[ 80 ]

will have fifty deviations from a straight
line to make with this or that party as he
goes along, which he can no ways avoid.
He will have views and prospects to
himself perpetually solliciting his eye,
which he can no more help standing still
to look at than he can fly ; he will more-
over have various
  Accounts to reconcile:
  Anecdotes to pick up :
  Inscriptions to make out :
  Stories to weave in :
  Traditions to sift :
  Personages to call upon :
  Panygericks to paste up at this door :
  Pasquinades at that : ---- All which
both the man and his mule are quite ex-
empt from. To sum up all ; there are
archives at every stage to be look'd in-
to, and rolls, records, documents, and
endless genealogies, which justice ever
             4              and

[ 81 ]

and anon calls him back to stay the
reading of : ---- In short, there is no end
of it ; ---- for my own part, I declare I
have been at it these six weeks, making
all the speed I possibly could, -- and am
not yet born : -- I have just been able,
and that's all, to tell you when it happen'd,
but not how ; -- so that you see the thing
is yet far from being accomplished.

  These unforeseen stoppages, which I
own I had no conception of when I first
set out ; -- but which, I am convinced
now, will rather increase than diminish as
I advance, -- have struck out a hint which
I am resolved to follow ; -- and that is, --
not to be in a hurry ; -- but to go on lei-
surely, writing and publishing two vo-
lumes of my life every year ; ---- which,
if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can
make a tolerable bargain with my book-
   VOL. I.        F           seller,

[ 82 ]

seller, I shall continue to do as long as I

C H A P. XV.

THE article in my mother's mar-
riage settlement, which I told the
reader I was at the pains to search for,
and which, now that I have found it, I
think proper to lay before him, -- is so
much more fully express'd in the deed it-
self, than ever I can pretend to do it, that
it would be barbarity to take it out of the
lawyer's hand : -- It is as follows.

  ``And this Indenture further wit=
``nesseth, That the said Walter
``Shandy, merchant, in consideration of
``the said intended marriage to be had,
``and, by God's blessing, to be well and
             5              ``truly

[ 83 ]

``truly solemnized and consummated be-
``tween the said Walter Shandy and Eli-
``zabeth Mollineux aforesaid, and divers
``other good and valuable causes and
``considerations him thereunto specially
``moving, -- doth grant, covenant, con-
``descend, consent, conclude, bargain,
``and fully agree to and with John Dixon
``and James Turner, Esqrs. the above-
``named trustees, &c. &c. -- to wit, --
``That in case it should hereafter so fall
``out, chance, happen, or otherwise come
``to pass, -- That the said Walter Shandy,
``merchant, shall have left off business
``before the time or times, that the
``said Elizabeth Mollineux shall, accord-
``ing to the course of nature, or other-
``wise, have left off bearing and bring-
``ing forth children ; -- and that, in con-
``sequence of the said Walter Shandy
``having so left off business, shall,
             F 2              ``in

[ 84 ]

``in despite, and against the free will,
``consent, and good-liking of the said
``Elizabeth Mollineux, -- make a depar-
``ture from the city of London, in order
``to retire to, and dwell upon, his estate
``at Shandy-Hall, in the county of ---- ,
``or at any other country seat, castle, hall,
``mansion house, messuage, or grainge-
``house, now purchased, or hereafter to
``be purchased, or upon any part or par-
``cel thereof : -- That then, and as often
``as the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall
``happen to be enceint with child or
``children severally and lawfully begot,
``or to be begotten, upon the body of
``the said Elizabeth Mollineux during her
``said coverture, ---- he the said Walter
shall, at his own proper cost
``and charges, and out of his own pro-
``per monies, upon good and reasonable
``notice, which is hereby agreed to be
             4              ``within

[ 85 ]

``within six weeks of her the said Eliza-
``beth Mollineux
's full reckoning, or
``time of supposed and computed deli-
``very, -- pay, or cause to be paid, the
``sum of one hundred and twenty pounds
``of good and lawful money, to John
and James Turner, Esqrs. or as-
``signs, -- upon TRUST and confidence,
``and for and unto the use and uses, in-
``tent, end, and purpose following : --
``That is to say, -- That the said sum
``of one hundred and twenty pounds
``shall be paid into the hands of the said
``Elizabeth Mollineux, or to be otherwise
``applied by them the said trustees, for
``the well and truly hiring of one coach,
``with able and sufficient horses, to car-
``ry and convey the body of the said
``Elizabeth Mollineux and the child or
``children which she shall be then and
``there enceint and pregnant with, --
             F 3              ``unto

[ 86 ]

