[ 140 ]

consummation, the baptizing all the HO-
at once, slap-dash, by injection,
would not be a shorter and safer cut still ;
on condition, as above, That if the HO-
do well and come safe into the
world after this, That each and every of
them shall be baptized again (sous con-
---- And provided, in the second
place, That the thing can be done,
which Mr. Shandy apprehends it may,
par le moyen d'une petite canulle, and,
sans faire aucun tort a le pere.


  ------ I wonder what's all that noise,
and running backwards and forwards
for, above stairs, quoth my father, ad-
dressing himself, after an hour and a
half's silence, to my uncle Toby, ---- who

[ 141 ]

you must know, was sitting on the op-
posite side of the fire, smoking his social
pipe all the time, in mute contemplation
of a new pair of black-plush-breeches
which he had got on ; -- What can they
be doing brother ? quoth my father, --
we can scarce hear ourselves talk.

  I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking
his pipe from his mouth, and striking
the head of it two or three times upon
the nail of his left thumb, as he began
his sentence, ---- I think, says he : ----
But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby's
sentiments upon this matter, you must
be made to enter first a little into his
character, the out-lines of which I shall
just give you, and then the dialogue be-
tween him and my father will go on as
well again.

                          -- Pray

[ 142 ]

  -- Pray what was the man's name, --
for I write in such a hurry, I have no
time to recollect or look for it, ---- who
first made the observation, ``That there
was great inconstancy in our air and cli-
mate ?'' Whoever he was, 'twas a just
and good observation in him. ---- But the
corollary drawn from it, namely, ``That
it is this which has furnished us with
such a variety of odd and whimsical cha-
racters ;'' -- that was not his ; ---- it was
found out by another man, at least a
century and a half after him : -- Then
again, -- that this copious store-house of
original materials, is the true and natural
cause that our Comedies are so much bet-
ter than those of France, or any others that
either have, or can be wrote upon the
Continent ; ---- that discovery was not
fully made till about the middle of king
William's reign, -- when the great Dryden,

[ 143 ]

in writing one of his long prefaces, (if I
mistake not) most fortunately hit upon
it. Indeed towards the latter end of
queen Anne, the great Addison began to
patronize the notion, and more fully ex-
plained it to the world in one or two of
his Spectators ; -- but the discovery was
not his. -- Then, fourthly and lastly, that
this strange irregularity in our climate,
producing so strange an irregularity in
our characters, ---- doth thereby, in
some sort, make us amends, by giving us
somewhat to make us merry with when
the weather will not suffer us to go out
of doors, -- that observation is my own ; --
and was struck out by me this very rainy
day, March 26, 1759, and betwixt the
hours of nine and ten in the morning.

  Thus, -- thus my fellow labourers and
associates in this great harvest of our
             4              learning,

[ 144 ]

learning, now ripening before our eyes ;
thus it is, by slow steps of casual increase,
that our knowledge physical, metaphy-
sical, physiological, polemical, nautical,
mathematical, ænigmatical, technical,
biographical, romantical, chemical, and
obstetrical, with fifty other branches of it,
(most of 'em ending, as these do, in ical)
have, for these two last centuries and
more, gradually been creeping upwards
towards that Akme of their perfections,
from which, if we may form a conjecture
from the advances of these last seven
years, we cannot possibly be far off.

  When that happens, it is to be hoped,
it will put an end to all kind of writings
whatsoever ; -- the want of all kind of
writing will put an end to all kind of
reading ; -- and that in time, As war be-
gets poverty, poverty peace
, ---- must, in

[ 145 ]

course, put an end to all kind of know-
ledge, -- and then ---- we shall have all
to begin over again ; or, in other words,
be exactly where we started.

  ------ Happy ! thrice happy Times !
I only wish that the æra of my begetting,
as well as the mode and manner of it,
had been a little alter'd, -- or that it could
have been put off with any convenience
to my father or mother, for some twenty
or five-and-twenty years longer, when a
man in the literary world might have
stood some chance. ------

  But I forget my uncle Toby, whom all
this while we have left knocking the
ashes out of his tobacco pipe.

  His humour was of that particular
species, which does honour to our atmo-
   VOL. I.        K           sphere ;

[ 146 ]

sphere ; and I should have made no scru-
ple of ranking him amongst one of the
first-rate productions of it, had not there
appear'd too many strong lines in it of a
family-likeness, which shewed that he
derived the singularity of his temper
more from blood, than either wind or
water, or any modifications or combina-
tions of them whatever : And I have,
therefore, oft times wondered, that my
father, tho' I believe he had his reasons
for it, upon his observing some tokens
of excentricity in my course when I was
a boy, -- should never once endeavour to
account for them in this way ; for all the
SHANDY FAMILY were of an original
character throughout ; ---- I mean the
males, -- the females had no character at
all, -- except, indeed, my great aunt DI-
, who, about sixty years ago, was
married and got with child by the coach-

[ 147 ]

man, for which my father, according to
his hypothesis of Christian names, would
often say, She might thank her godfa-
thers and godmothers.

