The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
by Laurence Sterne
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I thought love had been a joyous thing, quoth my uncle Toby.

'Tis the most serious thing, an' please your honour (sometimes), that is in the world.

By the persuasion of the young woman, continued the corporal, the cart with the wounded men set off without me: she had assured them I should expire immediately if I was put into the cart. So when I came to myself—I found myself in a still quiet cottage, with no one but the young woman, and the peasant and his wife. I was laid across the bed in the corner of the room, with my wounded leg upon a chair, and the young woman beside me, holding the corner of her handkerchief dipp'd in vinegar to my nose with one hand, and rubbing my temples with the other.

I took her at first for the daughter of the peasant (for it was no inn)—so had offer'd her a little purse with eighteen florins, which my poor brother Tom (here Trim wip'd his eyes) had sent me as a token, by a recruit, just before he set out for Lisbon—

—I never told your honour that piteous story yet—here Trim wiped his eyes a third time.

The young woman call'd the old man and his wife into the room, to shew them the money, in order to gain me credit for a bed and what little necessaries I should want, till I should be in a condition to be got to the hospital—Come then! said she, tying up the little purse—I'll be your banker—but as that office alone will not keep me employ'd, I'll be your nurse too.

I thought by her manner of speaking this, as well as by her dress, which I then began to consider more attentively—that the young woman could not be the daughter of the peasant.

She was in black down to her toes, with her hair conceal'd under a cambric border, laid close to her forehead: she was one of those kind of nuns, an' please your honour, of which, your honour knows, there are a good many in Flanders, which they let go loose—By thy description, Trim, said my uncle Toby, I dare say she was a young Beguine, of which there are none to be found any where but in the Spanish Netherlands—except at Amsterdam—they differ from nuns in this, that they can quit their cloister if they choose to marry; they visit and take care of the sick by profession—I had rather, for my own part, they did it out of good-nature.

—She often told me, quoth Trim, she did it for the love of Christ—I did not like it.—I believe, Trim, we are both wrong, said my uncle Toby—we'll ask Mr. Yorick about it to-night at my brother Shandy's—so put me in mind; added my uncle Toby.

The young Beguine, continued the corporal, had scarce given herself time to tell me 'she would be my nurse,' when she hastily turned about to begin the office of one, and prepare something for me—and in a short time—though I thought it a long one—she came back with flannels, &c. &c. and having fomented my knee soundly for a couple of hours, &c. and made me a thin bason of gruel for my supper—she wish'd me rest, and promised to be with me early in the morning.—She wish'd me, an' please your honour, what was not to be had. My fever ran very high that night—her figure made sad disturbance within me—I was every moment cutting the world in two—to give her half of it—and every moment was I crying, That I had nothing but a knapsack and eighteen florins to share with her—The whole night long was the fair Beguine, like an angel, close by my bed-side, holding back my curtain and offering me cordials—and I was only awakened from my dream by her coming there at the hour promised, and giving them in reality. In truth, she was scarce ever from me; and so accustomed was I to receive life from her hands, that my heart sickened, and I lost colour when she left the room: and yet, continued the corporal (making one of the strangest reflections upon it in the world)——'It was not love'—for during the three weeks she was almost constantly with me, fomenting my knee with her hand, night and day—I can honestly say, an' please your honour—that...once.

That was very odd, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby.

I think so too—said Mrs. Wadman.

It never did, said the corporal.

Chapter 4.XLV.

—But 'tis no marvel, continued the corporal—seeing my uncle Toby musing upon it—for Love, an' please your honour, is exactly like war, in this; that a soldier, though he has escaped three weeks complete o'Saturday night,—may nevertheless be shot through his heart on Sunday morning—It happened so here, an' please your honour, with this difference only—that it was on Sunday in the afternoon, when I fell in love all at once with a sisserara—It burst upon me, an' please your honour, like a bomb—scarce giving me time to say, 'God bless me.'

I thought, Trim, said my uncle Toby, a man never fell in love so very suddenly.

Yes, an' please your honour, if he is in the way of it—replied Trim.

I prithee, quoth my uncle Toby, inform me how this matter happened.

—With all pleasure, said the corporal, making a bow.

Chapter 4.XLVI.

I had escaped, continued the corporal, all that time from falling in love, and had gone on to the end of the chapter, had it not been predestined otherwise—there is no resisting our fate.

It was on a Sunday, in the afternoon, as I told your honour.

The old man and his wife had walked out—

Every thing was still and hush as midnight about the house—

There was not so much as a duck or a duckling about the yard—

—When the fair Beguine came in to see me.

My wound was then in a fair way of doing well—the inflammation had been gone off for some time, but it was succeeded with an itching both above and below my knee, so insufferable, that I had not shut my eyes the whole night for it.

Let me see it, said she, kneeling down upon the ground parallel to my knee, and laying her hand upon the part below it—it only wants rubbing a little, said the Beguine; so covering it with the bed-clothes, she began with the fore-finger of her right hand to rub under my knee, guiding her fore-finger backwards and forwards by the edge of the flannel which kept on the dressing.

In five or six minutes I felt slightly the end of her second finger—and presently it was laid flat with the other, and she continued rubbing in that way round and round for a good while; it then came into my head, that I should fall in love—I blush'd when I saw how white a hand she had—I shall never, an' please your honour, behold another hand so white whilst I live—

—Not in that place, said my uncle Toby—

Though it was the most serious despair in nature to the corporal—he could not forbear smiling.

The young Beguine, continued the corporal, perceiving it was of great service to me—from rubbing for some time, with two fingers—proceeded to rub at length, with three—till by little and little she brought down the fourth, and then rubb'd with her whole hand: I will never say another word, an' please your honour, upon hands again—but it was softer than sattin—

—Prithee, Trim, commend it as much as thou wilt, said my uncle Toby; I shall hear thy story with the more delight—The corporal thank'd his master most unfeignedly; but having nothing to say upon the Beguine's hand but the same over again—he proceeded to the effects of it.

The fair Beguine, said the corporal, continued rubbing with her whole hand under my knee—till I fear'd her zeal would weary her—'I would do a thousand times more,' said she, 'for the love of Christ'—In saying which, she pass'd her hand across the flannel, to the part above my knee, which I had equally complain'd of, and rubb'd it also.

I perceiv'd, then, I was beginning to be in love—

As she continued rub-rub-rubbing—I felt it spread from under her hand, an' please your honour, to every part of my frame—

The more she rubb'd, and the longer strokes she took—the more the fire kindled in my veins—till at length, by two or three strokes longer than the rest—my passion rose to the highest pitch—I seiz'd her hand—

—And then thou clapped'st it to thy lips, Trim, said my uncle Toby—and madest a speech.

Whether the corporal's amour terminated precisely in the way my uncle Toby described it, is not material; it is enough that it contained in it the essence of all the love romances which ever have been wrote since the beginning of the world.

Chapter 4.XLVII.

As soon as the corporal had finished the story of his amour—or rather my uncle Toby for him—Mrs. Wadman silently sallied forth from her arbour, replaced the pin in her mob, pass'd the wicker gate, and advanced slowly towards my uncle Toby's sentry-box: the disposition which Trim had made in my uncle Toby's mind, was too favourable a crisis to be let slipp'd—

—The attack was determin'd upon: it was facilitated still more by my uncle Toby's having ordered the corporal to wheel off the pioneer's shovel, the spade, the pick-axe, the picquets, and other military stores which lay scatter'd upon the ground where Dunkirk stood—The corporal had march'd—the field was clear.

Now, consider, sir, what nonsense it is, either in fighting, or writing, or any thing else (whether in rhyme to it, or not) which a man has occasion to do—to act by plan: for if ever Plan, independent of all circumstances, deserved registering in letters of gold (I mean in the archives of Gotham)—it was certainly the Plan of Mrs. Wadman's attack of my uncle Toby in his sentry-box, By Plan—Now the plan hanging up in it at this juncture, being the Plan of Dunkirk—and the tale of Dunkirk a tale of relaxation, it opposed every impression she could make: and besides, could she have gone upon it—the manoeuvre of fingers and hands in the attack of the sentry-box, was so outdone by that of the fair Beguine's, in Trim's story—that just then, that particular attack, however successful before—became the most heartless attack that could be made—

O! let woman alone for this. Mrs. Wadman had scarce open'd the wicker-gate, when her genius sported with the change of circumstances.

—She formed a new attack in a moment.

Chapter 4.XLVIII.

—I am half distracted, captain Shandy, said Mrs. Wadman, holding up her cambrick handkerchief to her left eye, as she approach'd the door of my uncle Toby's sentry-box—a mote—or sand—or something—I know not what, has got into this eye of mine—do look into it—it is not in the white—

In saying which, Mrs. Wadman edged herself close in beside my uncle Toby, and squeezing herself down upon the corner of his bench, she gave him an opportunity of doing it without rising up—Do look into it—said she.

Honest soul! thou didst look into it with as much innocency of heart, as ever child look'd into a raree-shew-box; and 'twere as much a sin to have hurt thee.

—If a man will be peeping of his own accord into things of that nature—I've nothing to say to it—

My uncle Toby never did: and I will answer for him, that he would have sat quietly upon a sofa from June to January (which, you know, takes in both the hot and cold months), with an eye as fine as the Thracian Rodope's (Rodope Thracia tam inevitabili fascino instructa, tam exacte oculus intuens attraxit, ut si in illam quis incidisset, fieri non posset, quin caperetur.—I know not who.) besides him, without being able to tell, whether it was a black or blue one.

The difficulty was to get my uncle Toby, to look at one at all.

'Tis surmounted. And

I see him yonder with his pipe pendulous in his hand, and the ashes falling out of it—looking—and looking—then rubbing his eyes—and looking again, with twice the good-nature that ever Galileo look'd for a spot in the sun.

