Wit and judgement are, like "two knobbs" on the back of a chair, "the highest and most ornamental parts of" and "both made and fitted to go together, in order as we say in all such cases of duplicated embellishments,--to answer one another."
— Sterne, Laurence (1713-1768)
--Here stands wit,--and there stands judgment, close beside it, just like the two knobbs I'm speaking of, upon the back of this self same chair on which I am sitting.
--You see, they are the highest and most ornamental parts of its frame,--as wit and judgment are of ours,--and like them too, indubitably both made and fitted to go together, in order as we say in all such cases of duplicated embellishments,--to answer one another.
Now for the sake of an experiment, and for the clearer illustrating this matter,-- let us for a moment, take off one of these two curious ornaments (I care not which) from the point or pinacle of the chair it now stands on;--nay, don't laugh at it.--But did you ever see in the whole course of your lives such a ridiculous business as this has made of it? --Why, 'tis as miserable a sight as a sow with one ear; and there is just as much sense and symmetry in the one, as in the other:--do,--pray, get off your seats, only to take a view of it. --Now would any man who valued his character a straw, have turned a piece of work out of his hand in such a condition?----nay, lay your hands upon your hearts, and answer this plain question, Whether this one single knobb which now stands here like a blockhead by itself, can serve any purpose upon earth, but to put one in mind of the want of the other;--and let me further ask, in case the chair was your own, if you would not in your consciences think, rather than be as it is, that it would be ten times better without any knobb at all.
Now these two knobs--or top ornaments of the mind of man, which crown the whole entablature,--being, as I said, wit and judgment, which of all others, as I have proved it, are the most needful,--the most priz'd,--the most calamitous to be without, and consequently the hardest to come at,--for all these reasons put together, there is not a mortal amongst us, so destitute of a love of good fame or feeding,----or so ignorant of what will do him good therein,--who does not wish and stedfastly resolve in his own mind, to be, or to be thought at least master of the one or the other, and indeed of both of them, if the thing seems any way feasible, or likely to be brought to pass.
(pp. 104-6 Norton, 146)
See Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 9 vols. (London: Printed for D. Lynch, 1760-1767). <Link to ECCO><Link to 1759 York edition in ECCO>
First two volumes available in ECCO-TCP: <Vol. 1><Vol. 2>. Most text drawn from second (London) edition <Link to LION>.
For vols. 3-4, see ESTC T14705 <R. and J. Dodsley, 1761>. For vols. 5-6, see ESTC T14706 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1762>. For vols. 7-8, see ESTC T14820 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehont, 1765>. For vol. 9, <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1767>.
Reading in Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism, Ed. Howard Anderson (New York: Norton, 1980).