Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 2.XXXVII.

Full Text Chapter 2.XXXVII.

Chapter 2.XXXVII.

My father lay stretched across the bed as still as if the hand of death had pushed him down, for a full hour and a half before he began to play upon the floor with the toe of that foot which hung over the bed-side; my uncle Toby's heart was a pound lighter for it.—In a few moments, his left-hand, the knuckles of which had all the time reclined upon the handle of the chamber-pot, came to its feeling—he thrust it a little more within the valance—drew up his hand, when he had done, into his bosom—gave a hem! My good uncle Toby, with infinite pleasure, answered it; and full gladly would have ingrafted a sentence of consolation upon the opening it afforded: but having no talents, as I said, that way, and fearing moreover that he might set out with something which might make a bad matter worse, he contented himself with resting his chin placidly upon the cross of his crutch.

Now whether the compression shortened my uncle Toby's face into a more pleasurable oval—or that the philanthropy of his heart, in seeing his brother beginning to emerge out of the sea of his afflictions, had braced up his muscles—so that the compression upon his chin only doubled the benignity which was there before, is not hard to decide.—My father, in turning his eyes, was struck with such a gleam of sun-shine in his face, as melted down the sullenness of his grief in a moment.

He broke silence as follows: