Part 7 out of 10
dozen whiffs.--Trim came in front of his master, and made his bow;--my
uncle Toby smoak'd on, and said no more.--Corporal! said my uncle Toby--the
corporal made his bow.--My uncle Toby proceeded no farther, but finished
Trim! said my uncle Toby, I have a project in my head, as it is a bad
night, of wrapping myself up warm in my roquelaure, and paying a visit to
this poor gentleman.--Your honour's roquelaure, replied the corporal, has
not once been had on, since the night before your honour received your
wound, when we mounted guard in the trenches before the gate of St.
Nicholas;--and besides, it is so cold and rainy a night, that what with the
roquelaure, and what with the weather, 'twill be enough to give your honour
your death, and bring on your honour's torment in your groin. I fear so,
replied my uncle Toby; but I am not at rest in my mind, Trim, since the
account the landlord has given me.--I wish I had not known so much of this
affair,--added my uncle Toby,--or that I had known more of it:--How shall
we manage it? Leave it, an't please your honour, to me, quoth the
corporal;--I'll take my hat and stick and go to the house and reconnoitre,
and act accordingly; and I will bring your honour a full account in an
hour.--Thou shalt go, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and here's a shilling for
thee to drink with his servant.--I shall get it all out of him, said the
corporal, shutting the door.
My uncle Toby filled his second pipe; and had it not been, that he now and
then wandered from the point, with considering whether it was not full as
well to have the curtain of the tennaile a straight line, as a crooked
one,--he might be said to have thought of nothing else but poor Le Fever
and his boy the whole time he smoaked it.
The Story of Le Fever Continued.
It was not till my uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe,
that corporal Trim returned from the inn, and gave him the following
I despaired, at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back your
honour any kind of intelligence concerning the poor sick lieutenant--Is he
in the army, then? said my uncle Toby--He is, said the corporal--And in
what regiment? said my uncle Toby--I'll tell your honour, replied the
corporal, every thing straight forwards, as I learnt it.--Then, Trim, I'll
fill another pipe, said my uncle Toby, and not interrupt thee till thou
hast done; so sit down at thy ease, Trim, in the window-seat, and begin thy
story again. The corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke as plain
as a bow could speak it--Your honour is good:--And having done that, he sat
down, as he was ordered,--and begun the story to my uncle Toby over again
in pretty near the same words.
I despaired at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back any
intelligence to your honour, about the lieutenant and his son; for when I
asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself sure of knowing every
thing which was proper to be asked,--That's a right distinction, Trim, said
my uncle Toby--I was answered, an' please your honour, that he had no
servant with him;--that he had come to the inn with hired horses, which,
upon finding himself unable to proceed (to join, I suppose, the regiment),
he had dismissed the morning after he came.--If I get better, my dear, said
he, as he gave his purse to his son to pay the man,--we can hire horses
from hence.--But alas! the poor gentleman will never get from hence, said
the landlady to me,--for I heard the death-watch all night long;--and when
he dies, the youth, his son, will certainly die with him; for he is broken-
I was hearing this account, continued the corporal, when the youth came
into the kitchen, to order the thin toast the landlord spoke of;--but I
will do it for my father myself, said the youth.--Pray let my save you the
trouble, young gentleman, said I, taking up a fork for the purpose, and
offering him my chair to sit down upon by the fire, whilst I did it.--I
believe, Sir, said he, very modestly, I can please him best myself.--I am
sure, said I, his honour will not like the toast the worse for being
toasted by an old soldier.--The youth took hold of my hand, and instantly
burst into tears.--Poor youth! said my uncle Toby,--he has been bred up
from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, sounded in his
ears like the name of a friend;--I wish I had him here.
--I never, in the longest march, said the corporal, had so great a mind to
my dinner, as I had to cry with him for company:--What could be the matter
with me, an' please your honour? Nothing in the world, Trim, said my uncle
Toby, blowing his nose,--but that thou art a good-natured fellow.
When I gave him the toast, continued the corporal, I thought it was proper
to tell him I was captain Shandy's servant, and that your honour (though a
stranger) was extremely concerned for his father;--and that if there was
any thing in your house or cellar--(And thou might'st have added my purse
too, said my uncle Toby),--he was heartily welcome to it:--He made a very
low bow (which was meant to your honour), but no answer--for his heart was
full--so he went up stairs with the toast;--I warrant you, my dear, said I,
as I opened the kitchen-door, your father will be well again.--Mr. Yorick's
curate was smoking a pipe by the kitchen fire,--but said not a word good or
bad to comfort the youth.--I thought it wrong; added the corporal--I think
so too, said my uncle Toby.
When the lieutenant had taken his glass of sack and toast, he felt himself
a little revived, and sent down into the kitchen, to let me know, that in
about ten minutes he should be glad if I would step up stairs.--I believe,
said the landlord, he is going to say his prayers,--for there was a book
laid upon the chair by his bed-side, and as I shut the door, I saw his son
take up a cushion.--
I thought, said the curate, that you gentlemen of the army, Mr. Trim, never
said your prayers at all.--I heard the poor gentleman say his prayers last
night, said the landlady, very devoutly, and with my own ears, or I could
not have believed it.--Are you sure of it? replied the curate.--A soldier,
an' please your reverence, said I, prays as often (of his own accord) as a
parson;--and when he is fighting for his king, and for his own life, and
for his honour too, he has the most reason to pray to God of any one in the
whole world--'Twas well said of thee, Trim, said my uncle Toby.--But when a
soldier, said I, an' please your reverence, has been standing for twelve
hours together in the trenches, up to his knees in cold water,--or engaged,
said I, for months together in long and dangerous marches;--harassed,
perhaps, in his rear to-day;--harassing others to-morrow;--detached here;--
countermanded there;--resting this night out upon his arms;--beat up in his
shirt the next;--benumbed in his joints;--perhaps without straw in his tent
to kneel on;--must say his prayers how and when he can.--I believe, said
I,--for I was piqued, quoth the corporal, for the reputation of the army,--
I believe, an' please your reverence, said I, that when a soldier gets time
to pray,--he prays as heartily as a parson,--though not with all his fuss
and hypocrisy.--Thou shouldst not have said that, Trim, said my uncle
Toby,--for God only knows who is a hypocrite, and who is not:--At the great
and general review of us all, corporal, at the day of judgment (and not
till then)--it will be seen who has done their duties in this world,--and
who has not; and we shall be advanced, Trim, accordingly.--I hope we shall,
said Trim.--It is in the Scripture, said my uncle Toby; and I will shew it
thee to-morrow:--In the mean time we may depend upon it, Trim, for our
comfort, said my uncle Toby, that God Almighty is so good and just a
governor of the world, that if we have but done our duties in it,--it will
never be enquired into, whether we have done them in a red coat or a black
one:--I hope not, said the corporal--But go on, Trim, said my uncle Toby,
with thy story.
When I went up, continued the corporal, into the lieutenant's room, which I
did not do till the expiration of the ten minutes,--he was lying in his bed
with his head raised upon his hand, with his elbow upon the pillow, and a
clean white cambrick handkerchief beside it:--The youth was just stooping
down to take up the cushion, upon which I supposed he had been kneeling,--
the book was laid upon the bed,--and, as he rose, in taking up the cushion
with one hand, he reached out his other to take it away at the same time.--
Let it remain there, my dear, said the lieutenant.
He did not offer to speak to me, till I had walked up close to his bed-
side:--If you are captain Shandy's servant, said he, you must present my
thanks to your master, with my little boy's thanks along with them, for his
courtesy to me;--if he was of Levens's--said the lieutenant.--I told him
your honour was--Then, said he, I served three campaigns with him in
Flanders, and remember him,--but 'tis most likely, as I had not the honour
of any acquaintance with him, that he knows nothing of me.--You will tell
him, however, that the person his good-nature has laid under obligations to
him, is one Le Fever, a lieutenant in Angus's--but he knows me not,--said
he, a second time, musing;--possibly he may my story--added he--pray tell
the captain, I was the ensign at Breda, whose wife was most unfortunately
killed with a musket-shot, as she lay in my arms in my tent.--I remember
the story, an't please your honour, said I, very well.--Do you so? said he,
wiping his eyes with his handkerchief--then well may I.--In saying this, he
drew a little ring out of his bosom, which seemed tied with a black ribband
about his neck, and kiss'd it twice--Here, Billy, said he,--the boy flew
across the room to the bed-side,--and falling down upon his knee, took the
ring in his hand, and kissed it too,--then kissed his father, and sat down
upon the bed and wept.
I wish, said my uncle Toby, with a deep sigh,--I wish, Trim, I was asleep.
Your honour, replied the corporal, is too much concerned;--shall I pour
your honour out a glass of sack to your pipe?--Do, Trim, said my uncle
I remember, said my uncle Toby, sighing again, the story of the ensign and
his wife, with a circumstance his modesty omitted;--and particularly well
that he, as well as she, upon some account or other (I forget what) was
universally pitied by the whole regiment;--but finish the story thou art
upon:--'Tis finished already, said the corporal,--for I could stay no
longer,--so wished his honour a good night; young Le Fever rose from off
the bed, and saw me to the bottom of the stairs; and as we went down
together, told me, they had come from Ireland, and were on their route to
join the regiment in Flanders.--But alas! said the corporal,--the
lieutenant's last day's march is over.--Then what is to become of his poor
boy? cried my uncle Toby.
The Story of Le Fever Continued.
It was to my uncle Toby's eternal honour,--though I tell it only for the
sake of those, who, when coop'd in betwixt a natural and a positive law,
know not, for their souls, which way in the world to turn themselves--That
notwithstanding my uncle Toby was warmly engaged at that time in carrying
on the siege of Dendermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs on
so vigorously, that they scarce allowed him time to get his dinner--that
nevertheless he gave up Dendermond, though he had already made a lodgment
upon the counterscarp;--and bent his whole thoughts towards the private
distresses at the inn; and except that he ordered the garden gate to be
bolted up, by which he might be said to have turned the siege of Dendermond
into a blockade,--he left Dendermond to itself--to be relieved or not by
the French king, as the French king thought good; and only considered how
he himself should relieve the poor lieutenant and his son.
--That kind Being, who is a friend to the friendless, shall recompence thee
Thou hast left this matter short, said my uncle Toby to the corporal, as he
was putting him to bed,--and I will tell thee in what, Trim.--In the first
place, when thou madest an offer of my services to Le Fever,--as sickness
and travelling are both expensive, and thou knowest he was but a poor
lieutenant, with a son to subsist as well as himself out of his pay,--that
thou didst not make an offer to him of my purse; because, had he stood in
need, thou knowest, Trim, he had been as welcome to it as myself.--Your
honour knows, said the corporal, I had no orders;--True, quoth my uncle
Toby,--thou didst very right, Trim, as a soldier,--but certainly very wrong
as a man.
