The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Laurence Sterne

Part 6 out of 10

unavoidable in a family, his anger, or rather the duration of it, eternally
ran counter to all conjecture.

My father had a favourite little mare, which he had consigned over to a
most beautiful Arabian horse, in order to have a pad out of her for his own
riding: he was sanguine in all his projects; so talked about his pad every
day with as absolute a security, as if it had been reared, broke,--and
bridled and saddled at his door ready for mounting. By some neglect or
other in Obadiah, it so fell out, that my father's expectations were
answered with nothing better than a mule, and as ugly a beast of the kind
as ever was produced.

My mother and my uncle Toby expected my father would be the death of
Obadiah--and that there never would be an end of the disaster--See here!
you rascal, cried my father, pointing to the mule, what you have done!--It
was not me, said Obadiah.--How do I know that? replied my father.

Triumph swam in my father's eyes, at the repartee--the Attic salt brought
water into them--and so Obadiah heard no more about it.

Now let us go back to my brother's death.

Philosophy has a fine saying for every thing.--For Death it has an entire
set; the misery was, they all at once rushed into my father's head, that
'twas difficult to string them together, so as to make any thing of a
consistent show out of them.--He took them as they came.

''Tis an inevitable chance--the first statute in Magna Charta--it is an
everlasting act of parliament, my dear brother,--All must die.

'If my son could not have died, it had been matter of wonder,--not that he
is dead.

'Monarchs and princes dance in the same ring with us.

'--To die, is the great debt and tribute due unto nature: tombs and
monuments, which should perpetuate our memories, pay it themselves; and the
proudest pyramid of them all, which wealth and science have erected, has
lost its apex, and stands obtruncated in the traveller's horizon.' (My
father found he got great ease, and went on)--'Kingdoms and provinces, and
towns and cities, have they not their periods? and when those principles
and powers, which at first cemented and put them together, have performed
their several evolutions, they fall back.'--Brother Shandy, said my uncle
Toby, laying down his pipe at the word evolutions--Revolutions, I meant,
quoth my father,--by heaven! I meant revolutions, brother Toby--evolutions
is nonsense.--'Tis not nonsense--said my uncle Toby.--But is it not
nonsense to break the thread of such a discourse upon such an occasion?
cried my father--do not--dear Toby, continued he, taking him by the hand,
do not--do not, I beseech thee, interrupt me at this crisis.--My uncle Toby
put his pipe into his mouth.

'Where is Troy and Mycenae, and Thebes and Delos, and Persepolis and
Agrigentum?'--continued my father, taking up his book of post-roads, which
he had laid down.--'What is become, brother Toby, of Nineveh and Babylon,
of Cizicum and Mitylenae? The fairest towns that ever the sun rose upon,
are now no more; the names only are left, and those (for many of them are
wrong spelt) are falling themselves by piece-meals to decay, and in length
of time will be forgotten, and involved with every thing in a perpetual
night: the world itself, brother Toby, must--must come to an end.

'Returning out of Asia, when I sailed from Aegina towards Megara,' (when
can this have been? thought my uncle Toby,) ' I began to view the country
round about. Aegina was behind me, Megara was before, Pyraeus on the right
hand, Corinth on the left.--What flourishing towns now prostrate upon the
earth! Alas! alas! said I to myself, that man should disturb his soul for
the loss of a child, when so much as this lies awfully buried in his
presence--Remember, said I to myself again--remember thou art a man.'--

Now my uncle Toby knew not that this last paragraph was an extract of
Servius Sulpicius's consolatory letter to Tully.--He had as little skill,
honest man, in the fragments, as he had in the whole pieces of antiquity.--
And as my father, whilst he was concerned in the Turkey trade, had been
three or four different times in the Levant, in one of which he had stayed
a whole year and an half at Zant, my uncle Toby naturally concluded, that,
in some one of these periods, he had taken a trip across the Archipelago
into Asia; and that all this sailing affair with Aegina behind, and Megara
before, and Pyraeus on the right hand, &c. &c. was nothing more than the
true course of my father's voyage and reflections.--'Twas certainly in his
manner, and many an undertaking critic would have built two stories higher
upon worse foundations.--And pray, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, laying the
end of his pipe upon my father's hand in a kindly way of interruption--but
waiting till he finished the account--what year of our Lord was this?--
'Twas no year of our Lord, replied my father.--That's impossible, cried my
uncle Toby.--Simpleton! said my father,--'twas forty years before Christ
was born.

My uncle Toby had but two things for it; either to suppose his brother to
be the wandering Jew, or that his misfortunes had disordered his brain.--
'May the Lord God of heaven and earth protect him and restore him!' said my
uncle Toby, praying silently for my father, and with tears in his eyes.

--My father placed the tears to a proper account, and went on with his
harangue with great spirit.

'There is not such great odds, brother Toby, betwixt good and evil, as the
world imagines'--(this way of setting off, by the bye, was not likely to
cure my uncle Toby's suspicions).--'Labour, sorrow, grief, sickness, want,
and woe, are the sauces of life.'--Much good may do them--said my uncle
Toby to himself.--

'My son is dead!--so much the better;--'tis a shame in such a tempest to
have but one anchor.

'But he is gone for ever from us!--be it so. He is got from under the
hands of his barber before he was bald--he is but risen from a feast before
he was surfeited--from a banquet before he had got drunken.

'The Thracians wept when a child was born,'--(and we were very near it,
quoth my uncle Toby,)--'and feasted and made merry when a man went out of
the world; and with reason.--Death opens the gate of fame, and shuts the
gate of envy after it,--it unlooses the chain of the captive, and puts the
bondsman's task into another man's hands.

'Shew me the man, who knows what life is, who dreads it, and I'll shew thee
a prisoner who dreads his liberty.'

Is it not better, my dear brother Toby, (for mark--our appetites are but
diseases,)--is it not better not to hunger at all, than to eat?--not to
thirst, than to take physic to cure it?

Is it not better to be freed from cares and agues, from love and
melancholy, and the other hot and cold fits of life, than, like a galled
traveller, who comes weary to his inn, to be bound to begin his journey

There is no terrour, brother Toby, in its looks, but what it borrows from
groans and convulsions--and the blowing of noses and the wiping away of
tears with the bottoms of curtains, in a dying man's room.--Strip it of
these, what is it?--'Tis better in battle than in bed, said my uncle Toby.-
-Take away its hearses, its mutes, and its mourning,--its plumes,
scutcheons, and other mechanic aids--What is it?--Better in battle!
continued my father, smiling, for he had absolutely forgot my brother
Bobby--'tis terrible no way--for consider, brother Toby,--when we are--
death is not;--and when death is--we are not. My uncle Toby laid down his
pipe to consider the proposition; my father's eloquence was too rapid to
stay for any man--away it went,--and hurried my uncle Toby's ideas along
with it.--

For this reason, continued my father, 'tis worthy to recollect, how little
alteration, in great men, the approaches of death have made.--Vespasian
died in a jest upon his close-stool--Galba with a sentence--Septimus
Severus in a dispatch--Tiberius in dissimulation, and Caesar Augustus in a
compliment.--I hope 'twas a sincere one--quoth my uncle Toby.

--'Twas to his wife,--said my father.

Chapter 3.IV.

--And lastly--for all the choice anecdotes which history can produce of
this matter, continued my father,--this, like the gilded dome which covers
in the fabric--crowns all.--

'Tis of Cornelius Gallus, the praetor--which, I dare say, brother Toby, you
have read.--I dare say I have not, replied my uncle.--He died, said my
father as. . .--And if it was with his wife, said my uncle Toby--there
could be no hurt in it.-- That's more than I know--replied my father.

Chapter 3.V.

My mother was going very gingerly in the dark along the passage which led
to the parlour, as my uncle Toby pronounced the word wife.--'Tis a shrill
penetrating sound of itself, and Obadiah had helped it by leaving the door
a little a-jar, so that my mother heard enough of it to imagine herself the
subject of the conversation; so laying the edge of her finger across her
two lips--holding in her breath, and bending her head a little downwards,
with a twist of her neck--(not towards the door, but from it, by which
means her ear was brought to the chink)--she listened with all her powers:-
-the listening slave, with the Goddess of Silence at his back, could not
have given a finer thought for an intaglio.

In this attitude I am determined to let her stand for five minutes: till I
bring up the affairs of the kitchen (as Rapin does those of the church) to
the same period.

Chapter 3.VI.

Though in one sense, our family was certainly a simple machine, as it
consisted of a few wheels; yet there was thus much to be said for it, that
these wheels were set in motion by so many different springs, and acted one
upon the other from such a variety of strange principles and impulses--that
though it was a simple machine, it had all the honour and advantages of a
complex one,--and a number of as odd movements within it, as ever were
beheld in the inside of a Dutch silk-mill.

Amongst these there was one, I am going to speak of, in which, perhaps, it
was not altogether so singular, as in many others; and it was this, that
whatever motion, debate, harangue, dialogue, project, or dissertation, was
going forwards in the parlour, there was generally another at the same
time, and upon the same subject, running parallel along with it in the

Now to bring this about, whenever an extraordinary message, or letter, was
delivered in the parlour--or a discourse suspended till a servant went out-
-or the lines of discontent were observed to hang upon the brows of my
father or mother--or, in short, when any thing was supposed to be upon the
tapis worth knowing or listening to, 'twas the rule to leave the door, not
absolutely shut, but somewhat a-jar--as it stands just now,--which, under
covert of the bad hinge, (and that possibly might be one of the many
reasons why it was never mended,) it was not difficult to manage; by which
means, in all these cases, a passage was generally left, not indeed as wide
as the Dardanelles, but wide enough, for all that, to carry on as much of
this windward trade, as was sufficient to save my father the trouble of
governing his house;--my mother at this moment stands profiting by it.--
Obadiah did the same thing, as soon as he had left the letter upon the
table which brought the news of my brother's death, so that before my
father had well got over his surprise, and entered upon his harangue,--had
Trim got upon his legs, to speak his sentiments upon the subject.

A curious observer of nature, had he been worth the inventory of all Job's
stock--though by the bye, your curious observers are seldom worth a groat--
would have given the half of it, to have heard Corporal Trim and my father,
two orators so contrasted by nature and education, haranguing over the same

My father--a man of deep reading--prompt memory--with Cato, and Seneca, and
Epictetus, at his fingers ends.--

The corporal--with nothing--to remember--of no deeper reading than his
muster-roll--or greater names at his fingers end, than the contents of it.

The one proceeding from period to period, by metaphor and allusion, and
striking the fancy as he went along (as men of wit and fancy do) with the
entertainment and pleasantry of his pictures and images.

The other, without wit or antithesis, or point, or turn, this way or that;
but leaving the images on one side, and the picture on the other, going
straight forwards as nature could lead him, to the heart. O Trim! would to
heaven thou had'st a better historian!--would!--thy historian had a better
pair of breeches!--O ye critics! will nothing melt you?

Chapter 3.VII.

--My young master in London is dead? said Obadiah.--

--A green sattin night-gown of my mother's, which had been twice scoured,
was the first idea which Obadiah's exclamation brought into Susannah's
head.--Well might Locke write a chapter upon the imperfections of words.--
Then, quoth Susannah, we must all go into mourning.--But note a second
time: the word mourning, notwithstanding Susannah made use of it herself--
failed also of doing its office; it excited not one single idea, tinged
either with grey or black,--all was green.--The green sattin night-gown
hung there still.

