I am now beginning to get fairly into my work; and by the help of a vegetable diet, with a few of the cold seeds, I make no doubt but I shall be able to go on with my uncle Toby’s story, and my own, in a tolerable strait line. Now,

Squiggly lines captioned “Inv. T. S. / Scul. T. S.”

These were the four lines I moved in through my first, second, third, and fourth volumes.⁠—In the fifth volume I have been very good,⁠⸺⁠the precise line I have described in it being this:

A squiggly line marked A, B, CC CCC, D.

By which it appears, that except at the curve, marked A, where I took a trip to Navarre,⁠—and the indented curve B, which is the short airing when I was there with the Lady Baussiere and her page,⁠—I have not taken the least frisk of a digression, till John de la Casse’s devils led me the round you see marked D.⁠—for as for c c c c c they are nothing but parentheses, and the common ins and outs incident to the lives of the greatest ministers of state; and when compared with what men have done,⁠—or with my own transgressions at the letters A B D⁠—they vanish into nothing.

In this last volume I have done better still⁠—for from the end of Le Fever’s episode, to the beginning of my uncle Toby’s campaigns,⁠—I have scarce stepped a yard out of my way.

If I mend at this rate, it is not impossible⁠⸺⁠by the good leave of his grace of Benevento’s devils⁠⸺⁠but I may arrive hereafter at the excellency of going on even thus:

A straight line.

which is a line drawn as straight as I could draw it, by a writing-master’s ruler (borrowed for that purpose), turning neither to the right hand or to the left.

This right line,⁠—the pathway for Christians to walk in! say divines⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠The emblem of moral rectitude! says Cicero⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠The best line! say cabbage planters⁠⸺⁠is the shortest line, says Archimedes, which can be drawn from one given point to another.⁠⸺⁠

I wish your ladyships would lay this matter to heart, in your next birthday suits!

⸺⁠What a journey!

Pray can you tell me,⁠—that is, without anger, before I write my chapter upon straight lines⁠⸺⁠by what mistake⁠⸺⁠who told them so⁠⸺⁠or how it has come to pass, that your men of wit and genius have all along confounded this line, with the line of gravitation?