In the second place, for which, indeed, thou hast the same excuse,
continued my uncle Toby,--when thou offeredst him whatever was in my
house,--thou shouldst have offered him my house too:--A sick brother
officer should have the best quarters, Trim, and if we had him with us,--we
could tend and look to him:--Thou art an excellent nurse thyself, Trim,--
and what with thy care of him, and the old woman's and his boy's, and mine
together, we might recruit him again at once, and set him upon his legs.--
--In a fortnight or three weeks, added my uncle Toby, smiling,--he might
march.--He will never march; an' please your honour, in this world, said
the corporal:--He will march; said my uncle Toby, rising up from the side
of the bed, with one shoe off:--An' please your honour, said the corporal,
he will never march but to his grave:--He shall march, cried my uncle Toby,
marching the foot which had a shoe on, though without advanceing an inch,--
he shall march to his regiment.--He cannot stand it, said the corporal;--He
shall be supported, said my uncle Toby;--He'll drop at last, said the
corporal, and what will become of his boy?--He shall not drop, said my
uncle Toby, firmly.--A-well-o'day,--do what we can for him, said Trim,
maintaining his point,--the poor soul will die:--He shall not die, by G..,
cried my uncle Toby.
--The Accusing Spirit, which flew up to heaven's chancery with the oath,
blush'd as he gave it in;--and the Recording Angel, as he wrote it down,
dropp'd a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever.
--My uncle Toby went to his bureau,--put his purse into his breeches pocket,
and having ordered the corporal to go early in the morning for a
physician,--he went to bed, and fell asleep.
The Story of Le Fever Continued.
The sun looked bright the morning after, to every eye in the village but Le
Fever's and his afflicted son's; the hand of death pressed heavy upon his
eye-lids,--and hardly could the wheel at the cistern turn round its
circle,--when my uncle Toby, who had rose up an hour before his wonted
time, entered the lieutenant's room, and without preface or apology, sat
himself down upon the chair by the bed-side, and, independently of all
modes and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old friend and
brother officer would have done it, and asked him how he did,--how he had
rested in the night,--what was his complaint,--where was his pain,--and
what he could do to help him:--and without giving him time to answer any
one of the enquiries, went on, and told him of the little plan which he had
been concerting with the corporal the night before for him.--
--You shall go home directly, Le Fever, said my uncle Toby, to my house,--
and we'll send for a doctor to see what's the matter,--and we'll have an
apothecary,--and the corporal shall be your nurse;--and I'll be your
servant, Le Fever.
There was a frankness in my uncle Toby,--not the effect of familiarity,--
but the cause of it,--which let you at once into his soul, and shewed you
the goodness of his nature; to this there was something in his looks, and
voice, and manner, superadded, which eternally beckoned to the unfortunate
to come and take shelter under him, so that before my uncle Toby had half
finished the kind offers he was making to the father, had the son
insensibly pressed up close to his knees, and had taken hold of the breast
of his coat, and was pulling it towards him.--The blood and spirits of Le
Fever, which were waxing cold and slow within him, and were retreating to
their last citadel, the heart--rallied back,--the film forsook his eyes for
a moment,--he looked up wishfully in my uncle Toby's face,--then cast a
look upon his boy,--and that ligament, fine as it was,--was never broken.--
Nature instantly ebb'd again,--the film returned to its place,--the pulse
fluttered--stopp'd--went on--throbb'd--stopp'd again--moved--stopp'd--shall
I go on?--No.
I am so impatient to return to my own story, that what remains of young Le
Fever's, that is, from this turn of his fortune, to the time my uncle Toby
recommended him for my preceptor, shall be told in a very few words in the
next chapter.--All that is necessary to be added to this chapter is as
That my uncle Toby, with young Le Fever in his hand, attended the poor
lieutenant, as chief mourners, to his grave.
That the governor of Dendermond paid his obsequies all military honours,--
and that Yorick, not to be behind-hand--paid him all ecclesiastic--for he
buried him in his chancel:--And it appears likewise, he preached a funeral
sermon over him--I say it appears,--for it was Yorick's custom, which I
suppose a general one with those of his profession, on the first leaf of
every sermon which he composed, to chronicle down the time, the place, and
the occasion of its being preached: to this, he was ever wont to add some
short comment or stricture upon the sermon itself, seldom, indeed, much to
its credit:--For instance, This sermon upon the Jewish dispensation--I
don't like it at all;--Though I own there is a world of Water-Landish
knowledge in it;--but 'tis all tritical, and most tritically put together.-
-This is but a flimsy kind of a composition; what was in my head when I
--N.B. The excellency of this text is, that it will suit any sermon,--and
of this sermon,--that it will suit any text.--
--For this sermon I shall be hanged,--for I have stolen the greatest part
of it. Doctor Paidagunes found me out. > Set a thief to catch a thief.--
On the back of half a dozen I find written, So, so, and no more--and upon a
couple Moderato; by which, as far as one may gather from Altieri's Italian
dictionary,--but mostly from the authority of a piece of green whipcord,
which seemed to have been the unravelling of Yorick's whip-lash, with which
he has left us the two sermons marked Moderato, and the half dozen of So,
so, tied fast together in one bundle by themselves,--one may safely suppose
he meant pretty near the same thing.
There is but one difficulty in the way of this conjecture, which is this,
that the moderato's are five times better than the so, so's;--show ten
times more knowledge of the human heart;--have seventy times more wit and
spirit in them;--(and, to rise properly in my climax)--discovered a
thousand times more genius;--and to crown all, are infinitely more
entertaining than those tied up with them:--for which reason, whene'er
Yorick's dramatic sermons are offered to the world, though I shall admit
but one out of the whole number of the so, so's, I shall, nevertheless,
adventure to print the two moderato's without any sort of scruple.
What Yorick could mean by the words lentamente,--tenute,--grave,--and
sometimes adagio,--as applied to theological compositions, and with which
he has characterised some of these sermons, I dare not venture to guess.--I
am more puzzled still upon finding a l'octava alta! upon one;--Con strepito
upon the back of another;--Scicilliana upon a third;--Alla capella upon a
fourth;--Con l'arco upon this;--Senza l'arco upon that.--All I know is,
that they are musical terms, and have a meaning;--and as he was a musical
man, I will make no doubt, but that by some quaint application of such
metaphors to the compositions in hand, they impressed very distinct ideas
of their several characters upon his fancy,--whatever they may do upon that
Amongst these, there is that particular sermon which has unaccountably led
me into this digression--The funeral sermon upon poor Le Fever, wrote out
very fairly, as if from a hasty copy.--I take notice of it the more,
because it seems to have been his favourite composition--It is upon
mortality; and is tied length-ways and cross-ways with a yarn thrum, and
then rolled up and twisted round with a half-sheet of dirty blue paper,
which seems to have been once the cast cover of a general review, which to
this day smells horribly of horse drugs.--Whether these marks of
humiliation were designed,--I something doubt;--because at the end of the
sermon (and not at the beginning of it)--very different from his way of
treating the rest, he had wrote--Bravo!
--Though not very offensively,--for it is at two inches, at least, and a
half's distance from, and below the concluding line of the sermon, at the
very extremity of the page, and in that right hand corner of it, which, you
know, is generally covered with your thumb; and, to do it justice, it is
wrote besides with a crow's quill so faintly in a small Italian hand, as
scarce to solicit the eye towards the place, whether your thumb is there or
not,--so that from the manner of it, it stands half excused; and being
wrote moreover with very pale ink, diluted almost to nothing,--'tis more
like a ritratto of the shadow of vanity, than of Vanity herself--of the
two; resembling rather a faint thought of transient applause, secretly
stirring up in the heart of the composer; than a gross mark of it, coarsely
obtruded upon the world.
With all these extenuations, I am aware, that in publishing this, I do no
service to Yorick's character as a modest man;--but all men have their
failings! and what lessens this still farther, and almost wipes it away, is
this; that the word was struck through sometime afterwards (as appears from
a different tint of the ink) with a line quite across it in this manner,
BRAVO (crossed out)--as if he had retracted, or was ashamed of the opinion
he had once entertained of it.
These short characters of his sermons were always written, excepting in
this one instance, upon the first leaf of his sermon, which served as a
cover to it; and usually upon the inside of it, which was turned towards
the text;--but at the end of his discourse, where, perhaps, he had five or
six pages, and sometimes, perhaps, a whole score to turn himself in,--he
took a large circuit, and, indeed, a much more mettlesome one;--as if he
had snatched the occasion of unlacing himself with a few more frolicksome
strokes at vice, than the straitness of the pulpit allowed.--These, though
hussar-like, they skirmish lightly and out of all order, are still
auxiliaries on the side of virtue;--tell me then, Mynheer Vander
Blonederdondergewdenstronke, why they should not be printed together?
When my uncle Toby had turned every thing into money, and settled all
accounts betwixt the agent of the regiment and Le Fever, and betwixt Le
Fever and all mankind,--there remained nothing more in my uncle Toby's
hands, than an old regimental coat and a sword; so that my uncle Toby found
little or no opposition from the world in taking administration. The coat
my uncle Toby gave the corporal;--Wear it, Trim, said my uncle Toby, as
long as it will hold together, for the sake of the poor lieutenant--And
this,--said my uncle Toby, taking up the sword in his hand, and drawing it
out of the scabbard as he spoke--and this, Le Fever, I'll save for thee,--
'tis all the fortune, continued my uncle Toby, hanging it up upon a crook,
and pointing to it,--'tis all the fortune, my dear Le Fever, which God has
left thee; but if he has given thee a heart to fight thy way with it in the
world,--and thou doest it like a man of honour,--'tis enough for us.
As soon as my uncle Toby had laid a foundation, and taught him to inscribe
a regular polygon in a circle, he sent him to a public school, where,
excepting Whitsontide and Christmas, at which times the corporal was
punctually dispatched for him,--he remained to the spring of the year,
seventeen; when the stories of the emperor's sending his army into Hungary
against the Turks, kindling a spark of fire in his bosom, he left his Greek
and Latin without leave, and throwing himself upon his knees before my
uncle Toby, begged his father's sword, and my uncle Toby's leave along with
it, to go and try his fortune under Eugene.--Twice did my uncle Toby forget
his wound and cry out, Le Fever! I will go with thee, and thou shalt fight
beside me--And twice he laid his hand upon his groin, and hung down his
head in sorrow and disconsolation.--
My uncle Toby took down the sword from the crook, where it had hung
untouched ever since the lieutenant's death, and delivered it to the
corporal to brighten up;--and having detained Le Fever a single fortnight
to equip him, and contract for his passage to Leghorn,--he put the sword
into his hand.--If thou art brave, Le Fever, said my uncle Toby, this will
not fail thee,--but Fortune, said he (musing a little),--Fortune may--And
if she does,--added my uncle Toby, embracing him, come back again to me, Le
Fever, and we will shape thee another course.