``unto the city of London ; and for the
``further paying and defraying of all
``other incidental costs, charges, and
``expences whatsoever, -- in and about,
``and for, and relating to her said in-
``tended delivery and lying-in, in the
``said city or suburbs thereof. And that
``the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall and
``may, from time to time, and at all such
``time and times as are here convenant-
``ed and agreed upon, -- peaceably and
``quietly hire the said coach and horses,
``and have free ingress, egress, and
``regress throughout her journey, in and
``from the said coach, according to the
``tenor, true intent, and meaning of these
``presents, without any let, suit, trouble,
``disturbance, molestation, discharge,
``hinderance, forfeiture, eviction, vexa-
``tion, interruption, or incumberance
``whatsoever. -- And that it shall more-

[ 87 ]

``over be lawful to and for the said Eli-
``zabeth Mollineux, from time to time,
``and as oft or often as she shall well and
``truly be advanced in her said pregnan-
``cy, to the time heretofore stipulated
``and agreed upon, -- to live and reside
``in such place or places, and in such
``family or families, and with such rela-
``tions, friends, and other persons with-
``in the said city of London, as she, at
``her own will and pleasure, notwith-
``standing her present coverture, and as
``if she was a femme sole and unmarri-
``ed, -- shall think fit. -- And this In=
``denture further witnesseth,
``That for the more effectually carrying
``of the said covenant into execution, the
``said Walter Shandy, merchant, doth here-
``by grant, bargain, sell, release, and con-
``firm unto the said John Dixon and
``James Turner, Esqrs. their heirs, exe-
             F 4              ``cutors,

[ 88 ]

``cutors, and assigns, in their actual pos-
``session now being, by virtue of an in-
``denture of bargain and sale for a year
``to them the said John Dixon and James
, Esqrs. by him the said Walter
``Shandy, merchant
, thereof made ; which
``said bargain and sale for a year, bears
``date the day next before the date of
``these presents, and by force and vir-
``tue of the statute for transferring of
``uses into possession, ------ All that
``the manor and lordship of Shandy in
``the county of ------, with all the
``rights, members, and appurtenances
``thereof ; and all and every the mes-
``suages, houses, buildings, barns, sta-
``bles, orchards, gardens, backsides,
``tofts, crofts, garths, cottages, lands,
``meadows, feedings, pastures, marshes,
``commons, woods, underwoods, drains,
``fisheries, waters, and water-courses ; --

[ 89 ]

``together with all rents, reversions, ser-
``vices, annuities, fee-farms, knights
``fees, views of frank-pledge, escheats,
``reliefs, mines, quarries, goods and
``chattels of felons and fugitives, felons
``of themselves, and put in exigent,
``deodands, free warrens, and all other
``royalties and seignories, rights and ju-
``risdictions, privileges and heredita-
``ments whatsoever. ---- And also the
``advowson, donation, presentation, and
``free disposition of the rectory or par-
``sonage of Shandy aforesaid, and all and
``every the tenths, tythes, glebe-lands''
---- In three words, ---- ``My mother
``was to lay in, (if she chose it) in

  But in order to put a stop to the prac-
tise of any unfair play on the part of my
mother, which a marriage article of this

[ 90 ]

nature too manifestly opened a door to,
and which indeed had never been thought
of at all, but for my uncle Toby Shandy ; --
a clause was added in security of my fa-
ther, which was this : -- ``That in case my
``mother hereafter should, at any time,
``put my father to the trouble and ex-
``pence of a London journey upon false
``cries and tokens ; ---- that for every
``such instance she should forfeit all the
``right and title which the covenant gave
``her to the next turn ; ---- but to no
``more, -- and so on, toties quoties, in as
``effectual a manner, as if such a co-
``venant betwixt them had not been
``made.'' -- This, by the way, was no
more than what was reasonable ; -- and
yet, as reasonable as it was, I have ever
thought it hard that the whole weight of
the article should have fallen entirely, as
it did, upon myself.

[ 91 ]

   But I was begot and born to misfor-
tunes ; -- for my poor mother, whether
it was wind or water, -- or a compound
of both, -- or neither ; ---- or whether it
was simply the mere swell of imagination
and fancy in her ; -- or how far a strong
wish and desire to have it so, might mis-
lead her judgment ; -- in short, whether
she was deceived or deceiving in this
matter, it no way becomes me to decide.
The fact was this, That, in the latter end
of September, 1717, which was the year
before I was born, my mother having
carried my father up to town much
against the grain, -- he peremptorily in-
sisted upon the clause ; -- so that I was
doom'd, by marriage articles, to have
my nose squeez'd as flat to my face, as if
the destinies had actually spun me with-
out one.

[ 92 ]

   How this event came about, -- and
what a train of vexatious disappoint-
ments, in one stage or other of my life,
have pursued me from the mere loss, or
rather compression, of this one single
member, -- shall be laid before the reader
all in due time.


