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them more suitable to him than a cap and gown. He was a versatile man ; fond of light and artistic pursuits, occupying, as he tells us, his leisure time with books, painting, fiddling, and shooting.” In his nature there was much emotion and exuberance of mind, being that of an accomplished rather than of a thoughtful man; and we can believe when he avers that he “ said a thousand things he never dreamed of.” He had not sufficient foundation for humour of the highest kind; but in form and diction he was unrivalled. Perhaps this was why Thackeray said “he was a great jester, not a great humorist.” But he had a dashing style, and the quick succession of ideas necessary for a successful author. Not only was he master of writing, but of the kindred art of rhetoric. He makes a correction in the accentuation of Corporal Trim, who begins to read a sermon with the text,
“For we trust we have a good conscience. Heb. xiii., 8. "TRUST! Trust we have a good conscience !! Certainly,' Trim, quoth my father, interrupting him, 'you give that sentence a very improper accent, for you curl up your nose, man, and read it with such a sneering tone, as if the parson was going to abuse the apostle.'".
The same kind of discrimination is shown in the following
“ • And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night' Oh, against all rule, my lord-most ungrammatically. Betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach thus, stopping, as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds and three-fifths by a stop watch, my lord, each time.' •Admirable grammarism ! ‘But in suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise ? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Was the eye silent ? Did you narrowly look ?' 'I looked only at the stop watch, my lord. 'Excellent observer!'”
His sensibility and taste in this direction was probably one of the bonds of the close intimacy, which existed between himself and David Garrick.
We find among his works, numerous instances of his peculiar and artistic punctuation. Sometimes he continues an exclamation by means of dashes for three lines. Sometimes, by way of pause, he leaves out a whole page, and the first time he does this he humorously adds:-"Thrice happy book! thou wilt have one page which malice cannot blacken.” One of the chapters of Tristram begins
“ And a chapter it shall have.”
“And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of Mount Ephraim, who took unto himself a concubine.'
"A concubine! but the text accounts for it, for in those days there was no king in Israel!' then the Levite, you will say, like every other man in it, did what was right in bis own eyes; and so, you may add, did his concubine too, for she went away.'”.
Another from Ecclesiastes
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.'—Eccl. vii. 2.
“That I deny—but let us hear the wise man's reasoning for it :-'for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart; sorrow is better than laughter,' for a crack-brained order of enthusiastic monks, I grant, but not for men of the world.'”
Of course, he introduces this cavil to combat it, but still maintains that travellers may be allowed to amuse themselves with the beauties of the country they are passing through.
The following represents his arrival in the Paris of his day
" Crack, crack! crack, crack! crack, crack !-so this is Paris ! quoth I,-and this is Paris !-humph !-Paris ! cried I, repeating the name the third time."
“ The first, the finest, the most brilliant! “The streets, however, are nasty.
“But it looks, I suppose, better than it smells. Crack, crack! crack, crack! what a fuss thou makest! as if it concerned the good people to be informed that a man with a pale face, and clad in black had the honour to be driven into Paris at nine o'clock at night, by a postillion in a tawny yellow jerkin, turned up with a red calamanco ! Crack! crack ! crack! crack! crack! I wish thy whip-But it is the spirit of the nation; so crack, crack on.”
Here is another instance ;“ Ptr-rs-ing-twing-twang -prut-trut; - 'tis a cursed bad fiddle. Do you know whether my fiddle's in tune or no P-trut-prut. They should be fifths. 'Tis wickedly strung-tr-a, e, i, o, u, twang. The bridge is a mile too high, and the sound post absolutely down,-else, trut-prut.
“ Hark! 'tis not so bad in tone. Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum. There is nothing in playing before good judges; but there's a man there-no, not him with the bundle under his arm-the grave man in black,'sdeath! not the man with the sword on. Sir, I had rather play a capriccio to Calliope herself than draw my bow across my fiddle before that very man; and yet I'll stake my Cremona to a Jew's trump, which is the greatest odds that ever were laid, that I will this moment stop three hundred and fifty leagues out of time upon my fiddle without punisbing one single nerve that belongs to him. Twiddle diddle,-tweddle diddle,-twiddle diddle,-twoddle diddle,-twiddle diddle;-prut-trut-krish-krash-krush, — I've outdone yon, Sir, but you see he's no worse; and was Apollo to take his fiddle after me, he can make him no better. Diddle diddle, diddle diddle, diddle diddle,-hum -dum-drum.
“Your worships and your reverences love music, and God has made you all with good ears, and some of you play delightfully yourselves; trut-prut-prut-trut.”
In the following passages we may also observe that peculiar neat and dramatic form of expression for which Sterne was remarkable.
"Are we not,' continued Corporal Trim, looking still at Susanah-Are we not like a flower of the field?' A tear of pride stole in betwixt every two tears of humiliation -else no tongue could bave described Susanah's affliction
Is not all flesh grass ?_'Tis clay—'tis dirt. They all looked directly at the scullion ;-the scullion had been just scouring a fish kettle-It was not fair.
"What is the finest face man ever looked at p' 'I could hear Trim talk so for ever,' cried Susanah, 'What is it po Susanah laid her head on Trim's shoulder-but corruption ! -Susanab took it off.
“Now I love you for this;and 'tis this delicious mix. ture within you, which makes you dear creatures what you are ;—and he, who hates you for it-all I can say of the matter is—that he has either a pumpkin for his head. or a pippin for his heart. .....
“Wanting the remainder of a fragment of paper on which he found an amusing story, he asked bis French servant for it; La Fleur said he had wrapped it round the stalks of a bouquet, which he had given to his demoiselle upon the Boulevards. Then, prithee, La Fleur,' said I step back to her, and see if thou canst get it. There is no doubt of it,' said La Fleur, and away he flew.
“In a very little time the poor fellow came back quite out of breath, with deeper marks of disappointment in his looks than would arise from the simple irreparability of the payment. Juste ciel! in less than two minutes that the poor fellow had taken bis last farewell of her-bis faithless mistress had given his gage d'amour to one of the Count's Recourse to Indelicacy.
footmen—the footman to a young semptress—and the semptress to a fiddler, with my fragment at the end of it. Our misfortunes were involved together-I gave a sigh, and La Fleur echoed it back to my ear. “How perfidious ! cried La Fleur, 'How unlucky,' said I.
"I should not have been mortified, Monsieur,' quoth La Fleur, 'If she had lost it.'
“Nor I, La Fleur,' said I, ' had I found it.'”
We very commonly form our opinion of an Author's character from his writings, and there is no doubt that his tendencies can scarcely fail to betray themselves to a careful observer. But experience has generally taught him to curb or quicken his feelings according to the notions of the public taste, so that he often expresses the sentiments of others rather than his own. Hence a literary friend once observed to me that a man is very different from what his writings would lead you to suppose. I think there are certain indications in Sterne's writings that he introduced those passages to which objection was justly taken for the purpose of catching the favour of the public. He had already published some Sermons, which, he says, “found neither purchasers nor readers.”
Conscious of his talent, and being no doubt reminded of it by his friends, he wished to obtain a field for it, and determined now to try a different course. He wrote “Tristram Shandy” as he says “not to be fed, but to be famous,”