was under of writing the 25th chapter of |
my book before the 18th, &c.
------ So I don't take it amiss ----
All I wish is that it may be a lesson to
the world, `` to let people tell their stories
`` their own way.''
AS Mrs. Bridget open'd the door
before the Corporal had well given
the rap, the interval betwixt that and
my uncle Toby's introduction into the
parlour was so short that Mrs. Wad-
man had but just time to get from be-
hind the curtain ---- lay a Bible upon
the table, and advance a step or two to-
wards the door to receive him.
My uncle Toby saluted Mrs. Wad-
man, after the manner in which women
were saluted by men in the year of our
Lord God one thousand seven hundred
and thirteen ---- then facing about,
he march'd up abreast with her to the
H 3 sopha,
sopha, and in three plain words ----
though not before he was sat down ----
nor after he was sat down ------
but as he was sitting down, told her,
`` he was in love'' ---- so that my uncle
Toby strained himself more in the de-
claration than he needed.
Mrs. Wadman naturally looked down,
upon a slit she had been darning up in
her apron, in expectation, every moment,
that my uncle Toby would go on ; but
having no talents for amplification, and
LOVE moreover of all others being a
subject of which he was the least a mas-
ter ---- When he had told Mrs. Wad-
man once that he loved her, he let it
alone, and left the matter to work after
its own way.
My father was always in raptures with |
this system of my uncle Toby's, as he
falsely called it, and would often say, that
could his brother Toby to his processe
have added but a pipe of tobacco ----
he had wherewithal to have found his
way, if there was faith in a Spanish pro-
verb, towards the hearts of half the
women upon the globe.
My uncle Toby never understood
what my father meant ; nor will I pre-
sume to extract more from it than a
condemnation of an error which the
bulk of the world lie under ---- but the
French, every one of 'em to a man,
who believe in it, almost as much as
the REAL PRESENCE, `` That talking of
`` love, is making it.''
H 4 ---- I
------ I would as soon set about |
making a black-pudding by the same
Let us go on : Mrs. Wadman sat in
expectation my uncle Toby would do so,
to almost the first pulsation of that mi-
nute, wherein silence on one side or
the other, generally becomes indecent : so
edging herself a little more towards him,
and raising up her eyes, sub-blushing, as
she did it ---- she took up the gauntlet
---- or the discourse (if you like it bet-
ter) and communed with my uncle
The cares and disquietudes of the
marriage state, quoth Mrs. Wadman,
are very great. I suppose so -- said my |
uncle Toby ; and therefore when a per-
son, continued Mrs. Wadman, is so much
at his ease as you are -- so happy, captain
Shandy, in yourself, your friends, and
your amusements -- I wonder what rea-
sons can incline you to the state ----
---- They are written, quoth my un-
cle Toby, in the Common-Prayer Book.
Thus far my uncle Toby went on
warily, and kept within his depth, leav-
ing Mrs. Wadman to sail upon the gulph
as she pleased.
---- As for children -- said Mrs. Wad-
man -- though a principal end perhaps of
the institution, and the natural wish, I sup-
pose, of every parent -- yet do not we all
find they are certain sorrows, and very
uncertain comforts? and what is there, |
dear sir, to pay one for the heart-aches --
what compensation for the many tender
and disquieting apprehensions of a suf-
fering and defenceless mother who brings
them into life? I declare, said my uncle
Toby, smit with pity, I know of none ;
unless it be the pleasure which it has
pleased God ----
---- A fiddlestick! quoth she.
C H A P.
NOW there are such an infinitude
of notes, tunes, cants, chants,
airs, looks, and accents with which the
word fiddlestick may be pronounced in all
such causes as this, every one of 'em im-
pressing a sense and meaning as different
from the other, as dirt from cleanliness
-- That Casuists (for it is an affair of
conscience on that score) reckon up no
less than fourteen thousand in which you
may do either right or wrong.
Mrs. Wadman hit upon the fiddlestick,
which summoned up all my uncle Toby's
modest blood into his cheeks -- so feeling
within himself that he had somehow or
other got beyond his depth, he stopt
short ; and without entering further either |
into the pains or pleasures of matrimony,
he laid his hand upon his heart, and made
an offer to take them as they were, and
share them along with her.
When my uncle Toby had said this,
he did not care to say it again ; so cast-
ing his eye upon the Bible which Mrs.
Wadman had laid upon the table, he
took it up ; and popping, dear soul!
upon a passage in it, of all others the
most interesting to him -- which was the
siege of Jericho -- he set himself to read
it over -- leaving his proposal of marriage,
as he had done his declaration of love,
to work with her after its own way.
Now it wrought neither as an astringent
or a loosener ; nor like opium, or bark,
or mercury, or buckthorn, or any one
drug which nature had bestowed upon |
the world -- in short, it work'd not at
all in her ; and the cause of that was,
that there was something working there
before ---- Babbler that I am! I have
anticipated what it was a dozen times ;
but there is fire still in the subject ----
C H A P.