The greatest injury could not have oppressed the heart of Le Fever more
than my uncle Toby's paternal kindness;--he parted from my uncle Toby, as
the best of sons from the best of fathers--both dropped tears--and as my
uncle Toby gave him his last kiss, he slipped sixty guineas, tied up in an
old purse of his father's, in which was his mother's ring, into his hand,--
and bid God bless him.
Le Fever got up to the Imperial army just time enough to try what metal his
sword was made of, at the defeat of the Turks before Belgrade; but a series
of unmerited mischances had pursued him from that moment, and trod close
upon his heels for four years together after; he had withstood these
buffetings to the last, till sickness overtook him at Marseilles, from
whence he wrote my uncle Toby word, he had lost his time, his services, his
health, and, in short, every thing but his sword;--and was waiting for the
first ship to return back to him.
As this letter came to hand about six weeks before Susannah's accident, Le
Fever was hourly expected; and was uppermost in my uncle Toby's mind all
the time my father was giving him and Yorick a description of what kind of
a person he would chuse for a preceptor to me: but as my uncle Toby
thought my father at first somewhat fanciful in the accomplishments he
required, he forbore mentioning Le Fever's name,--till the character, by
Yorick's inter-position, ending unexpectedly, in one, who should be gentle-
tempered, and generous, and good, it impressed the image of Le Fever, and
his interest, upon my uncle Toby so forcibly, he rose instantly off his
chair; and laying down his pipe, in order to take hold of both my father's
hands--I beg, brother Shandy, said my uncle Toby, I may recommend poor Le
Fever's son to you--I beseech you do, added Yorick--He has a good heart,
said my uncle Toby--And a brave one too, an' please your honour, said the
--The best hearts, Trim, are ever the bravest, replied my uncle Toby.--And
the greatest cowards, an' please your honour, in our regiment, were the
greatest rascals in it.--There was serjeant Kumber, and ensign--
--We'll talk of them, said my father, another time.
What a jovial and a merry world would this be, may it please your worships,
but for that inextricable labyrinth of debts, cares, woes, want, grief,
discontent, melancholy, large jointures, impositions, and lies!
Doctor Slop, like a son of a w. . ., as my father called him for it,--to
exalt himself,--debased me to death,--and made ten thousand times more of
Susannah's accident, than there was any grounds for; so that in a week's
time, or less, it was in every body's mouth, That poor Master Shandy. .
.entirely.--And Fame, who loves to double every thing,--in three days more,
had sworn, positively she saw it,--and all the world, as usual, gave credit
to her evidence--'That the nursery window had not only. . .;--but that. .
Could the world have been sued like a Body-Corporate,--my father had
brought an action upon the case, and trounced it sufficiently; but to fall
foul of individuals about it--as every soul who had mentioned the affair,
did it with the greatest pity imaginable;--'twas like flying in the very
face of his best friends:--And yet to acquiesce under the report, in
silence--was to acknowledge it openly,--at least in the opinion of one half
of the world; and to make a bustle again, in contradicting it,--was to
confirm it as strongly in the opinion of the other half.--
--Was ever poor devil of a country gentleman so hampered? said my father.
I would shew him publickly, said my uncle Toby, at the market cross.
--'Twill have no effect, said my father.
--I'll put him, however, into breeches, said my father,--let the world say
what it will.
There are a thousand resolutions, Sir, both in church and state, as well as
in matters, Madam, of a more private concern;--which, though they have
carried all the appearance in the world of being taken, and entered upon in
a hasty, hare-brained, and unadvised manner, were, notwithstanding this,
(and could you or I have got into the cabinet, or stood behind the curtain,
we should have found it was so) weighed, poized, and perpended--argued
upon--canvassed through--entered into, and examined on all sides with so
much coolness, that the Goddess of Coolness herself (I do not take upon me
to prove her existence) could neither have wished it, or done it better.
Of the number of these was my father's resolution of putting me into
breeches; which, though determined at once,--in a kind of huff, and a
defiance of all mankind, had, nevertheless, been pro'd and conn'd, and
judicially talked over betwixt him and my mother about a month before, in
two several beds of justice, which my father had held for that purpose. I
shall explain the nature of these beds of justice in my next chapter; and
in the chapter following that, you shall step with me, Madam, behind the
curtain, only to hear in what kind of manner my father and my mother
debated between themselves, this affair of the breeches,--from which you
may form an idea, how they debated all lesser matters.
The ancient Goths of Germany, who (the learned Cluverius is positive) were
first seated in the country between the Vistula and the Oder, and who
afterwards incorporated the Herculi, the Bugians, and some other Vandallick
clans to 'em--had all of them a wise custom of debating every thing of
importance to their state, twice, that is,--once drunk, and once sober:--
Drunk--that their councils might not want vigour;--and sober--that they
might not want discretion.
Now my father being entirely a water-drinker,--was a long time gravelled
almost to death, in turning this as much to his advantage, as he did every
other thing which the ancients did or said; and it was not till the seventh
year of his marriage, after a thousand fruitless experiments and devices,
that he hit upon an expedient which answered the purpose;--and that was,
when any difficult and momentous point was to be settled in the family,
which required great sobriety, and great spirit too, in its determination,-
-he fixed and set apart the first Sunday night in the month, and the
Saturday night which immediately preceded it, to argue it over, in bed with
my mother: By which contrivance, if you consider, Sir, with yourself,. .
These my father, humorously enough, called his beds of justice;--for from
the two different counsels taken in these two different humours, a middle
one was generally found out which touched the point of wisdom as well, as
if he had got drunk and sober a hundred times.
I must not be made a secret of to the world, that this answers full as well
in literary discussions, as either in military or conjugal; but it is not
every author that can try the experiment as the Goths and Vandals did it--
or, if he can, may it be always for his body's health; and to do it, as my
father did it,--am I sure it would be always for his soul's.
My way is this:--
In all nice and ticklish discussions,--(of which, heaven knows, there are
but too many in my book)--where I find I cannot take a step without the
danger of having either their worships or their reverences upon my back--I
write one-half full,--and t'other fasting;--or write it all full,--and
correct it fasting;--or write it fasting,--and correct it full, for they
all come to the same thing:--So that with a less variation from my father's
plan, than my father's from the Gothick--I feel myself upon a par with him
in his first bed of justice,--and no way inferior to him in his second.--
These different and almost irreconcileable effects, flow uniformly from the
wise and wonderful mechanism of nature,--of which,--be her's the honour.--
All that we can do, is to turn and work the machine to the improvement and
better manufactory of the arts and sciences.--
Now, when I write full,--I write as if I was never to write fasting again
as long as I live;--that is, I write free from the cares as well as the
terrors of the world.--I count not the number of my scars,--nor does my
fancy go forth into dark entries and bye-corners to ante-date my stabs.--In
a word, my pen takes its course; and I write on as much from the fulness of
my heart, as my stomach.--
But when, an' please your honours, I indite fasting, 'tis a different
history.--I pay the world all possible attention and respect,--and have as
great a share (whilst it lasts) of that under strapping virtue of
discretion as the best of you.--So that betwixt both, I write a careless
kind of a civil, nonsensical, good-humoured Shandean book, which will do
all your hearts good--
--And all your heads too,--provided you understand it.
We should begin, said my father, turning himself half round in bed, and
shifting his pillow a little towards my mother's, as he opened the debate--
We should begin to think, Mrs. Shandy, of putting this boy into breeches.--
We should so,--said my mother.--We defer it, my dear, quoth my father,
I think we do, Mr. Shandy,--said my mother.
--Not but the child looks extremely well, said my father, in his vests and
--He does look very well in them,--replied my mother.--
--And for that reason it would be almost a sin, added my father, to take
him out of 'em.--
--It would so,--said my mother:--But indeed he is growing a very tall lad,-
-rejoined my father.
--He is very tall for his age, indeed,--said my mother.--
--I can not (making two syllables of it) imagine, quoth my father, who the
deuce he takes after.--
I cannot conceive, for my life, said my mother.--
Humph!--said my father.
(The dialogue ceased for a moment.)
--(I am very short myself,--continued my father gravely.
You are very short, Mr. Shandy,--said my mother.
Humph! quoth my father to himself, a second time: in muttering which, he
plucked his pillow a little further from my mother's,--and turning about
again, there was an end of the debate for three minutes and a half.
--When he gets these breeches made, cried my father in a higher tone, he'll
look like a beast in 'em.
He will be very awkward in them at first, replied my mother.
--And 'twill be lucky, if that's the worst on't, added my father.
It will be very lucky, answered my mother.
I suppose, replied my father,--making some pause first,--he'll be exactly
like other people's children.--
Exactly, said my mother.--
--Though I shall be sorry for that, added my father: and so the debate
--They should be of leather, said my father, turning him about again.--
They will last him, said my mother, the longest.
But he can have no linings to 'em, replied my father.--
He cannot, said my mother.
'Twere better to have them of fustian, quoth my father.
Nothing can be better, quoth my mother.--
--Except dimity,--replied my father:--'Tis best of all,--replied my mother.
--One must not give him his death, however,--interrupted my father.
By no means, said my mother:--and so the dialogue stood still again.
I am resolved, however, quoth my father, breaking silence the fourth time,
he shall have no pockets in them.--
--There is no occasion for any, said my mother.--
I mean in his coat and waistcoat,--cried my father.
--I mean so too,--replied my mother.
--Though if he gets a gig or top--Poor souls! it is a crown and a sceptre
to them,--they should have where to secure it.--
Order it as you please, Mr. Shandy, replied my mother.--
--But don't you think it right? added my father, pressing the point home to
Perfectly, said my mother, if it pleases you, Mr. Shandy.--
--There's for you! cried my father, losing his temper--Pleases me!--You
never will distinguish, Mrs. Shandy, nor shall I ever teach you to do it,
betwixt a point of pleasure and a point of convenience.--This was on the
Sunday night:--and further this chapter sayeth not.
After my father had debated the affair of the breeches with my mother,--he
consulted Albertus Rubenius upon it; and Albertus Rubenius used my father
ten times worse in the consultation (if possible) than even my father had
used my mother: For as Rubenius had wrote a quarto express, De re
Vestiaria Veterum,--it was Rubenius's business to have given my father some
lights.--On the contrary, my father might as well have thought of
extracting the seven cardinal virtues out of a long beard,--as of
extracting a single word out of Rubenius upon the subject.
Upon every other article of ancient dress, Rubenius was very communicative
to my father;--gave him a full satisfactory account of
The Toga, or loose gown.
The Tunica, or Jacket.
The Lacema, with its Cucullus.
The Sagum, or soldier's jerkin.
The Trabea: of which, according to Suetonius, there was three kinds.--
--But what are all these to the breeches? said my father.