—In vain! for by all the powers which animate the organ—Widow Wadman's left eye shines this moment as lucid as her right—there is neither mote, or sand, or dust, or chaff, or speck, or particle of opake matter floating in it—There is nothing, my dear paternal uncle! but one lambent delicious fire, furtively shooting out from every part of it, in all directions, into thine—

—If thou lookest, uncle Toby, in search of this mote one moment longer,—thou art undone.

Chapter 4.XLIX.

An eye is for all the world exactly like a cannon, in this respect; That it is not so much the eye or the cannon, in themselves, as it is the carriage of the eye—and the carriage of the cannon, by which both the one and the other are enabled to do so much execution. I don't think the comparison a bad one: However, as 'tis made and placed at the head of the chapter, as much for use as ornament, all I desire in return, is, that whenever I speak of Mrs. Wadman's eyes (except once in the next period), that you keep it in your fancy.

I protest, Madam, said my uncle Toby, I can see nothing whatever in your eye.

It is not in the white; said Mrs. Wadman: my uncle Toby look'd with might and main into the pupil—

Now of all the eyes which ever were created—from your own, Madam, up to those of Venus herself, which certainly were as venereal a pair of eyes as ever stood in a head—there never was an eye of them all, so fitted to rob my uncle Toby of his repose, as the very eye, at which he was looking—it was not, Madam a rolling eye—a romping or a wanton one—nor was it an eye sparkling—petulant or imperious—of high claims and terrifying exactions, which would have curdled at once that milk of human nature, of which my uncle Toby was made up—but 'twas an eye full of gentle salutations—and soft responses—speaking—not like the trumpet stop of some ill-made organ, in which many an eye I talk to, holds coarse converse—but whispering soft—like the last low accent of an expiring saint—'How can you live comfortless, captain Shandy, and alone, without a bosom to lean your head on—or trust your cares to?'

It was an eye—

But I shall be in love with it myself, if I say another word about it.

—It did my uncle Toby's business.

Chapter 4.L.

There is nothing shews the character of my father and my uncle Toby, in a more entertaining light, than their different manner of deportment, under the same accident—for I call not love a misfortune, from a persuasion, that a man's heart is ever the better for it—Great God! what must my uncle Toby's have been, when 'twas all benignity without it.

My father, as appears from many of his papers, was very subject to this passion, before he married—but from a little subacid kind of drollish impatience in his nature, whenever it befell him, he would never submit to it like a christian; but would pish, and huff, and bounce, and kick, and play the Devil, and write the bitterest Philippicks against the eye that ever man wrote—there is one in verse upon somebody's eye or other, that for two or three nights together, had put him by his rest; which in his first transport of resentment against it, he begins thus:

'A Devil 'tis—and mischief such doth work As never yet did Pagan, Jew, or Turk.'

(This will be printed with my father's Life of Socrates, &c. &c.)

In short, during the whole paroxism, my father was all abuse and foul language, approaching rather towards malediction—only he did not do it with as much method as Ernulphus—he was too impetuous; nor with Ernulphus's policy—for tho' my father, with the most intolerant spirit, would curse both this and that, and every thing under heaven, which was either aiding or abetting to his love—yet never concluded his chapter of curses upon it, without cursing himself in at the bargain, as one of the most egregious fools and cox-combs, he would say, that ever was let loose in the world.

My uncle Toby, on the contrary, took it like a lamb—sat still and let the poison work in his veins without resistance—in the sharpest exacerbations of his wound (like that on his groin) he never dropt one fretful or discontented word—he blamed neither heaven nor earth—or thought or spoke an injurious thing of any body, or any part of it; he sat solitary and pensive with his pipe—looking at his lame leg—then whiffing out a sentimental heigh ho! which mixing with the smoke, incommoded no one mortal.

He took it like a lamb—I say.

In truth he had mistook it at first; for having taken a ride with my father, that very morning, to save if possible a beautiful wood, which the dean and chapter were hewing down to give to the poor (Mr. Shandy must mean the poor in spirit; inasmuch as they divided the money amongst themselves.); which said wood being in full view of my uncle Toby's house, and of singular service to him in his description of the battle of Wynnendale—by trotting on too hastily to save it—upon an uneasy saddle—worse horse, &c. & had so happened, that the serous part of the blood had got betwixt the two skins, in the nethermost part of my uncle Toby—the first shootings of which (as my uncle Toby had no experience of love) he had taken for a part of the passion—till the blister breaking in the one case—and the other remaining—my uncle Toby was presently convinced, that his wound was not a skin-deep wound—but that it had gone to his heart.

Chapter 4.LI.

The world is ashamed of being virtuous—my uncle Toby knew little of the world; and therefore when he felt he was in love with widow Wadman, he had no conception that the thing was any more to be made a mystery of, than if Mrs. Wadman had given him a cut with a gap'd knife across his finger: Had it been otherwise—yet as he ever look'd upon Trim as a humble friend; and saw fresh reasons every day of his life, to treat him as such—it would have made no variation in the manner in which he informed him of the affair.

'I am in love, corporal!' quoth my uncle Toby.

Chapter 4.LII.

In love!—said the corporal—your honour was very well the day before yesterday, when I was telling your honour of the story of the King of Bohemia—Bohemia! said my uncle Toby...musing a long time...What became of that story, Trim?

—We lost it, an' please your honour, somehow betwixt us—but your honour was as free from love then, as I am—'twas just whilst thou went'st off with the wheel-barrow—with Mrs. Wadman, quoth my uncle Toby—She has left a ball here—added my uncle Toby—pointing to his breast—

—She can no more, an' please your honour, stand a siege, than she can fly—cried the corporal—

—But as we are neighbours, Trim,—the best way I think is to let her know it civilly first—quoth my uncle Toby.

Now if I might presume, said the corporal, to differ from your honour—

—Why else do I talk to thee, Trim? said my uncle Toby, mildly—

—Then I would begin, an' please your honour, with making a good thundering attack upon her, in return—and telling her civilly afterwards—for if she knows any thing of your honour's being in love, before hand—L..d help her!—she knows no more at present of it, Trim, said my uncle Toby—than the child unborn—

Precious souls—!

Mrs. Wadman had told it, with all its circumstances, to Mrs. Bridget twenty-four hours before; and was at that very moment sitting in council with her, touching some slight misgivings with regard to the issue of the affairs, which the Devil, who never lies dead in a ditch, had put into her head—before he would allow half time, to get quietly through her Te Deum.

I am terribly afraid, said widow Wadman, in case I should marry him, Bridget—that the poor captain will not enjoy his health, with the monstrous wound upon his groin—

It may not, Madam, be so very large, replied Bridget, as you think—and I believe, besides, added she—that 'tis dried up—

—I could like to know—merely for his sake, said Mrs. Wadman—

—We'll know and long and the broad of it, in ten days—answered Mrs. Bridget, for whilst the captain is paying his addresses to you—I'm confident Mr. Trim will be for making love to me—and I'll let him as much as he will—added Bridget—to get it all out of him—

The measures were taken at once—and my uncle Toby and the corporal went on with theirs.

Now, quoth the corporal, setting his left hand a-kimbo, and giving such a flourish with his right, as just promised success—and no more—if your honour will give me leave to lay down the plan of this attack—

—Thou wilt please me by it, Trim, said my uncle Toby, exceedingly—and as I foresee thou must act in it as my aid de camp, here's a crown, corporal, to begin with, to steep thy commission.

Then, an' please your honour, said the corporal (making a bow first for his commission)—we will begin with getting your honour's laced clothes out of the great campaign-trunk, to be well air'd, and have the blue and gold taken up at the sleeves—and I'll put your white ramallie-wig fresh into pipes—and send for a taylor, to have your honour's thin scarlet breeches turn'd—

—I had better take the red plush ones, quoth my uncle Toby—They will be too clumsy—said the corporal.

Chapter 4.LIII.

—Thou wilt get a brush and a little chalk to my sword—'Twill be only in your honour's way, replied Trim.

Chapter 4.LIV.

—But your honour's two razors shall be new set—and I will get my Montero cap furbish'd up, and put on poor lieutenant Le Fever's regimental coat, which your honour gave me to wear for his sake—and as soon as your honour is clean shaved—and has got your clean shirt on, with your blue and gold, or your fine scarlet—sometimes one and sometimes t'other—and every thing is ready for the attack—we'll march up boldly, as if 'twas to the face of a bastion; and whilst your honour engages Mrs. Wadman in the parlour, to the right—I'll attack Mrs. Bridget in the kitchen, to the left; and having seiz'd the pass, I'll answer for it, said the corporal, snapping his fingers over his head—that the day is our own.

I wish I may but manage it right; said my uncle Toby—but I declare, corporal, I had rather march up to the very edge of a trench—

—A woman is quite a different thing—said the corporal.

—I suppose so, quoth my uncle Toby.

Chapter 4.LV.

If any thing in this world, which my father said, could have provoked my uncle Toby, during the time he was in love, it was the perverse use my father was always making of an expression of Hilarion the hermit; who, in speaking of his abstinence, his watchings, flagellations, and other instrumental parts of his religion—would say—tho' with more facetiousness than became an hermit—'That they were the means he used, to make his ass (meaning his body) leave off kicking.'

It pleased my father well; it was not only a laconick way of expressing—but of libelling, at the same time, the desires and appetites of the lower part of us; so that for many years of my father's life, 'twas his constant mode of expression—he never used the word passions once—but ass always instead of them—So that he might be said truly, to have been upon the bones, or the back of his own ass, or else of some other man's, during all that time.

I must here observe to you the difference betwixt My father's ass and my hobby-horse—in order to keep characters as separate as may be, in our fancies as we go along.

