Autograph L. SterneT H E

L I F E  and  O P I N I O N S

O F

T R I S T R A M  S H A N D Y, Gent.

________________________________


C H A P. I.

IF it had not been for those two
mettlesome tits, and that madcap of
a postilion, who drove them from Stil-
ton to Stamford, the thought had never
entered my head. He flew like light-
ning ---- there was a slope of three miles
and a half ---- we scarce touched the
ground ---- the motion was most rapid
-- most impetuous -- 'twas communicat-  
  VOL. V.        B            ed




[ 2 ]

ed to my brain -- my heart partook of it
---- By the great God of day, said I,
looking towards the sun, and thrusting
my arm out of the fore-window of the
chaise, as I made my vow, `` I will
lock up my study door the moment I
get home, and throw the key of it nine-
ty feet below the surface of the earth,
into the draw-well at the back of my
house.''

  The London waggon confirmed me in
my resolution : it hung tottering upon
the hill, scarce progressive, drag'd --
drag'd up by eight heavy beasts ---- `` by
main strength ! -- quoth I, nodding --
but your betters draw the same way --
and something of every bodies ! ----
O rare !''

             2             Tell




[ 3 ]

  Tell me, ye learned, shall we for ever
be adding so much to the bulk -- so little
to the stock ?

  Shall we for ever make new books, as
apothecaries make new mixtures, by
pouring only out of one vessel into
another ?

  Are we for ever to be twisting, and
untwisting the same rope ? for ever in
the same track -- for ever at the same
pace ?

  Shall we be destined to the days of
eternity, on holy-days, as well as work-
ing-days, to be shewing the relicks of
learning
, as monks do the relicks of their
saints -- without working one -- one single
miracle with them ?
             B 2              Who




[ 4 ]

  Who made MAN, with powers which
dart him from earth to heaven in a mo-
ment -- that great, that most excellent,
and most noble creature of the world --
the miracle of nature, as Zoroaster in his
book called him -- the SHE-
KINAH
of the divine presence, as Chry-
sostom -- the image of God, as Moses --
the ray of divinity, as Plato -- the marvel
of marvels, as Aristotle ---- to go sneak-
ing on at this pitiful -- pimping -- petti-
fogging rate ?

  I scorn to be as abusive as Horace
upon the occasion ---- but if there is no
catachresis in the wish, and no sin in it,
I wish from my soul, that every imitator
in Great Britain, France, and Ireland
had the farcy for his pains ; and that
there was a good farcical house, large
enough to hold -- aye -- and sublimate
                          them,




[ 5 ]

them, shag-rag and bob-tail, male and
female, all together : and this leads me
to the affair of Whiskers ---- but, by what
chain of ideas -- I leave as a legacy in
mort main to Prudes and Tartufs, to
enjoy and make the most of.

Upon Whiskers.

  I'm sorry I made it ---- 'twas as incon-
siderate a promise as ever entered a man's
head ---- A chapter upon whiskers ! alas !
the world will not bear it ---- 'tis a deli-
cate world -- but I knew not of what
mettle it was made -- nor had I ever
seen the underwritten fragment ; other-
wise, as surely as noses are noses, and
whiskers are whiskers still ; (let the world
say what it will to the contrary) so surely
would I have steered clear of this dan-
gerous chapter.
             B 3              The




[ 6 ]

The Fragment.     
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
* * ---- You are half asleep, my good
lady, said the old gentleman, taking
hold of the old lady's hand and giving
it a gentle squeeze, as he pronounced
the word Whiskers ---- shall we change
the subject ? By no means, replied the
old lady -- I like your account of these
matters : so throwing a thin gauze
handkerchief over her head, and leaning
it back upon the chair with her face
turned towards him, and advancing her
two feet as she reclined herself -- I desire,
continued she, you will go on.

  The old gentleman went on as follows.
------ Whiskers ! cried the queen of
Navarre, dropping her knotting-ball, as
La Fosseuse uttered the word ---- Whis-
                          kers ;




[ 7 ]

kers ; madam, said La Fosseuse, pinning
the ball to the queen's apron, and mak-
ing a courtesy as she repeated it.

