Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gentlemen: "I've come to see the elephant".

"I've come to see the elephant", is a phrase no longer in popular use, but in common use in the 19th century. The meaning of it is still debated somewhat, today, "seeing the elephant", still strikes me as meaning

I want to see something fabled and exotic.

In the 19th century, most Americans lived on farms, and cities weren't as overgrown with concrete as they are today. Back then many people would be familiar with barnyard animals and even wild critters that inhabit the woods and streams of America. Seeing an elephant would mean the circus was in town. Seeing the elephant would mean: "I've had something special happen to me".

That's my guess at it anyway. This is a closeup of a reproduction elephant based on the movie: Intolerance by D.W. Griffith.

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