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I hope not, said Trim. I heard the letter read with my own ears, answered Obadiah; and we shall have a terrible piece of work of it in stubbing the ox-moor. I lament for him from my heart and my soul, said Trim, fetching a sigh. Are we not here now, continued the corporal striking the end of his stick perpendicularly upon the floor, so as to give an idea of health and stability --and are we not-- dropping his hat upon the ground gone!
Susannah burst into a flood of tears. Now, as I perceive plainly, that the preservation of our constitution in church and state,--and possibly the preservation of the whole world--or what is the same thing, the distribution and balance of its property and power, may in time to come depend greatly upon the right understanding of this stroke of the corporal's eloquence--I do demand your attention--your worships and reverences, for any ten pages together, take them where you will in any other part of the work, shall sleep for it at your ease.
I said, 'we were not stocks and stones'--'tis very well. I should have added, nor are we angels, I wish we were,--but men clothed with bodies, and governed by our imaginations;--and what a junketing piece of work of it there is, betwixt these and our seven senses, especially some of them, for my own part, I own it, I am ashamed to confess. Let it suffice to affirm, that of all the senses, the eye for I absolutely deny the touch, though most of your Barbati, I know, are for it has the quickest commerce with the soul,--gives a smarter stroke, and leaves something more inexpressible upon the fancy, than words can either convey--or sometimes get rid of.
Now--Ten thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand for matter and motion are infinite are the ways by which a hat may be dropped upon the ground, without any effect. Ye who govern this mighty world and its mighty concerns with the engines of eloquence,--who heat it, and cool it, and melt it, and mollify it,--and then harden it again to your purpose Ye who wind and turn the passions with this great windlass, and, having done it, lead the owners of them, whither ye think meet. Ye, lastly, who drive--and why not, Ye also who are driven, like turkeys to market with a stick and a red clout--meditate--meditate, I beseech you, upon Trim's hat.
Stay--I have a small account to settle with the reader before Trim can go on with his harangue. Amongst many other book-debts, all of which I shall discharge in due time,- -I own myself a debtor to the world for two items,--a chapter upon chamber- maids and button-holes, which, in the former part of my work, I promised and fully intended to pay off this year: but some of your worships and reverences telling me, that the two subjects, especially so connected together, might endanger the morals of the world,--I pray the chapter upon chamber-maids and button-holes may be forgiven me,--and that they will accept of the last chapter in lieu of it; which is nothing, an't please your reverences, but a chapter of chamber-maids, green gowns, and old hats.
Trim took his hat off the ground,--put it upon his head,--and then went on with his oration upon death, in manner and form following. Susannah laid her hand upon Trim's shoulder --but corruption? Now I love you for this--and 'tis this delicious mixture within you which makes you dear creatures what you are--and he who hates you for it--all I can say of the matter is--That he has either a pumpkin for his head--or a pippin for his heart,--and whenever he is dissected 'twill be found so. Whether Susannah, by taking her hand too suddenly from off the corporal's shoulder by the whisking about of her passions --broke a little the chain of his reflexions Or whether the corporal began to be suspicious, he had got into the doctor's quarters, and was talking more like the chaplain than himself Or whether.
Or whether--for in all such cases a man of invention and parts may with pleasure fill a couple of pages with suppositions--which of all these was the cause, let the curious physiologist, or the curious any body determine--'tis certain, at least, the corporal went on thus with his harangue. For my own part, I declare it, that out of doors, I value not death at allnot this.
A pull of a trigger--a push of a bayonet an inch this way or that--makes the difference. Jack's down! Then Jack's no worse. An' please your honour, do not sigh so piteously, I would say to him as I laid besides him. I cannot help it, Trim, my master would say,-- 'tis so melancholy an accident--I cannot get it off my heart. I like to hear Trim's stories about the captain, said Susannah. He is a friend and a brother to me,--and could I be sure my poor brother Tom was dead,--continued the corporal, taking out his handkerchief,--was I worth ten thousand pounds, I would leave every shilling of it to the captain.
Susannah, the cook, Jonathan, Obadiah, and corporal Trim, formed a circle about the fire; and as soon as the scullion had shut the kitchen door,--the corporal begun. I am a Turk if I had not as much forgot my mother, as if Nature had plaistered me up, and set me down naked upon the banks of the river Nile, without one. For my own part, I never wonder at any thing;--and so often has my judgment deceived me in my life, that I always suspect it, right or wrong,--at least I am seldom hot upon cold subjects.
