T  H  E

L   I   F   E

A  N  D



G E N T L E M A N.

Non enim excursus hic ejus, sed opus ipsum est.
LIN. Lib. quintus Epistola sexta.


L  O  N  D  O  N :
Printed for T. BECKET and P. A. DEHONT,
in the Strand.   M DCC LXV.


L I F E  and  O P I N I O N S


T R I S T R A M S H A N D Y, Gent.


C H A P. I.

---- BUT softly ---- for in these
sportive plains, and under
this genial sun, where at this instant all
flesh is running out piping, fiddling, and
dancing to the vintage, and every step
that's taken, the judgment is surprised by
the imagination, I defy, notwithstanding
   VOL. VIII        B            all

[ 2 ]

all that has been said upon straight lines *
in sundry pages of my book -- I defy the
best cabbage planter that ever existed,
whether he plants backwards or for-
wards, it makes little difference in the ac-
count (except that he will have more to an-
swer for in the one case than in the other) --
I defy him to go on coolly, critically, and
canonically, planting his cabbages one by
one, in straight lines, and stoical distan-
ces, especially if slits in petticoats are un-
sew'd up -- without ever and anon strad-
dling out, or sidling into some bastardly
digression ---- In Freeze-land, Fog-land
and some other lands I wot of -- it may
be done----

  But in this clear climate of fantasy
and perspiration, where every idea,

       * Vid. Vol. VI, p. 152.

[ 3 ]

sensible and insensible, gets vent -- in
this land, my dear Eugenius -- in this
fertile land of chivalry and romance,
where I now sit, unscrewing my ink-horn
to write my uncle Toby's amours, and
with all the meanders of JULIA's track
in quest of her DIEGO, in full view of
my study window -- if thou comest not
and takest me by the hand----

  What a work is it likely to turn

  Let us begin it.

             B 2              C H A P.

[ 4 ]

C H A P. II.

IT is with LOVE as with CUCK-

  ---- But now I am talking of begin-
ning a book, and have long had a thing
upon my mind to be imparted to the
reader, which if not imparted now, can
never be imparted to him as long as I
live (whereas the COMPARISON may be
imparted to him any hour in the day) ----
I'll just mention it, and begin in good

  The thing is this.

  That of all the several ways of begin-
ning a book which are now in practice
             4              throughout

[ 5 ]

throughout the known world, I am con-
fident my own way of doing it is the
best ---- I'm sure it is the most religious
---- for I begin with writing the first
sentence ---- and trusting to Almighty
God for the second.

  'Twould cure an author for ever of
the fuss and folly of opening his street-
door, and calling in his neighbours and
friends, and kinsfolk, with the devil
and all his imps, with their hammers and
engines, &c. only to observe how one
sentence of mine follows another, and
how the plan follows the whole.

  I wish you saw me half starting out of
my chair, with what confidence, as I
grasp the elbow of it, I look up ----
             B 3              catching

[ 6 ]

catching the idea, even sometimes before
it half way reaches me ----

  I believe in my conscience I intercept
many a thought which heaven intended
for another man.

  Pope and his Portrait * are fools to
me ---- no martyr is ever so full of faith
or fire ---- I wish I could say of good
works too ---- but I have no
      Zeal or Anger ---- or
      Anger or Zeal ----
And till gods and men agree together to
call it by the same name ---- the errant-
est TARTUFFE, in science -- in politics
-- or in religion, shall never kindle a
spark within me, or have a worse
word, or a more unkind greeting,

       * Vid. Pope's Portrait.

[ 7 ]

than what he will read in the next


  ---- Bon jour! ---- good morrow!
---- so you have got your cloak on
betimes! ---- but 'tis a cold morning,
and you judge the matter rightly ---- 'tis
better to be well mounted, than go o' foot
---- and obstructions in the glands are
dangerous ---- And how goes it with thy
concubine -- thy wife -- and thy little ones
o' both sides? and when did you hear
from the old gentleman and lady -- your
sister, aunt, uncle, and cousins ---- I hope
they have got better of their colds,
coughs, claps, tooth-aches, fevers, stran-
guries, sciaticas, swellings, and sore-eyes.
             B 4              ----What

[ 8 ]

---- What a devil of an apothecary!
to take so much blood -- give such a vile
purge -- puke -- poultice -- plaister -- night-
draught -- glister -- blister? ---- And why
so many grains of calomel? santa Ma-
ria! and such a dose of opium! peri-
clitating, pardi! the whole family of
ye, from head to tail ---- By my great
aunt Dinah's old black velvet mask!
I think there was no occasion for it.

  Now this being a little bald about the
chin, by frequently putting off and on,
before she was got with child by the
coachman -- not one of our family would
wear it after. To cover the MASK afresh,
was more than the mask was worth ----
and to wear a mask which was bald,

[ 9 ]

or which could be half seen through,
was as bad as having no mask at all ----

  This is the reason, may it please your
reverences, that in all our numerous fa-
mily, for these four generations, we
count no more than one archbishop, a
Welch judge, some three or four alder-
men, and a single mountebank ----

In the sixteenth century, we boast of
no less than a dozen alchymists.

                          C H A P.

[ 10 ]

C H A P. IV.