Rubenius threw him down upon the counter all kinds of shoes which had been
in fashion with the Romans.--
The open shoe.
The close shoe.
The slip shoe.
The wooden shoe.
And The military shoe with hobnails in it, which Juvenal takes notice of.
The sandals, with latchets to them.
The felt shoe.
The linen shoe.
The laced shoe.
The braided shoe.
The calceus incisus.
And The calceus rostratus.
Rubenius shewed my father how well they all fitted,--in what manner they
laced on,--with what points, straps, thongs, latchets, ribbands, jaggs, and
--But I want to be informed about the breeches, said my father.
Albertus Rubenius informed my father that the Romans manufactured stuffs of
various fabrics,--some plain,--some striped,--others diapered throughout
the whole contexture of the wool, with silk and gold--That linen did not
begin to be in common use till towards the declension of the empire, when
the Egyptians coming to settle amongst them, brought it into vogue.
--That persons of quality and fortune distinguished themselves by the
fineness and whiteness of their clothes; which colour (next to purple,
which was appropriated to the great offices) they most affected, and wore
on their birth-days and public rejoicings.--That it appeared from the best
historians of those times, that they frequently sent their clothes to the
fuller, to be clean'd and whitened:--but that the inferior people, to avoid
that expence, generally wore brown clothes, and of a something coarser
texture,--till towards the beginning of Augustus's reign, when the slave
dressed like his master, and almost every distinction of habiliment was
lost, but the Latus Clavus.
And what was the Latus Clavus? said my father.
Rubenius told him, that the point was still litigating amongst the
learned:--That Egnatius, Sigonius, Bossius Ticinensis, Bayfius Budaeus,
Salmasius, Lipsius, Lazius, Isaac Casaubon, and Joseph Scaliger, all
differed from each other,--and he from them: That some took it to be the
button,--some the coat itself,--others only the colour of it;--That the
great Bayfuis in his Wardrobe of the Ancients, chap. 12--honestly said, he
knew not what it was,--whether a tibula,--a stud,--a button,--a loop,--a
buckle,--or clasps and keepers.--
--My father lost the horse, but not the saddle--They are hooks and eyes,
said my father--and with hooks and eyes he ordered my breeches to be made.
We are now going to enter upon a new scene of events.--
--Leave we then the breeches in the taylor's hands, with my father standing
over him with his cane, reading him as he sat at work a lecture upon the
latus clavus, and pointing to the precise part of the waistband, where he
was determined to have it sewed on.--
Leave we my mother--(truest of all the Poco-curante's of her sex!)--
careless about it, as about every thing else in the world which concerned
her;--that is,--indifferent whether it was done this way or that,--provided
it was but done at all.--
Leave we Slop likewise to the full profits of all my dishonours.--
Leave we poor Le Fever to recover, and get home from Marseilles as he can.-
-And last of all,--because the hardest of all--
Let us leave, if possible, myself:--But 'tis impossible,--I must go along
with you to the end of the work.
If the reader has not a clear conception of the rood and the half of ground
which lay at the bottom of my uncle Toby's kitchen-garden, and which was
the scene of so many of his delicious hours,--the fault is not in me,--but
in his imagination;--for I am sure I gave him so minute a description, I
was almost ashamed of it.
When Fate was looking forwards one afternoon, into the great transactions
of future times,--and recollected for what purposes this little plot, by a
decree fast bound down in iron, had been destined,--she gave a nod to
Nature,--'twas enough--Nature threw half a spade full of her kindliest
compost upon it, with just so much clay in it, as to retain the forms of
angles and indentings,--and so little of it too, as not to cling to the
spade, and render works of so much glory, nasty in foul weather.
My uncle Toby came down, as the reader has been informed, with plans along
with him, of almost every fortified town in Italy and Flanders; so let the
duke of Marlborough, or the allies, have set down before what town they
pleased, my uncle Toby was prepared for them.
His way, which was the simplest one in the world, was this; as soon as ever
a town was invested--(but sooner when the design was known) to take the
plan of it (let it be what town it would), and enlarge it upon a scale to
the exact size of his bowling-green; upon the surface of which, by means of
a large role of packthread, and a number of small piquets driven into the
ground, at the several angles and redans, he transferred the lines from his
paper; then taking the profile of the place, with its works, to determine
the depths and slopes of the ditches,--the talus of the glacis, and the
precise height of the several banquets, parapets, &c.--he set the corporal
to work--and sweetly went it on:--The nature of the soil,--the nature of
the work itself,--and above all, the good-nature of my uncle Toby sitting
by from morning to night, and chatting kindly with the corporal upon past-
done deeds,--left Labour little else but the ceremony of the name.
When the place was finished in this manner, and put into a proper posture
of defence,--it was invested,--and my uncle Toby and the corporal began to
run their first parallel.--I beg I may not be interrupted in my story, by
being told, That the first parallel should be at least three hundred toises
distant from the main body of the place,--and that I have not left a single
inch for it;--for my uncle Toby took the liberty of incroaching upon his
kitchen-garden, for the sake of enlarging his works on the bowling-green,
and for that reason generally ran his first and second parallels betwixt
two rows of his cabbages and his cauliflowers; the conveniences and
inconveniences of which will be considered at large in the history of my
uncle Toby's and the corporal's campaigns, of which, this I'm now writing
is but a sketch, and will be finished, if I conjecture right, in three
pages (but there is no guessing)--The campaigns themselves will take up as
many books; and therefore I apprehend it would be hanging too great a
weight of one kind of matter in so flimsy a performance as this, to
rhapsodize them, as I once intended, into the body of the work--surely they
had better be printed apart,--we'll consider the affair--so take the
following sketch of them in the mean time.
When the town, with its works, was finished, my uncle Toby and the corporal
began to run their first parallel--not at random, or any how--but from the
same points and distances the allies had begun to run theirs; and
regulating their approaches and attacks, by the accounts my uncle Toby
received from the daily papers,--they went on, during the whole siege, step
by step with the allies.
When the duke of Marlborough made a lodgment,--my uncle Toby made a
lodgment too.--And when the face of a bastion was battered down, or a
defence ruined,--the corporal took his mattock and did as much,--and so
on;--gaining ground, and making themselves masters of the works one after
another, till the town fell into their hands.
To one who took pleasure in the happy state of others,--there could not
have been a greater sight in world, than on a post morning, in which a
practicable breach had been made by the duke of Marlborough, in the main
body of the place,--to have stood behind the horn-beam hedge, and observed
the spirit with which my uncle Toby, with Trim behind him, sallied forth;--
the one with the Gazette in his hand,--the other with a spade on his
shoulder to execute the contents.--What an honest triumph in my uncle
Toby's looks as he marched up to the ramparts! What intense pleasure
swimming in his eye as he stood over the corporal, reading the paragraph
ten times over to him, as he was at work, lest, peradventure, he should
make the breach an inch too wide,--or leave it an inch too narrow.--But
when the chamade was beat, and the corporal helped my uncle up it, and
followed with the colours in his hand, to fix them upon the ramparts--
Heaven! Earth! Sea!--but what avails apostrophes?--with all your elements,
wet or dry, ye never compounded so intoxicating a draught.
In this track of happiness for many years, without one interruption to it,
except now and then when the wind continued to blow due west for a week or
ten days together, which detained the Flanders mail, and kept them so long
in torture,--but still 'twas the torture of the happy--In this track, I
say, did my uncle Toby and Trim move for many years, every year of which,
and sometimes every month, from the invention of either the one or the
other of them, adding some new conceit or quirk of improvement to their
operations, which always opened fresh springs of delight in carrying them
The first year's campaign was carried on from beginning to end, in the
plain and simple method I've related.
In the second year, in which my uncle Toby took Liege and Ruremond, he
thought he might afford the expence of four handsome draw-bridges; of two
of which I have given an exact description in the former part of my work.
At the latter end of the same year he added a couple of gates with port-
cullises:--These last were converted afterwards into orgues, as the better
thing; and during the winter of the same year, my uncle Toby, instead of a
new suit of clothes, which he always had at Christmas, treated himself with
a handsome sentry-box, to stand at the corner of the bowling-green, betwixt
which point and the foot of the glacis, there was left a little kind of an
esplanade for him and the corporal to confer and hold councils of war upon.
--The sentry-box was in case of rain.
All these were painted white three times over the ensuing spring, which
enabled my uncle Toby to take the field with great splendour.
My father would often say to Yorick, that if any mortal in the whole
universe had done such a thing except his brother Toby, it would have been
looked upon by the world as one of the most refined satires upon the parade
and prancing manner in which Lewis XIV. from the beginning of the war, but
particularly that very year, had taken the field--But 'tis not my brother
Toby's nature, kind soul! my father would add, to insult any one.
--But let us go on.
I must observe, that although in the first year's campaign, the word town
is often mentioned,--yet there was no town at that time within the polygon;
that addition was not made till the summer following the spring in which
the bridges and sentry-box were painted, which was the third year of my
uncle Toby's campaigns,--when upon his taking Amberg, Bonn, and Rhinberg,
and Huy and Limbourg, one after another, a thought came into the corporal's
head, that to talk of taking so many towns, without one Town to shew for
it,--was a very nonsensical way of going to work, and so proposed to my
uncle Toby, that they should have a little model of a town built for them,-
-to be run up together of slit deals, and then painted, and clapped within
the interior polygon to serve for all.
My uncle Toby felt the good of the project instantly, and instantly agreed
to it, but with the addition of two singular improvements, of which he was
almost as proud as if he had been the original inventor of the project
The one was, to have the town built exactly in the style of those of which
it was most likely to be the representative:--with grated windows, and the
gable ends of the houses, facing the streets, &c. &c.--as those in Ghent
and Bruges, and the rest of the towns in Brabant and Flanders.
The other was, not to have the houses run up together, as the corporal
proposed, but to have every house independent, to hook on, or off, so as to
form into the plan of whatever town they pleased. This was put directly
into hand, and many and many a look of mutual congratulation was exchanged
between my uncle Toby and the corporal, as the carpenter did the work.
--It answered prodigiously the next summer--the town was a perfect Proteus-
-It was Landen, and Trerebach, and Santvliet, and Drusen, and Hagenau,--and
then it was Ostend and Menin, and Aeth and Dendermond.
--Surely never did any Town act so many parts, since Sodom and Gomorrah, as
my uncle Toby's town did.
In the fourth year, my uncle Toby thinking a town looked foolishly without
a church, added a very fine one with a steeple.--Trim was for having bells
in it;--my uncle Toby said, the metal had better be cast into cannon.
This led the way the next campaign for half a dozen brass field-pieces, to
be planted three and three on each side of my uncle Toby's sentry-box; and
in a short time, these led the way for a train of somewhat larger,--and so
on--(as must always be the case in hobby-horsical affairs) from pieces of
half an inch bore, till it came at last to my father's jack boots.