For my hobby-horse, if you recollect a little, is no way a vicious beast; he has scarce one hair or lineament of the ass about him—'Tis the sporting little filly-folly which carries you out for the present hour—a maggot, a butterfly, a picture, a fiddlestick—an uncle Toby's siege—or an any thing, which a man makes a shift to get a-stride on, to canter it away from the cares and solicitudes of life—'Tis as useful a beast as is in the whole creation—nor do I really see how the world could do without it—

—But for my father's ass—oh! mount him—mount him—mount him—(that's three times, is it not?)—mount him not:—'tis a beast concupiscent—and foul befal the man, who does not hinder him from kicking.

Chapter 4.LVI.

Well! dear brother Toby, said my father, upon his first seeing him after he fell in love—and how goes it with your Asse?

Now my uncle Toby thinking more of the part where he had had the blister, than of Hilarion's metaphor—and our preconceptions having (you know) as great a power over the sounds of words as the shapes of things, he had imagined, that my father, who was not very ceremonious in his choice of words, had enquired after the part by its proper name: so notwithstanding my mother, doctor Slop, and Mr. Yorick, were sitting in the parlour, he thought it rather civil to conform to the term my father had made use of than not. When a man is hemm'd in by two indecorums, and must commit one of 'em—I always observe—let him chuse which he will, the world will blame him—so I should not be astonished if it blames my uncle Toby.

My A..e, quoth my uncle Toby, is much better—brother Shandy—My father had formed great expectations from his Asse in this onset; and would have brought him on again; but doctor Slop setting up an intemperate laugh—and my mother crying out L... bless us!—it drove my father's Asse off the field—and the laugh then becoming general—there was no bringing him back to the charge, for some time—

And so the discourse went on without him.

Every body, said my mother, says you are in love, brother Toby,—and we hope it is true.

I am as much in love, sister, I believe, replied my uncle Toby, as any man usually is—Humph! said my father—and when did you know it? quoth my mother—

—When the blister broke; replied my uncle Toby.

My uncle Toby's reply put my father into good temper—so he charg'd o' foot.

Chapter 4.LVII.

As the ancients agree, brother Toby, said my father, that there are two different and distinct kinds of love, according to the different parts which are affected by it—the Brain or Liver—I think when a man is in love, it behoves him a little to consider which of the two he is fallen into.

What signifies it, brother Shandy, replied my uncle Toby, which of the two it is, provided it will but make a man marry, and love his wife, and get a few children?

—A few children! cried my father, rising out of his chair, and looking full in my mother's face, as he forced his way betwixt her's and doctor Slop's—a few children! cried my father, repeating my uncle Toby's words as he walk'd to and fro—

—Not, my dear brother Toby, cried my father, recovering himself all at once, and coming close up to the back of my uncle Toby's chair—not that I should be sorry hadst thou a score—on the contrary, I should rejoice—and be as kind, Toby, to every one of them as a father—

My uncle Toby stole his hand unperceived behind his chair, to give my father's a squeeze—

—Nay, moreover, continued he, keeping hold of my uncle Toby's hand—so much dost thou possess, my dear Toby, of the milk of human nature, and so little of its asperities—'tis piteous the world is not peopled by creatures which resemble thee; and was I an Asiatic monarch, added my father, heating himself with his new project—I would oblige thee, provided it would not impair thy strength—or dry up thy radical moisture too fast—or weaken thy memory or fancy, brother Toby, which these gymnics inordinately taken are apt to do—else, dear Toby, I would procure thee the most beautiful woman in my empire, and I would oblige thee, nolens, volens, to beget for me one subject every month—

As my father pronounced the last word of the sentence—my mother took a pinch of snuff.

Now I would not, quoth my uncle Toby, get a child, nolens, volens, that is, whether I would or no, to please the greatest prince upon earth—

—And 'twould be cruel in me, brother Toby, to compel thee; said my father—but 'tis a case put to shew thee, that it is not thy begetting a child—in case thou should'st be able—but the system of Love and Marriage thou goest upon, which I would set thee right in—

There is at least, said Yorick, a great deal of reason and plain sense in captain Shandy's opinion of love; and 'tis amongst the ill-spent hours of my life, which I have to answer for, that I have read so many flourishing poets and rhetoricians in my time, from whom I never could extract so much—I wish, Yorick, said my father, you had read Plato; for there you would have learnt that there are two Loves—I know there were two Religions, replied Yorick, amongst the ancients—one—for the vulgar, and another for the learned;—but I think One Love might have served both of them very well—

I could not; replied my father—and for the same reasons: for of these Loves, according to Ficinus's comment upon Velasius, the one is rational—

—the other is natural—the first ancient—without mother—where Venus had nothing to do: the second, begotten of Jupiter and Dione—

—Pray, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, what has a man who believes in God to do with this? My father could not stop to answer, for fear of breaking the thread of his discourse—

This latter, continued he, partakes wholly of the nature of Venus.

The first, which is the golden chain let down from heaven, excites to love heroic, which comprehends in it, and excites to the desire of philosophy and truth—the second, excites to desire, simply—

—I think the procreation of children as beneficial to the world, said Yorick, as the finding out the longitude—

—To be sure, said my mother, love keeps peace in the world—

—In the house—my dear, I own—

—It replenishes the earth; said my mother—

But it keeps heaven empty—my dear; replied my father.

—'Tis Virginity, cried Slop, triumphantly, which fills paradise.

Well push'd nun! quoth my father.

Chapter 4.LVIII.

My father had such a skirmishing, cutting kind of a slashing way with him in his disputations, thrusting and ripping, and giving every one a stroke to remember him by in his turn—that if there were twenty people in company—in less than half an hour he was sure to have every one of 'em against him.

What did not a little contribute to leave him thus without an ally, was, that if there was any one post more untenable than the rest, he would be sure to throw himself into it; and to do him justice, when he was once there, he would defend it so gallantly, that 'twould have been a concern, either to a brave man or a good-natured one, to have seen him driven out.

Yorick, for this reason, though he would often attack him—yet could never bear to do it with all his force.

Doctor Slop's Virginity, in the close of the last chapter, had got him for once on the right side of the rampart; and he was beginning to blow up all the convents in Christendom about Slop's ears, when corporal Trim came into the parlour to inform my uncle Toby, that his thin scarlet breeches, in which the attack was to be made upon Mrs. Wadman, would not do; for that the taylor, in ripping them up, in order to turn them, had found they had been turn'd before—Then turn them again, brother, said my father, rapidly, for there will be many a turning of 'em yet before all's done in the affair—They are as rotten as dirt, said the corporal—Then by all means, said my father, bespeak a new pair, brother—for though I know, continued my father, turning himself to the company, that widow Wadman has been deeply in love with my brother Toby for many years, and has used every art and circumvention of woman to outwit him into the same passion, yet now that she has caught him—her fever will be pass'd its height—

—She has gained her point.

In this case, continued my father, which Plato, I am persuaded, never thought of—Love, you see, is not so much a Sentiment as a Situation, into which a man enters, as my brother Toby would do, into a corps—no matter whether he loves the service or no—being once in it—he acts as if he did; and takes every step to shew himself a man of prowesse.

The hypothesis, like the rest of my father's, was plausible enough, and my uncle Toby had but a single word to object to it—in which Trim stood ready to second him—but my father had not drawn his conclusion—

For this reason, continued my father (stating the case over again)—notwithstanding all the world knows, that Mrs. Wadman affects my brother Toby—and my brother Toby contrariwise affects Mrs. Wadman, and no obstacle in nature to forbid the music striking up this very night, yet will I answer for it, that this self-same tune will not be play'd this twelvemonth.

We have taken our measures badly, quoth my uncle Toby, looking up interrogatively in Trim's face.

I would lay my Montero-cap, said Trim—Now Trim's Montero-cap, as I once told you, was his constant wager; and having furbish'd it up that very night, in order to go upon the attack—it made the odds look more considerable—I would lay, an' please your honour, my Montero-cap to a shilling—was it proper, continued Trim (making a bow), to offer a wager before your honours—

—There is nothing improper in it, said my father—'tis a mode of expression; for in saying thou would'st lay thy Montero-cap to a shilling—all thou meanest is this—that thou believest—

—Now, What do'st thou believe?

That widow Wadman, an' please your worship, cannot hold it out ten days—

And whence, cried Slop, jeeringly, hast thou all this knowledge of woman, friend?

By falling in love with a popish clergy-woman; said Trim.

'Twas a Beguine, said my uncle Toby.

Doctor Slop was too much in wrath to listen to the distinction; and my father taking that very crisis to fall in helter-skelter upon the whole order of Nuns and Beguines, a set of silly, fusty, baggages—Slop could not stand it—and my uncle Toby having some measures to take about his breeches—and Yorick about his fourth general division—in order for their several attacks next day—the company broke up: and my father being left alone, and having half an hour upon his hands betwixt that and bed-time; he called for pen, ink, and paper, and wrote my uncle Toby the following letter of instructions:

My dear brother Toby,

What I am going to say to thee is upon the nature of women, and of love-making to them; and perhaps it is as well for thee—tho' not so well for me—that thou hast occasion for a letter of instructions upon that head, and that I am able to write it to thee.

Had it been the good pleasure of him who disposes of our lots—and thou no sufferer by the knowledge, I had been well content that thou should'st have dipp'd the pen this moment into the ink, instead of myself; but that not being the case—Mrs. Shandy being now close beside me, preparing for bed—I have thrown together without order, and just as they have come into my mind, such hints and documents as I deem may be of use to thee; intending, in this, to give thee a token of my love; not doubting, my dear Toby, of the manner in which it will be accepted.

