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BEEF.

IF I have a mission upon this earth, (apart
from the patent and notable one of being
a frightful example to the rising generation
of blighted existence and misused energies)
that mission is, I believe, beef. I
am a Cœlebs, not in search of a wife, as in
Mrs. Hannah More's white-neck-clothed
novel, but in search of beef. I have travelled
far and wide to find itgood, tender, nourishing,
juicy, succulent; and when I die, I hope
that it will be inscribed on my tombstone:
"Here lies one who sought for beef. Tread
lightly on his grave: quia multum amavit."

Next to the Habeas Corpus and the Freedom
of the Press, there are few things that the
English people have a greater respect for
and a livelier faith in than beef. They
bear, year after year, with the same
interminable unvarying series of woodcuts of
fat oxen in the columns of the
illustrated newspapers; they are never tired of
crowding to the Smithfield Club cattle-show;
and I am inclined to think that it is their
honest reverence for beef that has induced
them to support so long the obstruction and
endangerment of the thoroughfares of the
metropolis, by oxen driven to slaughter.
Beef is a great connecting link and bond of
better feeling between the great classes of
the commonwealth. Do not dukes hob and
nob with top-booted farmers over the respective
merits of short-horns and Alderneys?
Does not the noble Marquis of Argentfork
give an ox to be roasted whole on the village
green when his son, the noble Viscount
Silvercorrel, comes of age? Beef makes boys.
Beef nerves our navvies. The bowmen who
won Cressy and Agincourt were beef-fed, and
had there been more and better beef in the
Crimea a year ago, our soldiers would have
borne up better under the horrors of a
Chersonesean winter. We feast on beef at the
great Christian festival. A baron of beef at
the same time is enthroned in St. George's
Hall, in Windsor's ancient castle, and is
borne in by lacqueys in scarlet and gold.
Charles the Second knighted a loin of beef;
and I have a shrewd suspicion that the
famous Sir Bevis of Southampton was but an
ardent admirer, and doughty knight-errant in
the cause of beef. And who does not know
the tradition that even as the first words of
the new-born Gargantua were "A boyre, à
boyre," signifying that he desired a draught
of Burgundy wineso the first intelligible
sounds that the infant Guy of Warwick ever
spake were, "Beef, beef!"

When the weary pilgrim reaches the
beloved shores of England after a long absence,
what first does he remarkafter the incivility
of the custom-house officersbut the great
tankard of stout and the noble round of cold
beef in the coffee-room of the hotel? He does
not cry "Io-Bacche! Evöe Bacche!" because
beef is not Bacchus. He does not fall down
and kiss his native soil, because the hotel
carpet is somewhat dusty, and the action
would be, besides, egregious; but he looks
at the beef, and his eyes filling with tears,
a corresponding humidity takes place in his
mouth; he kisses the beef; he is so fond
of it that he could eat it all up; and he
does ordinarily devour so much of it to
his breakfast, that the thoughtful waiter
gazes at him, and murmurs to his napkin,
"This man is either a cannibal or a
pilgrim grey who has not seen Albion for many
years."

By beef I mean, emphatically, the legitimate,
unsophisticated article. Give me my beef,
hot or cold, roast, boiled, or broiled; but away
with your beef-kickshaws, your beef-stews,
your beef-haricoes, your corned beef, your
hung beef, and your spiced beef! I don't think
there is anything so contemptible, fraudulent,
adulterine in the whole world (of
cookery) as a beef sausage. I have heard
that is a favourite dish with pick-
pockets at their raffle-suppers. I believe it.
There was a boy at school with me in the
byegonea day-boywho used to bring a
clammy brownish powder, in a sandwich-box,
with him for lunch. He called it powdered
beef; and he ate this mahogany,
sawdust-looking mixture between slices of stale bread
and butter. He was an ill-conditioned boy
who had begun the world in the face-grinding
sense much too early. He lent halfpence at
usury, and dealt in sock (which was our slang
for surreptitious sweet-stuff); and I remember
with what savage pleasure I fell upon and
beat him in the course of a commercial
transaction involving a four-bladed penknife
he had sold me, and which wouldn't cutno,

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