Study Guide

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Book 7, Chapter 43

By Laurence Sterne

Book 7, Chapter 43

  • Tristram meets with other travelers on the road: drum-makers, Franciscans, and fig-sellers. Our hero is planning on writing up these stories and others in a whole book of "Plain Stories," because he's industrious like that. He's got lots of them, because he stops to talk to everyone he sees.
  • One incident particularly gets him going.
  • Some peasants were celebrating the end of the day with a dance and a game that involves piercing a ring with a lance. The mule stops dead in its tracks, so Tristram decides to stay and watch. A young woman runs up to him and asks him to participateā€”and she's got a big slit in her petticoat. Get it, Tristram.
  • They dance, and Tristram has a great time. No doubt about it, he's got game. Tristram takes a moment to remember the incident fondly.
  • But he's determined to stop digressing and tell the story of Toby's courtship.