[ 20 ]

are well worth considering, ---- but the
dangers and difficulties our children are
beset with, after they are got forth into
the world, are enow, -- little need is there
to expose them to unnecessary ones in
their passage to it. ---- Are these dangers,
quoth my uncle Toby, laying his hand
upon my father's knee, and looking up
seriously in his face for an answer, ---- are
these dangers greater now o' days, bro-
ther, than in times past ? Brother Toby,
answered my father, if a child was but
fairly begot, and born alive, and healthy,
and the mother did well after it, ---- our
forefathers never looked further. ---- My
uncle Toby instantly withdrew his hand
from off my father's knee, reclined his
body gently back in his chair, raised his
head till he could just see the cornish of
the room, and then directing the buccina-
tory muscles along his cheeks, and the

[ 21 ]

orbicular muscles around his lips to do
their duty --- he whistled Lillabullero.


WHILST my uncle Toby was whist-
ling Lillabullero to my father, --
Dr. Slop was stamping, and cursing and
damning at Obadiah at a most dreadful
rate ; ---- it would have done your heart
good, and cured you, Sir, for ever, of
the vile sin of swearing to have heard
him. -- I am determined therefore to re-
late the whole affair to you.

  When Dr. Slop's maid delivered the
green bays bag, with her master's instru-
ments in it, to Obadiah, she very sensibly
exhorted him to put his head and one
arm through the strings, and ride with it
slung across his body : so undoing the
             B 3              bow-

[ 22 ]

bow-knot, to lengthen the strings for
him, without any more ado, she helped
him on with it. However, as this, in
some measure, unguarded the mouth of
the bag, lest any thing should bolt out in
galloping back at the speed Obadiah
threatened, they consulted to take it off
again ; and in the great care and caution
of their hearts, they had taken the two
strings and tied them close (pursing up
the mouth of the bag first) with half a
dozen hard knots, each of which, Oba-
, to make all safe, had twitched and
drawn together with all the strength of
his body.

  This answered all that Obadiah and the
maid intended ; but was no remedy
against some evils which neither he or
she foresaw. The instruments, it seems,
as tight as the bag was tied above, had

[ 23 ]

so much room to play in it, towards the
bottom, (the shape of the bag being
conical) that Obadiahcould not make a trot
of it, but with such a terrible jingle, what
with the tire-tête, forceps and squirt, as
would have been enough, had Hymen been
taking a jaunt that way, to have fright-
ened him out of the country ; but when
Obadiah accelerated this motion, and
from a plain trot assayed to prick his
coach-horse into a full gallop -- by hea-
ven ! Sir, -- the jingle was incredible.

  As Obadiah had a wife and three chil-
dren -- the turpitude of fornication, and
the many other political ill consequences
of this jingling, never once entered his
brain, ---- he had however his objection,
which came home to himself, and weigh-
ed with him, as it has oft-times done with
             B 4              the

[ 24 ]

the greatest patriots. ---- `` The poor fel-
low, Sir
, was not able to hear himself whistle.''


AS Obadiah loved wind musick pre-
ferably to all the instrumental mu-
sick he carried with him, -- he very con-
siderately set his imagination to work, to
contrive and to invent by what means he
should put himself in a condition of en-
joying it.

  In all distresses (except musical) where
small cords are wanted, ---- nothing is so
apt to enter a man's head, as his hat-band :
---- the philosophy of this is so near the
surface -- I scorn to enter into it.

