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"... As unto the weaker vessel. ..."-1 Pet. iii, 7,
“It's ill feeshin' wi' bent pins," old Sandy once said to me when I was a boy, and had broken the barb of my hook against a stone: at which sarcasm I could not repress an angry flush as I tried a shorter cast with a new fly. In earlier years I did not despise the bent pin when I used to go out with my nurse, or my brother, and fish for sticklebacks in the brook, with a string. But somehow one gets out of the way of practising that branch of angling, and when I started on my honeymoon I certainly did not think that I should ever be tempted to take to it again. However, early married life is full of surprises, and one of my first was a fishing adventure with a bent pin.
In sporting phraseology, I had landed my matrimonial fish in August,—to carry out the simile I suppose I ought to represent Hymen standing by with a gaff instead of a torch,and we had chosen the Lakes for our honey
I like being near water; and as my wife was anxious to visit the land of Wordsworth, we gave ourselves up to touring about from lake to lake, unfettered by rigid plans, basking in the sunshine, and making each other's acquaintance.
One day we were strolling along, arm in arm, within sight of the placid mirror of Ulleswater, when we came upon a grove of cherry trees loaded with a plentiful crop of the small black and juicy fruit which is so common in that part of the country. Two boys were lodged in the branches of two neighbouring trees, busily engaged in eating cherries, and occasionally throwing down a few to a bright-eyed little girl who stood below. She was bareheaded, her hat dangling by a piece of elastic from one podgy little fist, and she kept begging her brothers to give her a share of their spoil, and also to come down for a game in which she
could take a more interesting part. They replied with the superiority of possession, and sarcastically alluded to her sex in the pleasant way boys have when conversing with a younger sister from whom there is nothing to be gained at the moment.
“Girls can't play games," said the elder.
“ Go and learn to bowl at the chair in the garden," chimed in the other.
When this kind of thing had been going on for some minutes, and the girl was becoming obviously piteous and unhappy, the young lords of creation perceived the presence of strangers, and slowly descended, looking selfconscious under their smears of juice. My wife's eyes are calculated to make unkind boys feel a bit ashamed of themselves even at a little distance: so the trio went off together, and we saw them no more that day.
On the next, however, they gave evidence of their continued existence by fishing in the lake within sight of our window. Each boy had a nice little rod, and the girl was courageously trying to scull them about in one of the dingheys belonging to the inn. Their voices
travelled to us over the water, and we concluded that there was a wrangle going on about the management of the boat. I made a mental resolve to take the downtrodden sister to fish by herself, if opportunity offered, and strolled out, discussing the ways of brothers, female suffrage, and the equality of the sexes ; but before our well-meant interference possible affairs took on a different complexion.
A day or two afterwards we were taking a lovers' walk beside the burn which tumbles down the hill behind the inn, when we again came upon our young friends.
The girl was evidently making a strong appeal to her brothers to be allowed to fish for trout with them, but they were obdurate,
“Girls can't fish," said the elder.
“You've got no rod,” added the other. “And who's going to put on your worms ? You can't do it yourself.”
Upon this the poor child sat down on the bank and began to cry, while the boys moved off down stream, and disappeared. So ended Act II. Now comes the point of my story. It is a small one-not much larger, in fact, than a needle's end, but, in its way, worth noting.
As soon as the boys were out of sight, our first idea was to take the weeping Ariadne for a row; but before we had time to show ourselves, or call to her, she stopped crying, and looked up with such an appearance of determination that we paused to see what it would lead to, and sat down behind a convenient tree to watch her.
She first drew herself up, and casting upon the ground an old sunshade that she had been carrying, took out of her pocket a piece of thin string about five feet long; then abstracting a pin from some place in her frock where it could best be spared, she slowly bent it into a V shape, and tied the string to it. The other end was quickly fastened to the ferule of the parasol, and the child stood equipped with a rod, line, and hook. Her tear-stained face was bright with the instinct of sport, and the concentrated desire to show that inferiority of sex need be no bar to skill in angling. I could not make up my mind to interfere at present, so we remained hidden, lazily watching the