Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

- Heaven be their comforter !—What! are they never curried ?- Are they never taken in in winter? -Bray,-bray,-bray. Bray on,—the world is deeply your debtor;—louder still; that's nothing :-in good sooth, you are ill-used.—Was I a Jack Ass, I solemnly declare, I would bray in G-sol-re-ut from morning even unto night.

CHAPTER II.

WHEN my father had danced his white bear backwards and forwards, through half-a-dozen pages, he closed the book for good an' all ;-and, in a kind of triumph, redelivered it into Trim's hand, with a nod to lay it upon the 'scrutoire, where he found it.Tristram, said he, shall be made to conjugate every word in the Dictionary, backwards and forwards the same way :every word, Yorick, by this means, you see, is converted into a thesis, or an hypothesis ;every thesis and hypothesis have an offspring of propositions ;— and each proposition has its own consequences and conclusions; every one of which leads the mind on again into fresh tracts of enquiries and doubtings.—The force of this engine, added my father, is incredible in opening a child's head.

?Tis enough, brother Shandy, cried my uncle Toby, to burst it into a thousand splinters.

I presume, said Yorick, smiling,—it must be owing to this,—(for let logicians say what they will, it is not to be accounted for sufficiently from the bare use of the ten predicaments) — that the famous Vincent Quirino, amongst the many other astonishing feats of his childhood, — of which the Cardinal Bembo has given the world so exact a story, — should be able to paste up in the public schools at Rome, so early as in the eighth year of his age, no less than four thousand five hundred and sixty different theses, upon the most abstruse theology ; - and to defend and maintain them in such sort, as to cramp and dumbfound his opponents.

What is that, cried my father, to what is told us of Alphonsus Tostatus, who, almost in his nurse's arms, learned all the sciences and liberal arts, without being taught any one of them ?—What shall we say of the great Peireskius ?- -That's the very man, cried my uncle Toby, I once told you of, brother Shandy, who walked a matter of five hundred miles, reckoning from Paris to Schevling, and from Schevling back again, merely to see Stevinus's flying chariot.—He was a very great man! added my uncle Toby (meaning Stevinus.)- He was so, brother Toby, said my father, (meaning Peireskius);—and had multiplied his ideas so fast, and increased his knowledge to such a prodigious stock, that, if we may give credit to an anecdote concerning him, which we cannot withhold here, without shaking the authority of all anecdotes whatever,-at seven years of age, his father committed entirely to his care the education of his younger brother, a boy of five years old,—with the sole management of all his concerns. Was the father as wise as the son ? quoth my uncle Toby. I should think not, said Yorick. -But what are these, continued my father—(breaking out in a kind of enthusiasm)—what are these, to those prodigies of childhood in Grotius, Scioppius, Heinsius, Politian, Pascal, Joseph Scaliger, Ferdinand de Cordoue, and others ; —some of whom left off their substantial forms at nine years old, or sooner, and went on reasoning without them;—others went through their classics at. seven ;—wrote tragedies at eight.—Ferdinand de Cordouè was so wise at nine,—'twas thought the Devil was in him;—and at Venice gave such proofs of his knowledge and goodness, that the monks imagined he was Antichrist, or nothing. Others were masters of fourteen languages at ten; finished the course of their rhetoric, poetry, logic, and ethics, at eleven ;put forth their commentaries upon Servius and Martianus Capella at twelve ;—and at thirteen, received their degrees in philosophy, laws, and divinity.But you forgot the great Lipsius, quoth Yorick, who composed a work * the day he was born.- They should have wiped it up, said my uncle Toby, and said no more about it.

CHAPTER III.

WHEN the cataplasm was ready, a scruple of decorum had unseasonably rose up in Susannah's conscience, about holding the candle whilst Slop tied it on: Slop had not treated Susannah's distemper with anodynes ;—and so a quarrel had ensued betwixt them.

* Nous aurions quelque intérêt, says Baillet, de montrer qu'il n'a rien de ridicule s'il étoit véritable, au moins dans le sens énigmatique que Nicius Erythræus à tâché de lui donner. Cet auteur dit que pour comprendre comme Lipse, il a pû composer un ouvrage le premier jour de sa vie, il faut s'imaginer, que se premier jour n'est pas celui de sa naissance charnelle, mais celui au quel il a commencé d'user de la raison ; il veut que ç'ait été à l'âge de neuf ans; et il nous veut persuader que ce fut en cet âge, que Lipse fit un poëme.—Le tour est ingénieux, &c., &c.

I defy

-Oh! oh!—said Slop, casting a glance of undue freedom in Susannah's face, as she declined the office ;—then, I think I know you, Madam.

You know me, Sir!

Sir! cried Susannah fastidiously, and with a toss of her head, levelled evidently, not at his profession, but at the Doctor himself ;-you know me! cried Susannah again.

Dr. Slop clapped his finger and his thumb instantly upon his nostrils; Susannah's spleen was ready to burst at it;

'Tis false, said Susannah. -Come, come, Mrs. Modesty, said Slop, not a little elated with the success of his last thrust;—if you won't hold the candle and look, you may hold it and shut your eyes.

That's one of your Popish shifts, cried Susannah.- 'Tis better, said Slop, with a nod, than no shift at all, young woman. you, Sir, cried Susannah, puiling her shift-sleeve below her elbow.

It was almost impossible for two persons to assist each other, in a surgical case, with a more splenetic cordiality.

Slop snatched up the cataplasm ; — Susannah snatched

up
the candle. A little this

way,

said Slop.—Susannah, looking one way, and rowing another, instantly set fire to Slop's wig; which, being somewhat bushy and unctuous withal, was burnt out before it was well kindled.—You impudent whore! cried Slop,—(for what is passion but a wild beast?) -you impudent whore ! cried Slop, getting upright, with the cataplasm in his hand. -I never was the destruction of any body's nose, said Susannah; which is more than you can say.

Is it ? cried Slop, throwing the cataplasm in her face. —Yes it is! cried Susannah, returning the compliment with what was left in the pan.

CHAPTER IV.

DOCTOR SLOP and Susannah filed cross-bills against each other in the parlour: which done, as the cataplasm had failed, they retired into the kitchen to prepare a fomentation for me ;

fomentation for me ;- and whilst that was doing, my father determined the point, as you will read.

CHAPTER V.

You see 'tis high time, said my father, addressing himself equally to my uncle Toby and Yorick, to take this young creature out of these women's hands, and put him into those of a private governor. Marcus Antoninus provided fourteen governors all at once, to superintend his son Commodus's education ! —and in six weeks he cashiered five of them. I know very well, continued my father, that Commodus's mother was in love with a gladiator at the time of her conception ; which accounts for a great many of Commodus's cruelties when he became emperor ;but still I am of opinion, that those five whom Antoninus dismissed, did Commodus's temper, in that short time, more hurt that the other nine were able to rectify all their lives long.

Now, as I consider the person who is to be about my son, as the mirror in which he is to view himself from morning to night; and by which he is to

« ПредишнаНапред »