off with a flatus—the corporal acquitted himself of both in a better manner than the posture of his affairs promised; and having hemmed twice, to find in what key his story would best go, and best suit his master's humour,—he exchanged a single look of kindness with him, and set off thus.
The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles.
There was a certain king of Bo...he—As the corporal was entering the confines of Bohemia, my uncle Toby obliged him to halt for a single moment; he had set out bare-headed, having, since he pull'd off his Montero-cap in the latter end of the last chapter, left it lying beside him on the ground.
—The eye of Goodness espieth all things—so that before the corporal had well got through the first five words of his story, had my uncle Toby twice touch'd his Montero-cap with the end of his cane, interrogatively—as much as to say, Why don't you put it on, Trim? Trim took it up with the most respectful slowness, and casting a glance of humiliation as he did it, upon the embroidery of the fore-part, which being dismally tarnish'd and fray'd moreover in some of the principal leaves and boldest parts of the pattern, he lay'd it down again between his two feet, in order to moralize upon the subject.
—'Tis every word of it but too true, cried my uncle Toby, that thou art about to observe—
'Nothing in this world, Trim, is made to last for ever.'
—But when tokens, dear Tom, of thy love and remembrance wear out, said Trim, what shall we say?
There is no occasion, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, to say any thing else; and was a man to puzzle his brains till Doom's day, I believe, Trim, it would be impossible.
The corporal, perceiving my uncle Toby was in the right, and that it would be in vain for the wit of man to think of extracting a purer moral from his cap, without further attempting it, he put it on; and passing his hand across his forehead to rub out a pensive wrinkle, which the text and the doctrine between them had engender'd, he return'd, with the same look and tone of voice, to his story of the king of Bohemia and his seven castles.
The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.
There was a certain king of Bohemia, but in whose reign, except his own, I am not able to inform your honour—
I do not desire it of thee, Trim, by any means, cried my uncle Toby.
—It was a little before the time, an' please your honour, when giants were beginning to leave off breeding:—but in what year of our Lord that was—
I would not give a halfpenny to know, said my uncle Toby.
—Only, an' please your honour, it makes a story look the better in the face—
—'Tis thy own, Trim, so ornament it after thy own fashion; and take any date, continued my uncle Toby, looking pleasantly upon him—take any date in the whole world thou chusest, and put it to—thou art heartily welcome—
The corporal bowed; for of every century, and of every year of that century, from the first creation of the world down to Noah's flood; and from Noah's flood to the birth of Abraham; through all the pilgrimages of the patriarchs, to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt—and throughout all the Dynasties, Olympiads, Urbeconditas, and other memorable epochas of the different nations of the world, down to the coming of Christ, and from thence to the very moment in which the corporal was telling his story—had my uncle Toby subjected this vast empire of time and all its abysses at his feet; but as Modesty scarce touches with a finger what Liberality offers her with both hands open—the corporal contented himself with the very worst year of the whole bunch; which, to prevent your honours of the Majority and Minority from tearing the very flesh off your bones in contestation, 'Whether that year is not always the last cast-year of the last cast-almanack'—I tell you plainly it was; but from a different reason than you wot of—
—It was the year next him—which being the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and twelve, when the Duke of Ormond was playing the devil in Flanders—the corporal took it, and set out with it afresh on his expedition to Bohemia.
The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.
In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve, there was, an' please your honour—
—To tell thee truly, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, any other date would have pleased me much better, not only on account of the sad stain upon our history that year, in marching off our troops, and refusing to cover the siege of Quesnoi, though Fagel was carrying on the works with such incredible vigour—but likewise on the score, Trim, of thy own story; because if there are—and which, from what thou hast dropt, I partly suspect to be the fact—if there are giants in it—
There is but one, an' please your honour—
—'Tis as bad as twenty, replied my uncle Toby—thou should'st have carried him back some seven or eight hundred years out of harm's way, both of critics and other people: and therefore I would advise thee, if ever thou tellest it again—
—If I live, an' please your honour, but once to get through it, I will never tell it again, quoth Trim, either to man, woman, or child—Poo—poo! said my uncle Toby—but with accents of such sweet encouragement did he utter it, that the corporal went on with his story with more alacrity than ever.