For all this, I reverence truth as much as any body; and when it has slipped us, if a man will but take me by the hand, and go quietly and search for it, as for a thing we have both lost, and can neither of us do well without,--I'll go to the world's end with himBut I hate disputes,--and therefore bating religious points, or such as touch society I would almost subscribe to any thing which does not choak me in the first passage, rather than be drawn into one--But I cannot bear suffocation,--and bad smells worst of all.
My uncle Toby's opinion, Madam, 'that there could be no harm in Cornelius Gallus, the Roman praetor's lying with his wife;'--or rather the last word of that opinion,-- for it was all my mother heard of it caught hold of her by the weak part of the whole sexYou shall not mistake me,--I mean her curiosity,--she instantly concluded herself the subject of the conversation, and with that prepossession upon her fancy, you will readily conceive every word my father said, was accommodated either to herself, or her family concerns. From the strange mode of Cornelius's death, my father had made a transition to that of Socrates, and was giving my uncle Toby an abstract of his pleading before his judges;--'twas irresistiblenot the oration of Socrates,--but my father's temptation to it.
Not a period in Socrates's oration, which closed with a shorter word than transmigration, or annihilation,--or a worse thought in the middle of it than to be--or not to be,--the entering upon a new and untried state of things,--or, upon a long, a profound and peaceful sleep, without dreams, without disturbance? Judaic --Eleazer owns he had it from the philosophers of India; in all likelihood Alexander the Great, in his irruption into India, after he had over-run Persia, amongst the many things he stole,--stole that sentiment also; by which means it was carried, if not all the way by himself for we all know he died at Babylon , at least by some of his maroders, into Greece,--from Greece it got to Rome,--from Rome to France,--and from France to EnglandSo things come round.
By water the sentiment might easily have come down the Ganges into the Sinus Gangeticus, or Bay of Bengal, and so into the Indian Sea; and following the course of trade the way from India by the Cape of Good Hope being then unknown , might be carried with other drugs and spices up the Red Sea to Joddah, the port of Mekka, or else to Tor or Sues, towns at the bottom of the gulf; and from thence by karrawans to Coptos, but three days journey distant, so down the Nile directly to Alexandria, where the Sentiment would be landed at the very foot of the great stair-case of the Alexandrian library,--and from that store-house it would be fetched.
He has been dead a hundred years ago, replied my mother. My uncle Toby was no chronologer--so not caring to advance one step but upon safe ground, he laid down his pipe deliberately upon the table, and rising up, and taking my mother most kindly by the hand, without saying another word, either good or bad, to her, he led her out after my father, that he might finish the ecclaircissement himself. Had this volume been a farce, which, unless every one's life and opinions are to be looked upon as a farce as well as mine, I see no reason to suppose--the last chapter, Sir, had finished the first act of it, and then this chapter must have set off thus.
There is nothing in playing before good judges,--but there's a man there--no--not him with the bundle under his arm--the grave man in black. Apothecary and Taylor, want your bills paying,--that's your time. The first thing which entered my father's head, after affairs were a little settled in the family, and Susanna had got possession of my mother's green sattin night-gown,--was to sit down coolly, after the example of Xenophon, and write a Tristra-paedia, or system of education for me; collecting first for that purpose his own scattered thoughts, counsels, and notions; and binding them together, so as to form an Institute for the government of my childhood and adolescence.
I was my father's last stake--he had lost my brother Bobby entirely,--he had lost, by his own computation, full three- fourths of me--that is, he had been unfortunate in his three first great casts for me--my geniture, nose, and name,--there was but this one left; and accordingly my father gave himself up to it with as much devotion as ever my uncle Toby had done to his doctrine of projectils. In about three years, or something more, my father had got advanced almost into the middle of his work.
My father gave himself up to it, however, with the most painful diligence, proceeding step by step in every line, with the same kind of caution and circumspection though I cannot say upon quite so religious a principle as was used by John de la Casse, the lord archbishop of Benevento, in compassing his Galatea; in which his Grace of Benevento spent near forty years of his life; and when the thing came out, it was not of above half the size or the thickness of a Rider's Almanack. I own had John de la Casse, the archbishop of Benevento, for whose memory notwithstanding his Galatea, I retain the highest veneration,--had he been, Sir, a slender clerk--of dull wit--slow parts--costive head, and so forth,--he and his Galatea might have jogged on together to the age of Methuselah for me,--the phaenomenon had not been worth a parenthesis.
