Tristram Shandy C H A P. LXI

WE should begin, said my father, turning himself half round in bed, and shifting his pillow a little towards my mother’s, as he opened the debate——We should begin to think, Mrs. Shandy, of putting this boy into breeches.——

We should so,—said my mother.——We defer it, my dear, quoth my father, shamefully.——

I think we do, Mr. Shandy,—said my mother.

——Not but the child looks extremely well, said my father, in his vests and tunicks.——

——He does look very well in them,—replied my mother.——

——And for that reason it would be almost a sin, added my father, to take him out of ’em.——

——It would so,—said my mother:——But indeed he is growing a very tall lad,—rejoined my father.

——He is very tall for his age, indeed,—said my mother.——

——I can not (making two syllables of it) imagine, quoth my father, who the deuce he takes after.——

I cannot conceive, for my life, said my mother.——

Humph!——said my father.

(The dialogue ceased for a moment.)

——(I am very short myself,—continued my father gravely.

You are very short, Mr Shandy,—said my mother.

Humph! quoth my father to himself, a second time: in muttering which, he plucked his pillow a little further from my mother’s,—and turning about again, there was an end of the debate for three minutes and a half.

——When he gets these breeches made, cried my father in a higher tone, he’ll look like a beast in ’em.

He will be very awkward in them at first, replied my mother.

——And ’twill be lucky, if that’s the worst on’t, added my father.

It will be very lucky, answered my mother.

I suppose, replied my father,—making some pause first,—he’ll be exactly like other people’s children.——

Exactly, said my mother.——

——Though I shall be sorry for that, added my father: and so the debate stopp’d again.

——They should be of leather, said my father, turning him about again.—

They will last him, said my mother, the longest.

But he can have no linings to ’em, replied my father.——

He cannot, said my mother.

’Twere better to have them of fustian, quoth my father.

Nothing can be better, quoth my mother.——

——Except dimity,—replied my father:——’Tis best of all,—replied my mother.

——One must not give him his death, however,—interrupted my father.

By no means, said my mother:——and so the dialogue stood still again.

I am resolved, however, quoth my father, breaking silence the fourth time, he shall have no pockets in them.——

——There is no occasion for any, said my mother.——

I mean in his coat and waistcoat,—cried my father.

——I mean so too,—replied my mother.

——Though if he gets a gig or top——Poor souls! it is a crown and a sceptre to them,—they should have where to secure it.——

Order it as you please, Mr. Shandy, replied my mother.——

——But don’t you think it right? added my father, pressing the point home to her.

Perfectly, said my mother, if it pleases you, Mr. Shandy.——

——There’s for you! cried my father, losing his temper——Pleases me!——You never will distinguish, Mrs. Shandy, nor shall I ever teach you to do it, betwixt a point of pleasure and a point of convenience.——This was on the Sunday night:——and further this chapter sayeth not.