[ 120 ]

  We shall have a rare month of it,
said my father, turning his head from
Obadiah, and looking wistfully in my
uncle Toby's face for some time -- we shall
have a devilish month of it, brother Toby,
said my father, setting his arms a-kimbo,
and shaking his head ; fire, water, wo-
men, wind -- brother Toby ! -- 'Tis some
misfortune, quoth my uncle Toby -- That
it is, cried my father, -- to have so many
jarring elements breaking loose, and
riding triumph in every corner of a gen-
tleman's house -- Little boots it to the
peace of a family, brother Toby, that you
and I possess ourselves, and sit here silent
and unmoved, -- whilst such a storm is
whistling over our heads. ----

  -- And what's the matter, Susannah ?
They have called the child Tristram ----
and my mistress is just got out of an

[ 121 ]

hysterick fit about it -- No ! -- 'tis not my
fault, said Susannah -- I told him it was
Tristram gistus.

  ---- Make tea for yourself, brother
Toby, said my father, taking down his
hat -- but how different from the sallies
and agitations of voice and members
which a common reader would imagine !

  -- For he spake in the sweetest modu-
lation -- and took down his hat with the
gentlest movement of limbs, that ever
affliction harmonized and attuned toge-

  -- Go to the bowling-green for corpo-
ral Trim, said my uncle Toby, speaking
to Obadiah, as soon as my father left the
                          C H A P.

[ 122 ]


WHEN the misfortune of my
N O S E fell so heavily upon my
father's head, -- the reader remembers
that he walked instantly up stairs, and
cast himself down upon his bed ; and
from hence, unless he has a great insight
into human nature, he will be apt to
expect a rotation of the same ascending
and descending movements from him,
upon this misfortune of my NAME ; ----

  The different weight, dear Sir, -- nay
even the different package of two vexa-
tions of the same weight, -- makes a very
wide difference in our manners of bearing
and getting through with them. -- It is

[ 123 ]

not half an hour ago, when (in the great
hurry and precipitation of a poor devil's
writing for daily bread) I threw a fair
sheet, which I had just finished, and care-
fully wrote out, slap into the fire, instead
of the foul one.

  Instantly I snatch'd off my wig, and
threw it perpendicularly, with all imagi-
nable violence, up to the top of the room
-- indeed I caught it as it fell -- but there
was an end of the matter ; nor do I
think any thing else in Nature, would
have given such immediate ease : She,
dear Goddess, by an instantaneous im-
pulse, in all provoking cases, determines
us to a sally of this or that member -- or
else she thrusts us into this or that place,
or posture of body, we know not why --
But mark, madam, we live amongst
riddles and mysteries -- the most obvious

[ 124 ]

things, which come in our way, have
dark sides, which the quickest sight can-
not penetrate into ; and even the clearest
and most exalted understandings amongst
us find ourselves puzzled and at a loss in
almost every cranny of nature's works ;
so that this, like a thousand other things,
falls out for us in a way, which tho' we
cannot reason upon it, -- yet we find the
good of it, may it please your reverences
and your worships -- and that's enough
for us.

  Now, my father could not lie down
with this affliction for his life -- nor could
he carry it up stairs like the other -- He
walked composedly out with it to the

  Had my father leaned his head upon
his hand, and reasoned an hour which

[ 125 ]

way to have gone -- reason, with all her
force, could not have directed him to
any thing like it : there is something,
Sir, in fish-ponds -- but what it is, I leave
to system builders and fish pond diggers
betwixt 'em to find out -- but there is
something, under the first disorderly
transport of the humours, so unaccount-
ably becalming in an orderly and a sober
walk towards one of them, that I have
often wondered that neither Pythagoras,
nor Plato, nor Solon, nor Lycurgus, nor
Mahomet, nor any of your noted law-
givers, ever gave order about them.


YOUR honour, said Trim, shutting
the parlour door before he began
to speak, has heard, I imagine, of this

[ 126 ]

unlucky accident ---- O yes, Trim ! said
my uncle Toby, and it gives me great
concern -- I am heartily concerned too,
but I hope your honour, replied Trim,
will do me the justice to believe, that it
was not in the least owing to me -- To
thee -- Trim ! -- cried my uncle Toby, look-
ing kindly in his face -- 'twas Susannah's
and the curate's folly betwixt them --
What business could they have together,
an'please your honour, in the garden ? --
In the gallery, thou meanest, replied
my uncle Toby.

  Trim found he was upon a wrong
scent, and stopped short with a low bow
-- Two misfortunes, quoth the corporal
to himself, are twice as many at least as
are needful to be talked over at one time,
-- the mischief the cow has done in
breaking into the fortifications, may be

[ 127 ]

told his honour hereafter -- Trim's casuistry
and address, under the cover of his low
bow, prevented all suspicion in my uncle
Toby, so he went on with what he had
to say to Trim as follows.

