Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 1.XLVIII.

Full Text Chapter 1.XLVIII.

Chapter 1.XLVIII.

A man's body and his mind, with the utmost reverence to both I speak it, are exactly like a jerkin, and a jerkin's lining;—rumple the one,—you rumple the other. There is one certain exception however in this case, and that is, when you are so fortunate a fellow, as to have had your jerkin made of gum-taffeta, and the body-lining to it of a sarcenet, or thin persian.

Zeno, Cleanthes, Diogenes Babylonius, Dionysius, Heracleotes, Antipater, Panaetius, and Possidonius amongst the Greeks;—Cato and Varro and Seneca amongst the Romans;—Pantenus and Clemens Alexandrinus and Montaigne amongst the Christians; and a score and a half of good, honest, unthinking Shandean people as ever lived, whose names I can't recollect,—all pretended that their jerkins were made after this fashion,—you might have rumpled and crumpled, and doubled and creased, and fretted and fridged the outside of them all to pieces;—in short, you might have played the very devil with them, and at the same time, not one of the insides of them would have been one button the worse, for all you had done to them.

I believe in my conscience that mine is made up somewhat after this sort:—for never poor jerkin has been tickled off at such a rate as it has been these last nine months together,—and yet I declare, the lining to it,—as far as I am a judge of the matter,—is not a three-penny piece the worse;—pell-mell, helter-skelter, ding-dong, cut and thrust, back stroke and fore stroke, side way and long-way, have they been trimming it for me:—had there been the least gumminess in my lining,—by heaven! it had all of it long ago been frayed and fretted to a thread.

—You Messrs. the Monthly Reviewers!—how could you cut and slash my jerkin as you did?—how did you know but you would cut my lining too?

Heartily and from my soul, to the protection of that Being who will injure none of us, do I recommend you and your affairs,—so God bless you;—only next month, if any one of you should gnash his teeth, and storm and rage at me, as some of you did last May (in which I remember the weather was very hot)—don't be exasperated, if I pass it by again with good temper,—(being determined as long as I live or write) which in my case means the same thing) never to give the honest gentleman a worse word or a worse wish than my uncle Toby gave the fly which buzz'd about his nose all dinner-time,—'Go,—go, poor devil,' quoth he,—'get thee gone,—why should I hurt thee! This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me.'