  It will seem very strange, ---- and I
would as soon think of dropping a riddle
in the reader's way, which is not my in-
terest to do, as set him upon guessing
how it could come to pass, that an event
of this kind, so many years after it had
happened, should be reserved for the in-
terruption of the peace and unity, which
otherwise so cordially subsisted, between
my father and my uncle Toby. One
would have thought, that the whole
force of the misfortune should have
spent and wasted itself in the family at
first, -- as is generally the case : -- But no-
thing ever wrought with our family af-
ter the ordinary way. Possibly at the
             K 2              very

[ 148 ]

very time this happened, it might have
something else to afflict it ; and as afflic-
tions are sent down for our good, and
that as this had never done the SHANDY
FAMILY any good at all, it might lye
waiting till apt times and circumstances
should give it an opportunity to discharge
its office. ------ Observe, I determine
nothing upon this. ------ My way is
ever to point out to the curious, differ-
ent tracts of investigation, to come at
the first springs of the events I tell ; --
not with a pedantic Fescue, -- or in the
decisive Manner of Tacitus, who outwits
himself and his reader ; -- but with the
officious humility of a heart devoted to
the assistance merely of the inquisitive ; --
to them I write, ---- and by them I shall
be read, ---- if any such reading as this
could be supposed to hold out so long,
to the very end of the world.

[ 149 ]

  Why this cause of sorrow, therefore,
was thus reserved for my father and un-
cle, is undetermined by me. But how
and in what direction it exerted itself, so
as to become the cause of dissatisfaction
between them, after it began to operate,
is what I am able to explain with great
exactness, and is as follows :

  My uncle TOBY SHANDY, Madam,
was a gentleman, who, with the virtues
which usually constitute the character of
a man of honour and rectitude, -- posses-
sed one in a very eminent degree, which
is seldom or never put into the catalogue ;
and that was a most extream and unpa-
rallel'd modesty of nature ; ---- tho' I
correct the word nature, for this reason,
that I may not prejudge a point which
must shortly come to a hearing ; and that
is, Whether this modesty of his was na-
             K 3              tural

[ 150 ]

tural or acquir'd. ------ Which ever
way my uncle Toby came by it, 'twas
nevertheless modesty in the truest sense
of it ; and that is, Madam, not in regard
to words, for he was so unhappy as to
have very little choice in them, -- but to
things ; ---- and this kind of modesty so
possess'd him, and it arose to such a
height in him, as almost to equal, if
such a thing could be, even the modesty
of a woman : That female nicety, Ma-
dam, and inward cleanliness of mind and
fancy, in your sex, which makes you so
much the awe of ours.

  You will imagine, Madam, that my
uncle Toby had contracted all this from
this very source ; ---- that he had spent a
great part of his time in converse with
your sex ; and that, from a thorough
knowledge of you, and the force of imita-

[ 151 ]

tion which such fair examples render ir-
resistible, -- he had acquired this amiable
turn of mind.

  I wish I could say so, ---- for unless it
was with his sister-in-law, my father's
wife and my mother, ---- my uncle Toby
scarce exchanged three words with the
sex in as many years ; ---- no, he got it,
Madam, by a blow. ---- A blow ! -- Yes,
Madam, it was owing to a blow from a
stone, broke off by a ball from the para-
pet of a horn-work at the siege of Namur,
which struck full upon my uncle Toby's
groin. -- Which way could that effect it ?
The story of that, Madam, is long and
interesting ; ---- but it would be running
my history all upon heaps to give it you
here. ---- 'Tis for an episode hereafter ;
and every circumstance relating to it in
its proper place, shall be faithfully laid
             K 4              before

[ 152 ]

before you : ---- 'Till then, it is not in my
power to give further light into this
matter, or say more than what I have
said already, ---- That my uncle Toby was
a gentleman of unparallel'd modesty,
which happening to be somewhat sub-
tilized and rarified by the constant heat
of a little family-pride, ---- they both so
wrought together within him, that he
could never bear to hear the affair of my
aunt DINAH touch'd upon, but with the
greatest emotion. ---- The least hint of it
was enough to make the blood fly into
his face ; -- but when my father enlarged
upon the story in mixed companies,
which the illustration of his hypothesis
frequently obliged him to do, ---- the un-
fortunate blight of one of the fairest
branches of the family, would set my
uncle Toby's honour and modesty o'bleed-
ing ; and he would often take my fa-

[ 153 ]

ther aside, in the greatest concern ima-
ginable, to expostulate and tell him, he
would give him any thing in the world,
only to let the story rest.