  As Obadiah's was a mix'd case, ----
mark, Sirs, -- I say, a mix'd case ; for it

[ 25 ]

was obstretical, -- scrip-tical, -- squirtical,
papistical, -- and as far as the coach-horse
was concerned in it, -- caball-istical -- and
only partly musical ; -- Obadiah made no
scruple of availing himself of the first ex-
pedient which offered ; -- so taking hold
of the bag and instruments, and gripeing
them hard together with one hand, and
with the finger and thumb of the other,
putting the end of the hat-band betwixt his
teeth, and then slipping his hand down to
the middle of it, -- he tied and cross-tied
them all fast together from one end to
the other (as you would cord a trunk)
with such a multiplicity of round-abouts
and intricate cross turns, with a hard knot
at every intersection or point where the
strings met, -- that Dr. Slop must have had
three fifths of Job's patience at least to
have unloosed them. -- I think in my con-
science, that had NATURE been in one of

[ 26 ]

her nimble moods, and in humour for
such a contest ---- and she and Dr. Slop
both fairly started together -- there is no
man living who had seen the bag with all
that Obadiah had done to it, -- and known
likewise, the great speed the goddess can
make when she thinks proper, who would
have had the least doubt remaining in his
mind ---- which of the two would have
carried off the prize. My mother, ma-
dam, had been delivered sooner than the
green bag infallibly -- at least by twenty
knots. ---- Sport of small accidents, Trist-
ram Shandy !
that thou art, and ever will
be! had that trial been made for thee, and
it was fifty to one but it had, ---- thy af-
fairs had not been so depress'd -- (at least
by the depression of thy nose) as they have
been ; nor had the fortunes of thy house
and the occasions of making them, which
have so often presented themselves in the

[ 27 ]

course of thy life, to thee, been so often,
so vexatiously, so tamely, so irrecoverably
abandoned -- as thou hast been forced to
leave them ! -- but 'tis over, -- all but the
account of 'em, which cannot be given to
the curious till I am got out into the

C H A P. IX.

GREAT wits jump : for the mo-
ment Dr. Slop cast his eyes upon
his bag (which he had not done till the
dispute with my uncle Toby about mid-
wifery put him in mind of it) -- the very
same thought occurred. -- 'Tis God's
mercy, quoth he, (to himself) that Mrs.
Shandy has had so bad a time of it, -- else
she might have been brought to bed se-
ven times told, before one half of these
knots could have got untied. ---- But

[ 28 ]

here, you must distinguish ---- the
thought floated only in Dr. Slop's mind,
without sail or ballast to it, as a simple
proposition ; millions of which, as your
worship knows, are every day swiming
quietly in the middle of the thin juice of
a man's understanding, without being
carried backwards or forwards, till some
little gusts of passion or interest drive
them to one side.

  A sudden trampling in the room above,
near my mother's bed, did the proposition
the very service I am speaking of. By
all that's unfortunate, quoth Dr. Slop, un-
less I make haste, the thing will actually
befall me as it is.

                          C H A P.

[ 29 ]

C H A P. X.

IN the case of knots, ---- by which, in
the first place, I would not be under-
stood to mean slip-knots, ---- because in
the course of my life and opinions, ----
my opinions concerning them will come
in more properly when I mention the ca-
tastrophe of my great uncle Mr. Ham-
mond Shandy
, ---- a little man, ---- but of
high fancy : ---- he rushed into the duke
of Monmouth's affair : ---- nor, secondly,
in this place, do I mean that particular
species of knots, called bow-knots ; ----
there is so little address, or skill, or pa-
tience, required in the unloosing them,
that they are below my giving any
opinion at all about them. ---- But by the
knots I am speaking of, may it please
your reverences to believe, that I mean

[ 30 ]

good, honest, devilish tight, hard knots,
made bona fide, as Obadiah made his ; --
in which there is no quibbling provision
made by the duplication and return of
the two ends of the strings through the
annulus or noose made by the second
implication of them -- to get them slipp'd
and undone by -------- I hope you ap-
prehend me.

