We live in a world beset on all sides with mysteries and riddles⁠—and so ’tis no matter⁠⸺⁠else it seems strange, that Nature, who makes everything so well to answer its destination, and seldom or never errs, unless for pastime, in giving such forms and aptitudes to whatever passes through her hands, that whether she designs for the plough, the caravan, the cart⁠—or whatever other creature she models, be it but an asse’s foal, you are sure to have the thing you wanted; and yet at the same time should so eternally bungle it as she does, in making so simple a thing as a married man.

Whether it is in the choice of the clay⁠⸺⁠or that it is frequently spoiled in the baking; by an excess of which a husband may turn out too crusty (you know) on one hand⁠⸺⁠or not enough so, through defect of heat, on the other⁠⸺⁠or whether this great Artificer is not so attentive to the little Platonic exigences of that part of the species, for whose use she is fabricating this⁠⸺⁠or that her Ladyship sometimes scarce knows what sort of a husband will do⁠⸺⁠I know not: we will discourse about it after supper.

It is enough, that neither the observation itself, or the reasoning upon it, are at all to the purpose⁠⸺⁠but rather against it; since with regard to my uncle Toby’s fitness for the marriage state, nothing was ever better: she had formed him of the best and kindliest clay⁠⸺⁠had temper’d it with her own milk, and breathed into it the sweetest spirit⁠⸺⁠she had made him all gentle, generous, and humane⁠⸺⁠she had filled his heart with trust and confidence, and disposed every passage which led to it, for the communication of the tenderest offices⁠⸺⁠she had moreover considered the other causes for which matrimony was ordained⁠⸺⁠

And accordingly * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The donation was not defeated by my uncle Toby’s wound.

Now this last article was somewhat apocryphal; and the Devil, who is the great disturber of our faiths in this world, had raised scruples in Mrs. Wadman’s brain about it; and like a true devil as he was, had done his own work at the same time, by turning my uncle Toby’s Virtue thereupon into nothing but empty bottles, tripes, trunk-hose, and pantofles.