[ 40 ]

C H A P. XV.

IT is a great pity---but 'tis certain
from every day's observation of man,
that he may be set on fire like a candle,
at either end -- provided there is a suffi-
cient wick standing out ; if there is not
-- there's an end of the affair ; and if
there is -- by lighting it at the bottom,
as the flame in that case has the misfor-
tune generally to put out itself -- there's
an end of the affair again.

  For my part, could I always have the
ordering of it which way I would be
burnt myself -- for I cannot bear the
thoughts of being burnt like a beast--
I would oblige a housewife constantly to

[ 41 ]

light me at the top ; for then I should
burn down decently to the socket ; that
is, from my head to my heart, from my
heart to my liver, from my liver to my
bowels, and so on by the mesaraick
veins and arteries, through all the turns
and lateral insertions of the intestines and
their tunicles, to the blind gut----

  ---- I beseech you, doctor Slop, quoth
my uncle Toby, interrupting him as he
mentioned the blind gut, in a discourse
with my father the night my mother
was brought to bed of me ---- I be-
seech you, quoth my uncle Toby, to
tell me which is the blind gut ; for, old
as I am, I vow I do not know to this
day where it lies.


[ 42 ]

The blind gut, answered doctor Slop,
lies betwixt the Illionand Colon ----

  ---- In a man? said my father.

  ---- 'Tis precisely the same, cried
doctor Slop, in a woman ----

  That's more than I know ; quoth my

                          C H A P.

[ 43 ]


  ---- And so to make sure of both sys-
tems, Mrs. Wadman predetermined to
light my uncle Toby neither at this end or
that ; but like a prodigal's candle, to
light him, if possible, at both ends at

  Now, through all the lumber rooms
of military furniture, including both of
horse and foot, from the great arsenal
of Venice to the Tower of London
(exclusive) if Mrs. Wadman had been
rummaging for seven years together,
and with Bridget to help her, she could
not have found any one blindor man-
so fit for her purpose, as that which

[ 44 ]

the expediency of my uncle Toby's af-
fairs had fix'd up ready to her hands.

  I believe I have not told you ---- but
I don't know ---- possibly I have ---- be
it as it will, 'tis one of the number of
those many things, which a man had
better do over again, than dispute about
it -- That whatever town or fortress the
corporal was at work upon, during the
course of their campaign, my uncle Toby
always took care on the inside of his
sentry-box, which was towards his left
hand, to have a plan of the place, fasten'd
up with two or three pins at the top, but
loose at the bottom, for the conveniency
of holding it up to the eye, &c. . . . as
occasions required ; so that when an
attack was resolved upon, Mrs. Wadman
had nothing more to do, when she had

[ 45 ]

got advanced to the door of the sentry-
box, but to extend her right hand ; and
edging in her left foot at the same move-
ment, to take hold of the map or plan,
or upright, or whatever it was, and with
outstretched neck meeting it half way,
-- to advance it towards her ; on which
my uncle Toby's passions were sure to
catch fire ---- for he would instantly take
hold of the other corner of the map in
his left hand, and with the end of his
pipe, in the other, begin an expla-

  When the attack was advanced to this
point ; ---- the world will naturally enter
into the reasons of Mrs. Wadman's next
stroke of generalship ---- which was, to
take my uncle Toby's tobacco-pipe out
of his hand as soon as she possibly could ;

[ 46 ]

which, under one pretence or other, but
generally that of pointing more distinctly
at some redoubt or breast-work in the
map, she would effect before my uncle
Toby (poor soul!) had well march'd a-
bove half a dozen toises with it.

  -- It obliged my uncle Toby to make
use of his forefinger.

  The difference it made in the attack
was this ; That in going upon it, as in
the first case, with the end of her fore-
finger against the end of my uncle Toby's
tobacco-pipe, she might have travelled
with it, along the lines, from Dan to Beer-
sheba, had my uncle Toby's lines reach'd
so far, without any effect : For as there
was no arterial or vital heat in the end of
the tobacco-pipe, it could excite no sen-

[ 47 ]

timent ---- it could neither give fire by
pulsation ---- or receive it by sympathy
---- 'twas nothing but smoak.

