Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 3.XXVI.

Full Text Chapter 3.XXVI.

Chapter 3.XXVI.

Fifty thousand pannier loads of devils—(not of the Archbishop of Benevento's—I mean of Rabelais's devils), with their tails chopped off by their rumps, could not have made so diabolical a scream of it, as I did—when the accident befel me: it summoned up my mother instantly into the nursery,—so that Susannah had but just time to make her escape down the back stairs, as my mother came up the fore.

Now, though I was old enough to have told the story myself,—and young enough, I hope, to have done it without malignity; yet Susannah, in passing by the kitchen, for fear of accidents, had left it in short-hand with the cook—the cook had told it with a commentary to Jonathan, and Jonathan to Obadiah; so that by the time my father had rung the bell half a dozen times, to know what was the matter above,—was Obadiah enabled to give him a particular account of it, just as it had happened.—I thought as much, said my father, tucking up his night-gown;—and so walked up stairs.

One would imagine from this—(though for my own part I somewhat question it)—that my father, before that time, had actually wrote that remarkable character in the Tristra-paedia, which to me is the most original and entertaining one in the whole book;—and that is the chapter upon sash-windows, with a bitter Philippick at the end of it, upon the forgetfulness of chamber-maids.—I have but two reasons for thinking otherwise.

First, Had the matter been taken into consideration, before the event happened, my father certainly would have nailed up the sash window for good an' all;—which, considering with what difficulty he composed books,—he might have done with ten times less trouble, than he could have wrote the chapter: this argument I foresee holds good against his writing a chapter, even after the event; but 'tis obviated under the second reason, which I have the honour to offer to the world in support of my opinion, that my father did not write the chapter upon sash-windows and chamber-pots, at the time supposed,—and it is this.

—That, in order to render the Tristra-paedia complete,—I wrote the chapter myself.