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crofter should be at the river along the grassy bank. Whether at all, but that he should fall on be landed it, or whether it broke such a piece of luck as this was him, the end would be the same; almost more than mortal man certainly this time the offence could bear. It made matters still would not be overlooked: he worse for the spectator to think might say farewell to Barrachthat he had been sitting for half ander, and bonnie Loch Tromlie, an hour within twenty yards of and green primrose-haunted Glen the fish, and might have been Nant. playing him himself — if only be The fish moved down to the had known. The thought flashed tail of the pool, and sank himself through his brain that perhaps there; he got his nose up-stream, this was the way in which he was and began to "jig" at the line, to be punished for the elaborate each jig taking him a little farther maneuvre by which MacCorquo- down, and each vibration comdale had been decoyed to the municating a dreadful shock to river.
the heart of the man above. If Rory MacGilp was miserable, five minutes," thought Archie, Archibald was in a much more “I'll be likely a mile down, with parlous state. He would have my rod broken, and that old felt very diffident at working a heathen grinning at me!" Oh, salmon before this keeper's critical for a friend now ! eye under the most favourable and "Rory!” he cried out softly lawful circumstances, and to do to his enemy—“Rory !” But no justice to himself he would require
back across the the ever-ready help of a thorough water. Rory sat like a carved ly sympathetic friend. Indeed it statue on his rock. would be incorrect to speak at this "Mr MacGilp!- my fingers is period of the fish as a captive. cut to the quick! Will ye no Archie the captive: the pitch a stone in below him and creature did what it liked with turn him up?" Still there was him; moved up and down the
“My back's fairly slack - water just as it chose; broken !” cried Archie, piteously. stopped and sank, and dug its “I'm right glad to hear it," nose down into the bottom when roared back the keeper—"of that it wanted without asking any
same back !” leave from the man on the bank. "He's forty pound weight !” If such things were to be done in cried Archie, appealingly. the green tree, what might be ex- “ HE'S SIXTY !” screamed Rory, pected in the dry? if the salmon jumping off his rock, and dancing was all-powerful in the smooth, about on the bank. “You poachquiet pool, what would be his pro- ing deevil! I hope he'll break ceedings when he went seawards your neck and drown you after-into
the wild rapids, and among wards !” the dangerous sunken rocks down “Oh-what'll I do if he goes the stream? Archie felt he would down?” howled the other man; go down sooner or later—it was “he's off-he's off-what'll I do merely a question of time; and the if he goes down ?” perspiration poured from his fore- The fish lay now on the top of head, his legs shook, and his hands the rapid stream, furiously flaptrembled as he moved to and fro ping his tail.
“Give him line !” shouted Rory, much worse in low water. What"you great!”
« But what ever knowledge the fisherman had am I doing?” he cried to himself. of the place was clean driven out “Let him break—I hope he will !” of him by the agitation he was in,
Archie lowered the point of his and it would have been purely by rod, and the fish-as they so often luck, and not by any sort of guidwill-stopped at the strain being ance, that he would have found a taken off. But he was too far safe passage through. down to get back,-foot by foot inch of the passage was known to he walloped down; he was fairly the other : every rock and shoal out of the pool, he got into the was as clearly photographed on stream, he struggled against it his mind as if it lay before him for a moment, and the next he in bodily shape; the information was raging away down the river: which for fifty years had slowly now deep down in it, now showing percolated to his brain was comhis huge breadth of tail at the top, plete; his hands twitched and his turning over and over like a por- heart leapt when he saw the salmon poise, careless where he went so make for a bad bit of water, and long as he got clear.
he was quite unable to stop himArchie stood in the old place self from shouting out directions, on the bank with his mouth open though all the time he was heartily and most of his hundred yards hoping that the fish would break of line run out, as incapable of his hold. The advice, which was checking its movements if plentifully accompanied with abuse it had been a hundredweight of of Archie, was always immediately iron.
followed by denunciation of him"Follow him ! follow him!” self—the giver of it. roared Rory, forgetting himself “Keep your rod west and bring again. “Keep him in But him in!” roared the keeper; "are let him alone, you fool!” ye no' seeing the muckle rock again his second thought; “let him there?”—the said rock being at be! he'll never get by the point !” the time six feet under water.
