Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 1.XLIII.

Full Text Chapter 1.XLIII.

Chapter 1.XLIII.

Obadiah gained the two crowns without dispute;—for he came in jingling, with all the instruments in the green baize bag we spoke of, flung across his body, just as Corporal Trim went out of the room.

It is now proper, I think, quoth Dr. Slop, (clearing up his looks) as we are in a condition to be of some service to Mrs. Shandy, to send up stairs to know how she goes on.

I have ordered, answered my father, the old midwife to come down to us upon the least difficulty;—for you must know, Dr. Slop, continued my father, with a perplexed kind of a smile upon his countenance, that by express treaty, solemnly ratified between me and my wife, you are no more than an auxiliary in this affair,—and not so much as that,—unless the lean old mother of a midwife above stairs cannot do without you.—Women have their particular fancies, and in points of this nature, continued my father, where they bear the whole burden, and suffer so much acute pain for the advantage of our families, and the good of the species,—they claim a right of deciding, en Souveraines, in whose hands, and in what fashion, they choose to undergo it.

They are in the right of it,—quoth my uncle Toby. But Sir, replied Dr. Slop, not taking notice of my uncle Toby's opinion, but turning to my father,—they had better govern in other points;—and a father of a family, who wishes its perpetuity, in my opinion, had better exchange this prerogative with them, and give up some other rights in lieu of it.—I know not, quoth my father, answering a letter too testily, to be quite dispassionate in what he said,—I know not, quoth he, what we have left to give up, in lieu of who shall bring our children into the world, unless that,—of who shall beget them.—One would almost give up any thing, replied Dr. Slop.—I beg your pardon,—answered my uncle Toby.—Sir, replied Dr. Slop, it would astonish you to know what improvements we have made of late years in all branches of obstetrical knowledge, but particularly in that one single point of the safe and expeditious extraction of the foetus,—which has received such lights, that, for my part (holding up his hand) I declare I wonder how the world has—I wish, quoth my uncle Toby, you had seen what prodigious armies we had in Flanders.