--O! 'twill be the death of my poor mistress, cried Susannah.--My mother's
whole wardrobe followed.--What a procession! her red damask,--her orange
tawney,--her white and yellow lutestrings,--her brown taffata,--her bone-
laced caps, her bed-gowns, and comfortable under-petticoats.--Not a rag was
left behind.--'No,--she will never look up again,' said Susannah.

We had a fat, foolish scullion--my father, I think, kept her for her
simplicity;--she had been all autumn struggling with a dropsy.--He is dead,
said Obadiah,--he is certainly dead!--So am not I, said the foolish

--Here is sad news, Trim, cried Susannah, wiping her eyes as Trim stepp'd
into the kitchen,--master Bobby is dead and buried--the funeral was an
interpolation of Susannah's--we shall have all to go into mourning, said

I hope not, said Trim.--You hope not! cried Susannah earnestly.--The
mourning ran not in Trim's head, whatever it did in Susannah's.--I hope--
said Trim, explaining himself, I hope in God the news is not true. I heard
the letter read with my own ears, answered Obadiah; and we shall have a
terrible piece of work of it in stubbing the ox-moor.--Oh! he's dead, said
Susannah.--As sure, said the scullion, as I'm alive.

I lament for him from my heart and my soul, said Trim, fetching a sigh.--
Poor creature!--poor boy!--poor gentleman!

--He was alive last Whitsontide! said the coachman.--Whitsontide! alas!
cried Trim, extending his right arm, and falling instantly into the same
attitude in which he read the sermon,--what is Whitsontide, Jonathan (for
that was the coachman's name), or Shrovetide, or any tide or time past, to
this? Are we not here now, continued the corporal (striking the end of his
stick perpendicularly upon the floor, so as to give an idea of health and
stability)--and are we not--(dropping his hat upon the ground) gone! in a
moment!--'Twas infinitely striking! Susannah burst into a flood of tears.-
-We are not stocks and stones.--Jonathan, Obadiah, the cook-maid, all
melted.--The foolish fat scullion herself, who was scouring a fish-kettle
upon her knees, was rous'd with it.--The whole kitchen crowded about the

Now, as I perceive plainly, that the preservation of our constitution in
church and state,--and possibly the preservation of the whole world--or
what is the same thing, the distribution and balance of its property and
power, may in time to come depend greatly upon the right understanding of
this stroke of the corporal's eloquence--I do demand your attention--your
worships and reverences, for any ten pages together, take them where you
will in any other part of the work, shall sleep for it at your ease.

I said, 'we were not stocks and stones'--'tis very well. I should have
added, nor are we angels, I wish we were,--but men clothed with bodies, and
governed by our imaginations;--and what a junketing piece of work of it
there is, betwixt these and our seven senses, especially some of them, for
my own part, I own it, I am ashamed to confess. Let it suffice to affirm,
that of all the senses, the eye (for I absolutely deny the touch, though
most of your Barbati, I know, are for it) has the quickest commerce with
the soul,--gives a smarter stroke, and leaves something more inexpressible
upon the fancy, than words can either convey--or sometimes get rid of.

--I've gone a little about--no matter, 'tis for health--let us only carry
it back in our mind to the mortality of Trim's hat--'Are we not here now,--
and gone in a moment?'--There was nothing in the sentence--'twas one of
your self-evident truths we have the advantage of hearing every day; and if
Trim had not trusted more to his hat than his head--he made nothing at all
of it.

--'Are we not here now;' continued the corporal, 'and are we not'--
(dropping his hat plumb upon the ground--and pausing, before he pronounced
the word)--'gone! in a moment?' The descent of the hat was as if a heavy
lump of clay had been kneaded into the crown of it.--Nothing could have
expressed the sentiment of mortality, of which it was the type and fore-
runner, like it,--his hand seemed to vanish from under it,--it fell dead,--
the corporal's eye fixed upon it, as upon a corpse,--and Susannah burst
into a flood of tears.

Now--Ten thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand (for matter and
motion are infinite) are the ways by which a hat may be dropped upon the
ground, without any effect.--Had he flung it, or thrown it, or cast it, or
skimmed it, or squirted it, or let it slip or fall in any possible
direction under heaven,--or in the best direction that could be given to
it,--had he dropped it like a goose--like a puppy--like an ass--or in doing
it, or even after he had done, had he looked like a fool--like a ninny--
like a nincompoop--it had fail'd, and the effect upon the heart had been

Ye who govern this mighty world and its mighty concerns with the engines of
eloquence,--who heat it, and cool it, and melt it, and mollify it,--and
then harden it again to your purpose--

Ye who wind and turn the passions with this great windlass, and, having
done it, lead the owners of them, whither ye think meet.

Ye, lastly, who drive--and why not, Ye also who are driven, like turkeys to
market with a stick and a red clout--meditate--meditate, I beseech you,
upon Trim's hat.

Chapter 3.VIII.

Stay--I have a small account to settle with the reader before Trim can go
on with his harangue.--It shall be done in two minutes.

Amongst many other book-debts, all of which I shall discharge in due time,-
-I own myself a debtor to the world for two items,--a chapter upon chamber-
maids and button-holes, which, in the former part of my work, I promised
and fully intended to pay off this year: but some of your worships and
reverences telling me, that the two subjects, especially so connected
together, might endanger the morals of the world,--I pray the chapter upon
chamber-maids and button-holes may be forgiven me,--and that they will
accept of the last chapter in lieu of it; which is nothing, an't please
your reverences, but a chapter of chamber-maids, green gowns, and old hats.

Trim took his hat off the ground,--put it upon his head,--and then went on
with his oration upon death, in manner and form following.

Chapter 3.IX.

--To us, Jonathan, who know not what want or care is--who live here in the
service of two of the best of masters--(bating in my own case his majesty
King William the Third, whom I had the honour to serve both in Ireland and
Flanders)--I own it, that from Whitsontide to within three weeks of
Christmas,--'tis not long--'tis like nothing;--but to those, Jonathan, who
know what death is, and what havock and destruction he can make, before a
man can well wheel about--'tis like a whole age.--O Jonathan! 'twould make
a good-natured man's heart bleed, to consider, continued the corporal
(standing perpendicularly), how low many a brave and upright fellow has
been laid since that time!--And trust me, Susy, added the corporal, turning
to Susannah, whose eyes were swimming in water,--before that time comes
round again,--many a bright eye will be dim.--Susannah placed it to the
right side of the page--she wept--but she court'sied too.--Are we not,
continued Trim, looking still at Susannah--are we not like a flower of the
field--a tear of pride stole in betwixt every two tears of humiliation--
else no tongue could have described Susannah's affliction--is not all flesh
grass?--Tis clay,--'tis dirt.--They all looked directly at the scullion,--
the scullion had just been scouring a fish-kettle.--It was not fair.--

--What is the finest face that ever man looked at!--I could hear Trim talk
so for ever, cried Susannah,--what is it! (Susannah laid her hand upon
Trim's shoulder)--but corruption?--Susannah took it off.

Now I love you for this--and 'tis this delicious mixture within you which
makes you dear creatures what you are--and he who hates you for it--all I
can say of the matter is--That he has either a pumpkin for his head--or a
pippin for his heart,--and whenever he is dissected 'twill be found so.

Chapter 3.X.

Whether Susannah, by taking her hand too suddenly from off the corporal's
shoulder (by the whisking about of her passions)--broke a little the chain
of his reflexions--

Or whether the corporal began to be suspicious, he had got into the
doctor's quarters, and was talking more like the chaplain than himself--

Or whether. . .Or whether--for in all such cases a man of invention and
parts may with pleasure fill a couple of pages with suppositions--which of
all these was the cause, let the curious physiologist, or the curious any
body determine--'tis certain, at least, the corporal went on thus with his

For my own part, I declare it, that out of doors, I value not death at
all:--not this. . .added the corporal, snapping his fingers,--but with an
air which no one but the corporal could have given to the sentiment.--In
battle, I value death not this. . .and let him not take me cowardly, like
poor Joe Gibbins, in scouring his gun.--What is he? A pull of a trigger--a
push of a bayonet an inch this way or that--makes the difference.--Look
along the line--to the right--see! Jack's down! well,--'tis worth a
regiment of horse to him.--No--'tis Dick. Then Jack's no worse.--Never
mind which,--we pass on,--in hot pursuit the wound itself which brings him
is not felt,--the best way is to stand up to him,--the man who flies, is in
ten times more danger than the man who marches up into his jaws.--I've
look'd him, added the corporal, an hundred times in the face,--and know
what he is.--He's nothing, Obadiah, at all in the field.--But he's very
frightful in a house, quoth Obadiah.--I never mind it myself, said
Jonathan, upon a coach-box.--It must, in my opinion, be most natural in
bed, replied Susannah.--And could I escape him by creeping into the worst
calf's skin that ever was made into a knapsack, I would do it there--said
Trim--but that is nature.

--Nature is nature, said Jonathan.--And that is the reason, cried Susannah,
I so much pity my mistress.--She will never get the better of it.--Now I
pity the captain the most of any one in the family, answered Trim.--Madam
will get ease of heart in weeping,--and the Squire in talking about it,--
but my poor master will keep it all in silence to himself.--I shall hear
him sigh in his bed for a whole month together, as he did for lieutenant Le
Fever. An' please your honour, do not sigh so piteously, I would say to
him as I laid besides him. I cannot help it, Trim, my master would say,--
'tis so melancholy an accident--I cannot get it off my heart.--Your honour
fears not death yourself.--I hope, Trim, I fear nothing, he would say, but
the doing a wrong thing.--Well, he would add, whatever betides, I will take
care of Le Fever's boy.--And with that, like a quieting draught, his honour
would fall asleep.

I like to hear Trim's stories about the captain, said Susannah.--He is a
kindly-hearted gentleman, said Obadiah, as ever lived.--Aye, and as brave a
one too, said the corporal, as ever stept before a platoon.--There never
was a better officer in the king's army,--or a better man in God's world;
for he would march up to the mouth of a cannon, though he saw the lighted
match at the very touch-hole,--and yet, for all that, he has a heart as
soft as a child for other people.--He would not hurt a chicken.--I would
sooner, quoth Jonathan, drive such a gentleman for seven pounds a year--
than some for eight.--Thank thee, Jonathan! for thy twenty shillings,--as
much, Jonathan, said the corporal, shaking him by the hand, as if thou
hadst put the money into my own pocket.--I would serve him to the day of my
death out of love. He is a friend and a brother to me,--and could I be
sure my poor brother Tom was dead,--continued the corporal, taking out his
handkerchief,--was I worth ten thousand pounds, I would leave every
shilling of it to the captain.--Trim could not refrain from tears at this
testamentary proof he gave of his affection to his master.--The whole
kitchen was affected.--Do tell us the story of the poor lieutenant, said
Susannah.--With all my heart, answered the corporal.

Susannah, the cook, Jonathan, Obadiah, and corporal Trim, formed a circle
about the fire; and as soon as the scullion had shut the kitchen door,--the
corporal begun.

Chapter 3.XI.

I am a Turk if I had not as much forgot my mother, as if Nature had
plaistered me up, and set me down naked upon the banks of the river Nile,
without one.--Your most obedient servant, Madam--I've cost you a great deal
of trouble,--I wish it may answer;--but you have left a crack in my back,--
and here's a great piece fallen off here before,--and what must I do with
this foot?--I shall never reach England with it.