The keeper ran down the bank, Then to himself, “Whisht, you hopping lightly over the boulders, old fool, and let him cut !" '" Let and never taking his eye off the him come in my side, you black bit of foaming water where he thief !” he thundered again, “or judged the runaway to be; and he'll be round yon stob!"_"and I Archie, his first stupefaction over, hope he will, and be damned to did the same, and got a slight pull him ! If it isn't enough to sicken on the salmon some two hundred a fox to see him wi' such a fish as yards farther down.
that!" Rory, when coming up in the By this time Archie had got morning, had left his rod here, three-quarters of a mile down the and now got possession of it, and river, and was uch of his gaff, which latter he slung hausted than the fish. What with over his back. A little lower the keeping a tight hold on it when river turned, and the two men and sulking, and hopping among slipthe fish followed the curve, and pery smooth rocks and stones when got—the last at any rate-into it was lively, listening to the bad bit of rock-protected stream, threatening advice from the other dangerous enough now, though side—the penalty, moreover, which
VOL. CLXI. - NO, DCCCCLXXIX.
he would have to pay for his sport he gave two or three horrid ever being present in his mind, wriggles and slipped off the hook. he thought he had never had such The heavy stream kept the line a time of it since he was born, and pretty tight, and the other man felt that the hardest day's work he never noticed what had happened, had ever done was child's play to or that the rod-top was straight. what he was going through. We suddenly jerked the fly out of
“If I was only quit of this the water, right in front of him, as cursed fish for good and all !” he if preparing to make a new cast, now thought to himself; "ay, if and we shall never forget his face I was lying on my back wi' lum- as he turned round and stared at bago like Johnnie Ross, as I was us. And we would not like to put pittyin' sae much!”
down here what he said. But The playing of a salmon is not what language- what eloquence often monotonous, and is some- could do justice to such a two times exciting in the very highest minutes' incident in life! degree, but, alas ! how hopeless a What a cold - blooded animal task it is to attempt to communi- must that acquaintance of Mr cate the exhilaration by written Stoddart's have been who conwords! The reel “screeches" or sidered the hooking of a fish to be “whirrs,” according as it is well- the only thing worth accomplishoiled, or a rusty implement like ing, and who was accustomed then our poacher's. The line "cuts the to“ hand the rod to an attendant,” water," the gaff" went with a soft to spare himself what he was plunge" into the thick back. pleased to call the “drudgery * Fresh up from the sea with the of playing it! How easily might lice on him." All these words are a master of the English language appropriate and expressive, and utterly fail to convey to his audithey have been used over and over ence almost any part of the effect again hundreds and hundreds of produced on him at times when times; scarce an account of a day's playing a great salmon in a wide, salmon-fishing is complete without rough, rock-sprinkled river! He them. The horrid vibration of the has him well on-the fish of the line as a big fish "jigs” at it, and season—the fish of many seasons every thrill runs like an electric -perhaps of his life. The next shock right into the very heart of hour will see him the happiest or the rod-holder, has been referred to the most miserable of men. Think in almost every account of a tussle of the feelings of the late Mr Denwith a heavy salmon. How stale nison — not a novice but a fine the words are ! how difficult to put fisherman-when, after eight hours' in fresher or better ones! and yet work on the Ness, the handle of how very freshly every individual his reel caught in his watch-chain, shock comes home in practice! and the salmon broke him—the Each jig you think will be the last salmon of his life escaped ! Grilse - will find out the weak place in must get off at times, and ten, and the hold, or the gear, and he will twenty, and even thirty pounders, be off. We were once playing a but surely monsters ought not to big salmon in a very heavy rough be allowed to escape and make a pool: he was nearly done, and was man's life a howling desolation for being slowly wound up to the a week, with a mournful