handsome—genteel—engaging—and of such gentle dispositions and so enlighten’d an understanding—that Yorick (whether he made much opposition is not known) from an acquaintance—soon became her Admirer—they caught fire at each other at the same time—and they would often say, without reserve to the world, and without any Idea of saying wrong in it, that their Affections for each other were unbounded—Mr. Draper dying in the Year … This Lady return’d to England—and Yorick the Year after becoming a Widower—they were married—and retiring to one of his Livings in Yorkshire where was a most romantic Situation—they lived and died happily—and are spoke of with honour in the parish to this day—”

Four days later (June 21st) he writes:

“Set out for Crasy Castle to morrow morning—where I stay ten days—take my Sentimental Voyage—and this Journal with me, as certain as the two first Wheels of my Chariot—I cannot go without them—”

On July 3rd he is back in Coxwold, and writes:

“Hail! Hail! my dear Eliza! I steal something every day from my sentimental Journey—to obey a more sentimental impulse in writing to you—and giving you the present Picture of myself—my wishes—my Love—my Sincerity—my hopes—my fears—”

and on the next day:

“Get on slowly with my Work—but my head is too full of other Matters—yet will I finish it before I see London—for I am of too scrupulous honour to break faith with the world—Great Authors make no scruple of it—but if they are great Authors I’m sure they are little Men.”

There is no more mention of the Travels in this diary, which closes on August 4th (with a postscript of November 1st). There is, however, a mention of his book in one of the Letters from Yorick to Eliza (published by an anonymous editor in 1775). It is not dated. It reads:

“Were your husband in England, I would freely give him five hundred pounds (if money could purchase the acquisition) to let you only sit by me two hours in a day, while I wrote my Sentimental Journey. I am sure the work would sell so much the better for it that I should be reimbursed the sum more than seven times told.”

The dated entries relating to the Sentimental Journey only cover a month, from June 3rd to July 4th (1767), but there are other references in Sterne’s general correspondence which enable us to trace the progress of the writing of the Sentimental Journey with more circumstance. The first mention of the book seems to be in a letter to his daughter Lydia, dated from Old Bond Street, February 23rd, 1767:

“I shall not begin my Sentimental Journey till I get to Coxwould—I have laid a plan for something new, quite out of the beaten track.”

Sterne returned to Coxwold early in May 1767, and probably set to work on the Sentimental Journey as soon as he had settled in. He mentions the book in a letter of June 30th, and on July 6th writes (in a letter to Mr. and Mrs. James):

“I am now beginning to be truly busy at my Sentimental Journey—the pains and sorrows of this life having retarded its progress—but I shall make up my lee-way, and overtake everybody in a very short time.”

There is a mention of the work in a letter to Lydia of August 24th, and again on September 27th (to Sir William Stanhope). On October 3rd (to Mr. and Mrs. James) he writes:

“I have been hard writing ever since—and hope by Christmas I shall be able to give a gentle rap at your door—and tell you how happy I am to see my two good friends.—I assure you I spur on my Pegasus more violently upon that account, and am now determined not to draw bit, till I have finish’d this Sentimental

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