[ 100 ]

  So much for my chapter upon chap-
ters, which I hold to be the best chapter
in my whole work ; and take my word,
whoever reads it, is full as well employed,
as in picking straws.

                          C H A P.

On auroit toujours été très-satisfait de l'industrie
d'un Pere si experimenté dans l'Art de la Genera-
tion, quand il n'auroit pû prolonger la vie a son
fils que pour quelques mois, ou pour peu d'années.
  Mais quand on se represente que l'Enfant a vecu
pres de quatre-vingts ans, & que il a composé
quatre-vingts Ouvrages differents tous fruits d'une
longue lecture, -- il faut convenir que tout ce qui
est incroyable n'est pas toujours faux, & que la
Vraisemblance n'est pas toujours du coté de la Veritè.
  Il n'avoit que dix-neuf ans lors qu'il composa
Gonopsychanthropologia de Origine Animæ hu-
  (Les Enfans celebres, revûs & corriges par M.
De la Monnoye de l'Academie Françoise.)

[ 101 ]

C H A P. XI.

WE shall bring all things to rights,
said my father, setting his foot
upon the first step from the landing ----
This Trismegistus, continued my father,
drawing his leg back, and turning to
my uncle Toby -- was the greatest (Toby)
of all earthly beings -- he was the greatest
king -- the greatest lawgiver -- the greatest
philosopher -- and the greatest priest ----
and engineer -- said my uncle Toby. --

  -- In course, said my father.

             H 3              C H A P.

[ 102 ]


-- AND how does your mistress ?
cried my father, taking the
same step over again from the landing,
and calling to Susannah, whom he saw
passing by the foot of the stairs with a
huge pin-cushion in her hand -- how does
your mistress ? As well, said Susannah,
tripping by, but without looking up, as
can be expected -- What a fool am I,
said my father ! drawing his leg back
again -- let things be as they will, brother
Toby, 'tis ever the precise answer -- And
how is the child, pray ? -- No answer.
And where is doctor Slop ? added my
father, raising his voice aloud, and look-
ing over the ballusters -- Susannah was out
of hearing.

[ 103 ]

  Of all the riddles of a married life,
said my father, crossing the landing, in
order to set his back against the wall,
whilst he propounded it to my uncle
Toby -- of all the puzzling riddles, said
he, in a marriage state, -- of which you
may trust me, brother Toby, there are
more asses loads than all Job's stock of
asses could have carried -- there is not one
that has more intricacies in it than this --
that from the very moment the mistress
of the house is brought to bed, every
female in it, from the lady's gentlewoman
down to the cinder-wench, becomes an
inch taller for it ; and give themselves
more airs upon that single inch, than all
their other inches put together.

  I think rather, replied my uncle Toby,
that 'tis we who sink an inch lower. ----
If I meet but a woman with child -- I do
             H 4              it

[ 104 ]

it -- 'Tis a heavy tax upon that half of
our fellow - creatures, brother Shandy,
said my uncle Toby -- 'tis a piteous bur-
den upon'em, continued he, shaking his
head. -- Yes, yes, 'tis a painful thing --
said my father, shaking his head too --
but certainly sincle shaking of heads came
into fashion, never did two heads shake
together, in concert, from two such dif-
ferent springs.

  God bless } 'em all -- said my uncle
  Duce take Toby and my father, each
to himself.


HOLLA! -- you chairman ! -- here's
sixpence -- do step into that book-
seller's shop, and call me a Day-talk
critick. I am very willing to give any

[ 105 ]

one of 'em a crown to help me with his
tackling, to get my father and my uncle
Toby off the stairs, and to put them to
bed. --

  -- 'Tis even high time ; for except a
short nap, which they both got whilst
Trim was boring the jack-boots -- and
which, by the bye, did my father no sort
of good upon the score of the bad hinge
-- they have not else shut their eyes, since
nine hours before the time that doctor
Slop was led into the back parlour in that
dirty pickle by Obadiah.

  Was every day of my life to be as
busy a day as this, -- and to take up, --
truce --

  I will not finish that sentence till I have
made an observation upon the strange

[ 106 ]

state of affairs between the reader and
myself, just as things stand at present --
an observation never applicable before to
any one biographical writer since the
creation of the world, but to myself --
and I believe will never hold good to
any other, until its final destruction ----
amd therefore, for the very novelty of it
alone, it must be worth your worships
attending to.