reminisgaffsman kneeling in front, when cence attached to it ever afterwards. The very magnitude of anything else that! There is a good such calamities sometimes makes illustration of what we mean in a people preternaturally calm : we plate in Scrope's Days and Nights have seen a friend, not remark of Salmon-Fishing, but the angler able for extreme moderation in his looks singularly calm for such an language, reel up the late tightly emergency. held, and now merely dancing, fly At six o'clock Archie rose his after a long fruitlessly ending fish ; at half - past eight he was battle, without saying a word. more than a mile down the river, Like the man who, pulling up at pretty well beaten. He had the top of a long hill, looked back passed through all the mental and saw the flour which ought to phases we have spoken of—apprehave been in his cart whitening it hension, hope, and deadly fear; for a mile—he was not equal to it. and now, after all this maneuvr. Often fish escape through no fault ing, it seemed as if the end had of the fisherman, often through come, and he would be able to his want of skill, but what when reel up—what he had left—and the loss is to be put down to pure go home to make arrangements carelessness? Think of the feel- for his “ flitting.” The fish made ings of those hapless beings—we a wild rush up the river, turned heard of another of them the other above a big upstanding stone, and day-who, when putting the line then swam slowly down again. on the reel, omit to fasten the one The line touched the stone, and to the other, and see the salmon Archie could not clear it; the go off with the eighteenth part of surface was smooth, and it still ran a mile of cord trailing behind him ! a little, but the end was near: unThe last victim of this sort we less the salmon at once retraced his know of was standing on a bridge path, he was a free salmon soon. and couldn't follow. John Bright A good spring landed Rory out is said to have taken a header after
on a green-topped slippery boulder a line so disappearing.
with twelve inches of water runOn a big river a man will have ning over it. He heard the reel 120 yards of line on his reel : sel- opposite give out its contents in dom, indeed, will he require the sudden uncertain jerks; he caught whole of this. But if even eighty sight of a huge bar of yellowishyards are run out the fish is a long white coming wobbling down toway from you, and with a strong wards him-lost it-saw it again, wind blowing down the stream it and delivered his stroke. Up is very difficult to know what came the great, wriggling, curling strain you are putting on the mass—bright silver now-out of tackle. What a moment is that the river: with both hands close when-at such a distance—a sal- to the gaff-head, he half lifted, mon suddenly turns and comes half dragged the fish to shore, back at you, with every chance in struggling, and all but losing his his favour of shaking out a light- footing in the passage; then up holding hook, or getting round a the bank with it till he was able rock or tree ! What a dreadful to lie down on it and get his hand sight is a big salmon jumping just into its gills. opposite you, when your line lies Twenty minutes later Archie, in a huge drowned bag far below with a sinking heart, had crossed you both! worse than jiggering or the bridge of Awe and travelled up the north bank. The keeper " It was your inteemate acquainwas sitting on a stone, quietly tance with the stanes which saved smoking, with no trace of anger me, indeed," once more agreed the on his face, and before him, on a crofter. bit of smooth thymy turf, lay a “There's no anither man in the salmon such as many a man has whole wide world could have steered dreamt about, but few, indeed, you down yon places as I did!” seen with mortal eyes. Then for “ There is certainly not one in the first time that day the poor many thousand score would have arofter forgot his troubles : for taken such a vast o' trouble about half a minnte his only feeling was it." one of intense pride_at such a “I gaffed him—an' I told you Vitarr.
the road to take him—an' saved + Weilhe's safe now," Rory him many & time Soud at length
* You did all that an' more, Mr * Ar mani Arhia stá Martin. It's much obliged —"
* I doubt I made the varra fly on the thai rose bim! ** wer
* You did that, indeed," said
In the pae Archie, bopelessly. He had W N Area Ang made it himself the night before )
202 wind the keeper, “I em : & de mockle fish my