The next year, which was that in which Lisle was besieged, and at the close
of which both Ghent and Bruges fell into our hands,--my uncle Toby was
sadly put to it for proper ammunition;--I say proper ammunition--because
his great artillery would not bear powder; and 'twas well for the Shandy
family they would not--For so full were the papers, from the beginning to
the end of the siege, of the incessant firings kept up by the besiegers,--
and so heated was my uncle Toby's imagination with the accounts of them,
that he had infallibly shot away all his estate.
Something therefore was wanting as a succedaneum, especially in one or two
of the more violent paroxysms of the siege, to keep up something like a
continual firing in the imagination,--and this something, the corporal,
whose principal strength lay in invention, supplied by an entire new system
of battering of his own,--without which, this had been objected to by
military critics, to the end of the world, as one of the great desiderata
of my uncle Toby's apparatus.
This will not be explained the worse, for setting off, as I generally do,
at a little distance from the subject.
With two or three other trinkets, small in themselves, but of great regard,
which poor Tom, the corporal's unfortunate brother, had sent him over, with
the account of his marriage with the Jew's widow--there was
A Montero-cap and two Turkish tobacco-pipes.
The Montero-cap I shall describe by and bye.--The Turkish tobacco-pipes had
nothing particular in them, they were fitted up and ornamented as usual,
with flexible tubes of Morocco leather and gold wire, and mounted at their
ends, the one of them with ivory,--the other with black ebony, tipp'd with
My father, who saw all things in lights different from the rest of the
world, would say to the corporal, that he ought to look upon these two
presents more as tokens of his brother's nicety, than his affection.--Tom
did not care, Trim, he would say, to put on the cap, or to smoke in the
tobacco-pipe of a Jew.--God bless your honour, the corporal would say
(giving a strong reason to the contrary)--how can that be?
The Montero-cap was scarlet, of a superfine Spanish cloth, dyed in grain,
and mounted all round with fur, except about four inches in the front,
which was faced with a light blue, slightly embroidered,--and seemed to
have been the property of a Portuguese quarter-master, not of foot, but of
horse, as the word denotes.
The corporal was not a little proud of it, as well for its own sake, as the
sake of the giver, so seldom or never put it on but upon Gala-days; and yet
never was a Montero-cap put to so many uses; for in all controverted
points, whether military or culinary, provided the corporal was sure he was
in the right,--it was either his oath,--his wager,--or his gift.
--'Twas his gift in the present case.
I'll be bound, said the corporal, speaking to himself, to give away my
Montero-cap to the first beggar who comes to the door, if I do not manage
this matter to his honour's satisfaction.
The completion was no further off, than the very next morning; which was
that of the storm of the counterscarp betwixt the Lower Deule, to the
right, and the gate St. Andrew,--and on the left, between St. Magdalen's
and the river.
As this was the most memorable attack in the whole war,--the most gallant
and obstinate on both sides,--and I must add the most bloody too, for it
cost the allies themselves that morning above eleven hundred men,--my uncle
Toby prepared himself for it with a more than ordinary solemnity.
The eve which preceded, as my uncle Toby went to bed, he ordered his
ramallie wig, which had laid inside out for many years in the corner of an
old campaigning trunk, which stood by his bedside, to be taken out and laid
upon the lid of it, ready for the morning;--and the very first thing he did
in his shirt, when he had stepped out of bed, my uncle Toby, after he had
turned the rough side outwards,--put it on:--This done, he proceeded next
to his breeches, and having buttoned the waist-band, he forthwith buckled
on his sword-belt, and had got his sword half way in,--when he considered
he should want shaving, and that it would be very inconvenient doing it
with his sword on,--so took it off:--In essaying to put on his regimental
coat and waistcoat, my uncle Toby found the same objection in his wig,--so
that went off too:--So that what with one thing and what with another, as
always falls out when a man is in the most haste,--'twas ten o'clock, which
was half an hour later than his usual time, before my uncle Toby sallied
My uncle Toby had scarce turned the corner of his yew hedge, which
separated his kitchen-garden from his bowling-green, when he perceived the
corporal had begun the attack without him.--
Let me stop and give you a picture of the corporal's apparatus; and of the
corporal himself in the height of his attack, just as it struck my uncle
Toby, as he turned towards the sentry-box, where the corporal was at work,-
-for in nature there is not such another,--nor can any combination of all
that is grotesque and whimsical in her works produce its equal.
--Tread lightly on his ashes, ye men of genius,--for he was your kinsman:
Weed his grave clean, ye men of goodness,--for he was your brother.--Oh
corporal! had I thee, but now,--now, that I am able to give thee a dinner
and protection,--how would I cherish thee! thou should'st wear thy Montero-
cap every hour of the day, and every day of the week.--and when it was worn
out, I would purchase thee a couple like it:--But alas! alas! alas! now
that I can do this in spite of their reverences--the occasion is lost--for
thou art gone;--thy genius fled up to the stars from whence it came;--and
that warm heart of thine, with all its generous and open vessels,
compressed into a clod of the valley!
--But what--what is this, to that future and dreaded page, where I look
towards the velvet pall, decorated with the military ensigns of thy master-
-the first--the foremost of created beings;--where, I shall see thee,
faithful servant! laying his sword and scabbard with a trembling hand
across his coffin, and then returning pale as ashes to the door, to take
his mourning horse by the bridle, to follow his hearse, as he directed
thee;--where--all my father's systems shall be baffled by his sorrows; and,
in spite of his philosophy, I shall behold him, as he inspects the lackered
plate, twice taking his spectacles from off his nose, to wipe away the dew
which nature has shed upon them--When I see him cast in the rosemary with
an air of disconsolation, which cries through my ears,--O Toby! in what
corner of the world shall I seek thy fellow?
--Gracious powers! which erst have opened the lips of the dumb in his
distress, and made the tongue of the stammerer speak plain--when I shall
arrive at this dreaded page, deal not with me, then, with a stinted hand.
The corporal, who the night before had resolved in his mind to supply the
grand desideratum, of keeping up something like an incessant firing upon
the enemy during the heat of the attack,--had no further idea in his fancy
at that time, than a contrivance of smoking tobacco against the town, out
of one of my uncle Toby's six field-pieces, which were planted on each side
of his sentry-box; the means of effecting which occurring to his fancy at
the same time, though he had pledged his cap, he thought it in no danger
from the miscarriage of his projects.
Upon turning it this way, and that, a little in his mind, he soon began to
find out, that by means of his two Turkish tobacco-pipes, with the
supplement of three smaller tubes of wash-leather at each of their lower
ends, to be tagg'd by the same number of tin-pipes fitted to the touch-
holes, and sealed with clay next the cannon, and then tied hermetically
with waxed silk at their several insertions into the Morocco tube,--he
should be able to fire the six field-pieces all together, and with the same
ease as to fire one.--
--Let no man say from what taggs and jaggs hints may not be cut out for the
advancement of human knowledge. Let no man, who has read my father's first
and second beds of justice, ever rise up and say again, from collision of
what kinds of bodies light may or may not be struck out, to carry the arts
and sciences up to perfection.--Heaven! thou knowest how I love them;--thou
knowest the secrets of my heart, and that I would this moment give my
shirt--Thou art a fool, Shandy, says Eugenius, for thou hast but a dozen in
the world,--and 'twill break thy set.--
No matter for that, Eugenius; I would give the shirt off my back to be
burnt into tinder, were it only to satisfy one feverish enquirer, how many
sparks at one good stroke, a good flint and steel could strike into the
tail of it.--Think ye not that in striking these in,--he might, per-
adventure, strike something out? as sure as a gun.--
--But this project, by the bye.
The corporal sat up the best part of the night, in bringing his to
perfection; and having made a sufficient proof of his cannon, with charging
them to the top with tobacco,--he went with contentment to bed.
The corporal had slipped out about ten minutes before my uncle Toby, in
order to fix his apparatus, and just give the enemy a shot or two before my
uncle Toby came.
He had drawn the six field-pieces for this end, all close up together in
front of my uncle Toby's sentry-box, leaving only an interval of about a
yard and a half betwixt the three, on the right and left, for the
convenience of charging, &c.--and the sake possibly of two batteries, which
he might think double the honour of one.
In the rear and facing this opening, with his back to the door of the
sentry-box, for fear of being flanked, had the corporal wisely taken his
post:--He held the ivory pipe, appertaining to the battery on the right,
betwixt the finger and thumb of his right hand,--and the ebony pipe tipp'd
with silver, which appertained to the battery on the left, betwixt the
finger and thumb of the other--and with his right knee fixed firm upon the
ground, as if in the front rank of his platoon, was the corporal, with his
Montero-cap upon his head, furiously playing off his two cross batteries at
the same time against the counter-guard, which faced the counterscarp,
where the attack was to be made that morning. His first intention, as I
said, was no more than giving the enemy a single puff or two;--but the
pleasure of the puffs, as well as the puffing, had insensibly got hold of
the corporal, and drawn him on from puff to puff, into the very height of
the attack, by the time my uncle Toby joined him.
'Twas well for my father, that my uncle Toby had not his will to make that
My uncle Toby took the ivory pipe out of the corporal's hand,--looked at it
for half a minute, and returned it.
In less than two minutes, my uncle Toby took the pipe from the corporal
again, and raised it half way to his mouth--then hastily gave it back a
The corporal redoubled the attack,--my uncle Toby smiled,--then looked
grave,--then smiled for a moment,--then looked serious for a long time;--
Give me hold of the ivory pipe, Trim, said my uncle Toby--my uncle Toby put
it to his lips,--drew it back directly,--gave a peep over the horn-beam
hedge;--never did my uncle Toby's mouth water so much for a pipe in his
life.--My uncle Toby retired into the sentry-box with the pipe in his
--Dear uncle Toby! don't go into the sentry-box with the pipe,--there's no
trusting a man's self with such a thing in such a corner.
I beg the reader will assist me here, to wheel off my uncle Toby's ordnance
behind the scenes,--to remove his sentry-box, and clear the theatre, if
possible, of horn-works and half moons, and get the rest of his military
apparatus out of the way;--that done, my dear friend Garrick, we'll snuff
the candles bright,--sweep the stage with a new broom,--draw up the
curtain, and exhibit my uncle Toby dressed in a new character, throughout
which the world can have no idea how he will act: and yet, if pity be a-
kin to love,--and bravery no alien to it, you have seen enough of my uncle
Toby in these, to trace these family likenesses, betwixt the two passions
(in case there is one) to your heart's content.
Vain science! thou assistest us in no case of this kind--and thou puzzlest
us in every one.
