Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In which Corporal Trim's wounded knee develops an itch ...

The fair Beguine, said the corporal, continued rubbing with her whole hand under my knee—till I fear’d her zeal would weary her——“I would do a thousand times more,” said she, “for the love of Christ”—–In saying which she pass’d her hand across the flannel, to the part above my knee, which I had equally complained of, and rubb’d it also. I perceived, then, I was beginning to be in love—— As she continued rub-rub-rubbing—I felt it spread from under her hand, an’ please your honour, to every part of my frame—— The more she rubb’d, and the longer strokes she took—— the more the fire kindled in my veins——till at length, by two or three strokes longer than the rest——my passion rose to the highest pitch——I seiz’d her hand———–

—— And then, thou clapped’st it to thy lips, Trim, said my uncle Toby——and madest a speech.

Whether the corporal’s amour terminated precisely in the way my uncle Toby described it, is not material; it is enough that it contain’d in it the essence of all the love-romances which ever have been wrote since the beginning of the world.

Laurence Sterne, from 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman' (1760)