« PreviousContinue »
LAURENCE STERNE was the son of an Irish officer, and born at Clonmel in the south of Ireland november 24th, 1713, a few days after his mother arrived from Dunkirk. His father, Roger Sterne, lieutenant in Handaside's regiment in Ire-. land, was married to Agnes Hebert, widow of a captain of a good family. His great grandfather was an archbishop, and his uncle a prebendary of our cathedrals.
Sterne, when yet a boy, had a wonderful escape in falling through a mill-race, whilst the mill was going, and of being taken up unhurt. In 1721., he was fixed at school near Halifax, where he got an able master, with whom he slaid till about the laller end of 1731, in which year his father died in the month of march. Here I cannot omit mentioning another anecdote of Sterne's, which hap. pened to him at Halifax. His school-master had the cieling of the school-room new white-washed
the ladder remained there. Sterne, one unlucky day, mounted it, and wrote with a brush in large capital letters, LAU. STERNE, for which the usher whipped him. His master 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 expression made the boy forget the stripes he had received. In the year 1732, his cousin Sterne, of Elvington, became a father to our author, and sent him to the university of Cambridge, where he spent the usual number of years, read a great deal, laughed more, and sometimes took the diversion 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 seated himself quietly in the lap of the church, at Sutton on the forest of Galtrees, a small 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. Sterne and his uncle were then upon very good terms, for he soon got by him the prebend of York; but the uncle, being a party-man, quarrelled with him afterwards, because he would not write paragraphs in the news - papers, detesting such dirty work, and thinking it beneath him.