  
La Fosseuse's voice was naturally soft
and low, yet 'twas an articulate voice :
and every letter of the word whiskers fell
distinctly upon the queen of Navarre's
ear -- Whiskers ! cried the queen, laying
a greater stress upon the word, and as if
she had still distrusted her ears -- Whis-
kers ; replied La Fosseuse, repeating the
word a third time -- There is not a cava-
lier, madam, of his age in Navarre, con-
tinued the maid of honour, pressing the
page's interest upon the queen, that has
so gallant a pair -- Of what ? cried Mar-
garet
, smiling ---- Of whiskers, said La
Fosseuse
, with infinite modesty.

             B 4              The




[ 8 ]

  The word whiskers still stood its
ground, and continued to be made use
of in most of the best companies through-
out the little kingdom of Navarre, not-
withstanding the indiscreet use which La
Fosseuse
had made of it : the truth was,
La Fosseuse had pronounced the word,
not only before the queen, but upon sun-
dry other occasions at court, with an ac-
cent which always implied something of
a mystery ---- And as the court of Mar-
garet
, as all the world knows, was at
that time a mixture of gallantry and de-
votion ---- and whiskers being as appli-
cable to the one, as the other, the word
naturally stood its ground -- it gain'd full
as much as it lost ; that is, the clergy
were for it -- the laity were against it --
and for the women, ---- they were di-
vided. ----
                          The




[ 9 ]

  The excellency of the figure and mien
of the young Sieur de Croix, was at that
time beginning to draw the attention of
the maids of honour towards the terras
before the palace gate, where the guard
was mounted. The Lady de Baussiere
fell deeply in love with him, -- La Batta-
relle
did the same -- it was the finest wea-
ther for it, that ever was remembered in
Navarre -- La Guyol, La Maronette, La
Sabatiere
, fell in love with the Sieur de
Croix
also -- La Rebours and La Fosseuse
knew better -- De Croix had failed in an
attempt to recommend himself to La
Rebours
; and La Rebours and La Fosseuse
were inseparable.

  The queen of Navarre was sitting with
her ladies in the painted bow-window,
facing the gate of the second court, as
De Croix passed through it -- He is hand-
                          some,




[ 10 ]

some, said the Lady Baussiere. -- He has a
good mien, said La Battarelle. -- He is
finely shaped, said La Guyol. -- I never
saw an officer of the horse-guards in my
life, said La Maronette, with two such
legs -- Or who stood so well upon them,
said La Sabatiere ---- But he has no whis-
kers, cried La Fosseuse -- Not a pile, said
La Rebours.

  The queen went directly to her ora-
tory, musing all the way, as she walked
through the gallery, upon the subject ;
turning it this way and that way in her
fancy ---- Ave Maria + -- what can La
Fosseuse
mean ? said she, kneeling down
upon the cushion.

  La Guyol, La Battarelle, La Maronette,
La Sabatiere
, retired instantly to their
chambers -- Whiskers ! said all four of
                          them




[ 11 ]

them to themselves, as they bolted their
doors on the inside.

  The Lady Carnavallette was counting
her beads with both hands, unsuspected
under her farthingal -- from St. Antony
down to St. Ursula inclusive, not a saint
passed through her fingers without whis-
kers ; St. Francis, St. Dominick, St. Ben-
net
, St. Basil, St. Bridget, had all whis-
kers.

  The Lady Baussiere had got into a
wilderness of conceits, with moralizing
too intricately upon La Fosseuse's text --
She mounted her palfry, her page fol-
lowed her -- the host passed by -- the lady
Baussiere rode on.

  One denier, cried the order of mercy
-- one single denier, in behalf of a thou-
                          sand




[ 12 ]

sand patient captives, whose eyes look
towards heaven and you for their re-
demption.

  -- The Lady Baussiere rode on.

