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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter52)

2006-08-22 18:35

  Chapter 52

  In love!—said the corporal—your honour was very well the day before yesterday, when I was telling your honour of the story of the King of Bohemia—Bohemia! said my uncle Toby. . .musing a long time. . .What became of that story, Trim?

  —We lost it, an‘ please your honour, somehow betwixt us—but your honour was as free from love then, as I am—’twas just whilst thou went‘st off with the wheel-barrow—with Mrs. Wadman, quoth my uncle Toby—She has left a ball here—added my uncle Toby—pointing to his breast—

  —She can no more, an‘ please your honour, stand a siege, than she can fly- -cried the corporal—

  —But as we are neighbours, Trim,—the best way I think is to let her know it civilly first—quoth my uncle Toby.

  Now if I might presume, said the corporal, to differ from your honour—

  —Why else do I talk to thee, Trim? said my uncle Toby, mildly—

  —Then I would begin, an‘ please your honour, with making a good thundering attack upon her, in return—and telling her civilly afterwards—for if she knows any thing of your honour’s being in love, before hand—L……d help her!—she knows no more at present of it, Trim, said my uncle Toby—than the child unborn—

  Precious souls!—

  Mrs. Wadman had told it, with all its circumstances, to Mrs. Bridget twenty-four hours before; and was at that very moment sitting in council with her, touching some slight misgivings with regard to the issue of the affairs, which the Devil, who never lies dead in a ditch, had put into her head—before he would allow half time, to get quietly through her Te Deum.

  I am terribly afraid, said widow Wadman, in case I should marry him, Bridget—that the poor captain will not enjoy his health, with the monstrous wound upon his groin—

  It may not, Madam, be so very large, replied Bridget, as you think—and I believe, besides, added she—that ‘tis dried up—

  —I could like to know—merely for his sake, said Mrs. Wadman—

  —We‘ll know and long and the broad of it, in ten days—answered Mrs. Bridget, for whilst the captain is paying his addresses to you—I’m confident Mr. Trim will be for making love to me—and I‘ll let him as much as he will—added Bridget—to get it all out of him—

  The measures were taken at once—and my uncle Toby and the corporal went on with theirs.

  Now, quoth the corporal, setting his left hand a-kimbo, and giving such a flourish with his right, as just promised success—and no more—if your honour will give me leave to lay down the plan of this attack—

  —Thou wilt please me by it, Trim, said my uncle Toby, exceedingly—and as I foresee thou must act in it as my aid de camp, here‘s a crown, corporal, to begin with, to steep thy commission.

  Then, an‘ please your honour, said the corporal (making a bow first for his commission)—we will begin with getting your honour’s laced clothes out of the great campaign-trunk, to be well air‘d, and have the blue and gold taken up at the sleeves—and I’ll put your white ramallie-wig fresh into pipes—and send for a taylor, to have your honour‘s thin scarlet breeches turn’d—

  —I had better take the red plush ones, quoth my uncle Toby—They will be too clumsy—said the corporal.

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