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 could'st 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 should 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?
END of the FIFTH VOLUME