Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 1.LI.

Full Text Chapter 1.LI.

Chapter 1.LI.

Whilst my uncle Toby was whistling Lillabullero to my father,—Dr. Slop was stamping, and cursing and damning at Obadiah at a most dreadful rate,—it would have done your heart good, and cured you, Sir, for ever of the vile sin of swearing, to have heard him, I am determined therefore to relate the whole affair to you.

When Dr. Slop's maid delivered the green baize bag with her master's instruments in it, to Obadiah, she very sensibly exhorted him to put his head and one arm through the strings, and ride with it slung across his body: so undoing the bow-knot, to lengthen the strings for him, without any more ado, she helped him on with it. However, as this, in some measure, unguarded the mouth of the bag, lest any thing should bolt out in galloping back, at the speed Obadiah threatened, they consulted to take it off again: and in the great care and caution of their hearts, they had taken the two strings and tied them close (pursing up the mouth of the bag first) with half a dozen hard knots, each of which Obadiah, to make all safe, had twitched and drawn together with all the strength of his body.

This answered all that Obadiah and the maid intended; but was no remedy against some evils which neither he or she foresaw. The instruments, it seems, as tight as the bag was tied above, had so much room to play in it, towards the bottom (the shape of the bag being conical) that Obadiah could not make a trot of it, but with such a terrible jingle, what with the tire tete, forceps, and squirt, as would have been enough, had Hymen been taking a jaunt that way, to have frightened him out of the country; but when Obadiah accelerated his motion, and from a plain trot assayed to prick his coach-horse into a full gallop—by Heaven! Sir, the jingle was incredible.

As Obadiah had a wife and three children—the turpitude of fornication, and the many other political ill consequences of this jingling, never once entered his brain,—he had however his objection, which came home to himself, and weighed with him, as it has oft-times done with the greatest patriots.—'The poor fellow, Sir, was not able to hear himself whistle.'