For my own part, I never wonder at any thing;--and so often has my judgment
deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong,--at least
I am seldom hot upon cold subjects. For all this, I reverence truth as
much as any body; and when it has slipped us, if a man will but take me by
the hand, and go quietly and search for it, as for a thing we have both
lost, and can neither of us do well without,--I'll go to the world's end
with him:--But I hate disputes,--and therefore (bating religious points, or
such as touch society) I would almost subscribe to any thing which does not
choak me in the first passage, rather than be drawn into one--But I cannot
bear suffocation,--and bad smells worst of all.--For which reasons, I
resolved from the beginning, That if ever the army of martyrs was to be
augmented,--or a new one raised,--I would have no hand in it, one way or

Chapter 3.XII.

--But to return to my mother.

My uncle Toby's opinion, Madam, 'that there could be no harm in Cornelius
Gallus, the Roman praetor's lying with his wife;'--or rather the last word
of that opinion,--(for it was all my mother heard of it) caught hold of her
by the weak part of the whole sex:--You shall not mistake me,--I mean her
curiosity,--she instantly concluded herself the subject of the
conversation, and with that prepossession upon her fancy, you will readily
conceive every word my father said, was accommodated either to herself, or
her family concerns.

--Pray, Madam, in what street does the lady live, who would not have done
the same?

From the strange mode of Cornelius's death, my father had made a transition
to that of Socrates, and was giving my uncle Toby an abstract of his
pleading before his judges;--'twas irresistible:--not the oration of
Socrates,--but my father's temptation to it.--He had wrote the Life of
Socrates (This book my father would never consent to publish; 'tis in
manuscript, with some other tracts of his, in the family, all, or most of
which will be printed in due time.) himself the year before he left off
trade, which, I fear, was the means of hastening him out of it;--so that no
one was able to set out with so full a sail, and in so swelling a tide of
heroic loftiness upon the occasion, as my father was. Not a period in
Socrates's oration, which closed with a shorter word than transmigration,
or annihilation,--or a worse thought in the middle of it than to be--or not
to be,--the entering upon a new and untried state of things,--or, upon a
long, a profound and peaceful sleep, without dreams, without disturbance?--
That we and our children were born to die,--but neither of us born to be
slaves.--No--there I mistake; that was part of Eleazer's oration, as
recorded by Josephus (de Bell. Judaic)--Eleazer owns he had it from the
philosophers of India; in all likelihood Alexander the Great, in his
irruption into India, after he had over-run Persia, amongst the many things
he stole,--stole that sentiment also; by which means it was carried, if not
all the way by himself (for we all know he died at Babylon), at least by
some of his maroders, into Greece,--from Greece it got to Rome,--from Rome
to France,--and from France to England:--So things come round.--

By land carriage, I can conceive no other way.--

By water the sentiment might easily have come down the Ganges into the
Sinus Gangeticus, or Bay of Bengal, and so into the Indian Sea; and
following the course of trade (the way from India by the Cape of Good Hope
being then unknown), might be carried with other drugs and spices up the
Red Sea to Joddah, the port of Mekka, or else to Tor or Sues, towns at the
bottom of the gulf; and from thence by karrawans to Coptos, but three days
journey distant, so down the Nile directly to Alexandria, where the
Sentiment would be landed at the very foot of the great stair-case of the
Alexandrian library,--and from that store-house it would be fetched.--Bless
me! what a trade was driven by the learned in those days!

Chapter 3.XIII.

--Now my father had a way, a little like that of Job's (in case there ever
was such a man--if not, there's an end of the matter.--

Though, by the bye, because your learned men find some difficulty in fixing
the precise aera in which so great a man lived;--whether, for instance,
before or after the patriarchs, &c.--to vote, therefore, that he never
lived at all, is a little cruel,--'tis not doing as they would be done by,-
-happen that as it may)--My father, I say, had a way, when things went
extremely wrong with him, especially upon the first sally of his
impatience,--of wondering why he was begot,--wishing himself dead;--
sometimes worse:--And when the provocation ran high, and grief touched his
lips with more than ordinary powers--Sir, you scarce could have
distinguished him from Socrates himself.--Every word would breathe the
sentiments of a soul disdaining life, and careless about all its issues;
for which reason, though my mother was a woman of no deep reading, yet the
abstract of Socrates's oration, which my father was giving my uncle Toby,
was not altogether new to her.--She listened to it with composed
intelligence, and would have done so to the end of the chapter, had not my
father plunged (which he had no occasion to have done) into that part of
the pleading where the great philosopher reckons up his connections, his
alliances, and children; but renounces a security to be so won by working
upon the passions of his judges.--'I have friends--I have relations,--I
have three desolate children,'--says Socrates.--

--Then, cried my mother, opening the door,--you have one more, Mr. Shandy,
than I know of.

By heaven! I have one less,--said my father, getting up and walking out of
the room.

Chapter 3.XIV.

--They are Socrates's children, said my uncle Toby. He has been dead a
hundred years ago, replied my mother.

My uncle Toby was no chronologer--so not caring to advance one step but
upon safe ground, he laid down his pipe deliberately upon the table, and
rising up, and taking my mother most kindly by the hand, without saying
another word, either good or bad, to her, he led her out after my father,
that he might finish the ecclaircissement himself.

Chapter 3.XV.

Had this volume been a farce, which, unless every one's life and opinions
are to be looked upon as a farce as well as mine, I see no reason to
suppose--the last chapter, Sir, had finished the first act of it, and then
this chapter must have set off thus.

Ptr. . .r. . .r. . .ing--twing--twang--prut--trut--'tis a cursed bad
fiddle.--Do you know whether my fiddle's in tune or no?--trut. . .prut. .
.--They should be fifths.--'Tis wickedly strung--tr. . .a.e.i.o.u.-twang.--
The bridge is a mile too high, and the sound post absolutely down,--else--
trut. . .prut--hark! tis not so bad a tone.--Diddle diddle, diddle diddle,
diddle diddle, dum. There is nothing in playing before good judges,--but
there's a man there--no--not him with the bundle under his arm--the grave
man in black.--'Sdeath! not the gentleman with the sword on.--Sir, I had
rather play a Caprichio to Calliope herself, than draw my bow across my
fiddle before that very man; and yet I'll stake my Cremona to a Jew's
trump, which is the greatest musical odds that ever were laid, that I will
this moment stop three hundred and fifty leagues out of tune upon my
fiddle, without punishing one single nerve that belongs to him--Twaddle
diddle, tweddle diddle,--twiddle diddle,--twoddle diddle,--twuddle diddle,-
-prut trut--krish--krash--krush.--I've undone you, Sir,--but you see he's
no worse,--and was Apollo to take his fiddle after me, he can make him no

Diddle diddle, diddle diddle, diddle diddle--hum--dum--drum.

--Your worships and your reverences love music--and God has made you all
with good ears--and some of you play delightfully yourselves--trut-prut,--

O! there is--whom I could sit and hear whole days,--whose talents lie in
making what he fiddles to be felt,--who inspires me with his joys and
hopes, and puts the most hidden springs of my heart into motion.--If you
would borrow five guineas of me, Sir,--which is generally ten guineas more
than I have to spare--or you Messrs. Apothecary and Taylor, want your bills
paying,--that's your time.

Chapter 3.XVI.

The first thing which entered my father's head, after affairs were a little
settled in the family, and Susanna had got possession of my mother's green
sattin night-gown,--was to sit down coolly, after the example of Xenophon,
and write a Tristra-paedia, or system of education for me; collecting first
for that purpose his own scattered thoughts, counsels, and notions; and
binding them together, so as to form an Institute for the government of my
childhood and adolescence. I was my father's last stake--he had lost my
brother Bobby entirely,--he had lost, by his own computation, full three-
fourths of me--that is, he had been unfortunate in his three first great
casts for me--my geniture, nose, and name,--there was but this one left;
and accordingly my father gave himself up to it with as much devotion as
ever my uncle Toby had done to his doctrine of projectils.--The difference
between them was, that my uncle Toby drew his whole knowledge of projectils
from Nicholas Tartaglia--My father spun his, every thread of it, out of his
own brain,--or reeled and cross-twisted what all other spinners and
spinsters had spun before him, that 'twas pretty near the same torture to

In about three years, or something more, my father had got advanced almost
into the middle of his work.--Like all other writers, he met with
disappointments.--He imagined he should be able to bring whatever he had to
say, into so small a compass, that when it was finished and bound, it might
be rolled up in my mother's hussive.--Matter grows under our hands.--Let no
man say,--'Come--I'll write a duodecimo.'

My father gave himself up to it, however, with the most painful diligence,
proceeding step by step in every line, with the same kind of caution and
circumspection (though I cannot say upon quite so religious a principle) as
was used by John de la Casse, the lord archbishop of Benevento, in
compassing his Galatea; in which his Grace of Benevento spent near forty
years of his life; and when the thing came out, it was not of above half
the size or the thickness of a Rider's Almanack.--How the holy man managed
the affair, unless he spent the greatest part of his time in combing his
whiskers, or playing at primero with his chaplain,--would pose any mortal
not let into the true secret;--and therefore 'tis worth explaining to the
world, was it only for the encouragement of those few in it, who write not
so much to be fed--as to be famous.

I own had John de la Casse, the archbishop of Benevento, for whose memory
(notwithstanding his Galatea,) I retain the highest veneration,--had he
been, Sir, a slender clerk--of dull wit--slow parts--costive head, and so
forth,--he and his Galatea might have jogged on together to the age of
Methuselah for me,--the phaenomenon had not been worth a parenthesis.--

But the reverse of this was the truth: John de la Casse was a genius of
fine parts and fertile fancy; and yet with all these great advantages of
nature, which should have pricked him forwards with his Galatea, he lay
under an impuissance at the same time of advancing above a line and a half
in the compass of a whole summer's day: this disability in his Grace arose
from an opinion he was afflicted with,--which opinion was this,--viz. that
whenever a Christian was writing a book (not for his private amusement,
but) where his intent and purpose was, bona fide, to print and publish it
to the world, his first thoughts were always the temptations of the evil
one.--This was the state of ordinary writers: but when a personage of
venerable character and high station, either in church or state, once
turned author,--he maintained, that from the very moment he took pen in
hand--all the devils in hell broke out of their holes to cajole him.--'Twas
Term-time with them,--every thought, first and last, was captious;--how
specious and good soever,--'twas all one;--in whatever form or colour it
presented itself to the imagination,--'twas still a stroke of one or other
of 'em levell'd at him, and was to be fenced off.--So that the life of a
writer, whatever he might fancy to the contrary, was not so much a state of
composition, as a state of warfare; and his probation in it, precisely that
of any other man militant upon earth,--both depending alike, not half so
much upon the degrees of his wit--as his Resistance.

My father was hugely pleased with this theory of John de la Casse,
archbishop of Benevento; and (had it not cramped him a little in his creed)
I believe would have given ten of the best acres in the Shandy estate, to
have been the broacher of it.--How far my father actually believed in the
devil, will be seen, when I come to speak of my father's religious notions,
in the progress of this work: 'tis enough to say here, as he could not
have the honour of it, in the literal sense of the doctrine--he took up
with the allegory of it; and would often say, especially when his pen was a
little retrograde, there was as much good meaning, truth, and knowledge,
couched under the veil of John de la Casse's parabolical representation,--
as was to be found in any one poetic fiction or mystic record of
antiquity.--Prejudice of education, he would say, is the devil,--and the
multitudes of them which we suck in with our mother's milk--are the devil
and all.--We are haunted with them, brother Toby, in all our lucubrations
and researches; and was a man fool enough to submit tamely to what they
obtruded upon him,--what would his book be? Nothing,--he would add,
throwing his pen away with a vengeance,--nothing but a farrago of the clack
of nurses, and of the nonsense of the old women (of both sexes) throughout
the kingdom.

