Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.LXVIII.

Full Text Chapter 3.LXVIII.

Chapter 3.LXVIII.

My uncle Toby had scarce turned the corner of his yew hedge, which separated his kitchen-garden from his bowling-green, when he perceived the corporal had begun the attack without him.—

Let me stop and give you a picture of the corporal's apparatus; and of the corporal himself in the height of his attack, just as it struck my uncle Toby, as he turned towards the sentry-box, where the corporal was at work,—for in nature there is not such another,—nor can any combination of all that is grotesque and whimsical in her works produce its equal.

The corporal—

—Tread lightly on his ashes, ye men of genius,—for he was your kinsman:

Weed his grave clean, ye men of goodness,—for he was your brother.—Oh corporal! had I thee, but now,—now, that I am able to give thee a dinner and protection,—how would I cherish thee! thou should'st wear thy Montero-cap every hour of the day, and every day of the week.—and when it was worn out, I would purchase thee a couple like it:—But alas! alas! alas! now that I can do this in spite of their reverences—the occasion is lost—for thou art gone;—thy genius fled up to the stars from whence it came;—and that warm heart of thine, with all its generous and open vessels, compressed into a clod of the valley!

—But what—what is this, to that future and dreaded page, where I look towards the velvet pall, decorated with the military ensigns of thy master—the first—the foremost of created beings;—where, I shall see thee, faithful servant! laying his sword and scabbard with a trembling hand across his coffin, and then returning pale as ashes to the door, to take his mourning horse by the bridle, to follow his hearse, as he directed thee;—where—all my father's systems shall be baffled by his sorrows; and, in spite of his philosophy, I shall behold him, as he inspects the lackered plate, twice taking his spectacles from off his nose, to wipe away the dew which nature has shed upon them—When I see him cast in the rosemary with an air of disconsolation, which cries through my ears,—O Toby! in what corner of the world shall I seek thy fellow?

—Gracious powers! which erst have opened the lips of the dumb in his distress, and made the tongue of the stammerer speak plain—when I shall arrive at this dreaded page, deal not with me, then, with a stinted hand.