But the reverse of this was the truth: John de la Casse was a genius of fine parts and fertile fancy; and yet with all these great advantages of nature, which should have pricked him forwards with his Galatea, he lay under an impuissance at the same time of advancing above a line and a half in the compass of a whole summer's day: this disability in his Grace arose from an opinion he was afflicted with,--which opinion was this,--viz. My father was hugely pleased with this theory of John de la Casse, archbishop of Benevento; and had it not cramped him a little in his creed I believe would have given ten of the best acres in the Shandy estate, to have been the broacher of it.
Nothing,--he would add, throwing his pen away with a vengeance,--nothing but a farrago of the clack of nurses, and of the nonsense of the old women of both sexes throughout the kingdom. This is the best account I am determined to give of the slow progress my father made in his Tristra-paedia; at which as I said he was three years, and something more, indefatigably at work, and, at last, had scarce completed, by this own reckoning, one half of his undertaking: the misfortune was, that I was all that time totally neglected and abandoned to my mother; and what was almost as bad, by the very delay, the first part of the work, upon which my father had spent the most of his pains, was rendered entirely useless,--every day a page or two became of no consequence.
In short my father was so long in all his acts of resistance,--or in other words,--he advanced so very slow with his work, and I began to live and get forwards at such a rate, that if an event had not happened,--which, when we get to it, if it can be told with decency, shall not be concealed a moment from the reader--I verily believe, I had put by my father, and left him drawing a sundial, for no better purpose than to be buried under ground.
I was five years old. When Susannah told the corporal the misadventure of the sash, with all the circumstances which attended the murder of me,-- as she called it, --the blood forsook his cheeks,--all accessaries in murder being principals,-- Trim's conscience told him he was as much to blame as Susannah,--and if the doctrine had been true, my uncle Toby had as much of the bloodshed to answer for to heaven, as either of 'em;--so that neither reason or instinct, separate or together, could possibly have guided Susannah's steps to so proper an asylum.
It is in vain to leave this to the Reader's imaginationto form any kind of hypothesis that will render these propositions feasible, he must cudgel his brains sore,--and to do it without,--he must have such brains as no reader ever had before him. It was the joy of Trim's heart, nor was his fertile head ever at a loss for expedients in doing it, to supply my uncle Toby in his campaigns, with whatever his fancy called for; had it been his last crown, he would have sate down and hammered it into a paderero, to have prevented a single wish in his master.
He had dismantled every sash-window in my uncle Toby's house long before, in the very same way,--though not always in the same order; for sometimes the pullies have been wanted, and not the lead,--so then he began with the pullies,--and the pullies being picked out, then the lead became useless,-- and so the lead went to pot too.
The corporal had not taken his measures so badly in this stroke of artilleryship, but that he might have kept the matter entirely to himself, and left Susannah to have sustained the whole weight of the attack, as she could;--true courage is not content with coming off so. My uncle Toby had just then been giving Yorick an account of the Battle of Steenkirk, and of the strange conduct of count Solmes in ordering the foot to halt, and the horse to march where it could not act; which was directly contrary to the king's commands, and proved the loss of the day.
There are incidents in some families so pat to the purpose of what is going to follow,--they are scarce exceeded by the invention of a dramatic writer;--I mean of ancient days. Trim, by the help of his fore-finger, laid flat upon the table, and the edge of his hand striking across it at right angles, made a shift to tell his story so, that priests and virgins might have listened to it;--and the story being told,--the dialogue went on as follows. Corporal Trim, replied my uncle Toby, putting on his hat which lay upon the table,--if any thing can be said to be a fault, when the service absolutely requires it should be done,--'tis I certainly who deserve the blame,--you obeyed your orders.
