My father took a single turn across the room, then sat down, and finished the chapter.

The verbs auxiliary we are concerned in here, continued my father, are, am; was; have; had; do; did; make; made; suffer; shall; should; will; would; can; could; owe; ought; used; or is wont.⁠—And these varied with tenses, present, past, future, and conjugated with the verb see,⁠—or with these questions added to them;⁠—Is it? Was it? Will it be? Would it be? May it be? Might it be? And these again put negatively, Is it not? Was it not? Ought it not?⁠—Or affirmatively,⁠—It is; It was; It ought to be. Or chronologically,⁠—Has it been always? Lately? How long ago?⁠—Or hypothetically,⁠—If it was? If it was not? What would follow?⁠⸺⁠If the French should beat the English? If the Sun go out of the Zodiac?

Now, by the right use and application of these, continued my father, in which a child’s memory should be exercised, there is no one idea can enter his brain, how barren soever, but a magazine of conceptions and conclusions may be drawn forth from it.⁠⸺⁠Didst thou ever see a white bear? cried my father, turning his head round to Trim, who stood at the back of his chair:⁠—No, an’ please your honour, replied the corporal.⁠⸺⁠But thou couldst discourse about one, Trim, said my father, in case of need?⁠—How is it possible, brother, quoth my uncle Toby, if the corporal never saw one?⁠⸺’Tis the fact I want, replied my father,⁠—and the possibility of it is as follows.

A white bear! Very well. Have I ever seen one? Might I ever have seen one? Am I ever to see one? Ought I ever to have seen one? Or can I ever see one?

Would I had seen a white bear! (for how can I imagine it?)

If I should see a white bear, what would I say? If I should never see a white bear, what then?

If I never have, can, must, or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted?⁠—described? Have I never dreamed of one?

Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear? What would they give? How would they behave? How would the white bear have behaved? Is he wild? Tame? Terrible? Rough? Smooth?

—Is the white bear worth seeing?⁠—

—Is there no sin in it?⁠—

Is it better than a black one?