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cording to the metaphysician, they cannot stand by themselves, but are supported by substances. The words I mean are goodness, great-ness, and their fellows. We have similar words ending in head. Onhed, in old English, is unity (one head). It will not, I presume, be denied, that head (caput) is here used in composition. Now, in the other case, I suspect, that it is part of the head which is used; the nose, ness, nez, French. Both words have been indifferently employed to mark the points of land that are or have been conspicuous. Will not this geographical analogy be admitted as a strong confirmation of my opinion? If ness be any part of the body, what part else can we imagine it to be, whether we regard sound or situation? There exists an etymological as truly as a moral sense; and those who have acquired the former, will feel by how very natural a transition two such eminent members of the body natural, as the head and nose, came to denote abstract qualities."
Monthly Magazine, for July, 1796.
What a blaze of light (to use the favourite modern trope) do these observations throw on Mr. Shandy's hypothesis : and how triumphantly would he have opened to Uncle Toby the mystery of littleness (little nose), and of meanness (mean nose), of rashness (rash nose), whence we talk of a man's thrusting his nose into matters which do not concern him; and of many other knotty and perplexing terms and phrases! All this might be done with a tolerable portion of leisure and application; for I suspect that the etymological sense is very similar to the sense required for playing at whist, driving four in hand, or adjusting with philosophical precision the angle of incidence of a tennis-ball. It is easy to account for the
mystery in which Sterne has involved this subject, from the preceding extracts.
He had obtained a glimpse of the physiognomic doctrines respecting the nose, but he was ignorant of the general systems which had prevailed concerning the art itself.
He does not appear
to have been acquainted even with the work of Baptista Porta. To have completed Mr. Shandy's character, he ought to have been a professed physiognomist. Slawkenbergius's treatise would then have taken form and substance, and Sterne would have written one of the most interesting and amusing books that ever appeared.
Perhaps no man possessed so many requisites for producing a good work on physiognomy. His observation of charac. ters was sagacious, minutely accurate, and unwearied. His feeling was everjust, versatile as life itself, and was conveyed to the reader with full effect, because without affectation.
But his imagination was ill-regulated, and it had a constant tendency to form combinations on this particular subject, which his taste alone, to say nothing of other motives, shonld have led him to reject.
I shall conclude this chapter, with a curious question relating to the dignity of the
The common-point of honour is sufficiently known. Segar, in his Honour Militarie & Civil, p. 127, puts this case respecting duels; “ Two gentlemen being in fight, the one putteth out the eye of his enemie, and hee in requitall of that hurt cutteth off his nose: the question is, who is by those hurts most dishonoured ? It may seem at the first sight, that losse of an eye is greatest, being a member placed above, and that without the sight a man prooveth unfit for all worldly actions : yet for so much as the want of a nose is commonly accompted the greatest deformitie, and a punishment due for infamous offences, it may be reasonably inferred, that the losse of that feature should bring with it most dishonour. Besides that, seeing man is made according to the image of God, we account that the face being made more deformed by the losse of the nose than of one eye, therefore the greatest honour of the combat is due unto him who taketh the nose of the enemie."
Uncle Toby's hobby-horse-Amours-Story of Sorlisi.
St. Augustine has said very justly, in his Confessions, that the trifling of adults is called business : majorum nugæ negotia vocan
The present times are peculiarly indulgent in this respect. What the last age denominated follies, or hobby-horses, we style collections: Uncle Toby's library would have required no apology among the hunters of old ballads, and church-wardens' bills of our day. I am sensible that a much better defence might be made for him: it would be easy to prove the utility of his studies, and to shew, not only that the fate