Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.XVLIII.

Full Text Chapter 2.XVLIII.

Chapter 2.XVLIII.

Holla!—you, chairman!—here's sixpence—do step into that bookseller's shop, and call me a day-tall critick. I am very willing to give any one of 'em a crown to help me with his tackling, to get my father and my uncle Toby off the stairs, and to put them to bed.

—'Tis even high time; for except a short nap, which they both got whilst Trim was boring the jack-boots—and which, by-the-bye, did my father no sort of good, upon the score of the bad hinge—they have not else shut their eyes, since nine hours before the time that doctor Slop was led into the back parlour in that dirty pickle by Obadiah.

Was every day of my life to be as busy a day as this—and to take up—Truce.

I will not finish that sentence till I have made an observation upon the strange state of affairs between the reader and myself, just as things stand at present—an observation never applicable before to any one biographical writer since the creation of the world, but to myself—and I believe, will never hold good to any other, until its final destruction—and therefore, for the very novelty of it alone, it must be worth your worships attending to.

I am this month one whole year older than I was this time twelve-month; and having got, as you perceive, almost into the middle of my third volume (According to the preceding Editions.)—and no farther than to my first day's life—'tis demonstrative that I have three hundred and sixty-four days more life to write just now, than when I first set out; so that instead of advancing, as a common writer, in my work with what I have been doing at it—on the contrary, I am just thrown so many volumes back—was every day of my life to be as busy a day as this—And why not?—and the transactions and opinions of it to take up as much description—And for what reason should they be cut short? as at this rate I should just live 364 times faster than I should write—It must follow, an' please your worships, that the more I write, the more I shall have to write—and consequently, the more your worships read, the more your worships will have to read.

Will this be good for your worships eyes?

It will do well for mine; and, was it not that my Opinions will be the death of me, I perceive I shall lead a fine life of it out of this self-same life of mine; or, in other words, shall lead a couple of fine lives together.

As for the proposal of twelve volumes a year, or a volume a month, it no way alters my prospect—write as I will, and rush as I may into the middle of things, as Horace advises—I shall never overtake myself whipp'd and driven to the last pinch; at the worst I shall have one day the start of my pen—and one day is enough for two volumes—and two volumes will be enough for one year.—

Heaven prosper the manufacturers of paper under this propitious reign, which is now opened to us—as I trust its providence will prosper every thing else in it that is taken in hand.

As for the propagation of Geese—I give myself no concern—Nature is all-bountiful—I shall never want tools to work with.

—So then, friend! you have got my father and my uncle Toby off the stairs, and seen them to bed?—And how did you manage it?—You dropp'd a curtain at the stair-foot—I thought you had no other way for it—Here's a crown for your trouble.