  Pity the unhappy, said a devout, ve-
nerable, hoary-headed man, meekly hold-
ing up a box, begirt with iron, in his
withered hands ---- I beg for the unfor-
tunate -- good, my lady, 'tis for a prison
-- for an hospital -- 'tis for an old man --
a poor man undone by shipwreck, by
suretyship, by fire ---- I call God and all
his angels to witness -- 'tis to cloath the
naked -- to feed the hungry -- 'tis to com-
fort the sick and the broken hearted.

  -- The Lady Baussiere rode on.

  A decayed kinsman bowed himself to
the ground.
                          -- The




[ 13 ]

  -- The Lady Baussiere rode on.

  He ran begging bare-headed on one
side of her palfry, conjuring her by the
former bonds of friendship, alliance, co
sanguinity, &c. -- Cousin, aunt, sister, mo-
ther -- for virtue's sake, for your own, for
mine, for Christ's sake remember me --
pity me.

  -- The Lady Baussiere rode on.

  Take hold of my whiskers, said the
Lady Baussiere ---- The page took hold
of her palfry. She dismounted at the
end of the terrace.

  There are some trains of certain ideas
which leave prints of themselves about
our eyes and eye-brows ; and there is a
consciousness of it, somewhere about the
                          heart,




[ 14 ]

heart, which serves but to make these
etchings the stronger -- we see, spell, and
put them together without a dictionary.

  Ha, ha ! hee, hee ! cried La Guyol and
La Sabatiere, looking close at each others
prints ---- Ho, ho ! cried La Battarelle
and Maronette, doing the same : -- Whist !
cried one -- st, st, -- said a second, -- hush,
quoth a third ---- poo, poo, replied a
fourth -- gramercy ! cried the Lady Car-
navallette
; -- 'twas she who bewhisker'd
St. Bridget.

  La Fosseuse drew her bodkin from the
knot of her hair, and having traced the
outline of a small whisker, with the blunt
end of it, upon one side of her upper lip,
put it into La Rebours's hand -- La Re-
bours
shook her head.
                          The




[ 15 ]

  The Lady Baussiere cough'd thrice into
the inside of her muff -- La Guyol smiled
-- Fy, said the Lady Baussiere. The queen
of Navarre touched her eye with the tip
of her fore finger -- as much as to say, I
understand you all.

  'Twas plain to the whole court the
word was ruined : La Fosseuse had given
it a wound, and it was not the better for
passing through all these defiles ---- It
made a faint stand, however, for a few
months ; by the expiration of which,
the Sieur de Croix, finding it high time
to leave Navarre for want of whiskers --
the word in course became indecent, and
(after a few efforts) absolutely unfit for
use.

  The best word, in the best language
of the best world, must have suffered un-
                          der




[ 16 ]

der such combinations.
-- The curate of
d'Estella wrote a book against them, set-
ting forth the dangers of accessory ideas,
and warning the Navarois against them.

  Does not all the world know, said the
curate d'Estella at the conclusion of his
work, that Noses ran the same fate some
centuries ago in most parts of Europe,
which Whiskers have now done in the
kingdom of Navarre -- The evil indeed
spread no further then -- , but have not
beds and bolsters, and night-caps and
chamber-pots stood upon the brink of de-
struction ever since ? Are not trouse, and
placket-holes, and pump-handles -- and
spigots and faucets, in danger still, from
the same association ? -- Chastity, by nature
the gentlest of all affections -- give it but
its head -- 'tis like a ramping and a roar-
ing lion.
             3              The




[ 17 ]

  The drift of the curate d'Estella's argu-
ment was not understood. -- They ran
the scent the wrong way. -- The world
bridled his ass at the tail. -- And when
the extreams of DELICACY, and the be-
ginnings
of CONCUPISCENCE, hold their
next provincial chapter together, they
may decree that bawdy also.


dedication next chapter
vol. I vol. II vol. III vol. IV vol. V vol. VI vol. VII vol. VIII vol. IX