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“ This ain't packing up,” sullenly interposed Mr. May.
“ I can't pack up," returned Mrs. May, “I am too much shook. Whatever is to be done with the pianer?”
“ They must feteh it away, wife. There ain't nothing else to be done with it.'
“Oh,” groaned Mrs. May, “I wish I was dead.”
“ Much use it is, wishing that,” said the porter; “ I'd recommend you to turn and pack up, instead. If the things bain't in the cart by five, we shall have 'em thrown in for us. I know our master; he sticks to his word when he's roused. You'd better begin with them pots and kettles. They can go in that empty case."
Mrs. May dried her eyes, and slowly rose. “ Come, Sophiar," she said, “ you must lend a helping hand to-day.” “I !" returned Sophia, in a tone of ineffable contempt.
4 I lend a helping hand with pots and kettles! You forget yourself, mother. I will pack up my own things, and glad enough to do it, and be away from this horrid hole, but I shall soil my fingers with nothing else.”
She sailed out of the kitchen as she spoke, and ascended to the top of the house. The porter departed to secure two rooms which were to let in the neighbourhood, and to bring in help to get away their goods in time. Later in the day, when they were engaged in the attics taking down the bedsteads, and Sophia was in the kitchen alone, somebody stole in at the door. It was Mr. Jones, whom we once saw just after he was articled—and Sophia too. His articles were done with now, but he remained in the office at a good salary, hoping a vague hope that he might sometime see on the door-posts “ Lyvett, Castlerosse, Lyvett, and Jones.”
My dear Miss May! I have so longed for a little conversation with you, and now that puppy Fred Lyvett's out of the way, I hope my turn has come.
“What ?** said Sophia, turning on him no pleasant expression. She was in an awful mood that day.
“ I adore you, and
“ Then take that," answered Sophia, dashing over him the contents of a wooden bowl, an apparent compound of grease and damp coffeegrounds. “And if you don't take yourself off you shall have this.”
“ The other was a carving-knife, which she raised menacingly towards him. Mr. Jones, more chapfallen than he ever remembered to have been, retreated up the stairs, wondering how on earth he should get his hat out of the office, and himself and his shirt-front through the streets. Just then he met Mrs. May, carrying down some bedposts.
“ Sakes alive, sir!" she uttered in astonishment, “whatever is the matter? I never saw anybody in such a pickle in my life.”
“ You may well ask what it is, Dame May !" spluttered Mr. Jones. “ It is the work of your fury of a daughter. I addressed a polite word to her, as civilly as I could speak it, and she Aung this poison over me or whatever it is. It's well for the house that it's going to have a clearance, for I believe she's gone mad."
“What did you do that for, Sophiar ?" demanded Mrs. May, when she reached the kitchen.
6. Do what?"
I adore you.
“ That to Mr. Jones."
“ Whatever shall we do with you, if you are to behave like this?" exclaimed poor Mrs. May. "You'll murder somebody some day."
“ Don't trouble yourself as to what you'll do with me. I shall leave home, and do something for myself.”
“Where to go to ? what to do ?" quickly responded Mrs. May. “ I shall go out as governess. My mind is made up."
“ As governess ?” repeated the mother. “Well, Sophiar, if I don't believe you have just hit it,” she added, after a pause.
- There's many a respectable tradesman's family would be glad of you to help edicate their “Very likely," remarked Sophia. “But I shall enter a nobleman's."
“ Mrs. May was petrified. “ You can never get admittance to a nobleman's house, child—as a governess.'
“ You'll see,” coolly returned Sophia. And so shall we.
ANGLING IN FRANCE.*
A WORK on French angling is very acceptable. Practically, we know something of the running streams of la belle France, and of its great stagnant waters; but many an amateur, like ourselves, would be glad to know more.
It is pleasant to dwell upon the peculiarities of a country in connexion with a favourite sport, both in regard to the produce, the ways and means, the whereabouts, and the local systems. Such a book is also a step in the right way, even although there is not yet material enough in angling in France to make up à volume without the aid of reference to that most unsportsmanlike proceeding—the net. M. L. Rouyer has, indeed, done well in his illustrations to represent two veritable badauds in blouse as engaged in so discreditable a proceeding as déployant l'épervier, or “throwing the casting-net."
Let the morose and selfish utilitarian say what he will, the art of angling is one of the most agreeable and morally improving in the entire range of rural sports. Were so innocent, and yet so beneficial, a practice more cultivated in France, depend upon it there would be much less political excitement. The energy and zeal of our Continental friends and allies would find a new outlet, and they might exhaust even some of their military ardour in the pursuit of trout and salmon. They would, at the same time, acquire a more lively sense of the beauties of external nature, and a keener relish for the sympathies which they
* La Pêche à la ligne et au filet dans les eaux douces de la France. Par N. Guillemard.
awaken in the human breast. Such a pursuit would first open to them the pleasures, known only to a few, of mingling the spiritual and contemplative with the manly and active; and to saunter by the banks of the river and the brook would become to them redolent, as it is to all true Waltonians, of the most refreshing pleasures and charming associations.
