—The eye of Goodness espieth all things—so that before the corporal had well got through the first five words of his story, had my uncle Toby twice touch’d his Montero-cap with the end of his cane, interrogatively—as much as to say, Why don’t you put it on, Trim? Trim took it up with the most respectful slowness, and casting a glance of humiliation as he did it, upon the embroidery of the fore-part, which being dismally tarnish’d and fray’d moreover in some of the principal leaves and boldest parts of the pattern, he lay’d it down again between his two feet, in order to moralize upon the subject.

—’Tis every word of it but too true, cried my uncle Toby, that thou art about to observe—

Nothing in this world, Trim, is made to last for ever.’

—But when tokens, dear Tom, of thy love and remembrance wear out, said Trim, what shall we say?

There is no occasion, Trim, quoth my uncle Toby, to say any thing else; and was a man to puzzle his brains till Doom’s day, I believe, Trim, it would be impossible.

The corporal, perceiving my uncle Toby was in the right, and that it would be in vain for the wit of man to think of extracting a purer moral from his cap, without further attempting it, he put it on; and passing his hand across his forehead to rub out a pensive wrinkle, which the text and the doctrine between them had engender’d, he return’d, with the same look and tone of voice, to his story of the king of Bohemia and his seven castles.

The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.

There was a certain king of Bohemia, but in whose reign, except his own, I am not able to inform your honour—

I do not desire it of thee, Trim, by any means, cried my uncle Toby.

—It was a little before the time, an’ please your honour, when giants were beginning to leave off breeding:—but in what year of our Lord that was—

I would not give a halfpenny to know, said my uncle Toby.

—Only, an’ please your honour, it makes a story look the better in the face—

—’Tis thy own, Trim, so ornament it after thy own fashion; and take any date, continued my uncle Toby, looking pleasantly upon him—take any date in the whole world thou chusest, and put it to—thou art heartily welcome—

The corporal bowed; for of every century, and of every year of that century, from the first creation of the world down to Noah’s flood; and from Noah’s flood to the birth of Abraham; through all the pilgrimages of the patriarchs, to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt—and throughout all the Dynasties, Olympiads, Urbeconditas, and other memorable epochas of the different nations of the world, down to the coming of Christ, and from thence to the very moment in which the corporal was telling his story—had my uncle Toby subjected this vast empire of time and all its abysses at his feet; but as Modesty scarce touches with a finger what Liberality offers her with both hands open—the corporal contented himself with the very worst year of the whole bunch; which, to prevent your honours of the Majority and Minority from tearing the very flesh off your bones in contestation, ’Whether that year is not always the last cast-year of the last cast-almanack’—I tell you plainly it was; but from a different reason than you wot of—

—It was the year next him—which being the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and twelve, when the Duke of Ormond was playing the devil in Flanders—the corporal took it, and set out with it afresh on his expedition to Bohemia.

The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles, Continued.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.