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got an able mafter, with whom he ftaid till about the latter end of 1731, in which year his father died in the month of March. Here I cannot omit mentioning another anecdote of Mr. Sterne's, which happened to him at Halifax. His fchool-mafter had the cieling of the school-room new whitewashed; the ladder remained there. Mr. Sterne, one unlucky day mounted it, and wrote with a brush in large capital letters, LAU. STERNE, for which the ufher whipped him. His mafter was very much hurt at this, and said before him, that never should that name be effaced; for he was a boy of genius, and he was sure he should come to preferment. This expreffion made the boy forget the ftripes he had received. In the year 1732, his coufin Sterne, of Elvington, became a father to our Author, and fent him to the univerfity of Cambridge, where he spent the usual number of years; read a great deal, laughed more, and sometimes took the diverfion of puzzling his tutors. He left Cambridge with the character of an odd man, who had no harm in him, and who had parts if he would use them.
Upon leaving the university, he feated himself quietly in the lap of the church, at Sutton on the Foreft of Galtrees, a fmall vicarage in Yorkshire, which he got by the means of his uncle. At York he became acquainted with his wife. He married her in the year 1741, and got by her his only daughter, who is known by the name of Lydia. Mr. Sterne and his uncle were then upon very good terms, for he foon got by him the Prebendary of York; but the uncle, being a partyman, quarrelled with him afterwards, because he would not write paragraphs in the news-papers, detefting such dirty work and thinking it beneath him. From that period his uncle became his bittereft enemy. By his wife's means he got the liv ing of Stillington. A friend of her's in the fouth had promised her, that if she married a clergyman in Yorkshire, when the living became vacant, he would make her a compliment of it. He remained near twenty years at Sutton. As he had then very good health; books, painting, fiddling and shooting (as our Author expreffes himself) were his favourite amusements.
In the year 1760, he took a house at York for his wife and daughter, and went up to London to publish his two first volumes of Shandy *). In that year Lord Fprefented him with the curacy of Coxwould, a fweet retirement in comparison of Sutton. In 1762, he went to France, before the peace was concluded, whither his wife and daughter followed him. He left them both in France, and two years after he went to Italy for the recovery of his health. In his way home to England, he called upon them again in France, from whence they returned after him to England.
This is almoft all we have learned from the account **) of Mr. Sterne himself. The reft we have gathered from the accounts of his friends.
When Mr. Sterne lived at Sutton, an occafion offered, which made him firft feel himself, and to which, perhaps, we owe the origin of the history of Triftram.
*) The first edition was printed in the preceding year at York.
**) Memoirs of the Life and Family of the late Rev. Mr. Laurence Sterne.
There happened a dispute among some of the superiors of his order, in which Mr. Sterne's friend, one of the beft men in the world, was concerned. A person, who filled a lucrative benefice, was not fatisfied with enjoying it during his own lifetime, but exerted all his intereft to have it entailed upon his wife and fon after his decease. Mr. Sterne's friend, who expected the reversion of this living, had not, however, fufficient influence to prevent the fuccefs of his adversary. At this critical period, Mr. Sterne attacked the monopolizer in joke, and wrote "The "hiftory of a good warm watch-coat, with "which the present poffeffor is not content "to cover his own fhoulders, unless he "can also cut out of it a petticoat for his "wife and a pair of breeches for his "fon."
What all the serious arguments in the world could not have effected, Sterne's fatirical pen brought about. The intended monopolizer fent him word, that if he would fupprefs the publication of this farcafm, he would refign his pretenfions to the next candidate. The pamphlet was
fuppreffed, the reverfion took place, and Mr. Sterne was requited, by the intereft of his patron, with the prebendary ship of York *).
An incident, much about the same time, contributed exceedingly to establish the reputation of Mr. Sterne's wit. It was this: He was fitting in the coffee-house at York, when a stranger came in, who gave much offence to the company, confifting chiefly of gentlemen of the gown, by descanting too freely upon religion and the hypocrify of the clergy. The young fellow at length addressed himself to Mr. Sterne, asking him, what were his fentiments upon the fubject: when, inftead of anfwering him directly, he told the witling, That 'his dog was reckoned one of the 'most beautiful pointers in the whole 'county, was very good-natured, but that < he had an infernal trick, which deftroyed 'all his good qualities. — He never sees a
*) This pamphlet the reader will find at the end of the fourth volume of the present book, under the title, A political Romance addressed - Efq. of York,