[ 45 ]

C H A P. VI.

   ------ What can they be doing, bro-
ther ? said my father. -- I think, replied
my uncle Toby, -- taking, as I told you,
his pipe from his mouth, and striking
the ashes out of it as he began his sen-
tence ; -- I think, replied he, -- it would
not be amiss, brother, if we rung the

  Pray, what's all that racket over our
heads, Obadiah ? -- quoth my father ; --
my brother and I can scarce hear our-
selves speak.

  Sir, answer'd Obadiah, making a bow
towards his left shoulder, -- my Mistress
is taken very badly ; -- and where's Su-
running down the garden there,

[ 46 ]

as if they were going to ravish her. ----
Sir, she is running the shortest cut into
the town, replied Obadiah, to fetch the
old midwife. ------ Then saddle a horse,
quoth my father, and do you go direct-
ly for Dr. Slop, the man-midwife, with
all our services, -- and let him know your
Mistress is fallen into labour, -- and that
I desire he will return with you with all

  It is very strange, says my father, ad-
dressing himself to my uncle Toby, as
Obadiah shut the door, -- as there is so
expert an operator as Dr. Slop so near --
that my wife should persist to the very
last in this obstinate humour of hers, in
trusting the life of my child, who has had
one misfortune already, to the ignorance
of an old woman ; ---- and not only the
life of my child, brother, -- but her own

[ 47 ]

life, and with it the lives of all the chil-
dren I might, peradventure, have begot
out of her hereafter.

  Mayhap, brother, replied my uncle
Toby, my sister does it to save the ex-
pense : -- A pudding's end, -- replied
my father, ---- the Doctor must be paid the
same for inaction as action, -- if not bet-
ter, -- to keep him in temper.

   ------ Then it can be out of nothing in 
the whole world, quoth my uncle Toby
in the simplicity of his heart, -- but MO-
DESTY : -- My sister, I dare say, added
he, does not care to let a man come so
near her * * * *. I will not say whether my
uncle Toby had compleated the sentence 
or not ; ------ 'tis for his advantage to sup-
pose he had, ---- as, I think, he could have


[ 48 ]

added no ONE WORD which would have 
improved it.

  If, on the contrary. my uncle Toby had
not fully arrived at his period's end, --
then the world stands indebted to the
sudden snapping of my father's tobacco-
pipe, for one of the neatest examples of
that ornamental figure in oratory, which
Rhetoricians stile the Aposiopesis. -- Just
heaven ! how does the Poco piu and the
Poco meno of the Italian artists ; -- the in-
sensible MORE or LESS, determine the
precise line of beauty in the sentence, as
well as in the statue ! How do the slight
touches of the chisel, the pencil, the pen,
the fiddle-stick, et cętera, -- give the true
swell, which gives the true pleasure ! -- O
my countrymen ! -- be nice ; -- be cau-
tious of your language ; ---- and never,
O ! never let it be forgotten upon what

[ 49 ]

small particles your eloquence and your
fame depend.

   ---- ``My sister, mayhap, quoth my
``uncle Toby, does not choose to let a
``man come so near her * * * *'' Make this
dash, -- 'tis an Aposiopesis. -- Take the
dash away, and write Backside, ---- 'tis
Bawdy. -- Scratch Backside out, and put
Cover'd-way in, -- 'tis a Metaphor; -- and,
I dare say, as fortification ran so much in
my uncle Toby's head, that if he had
been left to have added one word to the
sentence, -- that word was it.

  But whether that was the case or not
the case ; -- or whether the snapping of
my father's tobacco-pipe so critically,
happened thro' accident or anger, -- will
be seen in due time.

 VOL.II            D                 CHAP.

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