  Whereas, in following my uncle
Toby's forefinger with hers, close thro'
all the little turns and indentings of his
works ---- pressing sometimes against
the side of it ---- then treading upon it's
nail ---- then tripping it up ---- then
touching it here ---- then there, and so
on ---- it set something at least in mo-

  This, tho' slight skirmishing, and at
a distance from the main body, yet drew
on the rest ; for here, the map usually
falling with the back of it, close to the
side of the sentry-box, my uncle Toby,
in the simplicity of his soul, would lay his

[ 48 ]

hand flat upon it, in order to go on with
his explanation ; and Mrs. Wadman, by a
manoeuvre as quick as thought, would
as certainly place her's close besides it ; this
at once opened a communication, large
enough for any sentiment to pass or re-
pass, which a person skill'd in the ele-
mentary and practical part of love-
making, has occasion for ------

  By bringing up her forefinger parallel
(as before) to my uncle Toby's ---- it
unavoidably brought the thumb into
action ---- and the forefinger and thumb
being once engaged, as naturally brought
in the whole hand. Thine, dear uncle
Toby! was never now in it's right place
---- Mrs. Wadman had it ever to take
up, or, with the gentlest pushings, pro-
trusions, and equivocal compressions,

[ 49 ]

that a hand to be removed is capable of
receiving ---- to get it press'd a hair
breadth of one side out of her way.

  Whilst this was doing, how could she
forget to make him sensible, that it was her
leg (and no one's else) at the bottom of the
sentry-box, which slightly press'd against
the calf of his ---- So that my uncle
Toby being thus attacked and sore
push'd on both his wings ---- was it a
wonder, if now and then, it put his
centre into disorder? ----

  ---- The duce take it! said my uncle

   VOL. VIII        E            C H A P.

[ 50 ]


THESE attacks of Mrs. Wadman,
you will readily conceive to be of
different kinds ; varying from each other,
like the attacks which history is full of,
and from the same reasons. A general
looker on, would scarce allow them to be
attacks at all ---- or if he did, would
confound them all together ---- but I
write not to them : it will be time enough
to be a little more exact in my descrip-
tions of them, as I come up to them,
which will not be for some chapters ;
having nothing more to add in this, but
that in a bundle of original papers and
drawings which my father took care to
roll up by themselves, there is a plan of

[ 51 ]

Bouchain in perfect preservation (and
shall be kept so, whilst I have power to
preserve any thing) upon the lower corner
of which, on the right hand side, there
is still remaining the marks of a snuffy
finger and thumb, which there is all the
reason in the world to imagine, were
Mrs. Wadman's ; for the opposite side
of the margin, which I suppose to have
been my uncle Toby's, is absolutely clean :
This seems an authenticated record of
one of these attacks ; for there are vestigia
of the two punctures partly grown up,
but still visible on the opposite corner of
the map, which are unquestionably the
very holes, through which it has been
pricked up in the sentry-box ----

  By all that is priestly! I value this
precious relick, with it's stigmata and
             E 2              pricks,

[ 52 ]

pricks, more than all the relicks of the
Romish church ---- always excepting,
when I am writing upon these matters,
the pricks which enter'd the flesh of St.
Radagunda in the desert, which in your
road from FESSE to CLUNY, the nuns
of that name will shew you for love.


I Think, an' please your honour, quoth
Trim, the fortifications are quite de-
stroyed ---- and the bason is upon a level
with the mole ---- I think so too ; replied
my uncle Toby with a sigh half sup-
press'd ---- but step into the parlour,
Trim, for the stipulation ---- it lies upon
the table.

[ 53 ]

  It has lain there these six weeks, replied
the corporal, till this very morning that
the old woman kindled the fire with it --

  ---- Then, said my uncle Toby, there
is no further occasion for our services.
The more, an' please your honour, the
pity, said the corporal ; in uttering which
he cast his spade into the wheel-barrow,
which was beside him, with an air the
most expressive of disconsolation that can
be imagined, and was heavily turning
about to look for his pick-ax, his pio-
neer's shovel, his picquets and other little
military stores, in order to carry them off
the field ---- when a heigh ho! from the
sentry-box, which, being made of thin
slit deal, reverberated the sound more
sorrowfully to his ear, forbad him.

