Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

66

[ocr errors]

May I?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

After casting an inquiring glance at took up my old post below the nearest his daughter, he replied, “Oh yes, I arch, through which a view of the am sure Nellie will, if you will give her shallows above could be commanded. a patteru.'

There were several people standing on Thank you very much,' I an- the bridge, and amongst them I recogswered, bowing towards her, and add- nized the figures of Nellie and her ing, “ Perhaps you will be going down father. As I was about to give up the river to sketch presently? I have hope, he came running towards me some letters to write, and could follow saying, “ There is a fish as big as a with the fly-box in about an hour. grilse rising above the third arch.”

“ I see him," I answered, and then The answer being in the affirmative, made all speed for William's room. I retired jubilant at the success of my He was asleep, and I shook him by the diplomacy; for I would not only obtain shoulder. the flies, but also an interview with “ William,” I said, “ tumble on some Nellie, with her father's full knowledge clothes ; there is a big fish rising. I and consent. Of course I wrote no am going to try to wade through the letters, and in considerably less than first arch. If I cannot do it, drop the an hour arrived at the Cliff Pool. boat back and pick me up. Be quick

“Well,” I said, as I sat down beside and quiet.” her, “I have not frightened you this William no doubt looked upon me as time, have I ?

eccentric; but he was always up to No,"

,” she answered, laughing mer- time, so I scrambled down-stairs, seized rily, 66 not this time."

the rod, and hurried back to the river. Then we set to work on the flies. The wading required extreme caution,

Presently I said: “I want to beg for it was necessary to enter the arch your pardon for something. The first on the very verge of, and within the morning I saw you here I stood close suck of, the swirling eddies below. My behind you for a considerable time progress was very slow, and when halfwhile you were singing “Jock Hazel- way through the arch the current was dean' and 'Comin' thro’ the Rye.' It too much for me, and it was only with was very rude ; but I love music, and the greatest difficulty that the position sweet. Am I for- could be maintained. I whistled, and

was most thankful to see a dark object Yes,” she answered, “ you are for- approaching. Having laid the rod caregiven; but you must not flatter me. fully in the boat, I scrambled in over Give me the wax, please ; and just see the stern, saying, “ Row for your

life.what a dreadful tangle you are getting Such words were, however, unnecesthe silk into !"

sary, for the sculls were being dashed So, by way of keeping my hands oc- through the water as if they were a cupied, I discovered some particles of couple of walking-sticks. For a few thistle on her dress, and felt very moments it was any one's race, so to happy. The tiny black spiders with speak ; but gradually William got the the silver twist and the partridge best of the “suck," and we emerged hackles were works of art.

above the bridge. Poor fellow, he is During the afternoon I put one of gone now, and I do not think in his my finest casts together with elaborate best days he ever made a pluckier care, attaching thereto two black spiders spurt “between the bridges.” We with an intermediate partridge hackle. were now in easy water close to the Then the rod was overhauled from butt bank, and I saw the great fish moving to tip, the checkless reel oiled, and the just above the buttress between the tackle complete placed where I could second and third arches ; so, letting out get at it at any moment.

line, I began to try the distance. In Night came at last, warm, quiet, and the darkness the reach of the fly could starry, for there was no moon, and I only be estimated by the weight of line

6

your voice is so given ?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]

over

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

out and the swing of the rod; and that will do ; keep perfectly steady till knowing the water well, I assumed the I tell you to lift." fish to be nearly twenty yards off. The The fish was dead beat, and not more first cast in a diagonal and downward than twenty yards off, for I could now direction across the stream produced a see the black line of his back on the heavy wave and a light touch. With a surface of the water as I cautiously little more line the throw was immedi- wound him in. It was a moment of ately repeated, and I held him fast. If intense excitement, such as no man the fish had bolted down through the who has ever had a similar experience bridge my chauces would have been could ever forget. The trout was comslender indeed ; but fortune favored ing down the stream wide of the net, me and he moved up-stream, quietly at but an old trick did me good service in first, and then dashed several times the hour of need. If you would draw across the river and back, but always a fish towards the bank without disworking higher up after each run. turbing him do not increase the pressPresently he sailed straiglat up the ure, but move gently back yourself. river, and following in the boat we This piece of strategy I performed by were soon out of sight of the spectators stepping backwards

