Tristram Shandy Book 1, Chapters 7-10 Summary

Laurence Sterne

Book 1, Chapters 7-10 Summary

The narrator begins this section with a discussion about a widowed woman who happens to be the mother of several children. The parson's wife, feeling sorry for this woman as she now has no one to support her, suggests to her husband that they see to it that the widow receives the training to become a midwife for the parish.

At this point of the story, the narrator then begins a long aside dealing with the narrator's willingness to write dedications in his novel to reflect the merits of local lords, princes, or even popes. He will provide these dedications for a set amount of money. He will write generalized dedications that could apply to any one and will sell them for "fifty guineas." The narrator even tells anyone who wants to buy a dedication where to send the money. Then he returns to his story about the midwife and the parson.

About five years before the widow earned her license to become a midwife, the parson did something that caused a lot of gossip in his parish. The reason for the village talk was because of the horse the parson rode. The parson's horse was extremely skinny and "broken." The narrator compares the horse's appearance to that of the similarly undernourished "Rosinante," the famed horse in the novel Don Quixote.

The parson could have helped to make this horse look a little more regal, the narrator claims, if he had used the beautiful saddle with the quilted seat, silver studs, and black lace, and from which hung brass stirrups. The parson purchased this saddle in his youth. However, the parson refused to use the saddle on his current horse. Instead, he stored the saddle in his house and used only a simple saddle for the skinny horse.

The sight of the parson riding through the village on this broken-down horse was the source of much laughter. A humble man with a good sense of humor, the parson often joined in the laughter at his own expense. Sometimes he even provided humorous...

(The entire section is 559 words.)