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was their fate to meet hereafter, he would thank him again and again, he told him he was within a few hours of giving his enemies the slip for ever.
“I hope not,” answered Eugenius, with tears trickling down his cheeks, and with the tenderest tone that ever man spoke.
"I hope not, Yorick,” said he. Yorick replied, with a look up, and a gentle squecze of Eugenius's hand, and that was all; but it cut Eugenius to his heart. Come, come, Yorick," quoth Eugenius, wiping his eyes, and summoning up the man within him, my dear lad, be comforted ; let not all thy spirits and fortitude forsake thee at this crisis, when thou most wantest them. Who knows what resources are in store, and what the power of God may yet do for thee ?” Yorick laid his hand upon his heart, and gently shook his head.
“For my part," continued Eugenius, crying bitterly as he uttered the words, "I declare I know not, Yorick, how to part with thee, and would gladly flatter my hopes," added Eugenius, cheering up his voice, " that there is still enough left of thee to make a bishop, and that I may live to see it.” “I beseech thee, Eugenius," quoth Yorick, taking off his night-cap as well as he could with his left hand, his right being stillgrasped close in that of Eugenius, “ I beseech thee to take a view of my head.”.“I see nothing that ails it,” replied Eugenius. “Then, alas ! my friend," said Yorick, “let me tell you that 'tis so bruised and misshapened with the blows which
and and some others have so unhandsomely given me in the dark, that I might say with Sancho Panza, that should I recover, and 'mitres thereupon be suffered to rain down from heaven as thick as hail, not one of them would fit it.'" Yorick's last breath was hanging upon his trembling lips, ready to depart, as he uttered this, yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantic tone, and as he spoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up for a moment in his eyes, faint picture of those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakespeare said of his ancestor) were wont to set the iable in a roar !
Eugenius was convinced from this that the heart of his friend was broke; he sqeezed his hand, and then walked softly out of the room, weeping as he walked. Yorick followed Eugenius with his eyes to the door; he then closed them, and never opened them more.
He lies buried in a corner of his churchyard, in the parish of under a plain marble slab, which his friend Eugenius, by leave of his executors, laid upon his grave, with no more than these three words of inscription, serving both for his epitaph and elegy :
ALAS, POOR YORICK!
Tin times in a day has Yorick's ghost the consolation to bear his monumental inscription read over, with such a variety of plaintive tones, as denote a general pity and esteem for him ; a foot-way crossing the churchyard close by the side of his grave, not a passenger goes by without stopping to cast a look upon it and sighing as he walks on, Alas, poor Yorick !
It is so long since the reader of this rhapsodical work has been parted from the midwise, that it is high time to mention her again to him, merely to put him in mind that there is such a body still in the world, and whom, upon the best judgment I can form upon my own plan at present, I am going to introduce to him for good and all. But as fresh matter may be started, and much unexpected business fall out betwixt the reader and myself which may require immediate dispatch, 'twas right to take care that the poor woman should not be lost in the mean. time; because when she is wanted we can no way do without her.
I think I told you that this good woman was a person of no small note and consequence throughout our whole village and township; that her fame had spread itself to the very out edge and circumference of that circle of importance, of which kind every soul living, whether he has a shirt to his back or no, has one surrounding him—which said circle, by the way, whenever 'tis said that such a one is of great weight and importance in the world, I desire may be enlarged or contracted in your worship’s fancy, in a compound ratio of the station, profession, knowledge, abilities, height, and depth (measuring both ways) of the personage brought before you.
In the present case, if I remember, I fixed it at about four or five miles, which not only comprehended the whole parish, but extended itself to two or three of the adjacent hamlets in the skirts of the next parish, which made a considerable thing of it. I must add that she was, moreover, very well looked on at one large grange house, and some other odd houses and farms within two or three miles, as I said, from the smoke of her own chimney. But I must here, once for all, inform you that all this will be more exactly delineated and explained in a map now in the hands of the engraver, which, with many other pieces and developments to this work, will be added to the end of the twentieth volume, not to swell the work; I detest the thoughts of such a thing ; but by way of commentary, scholium, illustration and key to such passages, incidents or innuendoes, as shall be thought to be either of private interpretation, or of dark or doubtful meaning, after my life and my opinions shall have been read over (now don't forget the meaning of the word) by all the world ; which, betwixt you and me, and in spite of all the gentleman reviewers in Great Britain, and of all that their worships shall undertake to write or say to the contrary, I am determined shall be the case. I need not tell your worship that all this is spoke in confidence.