The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.
There was, an' please your honour, said the corporal, raising his voice and rubbing the palms of his two hands cheerily together as he begun, a certain king of Bohemia—
—Leave out the date entirely, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, leaning forwards, and laying his hand gently upon the corporal's shoulder to temper the interruption—leave it out entirely, Trim; a story passes very well without these niceties, unless one is pretty sure of 'em—Sure of 'em! said the corporal, shaking his head—
Right; answered my uncle Toby, it is not easy, Trim, for one, bred up as thou and I have been to arms, who seldom looks further forward than to the end of his musket, or backwards beyond his knapsack, to know much about this matter—God bless your honour! said the corporal, won by the manner of my uncle Toby's reasoning, as much as by the reasoning itself, he has something else to do; if not on action, or a march, or upon duty in his garrison—he has his firelock, an' please your honour, to furbish—his accoutrements to take care of—his regimentals to mend—himself to shave and keep clean, so as to appear always like what he is upon the parade; what business, added the corporal triumphantly, has a soldier, an' please your honour, to know any thing at all of geography?
—Thou would'st have said chronology, Trim, said my uncle Toby; for as for geography, 'tis of absolute use to him; he must be acquainted intimately with every country and its boundaries where his profession carries him; he should know every town and city, and village and hamlet, with the canals, the roads, and hollow ways which lead up to them; there is not a river or a rivulet he passes, Trim, but he should be able at first sight to tell thee what is its name—in what mountains it takes its rise—what is its course—how far it is navigable—where fordable—where not; he should know the fertility of every valley, as well as the hind who ploughs it; and be able to describe, or, if it is required, to give thee an exact map of all the plains and defiles, the forts, the acclivities, the woods and morasses, thro' and by which his army is to march; he should know their produce, their plants, their minerals, their waters, their animals, their seasons, their climates, their heats and cold, their inhabitants, their customs, their language, their policy, and even their religion.
Is it else to be conceived, corporal, continued my uncle Toby, rising up in his sentry-box, as he began to warm in this part of his discourse—how Marlborough could have marched his army from the banks of the Maes to Belburg; from Belburg to Kerpenord—(here the corporal could sit no longer) from Kerpenord, Trim, to Kalsaken; from Kalsaken to Newdorf; from Newdorf to Landenbourg; from Landenbourg to Mildenheim; from Mildenheim to Elchingen; from Elchingen to Gingen; from Gingen to Balmerchoffen; from Balmerchoffen to Skellenburg, where he broke in upon the enemy's works; forced his passage over the Danube; cross'd the Lech—push'd on his troops into the heart of the empire, marching at the head of them through Fribourg, Hokenwert, and Schonevelt, to the plains of Blenheim and Hochstet?—Great as he was, corporal, he could not have advanced a step, or made one single day's march without the aids of Geography.—As for Chronology, I own, Trim, continued my uncle Toby, sitting down again coolly in his sentry-box, that of all others, it seems a science which the soldier might best spare, was it not for the lights which that science must one day give him, in determining the invention of powder; the furious execution of which, renversing every thing like thunder before it, has become a new aera to us of military improvements, changing so totally the nature of attacks and defences both by sea and land, and awakening so much art and skill in doing it, that the world cannot be too exact in ascertaining the precise time of its discovery, or too inquisitive in knowing what great man was the discoverer, and what occasions gave birth to it.
