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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter66)

2006-08-22 18:55

  Chapter 66

  As Tom, an‘ please your honour, had no business at that time with the Moorish girl, he passed on into the room beyond, to talk to the Jew’s widow about love—and this pound of sausages; and being, as I have told your honour, an open cheary-hearted lad, with his character wrote in his looks and carriage, he took a chair, and without much apology, but with great civility at the same time, placed it close to her at the table, and sat down.

  There is nothing so awkward, as courting a woman, an‘ please your honour, whilst she is making sausages—So Tom began a discourse upon them; first, gravely,—’as how they were made—with what meats, herbs, and spices.‘— Then a little gayly,—as, ’With what skins—and if they never burst— Whether the largest were not the best?‘—and so on—taking care only as he went along, to season what he had to say upon sausages, rather under than over;—that he might have room to act in—

  It was owing to the neglect of that very precaution, said my uncle Toby, laying his hand upon Trim‘s shoulder, that Count De la Motte lost the battle of Wynendale: he pressed too speedily into the wood; which if he had not done, Lisle had not fallen into our hands, nor Ghent and Bruges, which both followed her example; it was so late in the year, continued my uncle Toby, and so terrible a season came on, that if things had not fallen out as they did, our troops must have perish’d in the open field.—

  —Why, therefore, may not battles, an‘ please your honour, as well as marriages, be made in heaven?—my uncle Toby mused—

  Religion inclined him to say one thing, and his high idea of military skill tempted him to say another; so not being able to frame a reply exactly to his mind—my uncle Toby said nothing at all; and the corporal finished his story.

  As Tom perceived, an‘ please your honour, that he gained ground, and that all he had said upon the subject of sausages was kindly taken, he went on to help her a little in making them,。—First, by taking hold of the ring of the sausage whilst she stroked the forced meat down with her hand—then by cutting the strings into proper lengths, and holding them in his hand, whilst she took them out one by one—then, by putting them across her mouth, that she might take them out as she wanted them—and so on from little to more, till at last he adventured to tie the sausage himself, whilst she held the snout.—

  —Now a widow, an‘ please your honour, always chuses a second husband as unlike the first as she can: so the affair was more than half settled in her mind before Tom mentioned it.

  She made a feint however of defending herself, by snatching up a sausage:— Tom instantly laid hold of another—

  But seeing Tom‘s had more gristle in it—

  She signed the capitulation—and Tom sealed it; and there was an end of the matter.

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