« PředchozíPokračovat »
CHRISTOPHER IN HIS SPORTING JACKET.
AND T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON;
SOLD ALSO BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND CO. EDINBURGH.
We delight, as all the world has heart of the young a fierce passion, long well known, in every kind of in the heart of the old a passion still, fishing, from the whale to the min. but subdued and tamed down, with now, but we also delight, as all the out, however, being much dulled or world now well knows, in every kind deadened, by various experience of all of fowling, from the roc to the wren. the mysteries of the calling, and by Not that we ever killed either a roc the gradual subsiding of all impetu. or a wren; but what comes to the ous impulses in the frame of all morsame thing, we have, on two occasions, tal men beyond perhaps threescore, by design brought down an eagle, when the blackest head will be beand, on one occasion, accidentally le coming grey, the most nervous knee velled a tom-tit. In short, we are less firmly knit, the most steelyconsiderable shakes of a shot—and, springed instep less elastic, the keenshould any one of our readers doubt est eye less of a far-keeker, and, above the fact, his scepticism will probably all, the most boiling heart less like a be removed by a perusal of the fol- cauldron or a crater-yea, the whole lowing Article:
man subject to some dimness or de There is a fine and beautiful alliance cay, and, consequently, the whole between all pastimes pursued on flood duty of man like the new edition of and field and fell. The principles in a book, from which many passages human nature on which they are pure that formed the chief glory of the sued, are in all the same; but those editio princeps have been expunged, principles are subject to infinite mo- and the whole character of the style difications and varieties, according to corrected indeed, without being improthe difference of individual and na- ved,-just like the later editions of tional character. All such pastimes, the Pleasures of Imagination, which whether followed merely as pastimes, were written by Akenside when he or as professions, or as the immediate was about twenty-one, and altered by means of sustaining life, require sense, him at forty-to the exclusion or de sagacity, and knowledge of nature and struction of many most splendida vitia, nature's laws; nor less, patience, per by which process the poem, in our severance, courage even, and bodily humble opinion, was shorn of its strength or activity, while the spirit brightest beams, and suffered disaswhich animates and supports them is trous twilight and severe eclipse-pera spirit of anxiety, doubt, fear, hope, plexing critics. joy, exultation, and triumph,-in the Now, seeing that these pastimes are VOL. XXIV.
in number almost infinite, and infinite had never been invented, day after the varieties of human character, pray day, week after week, month after what is there at all surprising in your month, in mute, deep, earnest, passionbeing madly fond of shooting-and ate, heart-mind-and-soul-engrossing your brother Tom
just as foolish about hope of some time or other catching a fishing--and cousin Jack perfectly in minnow or a beardie ! A tug-a tug! sane on fox-hunting-while the old with face ten times flushed and pale gentleman your father, in spite of by turns ere you could count ten, he wind and weather, perennial gout and at last has strength, in the agitation annual apoplexy, goes a-coursing of of his fear and joy, to pull away at the white-hipped hare on the bleak the monster-and there he lies in Yorkshire wolds and uncle Ben, as his beauty among the gowans on the if just escaped from Bedlam or St greensward, for he has whapped him Luke's, with Dr Haslam at his heels, right over his head and far away, a or with a few hundred yards' start of fish a quarter of an ounce in weight, Dr Warburton, is seen galloping, in a and, at the very least, two inches long! Welsh wig and strange apparel, in the Off he flies, on wings of wind, to his rear of a pack of Lilliputian beagles, father, mother, and sisters, and broall barking as if they were as mad as thers, and cousins, and all the neightheir master, supposed to be in chase bourhood, holding the fish aloft in of an invisible animal that keeps eter- both hands, still fearful of its escape,
ally doubling in field and forest- and, like a genuine child of corruption, “still hoped for, never seen,” and well his eyes brighten at the first blush of christened by the name of Escape ? cold blood on his small fishy-fumy
Phrenology sets the question for fingers. He carries about with him, ever at rest. All people have thirty- up stairs and down stairs, his prey three faculties. Now there are but upon a plate; he will not wash his twenty-four letters in the alphabet bands before dinner, for he exults in yet how many languages—some six the silver scales adhering to the thumbthousand we believe, each of which is nail that scooped the pin out of the susceptible of many dialects ! No baggy's maw-and at night, “ cabin'd, wonder then that you might as well cribb’d, confined,” he is overheard try to count all the sands on the sea murmuring in his sleep, a thief, a shore as all the species of sportsmen. robber, and a murderer, in his yet in
There is, therefore, nothing to pre- fant dreams! vent any man with a large and sound From that hour Angling is no more developement from excelling, at once, a mere delightful day-dream, haunted in rat-catching and deer-stalking by the dim hopes of imaginary minfrom being in short a universal genius nows, but a reality-an art-a science in sports and pastimes. Heaven has of which the flaxen-headed school. made us such a man.