In the first place, with regard to all which concerns religion in the affair—though I perceive from a glow in my cheek, that I blush as I begin to speak to thee upon the subject, as well knowing, notwithstanding thy unaffected secrecy, how few of its offices thou neglectest—yet I would remind thee of one (during the continuance of thy courtship) in a particular manner, which I would not have omitted; and that is, never to go forth upon the enterprize, whether it be in the morning or the afternoon, without first recommending thyself to the protection of Almighty God, that he may defend thee from the evil one.

Shave the whole top of thy crown clean once at least every four or five days, but oftner if convenient; lest in taking off thy wig before her, thro' absence of mind, she should be able to discover how much has been cut away by Time—how much by Trim.

—'Twere better to keep ideas of baldness out of her fancy.

Always carry it in thy mind, and act upon it as a sure maxim, Toby—

'That women are timid:' And 'tis well they are—else there would be no dealing with them.

Let not thy breeches be too tight, or hang too loose about thy thighs, like the trunk-hose of our ancestors.

—A just medium prevents all conclusions.

Whatever thou hast to say, be it more or less, forget not to utter it in a low soft tone of voice. Silence, and whatever approaches it, weaves dreams of midnight secrecy into the brain: For this cause, if thou canst help it, never throw down the tongs and poker.

Avoid all kinds of pleasantry and facetiousness in thy discourse with her, and do whatever lies in thy power at the same time, to keep her from all books and writings which tend thereto: there are some devotional tracts, which if thou canst entice her to read over—it will be well: but suffer her not to look into Rabelais, or Scarron, or Don Quixote—

—They are all books which excite laughter; and thou knowest, dear Toby, that there is no passion so serious as lust.

Stick a pin in the bosom of thy shirt, before thou enterest her parlour.

And if thou art permitted to sit upon the same sopha with her, and she gives thee occasion to lay thy hand upon hers—beware of taking it—thou canst not lay thy hand on hers, but she will feel the temper of thine. Leave that and as many other things as thou canst, quite undetermined; by so doing, thou wilt have her curiosity on thy side; and if she is not conquered by that, and thy Asse continues still kicking, which there is great reason to suppose—Thou must begin, with first losing a few ounces of blood below the ears, according to the practice of the ancient Scythians, who cured the most intemperate fits of the appetite by that means.

Avicenna, after this, is for having the part anointed with the syrup of hellebore, using proper evacuations and purges—and I believe rightly. But thou must eat little or no goat's flesh, nor red deer—nor even foal's flesh by any means; and carefully abstain—that is, as much as thou canst, from peacocks, cranes, coots, didappers, and water-hens—

As for thy drink—I need not tell thee, it must be the infusion of Vervain and the herb Hanea, of which Aelian relates such effects—but if thy stomach palls with it—discontinue it from time to time, taking cucumbers, melons, purslane, water-lillies, woodbine, and lettice, in the stead of them.

There is nothing further for thee, which occurs to me at present—

—Unless the breaking out of a fresh war—So wishing every thing, dear Toby, for best,

I rest thy affectionate brother,

Walter Shandy.

Chapter 4.LIX.

Whilst my father was writing his letter of instructions, my uncle Toby and the corporal were busy in preparing every thing for the attack. As the turning of the thin scarlet breeches was laid aside (at least for the present), there was nothing which should put it off beyond the next morning; so accordingly it was resolv'd upon, for eleven o'clock.

Come, my dear, said my father to my mother—'twill be but like a brother and sister, if you and I take a walk down to my brother Toby's—to countenance him in this attack of his.

My uncle Toby and the corporal had been accoutred both some time, when my father and mother enter'd, and the clock striking eleven, were that moment in motion to sally forth—but the account of this is worth more than to be wove into the fag end of the eighth (Alluding to the first edition.) volume of such a work as this.—My father had no time but to put the letter of instructions into my uncle Toby's coat-pocket—and join with my mother in wishing his attack prosperous.

I could like, said my mother, to look through the key-hole out of curiosity—Call it by its right name, my dear, quoth my father—

And look through the key-hole as long as you will.

Chapter 4.LX.

I call all the powers of time and chance, which severally check us in our careers in this world, to bear me witness, that I could never yet get fairly to my uncle Toby's amours, till this very moment, that my mother's curiosity, as she stated the affair,—or a different impulse in her, as my father would have it—wished her to take a peep at them through the key-hole.

'Call it, my dear, by its right name, quoth my father, and look through the key-hole as long as you will.'

Nothing but the fermentation of that little subacid humour, which I have often spoken of, in my father's habit, could have vented such an insinuation—he was however frank and generous in his nature, and at all times open to conviction; so that he had scarce got to the last word of this ungracious retort, when his conscience smote him.

My mother was then conjugally swinging with her left arm twisted under his right, in such wise, that the inside of her hand rested upon the back of his—she raised her fingers, and let them fall—it could scarce be call'd a tap; or if it was a tap—'twould have puzzled a casuist to say, whether 'twas a tap of remonstrance, or a tap of confession: my father, who was all sensibilities from head to foot, class'd it right—Conscience redoubled her blow—he turn'd his face suddenly the other way, and my mother supposing his body was about to turn with it in order to move homewards, by a cross movement of her right leg, keeping her left as its centre, brought herself so far in front, that as he turned his head, he met her eye—Confusion again! he saw a thousand reasons to wipe out the reproach, and as many to reproach himself—a thin, blue, chill, pellucid chrystal with all its humours so at rest, the least mote or speck of desire might have been seen, at the bottom of it, had it existed—it did not—and how I happen to be so lewd myself, particularly a little before the vernal and autumnal equinoxes—Heaven above knows—My mother—madam—was so at no time, either by nature, by institution, or example.

A temperate current of blood ran orderly through her veins in all months of the year, and in all critical moments both of the day and night alike; nor did she superinduce the least heat into her humours from the manual effervescencies of devotional tracts, which having little or no meaning in them, nature is oft-times obliged to find one—And as for my father's example! 'twas so far from being either aiding or abetting thereunto, that 'twas the whole business of his life, to keep all fancies of that kind out of her head—Nature had done her part, to have spared him this trouble; and what was not a little inconsistent, my father knew it—And here am I sitting, this 12th day of August 1766, in a purple jerkin and yellow pair of slippers, without either wig or cap on, a most tragicomical completion of his prediction, 'That I should neither think, nor act like any other man's child, upon that very account.'

The mistake in my father, was in attacking my mother's motive, instead of the act itself; for certainly key-holes were made for other purposes; and considering the act, as an act which interfered with a true proposition, and denied a key-hole to be what it was—it became a violation of nature; and was so far, you see, criminal.

It is for this reason, an' please your Reverences, That key-holes are the occasions of more sin and wickedness, than all other holes in this world put together.

—which leads me to my uncle Toby's amours.

Chapter 4.LXI.

Though the corporal had been as good as his word in putting my uncle Toby's great ramallie-wig into pipes, yet the time was too short to produce any great effects from it: it had lain many years squeezed up in the corner of his old campaign trunk; and as bad forms are not so easy to be got the better of, and the use of candle-ends not so well understood, it was not so pliable a business as one would have wished. The corporal with cheary eye and both arms extended, had fallen back perpendicular from it a score times, to inspire it, if possible, with a better air—had Spleen given a look at it, 'twould have cost her ladyship a smile—it curl'd every where but where the corporal would have it; and where a buckle or two, in his opinion, would have done it honour, he could as soon have raised the dead.

Such it was—or rather such would it have seem'd upon any other brow; but the sweet look of goodness which sat upon my uncle Toby's, assimilated every thing around it so sovereignly to itself, and Nature had moreover wrote Gentleman with so fair a hand in every line of his countenance, that even his tarnish'd gold-laced hat and huge cockade of flimsy taffeta became him; and though not worth a button in themselves, yet the moment my uncle Toby put them on, they became serious objects, and altogether seem'd to have been picked up by the hand of Science to set him off to advantage.

Nothing in this world could have co-operated more powerfully towards this, than my uncle Toby's blue and gold—had not Quantity in some measure been necessary to Grace: in a period of fifteen or sixteen years since they had been made, by a total inactivity in my uncle Toby's life, for he seldom went further than the bowling-green—his blue and gold had become so miserably too straight for him, that it was with the utmost difficulty the corporal was able to get him into them; the taking them up at the sleeves, was of no advantage.—They were laced however down the back, and at the seams of the sides, &c. in the mode of King William's reign; and to shorten all description, they shone so bright against the sun that morning, and had so metallick and doughty an air with them, that had my uncle Toby thought of attacking in armour, nothing could have so well imposed upon his imagination.

As for the thin scarlet breeches, they had been unripp'd by the taylor between the legs, and left at sixes and sevens—

—Yes, Madam,—but let us govern our fancies. It is enough they were held impracticable the night before, and as there was no alternative in my uncle Toby's wardrobe, he sallied forth in the red plush.

The corporal had array'd himself in poor Le Fever's regimental coat; and with his hair tuck'd up under his Montero-cap, which he had furbish'd up for the occasion, march'd three paces distant from his master: a whiff of military pride had puff'd out his shirt at the wrist; and upon that in a black leather thong clipp'd into a tassel beyond the knot, hung the corporal's stick—my uncle Toby carried his cane like a pike.

—It looks well at least; quoth my father to himself.

Chapter 4.LXII.

My uncle Toby turn'd his head more than once behind him, to see how he was supported by the corporal; and the corporal as oft as he did it, gave a slight flourish with his stick—but not vapouringly; and with the sweetest accent of most respectful encouragement, bid his honour 'never fear.'

