Ts092015

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Unformatted text preview: ANGLING SKETCHES ANGLING SKETCHES By Andrew Lang 1 ANGLING SKETCHES PREFACE Several of the sketches in this volume have appeared in periodicals. "The Bloody Doctor" was in Macmillan's Magazine, "The Confessions of a Duffer," "Loch Awe," and "The Lady or the Salmon?" were in the Fishing Gazette, but have been to some extent re- written. "The Double Alibi" was in Longman's Magazine. The author has to thank the Editors and Publishers for permission to reprint these papers. The gem engraved on the cover is enlarged from a small intaglio in the collection of Mr. M. H. N. STORY-MASKELYNE, M.P. Such gems were recommended by Clemens of Alexandria to the early Christians. "The figure of a man fishing will put them in mind of the Apostle." Perhaps the Greek is using the red hackle described by AElian in the only known Greek reference to fly-fishing. NOTE TO NEW EDITION The historical version of the Black Officer's career, very unlike the legend in "Loch Awe," may be read in Mr. Macpherson's Social Life in the Highlands. 2 ANGLING SKETCHES THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUFFER These papers do not boast of great sport. They are truthful, not like the tales some fishers tell. They should appeal to many sympathies. There is no false modesty in the confidence with which I esteem myself a duffer, at fishing. Some men are born duffers; others, unlike persons of genius, become so by an infinite capacity for not taking pains. Others, again, among whom I would rank myself, combine both these elements of incompetence. Nature, that made me enthusiastically fond of fishing, gave me thumbs for fingers, short-sighted eyes, indolence, carelessness, and a temper which (usually sweet and angelic) is goaded to madness by the laws of matter and of gravitation. For example: when another man is caught up in a branch he disengages his fly; I jerk at it till something breaks. As for carelessness, in boyhood I fished, by preference, with doubtful gut and knots ill-tied; it made the risk...
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