I am far from controverting, continued my uncle Toby, what historians agree in, that in the year of our Lord 1380, under the reign of Wencelaus, son of Charles the Fourth—a certain priest, whose name was Schwartz, shew'd the use of powder to the Venetians, in their wars against the Genoese; but 'tis certain he was not the first; because if we are to believe Don Pedro, the bishop of Leon—How came priests and bishops, an' please your honour, to trouble their heads so much about gun-powder? God knows, said my uncle Toby—his providence brings good out of every thing—and he avers, in his chronicle of King Alphonsus, who reduced Toledo, That in the year 1343, which was full thirty-seven years before that time, the secret of powder was well known, and employed with success, both by Moors and Christians, not only in their sea-combats, at that period, but in many of their most memorable sieges in Spain and Barbary—And all the world knows, that Friar Bacon had wrote expressly about it, and had generously given the world a receipt to make it by, above a hundred and fifty years before even Schwartz was born—And that the Chinese, added my uncle Toby, embarrass us, and all accounts of it, still more, by boasting of the invention some hundreds of years even before him—
They are a pack of liars, I believe, cried Trim—
—They are somehow or other deceived, said my uncle Toby, in this matter, as is plain to me from the present miserable state of military architecture amongst them; which consists of nothing more than a fosse with a brick wall without flanks—and for what they gave us as a bastion at each angle of it, 'tis so barbarously constructed, that it looks for all the world—Like one of my seven castles, an' please your honour, quoth Trim.
My uncle Toby, tho' in the utmost distress for a comparison, most courteously refused Trim's offer—till Trim telling him, he had half a dozen more in Bohemia, which he knew not how to get off his hands—my uncle Toby was so touch'd with the pleasantry of heart of the corporal—that he discontinued his dissertation upon gun-powder—and begged the corporal forthwith to go on with his story of the King of Bohemia and his seven castles.
The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.
This unfortunate King of Bohemia, said Trim,—Was he unfortunate, then? cried my uncle Toby, for he had been so wrapt up in his dissertation upon gun-powder, and other military affairs, that tho' he had desired the corporal to go on, yet the many interruptions he had given, dwelt not so strong upon his fancy as to account for the epithet—Was he unfortunate, then, Trim? said my uncle Toby, pathetically—The corporal, wishing first the word and all its synonimas at the devil, forthwith began to run back in his mind, the principal events in the King of Bohemia's story; from every one of which, it appearing that he was the most fortunate man that ever existed in the world—it put the corporal to a stand: for not caring to retract his epithet—and less to explain it—and least of all, to twist his tale (like men of lore) to serve a system—he looked up in my uncle Toby's face for assistance—but seeing it was the very thing my uncle Toby sat in expectation of himself—after a hum and a haw, he went on—
The King of Bohemia, an' please your honour, replied the corporal, was unfortunate, as thus—That taking great pleasure and delight in navigation and all sort of sea affairs—and there happening throughout the whole kingdom of Bohemia, to be no sea-port town whatever—
How the duce should there—Trim? cried my uncle Toby; for Bohemia being totally inland, it could have happen'd no otherwise—It might, said Trim, if it had pleased God—
My uncle Toby never spoke of the being and natural attributes of God, but with diffidence and hesitation—
—I believe not, replied my uncle Toby, after some pause—for being inland, as I said, and having Silesia and Moravia to the east; Lusatia and Upper Saxony to the north; Franconia to the west; and Bavaria to the south; Bohemia could not have been propell'd to the sea without ceasing to be Bohemia—nor could the sea, on the other hand, have come up to Bohemia, without overflowing a great part of Germany, and destroying millions of unfortunate inhabitants who could make no defence against it—Scandalous! cried Trim—Which would bespeak, added my uncle Toby, mildly, such a want of compassion in him who is the father of it—that, I think, Trim—the thing could have happen'd no way.
The corporal made the bow of unfeign'd conviction; and went on.
Now the King of Bohemia with his queen and courtiers happening one fine summer's evening to walk out—Aye! there the word happening is right, Trim, cried my uncle Toby; for the King of Bohemia and his queen might have walk'd out or let it alone:—'twas a matter of contingency, which might happen, or not, just as chance ordered it.
King William was of an opinion, an' please your honour, quoth Trim, that every thing was predestined for us in this world; insomuch, that he would often say to his soldiers, that 'every ball had its billet.' He was a great man, said my uncle Toby—And I believe, continued Trim, to this day, that the shot which disabled me at the battle of Landen, was pointed at my knee for no other purpose, but to take me out of his service, and place me in your honour's, where I should be taken so much better care of in my old age—It shall never, Trim, be construed otherwise, said my uncle Toby.
The heart, both of the master and the man, were alike subject to sudden over-flowings;—a short silence ensued.