             E 3              ---- No ;

[ 54 ]

  ---- No ; said the corporal to himself,
I'll do it before his honour rises to-mor-
row morning ; so taking his spade out of
the wheel-barrow again, with a little
earth in it, as if to level something at the
foot of the glacis --- but with a real in-
tent to approach nearer to his master, in
order to divert him ---- he loosen'd a sod
or two ---- pared their edges with his
spade, and having given them a gentle
blow or two with the back of it, he sat
himself down close by my uncle Toby's
feet, and began as follows.

                          C H A P.

[ 55 ]


IT was a thousand pities ---- though I
believe, an' please your honour, I am
going to say but a foolish kind of a thing
for a soldier ----

  A soldier, cried my uncle Toby, inter-
rupting the corporal, is no more exempt
from saying a foolish thing, Trim, than
a man of letters ---- But not so often ;
and please your honour, replied the cor-
poral ---- My uncle Toby gave a nod.

  It was a thousand pities then, said the
corporal, casting his eye upon Dunkirk,
and the mole, as Servius Sulpicius, in re-
turning out of Asia (when he sailed from
             E 4              Ægina

[ 56 ]

Ægina towards Megara) did upon Co-
rinth and Pyreus ----

  -- ``It was a thousand pities, an' please
your honour, to destroy these works ----
and a thousand pities to have let them
stood.'' ----

  ---- Thou art right, Trim, in both
cases : said my uncle Toby ---- This,
continued the corporal, is the reason, that
from the beginning of their demolition
to the end ---- I have never once whist-
led, or sung, or laugh'd, or cry'd, or
talk'd of pass'd done deeds, or told your
honour one story good or bad ----

  ---- Thou hast many excellencies,
Trim, said my uncle Toby, and I hold
it not the least of them, as thou happenest
             2              to

[ 57 ]

to be a story-teller, that of the number
thou hast told me, either to amuse me in
my painful hours, or divert me in my
grave ones -- thou hast seldom told me a
bad one ----

  ---- Because, an' please your honour,
except one of a King of Bohemia and his
seven castles
, -- they are all true ; for they
are about myself ----

  I do not like the subject the worse,
Trim, said my uncle Toby, on that
score : But prithee what is this story?
thou hast excited my curiosity.

  I'll tell it your honour, quoth the cor-
poral, directly -- Provided, said my uncle
Toby, looking earnestly towards Dun-
kirk and the mole again ---- provided it

[ 58 ]

is not a merry one ; to such, Trim, a man
should ever bring one half of the enter-
tainment along with him ; and the dis-
position I am in at present would wrong
both thee, Trim, and thy story ---- It is
not a merry one by any means, replied
the corporal -- Nor would I have it alto-
gether a grave one, added my uncle
Toby ---- it is neither the one nor the
other, replied the corporal, but will suit
your honour exactly ---- Then I'll thank
thee for it with all my heart, cried my
uncle Toby, so prithee begin it, Trim.

  The corporal made his reverence ;
and though it is not so easy a matter as
the world imagines, to pull off a lank
montero cap with grace ---- or a whit less
difficult, in my conceptions, when a man
is sitting squat upon the ground, to make

[ 59 ]

a bow so teeming with respect as the
corporal was wont, yet by suffering the
palm of his right hand, which was to-
wards his master, to slip backward upon
the grass, a little beyond his body, in order
to allow it the greater sweep ---- and by
an unforced compression, at the same time,
of his cap with the thumb and the two
forefingers of his left, by which the dia-
meter of the cap became reduced, so that
it might be said, rather to be insensibly
squeez'd -- than pull'd off with a flatus
---- the corporal acquitted himself of
both, in a better manner than the posture
of his affairs promised ; and having
hemmed twice, to find in what key his
story would best go, and best suit his
master's humour -- he exchanged a single
look of kindness with him, and set off