[ 60 ]

ginning, That if ever the army of mar-
tyrs was to be augmented, -- or a new
one raised, -- I would have no hand in it,
one way or t'other.


---- BUT to return to my mother.

  My uncle Toby's opinion, Madam,
`` that there could be no harm in Corne-
`` lius Gallus
, the Roman prætor's lying
`` with his wife ;'' ---- or rather the last
word of that opinion, -- (for it was all
my mother heard of it) caught hold of
her by the weak part of the whole sex :
---- You shall not mistake me, -- I mean
her curiosity, -- she instantly concluded
herself the subject of the conversation,
and with that prepossession upon her
fancy, you will readily conceive every

[ 61 ]

word my father said, was accommo-
dated either to herself, or her family

  ---- Pray, Madam, in what street
does the lady live, who would not have
done the same ?

  From the strange mode of Cornelius's
death, my father had made a transition
to that of Socrates, and was giving my
uncle Toby an abstract of his pleading
before his judges ; ---- 'twas irresistable :
---- not the oration of Socrates, -- but
my father's temptation to it. ---- He had
wrote the * Life of Socrates himself the
year before he left off trade, which, I

  * This book my father would never consent to
publish ; 'tis in manuscript, with some other tracts
of his, in the family, all or most of which will be
printed in due time.

             3              fear,

[ 62 ]

fear, was the means of hastening him
out of it ; ---- so that no one was able
to set out with so full a sail, and in so
swelling a tide of heroic loftiness upon
the occasion, as my father was. Not a
period in Socrates's oration, which closed
with a shorter word than transmigration,
or annihilation, -- or a worse thought in
the middle of it than to be -- or not to be,
-- the entering upon a new and untried
state of things, -- or, upon a long, a
profound and peaceful sleep, without
dreams, without disturbance ; ---- That
we and our children were born to die, -- but
neither of us born to be slaves
. ---- No --
there I mistake ; that was part of Elea-
's oration, as recorded by Josephus
(de Bell. Judaic.) ---- Eleazer owns he
had it from the philosophers of India ;
in all likelihood Alexander the Great, in
his irruption into India, after he had

[ 63 ]

over-run Persia, amongst the many things
he stole, -- stole that sentiment also ; by
which means it was carried, if not all
the way by himself, (for we all know he
died at Babylon) at least by some of his
maroders, into Greece, -- from Greece it
got to Rome, -- from Rome to France, --
and from France to England : ---- So
things come round. ----

  By land carriage I can conceive no
other way. ----

  By water the sentiment might easily
have come down the Ganges into the
Sinus Gangeticus, or Bay of Bengal, and
so into the Indian Sea ; and following
the course of trade, (the way from India
by the Cape of Good Hope being then un-
known) might be carried with other
drugs and spices up the Red Sea to Jod-

[ 64 ]

dah, the port of Mekka, or else to Tor
or Sues, towns at the bottom of the gulf ;
and from thence by karrawans to Coptos,
but three days journey distant, so down
the Nile directly to Alexandria, where
the SENTIMENT would be landed at the
very foot of the great stair-case of the
Alexandrian library, --- and from that
store-house it would be fetched. ------
Bless me ! what a trade was driven by
the learned in those days !


---- NOW my father had a way,
a little like that of Job's
(in case there ever was such a man ----
if not, there's an end of the matter. ----

  Though, by the bye, because your
learned men find some difficulty in fix-

[ 65 ]

ing the precise æra in which so great a
man lived ; -- whether, for instance, be-
fore or after the patriarchs, &c. ---- to
vote, therefore, that he never lived at
, is a little cruel, -- 'tis not doing as
they would be done by -- happen that as
it may) ---- My father, I say, had a
way, when things went extremely wrong
with him, especially upon the first sally
of his impatience, -- of wondering why
he was begot, -- wishing himself dead ; --
sometimes worse : ---- And when the
provocation ran high, and grief touched
his lips with more than ordinary powers,
-- Sir, you scarce could have distin-
guished him from Socrates himself. ----
Every word would breathe the senti-
ments of a soul disdaining life, and
careless about all its issues ; for which
reason, though my mother was a wo-
man of no deep reading, yet the abstract
  VOL. V.        F            of

[ 66 ]

of Socrates's oration, which my father was
giving my uncle Toby, was not altogether
new to her. -- She listened to it with com-
posed intelligence, and would have done
so to the end of the chapter, had not my
father plunged (which he had no occa-
sion to have done) into that part of the
pleading where the great philosopher rec-
kons up his connections, his alliances,
and children ; but renounces a security
to be so won by working upon the pas-
sions of his judges. -- `` I have friends --
`` I have relations, -- I have three deso-
`` late children,'' -- says Socrates. --

  ---- Then, cried my mother, opening
the door, ---- you have one more, Mr.
Shandy, than I know of.

  By heaven ! I have one less, -- said my
father, getting up and walking out of
the room.

                          C H A P.

