Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.LIII.

Full Text Chapter 2.LIII.

Chapter 2.LIII.

Your honour, said Trim, shutting the parlour-door before he began to speak, has heard, I imagine, of this unlucky accident—O yes, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and it gives me great concern.—I am heartily concerned too, but I hope your honour, replied Trim, will do me the justice to believe, that it was not in the least owing to me.—To thee—Trim?—cried my uncle Toby, looking kindly in his face—'twas Susannah's and the curate's folly betwixt them.—What business could they have together, an' please your honour, in the garden?—In the gallery thou meanest, replied my uncle Toby.

Trim found he was upon a wrong scent, and stopped short with a low bow—Two misfortunes, quoth the corporal to himself, are twice as many at least as are needful to be talked over at one time;—the mischief the cow has done in breaking into the fortifications, may be told his honour hereafter.—Trim's casuistry and address, under the cover of his low bow, prevented all suspicion in my uncle Toby, so he went on with what he had to say to Trim as follows:

—For my own part, Trim, though I can see little or no difference betwixt my nephew's being called Tristram or Trismegistus—yet as the thing sits so near my brother's heart, Trim—I would freely have given a hundred pounds rather than it should have happened.—A hundred pounds, an' please your honour! replied Trim,—I would not give a cherry-stone to boot.—Nor would I, Trim, upon my own account, quoth my uncle Toby—but my brother, whom there is no arguing with in this case—maintains that a great deal more depends, Trim, upon christian-names, than what ignorant people imagine—for he says there never was a great or heroic action performed since the world began by one called Tristram—nay, he will have it, Trim, that a man can neither be learned, or wise, or brave.—'Tis all fancy, an' please your honour—I fought just as well, replied the corporal, when the regiment called me Trim, as when they called me James Butler.—And for my own part, said my uncle Toby, though I should blush to boast of myself, Trim—yet had my name been Alexander, I could have done no more at Namur than my duty.—Bless your honour! cried Trim, advancing three steps as he spoke, does a man think of his christian-name when he goes upon the attack?—Or when he stands in the trench, Trim? cried my uncle Toby, looking firm.—Or when he enters a breach? said Trim, pushing in between two chairs.—Or forces the lines? cried my uncle, rising up, and pushing his crutch like a pike.—Or facing a platoon? cried Trim, presenting his stick like a firelock.—Or when he marches up the glacis? cried my uncle Toby, looking warm and setting his foot upon his stool.—