IT is natural for a perfect stranger
who is going from London to Edin-
burgh to enquire, before he sets out,
how many miles to York ; which is
about the half way ---- nor does any
body wonder, if he goes on and asks
about the Corporation, &c. - -
It was just as natural for Mrs. Wad-
man, whose first husband was all his
time afflicted with a Sciatica, to wish to
know how far from the hip to the groin ;
and how far she was likely to suffer
more or less in her feelings in the one
case than in the other.
She had accordingly read Drake's ana-
tomy from one end to the other. She
had peeped into Wharton upon the brain, |
and borrowed * Graaf upon the bones
and muscles ; but could make nothing
She had reason'd likewise from her
own powers ---- laid down theorems
---- drawn consequences, and come to
To clear up all, she had twice asked
Dr. Slop, `` if poor Captain Shandy
`` was ever likely to recover of his
`` wound ---- ?''
---- He is recovered, Dr. Slop
would say ----
* This must be a mistake in Mr. Shandy ; for
Graaf wrote upon the pancreatick juice, and the
parts of generation.
What! quite ? |
---- Quite, Madam ----
But what do you mean by a recovery?
Mrs. Wadman would say.
Dr. Slop was the worst man alive
at definitions ; and so Mrs. Wadman
could get no knowledge : in short, there
was no way to extract it, but from my
uncle Toby himself.
There is an accent of humanity in an
enquiry of this kind which lulls SUSPI-
CION to rest ---- and I am half persuaded
the serpent got pretty near it, in his dis-
course with Eve ; for the propensity in
the sex to be deceived could not be so
great that she should have boldness to
hold chat with the devil without it ----
But there is an accent of humanity ---- |
how shall I describe it? -- 'tis an accent
which covers the part with a garment,
and gives the enquirer a right to be as
particular with it as your body-surgeon.
`` ---- Was it without remission? --
`` ---- Was it more tolerable in bed?
`` ---- Could he lie on both sides
``alike with it?
`` -- Was he able to mount a horse?
`` -- Was motion bad for it?'' et cætera,
were so tenderly spoke to, and so directed
towards my uncle Toby's heart, that
every item of them sunk ten times deeper
into it than the evils themselves ---- but
when Mrs. Wadman went round about by
Namur to get at my uncle Toby's groin ;
and engaged him to attack the point of
the advanced counterscarp, and pêle-mêle
VOL. IX. I with
with the Dutch to take the counterguard |
of St. Roch, sword in hand -- and then
with tender notes playing upon his ear,
led him all bleeding by the hand out of
the trench, wiping her eye, as he was
carried to his tent ---- Heaven! Earth!
Sea! -- all was lifted up -- the springs of
nature rose above their levels -- an angel
of mercy sat besides him on the sopha --
his heart glow'd with fire -- and had he
been worth a thousand, he had lost every
heart of them to Mrs. Wadman.
-- And whereabouts, dear Sir, quoth
Mrs. Wadman, a little categorically, did
you receive this sad blow? ---- In ask-
ing this question, Mrs. Wadman gave a
slight glance towards the waistband of
my uncle Toby's red plush breeches, ex-
pecting naturally, as the shortest reply to |
it, that my uncle Toby would lay his
forefinger upon the place ---- It fell out
otherwise ---- for my uncle Toby having
got his wound before the gate of St.
Nicolas, in one of the traverses of the
trench, opposite to the salient angle of
the demibastion of St. Roch, he could
at any time stick a pin upon the identical
spot of ground where he was standing
when the stone struck him : this struck
instantly upon my uncle Toby's senso-
rium ---- and with it, struck his large
map of the town and citadel of Namur
and its environs, which he had purchased
and pasted down upon a board by the
Corporal's aid, during his long illness
---- it had lain with other military lum-
ber in the garret ever since, and accord-
I 2 ingly
ingly the Corporal was detached |
in to the garret to fetch it.
My uncle Toby measured off thirty
toises, with Mrs. Wadman's scissars,
from the returning angle before the gate
of St. Nicolas ; and with such a virgin
modesty laid her finger upon the place,
that the goddess of Decency, if then in
being -- if not, 'twas her shade -- shook
her head, and with a finger wavering
across her eyes -- forbid her to explain the
Unhappy Mrs. Wadman! ----
---- For nothing can make this chap-
ter go off with spirit but an apostrophe
to thee ---- but my heart tells me that in
such a crisis, an apostrophe is but an in-
sult in disguise, and ere I would offer |
one to a woman in distress -- let the chap-
ter go to the devil ; provided any
damn'd critick in keeping will be but at
the trouble to take it with him.
I 3 C H A P.
MY uncle Toby's Map is carried
down into the kitchen.
C H A P.
---- AND here is the Maas -- and
this is the Sambre ; said the
Corporal, pointing with his right hand
extended a little towards the map, and
his left upon Mrs. Bridget's shoulder --
-- but not the shoulder next him -- and
this, said he, is the town of Namur --
and this the citadel -- and there lay the
French -- and here lay his honour and
myself ---- and in this cursed trench, Mrs.
Bridget, quoth the Corporal, taking her
by the hand, did he receive the wound
which crush'd him so miserably here ----
In pronouncing which he slightly press'd
the back of her hand towards the part
he felt for ---- and let it fall.
I 4 We