When national sports and pastimes are in strict accordance with all that is improving in body and in mind, they cannot be too sedulously cultivated among the bulk of the people. And in a country like England, where angling is almost a trait in the manners, it is amusing to find Mr. Guillemard girding his loins to the task of upholding that which even the bustling worldly American acknowledges to produce gentleness of spirit and serenity of mind, by quotations from a tract, “ De Venatione Piscatione," &c., published in 1625! He might have gone at once back to anti-historical times, and transferred to his pages the placid countenances of the Egyptiaus angling on the painted walls of the Theban tombs. Olden arguments in favour of fishing are, indeed, unanswerable. The deluge was the saturnalia of the finny tribe ; Tobit expelled the demon Asmodeus with the fumes arising from the heart and liver of a great fish captured in the Tigris, and which Bochart absurdly deemed to be a shark; it was more likely a trionyx; Jonah was preserved in a fish's belly; and our Saviour selected his disciples from among humble fishermen.
Modern arguments are of a different and less irresistible character. They are generally tinged with the writer's own mode of viewing the subject; some love angling, simply for the pleasures which it brings with it, regardless of the results; others only regard it in proportion, not to the goodness, but to the size of the fish they catch." The paradise of many a bloated cockney angler is a punt, a barrel of ground-bait, a gallon of beer, and a barbel every six hours. Now, to a Frenchman the
a great question is the cuisine. "M. Guillemard's arguments are, that a salmon or a fine trout can bear comparison with a pheasant or a woodcock; a good matelote of barbel, carp, or eel, makes no bad show by the side of a civet of hare; and a good fry of round and plump gudgeons is not to be despised, even when set against a brochette of thrushes and larks !
The art of angling, M. Guillemard tells us, is generally considered in France to be a pastime only suited for those of small means.
It is high time that such a prejudice should be uprooted. M. Guillemard does his best to bring about the result. He tells his countrymen that angling in England is considered to be a sport in every way worthy of a gentleman. The two words being in vogue just now on the Continent, may have their effect. Not only, he says, is there nothing improper in the pastime, but the means of carrying it out are got up with that luxe de comfort with which the English delight to surround themselves. The last two English words printed in italics, as we have given them, are a little more hazardous than the first. The luxury of comfort might apply to the Melton Mowbray pies, but it can scarcely be said to do so to the tackle and
gear. M. Guillemard is, however, zealous in the cause. He looks
the migration of this taste for angling to the other side of La Manche, as one of the most desirable results of the alliance. As to the fear of ridicule, that, he intimates, must be discarded by "a holy and a happy
April-VOL. CIX. NO. CCCCXXXVI.
insurrection.” He appeals to statesmen, financiers, poets, authors, artists, and even to the masters of the world, by quoting anglers from among their own ranks. Ovid, Trajan, Louis le Débonnaire, Boileau, Walter Scott, J. Lafitte, Sir Humphrey Davy, Olivier Goldsmith (how old Noll would have laughed to find himself so styled), Rossini, Tulou, and Habeneck.
Had our author "sweetened his discourse," as gentle Izaak Walton would say, from the pages of “ The Compleat Angler,” he could not have found much more to say in fewer words. Among the resources at the command of him whom Langbaine delighted to call “ the common father of all anglers,” were Drayton's Poly-Olbion, Sonnets and Secrets of Angling, Phineas Fletcher's Purple Island and Piscatory Eclogues. M. Guillemard can also discourse in goodly company :
Has it ever happened to you to go by water from Paris to Rouen ? a de. licious journey, in the course of which the most charming scenes and fresh landscapes develop themselves to your vision, while your mind conjures up, at the sight of the old places that witnessed them, the memory of chivalrous times and of the simple chronicles of the middle ages. At the expiration of nearly the first half of the journey, where the still threatening ruins of the château Gaillard, the remains of the heroic fortress of Roche-Guyon, and the brow of the hill of the two lovers confront you, remark a village built upon
the slope of a long range of hills, whose houses are for the most part hewn out of the solid rock, and which is protected by the same hills from the outrages of the north ;" it is Hautile, a little known hamlet, where the author of the “ Lutrin” and of the “ Art Poétique” used often to pass a few days with his nephew, the illustrious Dongois. "Nowhere are the banks of the Seine more graceful or more coquettish. Read, whilst you admire those enchanting banks, the first verses of the poet's sixth epistle. Never was a picture more seductive and more faithful. Do you see that high beach shaded by willows, “which no one planted there?” it is there that the legislator of Parnassus did not disdain to come sometimes and throw in his line; he tells us so himself :
“Quelquefois aux appâts d'un hameçon perfide
J'amorce en badinant le poisson trop avide." Who knows how many fine verses were inspired by this admirable nature and grateful leisure, which the Pelletiers and the Cotins would have sneered at?