Had count Solmes, Trim, done the same at the battle of Steenkirk, said Yorick, drolling a little upon the corporal, who had been run over by a dragoon in the retreat,--he had saved thee;--Saved! What signified his marching the horse, continued the corporal, where the ground was so strait, that the French had such a nation of hedges, and copses, and ditches, and fell'd trees laid this way and that to cover them as they always have. King William, said my uncle Toby, addressing himself to Yorick, was so terribly provoked at count Solmes for disobeying his orders, that he would not suffer him to come into his presence for many months after.
As many pictures as have been given of my father, how like him soever in different airs and attitudes,--not one, or all of them, can ever help the reader to any kind of preconception of how my father would think, speak, or act, upon any untried occasion or occurrence of life. This is the true reason, that my dear Jenny and I, as well as all the world besides us, have such eternal squabbles about nothing. How is it possible we should agree about her value? Fifty thousand pannier loads of devils-- not of the Archbishop of Benevento's--I mean of Rabelais's devils , with their tails chopped off by their rumps, could not have made so diabolical a scream of it, as I did-- when the accident befel me: it summoned up my mother instantly into the nursery,--so that Susannah had but just time to make her escape down the back stairs, as my mother came up the fore.
Now, though I was old enough to have told the story myself,--and young enough, I hope, to have done it without malignity; yet Susannah, in passing by the kitchen, for fear of accidents, had left it in short-hand with the cook--the cook had told it with a commentary to Jonathan, and Jonathan to Obadiah; so that by the time my father had rung the bell half a dozen times, to know what was the matter above,--was Obadiah enabled to give him a particular account of it, just as it had happened.
One would imagine from this-- though for my own part I somewhat question it --that my father, before that time, had actually wrote that remarkable character in the Tristra-paedia, which to me is the most original and entertaining one in the whole book;--and that is the chapter upon sash- windows, with a bitter Philippick at the end of it, upon the forgetfulness of chamber-maids.
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First, Had the matter been taken into consideration, before the event happened, my father certainly would have nailed up the sash window for good an' all;--which, considering with what difficulty he composed books,--he might have done with ten times less trouble, than he could have wrote the chapter: this argument I foresee holds good against his writing a chapter, even after the event; but 'tis obviated under the second reason, which I have the honour to offer to the world in support of my opinion, that my father did not write the chapter upon sash-windows and chamber-pots, at the time supposed,--and it is this.
My father put on his spectacles--looked,--took them off,--put them into the case--all in less than a statutable minute; and without opening his lips, turned about and walked precipitately down stairs: my mother imagined he had stepped down for lint and basilicon; but seeing him return with a couple of folios under his arm, and Obadiah following him with a large reading-desk, she took it for granted 'twas an herbal, and so drew him a chair to the bedside, that he might consult upon the case at his ease. Dear Yorick, said my father smiling for Yorick had broke his rank with my uncle Toby in coming through the narrow entry, and so had stept first into the parlour --this Tristram of ours, I find, comes very hardly by all his religious rites.
And your theologists, Yorick, tell us--Theologically? Now every word of this, quoth my uncle Toby, is Arabic to me. The controvertists, answered my father, assign two-and-twenty different reasons for itothers, indeed, who have drawn their pens on the opposite side of the question, have shewn the world the futility of the greatest part of them. Yorick, quoth my uncle Toby,--do tell me what a polemic divine is? Then suddenly in the same posture wherein he was, he fetched a gambol upon one foot, and turning to the left-hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round, just into his former position, without missing one jot.
Well, said Gymnast, I have failed,--I will undo this leap; then with a marvellous strength and agility, turning towards the right-hand, he fetched another striking gambol as before; which done, he set his right hand thumb upon the bow of the saddle, raised himself up, and sprung into the air, poising and upholding his whole weight upon the muscle and nerve of the said thumb, and so turned and whirled himself about three times: at the fourth, reversing his body, and overturning it upside down, and foreside back, without touching any thing, he brought himself betwixt the horse's two ears, and then giving himself a jerking swing, he seated himself upon the crupper--'.
This can't be fighting, said my uncle Toby. My uncle Toby and Yorick made the obeisance which was proper; and the corporal, though he was not included in the compliment, laid his hand upon his breast, and made his bow at the same time. Trim, quoth my father, has paid the full price for staying out the entertainment.