[ 67 ]


  ---- They are Socrates's children, said
my uncle Toby. He has been dead a
hundred years ago, replied my mother.

  My uncle Toby was no chronologer --
so not caring to advance a step but upon
safe ground, he laid down his pipe deli-
berately upon the table, and rising up,
and taking my mother most kindly by
the hand, without saying another word,
either good or bad, to her, he led her
out after my father, that he might finish
the ecclaircissment himself.

C H A P. XV.

HAD this volume been a farce,
which, unless every one's life and
opinions are to be looked upon as a farce
as well as mine, I see no reason to sup-
pose -- the last chapter, Sir, had finished
             F 2              the

[ 68 ]

the first act of it, and then this chapter
must have set off thus.

  Ptr..r..r..ing -- twing -- twang -- prut
-- trut ---- 'tis a cursed bad fiddle. -- Do
you know whether my fiddle's in tune
or no ? -- trut..prut.. -- They should be
fifths. ---- 'Tis wickedly strung -- tr...
a.e.i.o.u.-twang. -- The bridge is a mile
too high, and the sound-post absolutely
down, -- else -- trut . . prut -- hark ! 'tis
not so bad a tone. -- Diddle diddle, diddle
diddle, diddle diddle, dum. There is
nothing in playing before good judges, --
but there's a man there -- no -- not him
with the bundle under his arm -- the
grave man in black. -- S'death ! not the
gentleman with the sword on. -- Sir, I
had rather play a Caprichio to Calliope
herself, than draw my bow across my
fiddle before that very man ; and yet,
I'll stake my Cremona to a Jew's trump,
which is the greatest musical odds that

[ 69 ]

every were laid, that I will this moment
stop three hundred and fifty leagues out
of tune upon my fiddle, without punish-
ing one single nerve that belongs to him.
-- Twaddle diddle, tweddle diddle, --
twiddle diddle, ---- twoddle diddle, --
twuddle diddle, ---- prut-trut -- krish --
krash -- krush. -- I've undone you, Sir,
-- but you see he is no worse, -- and was
Apollo to take his fiddle after me, he can
make him no better.

  Diddle diddle, diddle diddle, diddle
diddle -- hum -- dum -- drum.

  -- Your worships and your reverences
love musick -- and God has made you all
with good ears -- and some of you play
delightfully yourselves ---- trut-prut, --

  O! there is -- whom I could sit and hear
whole days, -- whose talents lie in making
what he fiddles to be felt, -- who inspires
             F 3              me

[ 70 ]

me with his joys and hopes, and puts the
most hidden springs of my heart into
motion. ---- If you would borrow five
guineas of me, Sir, -- which is generally
ten guineas more than I have to spare --
or you, Messrs. Apothecary and Taylor,
want your bills paying, -- that's your


THE first thing which entered my
father's head, after affairs were a
little settled in the family, and Susannah
had got possession of my mother's green
sattin night-gown, -- was to sit down
coolly, after the example of Xenophon,
and write a TRISTRA-pædia, or system
of education for me ; collecting first for
that purpose his own scattered thoughts,
counsels, and notions ; and binding them
together, so as to form an INSTITUTE for
the government of my childhood and ado-

[ 71 ]

lescence. I was my father's last stake --
he had lost my brother Bobby entirely, --
he had lost, by his own computation,
full three fourths of me -- that is, he had
been unfortunate in his three first great
casts for me -- my geniture, nose, and
name, -- there was but this one left ; and
accordingly my father gave himself up
to it with as much devotion as ever my
uncle Toby had done to his doctrine of
projectils. -- The difference between them
was, that my uncle Toby drew his whole
knowledge of projectils from Nicholas
-- My father spun his, every
thread of it, out of his own brain, -- or
reeled and cross-twisted what all other
spinners and spinsters had spun before
him, that 'twas pretty near the same tor-
ture to him.

  In about three years, or something
more, my father had got advanced al-
most into the middle of his work. -- Like
all other writers, he met with disappoint-
             F 4              ments.

[ 72 ]

ments. -- He imagined he should be
able to bring whatever he had to say,
into so small a compass, that when it
was finished and bound, it might be
rolled up in my mother's hussive. -- Mat-
ter grows under our hands. -- Let no man
say, -- `` Come -- I'll write a duodecimo.''

  My father gave himself up to it, how-
ever, with the most painful diligence,
proceeding step by step in every line,
with the same kind of caution and cir-
cumspection (though I cannot say upon
quite so religious a principle) as was used
by John de la Casse, the lord archbishop
of Benevento, in compassing his Galatea ;
in which his Grace of Benevento spent
near forty years of his life ; and when
the thing came out, it was not of above
half the size or the thickness of a Rider's
Almanack. -- How the holy man mana-
ged the affair, unless he spent the great-
est part of his time in combing his whis-

[ 73 ]

kers, or playing at primero with his chap-
lain, -- would pose any mortal not let into
the true secret ; -- and therefore 'tis worth
explaining to the world, was it only for
the encouragement of those few in it,
who write not so much to be fed -- as to
be famous.