Before starting, however, upon angling trips in France, a word anent "civilised fish.” The idea seems strange, but it is no less true.
M. Guillemard attests that not only are the fish of Paris difficult to catch, but whether their education is transmitted by sight, hearing, or some unknown sense, certain it is that there exist in the Seine thousands of fish that have never felt the prick of a hook, and that are yet not the less cautious and mistrustful, from herding with those who have. Those who have compared angling as it now is in the Thames, from Windsor downwards to Richmond, with the sport they have had in some remote unfrequented river or lake, will imagine what angling is in the Seine at Paris, with some forty or fifty gamins and blouses ranged in a file along a favourite parapet, angling, squabbling, and, we grieve to say it, sometimes swearing. They are not all gentle brethren of the rod and line. They have not studied Swammerdam or Bacon, or they would have known that fish hear, and, as Izaak Walton said, the use he would make of that knowledge would be,“ to advise anglers to be patient and forbear swearing, lest they be heard and catch no fish.”
Do you wish to enjoy at one and the same time the charms of the most picturesque solitude and of an abundant catch of roach? Come with me, and spend a day in that beautiful valley where the Essonne gives movement and life to so many branches of industry. Not many miles from Paris the desert awaits you, the most fishy rivers call you to their banks. Scarcely have you quitted the railway of Corbeil
, barely have you passed the wealthy factories of Corbeil and the smiling village of Mennecy, than vast forests of reeds, resembling the pampas or savannahs of America, spread themselves before you. Never did a more abrupt or a more complete contrast separate two worlds that differ so much the one from the other : there all noise and motion, here stillness and silence; but a moment ago the locomotive roared and the great hydraulic wheel set the myriad of iron arms of the machinery at work; now everything is at rest, not a sound is heard, and if, at times, the wind comes to animate the solitude, the vast field of reeds and rushes alone bends and murmurs before its breath. There, at the bottom of the valley, which embraces some twenty miles in length and from two to three in width, and which the Essonne traverses in its peaceful current, time has deposited deep layers of turf, which the industry of man has in part turned to account. Here and there, extensive excavations, produced by the extraction of this valuable combustible, have been filled by the waters of the heavens, and by the infiltration of the river. In these basins, hollowed out by the hand of man, and communicating, by numerous cuts, with the bed of the Essonne, roach abound, and are an easy prey. In the bosom of these solitudes, animated by the flight of numerous birds of passage, embalmed by the fragrance of an aquatic vegetation (mint ?), you will appreciate better than elsewhere how seductive is the amusement to which I invite you, sufficiently exciting to leave you little leisure, and yet not so absorbing as to rob you of the pleasures of thought and of the contemplation of nature.
The kind of country here described may be seen as you travel along the railway from Boulogne to Paris, in the valleys of the Canche, Somme, and Oise, but more particularly in that of the Somme; and these great turf-ponds and lagoons abound in other fish besides roach, many of which attain a very large size.
For example, almost wherever you find roach (gardons) there are also dace, bream, perch, pike, and eels. Whilst the roach, however, seldom weigh more than three pounds, bream are often caught in the same ponds of upwards of five pounds in weight. The French consider the bream (brème) when caught in elear running water as affording a delicate viand of excellent flavour. The fish is not esteemed in this country, where little or no attention has been paid to the culinary preparation of freshwater fish, with the exception of salmon-trout and eels. Small bream go largely in the general small fry known as blanchaille, something like our whitebait, under the designation of henriots. French anglers, it is to be observed, fish for bream and roach with gentils (asticots), but they consider that dace prefer the cadis (porte-bois).
An essentially French fish-French in two senses of the word, first, because it is not met with in England ; and, secondly, because it is angled for in a fashion seldom practised in this country—is the chevesne or chevenne (Cyprinus jeses of Linn.), also called juène. It is to be observed, that when we give the French names to guide the amateur, on the authority of M. Guillemard, in no country do names of fish vary
more than in France. It seems as if, while Burgundians, Alsatians, Auvergnats, Gascons, Bretons, Normans, and the various other populations have been merged into Francs, the fish alone have preserved
Those used by M. Guillemard are many of them un
their old names.