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Unformatted text preview: t on tempting me to my ruin. I suppose I tried to reach him a dozen times, and cast a hundred, but it was to no avail. At length, as the afternoon grew grey and chill, I pitched a rock at him, by way of showing that I saw through his fiendish guile, and I walked away. There was no rise now, and the lake was leaden and gloomy. When I reached the edge of the deep reeds I tried, once or twice, to wade through them within casting distance of the water, but was always driven off by the traitorous quagginess of the soil. At last, taking my courage in both hands, I actually got so near that I could throw a fly over the top of the tall reeds, and then came a heavy splash, and the wretched little broken rod nearly doubled up. "Hooray, here I am among the big ones!" I said, and held on. It was now that I learned the nature of Nero's diversion when he was an angler in the Lake of Darkness. The loch really did deserve the term "grim"; the water here was black, the sky was ashen, the long green reeds closed cold about me, and beyond them there was trout that I could not deal with. For when he tired of running, which was soon, he was as far away as ever. Draw him through the forest of reeds I could not. At last I did the fatal thing. I took hold of the line, and then, "plop," as the poet said. He was off. A young sportsman on the bank who had joined me expressed his artless disappointment. I cast over the confounded reeds once more. "Splash!"--the old story! I stuck to the fish, and got him into the watery wood, and then he went where the lost trout go. No more came on, so I floundered a yard or two farther, and climbed into a
48 ANGLING SKETCHES wild-fowl's nest, a kind of platform of matted reeds, all yellow and faded. The nest immediately sank down deep into the water, but it stopped somewhere, and I made a cast. The black water boiled, and the trout went straight down and sulked. I merely held on, till at last it seemed "time for us to go," and by...
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