  I own had John de la Casse, the arch-
bishop of Benevento, for whose memory
(notwithstanding his Galatea) I retain
the highest veneration, -- had he been,
Sir, a slender clerk -- of dull wit -- slow
parts -- costive head, and so forth, -- he
and his Galatea might have jogged on
together to the age of Methusalah for
me, -- the phænomenon had not been
worth a parenthesis. --

  But the reverse of this was the truth :
John de la Casse was a genius of fine parts
and fertile fancy ; and yet with all these
great advantages of nature, which should

[ 74 ]

have pricked him forwards with his Ga-
, he lay under an impuissance at the
same time of advancing above a line and
an half in the compass of a whole sum-
mer's day : this disability in his Grace
arose from an opinion he was afflicted
with, -- which opinion was this, -- viz. that
whenever a Christian was writing a book
(not for his private amusement, but)
where his intent and purpose was bonâ
, to print and publish it to the world,
his first thoughts were always the temp-
tations of the evil one. -- This was the
state of ordinary writers : but when a
personage of venerable character and
high station, either in church or state,
once turned author, -- he maintained,
that from the very moment he took pen
in hand -- all the devils in hell broke out
of their holes to cajole him. -- 'Twas
Term-time with them, -- every thought,
first and last, was captious ; -- how spe-

[ 75 ]

cious and good soever, -- 'twas all one ;
-- in whatever form or colour it present-
ed itself to the imagination, -- 'twas still
a stroke of one or other of 'em levelled
at him, and was to be fenced off. -- So
that the life of a writer, whatever he
might fancy to the contrary, was not so
much a state of composition, as a state of
warfare ; and his probation in it, precisely
that of any other man militant upon
earth, -- both depending alike, not half
so much upon the degrees of his WIT --

  My father was hugely pleased with
this theory of John de la Casse, archbi-
shop of Benevento ; and (had it not
cramped him a little in his creed) I be-
lieve would have given ten of the best
acres in the Shandy estate, to have been
the broacher of it. -- How far my father
actually believed in the devil, will be
seen, when I come to speak of my fa-

[ 76 ]

ther's religious notions, in the progress
of this work : 'tis enough to say here,
as he could not have the honour of it,
in the literal sense of the doctrine -- he
took up with the allegory of it ; -- and
would often say, especially when his pen
was a little retrograde, there was as much
good meaning, truth, and knowledge,
couched under the veil of John de la
's parabolical representation, -- as
was to be found in any one poetic fiction,
or mystick record of antiquity. -- Preju-
dice of education, he would say, is the
, -- and the multitudes of them which
we suck in with our mother's milk -- are
the devil and all
. ---- We are haunted
with them, brother Toby, in all our lucu-
brations and researches ; and was a man
fool enough to submit tamely to what
they obtruded upon him, -- what would
his book be ? Nothing, -- he would add,
throwing his pen away with a vengeance,
-- nothing but a farrago of the clack of
             8              nurses

[ 77 ]

nurses, and of the nonsense of the old
women (of both sexes) throughout the

  This is the best account I am deter-
mined to give of the slow progress my
father made in his Tristra-pædia ; at which
(as I said) he was three years and some-
thing more, indefatigably at work, and
at last, had scarce compleated, by his
own reckoning, one half of his under-
taking : the misfortune was, that I was
all that time totally neglected and aban-
doned to my mother ; and what was al-
most as bad, by the very delay, the first
part of the work, upon which my father
had spent the most of his pains, was ren-
dered entirely useless, ---- every day a
page or two became of no conse-
quence. ----

  ---- Certainly it was ordained as a
scourge upon the pride of human wis-

[ 78 ]

dom, That the wisest of us all, should
thus outwit ourselves, and eternally fore-
go our purposes in the intemperate act
of pursuing them.

  In short, my father was so long in all
his acts of resistance, -- or in other words,
-- he advanced so very slow with his
work, and I began to live and get for-
wards at such a rate, that if an event
had not happened, ---- which, when we
get to it, if it can be told with decency,
shall not be concealed a moment from
the reader ---- I verily believe, I had
put by my father, and left him drawing
a sun-dial, for no better purpose than to
be buried under ground.

                          C H A P.

[ 79 ]


---- 'TWAS nothing, -- I did not
lose two drops of blood by
it ---- 'twas not worth calling in a sur-
geon, had he lived next door to us ----
thousands suffer by choice, what I did
by accident. ---- Dr. Slop made ten
times more of it, than there was occa-
sion : ---- some men rise, by the art of
hanging great weights upon small wires,
-- and I am this day (August the 10th,
1761) paying part of the price of this
man's reputation. ---- O 'twould pro-
voke a stone, to see how things are car-
ried on in this world ! ---- The chamber-
maid had left no ******* *** under
the bed : ---- Cannot you contrive, ma-
ster, quoth Susannah, lifting up the sash
with one hand, as she spoke, and help-
ing me up into the window seat with the
other, -- cannot you manage, my dear,