This is the best account I am determined to give of the slow progress my
father made in his Tristra-paedia; at which (as I said) he was three years,
and something more, indefatigably at work, and, at last, had scarce
completed, by this own reckoning, one half of his undertaking: the
misfortune was, that I was all that time totally neglected and abandoned to
my mother; and what was almost as bad, by the very delay, the first part of
the work, upon which my father had spent the most of his pains, was
rendered entirely useless,--every day a page or two became of no

--Certainly it was ordained as a scourge upon the pride of human wisdom,
That the wisest of us all should thus outwit ourselves, and eternally
forego our purposes in the intemperate act of pursuing them.

In short my father was so long in all his acts of resistance,--or in other
words,--he advanced so very slow with his work, and I began to live and get
forwards at such a rate, that if an event had not happened,--which, when we
get to it, if it can be told with decency, shall not be concealed a moment
from the reader--I verily believe, I had put by my father, and left him
drawing a sundial, for no better purpose than to be buried under ground.

Chapter 3.XVII.

--'Twas nothing,--I did not lose two drops of blood by it--'twas not worth
calling in a surgeon, had he lived next door to us--thousands suffer by
choice, what I did by accident.--Doctor Slop made ten times more of it,
than there was occasion:--some men rise, by the art of hanging great
weights upon small wires,--and I am this day (August the 10th, 1761) paying
part of the price of this man's reputation.--O 'twould provoke a stone, to
see how things are carried on in this world!--The chamber-maid had left no
....... ... under the bed:--Cannot you contrive, master, quoth Susannah,
lifting up the sash with one hand, as she spoke, and helping me up into the
window-seat with the other,--cannot you manage, my dear, for a single time,
to .... ... .. ... ......?

I was five years old.--Susannah did not consider that nothing was well hung
in our family,--so slap came the sash down like lightning upon us;--Nothing
is left,--cried Susannah,--nothing is left--for me, but to run my country.-

My uncle Toby's house was a much kinder sanctuary; and so Susannah fled to

Chapter 3.XVIII.

When Susannah told the corporal the misadventure of the sash, with all the
circumstances which attended the murder of me,--(as she called it,)--the
blood forsook his cheeks,--all accessaries in murder being principals,--
Trim's conscience told him he was as much to blame as Susannah,--and if the
doctrine had been true, my uncle Toby had as much of the bloodshed to
answer for to heaven, as either of 'em;--so that neither reason or
instinct, separate or together, could possibly have guided Susannah's steps
to so proper an asylum. It is in vain to leave this to the Reader's
imagination:--to form any kind of hypothesis that will render these
propositions feasible, he must cudgel his brains sore,--and to do it
without,--he must have such brains as no reader ever had before him.--Why
should I put them either to trial or to torture? 'Tis my own affair: I'll
explain it myself.

Chapter 3.XIX.

'Tis a pity, Trim, said my uncle Toby, resting with his hand upon the
corporal's shoulder, as they both stood surveying their works,--that we
have not a couple of field-pieces to mount in the gorge of that new
redoubt;--'twould secure the lines all along there, and make the attack on
that side quite complete:--get me a couple cast, Trim.

Your honour shall have them, replied Trim, before tomorrow morning.

It was the joy of Trim's heart, nor was his fertile head ever at a loss for
expedients in doing it, to supply my uncle Toby in his campaigns, with
whatever his fancy called for; had it been his last crown, he would have
sate down and hammered it into a paderero, to have prevented a single wish
in his master. The corporal had already,--what with cutting off the ends
of my uncle Toby's spouts--hacking and chiseling up the sides of his leaden
gutters,--melting down his pewter shaving-bason,--and going at last, like
Lewis the Fourteenth, on to the top of the church, for spare ends, &c.--he
had that very campaign brought no less than eight new battering cannons,
besides three demi-culverins, into the field; my uncle Toby's demand for
two more pieces for the redoubt, had set the corporal at work again; and no
better resource offering, he had taken the two leaden weights from the
nursery window: and as the sash pullies, when the lead was gone, were of
no kind of use, he had taken them away also, to make a couple of wheels for
one of their carriages.

He had dismantled every sash-window in my uncle Toby's house long before,
in the very same way,--though not always in the same order; for sometimes
the pullies have been wanted, and not the lead,--so then he began with the
pullies,--and the pullies being picked out, then the lead became useless,--
and so the lead went to pot too.

--A great Moral might be picked handsomely out of this, but I have not
time--'tis enough to say, wherever the demolition began, 'twas equally
fatal to the sash window.

Chapter 3.XX.

The corporal had not taken his measures so badly in this stroke of
artilleryship, but that he might have kept the matter entirely to himself,
and left Susannah to have sustained the whole weight of the attack, as she
could;--true courage is not content with coming off so.--The corporal,
whether as general or comptroller of the train,--'twas no matter,--had done
that, without which, as he imagined, the misfortune could never have
happened,--at least in Susannah's hands;--How would your honours have
behaved?--He determined at once, not to take shelter behind Susannah,--but
to give it; and with this resolution upon his mind, he marched upright into
the parlour, to lay the whole manoeuvre before my uncle Toby.

My uncle Toby had just then been giving Yorick an account of the Battle of
Steenkirk, and of the strange conduct of count Solmes in ordering the foot
to halt, and the horse to march where it could not act; which was directly
contrary to the king's commands, and proved the loss of the day.

There are incidents in some families so pat to the purpose of what is going
to follow,--they are scarce exceeded by the invention of a dramatic
writer;--I mean of ancient days.--

Trim, by the help of his fore-finger, laid flat upon the table, and the
edge of his hand striking across it at right angles, made a shift to tell
his story so, that priests and virgins might have listened to it;--and the
story being told,--the dialogue went on as follows.

Chapter 3.XXI.

--I would be picquetted to death, cried the corporal, as he concluded
Susannah's story, before I would suffer the woman to come to any harm,--
'twas my fault, an' please your honour,--not her's.

Corporal Trim, replied my uncle Toby, putting on his hat which lay upon the
table,--if any thing can be said to be a fault, when the service absolutely
requires it should be done,--'tis I certainly who deserve the blame,--you
obeyed your orders.

Had count Solmes, Trim, done the same at the battle of Steenkirk, said
Yorick, drolling a little upon the corporal, who had been run over by a
dragoon in the retreat,--he had saved thee;--Saved! cried Trim,
interrupting Yorick, and finishing the sentence for him after his own
fashion,--he had saved five battalions, an' please your reverence, every
soul of them:--there was Cutt's,--continued the corporal, clapping the
forefinger of his right hand upon the thumb of his left, and counting round
his hand,--there was Cutt's,--Mackay's,--Angus's,--Graham's,--and Leven's,
all cut to pieces;--and so had the English life-guards too, had it not been
for some regiments upon the right, who marched up boldly to their relief,
and received the enemy's fire in their faces, before any one of their own
platoons discharged a musket,--they'll go to heaven for it,--added Trim.--
Trim is right, said my uncle Toby, nodding to Yorick,--he's perfectly
right. What signified his marching the horse, continued the corporal,
where the ground was so strait, that the French had such a nation of
hedges, and copses, and ditches, and fell'd trees laid this way and that to
cover them (as they always have).--Count Solmes should have sent us,--we
would have fired muzzle to muzzle with them for their lives.--There was
nothing to be done for the horse:--he had his foot shot off however for his
pains, continued the corporal, the very next campaign at Landen.--Poor Trim
got his wound there, quoth my uncle Toby.--'Twas owing, an' please your
honour, entirely to count Solmes,--had he drubbed them soundly at
Steenkirk, they would not have fought us at Landen.--Possibly not,--Trim,
said my uncle Toby;--though if they have the advantage of a wood, or you
give them a moment's time to intrench themselves, they are a nation which
will pop and pop for ever at you.--There is no way but to march coolly up
to them,--receive their fire, and fall in upon them, pell-mell--Ding dong,
added Trim.--Horse and foot, said my uncle Toby.--Helter Skelter, said
Trim.--Right and left, cried my uncle Toby.--Blood an' ounds, shouted the
corporal;--the battle raged,--Yorick drew his chair a little to one side
for safety, and after a moment's pause, my uncle Toby sinking his voice a
note,--resumed the discourse as follows.

Chapter 3.XXII.

King William, said my uncle Toby, addressing himself to Yorick, was so
terribly provoked at count Solmes for disobeying his orders, that he would
not suffer him to come into his presence for many months after.--I fear,
answered Yorick, the squire will be as much provoked at the corporal, as
the King at the count.--But 'twould be singularly hard in this case,
continued be, if corporal Trim, who has behaved so diametrically opposite
to count Solmes, should have the fate to be rewarded with the same
disgrace:--too oft in this world, do things take that train.--I would
spring a mine, cried my uncle Toby, rising up,--and blow up my
fortifications, and my house with them, and we would perish under their
ruins, ere I would stand by and see it.--Trim directed a slight,--but a
grateful bow towards his master,--and so the chapter ends.

Chapter 3.XXIII.

--Then, Yorick, replied my uncle Toby, you and I will lead the way
abreast,--and do you, corporal, follow a few paces behind us.--And
Susannah, an' please your honour, said Trim, shall be put in the rear.--
'Twas an excellent disposition,--and in this order, without either drums
beating, or colours flying, they marched slowly from my uncle Toby's house
to Shandy-hall.

--I wish, said Trim, as they entered the door,--instead of the sash
weights, I had cut off the church spout, as I once thought to have done.--
You have cut off spouts enow, replied Yorick.

Chapter 3.XXIV.

As many pictures as have been given of my father, how like him soever in
different airs and attitudes,--not one, or all of them, can ever help the
reader to any kind of preconception of how my father would think, speak, or
act, upon any untried occasion or occurrence of life.--There was that
infinitude of oddities in him, and of chances along with it, by which
handle he would take a thing,--it baffled, Sir, all calculations.--The
truth was, his road lay so very far on one side, from that wherein most men
travelled,--that every object before him presented a face and section of
itself to his eye, altogether different from the plan and elevation of it
seen by the rest of mankind.--In other words, 'twas a different object, and
in course was differently considered:

This is the true reason, that my dear Jenny and I, as well as all the world
besides us, have such eternal squabbles about nothing.--She looks at her
outside,--I, at her in. . .. How is it possible we should agree about her

Chapter 3.XXV.

'Tis a point settled,--and I mention it for the comfort of Confucius, (Mr
Shandy is supposed to mean. . ., Esq; member for. . .,--and not the Chinese
Legislator.) who is apt to get entangled in telling a plain story--that
provided he keeps along the line of his story,--he may go backwards and
forwards as he will,--'tis still held to be no digression.

This being premised, I take the benefit of the act of going backwards

Chapter 3.XXVI.

Fifty thousand pannier loads of devils--(not of the Archbishop of
Benevento's--I mean of Rabelais's devils), with their tails chopped off by
their rumps, could not have made so diabolical a scream of it, as I did--
when the accident befel me: it summoned up my mother instantly into the
nursery,--so that Susannah had but just time to make her escape down the
back stairs, as my mother came up the fore.

Now, though I was old enough to have told the story myself,--and young
enough, I hope, to have done it without malignity; yet Susannah, in passing
by the kitchen, for fear of accidents, had left it in short-hand with the
cook--the cook had told it with a commentary to Jonathan, and Jonathan to
Obadiah; so that by the time my father had rung the bell half a dozen
times, to know what was the matter above,--was Obadiah enabled to give him
a particular account of it, just as it had happened.--I thought as much,
said my father, tucking up his night-gown;--and so walked up stairs.