boy feels himself to be master-a Yet there seems to be a natural mystery in which he has been initiacourse or progress in pastimes. We ted; and off he goes now, all alone, do not speak now of marbles-or in the power of successful passion, to knuckling down at taw-or trundling the distant brook-brook à mile off a hoop-mor pall-lall- -or pitch and toss with fields, and hedges, and single
or any other of the games of the trees, and little groves, and a huge school play-ground. We restrict our- forest of six acres, between and the selves to what, somewhat inaccurately house in which he is boarded or was perhaps, are called field-sports. Thus born! There flows on the slender Angling seems the earliest of them all music of the shadowy shallows-there in the order of nature. There the pours the deeper din of the birchnew-breeched urchin stands on the tree'd waterfall. The scared waterlow bridge of the little bit burnie! pyet flits away from stone to stone, and with crooked pin, baited with one and dipping, disappears among the unwrithing ring of a dead worm, and airy bubbles, to him a new sight of attached to a yarn-thread, for he has joy and wonder. And oh ! how sweet not yet got into hair, and is years off the scent of the broom or furze, yelgut, his rod of the mere willow or lowing along the braes, where leap the hazel wand, there will he stand during lambs, less happy than he, on the all his play-hours, as forgetful of his knolls of sunshine! His grandfather primer as if the weary art of printing has given him a half-crown rod in two
pieces-yes, his line is of hair twist- No hazel or willow wand, no halfed-platted by his own soon-instructa crown rod of ash framed by village ed little fingers. By heavens, he is wright, is now in his practised hands, fishing with the fly! and the Fates,who, of which the very left is dexterous; grim and grisly as they are painted but a twenty-feet rod of Phin's, alí to be by full-grown, ungrateful, lying ring-rustling, and a-glitter with the poets, smile like angels upon the paid preserving varnish, limber as the atler in the brook, winnowing the air tenuating line itself, and lithe to its with their wings into western breezes, topmost tenuity as the elephant's prowhile at the very first throw the yel- boscis—the hiccory and the horn withlow trout forsakes his fastness beneath out twist, knot, or flaw, from butt to the bog-wood, and with a lazy wallop, fly, a faultless taper, “fine by degrees and then a sudden plunge, and then and beautifully less,” the beau ideal a race like lightning, changes at once of a rod by the skill of a cunning the child into the boy, and shoots craftsman to the senses materialised! through his thrilling and aching heart A Fish-fat, fair, and forty! “She is the ecstasy of a new life expanding in a salmon, therefore to be woo'd-she that glorious pastime, even as a rain, is a salmon, therefore to be won”-but bow on a sudden brightens up the sky. shy, timid, capricious, headstrong, now Fortuna fuvet fortibus --and with one wrathful and now full of fear, like any long pull and strong pull, and pull all other female whom the cruel artist has together, Johnny lands a twelve-inch- hooked by lip or heart, and, in spite er on the soft, smooth, silvery sand of of all her struggling, will bring to the only bay in all the burn where the gasp at last; and then with calm such an exploit was possible, and eyes behold her lying in the shade dashing upon him like an Osprey, dead or worse than dead, fast-fading soars up with him in his talons to the and to be reillumined no more the bank, breaking his line as he hurries lustre of her beauty, insensible to sun off to a spot of safety twenty yards or shower, even the most perishable from the pool, and then flinging him of all perishable things in a world of down on a heath-surrounded plat of perishing!-But the salmon has grown sheep-nibbled verdure, lets him bounce sulky, and must be made to spring to about till he is tired, and lies gasping the plunging stone. There, suddenwith unfrequent and feeble motions, ly, instinct wi new passion, she bright and beautiful, and glorious with shoots out of the foam, like a bar of all his yellow light, and crimson silver bullion; and, relapsing into the lustre, spotted, speckled, and starred flood, is in another moment at the in his scaly splendour, beneath a sun very head of the waterfall! Give her that never shone before so dazzlingly; the butt-give her the butt-or she is but now the radiance of the captive gone for ever with the thunder into creature is dimmer and obscured, for ten fathom deep! Now comes the trial the eye of day winks and seems al- of your tackle--and when was Phin most shut behind that slow-sailing ever known to fail at the edge of cliff mass of clouds, composed in equal or cataract ? Her snout is southwards parts of air, rain, and sunshine. -right up the middle of the main
Springs, summers, autumns, win. current of the hill-born river, as if ters,-each within itself longer, by she would seek its very course where many times longer than the whole she was spawned! She still swims year of grown-up life that slips at swift, and strong, and deep-and the last through one's fingers like a knot- line goes, steady, boys, steady--stiff less thread,-pass over the curled dar. and steady as a Tory in the roar of ling's brow; and look at him now, a Opposition. There is yet an hour's straight and strengthy stripling, in the play in her dorsal fin-danger in the savage spirit of sport, springing over Hap of her tail and yet may her silrock-ledge after rock-ledge, nor heed- ver shoulder shatter the gut against a ing aught as he plashes knee-deep, or rock. Why, the river was yesterday waistband-high, through river-feed- in spate, and she is fresh run from the ing torrents, to the glorious music of sea. All the lesser waterfalls are now his running and ringing reel, after a level with the flood, and she meets tongue-hooked salmon, insanely seek- with no impediment or obstruction ing with the ebb of tide, but all in the course is clear--no tree-roots here vain, the white breakers of the sea. -No floating branches-for during the