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Unformatted text preview: came the beginning of sorrows. We had left the books of salmon flies comfortably reposing at home. We had also forgotten the whiskey
61 ANGLING SKETCHES flask. Everything, in fact, except cigarettes, had been left behind. Unluckily, not quite everything: I had a trout fly-book, and therein lay just one large salmon fly, not a Tweed fly, but a lure that is used on the beautiful and hopeless waters of the distant Ken, in Galloway. It had brown wings, a dark body, and a piece of jungle-cock feather, and it was fastened to a sea-trout casting-line. Now, if I had possessed no salmon flies at all, I must either have sent back for some, or gone on innocently dallying with trout. But this one wretched fly lured me to my ruin. I saw that the casting-line had a link which seemed rather twisted. I tried it; but, in the spirit of Don Quixote with his helmet, I did not try it hard. I waded into the easiest-looking part of the pool, just above a huge tree that dropped its boughs to the water, and began casting, merely from a sense of duty. I had not cast a dozen times before there was a heavy, slow plunge in the stream, and a glimpse of purple and azure. "That's him," cried a man who was trouting on the opposite bank. Doubtless it was "him," but he had not touched the hook. I believe the correct thing would have been to wait for half an hour, and then try the fish with a smaller fly. But I had no smaller fly, no other fly at all. I stepped back a few paces, and fished down again. In Major Traherne's work I have read that the heart leaps, or stands still, or otherwise betrays an uncomfortable interest, when one casts for the second time over a salmon which has risen. I cannot honestly say that I suffered from this tumultuous emotion. "He will not come again," I said, when there was a long heavy drag at the line, followed by a shrieking of the reel, as in Mr. William Black's novels. Let it be confessed that the first hooking of a salmon is an excitement unparalleled in trout-fishi...
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