One would imagine from this--(though for my own part I somewhat question
it)--that my father, before that time, had actually wrote that remarkable
character in the Tristra-paedia, which to me is the most original and
entertaining one in the whole book;--and that is the chapter upon sash-
windows, with a bitter Philippick at the end of it, upon the forgetfulness
of chamber-maids.--I have but two reasons for thinking otherwise.

First, Had the matter been taken into consideration, before the event
happened, my father certainly would have nailed up the sash window for good
an' all;--which, considering with what difficulty he composed books,--he
might have done with ten times less trouble, than he could have wrote the
chapter: this argument I foresee holds good against his writing a chapter,
even after the event; but 'tis obviated under the second reason, which I
have the honour to offer to the world in support of my opinion, that my
father did not write the chapter upon sash-windows and chamber-pots, at the
time supposed,--and it is this.

--That, in order to render the Tristra-paedia complete,--I wrote the
chapter myself.

Chapter 3.XXVII.

My father put on his spectacles--looked,--took them off,--put them into the
case--all in less than a statutable minute; and without opening his lips,
turned about and walked precipitately down stairs: my mother imagined he
had stepped down for lint and basilicon; but seeing him return with a
couple of folios under his arm, and Obadiah following him with a large
reading-desk, she took it for granted 'twas an herbal, and so drew him a
chair to the bedside, that he might consult upon the case at his ease.

--If it be but right done,--said my father, turning to the Section--de sede
vel subjecto circumcisionis,--for he had brought up Spenser de Legibus
Hebraeorum Ritualibus--and Maimonides, in order to confront and examine us

--If it be but right done, quoth he:--only tell us, cried my mother,
interrupting him, what herbs?--For that, replied my father, you must send
for Dr. Slop.

My mother went down, and my father went on, reading the section as follows,

. . .--Very well,--said my father,. . .--nay, if it has that convenience--
and so without stopping a moment to settle it first in his mind, whether
the Jews had it from the Egyptians, or the Egyptians from the Jews,--he
rose up, and rubbing his forehead two or three times across with the palm
of his hand, in the manner we rub out the footsteps of care, when evil has
trod lighter upon us than we foreboded,--he shut the book, and walked down
stairs.--Nay, said he, mentioning the name of a different great nation upon
every step as he set his foot upon it--if the Egyptians,--the Syrians,--the
Phoenicians,--the Arabians,--the Cappadocians,--if the Colchi, and
Troglodytes did it--if Solon and Pythagoras submitted,--what is Tristram?--
Who am I, that I should fret or fume one moment about the matter?

Chapter 3.XXVIII.

Dear Yorick, said my father smiling (for Yorick had broke his rank with my
uncle Toby in coming through the narrow entry, and so had stept first into
the parlour)--this Tristram of ours, I find, comes very hardly by all his
religious rites.--Never was the son of Jew, Christian, Turk, or Infidel
initiated into them in so oblique and slovenly a manner.--But he is no
worse, I trust, said Yorick.--There has been certainly, continued my
father, the deuce and all to do in some part or other of the ecliptic, when
this offspring of mine was formed.--That, you are a better judge of than I,
replied Yorick.--Astrologers, quoth my father, know better than us both:--
the trine and sextil aspects have jumped awry,--or the opposite of their
ascendents have not hit it, as they should,--or the lords of the genitures
(as they call them) have been at bo-peep,--or something has been wrong
above, or below with us.

'Tis possible, answered Yorick.--But is the child, cried my uncle Toby, the
worse?--The Troglodytes say not, replied my father. And your theologists,
Yorick, tell us--Theologically? said Yorick,--or speaking after the manner
of apothecaries? (footnote in Greek Philo.)--statesmen? (footnote in
Greek)--or washer-women? (footnote in Greek Bochart.)

--I'm not sure, replied my father,--but they tell us, brother Toby, he's
the better for it.--Provided, said Yorick, you travel him into Egypt.--Of
that, answered my father, he will have the advantage, when he sees the

Now every word of this, quoth my uncle Toby, is Arabic to me.--I wish, said
Yorick, 'twas so, to half the world.

--Ilus, (footnote in Greek Sanchuniatho.) continued my father, circumcised
his whole army one morning.--Not without a court martial? cried my uncle
Toby.--Though the learned, continued he, taking no notice of my uncle
Toby's remark, but turning to Yorick,--are greatly divided still who Ilus
was;--some say Saturn;--some the Supreme Being;--others, no more than a
brigadier general under Pharaoh-neco.--Let him be who he will, said my
uncle Toby, I know not by what article of war he could justify it.

The controvertists, answered my father, assign two-and-twenty different
reasons for it:--others, indeed, who have drawn their pens on the opposite
side of the question, have shewn the world the futility of the greatest
part of them.--But then again, our best polemic divines--I wish there was
not a polemic divine, said Yorick, in the kingdom;--one ounce of practical
divinity--is worth a painted ship-load of all their reverences have
imported these fifty years.--Pray, Mr. Yorick, quoth my uncle Toby,--do
tell me what a polemic divine is?--The best description, captain Shandy, I
have ever read, is of a couple of 'em, replied Yorick, in the account of
the battle fought single hands betwixt Gymnast and captain Tripet; which I
have in my pocket.--I beg I may hear it, quoth my uncle Toby earnestly.--
You shall, said Yorick.--And as the corporal is waiting for me at the
door,--and I know the description of a battle will do the poor fellow more
good than his supper,--I beg, brother, you'll give him leave to come in.--
With all my soul, said my father.--Trim came in, erect and happy as an
emperor; and having shut the door, Yorick took a book from his right-hand
coat-pocket, and read, or pretended to read, as follows.

Chapter 3.XXIX.

--'which words being heard by all the soldiers which were there, divers of
them being inwardly terrified, did shrink back and make room for the
assailant: all this did Gymnast very well remark and consider; and
therefore, making as if he would have alighted from off his horse, as he
was poising himself on the mounting side, he most nimbly (with his short
sword by this thigh) shifting his feet in the stirrup, and performing the
stirrup-leather feat, whereby, after the inclining of his body downwards,
he forthwith launched himself aloft into the air, and placed both his feet
together upon the saddle, standing upright, with his back turned towards
his horse's head,--Now, (said he) my case goes forward. Then suddenly in
the same posture wherein he was, he fetched a gambol upon one foot, and
turning to the left-hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round,
just into his former position, without missing one jot.--Ha! said Tripet, I
will not do that at this time,--and not without cause. Well, said Gymnast,
I have failed,--I will undo this leap; then with a marvellous strength and
agility, turning towards the right-hand, he fetched another striking gambol
as before; which done, he set his right hand thumb upon the bow of the
saddle, raised himself up, and sprung into the air, poising and upholding
his whole weight upon the muscle and nerve of the said thumb, and so turned
and whirled himself about three times: at the fourth, reversing his body,
and overturning it upside down, and foreside back, without touching any
thing, he brought himself betwixt the horse's two ears, and then giving
himself a jerking swing, he seated himself upon the crupper--'

(This can't be fighting, said my uncle Toby.--The corporal shook his head
at it.--Have patience, said Yorick.)

'Then (Tripet) pass'd his right leg over his saddle, and placed himself en
croup.--But, said he, 'twere better for me to get into the saddle; then
putting the thumbs of both hands upon the crupper before him, and there-
upon leaning himself, as upon the only supporters of his body, he
incontinently turned heels over head in the air, and strait found himself
betwixt the bow of the saddle in a tolerable seat; then springing into the
air with a summerset, he turned him about like a wind-mill, and made above
a hundred frisks, turns, and demi-pommadas.'--Good God! cried Trim, losing
all patience,--one home thrust of a bayonet is worth it all.--I think so
too, replied Yorick.--

I am of a contrary opinion, quoth my father.

Chapter 3.XXX.

--No,--I think I have advanced nothing, replied my father, making answer to
a question which Yorick had taken the liberty to put to him,--I have
advanced nothing in the Tristra-paedia, but what is as clear as any one
proposition in Euclid.--Reach me, Trim, that book from off the scrutoir:--
it has oft-times been in my mind, continued my father, to have read it over
both to you, Yorick, and to my brother Toby, and I think it a little
unfriendly in myself, in not having done it long ago:--shall we have a
short chapter or two now,--and a chapter or two hereafter, as occasions
serve; and so on, till we get through the whole? My uncle Toby and Yorick
made the obeisance which was proper; and the corporal, though he was not
included in the compliment, laid his hand upon his breast, and made his bow
at the same time.--The company smiled. Trim, quoth my father, has paid the
full price for staying out the entertainment.--He did not seem to relish
the play, replied Yorick.--'Twas a Tom-fool-battle, an' please your
reverence, of captain Tripet's and that other officer, making so many
summersets, as they advanced;--the French come on capering now and then in
that way,--but not quite so much.

My uncle Toby never felt the consciousness of his existence with more
complacency than what the corporal's, and his own reflections, made him do
at that moment;--he lighted his pipe,--Yorick drew his chair closer to the
table,--Trim snuff'd the candle,--my father stirr'd up the fire,--took up
the book,--cough'd twice, and begun.

Chapter 3.XXXI.

The first thirty pages, said my father, turning over the leaves,--are a
little dry; and as they are not closely connected with the subject,--for
the present we'll pass them by: 'tis a prefatory introduction, continued
my father, or an introductory preface (for I am not determined which name
to give it) upon political or civil government; the foundation of which
being laid in the first conjunction betwixt male and female, for
procreation of the species--I was insensibly led into it.--'Twas natural,
said Yorick.

The original of society, continued my father, I'm satisfied is, what
Politian tells us, i. e. merely conjugal; and nothing more than the getting
together of one man and one woman;--to which, (according to Hesiod) the
philosopher adds a servant:--but supposing in the first beginning there
were no men servants born--he lays the foundation of it, in a man,--a
woman--and a bull.--I believe 'tis an ox, quoth Yorick, quoting the passage
(Greek)--A bull must have given more trouble than his head was worth.--But
there is a better reason still, said my father (dipping his pen into his
ink); for the ox being the most patient of animals, and the most useful
withal in tilling the ground for their nourishment,--was the properest
instrument, and emblem too, for the new joined couple, that the creation
could have associated with them.--And there is a stronger reason, added my
uncle Toby, than them all for the ox.--My father had not power to take his
pen out of his ink-horn, till he had heard my uncle Toby's reason.--For
when the ground was tilled, said my uncle Toby, and made worth inclosing,
then they began to secure it by walls and ditches, which was the origin of
fortification.--True, true, dear Toby, cried my father, striking out the
bull, and putting the ox in his place.

My father gave Trim a nod, to snuff the candle, and resumed his discourse.

--I enter upon this speculation, said my father carelessly, and half
shutting the book, as he went on, merely to shew the foundation of the
natural relation between a father and his child; the right and jurisdiction
over whom he acquires these several ways--
1st, by marriage.
2d, by adoption.
3d, by legitimation.
And 4th, by procreation; all which I consider in their order.