There was, Madam, in my uncle Toby, a singleness of heart which misled him
so far out of the little serpentine tracks in which things of this nature
usually go on; you can--you can have no conception of it: with this, there
was a plainness and simplicity of thinking, with such an unmistrusting
ignorance of the plies and foldings of the heart of woman;--and so naked
and defenceless did he stand before you, (when a siege was out of his
head,) that you might have stood behind any one of your serpentine walks,
and shot my uncle Toby ten times in a day, through his liver, if nine times
in a day, Madam, had not served your purpose.
With all this, Madam,--and what confounded every thing as much on the other
hand, my uncle Toby had that unparalleled modesty of nature I once told you
of, and which, by the bye, stood eternal sentry upon his feelings, that you
might as soon--But where am I going? these reflections crowd in upon me ten
pages at least too soon, and take up that time, which I ought to bestow
Of the few legitimate sons of Adam whose breasts never felt what the sting
of love was,--(maintaining first, all mysogynists to be bastards,)--the
greatest heroes of ancient and modern story have carried off amongst them
nine parts in ten of the honour; and I wish for their sakes I had the key
of my study, out of my draw-well, only for five minutes, to tell you their
names--recollect them I cannot--so be content to accept of these, for the
present, in their stead.
There was the great king Aldrovandus, and Bosphorus, and Cappadocius, and
Dardanus, and Pontus, and Asius,--to say nothing of the iron-hearted
Charles the XIIth, whom the Countess of K..... herself could make nothing
of.--There was Babylonicus, and Mediterraneus, and Polixenes, and Persicus,
and Prusicus, not one of whom (except Cappadocius and Pontus, who were both
a little suspected) ever once bowed down his breast to the goddess--The
truth is, they had all of them something else to do--and so had my uncle
Toby--till Fate--till Fate I say, envying his name the glory of being
handed down to posterity with Aldrovandus's and the rest,--she basely
patched up the peace of Utrecht.
--Believe me, Sirs, 'twas the worst deed she did that year.
Amongst the many ill consequences of the treaty of Utrecht, it was within a
point of giving my uncle Toby a surfeit of sieges; and though he recovered
his appetite afterwards, yet Calais itself left not a deeper scar in Mary's
heart, than Utrecht upon my uncle Toby's. To the end of his life he never
could hear Utrecht mentioned upon any account whatever,--or so much as read
an article of news extracted out of the Utrecht Gazette, without fetching a
sigh, as if his heart would break in twain.
My father, who was a great Motive-Monger, and consequently a very dangerous
person for a man to sit by, either laughing or crying,--for he generally
knew your motive for doing both, much better than you knew it yourself--
would always console my uncle Toby upon these occasions, in a way, which
shewed plainly, he imagined my uncle Toby grieved for nothing in the whole
affair, so much as the loss of his hobby-horse.--Never mind, brother Toby,
he would say,--by God's blessing we shall have another war break out again
some of these days; and when it does,--the belligerent powers, if they
would hang themselves, cannot keep us out of play.--I defy 'em, my dear
Toby, he would add, to take countries without taking towns,--or towns
My uncle Toby never took this back-stroke of my father's at his hobby-horse
kindly.--He thought the stroke ungenerous; and the more so, because in
striking the horse he hit the rider too, and in the most dishonourable part
a blow could fall; so that upon these occasions, he always laid down his
pipe upon the table with more fire to defend himself than common.
I told the reader, this time two years, that my uncle Toby was not
eloquent; and in the very same page gave an instance to the contrary:--I
repeat the observation, and a fact which contradicts it again.--He was not
eloquent,--it was not easy to my uncle Toby to make long harangues,--and he
hated florid ones; but there were occasions where the stream overflowed the
man, and ran so counter to its usual course, that in some parts my uncle
Toby, for a time, was at least equal to Tertullus--but in others, in my own
opinion, infinitely above him.
My father was so highly pleased with one of these apologetical orations of
my uncle Toby's, which he had delivered one evening before him and Yorick,
that he wrote it down before he went to bed.
I have had the good fortune to meet with it amongst my father's papers,
with here and there an insertion of his own, betwixt two crooks, thus (. .
.), and is endorsed,
My Brother Toby's Justification of His Own Principles and Conduct in
Wishing to Continue the War.
I may safely say, I have read over this apologetical oration of my uncle
Toby's a hundred times, and think it so fine a model of defence,--and shews
so sweet a temperament of gallantry and good principles in him, that I give
it the world, word for word (interlineations and all), as I find it.
My Uncle Toby's Apologetical Oration.
I am not insensible, brother Shandy, that when a man whose profession is
arms, wishes, as I have done, for war,--it has an ill aspect to the world;-
-and that, how just and right soever his motives the intentions may be,--he
stands in an uneasy posture in vindicating himself from private views in
For this cause, if a soldier is a prudent man, which he may be without
being a jot the less brave, he will be sure not to utter his wish in the
hearing of an enemy; for say what he will, an enemy will not believe him.--
He will be cautious of doing it even to a friend,--lest he may suffer in
his esteem:--But if his heart is overcharged, and a secret sigh for arms
must have its vent, he will reserve it for the ear of a brother, who knows
his character to the bottom, and what his true notions, dispositions, and
principles of honour are: What, I hope, I have been in all these, brother
Shandy, would be unbecoming in me to say:--much worse, I know, have I been
than I ought,--and something worse, perhaps, than I think: But such as I
am, you, my dear brother Shandy, who have sucked the same breasts with me,-
-and with whom I have been brought up from my cradle,--and from whose
knowledge, from the first hours of our boyish pastimes, down to this, I
have concealed no one action of my life, and scarce a thought in it--Such
as I am, brother, you must by this time know me, with all my vices, and
with all my weaknesses too, whether of my age, my temper, my passions, or
Tell me then, my dear brother Shandy, upon which of them it is, that when I
condemned the peace of Utrecht, and grieved the war was not carried on with
vigour a little longer, you should think your brother did it upon unworthy
views; or that in wishing for war, he should be bad enough to wish more of
his fellow-creatures slain,--more slaves made, and more families driven
from their peaceful habitations, merely for his own pleasure:--Tell me,
brother Shandy, upon what one deed of mine do you ground it? (The devil a
deed do I know of, dear Toby, but one for a hundred pounds, which I lent
thee to carry on these cursed sieges.)
If, when I was a school-boy, I could not hear a drum beat, but my heart
beat with it--was it my fault?--Did I plant the propensity there?--Did I
sound the alarm within, or Nature?
When Guy, Earl of Warwick, and Parismus and Parismenus, and Valentine and
Orson, and the Seven Champions of England, were handed around the school,--
were they not all purchased with my own pocket-money? Was that selfish,
brother Shandy? When we read over the siege of Troy, which lasted ten
years and eight months,--though with such a train of artillery as we had at
Namur, the town might have been carried in a week--was I not as much
concerned for the destruction of the Greeks and Trojans as any boy of the
whole school? Had I not three strokes of a ferula given me, two on my
right hand, and one on my left, for calling Helena a bitch for it? Did any
one of you shed more tears for Hector? And when king Priam came to the
camp to beg his body, and returned weeping back to Troy without it,--you
know, brother, I could not eat my dinner.--
--Did that bespeak me cruel? Or because, brother Shandy, my blood flew out
into the camp, and my heart panted for war,--was it a proof it could not
ache for the distresses of war too?
O brother! 'tis one thing for a soldier to gather laurels,--and 'tis
another to scatter cypress.--(Who told thee, my dear Toby, that cypress was
used by the antients on mournful occasions?)
--'Tis one thing, brother Shandy, for a soldier to hazard his own life--to
leap first down into the trench, where he is sure to be cut in pieces:--
'Tis one thing, from public spirit and a thirst of glory, to enter the
breach the first man,--to stand in the foremost rank, and march bravely on
with drums and trumpets, and colours flying about his ears:--'Tis one
thing, I say, brother Shandy, to do this,--and 'tis another thing to
reflect on the miseries of war;--to view the desolations of whole
countries, and consider the intolerable fatigues and hardships which the
soldier himself, the instrument who works them, is forced (for sixpence a
day, if he can get it) to undergo.
Need I be told, dear Yorick, as I was by you, in Le Fever's funeral sermon,
That so soft and gentle a creature, born to love, to mercy, and kindness,
as man is, was not shaped for this?--But why did you not add, Yorick,--if
not by Nature--that he is so by Necessity?--For what is war? what is it,
Yorick, when fought as ours has been, upon principles of liberty, and upon
principles of honour--what is it, but the getting together of quiet and
harmless people, with their swords in their hands, to keep the ambitious
and the turbulent within bounds? And heaven is my witness, brother Shandy,
that the pleasure I have taken in these things,--and that infinite delight,
in particular, which has attended my sieges in my bowling-green, has arose
within me, and I hope in the corporal too, from the consciousness we both
had, that in carrying them on, we were answering the great ends of our
I told the Christian reader--I say Christian--hoping he is one--and if he
is not, I am sorry for it--and only beg he will consider the matter with
himself, and not lay the blame entirely upon this book--
I told him, Sir--for in good truth, when a man is telling a story in the
strange way I do mine, he is obliged continually to be going backwards and
forwards to keep all tight together in the reader's fancy--which, for my
own part, if I did not take heed to do more than at first, there is so much
unfixed and equivocal matter starting up, with so many breaks and gaps in
it,--and so little service do the stars afford, which, nevertheless, I hang
up in some of the darkest passages, knowing that the world is apt to lose
its way, with all the lights the sun itself at noon-day can give it--and
now you see, I am lost myself!--
--But 'tis my father's fault; and whenever my brains come to be dissected,
you will perceive, without spectacles, that he has left a large uneven
thread, as you sometimes see in an unsaleable piece of cambrick, running
along the whole length of the web, and so untowardly, you cannot so much as
cut out a. . ., (here I hang up a couple of lights again)--or a fillet, or
a thumb-stall, but it is seen or felt.--
Quanto id diligentias in liberis procreandis cavendum, sayeth Cardan. All
which being considered, and that you see 'tis morally impracticable for me
to wind this round to where I set out--
I begin the chapter over again.
I told the Christian reader in the beginning of the chapter which preceded
my uncle Toby's apologetical oration,--though in a different trope from
what I should make use of now, That the peace of Utrecht was within an ace
of creating the same shyness betwixt my uncle Toby and his hobby-horse, as
it did betwixt the queen and the rest of the confederating powers.
