[ 152 ]

C H A P. XL.

I Am now beginning to get fairly into
my work; and by the help of a
vegitable diet, with a few of the cold
seeds, I make no doubt but I shall be
able to go on with my uncle Toby's story,
and my own, in a tolerable straight line.


[ 153 ]

  These were the four lines I moved in
through my first, second, third, and
fourth volumes.   -- In the fifth volume
I have been very good,   -- the precise
line I have described in it being this :     

By which it appears, that except at the
curve, marked A. where I took a trip
to Navarre, -- and the indented curve B.
which is the short airing when I was
there with the Lady Baussiere and her
page, -- I have not taken the least frisk
of a digression, till John de la Casse's
devils led me the round you see marked
D. -- for as for c c c c c they are nothing
but parentheses, and the common ins
and outs incident to the lives of the great-
est ministers of state ; and when com-

[ 154 ]

pared with what men have done, -- or
with my own transgressions at the letters
A B D -- they vanish into nothing.

  In this last volume I have done better
still -- for from the end of Le Fever's
episode, to the beginning of my uncle
Toby's campaigns, -- I have scarce step-
ped a yard out of my way.

  If I mend at this rate, it is not im-
possible   -- by the good leave of his
grace of Benevento's devils   -- but I
may arrive hereafter at the excellency of
going on even thus ;

which is a line drawn as straight as I
could draw it, by a writing-master's
ruler, (borrowed for that purpose) turn-
ing neither to the right hand or to the

[ 155 ]

  This right line, -- the path-way for
Christians to walk in ! say divines   --

    -- The emblem of moral rectitude !
says Cicero   --

    -- The best line ! say cabbage-plan-
ters   -- is the shortest line, says Archi-
, which can be drawn from one
given point to another.  --

  I wish your ladyships would lay
this matter to heart in your next birth-
day suits !

    -- What a journey !

  Pray can you tell me, -- that is, with-
out anger, before I write my chapter
upon straight lines   -- by what mis-
take   -- who told them so   -- or how it
has come to pass, that your men of wit
and genius have all along confounded this
line, with the line of GRAVITATION.


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