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when I make the passing remark, that notwithstanding the recent light thrown by Shaw on the natural history of the salmon, there is a great deal in that history which, although open to experiment, is still strange and unaccountable; nor bas Mr. Yarrell himself, in his well-known work, done much, besides giving us a string of barren opinions, to clear up the mysteries which surround the marine existence, the growth, food, and instincts of this noble fish. A proper and well organized inquiry into these matters would, I have no doubt, be attended with the desirable success ; nor would it prove otherwise than beneficial in promoting the interests of our salmon-proprietors and the community at large, seeing that it would lead ultimately to the suggestion and adoption of such measures as are best fitted to assist the growth, further the increase, and, it may be, improve the quality of the salmon in Scotland. To the utter want of knowledge that prevails upon such subjects, is owing the present imperfect system used under the sanction of parliamentary acts for the preservation of these fish; a system as ridiculous as it is monstrously oppressive, embodying within its compass the most determined selfishness and opinionative ignorance. As I intend more fully to explain myself upon this matter in a future paper, and to hold up to you the absurdity as well as tyrannical nature of the enactments alluded to, the strong tendency they have withal to encroach upon and absorb the privileges of the trout-fisher-privileges that at this very moment stand in special hazard, and which, assailed from all quarters, must inevitably, unless some struggle be made in their behalf, soon cease to exist; it being my intention to bring this whole business before you early, I shall not at present press it upon your notice, but revert again to the history of my exploits on the Makerston water, under the guidance of old Rob.
Having allowed nearly three quarters of an hour to glide away in piscatorial discussion, we at length, in spite of our recent fatigue and the scenic attractions of the spot where we lingered, thought of bestirring ourselves, and once more putting our skill
and good fortune to the test. Accordingly, quitting the Dark Shore, which, along with the rest of the upper water, is fished from a separate boat, we proceeded along the north bank of the river to the foot of the Clippers, and there embarking in the skiff we had first occupied, were conveyed rapidly down to the Red Stane cast. It was now bordering upon four o'clock. The sky, from the horizon upwards, lay overcast with light fleecy clouds. A joyous wind came in straggling gushes across the water, vivifying and vocalising the trees above us. The landscape itself, narrowed by the banks of the river, was of that sort which soothes and pleases without astonishing the beholder. There was scarcely one point in it more than another that served to rivet the eye; but still the whole combination produced feelings of gladness and tranquillity, more to be envied, perhaps, than those called forth by scenes of savage and ruthless graudeur. The
fly recommended to me by Rob, as we glided along the north side of the Shot pool, on our approach to the Red Stane, was dressed by the hands of Blacker upon a hook of Philips's-B.B. Its wings were formed of the silver-pheasant tail-feather; the body, in the upper part, was of dark mohair, shouldered with an orange-coloured hackle; below, it was composed of light-blue materials, tipped with a crest feather from the golden-pheasant, and lapped over throughout with silver twist.
“It's no aft ye'll meet wi sic a gran pirl on the bit,” remarked my companion ; “sae tak my word fort, Mr. -, if he be in the water at all, he's sure to rise here."
Rob was correct. In less than a minute I had hold of a goodsized fish ; but it was by no means the monster I had expected-fellow to the one which had broke me in the morning. Still, being a well-grown grilse, nearly seven pounds in weight, he afforded me no contemptible sport, darting along the water with resolute speed, and indulging in several vigorous plunges and somersaults, which created some little alarm lest he should escape. I had, however, before commencing the afternoon's labour, taken the precaution to substitute for my own the casting-line previously offered me by the fisherman, so that, be the danger what it might of the hook becoming disengaged from his mouth, there was none whatever of the tackle itself giving way. After several violent but ineffectual struggles, the fish at length quietly submitted to his fate, and having led him into a small creek or landing-place at the margin of the river, he was dexterously gaffed and despatched by my companion.
The next places fished by me were the Side Straik and Doors, in the latter of which I started and pricked a dun sea-trout of no great size. Despairing of any further success, and indeed, to tell truth, sufficiently satisfied with my day's sport, I was about to intimate my intention of retiring from the river, when old Rob recommended me strongly to give one more throw at the Nether-heads—the lowermost salmon-cast belonging to the Trows range, which is wont to be fished. I have already described it to lie on the north side of the Tweed, at the foot of the Doors stream, and forming the break, or, as the cast corresponding to it is more significantly termed, the Ower Fa, to a piece of rough, perilous water, which, after foaming, eddying, and thundering along to the extent of some hundred paces, becomes disgorged at the Killmouth pool, not far from the Makerston boundary. Complying with the wishes of the worthy fisherman, who had edged forward his boat until within fly-throw of the spot in question, I hove out my line with as much nicety as its texture allowed. Scarcely, however, had the hook, driven round by the current, reached the hing and centre of the cast, where, in a break like the Nethern-heads, it is the custom of all anglers to keep it, if possible, suspended for a short space, when I felt its progress suddenly arrested. Supposing that the fly had come in contact with some stone or sunken rock, I instantly expressed my fears to old Rob, who as quickly replied, in a voice which indicated strong satisfaction
“Na, na, there's nae rock there—its a' deep water. Tak tent, noo, Mr. ---, ye're haud o' a braw fish-be canny wi't-there, he starts."