  -- For my own part, Trim, though I
can see little or no difference betwixt my
nephew's being called Tristram or Trisme-
-- yet as the thing sits so near my
brother's heart, Trim, -- I would freely
have given a hundred pounds rather
than it should have happened -- A hun-
dred pounds, an'please your honour, re-
plied Trim, -- I would not give a cherry-
stone to boot -- Nor would I, Trim, upon
my own account, quoth my uncle Toby --
but my brother, whom there is no arguing
with in this case -- maintains that a great
deal more depends, Trim, upon christian
names, than what ignorant people ima-
             5              gine ;

[ 128 ]

gine ; ---- for he says there never was a
great or heroic action performed since
the world began by one called Tristram
-- nay he will have it, Trim, that a man
can neither be learned, or wise, or brave
-- 'Tis all a fancy, an'please your honour
-- I fought just as well, replied the cor-
poral, when the regiment called me Trim,
as when they called me James Butler --
And for my own part, said my uncle
Toby, though I should blush to boast of
myself, Trim, -- yet had my name been
Alexander, I could have done no more
at Namur than my duty -- Bless your ho-
nour ! cried Trim, advancing three steps
as he spoke, does a man think of his
christian name when he goes upon the
attack ? -- Or when he stands in the trench,
Trim ? cried my uncle Toby, looking
firm -- Or when he enters a breach ? said
Trim, pushing in between two chairs --

[ 129 ]

  -- Or forces the lines ? cried my uncle,
rising up, and pushing his crutch like a
pike -- Or facing a platoon, cried Trim,
presenting his stick like a firelock -- Or
when he marches up the glacis, cried my
uncle Toby, looking warm and setting
his foot upon his stool. ----


MY father was returned from his
walk to the fish-pond -- and open-
ed the parlour-door in the very height of
the attack, just as my uncle Toby was
marching up the glacis -- Trim recovered
his arms -- never was my uncle Toby
caught riding at such a desperate rate in
his life ! Alas ! my uncle Toby ! had not
a weightier matter called forth all the
ready eloquence of my father -- how hadst
   VOL. IV        K            thou

[ 130 ]

thou then and thy poor HOBBY-HORSE
too have been insulted !

  My father hung up his hat with the
same air he took it down ; and after giving
a slight look at the disorder of the room,
he took hold of one of the chairs which
had formed the corporal's breach, and
placing it over-against my uncle Toby,
he sat down in it, and as soon as the tea-
things were taken away and the door
shut, he broke out in a lamentation as


IT is in vain longer, said my father, ad-
dressing himself as much to Ernulphus's
curse, which was laid upon the corner of
the chimney-piece, -- as to my uncle Toby
who sat under it -- it is in vain longer,

[ 131 ]

said my father, in the most querulous
monotone imaginable, to struggle as I
have done against this most uncomfort-
able of human persuasions -- I see it
plainly, that either for my own sins,
brother Toby, or the sins and follies of
the Shandy-family, heaven has thought
fit to draw forth the heaviest of its artil-
lery against me ; and that the prosperity
of my child is the point upon which the
whole force of it is directed to play ----
Such a thing would batter the whole
universe about our ears, brother Shandy,
said my uncle Toby, -- if it was so -- Un-
happy Tristram ! child of wrath ! child
of decrepitude ! interruption ! mistake !
and discontent ! What one misfortune or
disaster in the book of embryotic evils,
that could unmechanize thy frame, or
entangle thy filaments ! which has not
fallen upon thy head, ere ever thou camest
             K 2              into

[ 132 ]

into the world -- what evils in thy passage
into it ! -- What evils since ! -- produced
into being, in the decline of thy father's
days -- when the powers of his imagination
and of his body were waxing feeble ---
when radical heat and radical moisture,
the elements which should have temper'd
thine, were drying up ; and nothing left
to found thy stamina in, but negations --
-- 'tis pitiful -- brother Toby, at the best,
and called out for all the little helps
that care and attention on both sides
could give it. But how were we de-
feated ! You know the event, brother
Toby, -- 'tis too melancholy a one to be
repeated now, -- when the few animal
spirits I was worth in the world, and
with which memory, fancy, and quick
parts should have been convey'd, -- were
all dispersed, confused, confounded, scat-
tered, and sent to the devil. --

[ 133 ]

