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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman


by Laurence Sterne

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Book 2, Chapter 12 Summary

  • In the meantime, Dr. Slop heads up to see how Mrs. Shandy's doing.
  • Just kidding! He sits down by the fire to chat with Mr. Shandy and Toby. Toby brings up one of his favorite authors, the military engineer Stevinus. He launches into a long explanation of military fortifications, and Mr. Shandy interrupts him. Toby doesn't get mad: he's so gentle that he wouldn't hurt a fly.
  • Literally.
  • One day, a fly was buzzing around his nose. He caught it in his hand and released it out the window, giving ten-year-old Tristram a crash course on universal good will.
  • Take note, teachers: this incident taught him more than a whole book about the subject.
  • Toby is so mild-mannered that even when Mr. Shandy insults his hobby-horse, he preserves his good nature—and Mr. Shandy begs forgiveness and apologizes for never doing anything nice for Toby. Sure you do, Toby says. You have children.

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