⸺⁠That provision should be made for continuing the race of so great, so exalted and godlike a Being as man⁠—I am far from denying⁠—but philosophy speaks freely of everything; and therefore I still think and do maintain it to be a pity, that it should be done by means of a passion which bends down the faculties, and turns all the wisdom, contemplations, and operations of the soul backwards⁠⸺⁠a passion, my dear, continued my father, addressing himself to my mother, which couples and equals wise men with fools, and makes us come out of our caverns and hiding-places more like satyrs and four-footed beasts than men.

I know it will be said, continued my father (availing himself of the Prolepsis), that in itself, and simply taken⁠⸺⁠like hunger, or thirst, or sleep⁠⸺’tis an affair neither good or bad⁠—or shameful or otherwise.⁠⸺⁠Why then did the delicacy of Diogenes and Plato so recalcitrate against it? and wherefore, when we go about to make and plant a man, do we put out the candle? and for what reason is it, that all the parts thereof⁠—the congredients⁠—the preparations⁠—the instruments, and whatever serves thereto, are so held as to be conveyed to a cleanly mind by no language, translation, or periphrasis whatever?

⸺⁠The act of killing and destroying a man, continued my father, raising his voice⁠—and turning to my uncle Toby⁠—you see, is glorious⁠—and the weapons by which we do it are honourable⁠⸺⁠We march with them upon our shoulders⁠⸺⁠We strut with them by our sides⁠⸺⁠We gild them⁠⸺⁠We carve them⁠⸺⁠We inlay them⁠⸺⁠We enrich them⁠⸺⁠Nay, if it be but a scoundrel cannon, we cast an ornament upon the breach of it.⁠—

⸺⁠My uncle Toby laid down his pipe to intercede for a better epithet⁠⸺⁠and Yorick was rising up to batter the whole hypothesis to pieces⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠When Obadiah broke into the middle of the room with a complaint, which cried out for an immediate hearing.

The case was this:

My father, whether by ancient custom of the manor, or as impropriator of the great tythes, was obliged to keep a Bull for the service of the Parish, and Obadiah had led his cow upon a pop-visit to him one day or other the preceding summer⁠⸺⁠I say, one day or other⁠—because as chance would have it, it was the day on which he was married to my father’s housemaid⁠⸺⁠so one was a reckoning to the other. Therefore when Obadiah’s wife was brought to bed⁠—Obadiah thanked God⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠Now, said Obadiah, I shall have a calf: so Obadiah went daily to visit his cow.

She’ll calve on Monday⁠—on Tuesday⁠—on Wednesday at the farthest⁠⸺⁠

The cow did not calve⁠⸺⁠no⁠—she’ll not calve till next week⁠⸺⁠the cow put it off terribly⁠⸺⁠till at the end of the sixth week Obadiah’s suspicions (like a good man’s) fell upon the Bull.

Now the parish being very large, my father’s Bull, to speak the truth of him, was no way equal to the department; he had, however, got himself, somehow or other, thrust into employment⁠—and as he went through the business with a grave face, my father had a high opinion of him.

⸺⁠Most of the townsmen, an’ please your worship, quoth Obadiah, believe that ’tis all the Bull’s fault⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠But may not a cow be barren? replied my father, turning to Doctor Slop.

It never happens: said Dr. Slop, but the man’s wife may have come before her time naturally enough⁠⸺⁠Prithee has the child hair upon his head?⁠—added Dr. Slop⁠⸻

⸺⁠It is as hairy as I am; said Obadiah.⁠⸺⁠Obadiah had not been shaved for three weeks⁠⸺⁠Wheu - - u - - - - u - - - - - - - - cried my father; beginning the sentence with an exclamatory whistle⁠⸺⁠and so, brother Toby, this poor Bull of mine, who is as good a Bull as ever p⁠⸺⁠ss’d, and might have done for Europa herself in purer times⁠⸺⁠had he but two legs less, might have been driven into Doctors Commons and lost his character⁠⸺⁠which to a Town Bull, brother Toby, is the very same thing as his life⁠⸻

L⁠⸺⁠d! said my mother, what is all this story about?⁠⸺⁠

A cock and a bull, said Yorick⁠⸺⁠And one of the best of its kind, I ever heard.