Tristram Shandy C H A P. XIV

EVERY day for at least ten years together did my father resolve to have it mended—’tis not mended yet;—no family but ours would have borne with it an hour——and what is most astonishing, there was not a subject in the world upon which my father was so eloquent, as upon that of door-hinges.——And yet at the same time, he was certainly one of the greatest bubbles to them, I think, that history can produce: his rhetorick and conduct were at perpetual handy-cuffs.—Never did the parlour-door open—but his philosophy or his principles fell a victim to it;——three drops of oil with a feather, and a smart stroke of a hammer, had saved his honour for ever.

——Inconsistent soul that man is!——languishing under wounds, which he has the power to heal!—his whole life a contradiction to his knowledge!—his reason, that precious gift of God to him—(instead of pouring in oil) serving but to sharpen his sensibilities—to multiply his pains, and render him more melancholy and uneasy under them!—Poor unhappy creature, that he should do so!——Are not the necessary causes of misery in this life enow, but he must add voluntary ones to his stock of sorrow;—struggle against evils which cannot be avoided, and submit to others, which a tenth part of the trouble they create him would remove from his heart for ever?

By all that is good and virtuous, if there are three drops of oil to be got, and a hammer to be found within ten miles of Shandy Hall——the parlour door hinge shall be mended this reign.