the midon the bridge. The river above us was thwart of the boat, and now the fish broad, with a gravel bottom, and I was in line with the landing - net. feared nothing except some weeds near Nearer and nearer came the broad the opposite bank. The tactics of cross- black back. Now,” I said, and the ing the river from side to side were next moment the great trout was flounrepeated many times, but at last I was dering in the bottom of the boat. sensible that the fish's efforts were “ Well done! I knew you could do becoming weaker, and that he was be- it,” I said, and then I knocked the fish ginning to come to me. Gradually we on the head and cut the gut a few dropped down stream, being careful to inches from his mouth, leaving the fly keep well below the trout, till the place therein. Nellie stood on the bank befrom which we had started was reached, side her father; and, carrying the fish and then I directed William to let the in the net, I joined them. Together bow of the boar just touch the shingle, we entered the empty dining-room of so that in case of need he could push the hotel, and having hunted for lights, off with a single stroke. The specta- the scales, and a dish, inspected the tors had collected behind me, and I capture. The back of the trout was called to one of the hotel servants to dark green, with black spots ; he had bring my landing-net. He promptly three rows of large bright red spots on returned with a thing pot fit to land his sides, which were golden, gradually roach in. “No, no," I cried," my big fading into silver, below; his shape net — quick, it is hanging up in the was perfect, and he turned the beam at

Then I heard a voice say, five pounds. The battle had lasted an Run, Nellie ; you know where it is,” hour and a half, and it was now nearly and in a minute or two there was a an hour after midnight. After the light step in the boat and the net lay long suppressed excitement, my hands beside me.

trembled so much that I could scarcely “Now,” I said, “come in front of hold the weighits. Nellie's face me.

fushed, and her eyes more brilliant “I cannot, I cannot,” she answered. than

Her enthusiastic father “I have never landed so large a fish in gave me a mighty slap on the back,

with this remark, “Well done, boy! “I am sure you can,” I replied ; well done! I have seen and performed only do exactly what I tell you. many difficult angling feats, but I never Kneel down and put the net in the met anyone who could touch you water with just the top of the rim out either in fine fishing or perseverance."

that's right ; now a little slanting “ No, sir," I answered, pointing to

[ocr errors]

hall."

[ocr errors]

66

was

[graphic]

ever.

my life.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the fish, “do not say so. I did not 6. The left bank, I think,

was the dress that fly, nor did I land the trout ; answer ; and then, as I rose to go, he I have to thank your daughter for looked up wistfully in my face and both."

said, “Should she accept you, you will “Well, well,” he replied, glancing at be good to my girl, will you not ?" my dripping garments, “you had better There was something very touching drink a glass of toddy and turn in.” in this appeal, and in the tone of his

Yes,” I said, “as soon as I have voice. I answered, “I swear to you, packed up the fish, for he will be pre- sir, I have never loved before, and served with the fly in his mouth.” would do my best.”

The praise was of course far more “Then go, and my good wishes are than I deserved, but the source from with you,” he said, iu a voice which which it came made it gratifying. I trembled with emotion. am afraid I drank more than one toddy Now, I have a harmless wee black and smoked innumerable pipes that doggie named Laird. His chief charnight (or rather morning), for sleep acteristic is fidelity, and his greatwas impossible, and I had made up my est accomplishment “ begging" and mind to ask his reverence's permission sneezing for cakes or wl

ever he may on the first opportunity to become a want. He never potices any one unsuitor for his daughter's hand. He less they are friends of mine, and was came down to breakfast, but she did of course on intimate terms with Nellie not, having, as he told me, a headache; and her father. With Laird at my so I promptly offered to accompany heels I strode along. The road along him to the river, and there, as we were the loch-side is almost level, so that putting the tackle together I said what one can see a long way in front; and I believe is usual on such occasions. when only a short distance had been

