Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.XXXIX.

Full Text Chapter 2.XXXIX.

Chapter 2.XXXIX.

Was it Mackay's regiment, quoth my uncle Toby, where the poor grenadier was so unmercifully whipp'd at Bruges about the ducats?—O Christ! he was innocent! cried Trim, with a deep sigh.—And he was whipp'd, may it please your honour, almost to death's door.—They had better have shot him outright, as he begg'd, and he had gone directly to heaven, for he was as innocent as your honour.—I thank thee, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby.—I never think of his, continued Trim, and my poor brother Tom's misfortunes, for we were all three school-fellows, but I cry like a coward.—Tears are no proof of cowardice, Trim.—I drop them oft-times myself, cried my uncle Toby.—I know your honour does, replied Trim, and so am not ashamed of it myself.—But to think, may it please your honour, continued Trim, a tear stealing into the corner of his eye as he spoke—to think of two virtuous lads with hearts as warm in their bodies, and as honest as God could make them—the children of honest people, going forth with gallant spirits to seek their fortunes in the world—and fall into such evils!—poor Tom! to be tortured upon a rack for nothing—but marrying a Jew's widow who sold sausages—honest Dick Johnson's soul to be scourged out of his body, for the ducats another man put into his knapsack!—O!—these are misfortunes, cried Trim,—pulling out his handkerchief—these are misfortunes, may it please your honour, worth lying down and crying over.

—My father could not help blushing.

'Twould be a pity, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, thou shouldst ever feel sorrow of thy own—thou feelest it so tenderly for others.—Alack-o-day, replied the corporal, brightening up his face—your honour knows I have neither wife or child—I can have no sorrows in this world.—My father could not help smiling.—As few as any man, Trim, replied my uncle Toby; nor can I see how a fellow of thy light heart can suffer, but from the distress of poverty in thy old age—when thou art passed all services, Trim—and hast outlived thy friends.—An' please your honour, never fear, replied Trim, chearily.—But I would have thee never fear, Trim, replied my uncle Toby, and therefore, continued my uncle Toby, throwing down his crutch, and getting up upon his legs as he uttered the word therefore—in recompence, Trim, of thy long fidelity to me, and that goodness of thy heart I have had such proofs of—whilst thy master is worth a shilling—thou shalt never ask elsewhere, Trim, for a penny. Trim attempted to thank my uncle Toby—but had not power—tears trickled down his cheeks faster than he could wipe them off—He laid his hands upon his breast—made a bow to the ground, and shut the door.

—I have left Trim my bowling-green, cried my uncle Toby—My father smiled.—I have left him moreover a pension, continued my uncle Toby.—My father looked grave.