And start he did-a braw, brave salmon-over ledge and foam-bar, through surge and whirlpool. A moment it was to me of intensć and breathless excitement. Fathom after fathom the line darted from the reel, until the whole had become exhausted. On such an
emergency, to have lowered the rod would in all probability have proved fatal. Pressing forward its butt, I endeavoured instead to check the progress of the fish, by suddenly throwing upon it as much weight as I could with safety afford. The effort was a successful one, but it required to be followed up by instant and more active measures. Leaping from the boat, which all along lay close to the margin, I hurried forwards, as fast as its ragged and slippery nature would permit, along the rocky edge of the river, recovering line as I proceeded until nearly opposite the spot where the fish lay resting himself
. This was a gully, or fissure, of very considerable depth, crowded at the bottom with masses of sharp stone, such as endangered, by Rob's description of them, the strongest tackle. Here, the salmon continued for nearly three minutes, pressing leisurely forwards, with his snout to the current, and essaying vigorously the mettle of my rod; which, had it not been fabricated of the best materials, would infallibly have given way before him. As it was, it bent nearly double in my hands, nor could I steady or control it without considerable effort; the strength of the fish being resolved at times into short thrusts and probings channelward, now yielding a little, not from tiredness, but sheer caprice, and occasionally exercising itself in steady, immovable resistance, such as more than once excited an apprehension that my tackle had run foul of some rock or other obstacle.
At length, however, he suddenly made another push for freedom, bolder, if possible, than the former one, but, seeing that I was more in readiness for it, less calculated to alarm me. This terminated, he lay ensconced in a piece of white, angry water, several paces above a small fishing-cairn, projecting from the opposite side of the river. Here, after some time, he was distinctly felt by me making head against the current, as if in preparation for a new start. I had, at this moment, the greater part of my line unwound; and had the fish pushed up in the direction of Willie's Ower Fa', what was left would scarcely have proved sufficient for the emergency. Fortunately, however, he once more reverted to the side of the water on which we stood, affording me, as he did so, an opportunity of re-winding my reel, and thus holding myself provided against any subsequent run or sally. Re-ascending the Nethern-heads, close by the spot from which he had commenced his start, the salmon ere long struck into the centre of the Doors pool.
Urged by Rob, I now once more stepped into the skiff, or angling-boat, and was rowed cautiously forward in pursuit of the fish. Although evidently fatigued, he still retained sufficient strength to require the continuance, on my part, of extreme vigilance ; nor was it until he had completed his own exhaustion, by a rapid succession of plunges, and a desperate but vain attempt to ascend the Side Straik, that I felt at all confident of having mastered him. Subsequent to this, his resistance became a mere name, displayed only in brief and convulsive motions, which every moment grew weaker and weaker. The intervals betwixt these I employed, nor did the task require much effort, in leading him shorewards.
And now, behold this regal fish, two stone in weight, under the control almost of a single hair, on his approach to the fatal marge! See, gleaming before you, the silver corslet of this “monarch of the tide!" Alternately, for many a year, he hath breasted the stormy deep and the murmuring river. His palace-home lies among the recesses of ocean—a spangled cavern, bannered with the seaweed, and ringing with music—the music of the conch : but his birth-home is at our feet, among melodious pebbles, under the shadow of melodious trees; and here, too, so it is appointed, is his home of destiny. Say not, “Spare him.” We had the heart to do so when he was weak and tiny, an infant fingerling; but now, now that he hath braved the ocean's self with all its tempests, now that he hath faced the torrentflood and mocked the whirlpool,, why pause, why strike not? His measure of darings is complete, his time is come.
Turn now to old Rob Kerss, the fisherman. Behold him, at the close of the catastrophe! We have left the boat, and occupy together a small ledge of rock, at the side of the angling-cast. The fish is almost within oar's length of the spot. Crouching forwards, with eye intently fixed below him, the old man slowly extends his gaffhook ; twice he does so, and as often, without striking, draws it back; but now once more he stretches out the fatal weapon, and darting it suddenly forward, buries its bended point deep under the flank of the exhausted salmon. To do this, and dragging forth the quivering victim, lay it on the rock beside me, is but the act of a moment. Three ungentle head taps conclude the work of butchery. Our tri. umph is complete.