He replied, “I tell you, candidly, I covered, I sighted the “ danger-signal have liked you from the first, and have seated on a rocky promontory. Presnot been blind to the occurrences of ently, in turning the corner, I found the past three weeks. I love my the object of my search had suddenly daughter, as you know, very dearly, vanished, and I stood still, completely and, of course, wish to see her happily at fault. In my perplexity I decided to married ; provided, therefore, that your consult Laird. worldly position is such as to ensure "Laird, where is my lovely, darling her comfort, she shall be left perfectly Nellie ? where is she ? you must find free to decide for herself."

her — I cannot live without her. Where A long and uninteresting discussion is my sweet angel? Find her, Laird, on business matters then ensued, which and you shall have more cakes than need not be repeated here. Suffice it you can ever eat.” The doggie on to say that it terminated in my favor. hearing the word “ cakes” sat up and

" Then I have your leave, sir, to pro- sneezed violently several times. I pose to your daughter," I presently went on, “ Nellie lias lots of cakes, said.

find Nellie.” By way of reply lie put “ You have,” he answered gravely. his head on one side, with one ear up

“Where shall I be likely to find and the other down, winked at me with Miss ?I inquireil.

both eyes, and then made off for the “Not at the Cliff Pool, I think,” he bushes above the road. I followed, said, with a smile, “ for the picture of and not ten yards off sat Nellie among that place is finished ; but,” he added, some old heather under the birks. with exasperating deliberation, "I Seeing me approaching, from a disrather fancy Nellie said something tance, she had naturally in her nervous about commencing another sketch about modesty intended to conceal herself till a mile up the loch-side."

I had passed ; but Laird had upset “Which side ? " I asked impetu- her calculations. I sat down at her ously.

knees, while Laird, curling himself up

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

us.

you. Will

against her dress opposite, peeped study is the tendency to isolate the slyly across at me as much as to say, object of study, to consider it in itself “Now we have got her between us ; it alone, neglecting its relations to other is all right, isn't it?Nellie was things. In order to avoid this cause blushing painfully ; for of course she of error it has been necessary in had heard every word of my conversa- most departments formally to preacli a tion with the dog, and knew that I doctrine of relativity, and to protest must be aware of the chief cause of her against the unreal abstractions, the confusion. So distressed was she, that imaginary or merely verbal entities her eyes began to fill with tears. My which swarm so long as we contemmouth was parched as with a fever, but plate things in themselves alone rather I succeeded in addressing her by her than in the complicated relations in Christian name for the first time. which nature presents them to

“Nellie, I have not come here with- There is a fallacy, which might be out your father's sanction ; you must called the fallacy of capital letters, and know, at any rate now, how dearly I without entering into the patural scilove you marry me?"

ences we may find endless examples of The pent-up tears ran down her face, the great practical evils which has and presently I heard an almost inau- caused. Error of a special kind gathers dible yes ; so I threw my arms round round those capital letters by which we her and drew down her pretty head on distinguish abstract names.

While we to my shoulder.

talk with comparative safety of men What an afternoon that was amongst and women, as soon as we begin to the heather !

speak of Man and Woman we expose

ourselves to indefinite chances of error. As I write this, beautifully preserved The Man or Woman we have thus with the fly in his mouth, the trout created for ourselves turns out again stands on a table at my right, while the and again to be an unreal thing, a kind sketch of the Cliff Pool hangs on the of mythical being, to whom in giving opposite wall.

