Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.XIII.

Full Text Chapter 3.XIII.

Chapter 3.XIII.

—Now my father had a way, a little like that of Job's (in case there ever was such a man—if not, there's an end of the matter.—

Though, by the bye, because your learned men find some difficulty in fixing the precise aera in which so great a man lived;—whether, for instance, before or after the patriarchs, &c.—to vote, therefore, that he never lived at all, is a little cruel,—'tis not doing as they would be done by,—happen that as it may)—My father, I say, had a way, when things went extremely wrong with him, especially upon the first sally of his impatience,—of wondering why he was begot,—wishing himself dead;—sometimes worse:—And when the provocation ran high, and grief touched his lips with more than ordinary powers—Sir, you scarce could have distinguished him from Socrates himself.—Every word would breathe the sentiments of a soul disdaining life, and careless about all its issues; for which reason, though my mother was a woman of no deep reading, yet the abstract of Socrates's oration, which my father was giving my uncle Toby, was not altogether new to her.—She listened to it with composed intelligence, and would have done so to the end of the chapter, had not my father plunged (which he had no occasion to have done) into that part of the pleading where the great philosopher reckons up his connections, his alliances, and children; but renounces a security to be so won by working upon the passions of his judges.—'I have friends—I have relations,—I have three desolate children,'—says Socrates.—

—Then, cried my mother, opening the door,—you have one more, Mr. Shandy, than I know of.

By heaven! I have one less,—said my father, getting up and walking out of the room.