UPON looking into my mother's marriage settlement, in order to satisfy myself and reader in a point necessary to be cleared up, before we could proceed any farther in this history, I had the good fortune to pop upon the very thing I wanted before I had read a day and a half straight forwards—it might have taken me up a month ; which shows plainly, that when a man sits down to write a history—though it be but the history of Jack Hickathrift or Tom Thumb, he knows no more than his heels what lets and confounded hindrances he is to meet with in his way, or what a dance he may be led, by one excursion or another, before all is over.
Could an historiographer drive on his history, as a muleteer drives on his mule-straight forward ; for instance, from Rome all the way to Loretto, without ever once turning his head aside, either to the right hand or to the left, he might venture to foretell you to an hour when he should get to his journey's end ; but the thing is, morally speaking, impossible, for if he is a man of the least spirit, he will have fifty deviations from a straight line to make with this or that party as he goes along, which he can no ways avoid. He will have views and prospects to himself perpetually soliciting his eye, which he can no more help standing still to look at than he can fly; he will moreover have various
Accounts to reconcile :
Pasquinades at that ; all which both the man and the mule are quite exempt from. To sum up all, there are archives at every stage to be looked into, and rolls, records, documents, and endless genealogies, which justice ever and anon calls him back to stay the reading of. In short, there is no end of it. For my own part I declare I have been at it these six weeks, making all the speed I possibly could, and am not yet born; I have just been able, and that's all, to tell you when it happened, but not how, so that you see the thing is yet far from being accomplished.
These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out, but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance, have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow, and that is, not to be in a hurry, but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year ; which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can inake a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live.
THE article in my mother's marriage settlement, which I told the reader I was at the pains to search for, and which, now that I have found it, I think proper to lay before him, is so much more fully expressed in the deed itself than ever I can pretend to do it, that it would be barbarity to take it out of the lawyer's hand. It is as follows :
6. And this indenture further witnesseth: That the said Walter Shandy, merchant, in consideration of the said intended marriage to be had, and, by God's blessing, to be well and truly solemnized and consummated, between the said Walter Shandy and Elizabeth Mollineux, aforesaid, and divers other good and valuable causes and considerations him thereunto specially moving, doth grant, covenant, condescend, consent, conclude, bargain, and fully agree to and with John Dixon and James Turner, Esqs., the above-named trustees, &c. &c., to wit : that in case it should hereafter so fall out, chance, happen, or otherwise come to pass that the said Walter Shandy, merchant, shall have left off business before the time or times that the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall, according to the course of Nature, or other wise, have left off bearing and bringing forth children, and that, in consequence of the said Walter Shandy having so left off business, shall
, in despite, and against the free-will, consent, and good-liking of the said Elizabeth Mollineux, make a departure from the city of London in order to retire to and dwell upon his said estate at Shandy Hall, in the county of any other country seat, castle, hall, mansion house, messuage, or grange house, now purchased, or hereafter to be purchased, or upon any part or parcel thereof, that then and as often as the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall happen to be enceinte with child or children during her said coverture, he the said Walter Shandy shall, at his own proper cost and charges, and out of his own proper moneys, upon good and reasonable notice, which is hereby agreed to be within six weeks of her the said Elizabeth Mollineux's full reckoning, pay, or cause to be paid, the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds of good and lawful money to John Dixon and James Turner, Esqs., or assigns, upon trust and confidence, and for and unto the use and uses, intent, end, and purposes followingthat is to say: That the said sum of one hundred and twenty pounds shall be paid into the hands of the said Elizabeth Mollineux, or to be otherwise applied by them the said trustees for the well and truly hiring of one coach, with able and sufficient horses, to carry and convey the body of the said Elizabeth Mollineux and