Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.X.

Full Text Chapter 3.X.

Chapter 3.X.

Whether Susannah, by taking her hand too suddenly from off the corporal's shoulder (by the whisking about of her passions)—broke a little the chain of his reflexions—

Or whether the corporal began to be suspicious, he had got into the doctor's quarters, and was talking more like the chaplain than himself—

Or whether...Or whether—for in all such cases a man of invention and parts may with pleasure fill a couple of pages with suppositions—which of all these was the cause, let the curious physiologist, or the curious any body determine—'tis certain, at least, the corporal went on thus with his harangue.

For my own part, I declare it, that out of doors, I value not death at all:—not this...added the corporal, snapping his fingers,—but with an air which no one but the corporal could have given to the sentiment.—In battle, I value death not this...and let him not take me cowardly, like poor Joe Gibbins, in scouring his gun.—What is he? A pull of a trigger—a push of a bayonet an inch this way or that—makes the difference.—Look along the line—to the right—see! Jack's down! well,—'tis worth a regiment of horse to him.—No—'tis Dick. Then Jack's no worse.—Never mind which,—we pass on,—in hot pursuit the wound itself which brings him is not felt,—the best way is to stand up to him,—the man who flies, is in ten times more danger than the man who marches up into his jaws.—I've look'd him, added the corporal, an hundred times in the face,—and know what he is.—He's nothing, Obadiah, at all in the field.—But he's very frightful in a house, quoth Obadiah.—I never mind it myself, said Jonathan, upon a coach-box.—It must, in my opinion, be most natural in bed, replied Susannah.—And could I escape him by creeping into the worst calf's skin that ever was made into a knapsack, I would do it there—said Trim—but that is nature.

—Nature is nature, said Jonathan.—And that is the reason, cried Susannah, I so much pity my mistress.—She will never get the better of it.—Now I pity the captain the most of any one in the family, answered Trim.—Madam will get ease of heart in weeping,—and the Squire in talking about it,—but my poor master will keep it all in silence to himself.—I shall hear him sigh in his bed for a whole month together, as he did for lieutenant Le Fever. An' please your honour, do not sigh so piteously, I would say to him as I laid besides him. I cannot help it, Trim, my master would say,—'tis so melancholy an accident—I cannot get it off my heart.—Your honour fears not death yourself.—I hope, Trim, I fear nothing, he would say, but the doing a wrong thing.—Well, he would add, whatever betides, I will take care of Le Fever's boy.—And with that, like a quieting draught, his honour would fall asleep.

I like to hear Trim's stories about the captain, said Susannah.—He is a kindly-hearted gentleman, said Obadiah, as ever lived.—Aye, and as brave a one too, said the corporal, as ever stept before a platoon.—There never was a better officer in the king's army,—or a better man in God's world; for he would march up to the mouth of a cannon, though he saw the lighted match at the very touch-hole,—and yet, for all that, he has a heart as soft as a child for other people.—He would not hurt a chicken.—I would sooner, quoth Jonathan, drive such a gentleman for seven pounds a year—than some for eight.—Thank thee, Jonathan! for thy twenty shillings,—as much, Jonathan, said the corporal, shaking him by the hand, as if thou hadst put the money into my own pocket.—I would serve him to the day of my death out of love. He is a friend and a brother to me,—and could I be sure my poor brother Tom was dead,—continued the corporal, taking out his handkerchief,—was I worth ten thousand pounds, I would leave every shilling of it to the captain.—Trim could not refrain from tears at this testamentary proof he gave of his affection to his master.—The whole kitchen was affected.—Do tell us the story of the poor lieutenant, said Susannah.—With all my heart, answered the corporal.

Susannah, the cook, Jonathan, Obadiah, and corporal Trim, formed a circle about the fire; and as soon as the scullion had shut the kitchen door,—the corporal begun.