There is an indignant way in which a man sometimes dismounts his horse,
which, as good as says to him, 'I'll go afoot, Sir, all the days of my life
before I would ride a single mile upon your back again.' Now my uncle Toby
could not be said to dismount his horse in this manner; for in strictness
of language, he could not be said to dismount his horse at all--his horse
rather flung him--and somewhat viciously, which made my uncle Toby take it
ten times more unkindly. Let this matter be settled by state-jockies as
they like.--It created, I say, a sort of shyness betwixt my uncle Toby and
his hobby-horse.--He had no occasion for him from the month of March to
November, which was the summer after the articles were signed, except it
was now and then to take a short ride out, just to see that the
fortifications and harbour of Dunkirk were demolished, according to
The French were so backwards all that summer in setting about that affair,
and Monsieur Tugghe, the deputy from the magistrates of Dunkirk, presented
so many affecting petitions to the queen,--beseeching her majesty to cause
only her thunderbolts to fall upon the martial works, which might have
incurred her displeasure,--but to spare--to spare the mole, for the mole's
sake; which, in its naked situation, could be no more than an object of
pity--and the queen (who was but a woman) being of a pitiful disposition,--
and her ministers also, they not wishing in their hearts to have the town
dismantled, for these private reasons,. . .--. . .; so that the whole went
heavily on with my uncle Toby; insomuch, that it was not within three full
months, after he and the corporal had constructed the town, and put it in a
condition to be destroyed, that the several commandants, commissaries,
deputies, negociators, and intendants, would permit him to set about it.--
Fatal interval of inactivity!
The corporal was for beginning the demolition, by making a breach in the
ramparts, or main fortifications of the town--No,--that will never do,
corporal, said my uncle Toby, for in going that way to work with the town,
the English garrison will not be safe in it an hour; because if the French
are treacherous--They are as treacherous as devils, an' please your honour,
said the corporal--It gives me concern always when I hear it, Trim, said my
uncle Toby;--for they don't want personal bravery; and if a breach is made
in the ramparts, they may enter it, and make themselves masters of the
place when they please:--Let them enter it, said the corporal, lifting up
his pioneer's spade in both his hands, as if he was going to lay about him
with it,--let them enter, an' please your honour, if they dare.--In cases
like this, corporal, said my uncle Toby, slipping his right hand down to
the middle of his cane, and holding it afterwards truncheon-wise with his
fore-finger extended,--'tis no part of the consideration of a commandant,
what the enemy dare,--or what they dare not do; he must act with prudence.
We will begin with the outworks both towards the sea and the land, and
particularly with fort Louis, the most distant of them all, and demolish it
first,--and the rest, one by one, both on our right and left, as we retreat
towards the town;--then we'll demolish the mole,--next fill up the
harbour,--then retire into the citadel, and blow it up into the air: and
having done that, corporal, we'll embark for England.--We are there, quoth
the corporal, recollecting himself--Very true, said my uncle Toby--looking
at the church.
A delusive, delicious consultation or two of this kind, betwixt my uncle
Toby and Trim, upon the demolition of Dunkirk,--for a moment rallied back
the ideas of those pleasures, which were slipping from under him:--still--
still all went on heavily--the magic left the mind the weaker--Stillness,
with Silence at her back, entered the solitary parlour, and drew their
gauzy mantle over my uncle Toby's head;--and Listlessness, with her lax
fibre and undirected eye, sat quietly down beside him in his arm-chair.--No
longer Amberg and Rhinberg, and Limbourg, and Huy, and Bonn, in one year,--
and the prospect of Landen, and Trerebach, and Drusen, and Dendermond, the
next,--hurried on the blood:--No longer did saps, and mines, and blinds,
and gabions, and palisadoes, keep out this fair enemy of man's repose:--No
more could my uncle Toby, after passing the French lines, as he eat his egg
at supper, from thence break into the heart of France,--cross over the
Oyes, and with all Picardie open behind him, march up to the gates of
Paris, and fall asleep with nothing but ideas of glory:--No more was he to
dream, he had fixed the royal standard upon the tower of the Bastile, and
awake with it streaming in his head.
--Softer visions,--gentler vibrations stole sweetly in upon his slumbers;--
the trumpet of war fell out of his hands,--he took up the lute, sweet
instrument! of all others the most delicate! the most difficult!--how wilt
thou touch it, my dear uncle Toby?
Now, because I have once or twice said, in my inconsiderate way of talking,
That I was confident the following memoirs of my uncle Toby's courtship of
widow Wadman, whenever I got time to write them, would turn out one of the
most complete systems, both of the elementary and practical part of love
and love-making, that ever was addressed to the world--are you to imagine
from thence, that I shall set out with a description of what love is?
whether part God and part Devil, as Plotinus will have it--
--Or by a more critical equation, and supposing the whole of love to be as
ten--to determine with Ficinus, 'How many parts of it--the one,--and how
many the other;'--or whether it is all of it one great Devil, from head to
tail, as Plato has taken upon him to pronounce; concerning which conceit of
his, I shall not offer my opinion:--but my opinion of Plato is this; that
he appears, from this instance, to have been a man of much the same temper
and way of reasoning with doctor Baynyard, who being a great enemy to
blisters, as imagining that half a dozen of 'em at once, would draw a man
as surely to his grave, as a herse and six--rashly concluded, that the
Devil himself was nothing in the world, but one great bouncing
I have nothing to say to people who allow themselves this monstrous liberty
in arguing, but what Nazianzen cried out (that is, polemically) to
'(Greek)!' O rare! 'tis fine reasoning, Sir indeed!--'(Greek)' and most
nobly do you aim at truth, when you philosophize about it in your moods and
Nor is it to be imagined, for the same reason, I should stop to inquire,
whether love is a disease,--or embroil myself with Rhasis and Dioscorides,
whether the seat of it is in the brain or liver;--because this would lead
me on, to an examination of the two very opposite manners, in which
patients have been treated--the one, of Aoetius, who always begun with a
cooling clyster of hempseed and bruised cucumbers;--and followed on with
thin potations of water-lilies and purslane--to which he added a pinch of
snuff, of the herb Hanea;--and where Aoetius durst venture it,--his topaz-
--The other, that of Gordonius, who (in his cap. 15. de Amore) directs they
should be thrashed, 'ad putorem usque,'--till they stink again.
These are disquisitions which my father, who had laid in a great stock of
knowledge of this kind, will be very busy with in the progress of my uncle
Toby's affairs: I must anticipate thus much, That from his theories of
love, (with which, by the way, he contrived to crucify my uncle Toby's
mind, almost as much as his amours themselves,)--he took a single step into
practice;--and by means of a camphorated cerecloth, which he found means to
impose upon the taylor for buckram, whilst he was making my uncle Toby a
new pair of breeches, he produced Gordonius's effect upon my uncle Toby
without the disgrace.
What changes this produced, will be read in its proper place: all that is
needful to be added to the anecdote, is this--That whatever effect it had
upon my uncle Toby,--it had a vile effect upon the house;--and if my uncle
Toby had not smoaked it down as he did, it might have had a vile effect
upon my father too.
--'Twill come out of itself by and bye.--All I contend for is, that I am
not obliged to set out with a definition of what love is; and so long as I
can go on with my story intelligibly, with the help of the word itself,
without any other idea to it, than what I have in common with the rest of
the world, why should I differ from it a moment before the time?--When I
can get on no further,--and find myself entangled on all sides of this
mystic labyrinth,--my Opinion will then come in, in course,--and lead me
At present, I hope I shall be sufficiently understood, in telling the
reader, my uncle Toby fell in love:
--Not that the phrase is at all to my liking: for to say a man is fallen in
love,--or that he is deeply in love,--or up to the ears in love,--and
sometimes even over head and ears in it,--carries an idiomatical kind of
implication, that love is a thing below a man:--this is recurring again to
Plato's opinion, which, with all his divinityship,--I hold to be damnable
and heretical:--and so much for that.
Let love therefore be what it will,--my uncle Toby fell into it.
--And possibly, gentle reader, with such a temptation--so wouldst thou:
For never did thy eyes behold, or thy concupiscence covet any thing in this
world, more concupiscible than widow Wadman.
To conceive this right,--call for pen and ink--here's paper ready to your
hand.--Sit down, Sir, paint her to your own mind--as like your mistress as
you can--as unlike your wife as your conscience will let you--'tis all one
to me--please but your own fancy in it.
--Was ever any thing in Nature so sweet!--so exquisite!
--Then, dear Sir, how could my uncle Toby resist it?
Thrice happy book! thou wilt have one page, at least, within thy covers,
which Malice will not blacken, and which Ignorance cannot misrepresent.
As Susannah was informed by an express from Mrs. Bridget, of my uncle
Toby's falling in love with her mistress fifteen days before it happened,--
the contents of which express, Susannah communicated to my mother the next
day,--it has just given me an opportunity of entering upon my uncle Toby's
amours a fortnight before their existence.
I have an article of news to tell you, Mr. Shandy, quoth my mother, which
will surprise you greatly.--
Now my father was then holding one of his second beds of justice, and was
musing within himself about the hardships of matrimony, as my mother broke
'--My brother Toby,' quoth she, 'is going to be married to Mrs. Wadman.'
--Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed
again as long as he lives.
It was a consuming vexation to my father, that my mother never asked the
meaning of a thing she did not understand.
--That she is not a woman of science, my father would say--is her
misfortune--but she might ask a question.--
My mother never did.--In short, she went out of the world at last without
knowing whether it turned round, or stood still.--My father had officiously
told her above a thousand times which way it was,--but she always forgot.
For these reasons, a discourse seldom went on much further betwixt them,
than a proposition,--a reply, and a rejoinder; at the end of which, it
generally took breath for a few minutes (as in the affair of the breeches),
and then went on again.
If he marries, 'twill be the worse for us,--quoth my mother.
Not a cherry-stone, said my father,--he may as well batter away his means
upon that, as any thing else,
--To be sure, said my mother: so here ended the proposition--the reply,--
and the rejoinder, I told you of.
It will be some amusement to him, too,--said my father.
A very great one, answered my mother, if he should have children.--
--Lord have mercy upon me,--said my father to himself--. . ..
I am now beginning to get fairly into my work; and by the help of a
vegetable diet, with a few of the cold seeds, I make no doubt but I shall
be able to go on with my uncle Toby's story, and my own, in a tolerable
straight line. Now,
(four very squiggly lines across the page signed Inv.T.S and Scw.T.S)
These were the four lines I moved in through my first, second, third, and
fourth volumes (Alluding to the first edition.)--In the fifth volume I have
been very good,--the precise line I have described in it being this:
(one very squiggly line across the page with loops marked A,B,C,C,C,C,C,D)
By which it appears, that except at the curve, marked A. where I took a
trip to Navarre,--and the indented curve B. which is the short airing when
I was there with the Lady Baussiere and her page,--I have not taken the
least frisk of a digression, till John de la Casse's devils led me the
round you see marked D.--for as for C C C C C they are nothing but
parentheses, and the common ins and outs incident to the lives of the
greatest ministers of state; and when compared with what men have done,--or
with my own transgressions at the letters ABD--they vanish into nothing.
In this last volume I have done better still--for from the end of Le
Fever's episode, to the beginning of my uncle Toby's campaigns,--I have
scarce stepped a yard out of my way.