MY father, as any body may natu-
rally imagine, came down with
my mother into the country, in but a
pettish kind of a humour. The first
twenty or five-and-twenty miles he did
nothing in the world but fret and teaze
himself, and indeed my mother too, about
the cursed expence, which he said might
every shilling of it have been saved ; --
then what vexed him more than every

[ 93 ]

thing else was the provoking time of the
year, ---- which, as I told you, was to-
wards the end of September, when his
wall-fruit, and green gages especially, in
which he was very curious, were just
ready for pulling : ---- ``Had he been
``whistled up to London, upon a Tom
's errand in any other month of
``the whole year, he should not have
``said three words about it.''

  For the next two whole stages, no
subject would go down, but the heavy
blow he had sustain'd from the loss of a
son, whom it seems he had fully reckon'd
upon in his mind, and register'd down
in his pocket-book, as a second staff for
his old age, in case Bobby should fail him.
``The disappointment of this, he said,
``was ten times more to a wise man than
``all the money which the journey, &c.

[ 94 ]

``had cost him, put together, -- rot the
``hundred and twenty pounds, ---- he
``did not mind it a rush.''

  From Stilton, all the way to Grantham,
nothing in the whole affair provoked
him so much as the condolences of his
friends, and the foolish figure they should
both make at church the first Sunday ;
---- of which, in the satirical vehemence
of his wit, now sharpen'd a little by vex-
ation, he would give so many humorous
and provoking descriptions, -- and place
his rib and self in so many tormenting
lights and attitudes in the face of the
whole congregation ; -- that my mother
declared, these two stages were so truly
tragi-comical, that she did nothing but
laugh and cry in a breath, from one end
to the other of them all the way.


[ 95 ]

   From Grantham till they had cross'd
the Trent, my father was out of all kind
of patience at the vile trick and impo-
sition which he fancied my mother had
put upon him in this affair. -- `` Certainly,
he would say to himself, over and over
again, `` the woman could not be decei-
ved herself ; ---- if she could, ------
what weakness !'' ---- tormenting word !
which led his imagination a thorny
dance, and, before all was over, play'd
the duce and all with him ; ---- for
sure as ever the word weakness was ut-
tered, and struck full upon his brain, --
so sure it set him upon running divi-
sions upon how many kinds of weak-
nesses there were ; ---- that there was
such a thing as weakness of the body,
---- as well as weakness of the mind, ----
and then he would do nothing but syl-
logize within himself for a stage or two

[ 96 ]

together, How far the cause of all these
vexations might, or might not, have
arisen out of himself.

  In short, he had so many little subjects
of disquietude springing out of this one
affair, all fretting successively in his
mind as they rose up in it, that my mo-
ther, whatever was her journey up, had
but an uneasy journey of it down. ----
In a word, as she complained to my un-
cle Toby, he would have tired out the
patience of any flesh alive.


THOUGH my father travelled home-
wards, as I told you, in none of
the best of moods, -- pshaw-ing and pish-
ing all the way down, -- yet he had the

[ 97 ]

complaisance to keep the worst part of
the story still to himself ; -- which was
the resolution he had taken of doing
himself the justice, which my uncle Toby's
clause in the marriage settlement em-
powered him ; nor was it till the very
night in which I was begot, which was
thirteen months after, that she had the
least intimation of his design ; -- when
my father, happening, as you remem-
ber, to be a little chagrin'd and out of
temper, ---- took occasion as they lay
chatting gravely in bed afterwards, talk-
ing over what was to come, ---- to let
her know that she must accommodate
herself as well as she could to the bar-
gain made between them in their mar-
riage deeds ; which was to lye-in of her
next child in the country to balance the
last year's journey.
   VOL. I.        G           My

[ 98 ]

   My father was a gentleman of many
virtues, -- but he had a strong spice of
that in his temper which might, or might
not, add to the number. ---- 'Tis known
by the name of perseverance in a good
cause, -- and of obstinacy in a bad one :
Of this my mother had so much know-
ledge, that she knew 'twas to no pur-
pose to make any remonstrance, -- so she
e'en resolved to sit down quietly, and
make the most of it.


AS the point was that night agreed,
or rather determin'd, that my mo-
ther should lye-in of me in the country,
she took her measures accordingly ; for
which purpose, when she was three days,
or thereabouts, gone with child, she be-

[ 99 ]

gan to cast her eyes upon the midwife,
whom you have so often heard me men-
tion ; and before the week was well got
round, as the famous Dr. Maningham was
not to be had, she had come to a final
determination in her mind, ---- notwith-
standing there was a scientifick operator
within so near a call as eight miles of us,
and who, moreover, had expressly wrote
a five shillings book upon the subject of
midwifery, in which he had exposed,
not only the blunders of the sisterhood
itself, ---- but had likewise superadded
many curious improvements for the
quicker extraction of the foetus in cross
births, and some other cases of danger
which belay us in getting into the world ;
notwithstanding all this, my mother, I say,
was absolutely determined to trust her
life, and mine with it, into no soul's hand
but this old woman's only. -- Now this I
             G 2              like ;