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- ANGLING SKETCHES - 18/18 -


But, Scholar, with what fly caught ye these, and where?

Scotus.--Marry, Master, in a Mill-tail, where the water lagged not, but ran free as it doth in bonny Scotland; nor with no fly did I grip him, but with an artificial penk, or minnow. It was made by a handsome woman that had a fine hand, and wrought for Master Brown, of Aberdeen. The mould, or body of the minnow, is of parchment, methinks, and he hath fins of copper, all so curiously dissembled that it will beguile any sharp-sighted trout in a swift stream. Men call it a Phantom, Master; wilt thou not try my Phantom?

Anglus.--Begone, sirrah. I took thee for an angler, and thou art but a poaching knave!

Scotus.--Knave thyself! I will break thy head!

Anglus.--Softly, Scholar. Here comes good Master Hedgely, who will see fair play. Now lie there, my coat, and have at you!

[They fight, SCOTUS is knocked down.

Anglus.--Half-minute time! Time is up! Master Hedgely, in my dry fly box thou wilt find a little sponge for moistening of my casting lines. Wilt thou, of thy courtesy, throw it up for my Scholar? And now, Scholar, trust me, thy guard is too low. I hope thou bearest no malice.

Scotus.--None, Master. But, lo! I am an hungered; wilt thou taste my cates? Here I have bread slices and marmalade of Dundee. This fishing is marvellous hungry work.

Anglus.--Gladly will I fall to, but first say me a grace-- Benedictus benedicat! Where is thine usquebaugh? Marry, 'tis the right Talisker!

Scotus.--And now, Master, wherefore wert thou wroth with me? Came we not forth to catch fish?

Anglus.--Nay, marry, Scholar, by no means to catch fish, but to fish with the dry fly. Now this, humanly speaking, is impossible; natheless it is rare sport. But for your fish, as they were ill come by, let us even give them to good Master Hedgely here, and so be merry till the sedges come on in the late twilight. And, trust me, this is the rarest fishing, and the peacefulest; only see that thou fish not with the wet fly, for that is Anathema. So shall we have light consciences.

Scotus.--And light baskets!

Anglus.--Ay, it may be so.

Footnotes:

{1} Too true, alas!

{2} It should be added that large trout, up to six pounds, are sometimes taken. One boatman assured me that he had caught two three-pounders at one cast.

{3} From motives of delicacy I suppress the true name of the river.

{4} After this paper was in print, an angler was actually drowned while engaged in playing a salmon. This unfortunate circumstance followed, and did not suggest the composition of the story.


ANGLING SKETCHES - 18/18

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