the child or children unto the city of London, and for the further paying and defraying of all other incidental costs, charges, and expenses whatsoever, in and about and for, and relating to her said intended delivery and lying-in in the said city or suburbs thereof; and that the said Elizabeth Mollineux shall and may from time to time, and at all such time and times as are here covenanted and agreed upon, peaceably and quietly hire the said coach and horses, and have free ingress, egress, and regress, throughout her journey, in and from the said coach according to the tenor, true intent, ard meaniing of these presents, without any let, suit, trouble, disturbance, molestation, discharge, hindrance, forseiture, eviction, vexation, interruption, or incumbrance whatsoever. And that it shall moreover be then lawsul to and for the said Elizabeth Mollineux to live and reside in such place or places, and in such family or families, and with such relations, friends, and other persons within the said city of London as she, at her own will and pleasure, notwithstanding her present coverture, and as if she was a femme sole and unmarried, shall think fit. And this indenture further wiinesseth: That for the more effectually carrying of the said covenant into exe on, the said Walter Shandy, merchant, doth hereby grant, bargain, sell, release, and confirm unto the said John Dixon and James Turner, Esqs., their heirs, executors, and assigns, in their actual possession now being, by virtue of an indenture of bargain and sale for a year to them the said John Dixon and James Turner, Esqs., by him the said Walter Shandy, merchant, thereof made ; which said bargain and sale for a year bears date the day next before the date of these presents, and by force and virtue of the statute for transferring of uses into possession, all that the manor and lordship of Shandy, in the county of
with all the rights, members, and appurtenances thereof, and all and every the messuages, houses, buildings, barns, stables, orchards, garılens, backsides, tofts, crofts, garths, cottages, lands, meadows, feedings, pastures, marshes, commons, woods, underwoods, drains, fisheries, waters, and water-courses, together with all rents, reversions, services, annuities, fee-farms, knights' fees, views of frank-pledge, escheats, reliefs, mines, quarries, goods and chattels of felons and sugitives, felons of themselves, and put in exigent, deodands, free warrens, and all other royalties, and seignories, rights and jurisdictions, privileges and heriditaments whatsoever ; and also the advowson, donation, presentation, and free disposition of the rectory or parsonage of Shandy aforesaid, and all and every the tenths, tithes, glebe-lands." In three words, my mother was to lie-in (if she chose it) in London.
But in order to put a stop to the practice of any unfair play on the part of my mother, which a marriage article of this nature too manifestly opened a door to, and which indeed had never been thought of at all but for my Uncle Toby Shandy, a clause was added in security of my father, which was this: “That in case my mother hereafter should at any time put my father to the trouble and expense of a London journey upon false cries and tokens, that for every such instance she shall forfeit all the right and title which the covenant gave her to the next turn, but to no more, and so on, toties quoties, in as effectual a manner as if such a covenant betwixt them had not been made.” This, by the way, was no more than what was reasonable ; and yet, as reasonable as it was, I have ever thought it hard that the whole weight of the article should have fallen entirely, as it did, upon myself.
But I was begot and born to misfortunes; for in the latter end of September, 1717, which was the year before I was born, my mother having carried my father up to town much against the grain, he peremptorily insisted upon the clause; so that I was doomed, by marriage articles, to have my nose squeezed as flat to my face as if the destinies had actually spun me without one.
How this event came about, and what a train of vexatious disappointments, in one stage or other of my life, have pursued me from the mere loss, or rather compression, of this one single member, shall be laid before the reader all in due time.
My father, as any body may naturally imagine, came down with my mother into the country in but a pettish kind of a humour. The first twenty or five-and-twenty miles he did nothing in the world but fret and tease himself, and indeed my mother too, about the cursed expense which, he said, might every shilling of it have been saved. Then, what vexed him more than everything else was the provoking time of the year, which, as I told you, was towards the end of September, when his wall-fruit, and greengages especially, in which he was very curious, were just ready for pulling. “ Had he been whistled up to London upon a Tom Fool's errand in any other month of the whole year, he should not have said three words about it."