If I mend at this rate, it is not impossible--by the good leave of his
grace of Benevento's devils--but I may arrive hereafter at the excellency
of going on even thus:
(straight line across the page)
which is a line drawn as straight as I could draw it, by a writing-master's
ruler (borrowed for that purpose), turning neither to the right hand or to
This right line,--the path-way for Christians to walk in! say divines--
--The emblem of moral rectitude! says Cicero--
--The best line! say cabbage planters--is the shortest line, says
Archimedes, which can be drawn from one given point to another.--
I wish your ladyships would lay this matter to heart, in your next birth-
--What a journey!
Pray can you tell me,--that is, without anger, before I write my chapter
upon straight lines--by what mistake--who told them so--or how it has come
to pass, that your men of wit and genius have all along confounded this
line, with the line of Gravitation?
No--I think, I said, I would write two volumes every year, provided the
vile cough which then tormented me, and which to this hour I dread worse
than the devil, would but give me leave--and in another place--(but where,
I can't recollect now) speaking of my book as a machine, and laying my pen
and ruler down cross-wise upon the table, in order to gain the greater
credit to it--I swore it should be kept a going at that rate these forty
years, if it pleased but the fountain of life to bless me so long with
health and good spirits.
Now as for my spirits, little have I to lay to their charge--nay so very
little (unless the mounting me upon a long stick and playing the fool with
me nineteen hours out of the twenty-four, be accusations) that on the
contrary, I have much--much to thank 'em for: cheerily have ye made me
tread the path of life with all the burthens of it (except its cares) upon
my back; in no one moment of my existence, that I remember, have ye once
deserted me, or tinged the objects which came in my way, either with sable,
or with a sickly green; in dangers ye gilded my horizon with hope, and when
Death himself knocked at my door--ye bad him come again; and in so gay a
tone of careless indifference, did ye do it, that he doubted of his
'--There must certainly be some mistake in this matter,' quoth he.
Now there is nothing in this world I abominate worse, than to be
interrupted in a story--and I was that moment telling Eugenius a most
tawdry one in my way, of a nun who fancied herself a shell-fish, and of a
monk damn'd for eating a muscle, and was shewing him the grounds and
justice of the procedure--
'--Did ever so grave a personage get into so vile a scrape?' quoth Death.
Thou hast had a narrow escape, Tristram, said Eugenius, taking hold of my
hand as I finished my story--
But there is no living, Eugenius, replied I, at this rate; for as this son
of a whore has found out my lodgings--
--You call him rightly, said Eugenius,--for by sin, we are told, he enter'd
the world--I care not which way he enter'd, quoth I, provided he be not in
such a hurry to take me out with him--for I have forty volumes to write,
and forty thousand things to say and do which no body in the world will say
and do for me, except thyself; and as thou seest he has got me by the
throat (for Eugenius could scarce hear me speak across the table), and that
I am no match for him in the open field, had I not better, whilst these few
scatter'd spirits remain, and these two spider legs of mine (holding one of
them up to him) are able to support me--had I not better, Eugenius, fly for
my life? 'Tis my advice, my dear Tristram, said Eugenius--Then by heaven!
I will lead him a dance he little thinks of--for I will gallop, quoth I,
without looking once behind me, to the banks of the Garonne; and if I hear
him clattering at my heels--I'll scamper away to mount Vesuvius--from
thence to Joppa, and from Joppa to the world's end; where, if he follows
me, I pray God he may break his neck--
--He runs more risk there, said Eugenius, than thou.
Eugenius's wit and affection brought blood into the cheek from whence it
had been some months banish'd--'twas a vile moment to bid adieu in; he led
me to my chaise--Allons! said I; the post-boy gave a crack with his whip--
off I went like a cannon, and in half a dozen bounds got into Dover.
Now hang it! quoth I, as I look'd towards the French coast--a man should
know something of his own country too, before he goes abroad--and I never
gave a peep into Rochester church, or took notice of the dock of Chatham,
or visited St. Thomas at Canterbury, though they all three laid in my way--
--But mine, indeed, is a particular case--
So without arguing the matter further with Thomas o'Becket, or any one
else--I skip'd into the boat, and in five minutes we got under sail, and
scudded away like the wind.
Pray, captain, quoth I, as I was going down into the cabin, is a man never
overtaken by Death in this passage?
Why, there is not time for a man to be sick in it, replied he--What a
cursed lyar! for I am sick as a horse, quoth I, already--what a brain!--
upside down!--hey-day! the cells are broke loose one into another, and the
blood, and the lymph, and the nervous juices, with the fix'd and volatile
salts, are all jumbled into one mass--good G..! every thing turns round in
it like a thousand whirlpools--I'd give a shilling to know if I shan't
write the clearer for it--
Sick! sick! sick! sick!--
--When shall we get to land? captain--they have hearts like stones--O I am
deadly sick!--reach me that thing, boy--'tis the most discomfiting
sickness--I wish I was at the bottom--Madam! how is it with you? Undone!
undone! un. . .--O! undone! sir--What the first time?--No, 'tis the second,
third, sixth, tenth time, sir,--hey-day!--what a trampling over head!--
hollo! cabin boy! what's the matter?
The wind chopp'd about! s'Death--then I shall meet him full in the face.
What luck!--'tis chopp'd about again, master--O the devil chop it--
Captain, quoth she, for heaven's sake, let us get ashore.
It is a great inconvenience to a man in a haste, that there are three
distinct roads between Calais and Paris, in behalf of which there is so
much to be said by the several deputies from the towns which lie along
them, that half a day is easily lost in settling which you'll take.
First, the road by Lisle and Arras, which is the most about--but most
interesting, and instructing.
The second, that by Amiens, which you may go, if you would see Chantilly--
And that by Beauvais, which you may go, if you will.
For this reason a great many chuse to go by Beauvais.
'Now before I quit Calais,' a travel-writer would say, 'it would not be
amiss to give some account of it.'--Now I think it very much amiss--that a
man cannot go quietly through a town and let it alone, when it does not
meddle with him, but that he must be turning about and drawing his pen at
every kennel he crosses over, merely o' my conscience for the sake of
drawing it; because, if we may judge from what has been wrote of these
things, by all who have wrote and gallop'd--or who have gallop'd and wrote,
which is a different way still; or who, for more expedition than the rest,
have wrote galloping, which is the way I do at present--from the great
Addison, who did it with his satchel of school books hanging at his a. . .,
and galling his beast's crupper at every stroke--there is not a gallopper
of us all who might not have gone on ambling quietly in his own ground (in
case he had any), and have wrote all he had to write, dry-shod, as well as
For my own part, as heaven is my judge, and to which I shall ever make my
last appeal--I know no more of Calais (except the little my barber told me
of it as he was whetting his razor) than I do this moment of Grand Cairo;
for it was dusky in the evening when I landed, and dark as pitch in the
morning when I set out, and yet by merely knowing what is what, and by
drawing this from that in one part of the town, and by spelling and putting
this and that together in another--I would lay any travelling odds, that I
this moment write a chapter upon Calais as long as my arm; and with so
distinct and satisfactory a detail of every item, which is worth a
stranger's curiosity in the town--that you would take me for the town-clerk
of Calais itself--and where, sir, would be the wonder? was not Democritus,
who laughed ten times more than I--town-clerk of Abdera? and was not (I
forget his name) who had more discretion than us both, town-clerk of
Ephesus?--it should be penn'd moreover, sir, with so much knowledge and
good sense, and truth, and precision--
--Nay--if you don't believe me, you may read the chapter for your pains.
Calais, Calatium, Calusium, Calesium.
This town, if we may trust its archives, the authority of which I see no
reason to call in question in this place--was once no more than a small
village belonging to one of the first Counts de Guignes; and as it boasts
at present of no less than fourteen thousand inhabitants, exclusive of four
hundred and twenty distinct families in the basse ville, or suburbs--it
must have grown up by little and little, I suppose, to its present size.
Though there are four convents, there is but one parochial church in the
whole town; I had not an opportunity of taking its exact dimensions, but it
is pretty easy to make a tolerable conjecture of 'em--for as there are
fourteen thousand inhabitants in the town, if the church holds them all it
must be considerably large--and if it will not--'tis a very great pity they
have not another--it is built in form of a cross, and dedicated to the
Virgin Mary; the steeple, which has a spire to it, is placed in the middle
of the church, and stands upon four pillars elegant and light enough, but
sufficiently strong at the same time--it is decorated with eleven altars,
most of which are rather fine than beautiful. The great altar is a master-
piece in its kind; 'tis of white marble, and, as I was told, near sixty
feet high--had it been much higher, it had been as high as mount Calvary
itself--therefore, I suppose it must be high enough in all conscience.
There was nothing struck me more than the great Square; tho' I cannot say
'tis either well paved or well built; but 'tis in the heart of the town,
and most of the streets, especially those in that quarter, all terminate in
it; could there have been a fountain in all Calais, which it seems there
cannot, as such an object would have been a great ornament, it is not to be
doubted, but that the inhabitants would have had it in the very centre of
this square,--not that it is properly a square,--because 'tis forty feet
longer from east to west, than from north to south; so that the French in
general have more reason on their side in calling them Places than Squares,
which, strictly speaking, to be sure, they are not.
The town-house seems to be but a sorry building, and not to be kept in the
best repair; otherwise it had been a second great ornament to this place;
it answers however its destination, and serves very well for the reception
of the magistrates, who assemble in it from time to time; so that 'tis
presumable, justice is regularly distributed.
I have heard much of it, but there is nothing at all curious in the
Courgain; 'tis a distinct quarter of the town, inhabited solely by sailors
and fishermen; it consists of a number of small streets, neatly built and
mostly of brick; 'tis extremely populous, but as that may be accounted for,
from the principles of their diet,--there is nothing curious in that
neither.--A traveller may see it to satisfy himself--he must not omit
however taking notice of La Tour de Guet, upon any account; 'tis so called
from its particular destination, because in war it serves to discover and
give notice of the enemies which approach the place, either by sea or
land;--but 'tis monstrous high, and catches the eye so continually, you
cannot avoid taking notice of it if you would.
It was a singular disappointment to me, that I could not have permission to
take an exact survey of the fortifications, which are the strongest in the
world, and which, from first to last, that is, for the time they were set
about by Philip of France, Count of Bologne, to the present war, wherein
many reparations were made, have cost (as I learned afterwards from an
engineer in Gascony)--above a hundred millions of livres. It is very
remarkable, that at the Tete de Gravelenes, and where the town is naturally
the weakest, they have expended the most money; so that the outworks
stretch a great way into the campaign, and consequently occupy a large
tract of ground--However, after all that is said and done, it must be
acknowledged that Calais was never upon any account so considerable from
itself, as from its situation, and that easy entrance which it gave our