  Here then was the time to have put a
stop to this persecution against him ; --
and tried an experiment at least -- whether
calmness and serenity of mind in your
sister, with a due attention, brother Toby,
to her evacuations and repletions -- and
the rest of her non-naturals, might not,
in a course of nine months' gestation,
have set all things to rights. -- My child
was bereft of these ! -- What a teazing
life did she lead herself, and consequently
her foetus too, with that nonsensical
anxiety of hers about lying in in town ?
I thought my sister submitted with the
greatest patience, replied my uncle Toby
---- I never heard her utter one fretful
word about it -- She fumed inwardly, cried
my father ; and that, let me tell you,
brother, was ten times worse for the
child -- and then ! what battles did she
fight with me, and what perpetual storms
             K 3              about

[ 134 ]

about the midwife -- There she gave vent,
said my uncle Toby -- Vent ! cried my fa-
ther, looking up --

  But what was all this, my dear Toby,
to the injuries done us by my child's
coming head foremost into the world,
when all I wished in this general wreck
of his frame, was to have saved this
little casket unbroke, unrifled --

  With all my precautions, how was
my system turned topside turvy in the
womb with my child ! his head exposed
to the hand of violence, and a pressure
of 470 pounds averdupois weight acting
so perpendicularly upon its apex -- that
at this hour 'tis ninety per Cent. insurance,
that the fine network of the intellectual
web be not rent and torn to a thousand
                          -- Still

[ 135 ]

  -- Still we could have done. ---- Fool,
coxcomb, puppy -- give him but a NOSE
-- Cripple, Dwarf, Driviller, Goosecap
-- (shape him as you will) the door of
Fortune stands open -- 0 Licetus ! Licetus !
had I been blest with a foetus five inches
long and a half, like thee -- fate might
have done her worst.

  Still, brother Toby, there was one cast
of the dye left for our child after all --
O Tristram ! Tristram ! Tristram !

  We will send for Mr. Yorick, said my
uncle Toby.

  -- You may send for whom you will,
replied my father.

             K 4              C H A P.

[ 136 ]

C H A P. XX.

WHAT a rate have I gone on at,
curvetting and frisking it away,
two up and two down for four volumes
together, without looking once behind,
or even on one side of me, to see whom
I trod upon ! -- I'll tread upon no one, --
quoth I to myself when I mounted -- I'll
take a good rattling gallop ; but I'll not
hurt the poorest jack-ass upon the road --
So off I set -- up one lane -- down another,
through this turn-pike -- over that, as if
the arch-jockey of jockeys had got be-
hind me.

  Now ride at this rate with what good
intention and resolution you may, -- 'tis
a million to one you'll do some one a

[ 137 ]

mischief, if not yourself -- He's flung --
he's off -- he's lost his seat -- he's down --
he'll break his neck -- see ! -- if he has not
galloped full amongst the scaffolding of
the undertaking criticks ! -- he'll knock
his brains out against some of their posts
-- he's bounced out ! -- look -- he's now
riding like a madcap full tilt through a
whole crowd of painters, fiddlers, poets,
biographers, physicians, lawyers, logi-
cians, players, schoolmen, churchmen,
statesmen, soldiers, casuists, connoisseurs,
prelates, popes, and engineers -- Don't
fear, said I -- I'll not hurt the poorest
jack-ass upon the king's high-way -- But
your horse throws dirt ; see you've splash'd
a bishop -- I hope in God 'twas only
Ernulphus, said I -- But you have squirted
full in the faces of Mess. Le Moyne, De
, and De Marcilly, doctors of
the Sorbonne -- That was last year, re-
             1              plied

[ 138 ]

plied I -- But you have trod this moment
upon a king. ---- Kings have bad times
on't, said I, to be trod upon by such
people as me.

  -- You have done it, replied my ac-

  I deny it, quoth I, and so have got off,
and here am I standing with my bridle
in one hand, and with my cap in the
other, to tell my story -- And what is it ?
You shall hear in the next chapter.


AS Francis the first of France was
one winterly night warming him-
self over the embers of a wood fire, and
talking with his first minister of sundry

[ 139 ]

things for the good of the state* -- it
would not be amiss, said the king, stir-
ring up the embers with his cane, if this
good understanding betwixt ourselves
and Switzerland was a little strengthened
-- There is no end, Sire, replied the mi-
nister, in giving money to these peo-
ple -- they would swallow up the trea-
sury of France -- Poo ! poo ! answered the
king ---- there are more ways, Mons. le
, of bribing states, besides that
of giving money ---- I'll pay Switzer-
the honour of standing godfather
for my next child -- Your majesty, said
the minister, in so doing, would have all
the grammarians in Europe upon your
back ; -- Switzerland, as a republick, be-
ing a female, can in no construction be
godfather -- She may be godmother, re-
plied Francis, hastily -- so announce my
   * Vide Menagiana, vol. l.