Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.XXXVI.

Full Text Chapter 2.XXXVI.

Chapter 2.XXXVI.

With all this learning upon Noses running perpetually in my father's fancy—with so many family prejudices—and ten decades of such tales running on for ever along with them—how was it possible with such exquisite—was it a true nose?—That a man with such exquisite feelings as my father had, could bear the shock at all below stairs—or indeed above stairs, in any other posture, but the very posture I have described?

—Throw yourself down upon the bed, a dozen times—taking care only to place a looking-glass first in a chair on one side of it, before you do it—But was the stranger's nose a true nose, or was it a false one?

To tell that before-hand, madam, would be to do injury to one of the best tales in the Christian-world; and that is the tenth of the tenth decade, which immediately follows this.

This tale, cried Slawkenbergius, somewhat exultingly, has been reserved by me for the concluding tale of my whole work; knowing right well, that when I shall have told it, and my reader shall have read it thro'—'twould be even high time for both of us to shut up the book; inasmuch, continues Slawkenbergius, as I know of no tale which could possibly ever go down after it.

'Tis a tale indeed!

This sets out with the first interview in the inn at Lyons, when Fernandez left the courteous stranger and his sister Julia alone in her chamber, and is over-written.

The Intricacies of Diego and Julia.

Heavens! thou art a strange creature, Slawkenbergius! what a whimsical view of the involutions of the heart of woman hast thou opened! how this can ever be translated, and yet if this specimen of Slawkenbergius's tales, and the exquisitiveness of his moral, should please the world—translated shall a couple of volumes be.—Else, how this can ever be translated into good English, I have no sort of conception—There seems in some passages to want a sixth sense to do it rightly.—What can he mean by the lambent pupilability of slow, low, dry chat, five notes below the natural tone—which you know, madam, is little more than a whisper? The moment I pronounced the words, I could perceive an attempt towards a vibration in the strings, about the region of the heart.—The brain made no acknowledgment.—There's often no good understanding betwixt 'em—I felt as if I understood it.—I had no ideas.—The movement could not be without cause.—I'm lost. I can make nothing of it—unless, may it please your worships, the voice, in that case being little more than a whisper, unavoidably forces the eyes to approach not only within six inches of each other—but to look into the pupils—is not that dangerous?—But it can't be avoided—for to look up to the cieling, in that case the two chins unavoidably meet—and to look down into each other's lap, the foreheads come to immediate contact, which at once puts an end to the conference—I mean to the sentimental part of it.—What is left, madam, is not worth stooping for.