My uncle Toby never felt the consciousness of his existence with more complacency than what the corporal's, and his own reflections, made him do at that moment;--he lighted his pipe,--Yorick drew his chair closer to the table,--Trim snuff'd the candle,--my father stirr'd up the fire,--took up the book,--cough'd twice, and begun. The first thirty pages, said my father, turning over the leaves,--are a little dry; and as they are not closely connected with the subject,--for the present we'll pass them by: 'tis a prefatory introduction, continued my father, or an introductory preface for I am not determined which name to give it upon political or civil government; the foundation of which being laid in the first conjunction betwixt male and female, for procreation of the species--I was insensibly led into it.
The original of society, continued my father, I'm satisfied is, what Politian tells us, i. And 4th, by procreation; all which I consider in their order. I lay a slight stress upon one of them, replied Yorick--the act, especially where it ends there, in my opinion lays as little obligation upon the child, as it conveys power to the father. Trim can repeat every word of it by heart, quoth my uncle Toby. He can, upon my honour, replied my uncle Toby. Yorick, any question you please. The corporal stood silent.
The Second--cried my uncle Toby, waving his tobacco-pipe, as he would have done his sword at the head of a regiment. Every thing in this world, said my father, is big with jest, and has wit in it, and instruction too,--if we can but find it out. Yorick thought my father inspired. Allowing them, an' please your honour, three halfpence a day out of my pay, when they grow old. O blessed health! I have concentrated all that can be said upon this important head, said my father, into a very little room, therefore we'll read the chapter quite through.
Sufficiently, replied my father. In saying this, my father shut the book,--not as if he resolved to read no more of it, for he kept his fore-finger in the chapternor pettishly,-- for he shut the book slowly; his thumb resting, when he had done it, upon the upper-side of the cover, as his three fingers supported the lower side of it, without the least compressive violence. I have demonstrated the truth of that point, quoth my father, nodding to Yorick, most sufficiently in the preceding chapter. Now could the man in the moon be told, that a man in the earth had wrote a chapter, sufficiently demonstrating, That the secret of all health depended upon the due contention for mastery betwixt the radical heat and the radical moisture,--and that he had managed the point so well, that there was not one single word wet or dry upon radical heat or radical moisture, throughout the whole chapter,--or a single syllable in it, pro or con, directly or indirectly, upon the contention betwixt these two powers in any part of the animal oeconomy The stroke at the prince of physicians, with which he began, was no more than a short insult upon his sorrowful complaint of the Ars longa,--and Vita brevis.
And who are we to thank for both the one and the other, but the ignorance of quacks themselves,--and the stage-loads of chymical nostrums, and peripatetic lumber, with which, in all ages, they have first flatter'd the world, and at last deceived it? What shall I say to thy internal spirit,--thy opium, thy salt-petre,--thy greasy unctions,--thy daily purges,--thy nightly clysters, and succedaneums? This being the state of the case, the road to longevity was plain; nothing more being required, says his lordship, but to repair the waste committed by the internal spirit, by making the substance of it more thick and dense, by a regular course of opiates on one side, and by refrigerating the heat of it on the other, by three grains and a half of salt-petre every morning before you got up.
Still this frame of ours was left exposed to the inimical assaults of the air without;--but this was fenced off again by a course of greasy unctions, which so fully saturated the pores of the skin, that no spicula could enter;--nor could any one get out. What my father had to say to my lord of Verulam's opiates, his salt-petre, and greasy unctions and clysters, you shall read,--but not to-day--or to- morrow: time presses upon me,--my reader is impatient--I must get forwards--You shall read the chapter at your leisure if you chuse it , as soon as ever the Tristra-paedia is published. Sufficeth it, at present to say, my father levelled the hypothesis with the ground, and in doing that, the learned know, he built up and established his own.
The whole secret of health, said my father, beginning the sentence again, depending evidently upon the due contention betwixt the radical heat and radical moisture within us;--the least imaginable skill had been sufficient to have maintained it, had not the school-men confounded the task, merely as Van Helmont, the famous chymist, has proved by all along mistaking the radical moisture for the tallow and fat of animal bodies.
Now the radical moisture is not the tallow or fat of animals, but an oily and balsamous substance; for the fat and tallow, as also the phlegm or watery parts, are cold; whereas the oily and balsamous parts are of a lively heat and spirit, which accounts for the observation of Aristotle, 'Quod omne animal post coitum est triste. Now it is certain, that the radical heat lives in the radical moisture, but whether vice versa, is a doubt: however, when the one decays, the other decays also; and then is produced, either an unnatural heat, which causes an unnatural dryness--or an unnatural moisture, which causes dropsies.