``IT is with Love as with Cuckol-
dom'' ---- the suffering party is at
least the third, but generally the last in
the house who knows any thing about the
matter : this comes, as all the world
knows, from having half a dozen words
for one thing ; and so long, as what in
this vessel of the human frame, isLove --
may be Hatred, in that ---- Sentiment
half a yard higher ---- and Nonsense ----
-------- no Madam, -- not there ---- I
mean at the part I am now pointing to
with my forefinger ---- how can we help

  Of all mortal, and immortal men too,
if you please, who ever soliloquized upon

[ 11 ]

this mystic subject, my uncle Toby was
the worst fitted, to have push'd his re-
searches, thro' such a contention of feel-
ings ; and he had infallibly let them all
run on, as we do worse matters, to see
what they would turn out ---- had not
Bridget's pre-notification of them to
Susannah, and Susannah's repeated
manifesto's thereupon to all the world,
made lt necessary for my uncle Toby to
look into the affair.

                          C H A P.

[ 12 ]

C H A P. V.

WHY weavers, gardeners, and gla-
diators -- or a man with a pined
leg (proceeding from some ailment in
the foot) -- should ever have had some
tender nymph breaking her heart in secret
for them, are points well and duly settled
and accounted for, by ancient and modern

  A water-drinker, provided he is a pro-
fess'd one, and does it without fraud or
covin, is precisely in the same predica-
ment : not that, at first sight, there is
any consequence, or shew of logic in it,
``That a rill of cold water dribbling
``through my inward parts, should light
``up a torch in my Jenny's -- ''
                          -- The

[ 13 ]

  ---- The proposition does not strike
one ; on the contrary it seems to run op-
posite to the natural workings of causes
and effects ----

  But it shews the weakness and imbeci-
lity of human reason.

  ---- ``And in perfect good health
``with it?''

  -- The most perfect -- Madam, that
friendship herself could wish me ----

  -- ``And drink nothing! ---- nothing
``but water?''

  -- Impetuous fluid! the moment thou
presses against the flood-gates of the
brain ---- see how they give way! ----

[ 14 ]

  In swims CURIOSITY, beckoning to her
damsels to follow -- they dive into the
centre of the current ----

  FANCY sits musing upon the bank,
and with her eyes following the stream,
turns straws and bulrushes into masts and
bowsprits ---- And DESIRE, with vest
held up to the knee in one hand, snatches
at them, as they swim by her, with the
other ----

  O ye water-drinkers! is it then by this
delusive fountain, that ye have so often
governed and turn'd this world about
like a mill-wheel -- grinding the faces of
the impotent -- be-powdering their ribs --
be-peppering their noses, and changing
sometimes even the very frame and face
of nature ----
             1              -- If

[ 15 ]

  -- If I was you, quoth Yorick, I would
drink more water, Eugenius.--And, if I
was you, Yorick, replied Eugenius, so
would I.

  Which shews they had both read
Longinus ----

  For my own part, I am resolved never
to read any book but my own, as long
as I live.

                          C H A P.

[ 16 ]

C H A P. VI.

I Wish my uncle Toby had been a
water-drinker ; for then the thing had
been accounted for, That the first mo-
ment Widow Wadman saw him, she felt
something stirring within her in his fa-
vour -- Something! -- something.

  -- Something perhaps more than friend-
ship -- less than love -- something -- no
matter what -- no matter where -- I would
not give a single hair off my mule's tail,
and be obliged to pluck it off myself
(indeed the villain has not many to spare,
and is not a little vicious into the bar-
gain) to be let by your worships into the
secret ----


[ 17 ]

  But the truth is, my uncle Toby was
not a water-drinker ; he drank it neither
pure or mix'd, or any how, or any
where, except fortuitously upon some ad-
vanced posts, where better liquor was not
to be had ---- or during the time he was
under cure ; when the surgeon telling
him it would extend the fibres, and
bring them sooner into contact ---- my
uncle Toby drank it for quietness' sake.

  Now as all the world knows, that no
effect in nature can be produced without
a cause and as it is as well known, that
my uncle Toby, was neither a weaver --
a gardener, or a gladiator ---- unless as a
captain, you will needs have him one --
but then he was only a captain of foot --
and besides the whole is an equivocation
---- There is nothing left for us to sup-
   VOL. VIII        C            pose,

[ 18 ]

pose, but that my uncle Toby's leg ----
but that will avail us little in the present
hypothesis, unless it had proceeded from
some ailment in the foot -- whereas his leg
was not emaciated from any disorder in his
foot -- for my uncle Toby's leg was not
emaciated at all. It was a little stiff and
awkward, from a total disuse of it, for
the three years he lay confined at my
father's house in town ; but it was plump
and muscular, and in all other respects as
good and promising a leg as the other.

  I declare, I do not recollect any one
opinion or passage of my life, where my
understanding was more at a loss to make
ends meet, and torture the chapter I had
been writing, to the service of the chapter
following it, than in the present case :
one would think I took a pleasure in run-

[ 19 ]

ing into difficulties of this kind, merely
to make fresh experiments of getting out
of `em ---- Inconsiderate soul that thou
art! What! are not the unavoidable
distresses with which, as an author and a
man, thou art hemm'd in on every side
of thee ---- are they,Tristram, not suffi-
cient, but thou must entangle thyself
still more?

  Is it not enough that thou art in debt,
and that thou hast ten cart-loads of thy
fifth and sixth volumes still -- still unsold,
and art almost at thy wit's ends, how to
get them off thy hands.

  To this hour art thou not tormented
with the vile asthma thou gattest in
skating against the wind in Flanders?
and is it but two months ago, that in a
             C 2              fit