Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.LVI.

Full Text Chapter 2.LVI.

Chapter 2.LVI.

As Francis the first of France was one winterly night warming himself over the embers of a wood fire, and talking with his first minister of sundry things for the good of the state (Vide Menagiana, Vol. I.)—It would not be amiss, said the king, stirring up the embers with his cane, if this good understanding betwixt ourselves and Switzerland was a little strengthened.—There is no end, Sire, replied the minister, in giving money to these people—they would swallow up the treasury of France.—Poo! poo! answered the king—there are more ways, Mons. le Premier, of bribing states, besides that of giving money—I'll pay Switzerland the honour of standing godfather for my next child.—Your majesty, said the minister, in so doing, would have all the grammarians in Europe upon your back;—Switzerland, as a republic, being a female, can in no construction be godfather.—She may be godmother, replied Francis hastily—so announce my intentions by a courier to-morrow morning.

I am astonished, said Francis the First, (that day fortnight) speaking to his minister as he entered the closet, that we have had no answer from Switzerland.—Sire, I wait upon you this moment, said Mons. le Premier, to lay before you my dispatches upon that business.—They take it kindly, said the king.—They do, Sire, replied the minister, and have the highest sense of the honour your majesty has done them—but the republick, as godmother, claims her right, in this case, of naming the child.

In all reason, quoth the king—she will christen him Francis, or Henry, or Lewis, or some name that she knows will be agreeable to us. Your majesty is deceived, replied the minister—I have this hour received a dispatch from our resident, with the determination of the republic on that point also.—And what name has the republick fixed upon for the Dauphin?—Shadrach, Mesech, Abed-nego, replied the minister.—By Saint Peter's girdle, I will have nothing to do with the Swiss, cried Francis the First, pulling up his breeches and walking hastily across the floor.

Your majesty, replied the minister calmly, cannot bring yourself off.

We'll pay them in money—said the king.

Sire, there are not sixty thousand crowns in the treasury, answered the minister.—I'll pawn the best jewel in my crown, quoth Francis the First.

Your honour stands pawn'd already in this matter, answered Monsieur le Premier.

Then, Mons. le Premier, said the king, by...we'll go to war with 'em.