Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.XL.

Full Text Chapter 3.XL.

Chapter 3.XL.

The city of Limerick, the siege of which was begun under his majesty king William himself, the year after I went into the army—lies, an' please your honours, in the middle of a devilish wet, swampy country.—'Tis quite surrounded, said my uncle Toby, with the Shannon, and is, by its situation, one of the strongest fortified places in Ireland.—

I think this is a new fashion, quoth Dr. Slop, of beginning a medical lecture.—'Tis all true, answered Trim.—Then I wish the faculty would follow the cut of it, said Yorick.—'Tis all cut through, an' please your reverence, said the corporal, with drains and bogs; and besides, there was such a quantity of rain fell during the siege, the whole country was like a puddle,—'twas that, and nothing else, which brought on the flux, and which had like to have killed both his honour and myself; now there was no such thing, after the first ten days, continued the corporal, for a soldier to lie dry in his tent, without cutting a ditch round it, to draw off the water;—nor was that enough, for those who could afford it, as his honour could, without setting fire every night to a pewter dish full of brandy, which took off the damp of the air, and made the inside of the tent as warm as a stove.—

And what conclusion dost thou draw, corporal Trim, cried my father, from all these premises?

I infer, an' please your worship, replied Trim, that the radical moisture is nothing in the world but ditch-water—and that the radical heat, of those who can go to the expence of it, is burnt brandy,—the radical heat and moisture of a private man, an' please your honour, is nothing but ditch-water—and a dram of geneva—and give us but enough of it, with a pipe of tobacco, to give us spirits, and drive away the vapours—we know not what it is to fear death.

I am at a loss, Captain Shandy, quoth Doctor Slop, to determine in which branch of learning your servant shines most, whether in physiology or divinity.—Slop had not forgot Trim's comment upon the sermon.—

It is but an hour ago, replied Yorick, since the corporal was examined in the latter, and passed muster with great honour.—

The radical heat and moisture, quoth Doctor Slop, turning to my father, you must know, is the basis and foundation of our being—as the root of a tree is the source and principle of its vegetation.—It is inherent in the seeds of all animals, and may be preserved sundry ways, but principally in my opinion by consubstantials, impriments, and occludents.—Now this poor fellow, continued Dr. Slop, pointing to the corporal, has had the misfortune to have heard some superficial empiric discourse upon this nice point.—That he has,—said my father.—Very likely, said my uncle.—I'm sure of it—quoth Yorick.—