  In the case of these knots then, and of
the several obstructions, which, may it
please your reverences, such knots cast
in our way in getting through life ----
every hasty man can whip out his pen-
knife and cut through them. ---- 'Tis
wrong. Believe me, Sirs, the most vir-
tuous way, and which both reason and
conscience dictate -- is to take our teeth
or our fingers to them. ---- Dr. Slop had
lost his teeth -- his favourite instrument,

[ 31 ]

by extracting in a wrong direction, or
by some misapplication of it, unfortu-
nately slipping, he had formerly in a
hard labour, knock'd out three of the
best of them, with the handle of it : --
he tried his fingers -- alas ! the nails of
his fingers and thumbs were cut close. --
The deuce take it ! I can make nothing
of it either way, cried Dr. Slop. ---- The
trampling over head near my mother's
bed side increased. -- Pox take the fellow !
I shall never get the knots untied as long
as I live. -- My mother gave a groan --
Lend me your penknife -- I must e'en cut
the knots at last - - - - - pugh ! - - - psha !
- - - Lord ! I have cut my thumb quite
across to the very bone ---- curse the fel-
low ---- if there was not another man
midwife within fifty miles -- I am undone
for this bout ---- I wish the scoundrel
hang'd --- I wish he was shot --- I wish

[ 32 ]

all the devils in hell had him for a block-
head ----

  My father had a great respect for Oba-
, and could not bear to hear him
disposed of in such a manner ---- he had
moreover some little respect for him-
self ---- and could as ill bear with the in-
dignity offer'd to himself in it.

  Had Dr. Slop cut any part about him,
but his thumb ---- my father had pass'd
it by ---- his prudence had triumphed :
as it was, he was determined to have his

  Small curses, Dr. Slop, upon great oc-
casions, quoth my father, (condoling
with him first upon the accident) are but
so much waste of our strength and soul's
health to no manner of purpose. -- I own

[ 33 ]

it, replied Dr. Slop. ---- They are like
sparrow shot, quoth my uncle Toby, (sus-
pending his whistling) fired against a
bastion. ---- They serve, continued my
father, to stir the humours -- but carry
off none of their acrimony : -- for my own
part, I seldom swear or curse at all ----
I hold it bad -- but if I fall into it, by
surprize, I generally retain so much pre-
sence of mind (right, quoth my uncle
Toby) as to make it answer my purpose --
that is, I swear on, till I find myself easy.
A wise and a just man however would
always endeavour to proportion the vent
given to these humours, not only to the
degree of them stirring within himself --
but to the size and ill intent of the of-
fence upon which they are to fall. ----
`` Injuries come only from the heart,'' ----
quoth my uncle Toby. For this reason,
continued my father, with the most Cer-
  VOL III.        C            vantick

[ 34 ]

vantick gravity, I have the greatest vene-
ration in the world for that gentleman,
who, in distrust of his own discretion in
this point, sat down and composed (that
is at his leisure) fit forms of swearing
suitable to all cases, from the lowest to
the highest provocations which could
possibly happen to him, -- which forms
being well consider'd by him, and such
moreover as he could stand to, he kept
them ever by him on the chimney piece,
within his reach, ready for use. ---- I ne-
ver apprehended, replied Dr. Slop, that
such a thing was ever thought of, ----
much less executed. I beg your par-
don -- answered my father ; I was read-
ing, though not using, one of them to
my brother Toby this morning, whilst he
pour'd out the tea -- 'tis here upon the
shelf over my head ; ---- but if I remem-
ber right, 'tis too violent for a cut of the

[ 35 ]

thumb. ---- Not at all, quoth Dr. Slop --
the devil take the fellow. -- Then answered
my father, 'Tis much at your service, Dr.
Slop ---- on condition you will read it
aloud ; ---- so rising up and reaching
down a form of excommunication of the
church of Rome, a copy of which, my
father (who was curious in his collec-
tions) had procured out of the leger-
book of the church of Rochester, writ by
ERNULPHUS the bishop -- with a most
affected seriousness of look and voice,
which might have cajoled ERNULPHUS
himself, -- he put it into Dr. Slop's hands.
-- Dr. Slop wrapt his thumb up in the
corner of his handkerchief, and with a
wry face, though without any suspicion,
read aloud, as follows, -- my uncle Toby
whistling Lillabullero, as loud as he could,
all the time.

             C 2              C H A P.