My father lay stretched across the bed as still as if the hand of death had pushed him down, for a full hour and a half before he began to play upon the floor with the toe of that foot which hung over the bedside; my uncle Toby’s heart was a pound lighter for it.⁠⸻In a few moments, his left-hand, the knuckles of which had all the time reclined upon the handle of the chamberpot, came to its feeling⁠—he thrust it a little more within the valance⁠—drew up his hand, when he had done, into his bosom⁠—gave a hem! My good uncle Toby, with infinite pleasure, answered it; and full gladly would have ingrafted a sentence of consolation upon the opening it afforded: but having no talents, as I said, that way, and fearing moreover that he might set out with something which might make a bad matter worse, he contented himself with resting his chin placidly upon the cross of his crutch.

Now whether the compression shortened my uncle Toby’s face into a more pleasurable oval⁠—or that the philanthropy of his heart, in seeing his brother beginning to emerge out of the sea of his afflictions, had braced up his muscles⁠⸺⁠so that the compression upon his chin only doubled the benignity which was there before, is not hard to decide.⁠⸺⁠My father, in turning his eyes, was struck with such a gleam of sunshine in his face, as melted down the sullenness of his grief in a moment.

He broke silence as follows.