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Unformatted text preview: s Flaubert says about one of his own laborious conclusions. The weather broke, we had a deluge, and then came a soft cloudy day, with a warm southern wind suggesting a final march on Loch Nan. I packed some scones and marmalade into my creel, filled my flask with whiskey, my cigarette-case with cigarettes, and started on the familiar track with the happiest anticipations. The Lone Fisher was quite out of my mind; the day was exhilarating--one of those true fishing-days when you feel the presence of the sun without seeing him. Still, I looked rather cautiously over the edge of the slope above the loch, and, by Jove! there he was, fishing the near side, and wading deep among the reeds! I did not stalk him this time, but set off running down the hillside behind him, as quickly as my basket, with its load of waders and boots, would permit. I was within forty yards of him, when he gave a wild stagger, tried to recover himself, failed, and, this time, disappeared in a perfectly legitimate and accountable manner. The treacherous peaty bottom had given way, and his floating hat, with a splash on the surface, and a few black bubbles, were all that
72 ANGLING SKETCHES testified to his existence. There was a broken old paling hard by; I tore off a long plank, waded in as near as I dared, and, by help of the plank, after a good deal of slipping, which involved an exemplary drenching, I succeeded in getting him on to dry land. He was a distressing spectacle-his body and face all blackened with the slimy peat-mud; and he fell halffainting on the grass, convulsed by a terrible cough. My first care was to give him whiskey, by perhaps a mistaken impulse of humanity; my next, as he lay, exhausted, was to bring water in my hat, and remove the black mud from his face. Then I saw Percy Allen--Allen of St. Jude's! His face was wasted, his thin long beard (he had not worn a beard of old), clogged as it was with peat-stains, showed flecks of grey. "Allen--Percy!" I said; "what wind blew YOU here?" But he did not answer; and, as he coughed, it was too plain that the shock of his accident had...
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