Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/221

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Christmas Dreams

rest," it might be presumptuous in us, who were considered by ourselves and a few others not the least amusing of the whole set, at this distance of time to decide — especially in the affirmative; but how the roof did ring with sally, pun, retort, and repartee! Ay, with pun — a species of impertinence for which we have therefore a kindness even to this day. Had incomparable Thomas Hood had the good fortune to have been born a cousin of ours, how with that fine fancy of his would he have shone at those Christmas festivals, eclipsing us all! Our family, through all its different branches, has ever been famous for bad voices, but good ears; and we think we hear ourselves — all those uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, and cousins — singing now! Easy it is to "warble melody" as to breathe air. But we hope harmony is the most difficult of all things to people in general, for to us it was impossible; and what attempts ours used to be at Seconds! Yet the most woful failures were rapturously encored; and ere the night was done we spoke with most extraordinary voices indeed, every one hoarser than another, till at last, walking home with a fair cousin, there was nothing left it but a tender glance of the eye — a tender pressure of the hand — for cousins are not altogether sisters, and although partaking of that dearest character, possess, it may be, some peculiar and appropriate charms