  My father, I believe, had the truest
love and tenderness for my uncle Toby,
that ever one brother bore towards ano-
ther, and would have done any thing in
nature, which one brother in reason could
have desir'd of another, to have made my
uncle Toby's heart easy in this, or any o-
ther point. But this lay out of his power.

  ---- My father, as I told you, was a
philosopher in grain, -- speculative, --
systematical ; -- and my aunt Dinah's af-
fair was a matter of as much consequence
to him, as the retrogradation of the pla-
nets to Copernicus : -- The backslidings of
Venus in her orbit fortified the Copernican

[ 154 ]

system, call'd so after his name ; and the
backslidings of my aunt Dinah in her or-
bit, did the same service in establishing
my father's system, which, I trust, will
for ever hereafter be call'd the Shandean
, after his.

  In any other family dishonour, my fa-
ther, I believe, had as nice a sense of
shame as any man whatever ; ---- and
neither he, nor, I dare say, Copernicus,
would have divulged the affair in either
case, or have taken the least notice of it
to the world, but for the obligations
they owed, as they thought, to truth. --
Amicus Plato, my father would say, con-
struing the words to my uncle Toby, as
he went along, Amicus Plato ; that is,
DINAH was my aunt ; -- sed magis amica
---- but TRUTH is my sister.


[ 155 ]

  This contrariety of humours betwixt
my father and my uncle, was the source
of many a fraternal squabble. The one
could not bear to hear the tale of family
disgrace recorded, ------ and the other
would scarce ever let a day pass to an
end without some hint at it.

  For God's sake, my uncle Toby would
cry, ---- and for my sake, and for all our
sakes, my dear brother Shandy, -- do let
this story of our aunt's and her ashes
sleep in peace ; ---- how can you, ------
how can you have so little feeling and
compassion for the character of our fa-
mily : ---- what is the character of a fa-
mily to an hypothesis ? my father would
reply. ---- Nay, if you come to that --
what is the life of a family : ------ The
life of a family ! -- my uncle Toby would
say, throwing himself back in his arm-

[ 156 ]

chair, and lifting up his hands, his eyes,
and one leg. ---- Yes the life, ---- my
father would say, maintaining his point.
How many thousands of 'em are there
every year that comes cast away, (in all
civilized countries at least) ---- and con-
sider'd as nothing but common air, in
competition of an hypothesis. In my
plain sense of things, my uncle Toby,
would answer, ---- every such instance
is downright MURDER, let who will
commit it. ---- There lies your mistake,
my father would reply ; ---- for, in Foro
there is no such thing as MUR-
, ---- 'tis only DEATH, brother.

  My uncle Toby would never offer to
answer this by any other kind of argu-
ment, than that of whistling half a dozen
bars of Lillabullero. ---- You must know

[ 157 ]

it was the usual channel thro' which his
passions got vent, when any thing shock-
ed or surprised him ; ---- but especially
when any thing, which he deem'd very
absurd, was offer'd.

  As not one of our logical writers, nor
any of the commentators upon them,
that I remember, have thought proper to
give a name to this particular species of
argument, -- I here take the liberty to do
it myself, for two reasons. First, That,
in order to prevent all confusion in dis-
putes, it may stand as much distinguish-
ed for ever, from every other species of
argument, ------ as the Argumentum ad
Verecundiam, ex Absurdo, ex Fortiori
, or any
other argument whatsoever : ---- And,
secondly, That it may be said by my chil-
dren's children, when my head is laid to
rest, -- that their learned grand-father's
             4              head

[ 158 ]

head had been busied to as much pur-
pose once, as other people's : -- That he
had invented a name, -- and generously
thrown it into the TREASURY of the
Ars Logica, for one of the most unan-
swerable arguments in the whole science.
And if the end of disputation is more to
silence than convince, -- they may add, if
they please, to one of the best arguments

  I do therefore, by these presents,
strictly order and command, That it be
known and distinguished by the name
and title of the Argumentum Fistulatorium,
and no other ; -- and that it rank here-
after with the Argumentum Baculinum, and
the Argumentum ad Crumenam, and for
ever hereafter be treated of in the same

[ 159 ]

  As for the Argumentum Tripodium, which
is never used but by the woman against
the man ; -- and the Argumentum ad Rem,
which, contrarywise, is made use of by
the man only against the woman : -- As
these two are enough in conscience for
one lecture ; ---- and, moreover, as the
one is the best answer to the other, -- let
them likewise be kept apart, and be
treated of in a place by themselves.


THE learned Bishop Hall, I mean
the famous Dr. Joseph Hall, who
was Bishop of Exeter in King James the
first's reign, tells us in one of his Decads,
at the end of his divine art of meditation,
imprinted at London, in the year 1610,
by John Beal, dwelling in Aldersgate-street,
                          `` That