Now my uncle Toby did fear; and grievously too; he knew not (as my father had reproach'd him) so much as the right end of a Woman from the wrong, and therefore was never altogether at his ease near any one of them—unless in sorrow or distress; then infinite was his pity; nor would the most courteous knight of romance have gone further, at least upon one leg, to have wiped away a tear from a woman's eye; and yet excepting once that he was beguiled into it by Mrs. Wadman, he had never looked stedfastly into one; and would often tell my father in the simplicity of his heart, that it was almost (if not about) as bad as taking bawdy.—

—And suppose it is? my father would say.

Chapter 4.LXIII.

She cannot, quoth my uncle Toby, halting, when they had march'd up to within twenty paces of Mrs. Wadman's door—she cannot, corporal, take it amiss.—

—She will take it, an' please your honour, said the corporal, just as the Jew's widow at Lisbon took it of my brother Tom.—

—And how was that? quoth my uncle Toby, facing quite about to the corporal.

Your honour, replied the corporal, knows of Tom's misfortunes; but this affair has nothing to do with them any further than this, That if Tom had not married the widow—or had it pleased God after their marriage, that they had but put pork into their sausages, the honest soul had never been taken out of his warm bed, and dragg'd to the inquisition—'Tis a cursed place—added the corporal, shaking his head,—when once a poor creature is in, he is in, an' please your honour, for ever.

'Tis very true; said my uncle Toby, looking gravely at Mrs. Wadman's house, as he spoke.

Nothing, continued the corporal, can be so sad as confinement for life—or so sweet, an' please your honour, as liberty.

Nothing, Trim—said my uncle Toby, musing—

Whilst a man is free,—cried the corporal, giving a flourish with his stick thus—

(squiggly line diagonally across the page)

A thousand of my father's most subtle syllogisms could not have said more for celibacy.

My uncle Toby look'd earnestly towards his cottage and his bowling-green.

The corporal had unwarily conjured up the Spirit of calculation with his wand; and he had nothing to do, but to conjure him down again with his story, and in this form of Exorcism, most un-ecclesiastically did the corporal do it.

Chapter 4.LXIV.

As Tom's place, an' please your honour, was easy—and the weather warm—it put him upon thinking seriously of settling himself in the world; and as it fell out about that time, that a Jew who kept a sausage shop in the same street, had the ill luck to die of a strangury, and leave his widow in possession of a rousing trade—Tom thought (as every body in Lisbon was doing the best he could devise for himself) there could be no harm in offering her his service to carry it on: so without any introduction to the widow, except that of buying a pound of sausages at her shop—Tom set out—counting the matter thus within himself, as he walk'd along; that let the worst come of it that could, he should at least get a pound of sausages for their worth—but, if things went well, he should be set up; inasmuch as he should get not only a pound of sausages—but a wife and—a sausage shop, an' please your honour, into the bargain.

Every servant in the family, from high to low, wish'd Tom success; and I can fancy, an' please your honour, I see him this moment with his white dimity waist-coat and breeches, and hat a little o' one side, passing jollily along the street, swinging his stick, with a smile and a chearful word for every body he met:—But alas! Tom! thou smilest no more, cried the corporal, looking on one side of him upon the ground, as if he apostrophised him in his dungeon.

Poor fellow! said my uncle Toby, feelingly.

He was an honest, light-hearted lad, an' please your honour, as ever blood warm'd—

—Then he resembled thee, Trim, said my uncle Toby, rapidly.

The corporal blush'd down to his fingers ends—a tear of sentimental bashfulness—another of gratitude to my uncle Toby—and a tear of sorrow for his brother's misfortunes, started into his eye, and ran sweetly down his cheek together; my uncle Toby's kindled as one lamp does at another; and taking hold of the breast of Trim's coat (which had been that of Le Fever's) as if to ease his lame leg, but in reality to gratify a finer feeling—he stood silent for a minute and a half; at the end of which he took his hand away, and the corporal making a bow, went on with his story of his brother and the Jew's widow.

Chapter 4.LXV.

When Tom, an' please your honour, got to the shop, there was nobody in it, but a poor negro girl, with a bunch of white feathers slightly tied to the end of a long cane, flapping away flies—not killing them.—'Tis a pretty picture! said my uncle Toby—she had suffered persecution, Trim, and had learnt mercy—

—She was good, an' please your honour, from nature, as well as from hardships; and there are circumstances in the story of that poor friendless slut, that would melt a heart of stone, said Trim; and some dismal winter's evening, when your honour is in the humour, they shall be told you with the rest of Tom's story, for it makes a part of it—

Then do not forget, Trim, said my uncle Toby.

A negro has a soul? an' please your honour, said the corporal (doubtingly).

I am not much versed, corporal, quoth my uncle Toby, in things of that kind; but I suppose, God would not leave him without one, any more than thee or me—

—It would be putting one sadly over the head of another, quoth the corporal.

It would so; said my uncle Toby. Why then, an' please your honour, is a black wench to be used worse than a white one?

I can give no reason, said my uncle Toby—

—Only, cried the corporal, shaking his head, because she has no one to stand up for her—

—'Tis that very thing, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby,—which recommends her to protection—and her brethren with her; 'tis the fortune of war which has put the whip into our hands now—where it may be hereafter, heaven knows!—but be it where it will, the brave, Trim! will not use it unkindly.

—God forbid, said the corporal.

Amen, responded my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon his heart.

The corporal returned to his story, and went on—but with an embarrassment in doing it, which here and there a reader in this world will not be able to comprehend; for by the many sudden transitions all along, from one kind and cordial passion to another, in getting thus far on his way, he had lost the sportable key of his voice, which gave sense and spirit to his tale: he attempted twice to resume it, but could not please himself; so giving a stout hem! to rally back the retreating spirits, and aiding nature at the same time with his left arm a kimbo on one side, and with his right a little extended, supporting her on the other—the corporal got as near the note as he could; and in that attitude, continued his story.

Chapter 4.LXVI.

As Tom, an' please your honour, had no business at that time with the Moorish girl, he passed on into the room beyond, to talk to the Jew's widow about love—and this pound of sausages; and being, as I have told your honour, an open cheary-hearted lad, with his character wrote in his looks and carriage, he took a chair, and without much apology, but with great civility at the same time, placed it close to her at the table, and sat down.

There is nothing so awkward, as courting a woman, an' please your honour, whilst she is making sausages—So Tom began a discourse upon them; first, gravely,—'as how they were made—with what meats, herbs, and spices.'—Then a little gayly,—as, 'With what skins—and if they never burst—Whether the largest were not the best?'—and so on—taking care only as he went along, to season what he had to say upon sausages, rather under than over;—that he might have room to act in—

It was owing to the neglect of that very precaution, said my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon Trim's shoulder, that Count De la Motte lost the battle of Wynendale: he pressed too speedily into the wood; which if he had not done, Lisle had not fallen into our hands, nor Ghent and Bruges, which both followed her example; it was so late in the year, continued my uncle Toby, and so terrible a season came on, that if things had not fallen out as they did, our troops must have perish'd in the open field.—

—Why, therefore, may not battles, an' please your honour, as well as marriages, be made in heaven?—my uncle Toby mused—

Religion inclined him to say one thing, and his high idea of military skill tempted him to say another; so not being able to frame a reply exactly to his mind—my uncle Toby said nothing at all; and the corporal finished his story.

As Tom perceived, an' please your honour, that he gained ground, and that all he had said upon the subject of sausages was kindly taken, he went on to help her a little in making them.—First, by taking hold of the ring of the sausage whilst she stroked the forced meat down with her hand—then by cutting the strings into proper lengths, and holding them in his hand, whilst she took them out one by one—then, by putting them across her mouth, that she might take them out as she wanted them—and so on from little to more, till at last he adventured to tie the sausage himself, whilst she held the snout.—

—Now a widow, an' please your honour, always chuses a second husband as unlike the first as she can: so the affair was more than half settled in her mind before Tom mentioned it.

She made a feint however of defending herself, by snatching up a sausage:—Tom instantly laid hold of another—

But seeing Tom's had more gristle in it—

She signed the capitulation—and Tom sealed it; and there was an end of the matter.

Chapter 4.LXVII.

All womankind, continued Trim, (commenting upon his story) from the highest to the lowest, an' please your honour, love jokes; the difficulty is to know how they chuse to have them cut; and there is no knowing that, but by trying, as we do with our artillery in the field, by raising or letting down their breeches, till we hit the mark.—

—I like the comparison, said my uncle Toby, better than the thing itself—

—Because your honour, quoth the corporal, loves glory, more than pleasure.

I hope, Trim, answered my uncle Toby, I love mankind more than either; and as the knowledge of arms tends so apparently to the good and quiet of the world—and particularly that branch of it which we have practised together in our bowling-green, has no object but to shorten the strides of Ambition, and intrench the lives and fortunes of the few, from the plunderings of the many—whenever that drum beats in our ears, I trust, corporal, we shall neither of us want so much humanity and fellow-feeling, as to face about and march.

In pronouncing this, my uncle Toby faced about, and march'd firmly as at the head of his company—and the faithful corporal, shouldering his stick, and striking his hand upon his coat-skirt as he took his first step—march'd close behind him down the avenue.

—Now what can their two noddles be about? cried my father to my mother—by all that's strange, they are besieging Mrs. Wadman in form, and are marching round her house to mark out the lines of circumvallation.

I dare say, quoth my mother—But stop, dear Sir—for what my mother dared to say upon the occasion—and what my father did say upon it—with her replies and his rejoinders, shall be read, perused, paraphrased, commented, and descanted upon—or to say it all in a word, shall be thumb'd over by Posterity in a chapter apart—I say, by Posterity—and care not, if I repeat the word again—for what has this book done more than the Legation of Moses, or the Tale of a Tub, that it may not swim down the gutter of Time along with them?

