Some parodies

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Beerbohm caricatures

Laurence Sterne

Here the listener who was none other than the Scotch student, a little fume of a fellow, blond as tow, congratulated in the liveliest fashion with the young gentleman and, interruptinging the narrative at a salient point, having desired his visavis with a polite beck to have the obligingness to pass him a flagon of cordial waters at the same time by a questioning poise of the head (a whole century of polite breeding had not achieved so nice a gesture) to which was united an equivalent but contrary balance of the head asked the narrator as plainly as was ever done in words if he might treat him with a cup of it. Mais bien sûr, noble stranger, said he cheerily, et mille compliments. That you may and very opportunely. There wanted nothing but this cup to crown my felicity. But, gracious heaven, was I left with but a crust in my wallet and a cupful of water from the well, my God, I would accept of them and find it in my heart to kneel down upon the ground and give thanks to the powers above for the happiness vouchsafed me by the Giver of good things. With these words he approached the goblet to his lips, took a complacent draught of the cordial, slicked his hair and, opening his bosom, out popped a locket that hung from a silk riband that very picture which he had cherished ever since her hand had wrote therein. Gazing upon those features with a world of tenderness, Ah, Monsieur, he said, had you but beheld her as I did with these eyes at that affecting instant with her dainty tucker and her new coquette cap (a gift for her feast day as she told me) in such an artless disorder, of so melting a tenderness, 'pon my conscience, even you, Monsieur, had been impelled by generous nature to deliver yourself wholly into the hands of such an enemy or to quit the field for ever. I declare, I was never so touched in all my life. God I thank thee as the Author of my days! Thrice happy will he be whom so amiable a creature will bless with her favours. . . . But indeed, sir, I wander from the point. How mingled and imperfect are all our sublunary joysl Maledicity! Would to God that foresight had remembered me to take my cloak along! I could weep to think of it. Then, though it had poured seven showers we were neither of us a penny the worse. But beshrew me, he cried, clapping hand to his forehead, tomorrow will be a new day and, thousand thunders, I know of a marchand de capotes, Monsieur Poyntz, from whom I can have for a livre as snug a cloak. of the French fashion as ever kept a lady from wetting. Tut, tut! cries Le Fecondateur, tripping in, my friend Monsieur Moore, that most accomplished traveller (I have just cracked a half bottle avec lui in a circle of the best wits of the town), is my authority that in Cape Horn, ventre biche, they have a rain that will wet through any, even the stoutest cloak. A drenching of that violence, he tells me, sans blague, has sent more than one luckless fellow in good earnest posthaste to another world. Pooh! A livre! cries Monsieur Lynch. The clumsy things are dear at a sou. One umbrella, were it no bigger than a fairy mushroom, is worth ten such stopgaps. No woman of any wit would wear one. My dear Kitty told me today that she would dance in a deluge before ever she would starve in such an ark of salvation for, as she reminded me (blushing piquantly and whispering in my ear though there was none to snap her words but giddy butterflies), dame Nature, by the divine blessing, has implanted it in our heart and it has become a household word that il y a deux choses for which the innocence of our original garb, in other circumstances a breach of the proprieties, is the fittest, nay the only, garment. The first, said she (and here my pretty philosopher, as I handed her to her tilbury, to fix my attention, gently tipped with her tongue the outer chamber of my ear), the first is a bath ... but at this point a bell tinkling in the hall cut short a discourse which promised so bravely for the enrichment of our store of knowledge.

James Joyce, Ulysses, The Oxen of the Sun




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