This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: r, without testing his tackle? As sure as you do that, up comes the fish, and with his first dash breaks your casting line, and leaves you lamenting. This doctrine I preach, being my own "awful example." "Bad and careless little boy," my worthy master used to say at school; and he would have provoked a smile in other circumstances. But Mr. Trotter, of the Edinburgh Academy, had something about him (he usually carried it in the tail-pocket of his coat) which inspired respect and discouraged ribaldry. Would that I had listened to Mr. Trotter; would that I had corrected, in early life, the happy-go-lucky disposition to scatter my Greek accents, as it were, with a pepper-caster, to fish with worn tackle, and, generally, to make free with the responsibilities of life and literature. It is too late to amend, but others may learn wisdom from this spectacle of deserved misfortune and absolute discomfiture. I am not myself a salmon-fisher, though willing to try that art again, and though this is a tale of salmon. To myself the difference between angling for trout and angling for salmon is like the difference between a drawing of Lionardo's, in silver point, and a loaded landscape by MacGilp, R.A. Trout-fishing is all an idyll, all delicacy--that is, trout-fishing on
57 ANGLING SKETCHES the Test or on the Itchen. You wander by clear water, beneath gracious poplar-trees, unencumbered with anything but a slim rod of Messrs. Hardy's make, and a light toy-box of delicate flies. You need seldom wade, and the water is shallow, the bottom is of silver gravel. You need not search all day at random, but you select a rising trout, and endeavour to lay the floating fly delicately over him. If you part with him, there is always another feeding merrily: Invenies alium si te hic fastidit. It is like an excursion into Corot's country, it is rich in memories of Walton and Cotton: it is a dream of peace, and they bring you your tea by the riverside. In salmon-fishing, on the Tweed at least, all is different. The rod, at all events the ro...
View Full Document