* Book : Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences
Since the world began there have been two Jeremys. The one wrote a Jeremiad about usury, and was called Jeremy Bentham. He has been much admired by Mr. John Neal, and was a great man in a small way. The other gave name to the most important of the Exact Sciences, and was a great man in a great way I may say, indeed, in the very greatest of ways.
Diddling or the abstract idea conveyed by the verb to diddle is sufficiently well understood. Yet the fact, the deed, the thing diddling, is somewhat difficult to define. We may get, however, at a tolerably distinct conception of the matter in hand, by defining not the thing, diddling, in itself but man, as an animal that diddles. Had Plato but hit upon this, he would have been spared the affront of the picked chicken.
Very pertinently it was demanded of Plato, why a picked chicken, which was clearly "a biped without feathers," was not, according to his own definition, a man? But I am not to be bothered by any similar query. Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man. It will take an entire hen-coop of picked chickens to get over that.