The description of the siege of Jericho itself, could not have engaged the attention of my uncle Toby more powerfully than the last chapter;--his eyes were fixed upon my father throughout it;--he never mentioned radical heat and radical moisture, but my uncle Toby took his pipe out of his mouth, and shook his head; and as soon as the chapter was finished, he beckoned to the corporal to come close to his chair, to ask him the following question,-- aside. It was at the siege of Limerick, an' please your honour, replied the corporal, making a bow.
The poor fellow and I, quoth my uncle Toby, addressing himself to my father, were scarce able to crawl out of our tents, at the time the siege of Limerick was raised, upon the very account you mention. I believe, an' please your honour, quoth the corporal, that if it had not been for the quantity of brandy we set fire to every night, and the claret and cinnamon with which I plyed your honour off;--And the geneva, Trim, added my uncle Toby , which did us more good than all--I verily believe, continued the corporal, we had both, an' please your honour, left our lives in the trenches, and been buried in them too.
The Game and How Toby Whithouse Lost It
All this was as much Arabick to my father, as the rites of the Colchi and Troglodites had been before to my uncle Toby; my father could not determine whether he was to frown or to smile. My uncle Toby, turning to Yorick, resumed the case at Limerick, more intelligibly than he had begun it,--and so settled the point for my father at once.
It was undoubtedly, said my uncle Toby, a great happiness for myself and the corporal, that we had all along a burning fever, attended with a most raging thirst, during the whole five-and-twenty days the flux was upon us in the camp; otherwise what my brother calls the radical moisture, must, as I conceive it, inevitably have got the better.
Well--said my father, with a full aspiration, and pausing a while after the word--Was I a judge, and the laws of the country which made me one permitted it, I would condemn some of the worst malefactors, provided they had had their clergy. With humble submission to his honour's better judgment, quoth the corporal, making a bow to my uncle Toby--Speak thy opinion freely, corporal, said my uncle Toby. The corporal put his hat under his left arm, and with his stick hanging upon the wrist of it, by a black thong split into a tassel about the knot, he marched up to the ground where he had performed his catechism; then touching his under-jaw with the thumb and fingers of his right hand before he opened his mouth,--he delivered his notion thus.
Just as the corporal was humming, to begin--in waddled Dr. Well, my good doctor, cried my father sportively, for the transitions of his passions were unaccountably sudden,--and what has this whelp of mine to say to the matter? Had my father been asking after the amputation of the tail of a puppy-dog-- he could not have done it in a more careless air: the system which Dr.
Slop had laid down, to treat the accident by, no way allowed of such a mode of enquiry. Pray, Sir, quoth my uncle Toby, in a manner which could not go unanswered,- -in what condition is the boy? I am no wiser than I was, quoth my uncle Toby--returning his pipe into his mouth. Slop, and then delivered his opinion concerning radical heat and radical moisture, in the following words.
The city of Limerick, the siege of which was begun under his majesty king William himself, the year after I went into the army--lies, an' please your honours, in the middle of a devilish wet, swampy country. I think this is a new fashion, quoth Dr. Slop, of beginning a medical lecture. I infer, an' please your worship, replied Trim, that the radical moisture is nothing in the world but ditch-water--and that the radical heat, of those who can go to the expence of it, is burnt brandy,--the radical heat and moisture of a private man, an' please your honour, is nothing but ditch-water--and a dram of geneva--and give us but enough of it, with a pipe of tobacco, to give us spirits, and drive away the vapours--we know not what it is to fear death.
I am at a loss, Captain Shandy, quoth Doctor Slop, to determine in which branch of learning your servant shines most, whether in physiology or divinity. It is but an hour ago, replied Yorick, since the corporal was examined in the latter, and passed muster with great honour. The radical heat and moisture, quoth Doctor Slop, turning to my father, you must know, is the basis and foundation of our being--as the root of a tree is the source and principle of its vegetation. Slop, pointing to the corporal, has had the misfortune to have heard some superficial empiric discourse upon this nice point.