I will not argue the matter: Time wastes too fast: every letter I trace tells me with what rapidity Life follows my pen: the days and hours of it, more precious, my dear Jenny! than the rubies about thy neck, are flying over our heads like light clouds of a windy day, never to return more—every thing presses on—whilst thou art twisting that lock,—see! it grows grey; and every time I kiss thy hand to bid adieu, and every absence which follows it, are preludes to that eternal separation which we are shortly to make.—

—Heaven have mercy upon us both!

Chapter 4.LXVIII.

Now, for what the world thinks of that ejaculation—I would not give a groat.

Chapter 4.LXIX.

My mother had gone with her left arm twisted in my father's right, till they had got to the fatal angle of the old garden wall, where Doctor Slop was overthrown by Obadiah on the coach-horse: as this was directly opposite to the front of Mrs. Wadman's house, when my father came to it, he gave a look across; and seeing my uncle Toby and the corporal within ten paces of the door, he turn'd about—'Let us just stop a moment, quoth my father, and see with what ceremonies my brother Toby and his man Trim make their first entry—it will not detain us, added my father, a single minute:'

—No matter, if it be ten minutes, quoth my mother.

—It will not detain us half one; said my father.

The corporal was just then setting in with the story of his brother Tom and the Jew's widow: the story went on—and on—it had episodes in it—it came back, and went on—and on again; there was no end of it—the reader found it very long—

—G.. help my father! he pish'd fifty times at every new attitude, and gave the corporal's stick, with all its flourishings and danglings, to as many devils as chose to accept of them.

When issues of events like these my father is waiting for, are hanging in the scales of fate, the mind has the advantage of changing the principle of expectation three times, without which it would not have power to see it out.

Curiosity governs the first moment; and the second moment is all oeconomy to justify the expence of the first—and for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth moments, and so on to the day of judgment—'tis a point of Honour.

I need not be told, that the ethic writers have assigned this all to Patience; but that Virtue, methinks, has extent of dominion sufficient of her own, and enough to do in it, without invading the few dismantled castles which Honour has left him upon the earth.

My father stood it out as well as he could with these three auxiliaries to the end of Trim's story; and from thence to the end of my uncle Toby's panegyrick upon arms, in the chapter following it; when seeing, that instead of marching up to Mrs. Wadman's door, they both faced about and march'd down the avenue diametrically opposite to his expectation—he broke out at once with that little subacid soreness of humour, which, in certain situations, distinguished his character from that of all other men.

Chapter 4.LXX.

—'Now what can their two noddles be about?' cried my father...&c....

I dare say, said my mother, they are making fortifications—

—Not on Mrs. Wadman's premises! cried my father, stepping back—

I suppose not: quoth my mother.

I wish, said my father, raising his voice, the whole science of fortification at the devil, with all its trumpery of saps, mines, blinds, gabions, fausse-brays and cuvetts—

—They are foolish things—said my mother.

Now she had a way, which, by the bye, I would this moment give away my purple jerkin, and my yellow slippers into the bargain, if some of your reverences would imitate—and that was, never to refuse her assent and consent to any proposition my father laid before her, merely because she did not understand it, or had no ideas of the principal word or term of art, upon which the tenet or proposition rolled. She contented herself with doing all that her godfathers and godmothers promised for her—but no more; and so would go on using a hard word twenty years together—and replying to it too, if it was a verb, in all its moods and tenses, without giving herself any trouble to enquire about it.

This was an eternal source of misery to my father, and broke the neck, at the first setting out, of more good dialogues between them, than could have done the most petulant contradiction—the few which survived were the better for the cuvetts—

—'They are foolish things;' said my mother.

—Particularly the cuvetts; replied my father.

'Tis enough—he tasted the sweet of triumph—and went on.

—Not that they are, properly speaking, Mrs. Wadman's premises, said my father, partly correcting himself—because she is but tenant for life—

—That makes a great difference—said my mother—

—In a fool's head, replied my father—

Unless she should happen to have a child—said my mother—

—But she must persuade my brother Toby first to get her one—

To be sure, Mr. Shandy, quoth my mother.

—Though if it comes to persuasion—said my father—Lord have mercy upon them.

Amen: said my mother, piano.

Amen: cried my father, fortissime.

Amen: said my mother again—but with such a sighing cadence of personal pity at the end of it, as discomfited every fibre about my father—he instantly took out his almanack; but before he could untie it, Yorick's congregation coming out of church, became a full answer to one half of his business with it—and my mother telling him it was a sacrament day—left him as little in doubt, as to the other part—He put his almanack into his pocket.

The first Lord of the Treasury thinking of ways and means, could not have returned home with a more embarrassed look.

Chapter 4.LXXI.

Upon looking back from the end of the last chapter, and surveying the texture of what has been wrote, it is necessary, that upon this page and the three following, a good quantity of heterogeneous matter be inserted to keep up that just balance betwixt wisdom and folly, without which a book would not hold together a single year: nor is it a poor creeping digression (which but for the name of, a man might continue as well going on in the king's highway) which will do the business—no; if it is to be a digression, it must be a good frisky one, and upon a frisky subject too, where neither the horse or his rider are to be caught, but by rebound.

The only difficulty, is raising powers suitable to the nature of the service: Fancy is capricious—Wit must not be searched for—and Pleasantry (good-natured slut as she is) will not come in at a call, was an empire to be laid at her feet.

—The best way for a man, is to say his prayers—

Only if it puts him in mind of his infirmities and defects as well ghostly as bodily—for that purpose, he will find himself rather worse after he has said them than before—for other purposes, better.

For my own part, there is not a way either moral or mechanical under heaven that I could think of, which I have not taken with myself in this case: sometimes by addressing myself directly to the soul herself, and arguing the point over and over again with her upon the extent of her own faculties—

—I never could make them an inch the wider—

Then by changing my system, and trying what could be made of it upon the body, by temperance, soberness, and chastity: These are good, quoth I, in themselves—they are good, absolutely;—they are good, relatively;—they are good for health—they are good for happiness in this world—they are good for happiness in the next—

In short, they were good for every thing but the thing wanted; and there they were good for nothing, but to leave the soul just as heaven made it: as for the theological virtues of faith and hope, they give it courage; but then that snivelling virtue of Meekness (as my father would always call it) takes it quite away again, so you are exactly where you started.

Now in all common and ordinary cases, there is nothing which I have found to answer so well as this—

—Certainly, if there is any dependence upon Logic, and that I am not blinded by self-love, there must be something of true genius about me, merely upon this symptom of it, that I do not know what envy is: for never do I hit upon any invention or device which tendeth to the furtherance of good writing, but I instantly make it public; willing that all mankind should write as well as myself.

—Which they certainly will, when they think as little.

Chapter 4.LXXII.

Now in ordinary cases, that is, when I am only stupid, and the thoughts rise heavily and pass gummous through my pen—

Or that I am got, I know not how, into a cold unmetaphorical vein of infamous writing, and cannot take a plumb-lift out of it for my soul; so must be obliged to go on writing like a Dutch commentator to the end of the chapter, unless something be done—

—I never stand conferring with pen and ink one moment; for if a pinch of snuff, or a stride or two across the room will not do the business for me—I take a razor at once; and having tried the edge of it upon the palm of my hand, without further ceremony, except that of first lathering my beard, I shave it off; taking care only if I do leave a hair, that it be not a grey one: this done, I change my shirt—put on a better coat—send for my last wig—put my topaz ring upon my finger; and in a word, dress myself from one end to the other of me, after my best fashion.

Now the devil in hell must be in it, if this does not do: for consider, Sir, as every man chuses to be present at the shaving of his own beard (though there is no rule without an exception), and unavoidably sits over-against himself the whole time it is doing, in case he has a hand in it—the Situation, like all others, has notions of her own to put into the brain.—

—I maintain it, the conceits of a rough-bearded man, are seven years more terse and juvenile for one single operation; and if they did not run a risk of being quite shaved away, might be carried up by continual shavings, to the highest pitch of sublimity—How Homer could write with so long a beard, I don't know—and as it makes against my hypothesis, I as little care—But let us return to the Toilet.

Ludovicus Sorbonensis makes this entirely an affair of the body (Greek) as he calls it—but he is deceived: the soul and body are joint-sharers in every thing they get: A man cannot dress, but his ideas get cloth'd at the same time; and if he dresses like a gentleman, every one of them stands presented to his imagination, genteelized along with him—so that he has nothing to do, but take his pen, and write like himself.

For this cause, when your honours and reverences would know whether I writ clean and fit to be read, you will be able to judge full as well by looking into my Laundress's bill, as my book: there is one single month in which I can make it appear, that I dirtied one and thirty shirts with clean writing; and after all, was more abus'd, cursed, criticis'd, and confounded, and had more mystic heads shaken at me, for what I had wrote in that one month, than in all the other months of that year put together.

—But their honours and reverences had not seen my bills.

Chapter 4.LXXIII.

As I never had any intention of beginning the Digression, I am making all this preparation for, till I come to the 74th chapter—I have this chapter to put to whatever use I think proper—I have twenty this moment ready for it—I could write my chapter of Button-holes in it—

Or my chapter of Pishes, which should follow them—

Or my chapter of Knots, in case their reverences have done with them—they might lead me into mischief: the safest way is to follow the track of the learned, and raise objections against what I have been writing, tho' I declare before-hand, I know no more than my heels how to answer them.

And first, it may be said, there is a pelting kind of thersitical satire, as black as the very ink 'tis wrote with—(and by the bye, whoever says so, is indebted to the muster-master general of the Grecian army, for suffering the name of so ugly and foul-mouth'd a man as Thersites to continue upon his roll—for it has furnish'd him with an epithet)—in these productions he will urge, all the personal washings and scrubbings upon earth do a sinking genius no sort of good—but just the contrary, inasmuch as the dirtier the fellow is, the better generally he succeeds in it.