Besides, said the corporal, resuming the discourse—but in a gayer accent—if it had not been for that single shot, I had never, 'an please your honour, been in love—
So, thou wast once in love, Trim! said my uncle Toby, smiling—
Souse! replied the corporal—over head and ears! an' please your honour. Prithee when? where?—and how came it to pass?—I never heard one word of it before; quoth my uncle Toby:—I dare say, answered Trim, that every drummer and serjeant's son in the regiment knew of it—It's high time I should—said my uncle Toby.
Your honour remembers with concern, said the corporal, the total rout and confusion of our camp and army at the affair of Landen; every one was left to shift for himself; and if it had not been for the regiments of Wyndham, Lumley, and Galway, which covered the retreat over the bridge Neerspeeken, the king himself could scarce have gained it—he was press'd hard, as your honour knows, on every side of him—
Gallant mortal! cried my uncle Toby, caught up with enthusiasm—this moment, now that all is lost, I see him galloping across me, corporal, to the left, to bring up the remains of the English horse along with him to support the right, and tear the laurel from Luxembourg's brows, if yet 'tis possible—I see him with the knot of his scarfe just shot off, infusing fresh spirits into poor Galway's regiment—riding along the line—then wheeling about, and charging Conti at the head of it—Brave, brave, by heaven! cried my uncle Toby—he deserves a crown—As richly, as a thief a halter; shouted Trim.
My uncle Toby knew the corporal's loyalty;—otherwise the comparison was not at all to his mind—it did not altogether strike the corporal's fancy when he had made it—but it could not be recall'd—so he had nothing to do, but proceed.
As the number of wounded was prodigious, and no one had time to think of any thing but his own safety—Though Talmash, said my uncle Toby, brought off the foot with great prudence—But I was left upon the field, said the corporal. Thou wast so; poor fellow! replied my uncle Toby—So that it was noon the next day, continued the corporal, before I was exchanged, and put into a cart with thirteen or fourteen more, in order to be convey'd to our hospital.
There is no part of the body, an' please your honour, where a wound occasions more intolerable anguish than upon the knee—
Except the groin; said my uncle Toby. An' please your honour, replied the corporal, the knee, in my opinion, must certainly be the most acute, there being so many tendons and what-d'ye-call-'ems all about it.
It is for that reason, quoth my uncle Toby, that the groin is infinitely more sensible—there being not only as many tendons and what-d'ye-call-'ems (for I know their names as little as thou dost)—about it—but moreover ...—
Mrs. Wadman, who had been all the time in her arbour—instantly stopp'd her breath—unpinn'd her mob at the chin, and stood upon one leg—
The dispute was maintained with amicable and equal force betwixt my uncle Toby and Trim for some time; till Trim at length recollecting that he had often cried at his master's sufferings, but never shed a tear at his own—was for giving up the point, which my uncle Toby would not allow—'Tis a proof of nothing, Trim, said he, but the generosity of thy temper—
So that whether the pain of a wound in the groin (caeteris paribus) is greater than the pain of a wound in the knee—or
Whether the pain of a wound in the knee is not greater than the pain of a wound in the groin—are points which to this day remain unsettled.
The anguish of my knee, continued the corporal, was excessive in itself; and the uneasiness of the cart, with the roughness of the roads, which were terribly cut up—making bad still worse—every step was death to me: so that with the loss of blood, and the want of care-taking of me, and a fever I felt coming on besides—(Poor soul! said my uncle Toby)—all together, an' please your honour, was more than I could sustain.
I was telling my sufferings to a young woman at a peasant's house, where our cart, which was the last of the line, had halted; they had help'd me in, and the young woman had taken a cordial out of her pocket and dropp'd it upon some sugar, and seeing it had cheer'd me, she had given it me a second and a third time—So I was telling her, an' please your honour, the anguish I was in, and was saying it was so intolerable to me, that I had much rather lie down upon the bed, turning my face towards one which was in the corner of the room—and die, than go on—when, upon her attempting to lead me to it, I fainted away in her arms. She was a good soul! as your honour, said the corporal, wiping his eyes, will hear.