Though indeed we might look nearer home than the Talmud for similar absurdities; most Puritan communities could furnish strange freaks of Sabbatarian casuistry.
In one of his incomprehensible freaks he set off for Lyons, and, after abandoning his companion in an epileptic fit, returned to Annecy to find Madame de Warens gone.
There were crude medieval notions that fossils were " freaks " or " sports " of nature (lusus naturae), or that they represented failures of a creative force within the earth (a notion of Greek and Arabic origin), or that larger and smaller fossils represented the remains of races of giants or of pygmies (the mythical idea).
Sterne's clerical character was far from being universally injured by his indecorous freaks as a humorist: Lord Fauconberg presented the author of Tristram Shandy with the perpetual curacy of Coxwold.
The Toy-Shop is an amusing collection of these freaks of nature.
He was not remarkable at school for application to his studies, though his wonderful memory enabled him to make good progress in them; he frequently played truant and was whipped for it, robbed orchards, and indulged in other questionable schoolboy freaks; nor did he always come out of his scrapes with honour and a character for truthfulness.
In this aspect they are natural phenomena still, but phenomena as originally conceived of by the personifying imagination of the savage, and credited, like the gods of the Maori or the Australian, with all manner of freaks, adventures and disguises.