my father would cry—(smiling mysteriously, and giving a nod—but without interrupting him)—and being link’d fast, an’ please your honour, arm in arm with Mrs. Bridget, I dragg’d her after me, by means of which she fell backwards soss against the bridge—and Trim’s foot (my uncle Toby would cry, taking the story out of his mouth) getting into the cuvette, he tumbled full against the bridge too.—It was a thousand to one, my uncle Toby would add, that the poor fellow did not break his leg.—Ay truly, my father would say—a limb is soon broke, brother Toby, in such encounters.—And so, an’ please your honour, the bridge, which your honour knows was a very slight one, was broke down betwixt us, and splintered all to pieces.

At other times, but especially when my uncle Toby was so unfortunate as to say a syllable about cannons, bombs, or petards—my father would exhaust all the stores of his eloquence (which indeed were very great) in a panegyric upon the Battering-Rams of the ancients—the Vinea which Alexander made use of at the siege of Troy.—He would tell my uncle Toby of the Catapultae of the Syrians, which threw such monstrous stones so many hundred feet, and shook the strongest bulwarks from their very foundation:- - he would go on and describe the wonderful mechanism of the Ballista which Marcellinus makes so much rout about!—the terrible effects of the Pyraboli, which cast fire;—the danger of the Terebra and Scorpio, which cast javelins.—But what are these, would he say, to the destructive machinery of corporal Trim?—Believe me, brother Toby, no bridge, or bastion, or sally-port, that ever was constructed in this world, can hold out against such artillery.

My uncle Toby would never attempt any defence against the force of this ridicule, but that of redoubling the vehemence of smoaking his pipe; in doing which, he raised so dense a vapour one night after supper, that it set my father, who was a little phthisical, into a suffocating fit of violent coughing: my uncle Toby leap’d up without feeling the pain upon his groin—and, with infinite pity, stood beside his brother’s chair, tapping his back with one hand, and holding his head with the other, and from time to time wiping his eyes with a clean cambrick handkerchief, which he pulled out of his pocket.—The affectionate and endearing manner in which my uncle Toby did these little offices—cut my father thro’ his reins, for the pain he had just been giving him.—May my brains be knock’d out with a battering-ram or a catapulta, I care not which, quoth my father to himself—if ever I insult this worthy soul more!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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