Thus ended my day's sport on the Makerston water. Nine fish in all, and no contemptible number it was; although double this has frequently been taken in a single day by one rodsman, out of the lower parts of Tweed. Selecting, by Rob's desire, the primest grilse of the lot, and having bidden adieu to the worthy fisherman, I now trudged homewards by the north side of the river, passing along its richly wooded bank into the Floors park, and emerging thence by the eastern or principal entrance-gate.
SPORTING REMINISCENCES IN ENGLAND AND FRANCE,
BY A FRENCH NOBLEMAN.
(Continued.) After a rather dusty journey, we reached the course, and took up a position on the brow of the hill. Mounting our hacks, which were in attendance, we galloped off to the betting ring, where the scene baffles all description. Amidst such a Babel-like confusion of tongues, it is quite a miracle how any one can make up his book. We then proceeded to the starting-post, where, as Dibdin sings, “ All on the downs the fleet were met.” The knowing ones now take a look at their favourites, and, shutting up their books, resign themselves to their fate. The word is given, ånd away start the horses upon which so many thousands depend ;
the equestrians unmindful of danger to themselves, or to the less fortu. nate “trampers" on foot, gallop across to the hill
. Every one is in a state of breathless anxiety. • The favourite is beat,” shouts one, as they pass Tattenham Corner. “He beats anything for a thousand,” cries another, anxious to hedge some of his money. “ Yellow wins," * There is an outsider coming up,” “ Peel wins,” “The Duke of Richmond,” “Forth a little,” “ Ĝully's beat,” and such cries rend the air. Now they approach the distance post : for a minute there is a dead silence, which is broken by a shout from the assembled thousands, as the winner passes the post. Out come the betting-books ; and as the gamester hastily runs his eye down the winning and losing sheet, he either breaks out in noisy excitement, “ I win a thousand," or utters anathemas, deep not loud, against the fickle goddess Fortune, who has now left him in the lurch minus many more thousands than his exchequer holds. “Well, the Oaks will bring me home,” cries the now desperate better : alas for his peace of mind, and that of his creditors, it leaves him in a worse plight. No sooner is the race over, than the whole course is converted into one huge luncheon room. The roofs of all the coaches, the seats of all the vehicles are covered with the snowy damask, or the dirty-looking dowlass, according to the quality of the owners, and every sort of catable and drinkable is laid out. The “ drag” I was upon furnished a fair specimen of the aristocratic meal ; while a Whitechapel cart, which was drawn up next to us, gave a good idea of the humble life. Whilst we were enjoying our pâté de foie gras, iced champagne, and claret cup, our neighbours, consisting of two swell-looking butchers, with their better halves, were indulging their appetites with a highly-garlicked polony sausage, a cold lobster and salad, and quenching their thirst by "potations pottle deep” of Barclay and Perkins's bottled stout. Eating and drinking for the million was thus carried on for a good hour, and the poor gained considerably by the quantity as well as the quality of the repast, which their richer brethren furnished them with. It was curious to see some half-starved mendicant devouring a slice of a perigord pie, to witness a tattered fortune-teller revelling in the remains of a bottle of iced champagne, to watch the countenance of a sturdy tramp as he demolished the half of a cold fowl, à la Tartare, to hear the remark of an omnibus cad, as he helped himself to a tumbler of hock cup, * rayther sweetish and wishy washy stuff, and wery cold to the stomach ; it an't to be mentioned the same day with a glass of gin ;” and last, not least, to look at the wry faces, made by some swarthy imps of the gipsy tribe, as they tasted a remnant of a pate de foie gras, or sipped from a broken bottle some Johannisberg hock of the finest vintage. To one and all of these unpampered appetites a crust of bread and cheese, a slice of cold meat, and a glass of malt liquor would have been far more gratifying than our choice delicacies. One party alone seemed to relish thoroughly our scraps, and that was a band of Italian men and boys with white mice, hurdy gurdies, and organs; and who, having favoured us with all the most popular airs of the day, from “Smile as thou were wont to smile, to the serenade from Don Pasquale, were rewarded with a very handsome lunch ; and their countenances beamed with delight, and their eyes sparkled with joy, at the sumptuous viands. The sky was blue and serene, the sun scorching hot; and a thought of their own loved Italia came across them, as they expressed their gra