it abstraction we have given imagiWe revisit our happy fishing-ground nary qualities and often an imaginary every summer, and never pass the Cliff history. Thus, for example, if Pool without a kiss, and indeed a great analyze the causes of the French Rermany (Nellie is pulling my hair, and olution, we find at the bottom of all says I have no business to mention all abuses, political and social, a perverted those kisses — but I shall), in com- way of thinking, a philosophy which memoration of our first meeting. erred precisely in the way just deI do not fish quite so hard as I used scribed. The philosophy of the day

for every now and then I find my had accustomed itself to think far self leaving the water when Nellie is too absolutely about human nature, to sketching from the bank above, and speak far too lightly of Man, and to lay then dropping down beside her, I listen dowu propositions far too sweeping to the sweet songs of Scotland till the about Man in general. To that genertears of joy spring to my eyes. ation, says M. Taine, Man appeared to ARTHUR CRAWSHAY. be a very simple puppet, the motions

of which were completely understood. The fallacy of capital letters had taken

possession of a whole age, and thus a From The Contemporary Review. mental oversight became an enormous HISTORY OF ENGLISH POLICY.

practical evil, a cause of infinite crimes

and revolutions, an epidemic disease THERE seems occasion to apply a ravaging the world. doctrine of relativity to English his- This form of error has now been tory. It is well known that a principal pretty thoroughly investigated. We cause of error in all departmeuts of I have all been warned against the pre

we

to ;

RY SIR J. R. SEELEY.

[ocr errors]

tentious abstractions which so readily glish people - a doctrine which few of take the place of real things, against us have ever taken the trouble to verthe artificial entities which the mind ify. It is a doctrine which we have creates by considering things absolutely acquired by isolating the phenomenon, rather than in their relations. And and considering it in itself alone, just yet we do not cease to make the mis- one of those doctrines, therefore, which take. The artificial entities still swarm we ought to regard with suspicion. It in all our minds, surrounded with a is one of those doctrines which might whole mythology of fantastic beliefs easily involve us in great calamities. which may at any time translate them- Thus the doctrine, that the English selves into practical evils. Let me people is always free, might lead us to take an example from one of the great- ruiu if we overlooked how easily, after est departments of knowledge, from all, the one-man power springs up history, and especially from English among us; and the doctrine that Brihistory.

tannia rules the waves might ruin us if What is the precise subject with it led us to forget that the waves after which English history deals ? What is all are apt to be ruled by the strongest the thing or object which it contem- Heet. plates ? Few people trouble them- What the people of England is, and selves to ask this question, while the what are its qualities, we are to dismost content themselves with assum- cover from its history, not to assume ing that everything interesting, or before entering upon the study of its amusing, or curious, that ever happened history. Scarcely any error is more in England must of necessity belong to gross and yet more ordinary thau that English history. If we lay it down which explains historical events by that the people who live and have lived reference to national character, the in England are the subject of English knowledge of which, being the last history we propound indeed something result of history, is not to be assumed tolerably obvious, yet it is already in the examination of historical probalmost more than the average dabbler lems. But the people of England must in English history is accustomed to be studied, not merely in this inducrecognize.

tive way, but also in its relations. The But having once conceived such a English people, more than most others, thing as the people of Eugland, we are what they are in consequence of have already one of those general their relations to peoples who live outnames which we may spell with a cap- side England. This is one of the conital letter, and to which we may attach sequences of their being an insular all the fallacies whicb gather so readily people. But in some degree it is true round capital letters. A host of gen- of all great States, that they must not eral propositions swarm at once round be studied in isolation. In France and the name. The people of Eugland is Germany, as well as in England, the the English race, and the English race course of history has been determined has all the qualities we know so well. in a great degree by causes which lie It rules the waves; by a natural voca- outside France and Germany. And tiou it is irresistible and even victorious yet this is a truth difficult to bear in by sea. It is free ; wherever it comes mind, in consequence, not merely of it brings certain institutions which pro- the disposition to which we are all subtect it against the tyrannies to which ject, to consider things too much in other nations not so blest sooner or isolation, too much absolutely and too later fall a prey. It has a certain natu- little relatively, but also in consequence ral good sense and practical judgment of the practice which prevails of dividwhich have been denied to other races ing history according to countries. We who may possess more refinement. write histories of France or England,

A whole doctrine has and no other kind of histories, so that gathered itself round this name, En-) we hardly know where to look if we

And

[ocr errors]

on.

« ElőzőTovább »