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Tristram Shandy

Full Text

Chapter 4.XXIX.

Full Text Chapter 4.XXIX.

Chapter 4.XXIX.

Why weavers, gardeners, and gladiators—or a man with a pined leg (proceeding from some ailment in the foot)—should ever have had some tender nymph breaking her heart in secret for them, are points well and duly settled and accounted for, by ancient and modern physiologists.

A water-drinker, provided he is a profess'd one, and does it without fraud or covin, is precisely in the same predicament: not that, at first sight, there is any consequence, or show of logic in it, 'That a rill of cold water dribbling through my inward parts, should light up a torch in my Jenny's—'

—The proposition does not strike one; on the contrary, it seems to run opposite to the natural workings of causes and effects—

But it shews the weakness and imbecility of human reason.

—'And in perfect good health with it?'

—The most perfect,—Madam, that friendship herself could wish me—

'And drink nothing!—nothing but water?'

—Impetuous fluid! the moment thou pressest against the flood-gates of the brain—see how they give way—!

In swims Curiosity, beckoning to her damsels to follow—they dive into the center of the current—

Fancy sits musing upon the bank, and with her eyes following the stream, turns straws and bulrushes into masts and bow-sprits—And Desire, with vest held up to the knee in one hand, snatches at them, as they swim by her, with the other—

O ye water drinkers! is it then by this delusive fountain, that ye have so often governed and turn'd this world about like a mill-wheel—grinding the faces of the impotent—bepowdering their ribs—bepeppering their noses, and changing sometimes even the very frame and face of nature—

If I was you, quoth Yorick, I would drink more water, Eugenius—And, if I was you, Yorick, replied Eugenius, so would I.

Which shews they had both read Longinus—

For my own part, I am resolved never to read any book but my own, as long as I live.