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he may devour her without danger. And Gesner affirms that a Polonian gentleman did faithfully assure him he had seen two young geese, at one time, in the belly of a pike. And, doubtless, a pike, in his height of hunger, will bite at and devour a dog that swims in a pond, and there have been examples of it, or the like; for the belly has no ease when hunger comes upon it.'

The pike is also observed to be a solitary, melancholy, and a bold fish; melancholy, because he always swims or rests himself alone, and never swims in shoals or in companyas roach and dace, and most other fish do; and bold, because he fears not a shadow, or to see or be seen of anybody-as the trout, and chub, and all other fish do. .

But, before I proceed further, I am to tell you that there is a great antipathy betwixt the pike and some frogs; and this may appear to the reader of Dubravius, a bishop in Bohemia, who, in his book Of Fish and Fish Ponds,' relates what he says he saw with his own eyes, and could not forbear to tell the reader, which

was:

6

'As he and the Bishop Thurzo were walking by a large pond in Bohemia, they saw a frog

when the pike lay very sleepily and quiet by the shore side-leap upon his head; and the frog, having expressed malice or anger, by his swollen cheeks and staring eyes, did stretch out his legs and embraced the pike's head, and presently reached them to his eyes, tearing with them and his teeth those tender parts. The pike, moved with anguish, moves up and down the water, and rubs himself against weeds, and whatever he thought might quit him of his enemy; but all in vain; for the frog did continue to ride triumphantly, and to bite and torment the pike till his strength failed; and then the frog sunk with the pike to the bottom of the water: then, presently, the frog appeared again at the top, and croaked, and seemed to rejoice like a conqueror, after which he presently retired to his secret hole. The bishop, that had beheld the battle, called his fisherman to fetch his nets, and, by all means, to get the pike, that they might declare what had happened. And the pike was drawn forth, and both his eyes eaten out; at which, when they began to wonder, the fisherman wished them to forbear, and assured them he was certain that pikes were often so served.'

I told this (which is to be read in the sixth

chapter of the book of Dubravius) unto a friend, who replied, 'It was as improbable as to have the mouse scratch out the cat's eyes.' But he did not consider that there be fishing-frogs, which the Dalmatians call the water-devil, of which I might tell you as wonderful a story. But I shall tell you that it is not to be doubted but that there be some frogs so fearful of the water-snake, that when they swim in a place in which they fear to meet with him, they then get a reed across into their mouths, which, if they two meet by accident, secures the frog from the strength and malice of the snake; and note that the frog usually swims the fastest of the two.

But, whither am I going? I had almost lost myself by remembering the discourse of Dubravius. I will, therefore, stop here, and tell you, accordingly to my promise, how to catch this pike.

161

JOHN METCALF, THE ROAD-MAKER. (SMILES' LIVES OF THE ENGINEERS.)

JOHN METCALF was born at Knaresborough,* in 1717, the son of poor working people. When only six years old he was seized with virulent small-pox, which totally destroyed his sight. The blind boy, when sufficiently recovered to go abroad, first learnt to grope from door to door along the walls on either side of his parents' dwelling. In about six months he was able to feel his way to the end of the street and back without a guide, and in three years he could go on a message to any part of the town. He grew strong and healthy, and longed to join in the sports of boys of his age. He went birdnesting with them, and climbed the trees while the boys below directed him to the nests, receiving his share of the eggs and young birds. Thus he shortly became an expert climber, and could mount with ease any tree that he was able to grasp. He rambled into the lanes and fields alone, and soon knew every foot of the ground for miles round Knaresborough. He

* In Yorkshire.

M

in a gallop.

next learnt to ride, delighting above all things He contrived to keep a dog, and coursed hares; indeed the boy was the marvel of the neighbourhood.

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The boy's confidence in himself was such, that, though blind, he was ready to undertake almost any adventure. Among his other acts he learnt to swim in the Nidd, and became so expert that on one occasion he saved the lives of three of his companions. Once, when two men were drowned in a deep part of the river, Metcalf was sent to dive for them, which he did, and brought up one of the bodies at the fourth diving: the other had been carried down the stream. He thus also saved a manufacturer's yarn, a large quantity of which had been carried by a sudden flood into a deep hole under the High Bridge. At home, in the evenings, he had learnt to play the fiddle, and became so skilled on the instrument, that he was shortly able to earn money by playing dance music at country parties.

On one occasion, towards dusk, he acted as guide to a belated gentleman along the difficult road from York to Harrogate. The road was then full of windings and turnings, and in many places it was no better than a track across un

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