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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume3,chapter72)

2006-08-22 18:24

  Chapter 72

  I beg the reader will assist me here, to wheel off my uncle Toby‘s ordnance behind the scenes,—to remove his sentry-box, and clear the theatre, if possible, of horn-works and half moons, and get the rest of his military apparatus out of the way;—that done, my dear friend Garrick, we’ll snuff the candles bright,—sweep the stage with a new broom,—draw up the curtain, and exhibit my uncle Toby dressed in a new character, throughout which the world can have no idea how he will act: and yet, if pity be a- kin to love,—and bravery no alien to it, you have seen enough of my uncle Toby in these, to trace these family likenesses, betwixt the two passions (in case there is one) to your heart‘s content.

  Vain science! thou assistest us in no case of this kind—and thou puzzlest us in every one.

  There was, Madam, in my uncle Toby, a singleness of heart which misled him so far out of the little serpentine tracks in which things of this nature usually go on; you can—you can have no conception of it: with this, there was a plainness and simplicity of thinking, with such an unmistrusting ignorance of the plies and foldings of the heart of woman;—and so naked and defenceless did he stand before you, (when a siege was out of his head,) that you might have stood behind any one of your serpentine walks, and shot my uncle Toby ten times in a day, through his liver, if nine times in a day, Madam, had not served your purpose.

  With all this, Madam,—and what confounded every thing as much on the other hand, my uncle Toby had that unparalleled modesty of nature I once told you of, and which, by the bye, stood eternal sentry upon his feelings, that you might as soon—But where am I going? these reflections crowd in upon me ten pages at least too soon, and take up that time, which I ought to bestow upon facts.

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