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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter73)

2006-08-22 18:55

  Chapter 73

  As I never had any intention of beginning the Digression, I am making all this preparation for, till I come to the 74th chapter—I have this chapter to put to whatever use I think proper—I have twenty this moment ready for it—I could write my chapter of Button-holes in it—

  Or my chapter of Pishes, which should follow them—

  Or my chapter of Knots, in case their reverences have done with them—they might lead me into mischief: the safest way is to follow the track of the learned, and raise objections against what I have been writing, tho‘ I declare before-hand, I know no more than my heels how to answer them.

  And first, it may be said, there is a pelting kind of thersitical satire, as black as the very ink ‘tis wrote with—(and by the bye, whoever says so, is indebted to the muster-master general of the Grecian army, for suffering the name of so ugly and foul-mouth’d a man as Thersites to continue upon his roll—for it has furnish‘d him with an epithet)—in these productions he will urge, all the personal washings and scrubbings upon earth do a sinking genius no sort of good—but just the contrary, inasmuch as the dirtier the fellow is, the better generally he succeeds in it.

  To this, I have no other answer—at least ready—but that the Archbishop of Benevento wrote his nasty Romance of the Galatea, as all the world knows, in a purple coat, waistcoat, and purple pair of breeches; and that the penance set him of writing a commentary upon the book of the Revelations, as severe as it was look‘d upon by one part of the world, was far from being deem’d so, by the other, upon the single account of that Investment.

  Another objection, to all this remedy, is its want of universality; forasmuch as the shaving part of it, upon which so much stress is laid, by an unalterable law of nature excludes one half of the species entirely from its use: all I can say is, that female writers, whether of England, or of France, must e‘en go without it—

  As for the Spanish ladies—I am in no sort of distress—

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