  I am this month one whole year older
than I was this time twelve-month ; and
having got, as you perceive, almost into
the middle of my fourth volume -- and
no farther than to my first day's life --
'tis demonstrative that I have three hun-
dred and sixty-four days more life to
write just now, than when I first set out ;
so that instead of advancing, as a com-
mon writer, in my work with what I

[ 107 ]

have been doing at it -- on the contrary,
I am just thrown so many volumes back
-- was every day of my life to be as busy
a day as this -- And why not ? -- and the
transactions and opinions of it to take
up as much description -- And for what
reason should they be cut short ? as at
this rate I should just live 364 times
faster than I should write -- It must fol-
low, an' please your worships, that the
more I write, the more I shall have to
write -- and consequently, the more your
worships read, the more your worships
will have to read.

  Will this be good for your worships
eyes ?

  It will do well for mine ; and, was it
not that my OPINIONS will be the death
of me, I perceive I shall lead a fine life of

[ 108 ]

it out of this self-same life of mine ; or,
in other words, shall lead a couple of fine
lives together.

  As for the proposal of twelve volumes
a year, or a volume a month, it no way
alters my prospect -- write as I will, and
rush as I may into the middle of things,
as Horace advises, -- I shall never overtake
myself -- whipp'd and driven to the last
pinch, at the worst I shall have one day
the start of my pen -- and one day is
enough for two volumes -- and two vo-
lumes will be enough for one year. --

  Heaven prosper the manufactures of
paper under this propitious reign, which
is now open'd to us, -- as I trust its pro-
vidence will prosper every thing else in
it that is taken in hand. --
             4              As

[ 109 ]

  As for the propagation of Geese -- I
give myself no concern -- Nature is all
bountiful -- I shall never want tools to
work with.

  -- So then, friend ! you have got my
father and my uncle Toby off the stairs,
and seen them to bed ? -- And how did you
manage it ? -- You dropp'd a curtain at
the stairs foot -- I thought you had no
other way for it -- Here's a crown for
your trouble.


  -- THEN reach me my breeches
off the chair, said my father to
Susannah -- There is not a moment's
time to dress you, Sir, cried Susannah --
the child is as black in the face as my --

[ 110 ]

As your what ? said my father, for like
all orators, he was a dear searcher into
comparisons -- Bless me, Sir, said Susan-
, the child's in a fit -- And where's
Mr. Yorick -- Never where he should be,
said Susannah, but his curate's in the
dressing-room, with the child upon his
arm, waiting for the name ---- and my
mistress bid me run as fast as I could to
know, as captain Shandy is the godfather,
whether it should not be called after

  Were one sure, said my father to him-
self, scratching his eye-brow, that the
child was expiring, one might as well
compliment my brother Toby as not --
and 'twould be a pity, in such a case, to
throw away so great a name as Trismegistus
upon him -- But he may recover.

[ 111 ]

  No, no, -- said my father to Susannah,
I'll get up ---- There is no time, cried
Susannah, the child's as black as my shoe.
Trismegistus, said my father -- But stay
-- thou art a leaky vessel, Susannah, ad-
ded my father ; canst thou carry Trisme-
in thy head, the length of the gal-
lery without scattering -- Can I ? cried
Susannah, shutting the door in a huff --
If she can, I'll be shot, said my father,
bouncing out of bed in the dark, and
groping for his breeches.

  Susannah ran with all speed along the

  My father made all possible speed to
find his breeches.

  Susannah got the start, and kept it --
'Tis Tris -- something, cried Susannah --

[ 112 ]

There is no christian name in the world,
said the curate, beginning with Tris --
but Tristram. Then 'tis Tristram-gistus,
quoth Susannah.

  -- There is no gistus to it, noodle ! --
'tis my own name, replied the curate,
dipping his hand as he spoke into the
bason -- Tristram ! said he, &c. &c. &c.
. so Tristram was I called, and Tristram
shall I be to the day of my death.

  My father followed Susannah with his
night-gown across his arm, with nothing
more than his breeches on, fastened
through haste with but a single button,
and that button through haste thrust
only half into the button-hole.

