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Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.XXIX.

Full Text Chapter 3.XXIX.

Chapter 3.XXIX.

—'which words being heard by all the soldiers which were there, divers of them being inwardly terrified, did shrink back and make room for the assailant: all this did Gymnast very well remark and consider; and therefore, making as if he would have alighted from off his horse, as he was poising himself on the mounting side, he most nimbly (with his short sword by this thigh) shifting his feet in the stirrup, and performing the stirrup-leather feat, whereby, after the inclining of his body downwards, he forthwith launched himself aloft into the air, and placed both his feet together upon the saddle, standing upright, with his back turned towards his horse's head,—Now, (said he) my case goes forward. Then suddenly in the same posture wherein he was, he fetched a gambol upon one foot, and turning to the left-hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round, just into his former position, without missing one jot.—Ha! said Tripet, I will not do that at this time,—and not without cause. Well, said Gymnast, I have failed,—I will undo this leap; then with a marvellous strength and agility, turning towards the right-hand, he fetched another striking gambol as before; which done, he set his right hand thumb upon the bow of the saddle, raised himself up, and sprung into the air, poising and upholding his whole weight upon the muscle and nerve of the said thumb, and so turned and whirled himself about three times: at the fourth, reversing his body, and overturning it upside down, and foreside back, without touching any thing, he brought himself betwixt the horse's two ears, and then giving himself a jerking swing, he seated himself upon the crupper—'

(This can't be fighting, said my uncle Toby.—The corporal shook his head at it.—Have patience, said Yorick.)

'Then (Tripet) pass'd his right leg over his saddle, and placed himself en croup.—But, said he, 'twere better for me to get into the saddle; then putting the thumbs of both hands upon the crupper before him, and there-upon leaning himself, as upon the only supporters of his body, he incontinently turned heels over head in the air, and strait found himself betwixt the bow of the saddle in a tolerable seat; then springing into the air with a summerset, he turned him about like a wind-mill, and made above a hundred frisks, turns, and demi-pommadas.'—Good God! cried Trim, losing all patience,—one home thrust of a bayonet is worth it all.—I think so too, replied Yorick.—

I am of a contrary opinion, quoth my father.