I lay a slight stress upon one of them, replied Yorick--the act, especially
where it ends there, in my opinion lays as little obligation upon the
child, as it conveys power to the father.--You are wrong,--said my father
argutely, and for this plain reason. . ..--I own, added my father, that the
offspring, upon this account, is not so under the power and jurisdiction of
the mother.--But the reason, replied Yorick, equally holds good for her.--
She is under authority herself, said my father:--and besides, continued my
father, nodding his head, and laying his finger upon the side of his nose,
as he assigned his reason,--she is not the principal agent, Yorick.--In
what, quoth my uncle Toby? stopping his pipe.--Though by all means, added
my father (not attending to my uncle Toby), 'The son ought to pay her
respect,' as you may read, Yorick, at large in the first book of the
Institutes of Justinian, at the eleventh title and the tenth section.--I
can read it as well, replied Yorick, in the Catechism.

Chapter 3.XXXII.

Trim can repeat every word of it by heart, quoth my uncle Toby.--Pugh! said
my father, not caring to be interrupted with Trim's saying his Catechism.
He can, upon my honour, replied my uncle Toby.--Ask him, Mr. Yorick, any
question you please.--

--The fifth Commandment, Trim,--said Yorick, speaking mildly, and with a
gentle nod, as to a modest Catechumen. The corporal stood silent.--You
don't ask him right, said my uncle Toby, raising his voice, and giving it
rapidly like the word of command:--The fifth--cried my uncle Toby.--I must
begin with the first, an' please your honour, said the corporal.--

--Yorick could not forbear smiling.--Your reverence does not consider, said
the corporal, shouldering his stick like a musket, and marching into the
middle of the room, to illustrate his position,--that 'tis exactly the same
thing, as doing one's exercise in the field.--

'Join your right-hand to your firelock,' cried the corporal, giving the
word of command, and performing the motion.--

'Poise your firelock,' cried the corporal, doing the duty still both of
adjutant and private man.

'Rest your firelock;'--one motion, an' please your reverence, you see leads
into another.--If his honour will begin but with the first--

The First--cried my uncle Toby, setting his hand upon his side--. . ..

The Second--cried my uncle Toby, waving his tobacco-pipe, as he would have
done his sword at the head of a regiment.--The corporal went through his
manual with exactness; and having honoured his father and mother, made a
low bow, and fell back to the side of the room.

Every thing in this world, said my father, is big with jest, and has wit in
it, and instruction too,--if we can but find it out.

--Here is the scaffold work of Instruction, its true point of folly,
without the Building behind it.

--Here is the glass for pedagogues, preceptors, tutors, governors, gerund-
grinders, and bear-leaders to view themselves in, in their true

Oh! there is a husk and shell, Yorick, which grows up with learning, which
their unskilfulness knows not how to fling away!

--Sciences May Be Learned by Rote But Wisdom Not.

Yorick thought my father inspired.--I will enter into obligations this
moment, said my father, to lay out all my aunt Dinah's legacy in charitable
uses (of which, by the bye, my father had no high opinion), if the corporal
has any one determinate idea annexed to any one word he has repeated.--
Prithee, Trim, quoth my father, turning round to him,--What dost thou mean,
by 'honouring thy father and mother?'

Allowing them, an' please your honour, three halfpence a day out of my pay,
when they grow old.--And didst thou do that, Trim? said Yorick.--He did
indeed, replied my uncle Toby.--Then, Trim, said Yorick, springing out of
his chair, and taking the corporal by the hand, thou art the best
commentator upon that part of the Decalogue; and I honour thee more for it,
corporal Trim, than if thou hadst had a hand in the Talmud itself.

Chapter 3.XXXIII.

O blessed health! cried my father, making an exclamation, as he turned over
the leaves to the next chapter, thou art before all gold and treasure; 'tis
thou who enlargest the soul,--and openest all its powers to receive
instruction and to relish virtue.--He that has thee, has little more to
wish for;--and he that is so wretched as to want thee,--wants every thing
with thee.

I have concentrated all that can be said upon this important head, said my
father, into a very little room, therefore we'll read the chapter quite

My father read as follows:

'The whole secret of health depending upon the due contention for mastery
betwixt the radical heat and the radical moisture'--You have proved that
matter of fact, I suppose, above, said Yorick. Sufficiently, replied my

In saying this, my father shut the book,--not as if he resolved to read no
more of it, for he kept his fore-finger in the chapter:--nor pettishly,--
for he shut the book slowly; his thumb resting, when he had done it, upon
the upper-side of the cover, as his three fingers supported the lower side
of it, without the least compressive violence.--

I have demonstrated the truth of that point, quoth my father, nodding to
Yorick, most sufficiently in the preceding chapter.

Now could the man in the moon be told, that a man in the earth had wrote a
chapter, sufficiently demonstrating, That the secret of all health depended
upon the due contention for mastery betwixt the radical heat and the
radical moisture,--and that he had managed the point so well, that there
was not one single word wet or dry upon radical heat or radical moisture,
throughout the whole chapter,--or a single syllable in it, pro or con,
directly or indirectly, upon the contention betwixt these two powers in any
part of the animal oeconomy--

'O thou eternal Maker of all beings!'--he would cry, striking his breast
with his right hand (in case he had one)--'Thou whose power and goodness
can enlarge the faculties of thy creatures to this infinite degree of
excellence and perfection,--What have we Moonites done?'

Chapter 3.XXXIV.

With two strokes, the one at Hippocrates, the other at Lord Verulam, did my
father achieve it.

The stroke at the prince of physicians, with which he began, was no more
than a short insult upon his sorrowful complaint of the Ars longa,--and
Vita brevis.--Life short, cried my father,--and the art of healing tedious!
And who are we to thank for both the one and the other, but the ignorance
of quacks themselves,--and the stage-loads of chymical nostrums, and
peripatetic lumber, with which, in all ages, they have first flatter'd the
world, and at last deceived it?

--O my lord Verulam! cried my father, turning from Hippocrates, and making
his second stroke at him, as the principal of nostrum-mongers, and the
fittest to be made an example of to the rest,--What shall I say to thee, my
great lord Verulam? What shall I say to thy internal spirit,--thy opium,
thy salt-petre,--thy greasy unctions,--thy daily purges,--thy nightly
clysters, and succedaneums?

--My father was never at a loss what to say to any man, upon any subject;
and had the least occasion for the exordium of any man breathing: how he
dealt with his lordship's opinion,--you shall see;--but when--I know not:--
we must first see what his lordship's opinion was.

Chapter 3.XXXV.

'The two great causes, which conspire with each other to shorten life, says
lord Verulam, are first--

'The internal spirit, which like a gentle flame wastes the body down to
death:--And secondly, the external air, that parches the body up to ashes:-
-which two enemies attacking us on both sides of our bodies together, at
length destroy our organs, and render them unfit to carry on the functions
of life.'

This being the state of the case, the road to longevity was plain; nothing
more being required, says his lordship, but to repair the waste committed
by the internal spirit, by making the substance of it more thick and dense,
by a regular course of opiates on one side, and by refrigerating the heat
of it on the other, by three grains and a half of salt-petre every morning
before you got up.--

Still this frame of ours was left exposed to the inimical assaults of the
air without;--but this was fenced off again by a course of greasy unctions,
which so fully saturated the pores of the skin, that no spicula could
enter;--nor could any one get out.--This put a stop to all perspiration,
sensible and insensible, which being the cause of so many scurvy
distempers--a course of clysters was requisite to carry off redundant
humours,--and render the system complete.

What my father had to say to my lord of Verulam's opiates, his salt-petre,
and greasy unctions and clysters, you shall read,--but not to-day--or to-
morrow: time presses upon me,--my reader is impatient--I must get
forwards--You shall read the chapter at your leisure (if you chuse it), as
soon as ever the Tristra-paedia is published.--

Sufficeth it, at present to say, my father levelled the hypothesis with the
ground, and in doing that, the learned know, he built up and established
his own.--

Chapter 3.XXXVI.

The whole secret of health, said my father, beginning the sentence again,
depending evidently upon the due contention betwixt the radical heat and
radical moisture within us;--the least imaginable skill had been sufficient
to have maintained it, had not the school-men confounded the task, merely
(as Van Helmont, the famous chymist, has proved) by all along mistaking the
radical moisture for the tallow and fat of animal bodies.

Now the radical moisture is not the tallow or fat of animals, but an oily
and balsamous substance; for the fat and tallow, as also the phlegm or
watery parts, are cold; whereas the oily and balsamous parts are of a
lively heat and spirit, which accounts for the observation of Aristotle,
'Quod omne animal post coitum est triste.'

Now it is certain, that the radical heat lives in the radical moisture, but
whether vice versa, is a doubt: however, when the one decays, the other
decays also; and then is produced, either an unnatural heat, which causes
an unnatural dryness--or an unnatural moisture, which causes dropsies.--So
that if a child, as he grows up, can but be taught to avoid running into
fire or water, as either of 'em threaten his destruction,--'twill be all
that is needful to be done upon that head.--

Chapter 3.XXXVII.

The description of the siege of Jericho itself, could not have engaged the
attention of my uncle Toby more powerfully than the last chapter;--his eyes
were fixed upon my father throughout it;--he never mentioned radical heat
and radical moisture, but my uncle Toby took his pipe out of his mouth, and
shook his head; and as soon as the chapter was finished, he beckoned to the
corporal to come close to his chair, to ask him the following question,--
aside.--. . .. It was at the siege of Limerick, an' please your honour,
replied the corporal, making a bow.

The poor fellow and I, quoth my uncle Toby, addressing himself to my
father, were scarce able to crawl out of our tents, at the time the siege
of Limerick was raised, upon the very account you mention.--Now what can
have got into that precious noddle of thine, my dear brother Toby? cried my
father, mentally.--By Heaven! continued he, communing still with himself,
it would puzzle an Oedipus to bring it in point.--

I believe, an' please your honour, quoth the corporal, that if it had not
been for the quantity of brandy we set fire to every night, and the claret
and cinnamon with which I plyed your honour off;--And the geneva, Trim,
added my uncle Toby , which did us more good than all--I verily believe,
continued the corporal, we had both, an' please your honour, left our lives
in the trenches, and been buried in them too.--The noblest grave, corporal!
cried my uncle Toby, his eyes sparkling as he spoke, that a soldier could
wish to lie down in.--But a pitiful death for him! an' please your honour,
replied the corporal.

All this was as much Arabick to my father, as the rites of the Colchi and
Troglodites had been before to my uncle Toby; my father could not determine
whether he was to frown or to smile.

My uncle Toby, turning to Yorick, resumed the case at Limerick, more
intelligibly than he had begun it,--and so settled the point for my father
at once.

Chapter 3.XXXVIII.

It was undoubtedly, said my uncle Toby, a great happiness for myself and
the corporal, that we had all along a burning fever, attended with a most
raging thirst, during the whole five-and-twenty days the flux was upon us
in the camp; otherwise what my brother calls the radical moisture, must, as
I conceive it, inevitably have got the better.--My father drew in his lungs
top-full of air, and looking up, blew it forth again, as slowly as he
possibly could.--

--It was Heaven's mercy to us, continued my uncle Toby, which put it into
the corporal's head to maintain that due contention betwixt the radical
heat and the radical moisture, by reinforceing the fever, as he did all
along, with hot wine and spices; whereby the corporal kept up (as it were)
a continual firing, so that the radical heat stood its ground from the
beginning to the end, and was a fair match for the moisture, terrible as it
was.--Upon my honour, added my uncle Toby, you might have heard the
contention within our bodies, brother Shandy, twenty toises.--If there was
no firing, said Yorick.

