Twas a Beguine, said my uncle Toby.
Doctor Slop was too much in wrath to listen to the distinction; and my father taking that very crisis to fall in helter-skelter upon the whole order of Nuns and Beguines, a set of silly, fusty, baggagesSlop could not stand itand my uncle Toby having some measures to take about his breechesand Yorick about his fourth general divisionin order for their several attacks next daythe company broke up: and my father being left alone, and having half an hour upon his hands betwixt that and bed-time; he called for pen, ink, and paper, and wrote my uncle Toby the following letter of instructions:
My dear brother Toby,
What I am going to say to thee is upon the nature of women, and of love- making to them; and perhaps it is as well for theetho not so well for methat thou hast occasion for a letter of instructions upon that head, and that I am able to write it to thee.
Had it been the good pleasure of him who disposes of our lotsand thou no sufferer by the knowledge, I had been well content that thou shouldst have dippd the pen this moment into the ink, instead of myself; but that not being the caseMrs Shandy being now close beside me, preparing for bedI have thrown together without order, and just as they have come into my mind, such hints and documents as I deem may be of use to thee; intending, in this, to give thee a token of my love; not doubting, my dear Toby, of the manner in which it will be accepted.
In the first place, with regard to all which concerns religion in the affairthough I perceive from a glow in my cheek, that I blush as I begin to speak to thee upon the subject, as well knowing, notwithstanding thy unaffected secrecy, how few of its offices thou neglectestyet I would remind thee of one (during the continuance of thy courtship) in a particular manner, which I would not have omitted; and that is, never to go forth upon the enterprize, whether it be in the morning or the afternoon, without first recommending thyself to the protection of Almighty God, that he may defend thee from the evil one.
Shave the whole top of thy crown clean once at least every four or five days, but oftner if convenient; lest in taking off thy wig before her, thro absence of mind, she should be able to discover how much has been cut away by Timehow much by Trim.
Twere better to keep ideas of baldness out of her fancy.
Always carry it in thy mind, and act upon it as a sure maxim, Toby
That women are timid: And tis well they areelse there would be no dealing with them.
Let not thy breeches be too tight, or hang too loose about thy thighs, like the trunk-hose of our ancestors.
A just medium prevents all conclusions.
Whatever thou hast to say, be it more or less, forget not to utter it in a low soft tone of voice. Silence, and whatever approaches it, weaves dreams of midnight secrecy into the brain: For this cause, if thou canst help it, never throw down the tongs and poker.
Avoid all kinds of pleasantry and facetiousness in thy discourse with her, and do whatever lies in thy power at the same time, to keep her from all books and writings which tend thereto: there are some devotional tracts, which if thou canst entice her to read overit will be well: but suffer her not to look into Rabelais, or Scarron, or Don Quixote
They are all books which excite laughter; and thou knowest, dear Toby, that there is no passion so serious as lust.
Stick a pin in the bosom of thy shirt, before thou enterest her parlour.
|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.|