Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/132

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the non-exhaustion of any one of their topics.

Beef, for example. Now, we should like to know who has exhausted the subject of the fine old roast Christmas piece of beef, from its original appearance in the meadows as part of the noble sultan of the herd, glorious old Taurus,—the lord of the sturdy brow and ponderous agility, a sort of thunderbolt of a beast, well chosen by Jove to disguise in, one of Nature's most striking compounds of apparent heaviness and unencumbered activity,—up to its contribution to the noble Christmas-dinner, smoking from the spit, and flanked by the outposts of Bacchus. John Bull (cannibalism apart) hails it like a sort of relation. He makes it part of his flesh and blood; glories in it; was named after it; has it served up, on solemn occasions, with music and a hymn, as it was the other day at the royal city dinner:—

" Oh the roast beef of old England!
And oh the old English roast beef!"

"And oh!" observe, not merely "oh!" again; but "and" with it; as if, though the same piece of beef, it were also another,—another and the same,—cut, and come again; making two of one, in order to express intensity and reduplication of satisfaction:—

"Oh the roast beef of old England!
And oh the old English roast beef!"