Well--said my father, with a full aspiration, and pausing a while after the
word--Was I a judge, and the laws of the country which made me one
permitted it, I would condemn some of the worst malefactors, provided they
had had their clergy. . .--Yorick, foreseeing the sentence was likely to
end with no sort of mercy, laid his hand upon my father's breast, and
begged he would respite it for a few minutes, till he asked the corporal a
question.--Prithee, Trim, said Yorick, without staying for my father's
leave,--tell us honestly--what is thy opinion concerning this self-same
radical heat and radical moisture?

With humble submission to his honour's better judgment, quoth the corporal,
making a bow to my uncle Toby--Speak thy opinion freely, corporal, said my
uncle Toby.--The poor fellow is my servant,--not my slave,--added my uncle
Toby, turning to my father.--

The corporal put his hat under his left arm, and with his stick hanging
upon the wrist of it, by a black thong split into a tassel about the knot,
he marched up to the ground where he had performed his catechism; then
touching his under-jaw with the thumb and fingers of his right hand before
he opened his mouth,--he delivered his notion thus.

Chapter 3.XXXIX.

Just as the corporal was humming, to begin--in waddled Dr. Slop.--'Tis not
two-pence matter--the corporal shall go on in the next chapter, let who
will come in.--

Well, my good doctor, cried my father sportively, for the transitions of
his passions were unaccountably sudden,--and what has this whelp of mine to
say to the matter?

Had my father been asking after the amputation of the tail of a puppy-dog--
he could not have done it in a more careless air: the system which Dr.
Slop had laid down, to treat the accident by, no way allowed of such a mode
of enquiry.--He sat down.

Pray, Sir, quoth my uncle Toby, in a manner which could not go unanswered,-
-in what condition is the boy?--'Twill end in a phimosis, replied Dr. Slop.

I am no wiser than I was, quoth my uncle Toby--returning his pipe into his
mouth.--Then let the corporal go on, said my father, with his medical
lecture.--The corporal made a bow to his old friend, Dr. Slop, and then
delivered his opinion concerning radical heat and radical moisture, in the
following words.

Chapter 3.XL.

The city of Limerick, the siege of which was begun under his majesty king
William himself, the year after I went into the army--lies, an' please your
honours, in the middle of a devilish wet, swampy country.--'Tis quite
surrounded, said my uncle Toby, with the Shannon, and is, by its situation,
one of the strongest fortified places in Ireland.--

I think this is a new fashion, quoth Dr. Slop, of beginning a medical
lecture.--'Tis all true, answered Trim.--Then I wish the faculty would
follow the cut of it, said Yorick.--'Tis all cut through, an' please your
reverence, said the corporal, with drains and bogs; and besides, there was
such a quantity of rain fell during the siege, the whole country was like a
puddle,--'twas that, and nothing else, which brought on the flux, and which
had like to have killed both his honour and myself; now there was no such
thing, after the first ten days, continued the corporal, for a soldier to
lie dry in his tent, without cutting a ditch round it, to draw off the
water;--nor was that enough, for those who could afford it, as his honour
could, without setting fire every night to a pewter dish full of brandy,
which took off the damp of the air, and made the inside of the tent as warm
as a stove.--

And what conclusion dost thou draw, corporal Trim, cried my father, from
all these premises?

I infer, an' please your worship, replied Trim, that the radical moisture
is nothing in the world but ditch-water--and that the radical heat, of
those who can go to the expence of it, is burnt brandy,--the radical heat
and moisture of a private man, an' please your honour, is nothing but
ditch-water--and a dram of geneva--and give us but enough of it, with a
pipe of tobacco, to give us spirits, and drive away the vapours--we know
not what it is to fear death.

I am at a loss, Captain Shandy, quoth Doctor Slop, to determine in which
branch of learning your servant shines most, whether in physiology or
divinity.--Slop had not forgot Trim's comment upon the sermon.--

It is but an hour ago, replied Yorick, since the corporal was examined in
the latter, and passed muster with great honour.--

The radical heat and moisture, quoth Doctor Slop, turning to my father, you
must know, is the basis and foundation of our being--as the root of a tree
is the source and principle of its vegetation.--It is inherent in the seeds
of all animals, and may be preserved sundry ways, but principally in my
opinion by consubstantials, impriments, and occludents.--Now this poor
fellow, continued Dr. Slop, pointing to the corporal, has had the
misfortune to have heard some superficial empiric discourse upon this nice
point.--That he has,--said my father.--Very likely, said my uncle.--I'm
sure of it--quoth Yorick.--

Chapter 3.XLI.

Doctor Slop being called out to look at a cataplasm he had ordered, it gave
my father an opportunity of going on with another chapter in the Tristra-
paedia.--Come! cheer up, my lads; I'll shew you land--for when we have
tugged through that chapter, the book shall not be opened again this

Chapter 3.XLII.

--Five years with a bib under his chin;

Four years in travelling from Christ-cross-row to Malachi;

A year and a half in learning to write his own name;

Seven long years and more (Greek)-ing it, at Greek and Latin;

Four years at his probations and his negations--the fine statue still lying
in the middle of the marble block,--and nothing done, but his tools
sharpened to hew it out!--'Tis a piteous delay!--Was not the great Julius
Scaliger within an ace of never getting his tools sharpened at all?--Forty-
four years old was he before he could manage his Greek;--and Peter
Damianus, lord bishop of Ostia, as all the world knows, could not so much
as read, when he was of man's estate.--And Baldus himself, as eminent as he
turned out after, entered upon the law so late in life, that every body
imagined he intended to be an advocate in the other world: no wonder, when
Eudamidas, the son of Archidamas, heard Xenocrates at seventy-five
disputing about wisdom, that he asked gravely,--If the old man be yet
disputing and enquiring concerning wisdom,--what time will he have to make
use of it?

Yorick listened to my father with great attention; there was a seasoning of
wisdom unaccountably mixed up with his strangest whims, and he had
sometimes such illuminations in the darkest of his eclipses, as almost
atoned for them:--be wary, Sir, when you imitate him.

I am convinced, Yorick, continued my father, half reading and half
discoursing, that there is a North-west passage to the intellectual world;
and that the soul of man has shorter ways of going to work, in furnishing
itself with knowledge and instruction, than we generally take with it.--
But, alack! all fields have not a river or a spring running besides them;--
every child, Yorick, has not a parent to point it out.

--The whole entirely depends, added my father, in a low voice, upon the
auxiliary verbs, Mr. Yorick.

Had Yorick trod upon Virgil's snake, he could not have looked more
surprised.--I am surprised too, cried my father, observing it,--and I
reckon it as one of the greatest calamities which ever befel the republic
of letters, That those who have been entrusted with the education of our
children, and whose business it was to open their minds, and stock them
early with ideas, in order to set the imagination loose upon them, have
made so little use of the auxiliary verbs in doing it, as they have done--
So that, except Raymond Lullius, and the elder Pelegrini, the last of which
arrived to such perfection in the use of 'em, with his topics, that, in a
few lessons, he could teach a young gentleman to discourse with
plausibility upon any subject, pro and con, and to say and write all that
could be spoken or written concerning it, without blotting a word, to the
admiration of all who beheld him.--I should be glad, said Yorick,
interrupting my father, to be made to comprehend this matter. You shall,
said my father.

The highest stretch of improvement a single word is capable of, is a high
metaphor,--for which, in my opinion, the idea is generally the worse, and
not the better;--but be that as it may,--when the mind has done that with
it--there is an end,--the mind and the idea are at rest,--until a second
idea enters;--and so on.

Now the use of the Auxiliaries is, at once to set the soul a-going by
herself upon the materials as they are brought her; and by the versability
of this great engine, round which they are twisted, to open new tracts of
enquiry, and make every idea engender millions.

You excite my curiosity greatly, said Yorick.

For my own part, quoth my uncle Toby, I have given it up.--The Danes, an'
please your honour, quoth the corporal, who were on the left at the siege
of Limerick, were all auxiliaries.--And very good ones, said my uncle
Toby.--But the auxiliaries, Trim, my brother is talking about,--I conceive
to be different things.--

--You do? said my father, rising up.

Chapter 3.XLIII.

My father took a single turn across the room, then sat down, and finished
the chapter.

The verbs auxiliary we are concerned in here, continued my father, are, am;
was; have; had; do; did; make; made; suffer; shall; should; will; would;
can; could; owe; ought; used; or is wont.--And these varied with tenses,
present, past, future, and conjugated with the verb see,--or with these
questions added to them;--Is it? Was it? Will it be? Would it be? May it
be? Might it be? And these again put negatively, Is it not? Was it not?
Ought it not?--Or affirmatively,--It is; It was; It ought to be. Or
chronologically,--Has it been always? Lately? How long ago?--Or
hypothetically,--If it was? If it was not? What would follow?--If the
French should beat the English? If the Sun go out of the Zodiac?

Now, by the right use and application of these, continued my father, in
which a child's memory should be exercised, there is no one idea can enter
his brain, how barren soever, but a magazine of conceptions and conclusions
may be drawn forth from it.--Didst thou ever see a white bear? cried my
father, turning his head round to Trim, who stood at the back of his
chair:--No, an' please your honour, replied the corporal.--But thou couldst
discourse about one, Trim, said my father, in case of need?--How is it
possible, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, if the corporal never saw one?--
'Tis the fact I want, replied my father,--and the possibility of it is as

A White Bear! Very well. Have I ever seen one? Might I ever have seen
one? Am I ever to see one? Ought I ever to have seen one? Or can I ever
see one?

Would I had seen a white bear! (for how can I imagine it?)

If I should see a white bear, what should I say? If I should never see a
white bear, what then?

If I never have, can, must, or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever
seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted?--described? Have I
never dreamed of one?

Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers or sisters, ever see a white
bear? What would they give? How would they behave? How would the white
bear have behaved? Is he wild? Tame? Terrible? Rough? Smooth?

--Is the white bear worth seeing?--

--Is there no sin in it?--

Is it better than a Black One?

Chapter 3.XLIV.

--We'll not stop two moments, my dear Sir,--only, as we have got through
these five volumes (In the first edition, the sixth volume began with this
chapter.), (do, Sir, sit down upon a set--they are better than nothing) let
us just look back upon the country we have pass'd through.--

--What a wilderness has it been! and what a mercy that we have not both of
us been lost, or devoured by wild beasts in it!

Did you think the world itself, Sir, had contained such a number of Jack
Asses?--How they view'd and review'd us as we passed over the rivulet at
the bottom of that little valley!--and when we climbed over that hill, and
were just getting out of sight--good God! what a braying did they all set
up together!

--Prithee, shepherd! who keeps all those Jack Asses?. . ..

--Heaven be their comforter--What! are they never curried?--Are they never
taken in in winter?--Bray bray--bray. Bray on,--the world is deeply your
debtor;--louder still--that's nothing:--in good sooth, you are ill-used:--
Was I a Jack Asse, I solemnly declare, I would bray in G-sol-re-ut from
morning, even unto night.

Chapter 3.XLV.

