Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 4.V.

Full Text Chapter 4.V.

Chapter 4.V.

My dear mother, quoth the novice, coming a little to herself,—there are two certain words, which I have been told will force any horse, or ass, or mule, to go up a hill whether he will or no; be he never so obstinate or ill-will'd, the moment he hears them utter'd, he obeys. They are words magic! cried the abbess in the utmost horror—No; replied Margarita calmly—but they are words sinful—What are they? quoth the abbess, interrupting her: They are sinful in the first degree, answered Margarita,—they are mortal—and if we are ravished and die unabsolved of them, we shall both-but you may pronounce them to me, quoth the abbess of Andouillets—They cannot, my dear mother, said the novice, be pronounced at all; they will make all the blood in one's body fly up into one's face—But you may whisper them in my ear, quoth the abbess.

Heaven! hadst thou no guardian angel to delegate to the inn at the bottom of the hill? was there no generous and friendly spirit unemployed—no agent in nature, by some monitory shivering, creeping along the artery which led to his heart, to rouse the muleteer from his banquet?—no sweet minstrelsy to bring back the fair idea of the abbess and Margarita, with their black rosaries!

Rouse! rouse!—but 'tis too late—the horrid words are pronounced this moment—

—and how to tell them—Ye, who can speak of every thing existing, with unpolluted lips—instruct me—guide me—