Doctor Slop being called out to look at a cataplasm he had ordered, it gave my father an opportunity of going on with another chapter in the Tristra- paedia. Four years at his probations and his negations--the fine statue still lying in the middle of the marble block,--and nothing done, but his tools sharpened to hew it out! Yorick listened to my father with great attention; there was a seasoning of wisdom unaccountably mixed up with his strangest whims, and he had sometimes such illuminations in the darkest of his eclipses, as almost atoned for thembe wary, Sir, when you imitate him.
I am convinced, Yorick, continued my father, half reading and half discoursing, that there is a North-west passage to the intellectual world; and that the soul of man has shorter ways of going to work, in furnishing itself with knowledge and instruction, than we generally take with it. Had Yorick trod upon Virgil's snake, he could not have looked more surprised. You shall, said my father. The highest stretch of improvement a single word is capable of, is a high metaphor,--for which, in my opinion, the idea is generally the worse, and not the better;--but be that as it may,--when the mind has done that with it--there is an end,--the mind and the idea are at rest,--until a second idea enters;--and so on.
Now the use of the Auxiliaries is, at once to set the soul a-going by herself upon the materials as they are brought her; and by the versability of this great engine, round which they are twisted, to open new tracts of enquiry, and make every idea engender millions. For my own part, quoth my uncle Toby, I have given it up. The verbs auxiliary we are concerned in here, continued my father, are, am; was; have; had; do; did; make; made; suffer; shall; should; will; would; can; could; owe; ought; used; or is wont.
Was it? Will it be? Would it be? May it be? Might it be? And these again put negatively, Is it not? Was it not? Ought it not? Or chronologically,--Has it been always? How long ago? If it was not? What would follow? If the Sun go out of the Zodiac? Now, by the right use and application of these, continued my father, in which a child's memory should be exercised, there is no one idea can enter his brain, how barren soever, but a magazine of conceptions and conclusions may be drawn forth from it. A White Bear! Very well. Have I ever seen one?
Might I ever have seen one? Am I ever to see one? Ought I ever to have seen one? Or can I ever see one? If I never have, can, must, or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted? Have I never dreamed of one? Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear? What would they give?
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How would they behave? How would the white bear have behaved? Is he wild? Did you think the world itself, Sir, had contained such a number of Jack Asses? Bray on,--the world is deeply your debtor;--louder still--that's nothingin good sooth, you are ill-used Was I a Jack Asse, I solemnly declare, I would bray in G-sol-re-ut from morning, even unto night. When my father had danced his white bear backwards and forwards through half a dozen pages, he closed the book for good an' all,--and in a kind of triumph redelivered it into Trim's hand, with a nod to lay it upon the 'scrutoire, where he found it.
I presume, said Yorick, smiling,--it must be owing to this,-- for let logicians say what they will, it is not to be accounted for sufficiently from the bare use of the ten predicaments --That the famous Vincent Quirino, amongst the many other astonishing feats of his childhood, of which the Cardinal Bembo has given the world so exact a story,--should be able to paste up in the public schools at Rome, so early as in the eighth year of his age, no less than four thousand five hundred and fifty different theses, upon the most abstruse points of the most abstruse theology;--and to defend and maintain them in such sort, as to cramp and dumbfound his opponents.
Cet auteur dit que pour comprendre comme Lipse, il a pu composer un ouvrage le premier jour de sa vie, il faut s'imaginer, que ce premier jour n'est pas celui de sa naissance charnelle, mais celui au quel il a commence d'user de la raison; il veut que c'ait ete a l'age de neuf ans; et il nous veut persuader que ce fut en cet age, que Lipse fit un poeme.
When the cataplasm was ready, a scruple of decorum had unseasonably rose up in Susannah's conscience, about holding the candle, whilst Slop tied it on; Slop had not treated Susannah's distemper with anodynes,--and so a quarrel had ensued betwixt them. Modesty, said Slop, not a little elated with the success of his last thrust,--If you won't hold the candle, and look--you may hold it and shut your eyesThat's one of your popish shifts, cried Susannah'Tis better, said Slop, with a nod, than no shift at all, young woman;--I defy you, Sir, cried Susannah, pulling her shift sleeve below her elbow.
It was almost impossible for two persons to assist each other in a surgical case with a more splenetic cordiality. Slop snatched up the cataplasm--Susannah snatched up the candle;--A little this way, said Slop; Susannah looking one way, and rowing another, instantly set fire to Slop's wig, which being somewhat bushy and unctuous withal, was burnt out before it was well kindled.