When my father had danced his white bear backwards and forwards through
half a dozen pages, he closed the book for good an' all,--and in a kind of
triumph redelivered it into Trim's hand, with a nod to lay it upon the
'scrutoire, where he found it.--Tristram, said he, shall be made to
conjugate every word in the dictionary, backwards and forwards the same
way;--every word, Yorick, by this means, you see, is converted into a
thesis or an hypothesis;--every thesis and hypothesis have an off-spring of
propositions;--and each proposition has its own consequences and
conclusions; every one of which leads the mind on again, into fresh tracks
of enquiries and doubtings.--The force of this engine, added my father, is
incredible in opening a child's head.--'Tis enough, brother Shandy, cried
my uncle Toby, to burst it into a thousand splinters.--

I presume, said Yorick, smiling,--it must be owing to this,--(for let
logicians say what they will, it is not to be accounted for sufficiently
from the bare use of the ten predicaments)--That the famous Vincent
Quirino, amongst the many other astonishing feats of his childhood, of
which the Cardinal Bembo has given the world so exact a story,--should be
able to paste up in the public schools at Rome, so early as in the eighth
year of his age, no less than four thousand five hundred and fifty
different theses, upon the most abstruse points of the most abstruse
theology;--and to defend and maintain them in such sort, as to cramp and
dumbfound his opponents.--What is that, cried my father, to what is told us
of Alphonsus Tostatus, who, almost in his nurse's arms, learned all the
sciences and liberal arts without being taught any one of them?--What shall
we say of the great Piereskius?--That's the very man, cried my uncle Toby,
I once told you of, brother Shandy, who walked a matter of five hundred
miles, reckoning from Paris to Shevling, and from Shevling back again,
merely to see Stevinus's flying chariot.--He was a very great man! added my
uncle Toby (meaning Stevinus)--He was so, brother Toby, said my father
(meaning Piereskius)--and had multiplied his ideas so fast, and increased
his knowledge to such a prodigious stock, that, if we may give credit to an
anecdote concerning him, which we cannot withhold here, without shaking the
authority of all anecdotes whatever--at seven years of age, his father
committed entirely to his care the education of his younger brother, a boy
of five years old,--with the sole management of all his concerns.--Was the
father as wise as the son? quoth my uncle Toby:--I should think not, said
Yorick:--But what are these, continued my father--(breaking out in a kind
of enthusiasm)--what are these, to those prodigies of childhood in Grotius,
Scioppius, Heinsius, Politian, Pascal, Joseph Scaliger, Ferdinand de
Cordoue, and others--some of which left off their substantial forms at nine
years old, or sooner, and went on reasoning without them;--others went
through their classics at seven;--wrote tragedies at eight;--Ferdinand de
Cordoue was so wise at nine,--'twas thought the Devil was in him;--and at
Venice gave such proofs of his knowledge and goodness, that the monks
imagined he was Antichrist, or nothing.--Others were masters of fourteen
languages at ten,--finished the course of their rhetoric, poetry, logic,
and ethics, at eleven,--put forth their commentaries upon Servius and
Martianus Capella at twelve,--and at thirteen received their degrees in
philosophy, laws, and divinity:--but you forget the great Lipsius, quoth
Yorick, who composed a work (Nous aurions quelque interet, says Baillet, de
montrer qu'il n'a rien de ridicule s'il etoit veritable, au moins dans le
sens enigmatique que Nicius Erythraeus a ta he de lui donner. Cet auteur
dit que pour comprendre comme Lipse, il a pu composer un ouvrage le premier
jour de sa vie, il faut s'imaginer, que ce premier jour n'est pas celui de
sa naissance charnelle, mais celui au quel il a commence d'user de la
raison; il veut que c'ait ete a l'age de neuf ans; et il nous veut
persuader que ce fut en cet age, que Lipse fit un poeme.--Le tour est
ingenieux, &c. &c.) the day he was born:--They should have wiped it up,
said my uncle Toby, and said no more about it.

Chapter 3.XLVI.

When the cataplasm was ready, a scruple of decorum had unseasonably rose up
in Susannah's conscience, about holding the candle, whilst Slop tied it on;
Slop had not treated Susannah's distemper with anodynes,--and so a quarrel
had ensued betwixt them.

--Oh! oh!--said Slop, casting a glance of undue freedom in Susannah's face,
as she declined the office;--then, I think I know you, madam--You know me,
Sir! cried Susannah fastidiously, and with a toss of her head, levelled
evidently, not at his profession, but at the doctor himself,--you know me!
cried Susannah again.--Doctor Slop clapped his finger and his thumb
instantly upon his nostrils;--Susannah's spleen was ready to burst at it;--
'Tis false, said Susannah.--Come, come, Mrs. Modesty, said Slop, not a
little elated with the success of his last thrust,--If you won't hold the
candle, and look--you may hold it and shut your eyes:--That's one of your
popish shifts, cried Susannah:--'Tis better, said Slop, with a nod, than no
shift at all, young woman;--I defy you, Sir, cried Susannah, pulling her
shift sleeve below her elbow.

It was almost impossible for two persons to assist each other in a surgical
case with a more splenetic cordiality.

Slop snatched up the cataplasm--Susannah snatched up the candle;--A little
this way, said Slop; Susannah looking one way, and rowing another,
instantly set fire to Slop's wig, which being somewhat bushy and unctuous
withal, was burnt out before it was well kindled.--You impudent whore!
cried Slop,--(for what is passion, but a wild beast?)--you impudent whore,
cried Slop, getting upright, with the cataplasm in his hand;--I never was
the destruction of any body's nose, said Susannah,--which is more than you
can say:--Is it? cried Slop, throwing the cataplasm in her face;--Yes, it
is, cried Susannah, returning the compliment with what was left in the pan.

Chapter 3.XLVII.

Doctor Slop and Susannah filed cross-bills against each other in the
parlour; which done, as the cataplasm had failed, they retired into the
kitchen to prepare a fomentation for me;--and whilst that was doing, my
father determined the point as you will read.

Chapter 3.XLVIII.

You see 'tis high time, said my father, addressing himself equally to my
uncle Toby and Yorick, to take this young creature out of these women's
hands, and put him into those of a private governor. Marcus Antoninus
provided fourteen governors all at once to superintend his son Commodus's
education,--and in six weeks he cashiered five of them;--I know very well,
continued my father, that Commodus's mother was in love with a gladiator at
the time of her conception, which accounts for a great many of Commodus's
cruelties when he became emperor;--but still I am of opinion, that those
five whom Antoninus dismissed, did Commodus's temper, in that short time,
more hurt than the other nine were able to rectify all their lives long.

Now as I consider the person who is to be about my son, as the mirror in
which he is to view himself from morning to night, by which he is to adjust
his looks, his carriage, and perhaps the inmost sentiments of his heart;--I
would have one, Yorick, if possible, polished at all points, fit for my
child to look into.--This is very good sense, quoth my uncle Toby to

--There is, continued my father, a certain mien and motion of the body and
all its parts, both in acting and speaking, which argues a man well within;
and I am not at all surprised that Gregory of Nazianzum, upon observing the
hasty and untoward gestures of Julian, should foretel he would one day
become an apostate;--or that St. Ambrose should turn his Amanuensis out of
doors, because of an indecent motion of his head, which went backwards and
forwards like a flail;--or that Democritus should conceive Protagoras to be
a scholar, from seeing him bind up a faggot, and thrusting, as he did it,
the small twigs inwards.--There are a thousand unnoticed openings,
continued my father, which let a penetrating eye at once into a man's soul;
and I maintain it, added he, that a man of sense does not lay down his hat
in coming into a room,--or take it up in going out of it, but something
escapes, which discovers him.

It is for these reasons, continued my father, that the governor I make
choice of shall neither (Vid. Pellegrina.) lisp, or squint, or wink, or
talk loud, or look fierce, or foolish;--or bite his lips, or grind his
teeth, or speak through his nose, or pick it, or blow it with his fingers.-

He shall neither walk fast,--or slow, or fold his arms,--for that is
laziness;--or hang them down,--for that is folly; or hide them in his
pocket, for that is nonsense.--

He shall neither strike, or pinch, or tickle--or bite, or cut his nails, or
hawk, or spit, or snift, or drum with his feet or fingers in company;--nor
(according to Erasmus) shall he speak to any one in making water,--nor
shall he point to carrion or excrement.--Now this is all nonsense again,
quoth my uncle Toby to himself.--

I will have him, continued my father, cheerful, facete, jovial; at the same
time, prudent, attentive to business, vigilant, acute, argute, inventive,
quick in resolving doubts and speculative questions;--he shall be wise, and
judicious, and learned:--And why not humble, and moderate, and gentle-
tempered, and good? said Yorick:--And why not, cried my uncle Toby, free,
and generous, and bountiful, and brave?--He shall, my dear Toby, replied my
father, getting up and shaking him by his hand.--Then, brother Shandy,
answered my uncle Toby, raising himself off the chair, and laying down his
pipe to take hold of my father's other hand,--I humbly beg I may recommend
poor Le Fever's son to you;--a tear of joy of the first water sparkled in
my uncle Toby's eye, and another, the fellow to it, in the corporal's, as
the proposition was made;--you will see why when you read Le Fever's
story:--fool that I was! nor can I recollect (nor perhaps you) without
turning back to the place, what it was that hindered me from letting the
corporal tell it in his own words;--but the occasion is lost,--I must tell
it now in my own.

Chapter 3.XLIX.

The Story of Le Fever.

It was some time in the summer of that year in which Dendermond was taken
by the allies,--which was about seven years before my father came into the
country,--and about as many, after the time, that my uncle Toby and Trim
had privately decamped from my father's house in town, in order to lay some
of the finest sieges to some of the finest fortified cities in Europe--when
my uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper, with Trim sitting behind
him at a small sideboard,--I say, sitting--for in consideration of the
corporal's lame knee (which sometimes gave him exquisite pain)--when my
uncle Toby dined or supped alone, he would never suffer the corporal to
stand; and the poor fellow's veneration for his master was such, that, with
a proper artillery, my uncle Toby could have taken Dendermond itself, with
less trouble than he was able to gain this point over him; for many a time
when my uncle Toby supposed the corporal's leg was at rest, he would look
back, and detect him standing behind him with the most dutiful respect:
this bred more little squabbles betwixt them, than all other causes for
five-and-twenty years together--But this is neither here nor there--why do
I mention it?--Ask my pen,--it governs me,--I govern not it.

He was one evening sitting thus at his supper, when the landlord of a
little inn in the village came into the parlour, with an empty phial in his
hand, to beg a glass or two of sack; 'Tis for a poor gentleman,--I think,
of the army, said the landlord, who has been taken ill at my house four
days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a desire to taste
any thing, till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass of sack and a
thin toast,--I think, says he, taking his hand from his forehead, it would
comfort me.--

--If I could neither beg, borrow, or buy such a thing--added the landlord,-
-I would almost steal it for the poor gentleman, he is so ill.--I hope in
God he will still mend, continued he,--we are all of us concerned for him.

Thou art a good-natured soul, I will answer for thee, cried my uncle Toby;
and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman's health in a glass of sack
thyself,--and take a couple of bottles with my service, and tell him he is
heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more if they will do him good.

Though I am persuaded, said my uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the door,
he is a very compassionate fellow--Trim,--yet I cannot help entertaining a
high opinion of his guest too; there must be something more than common in
him, that in so short a time should win so much upon the affections of his
host;--And of his whole family, added the corporal, for they are all
concerned for him,.--Step after him, said my uncle Toby,--do Trim,--and ask
if he knows his name.

--I have quite forgot it truly, said the landlord, coming back into the
parlour with the corporal,--but I can ask his son again:--Has he a son with
him then? said my uncle Toby.--A boy, replied the landlord, of about eleven
or twelve years of age;--but the poor creature has tasted almost as little
as his father; he does nothing but mourn and lament for him night and day:-
-He has not stirred from the bed-side these two days.

My uncle Toby laid down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from
before him, as the landlord gave him the account; and Trim, without being
ordered, took away, without saying one word, and in a few minutes after
brought him his pipe and tobacco.

--Stay in the room a little, said my uncle Toby.

Trim!--said my uncle Toby, after he lighted his pipe, and smoak'd about a


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