  -- She has not forgot the name, cried
my father, half opening the door -- No,

[ 113 ]

no, said the curate, with a tone of intel-
ligence -- And the child is better, cried
Susannah -- And how does your mistress ?
As well, said Susannah, as can be ex-
pected -- Pish ! said my father, the button
of his breeches slipping out of the button
hole -- So that whether the interjection
was levelled at Susannah, or the button-
hole, -- whether pish was an interjection
of contempt or an interjection of modesty,
is a doubt, and must be a doubt till I
shall have time to write the three follow-
ing favorite chapters, that is, my chap-
ter of chamber-maids -- my chapter of
pishes, and my chapter of button-holes.

  All the light I am able to give the
reader at present is this, that the moment
my father cried Pish ! he whisk'd him-
self about -- and with his breeches held
up by one hand, and his night-gown
  VOL. IV.        I            thrown

[ 114 ]

thrown across the arm of the other, he
returned along the gallery to bed, some-
thing slower than he came.

C H A P. XV.

I Wish I could write a chapter upon

  A fitter occasion could never have pre-
sented itself, than what this moment of-
fers, when all the curtains of the family
are drawn -- the candles put out -- and no
creature's eyes are open but a single one,
for the other has been shut these twenty
years, of my mother's nurse.

  It is a fine subject !


[ 115 ]

  And yet, as fine as it is, I would un-
dertake to write a dozen chapters upon
button-holes, both quicker and with
more fame than a single chapter upon

  Button-holes ! ---- there is something
lively in the very idea of 'em -- and trust
me, when I get amongst 'em -- You
gentry with great beards -- look as
grave as you will -- I'll make merry
work with my button-holes -- I shall have
'em all to myself -- 'tis a maiden subject
-- I shall run foul of no man's wisdom
or fine sayings in it.

  But for sleep -- I know I shall make
nothing of it before I begin -- I am no
dab at your fine sayings in the first place
-- and in the next, I cannot for my soul
             I 2              set

[ 116 ]

set a grave face upon a bad matter, and
tell the world -- 'tis the refuge of the
unfortunate -- the enfranchisement of the
prisoner -- the downy lap of the hopeless,
the weary, and the broken-hearted ; nor
could I set out with a lye in my mouth,
by affirming, that of all the soft and
delicious functions of our nature, by
which the great Author of it, in his
bounty, has been pleased to recompence
the sufferings wherewith his justice and
his good pleasure has wearied us, -- that
this is the chiefest (I know pleasures
worth ten of it) or what a happiness it is
to man, when the anxieties and passions
of the day are over, and he lays down
upon his back, that his soul shall be so
seated within him, that which ever way
she turns her eyes, the heavens shall look
calm and sweet above her -- no desire --
or fear -- or doubt that troubles the air,

[ 117 ]

nor any difficulty pass'd, present, or to
come, that the imagination may not
pass over without offence, in that sweet

  -- `` God's blessing, said Sancho Panca,
`` be upon the man who first invented
`` this self-same thing called sleep ---- it
`` covers a man all over like a cloak.''
Now there is more to me in this, and it
speaks warmer to my heart and affections,
than all the dissertations squeez'd out of
the heads of the learned together upon
the subject.

  -- Not that I altogether disapprove of
what Montaigne advances upon it -- 'tis
admirable in its way. ---- (I quote by

             I 3              The

[ 118 ]

The world enjoys other pleasures, says
he, as they do that of sleep, without
tasting or feeling it as it slips and passes
by -- We should study and ruminate up-
on it, in order to render proper thanks
to him who grants it to us -- for this end
I cause myself to be disturbed in my
sleep, that I may the better and more
sensibly relish it -- And yet I see few,
says he again, who live with less sleep
when need requires ; my body is capable
of a firm, but not of a violent and sud-
den agitation -- I evade of late all violent
exercises -- I am never weary with walk-
ing -- but from my youth, I never liked
to ride upon pavements. I love to lie
hard and alone, and even without my
wife -- This last word may stagger the
faith of the world -- but remember, ``La
`` Vraisemblance (as Baylet says in the
`` affair of Liceti) n'est pas toujours
                          `` du

[ 119 ]

`` du Cotè de la Verité.'' And so much
for sleep.


IF my wife will but venture him --
brother Toby, Trismegistus shall be
dress'd and brought down to us, whilst
you and I are getting our breakfasts
together. --

  -- Go, tell Susannah, Obadiah, to step

  She is run up stairs, answered Obadiah,
this very instant, sobbing and crying,
and wringing her hands as if her heart
would break. ---

             I 4              We