Doctor Slop and Susannah filed cross-bills against each other in the parlour; which done, as the cataplasm had failed, they retired into the kitchen to prepare a fomentation for me;--and whilst that was doing, my father determined the point as you will read. You see 'tis high time, said my father, addressing himself equally to my uncle Toby and Yorick, to take this young creature out of these women's hands, and put him into those of a private governor. Marcus Antoninus provided fourteen governors all at once to superintend his son Commodus's education,--and in six weeks he cashiered five of them;--I know very well, continued my father, that Commodus's mother was in love with a gladiator at the time of her conception, which accounts for a great many of Commodus's cruelties when he became emperor;--but still I am of opinion, that those five whom Antoninus dismissed, did Commodus's temper, in that short time, more hurt than the other nine were able to rectify all their lives long.
Now as I consider the person who is to be about my son, as the mirror in which he is to view himself from morning to night, by which he is to adjust his looks, his carriage, and perhaps the inmost sentiments of his heart;--I would have one, Yorick, if possible, polished at all points, fit for my child to look into.
Ambrose should turn his Amanuensis out of doors, because of an indecent motion of his head, which went backwards and forwards like a flail;--or that Democritus should conceive Protagoras to be a scholar, from seeing him bind up a faggot, and thrusting, as he did it, the small twigs inwards. It is for these reasons, continued my father, that the governor I make choice of shall neither Vid.
He shall neither walk fast,--or slow, or fold his arms,--for that is laziness;--or hang them down,--for that is folly; or hide them in his pocket, for that is nonsense. He shall neither strike, or pinch, or tickle--or bite, or cut his nails, or hawk, or spit, or snift, or drum with his feet or fingers in company;--nor according to Erasmus shall he speak to any one in making water,--nor shall he point to carrion or excrement. I will have him, continued my father, cheerful, facete, jovial; at the same time, prudent, attentive to business, vigilant, acute, argute, inventive, quick in resolving doubts and speculative questions;--he shall be wise, and judicious, and learnedAnd why not humble, and moderate, and gentle- tempered, and good?
He was one evening sitting thus at his supper, when the landlord of a little inn in the village came into the parlour, with an empty phial in his hand, to beg a glass or two of sack; 'Tis for a poor gentleman,--I think, of the army, said the landlord, who has been taken ill at my house four days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a desire to taste any thing, till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass of sack and a thin toast,--I think, says he, taking his hand from his forehead, it would comfort me. Thou art a good-natured soul, I will answer for thee, cried my uncle Toby; and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman's health in a glass of sack thyself,--and take a couple of bottles with my service, and tell him he is heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more if they will do him good.
Though I am persuaded, said my uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the door, he is a very compassionate fellow--Trim,--yet I cannot help entertaining a high opinion of his guest too; there must be something more than common in him, that in so short a time should win so much upon the affections of his host;--And of his whole family, added the corporal, for they are all concerned for him,. My uncle Toby laid down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from before him, as the landlord gave him the account; and Trim, without being ordered, took away, without saying one word, and in a few minutes after brought him his pipe and tobacco.
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.
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. 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.
It was not till my uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe, that corporal Trim returned from the inn, and gave him the following account. I despaired, at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back your honour any kind of intelligence concerning the poor sick lieutenant--Is he in the army, then?
The corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke as plain as a bow could speak it--Your honour is goodAnd 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.
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. 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 itHe 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.
Yorick's curate was smoking a pipe by the kitchen fire,--but said not a word good or bad to comfort the youth. 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 thought, said the curate, that you gentlemen of the army, Mr. Trim, never said your prayers at all. 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 itThe 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.
He did not offer to speak to me, till I had walked up close to his bed- sideIf 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. Your honour, replied the corporal, is too much concerned;--shall I pour your honour out a glass of sack to your pipe?
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.
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.
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 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 tooA sick brother officer should have the best quarters, Trim, and if we had him with us,--we could tend and look to himThou 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.
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 himand 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.
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.
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? 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.
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 chancelAnd 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 creditFor 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.
The excellency of this text is, that it will suit any sermon,--and of this sermon,--that it will suit any text. Doctor Paidagunes found me out. 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.
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