To this, I have no other answer—at least ready—but that the Archbishop of Benevento wrote his nasty Romance of the Galatea, as all the world knows, in a purple coat, waistcoat, and purple pair of breeches; and that the penance set him of writing a commentary upon the book of the Revelations, as severe as it was look'd upon by one part of the world, was far from being deem'd so, by the other, upon the single account of that Investment.

Another objection, to all this remedy, is its want of universality; forasmuch as the shaving part of it, upon which so much stress is laid, by an unalterable law of nature excludes one half of the species entirely from its use: all I can say is, that female writers, whether of England, or of France, must e'en go without it—

As for the Spanish ladies—I am in no sort of distress—

Chapter 4.LXXIV.

The seventy-fourth chapter is come at last; and brings nothing with it but a sad signature of 'How our pleasures slip from under us in this world!'

For in talking of my digression—I declare before heaven I have made it! What a strange creature is mortal man! said she.

'Tis very true, said I—but 'twere better to get all these things out of our heads, and return to my uncle Toby.

Chapter 4.LXXV.

When my uncle Toby and the corporal had marched down to the bottom of the avenue, they recollected their business lay the other way; so they faced about and marched up straight to Mrs. Wadman's door.

I warrant your honour; said the corporal, touching his Montero-cap with his hand, as he passed him in order to give a knock at the door—My uncle Toby, contrary to his invariable way of treating his faithful servant, said nothing good or bad: the truth was, he had not altogether marshal'd his ideas; he wish'd for another conference, and as the corporal was mounting up the three steps before the door—he hem'd twice—a portion of my uncle Toby's most modest spirits fled, at each expulsion, towards the corporal; he stood with the rapper of the door suspended for a full minute in his hand, he scarce knew why. Bridget stood perdue within, with her finger and her thumb upon the latch, benumb'd with expectation; and Mrs. Wadman, with an eye ready to be deflowered again, sat breathless behind the window-curtain of her bed-chamber, watching their approach.

Trim! said my uncle Toby—but as he articulated the word, the minute expired, and Trim let fall the rapper.

My uncle Toby perceiving that all hopes of a conference were knock'd on the head by it—whistled Lillabullero.

Chapter 4.LXXVI.

As Mrs. Bridget's finger and thumb were upon the latch, the corporal did not knock as often as perchance your honour's taylor—I might have taken my example something nearer home; for I owe mine, some five and twenty pounds at least, and wonder at the man's patience—

—But this is nothing at all to the world: only 'tis a cursed thing to be in debt; and there seems to be a fatality in the exchequers of some poor princes, particularly those of our house, which no Economy can bind down in irons: for my own part, I'm persuaded there is not any one prince, prelate, pope, or potentate, great or small upon earth, more desirous in his heart of keeping straight with the world than I am—or who takes more likely means for it. I never give above half a guinea—or walk with boots—or cheapen tooth-picks—or lay out a shilling upon a band-box the year round; and for the six months I'm in the country, I'm upon so small a scale, that with all the good temper in the world, I outdo Rousseau, a bar length—for I keep neither man or boy, or horse, or cow, or dog, or cat, or any thing that can eat or drink, except a thin poor piece of a Vestal (to keep my fire in), and who has generally as bad an appetite as myself—but if you think this makes a philosopher of me—I would not, my good people! give a rush for your judgments.

True philosophy—but there is no treating the subject whilst my uncle is whistling Lillabullero.

—Let us go into the house.

Chapter 4.LXXVII.

(blank page)

Chapter 4.LXXVIII.

(blank page)

Chapter 4.LXXIX.

—(two blank paragraphs)—

—You shall see the very place, Madam; said my uncle Toby.

Mrs. Wadman blush'd—look'd towards the door—turn'd pale—blush'd slightly again—recover'd her natural colour—blush'd worse than ever; which, for the sake of the unlearned reader, I translate thus—

'L..d! I cannot look at it—

'What would the world say if I look'd at it?

'I should drop down, if I look'd at it—

'I wish I could look at it—

'There can be no sin in looking at it.

—'I will look at it.'

Whilst all this was running through Mrs. Wadman's imagination, my uncle Toby had risen from the sopha, and got to the other side of the parlour door, to give Trim an order about it in the passage—

...—I believe it is in the garret, said my uncle Toby—I saw it there, an' please your honour, this morning, answered Trim—Then prithee, step directly for it, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and bring it into the parlour.

The corporal did not approve of the orders, but most cheerfully obeyed them. The first was not an act of his will—the second was; so he put on his Montero-cap, and went as fast as his lame knee would let him. My uncle Toby returned into the parlour, and sat himself down again upon the sopha.

—You shall lay your finger upon the place—said my uncle Toby.—I will not touch it, however, quoth Mrs. Wadman to herself.

This requires a second translation:—it shews what little knowledge is got by mere words—we must go up to the first springs.

Now in order to clear up the mist which hangs upon these three pages, I must endeavour to be as clear as possible myself.

Rub your hands thrice across your foreheads—blow your noses—cleanse your emunctories—sneeze, my good people!—God bless you—

Now give me all the help you can.

Chapter 4.LXXX.

As there are fifty different ends (counting all ends in—as well civil as religious) for which a woman takes a husband, the first sets about and carefully weighs, then separates and distinguishes in her mind, which of all that number of ends is hers; then by discourse, enquiry, argumentation, and inference, she investigates and finds out whether she has got hold of the right one—and if she has—then, by pulling it gently this way and that way, she further forms a judgment, whether it will not break in the drawing.

The imagery under which Slawkenbergius impresses this upon the reader's fancy, in the beginning of his third Decad, is so ludicrous, that the honour I bear the sex, will not suffer me to quote it—otherwise it is not destitute of humour.

'She first, saith Slawkenbergius, stops the asse, and holding his halter in her left hand (lest he should get away) she thrusts her right hand into the very bottom of his pannier to search for it—For what?—you'll not know the sooner, quoth Slawkenbergius, for interrupting me—

'I have nothing, good Lady, but empty bottles;' says the asse.

'I'm loaded with tripes;' says the second.

—And thou art little better, quoth she to the third; for nothing is there in thy panniers but trunk-hose and pantofles—and so to the fourth and fifth, going on one by one through the whole string, till coming to the asse which carries it, she turns the pannier upside down, looks at it—considers it—samples it—measures it—stretches it—wets it—dries it—then takes her teeth both to the warp and weft of it.

—Of what? for the love of Christ!

I am determined, answered Slawkenbergius, that all the powers upon earth shall never wring that secret from my breast.

Chapter 4.LXXXI.

We live in a world beset on all sides with mysteries and riddles—and so 'tis no matter—else it seems strange, that Nature, who makes every thing so well to answer its destination, and seldom or never errs, unless for pastime, in giving such forms and aptitudes to whatever passes through her hands, that whether she designs for the plough, the caravan, the cart—or whatever other creature she models, be it but an asse's foal, you are sure to have the thing you wanted; and yet at the same time should so eternally bungle it as she does, in making so simple a thing as a married man.

Whether it is in the choice of the clay—or that it is frequently spoiled in the baking; by an excess of which a husband may turn out too crusty (you know) on one hand—or not enough so, through defect of heat, on the other—or whether this great Artificer is not so attentive to the little Platonic exigences of that part of the species, for whose use she is fabricating this—or that her Ladyship sometimes scarce knows what sort of a husband will do—I know not: we will discourse about it after supper.

It is enough, that neither the observation itself, or the reasoning upon it, are at all to the purpose—but rather against it; since with regard to my uncle Toby's fitness for the marriage state, nothing was ever better: she had formed him of the best and kindliest clay—had temper'd it with her own milk, and breathed into it the sweetest spirit—she had made him all gentle, generous, and humane—she had filled his heart with trust and confidence, and disposed every passage which led to it, for the communication of the tenderest offices—she had moreover considered the other causes for which matrimony was ordained—

And accordingly....

The Donation was not defeated by my uncle Toby's wound.

Now this last article was somewhat apocryphal; and the Devil, who is the great disturber of our faiths in this world, had raised scruples in Mrs. Wadman's brain about it; and like a true devil as he was, had done his own work at the same time, by turning my uncle Toby's Virtue thereupon into nothing but empty bottles, tripes, trunk-hose, and pantofles.

Chapter 4.LXXXII.

Mrs. Bridget had pawn'd all the little stock of honour a poor chamber-maid was worth in the world, that she would get to the bottom of the affair in ten days; and it was built upon one of the most concessible postulata in nature: namely, that whilst my uncle Toby was making love to her mistress, the corporal could find nothing better to do, than make love to her—'And I'll let him as much as he will, said Bridget, to get it out of him.'

Friendship has two garments; an outer and an under one. Bridget was serving her mistress's interests in the one—and doing the thing which most pleased herself in the other: so had as many stakes depending upon my uncle Toby's wound, as the Devil himself—Mrs. Wadman had but one—and as it possibly might be her last (without discouraging Mrs. Bridget, or discrediting her talents) was determined to play her cards herself.

She wanted not encouragement: a child might have look'd into his hand—there was such a plainness and simplicity in his playing out what trumps he had—with such an unmistrusting ignorance of the ten-ace—and so naked and defenceless did he sit upon the same sopha with widow Wadman, that a generous heart would have wept to have won the game of him.

Let us drop the metaphor.

Chapter 4.LXXXIII.

—And the story too—if you please: for though I have all along been hastening towards this part of it, with so much earnest desire, as well knowing it to be the choicest morsel of what I had to offer to the world, yet now that I am got to it, any one is welcome to take my pen, and go on with the story for me that will—I see the difficulties of the descriptions I'm going to give—and feel my want of powers.

