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The word "wife" catches Mrs. Shandy by the "weak part of her sex" (5.12.2)—that is, her curiosity—and she assumes that Toby and Mr. Shandy are talking about her. Mr. Shandy, in fact, was waxing eloquent about Socrates.
Tristram tells us that Mr. Shandy wrote a whole book about Socrates, although he never let it be published during his life.