It is one comfort at least to me, that I lost some fourscore ounces of blood this week in a most uncritical fever which attacked me at the beginning of this chapter; so that I have still some hopes remaining, it may be more in the serous or globular parts of the blood, than in the subtile aura of the brain—be it which it will—an Invocation can do no hurt—and I leave the affair entirely to the invoked, to inspire or to inject me according as he sees good.

The Invocation.

Gentle Spirit of sweetest humour, who erst did sit upon the easy pen of my beloved Cervantes; Thou who glidedst daily through his lattice, and turned'st the twilight of his prison into noon-day brightness by thy presence—tinged'st his little urn of water with heaven-sent nectar, and all the time he wrote of Sancho and his master, didst cast thy mystic mantle o'er his wither'd stump (He lost his hand at the battle of Lepanto.), and wide extended it to all the evils of his life—

—Turn in hither, I beseech thee!—behold these breeches!—they are all I have in world—that piteous rent was given them at Lyons—

My shirts! see what a deadly schism has happen'd amongst 'em—for the laps are in Lombardy, and the rest of 'em here—I never had but six, and a cunning gypsey of a laundress at Milan cut me off the fore-laps of five—To do her justice, she did it with some consideration—for I was returning out of Italy.

And yet, notwithstanding all this, and a pistol tinder-box which was moreover filch'd from me at Sienna, and twice that I pay'd five Pauls for two hard eggs, once at Raddicoffini, and a second time at Capua—I do not think a journey through France and Italy, provided a man keeps his temper all the way, so bad a thing as some people would make you believe: there must be ups and downs, or how the duce should we get into vallies where Nature spreads so many tables of entertainment.—'Tis nonsense to imagine they will lend you their voitures to be shaken to pieces for nothing; and unless you pay twelve sous for greasing your wheels, how should the poor peasant get butter to his bread?—We really expect too much—and for the livre or two above par for your suppers and bed—at the most they are but one shilling and ninepence halfpenny—who would embroil their philosophy for it? for heaven's and for your own sake, pay it—pay it with both hands open, rather than leave Disappointment sitting drooping upon the eye of your fair Hostess and her Damsels in the gate-way, at your departure—and besides, my dear Sir, you get a sisterly kiss of each of 'em worth a pound—at least I did—

—For my uncle Toby's amours running all the way in my head, they had the same effect upon me as if they had been my own—I was in the most perfect state of bounty and good-will; and felt the kindliest harmony vibrating within me, with every oscillation of the chaise alike; so that whether the roads were rough or smooth, it made no difference; every thing I saw or had to do with, touch'd upon some secret spring either of sentiment or rapture.

—They were the sweetest notes I ever heard; and I instantly let down the fore-glass to hear them more distinctly—'Tis Maria; said the postillion, observing I was listening—Poor Maria, continued he (leaning his body on one side to let me see her, for he was in a line betwixt us), is sitting upon a bank playing her vespers upon her pipe, with her little goat beside her.

The young fellow utter'd this with an accent and a look so perfectly in tune to a feeling heart, that I instantly made a vow, I would give him a four-and-twenty sous piece, when I got to Moulins—

—And who is poor Maria? said I.

The love and piety of all the villages around us; said the postillion—it is but three years ago, that the sun did not shine upon so fair, so quick-witted and amiable a maid; and better fate did Maria deserve, than to have her Banns forbid, by the intrigues of the curate of the parish who published them—

He was going on, when Maria, who had made a short pause, put the pipe to her mouth, and began the air again—they were the same notes;—yet were ten times sweeter: It is the evening service to the Virgin, said the young man—but who has taught her to play it—or how she came by her pipe, no one knows; we think that heaven has assisted her in both; for ever since she has been unsettled in her mind, it seems her only consolation—she has never once had the pipe out of her hand, but plays that service upon it almost night and day.

The postillion delivered this with so much discretion and natural eloquence, that I could not help decyphering something in his face above his condition, and should have sifted out his history, had not poor Maria taken such full possession of me.

We had got up by this time almost to the bank where Maria was sitting: she was in a thin white jacket, with her hair, all but two tresses, drawn up into a silk-net, with a few olive leaves twisted a little fantastically on one side—she was beautiful; and if ever I felt the full force of an honest heart-ache, it was the moment I saw her—

—God help her! poor damsel! above a hundred masses, said the postillion, have been said in the several parish churches and convents around, for her,—but without effect; we have still hopes, as she is sensible for short intervals, that the Virgin at last will restore her to herself; but her parents, who know her best, are hopeless upon that score, and think her senses are lost for ever.

As the postillion spoke this, Maria made a cadence so melancholy, so tender and querulous, that I sprung out of the chaise to help her, and found myself sitting betwixt her and her goat before I relapsed from my enthusiasm.

Maria look'd wistfully for some time at me, and then at her goat—and then at me—and then at her goat again, and so on, alternately—

—Well, Maria, said I softly—What resemblance do you find?

I do entreat the candid reader to believe me, that it was from the humblest conviction of what a Beast man is,—that I asked the question; and that I would not have let fallen an unseasonable pleasantry in the venerable presence of Misery, to be entitled to all the wit that ever Rabelais scatter'd—and yet I own my heart smote me, and that I so smarted at the very idea of it, that I swore I would set up for Wisdom, and utter grave sentences the rest of my days—and never—never attempt again to commit mirth with man, woman, or child, the longest day I had to live.

As for writing nonsense to them—I believe there was a reserve—but that I leave to the world.

Adieu, Maria!—adieu, poor hapless damsel!—some time, but not now, I may hear thy sorrows from thy own lips—but I was deceived; for that moment she took her pipe and told me such a tale of woe with it, that I rose up, and with broken and irregular steps walk'd softly to my chaise.

—What an excellent inn at Moulins!

Chapter 4.LXXXIV.

When we have got to the end of this chapter (but not before) we must all turn back to the two blank chapters, on the account of which my honour has lain bleeding this half hour—I stop it, by pulling off one of my yellow slippers and throwing it with all my violence to the opposite side of my room, with a declaration at the heel of it—

—That whatever resemblance it may bear to half the chapters which are written in the world, or for aught I know may be now writing in it—that it was as casual as the foam of Zeuxis his horse; besides, I look upon a chapter which has only nothing in it, with respect; and considering what worse things there are in the world—That it is no way a proper subject for satire—

—Why then was it left so? And here without staying for my reply, shall I be called as many blockheads, numsculs, doddypoles, dunderheads, ninny-hammers, goosecaps, joltheads, nincompoops, and sh..t-a-beds—and other unsavoury appellations, as ever the cake-bakers of Lerne cast in the teeth of King Garangantan's shepherds—And I'll let them do it, as Bridget said, as much as they please; for how was it possible they should foresee the necessity I was under of writing the 84th chapter of my book, before the 77th, &c?

—So I don't take it amiss—All I wish is, that it may be a lesson to the world, 'to let people tell their stories their own way.'

The Seventy-seventh Chapter.

As Mrs. Bridget opened the door before the corporal had well given the rap, the interval betwixt that and my uncle Toby's introduction into the parlour, was so short, that Mrs. Wadman had but just time to get from behind the curtain—lay a Bible upon the table, and advance a step or two towards the door to receive him.

My uncle Toby saluted Mrs. Wadman, after the manner in which women were saluted by men in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and thirteen—then facing about, he march'd up abreast with her to the sopha, and in three plain words—though not before he was sat down—nor after he was sat down—but as he was sitting down, told her, 'he was in love'—so that my uncle Toby strained himself more in the declaration than he needed.

Mrs. Wadman naturally looked down, upon a slit she had been darning up in her apron, in expectation every moment, that my uncle Toby would go on; but having no talents for amplification, and Love moreover of all others being a subject of which he was the least a master—When he had told Mrs. Wadman once that he loved her, he let it alone, and left the matter to work after its own way.

My father was always in raptures with this system of my uncle Toby's, as he falsely called it, and would often say, that could his brother Toby to his processe have added but a pipe of tobacco—he had wherewithal to have found his way, if there was faith in a Spanish proverb, towards the hearts of half the women upon the globe.

My uncle Toby never understood what my father meant; nor will I presume to extract more from it, than a condemnation of an error which the bulk of the world lie under—but the French, every one of 'em to a man, who believe in it, almost as much as the Real Presence, 'That talking of love, is making it.'

—I would as soon set about making a black-pudding by the same receipt.

Let us go on: Mrs. Wadman sat in expectation my uncle Toby would do so, to almost the first pulsation of that minute, wherein silence on one side or the other, generally becomes indecent: so edging herself a little more towards him, and raising up her eyes, sub blushing, as she did it—she took up the gauntlet—or the discourse (if you like it better) and communed with my uncle Toby, thus:

The cares and disquietudes of the marriage state, quoth Mrs. Wadman, are very great. I suppose so—said my uncle Toby: and therefore when a person, continued Mrs. Wadman, is so much at his ease as you are—so happy, captain Shandy, in yourself, your friends and your amusements—I wonder, what reasons can incline you to the state—

—They are written, quoth my uncle Toby, in the Common-Prayer Book.

Thus far my uncle Toby went on warily, and kept within his depth, leaving Mrs. Wadman to sail upon the gulph as she pleased.

—As for children—said Mrs. Wadman—though a principal end perhaps of the institution, and the natural wish, I suppose, of every parent—yet do not we all find, they are certain sorrows, and very uncertain comforts? and what is there, dear sir, to pay one for the heart-achs—what compensation for the many tender and disquieting apprehensions of a suffering and defenceless mother who brings them into life? I declare, said my uncle Toby, smit with pity, I know of none; unless it be the pleasure which it has pleased God—

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