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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 var'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 urgentle head-taps conclude the work of butchery. Our triumph 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, and 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,” “Gully'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 eatable 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 handsomo 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 theiv own loved Italia came across them, as they expressed their gra
titude in the following simple strain : -" Tanté grazie Signori mici. Pare che siano in nostro caro paese.
As the object of our party in the two teams was to make a day of it, we did not leave the course until nearly six o'clock ; during which period we indulged in the aristocratic amusements of “shying sticks," pricking the garter, playing at roulette, crying “ seven's the main” at the hazard table, risking our capital upon the red or black, and losing our money and patience at the newly-invented game of cock
The result was, that at the end of the day we found ourselves minus nearly all our funds, and plus some six dozen toys, consisting of wooden apples and pears, nutmeg-graters, jacks-in-the-boxes, pin-cushions, tin snuff-boxes, thimbles, all of which would have nearly furnished a shop for some modern Tackleton, and would have gladdened the heart of that inimitable creation of Boz, the worthy Caleb Plummer. At ten minutes before six o'clock, the “ shooter's” horn gave notice that we were about to start; and in about five minutes from that time, the “ dragsman” cried out “all right, let 'em go, I've got 'em ;” and away we bowled across the downs at a rattling pace. No sooner had we reached the road, than we found that the fun had begun in downright good earnest ; for such a scene of confusion I never before witnessed. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly every driver, and all the postboys, were considerably elevated. The gradations from dead drunk to what is called slightly intoxicated, were fully exemplified. See that swell-looking sporting “ gent.” in the dennet, who has won a hundred by one of the Derby sweeps ; ho is as drunk as a lord (why your aristocracy are thus to be libelled I know not, but I give the phrase most frequently in use) ; he has got his thorough-bred looking nag into a gallop, and is recklessly dashing by everything ; now one wheel is against our leaders, then the other is in the ditch; the crazy vehicle is nearly overturned, when the driver's friend, who is only ten sheets in the wind, gives the horse a pull to the right, and again lands him on the road. Now an open barouche-and-four, filled with ladies of very questionable appearance, trots by ; the leading postboy is rather the worse for liquor, while the wheel one is what Bardolph calls awfully “fap.” Two horsechanting looking gentlemen gallop furiously by in a light Whitechapel cart, and thread the crowd with amazing dexterity ; they, like the horses they deal in, are considerably “screwed.” And now comes a sporting nobleman, rather fresh, in a phaeton and pair, going in and out” of the lines of carriages as cleverly as his lordship was wont to do when taking a double ox rails in Leicestershire. A van full of Bacchanalians now grazes our bars, while our shooter, who could boast of a classical education, exclaimed, rather dogmatically, at least as far as his Latin went on this occasion, Care cui incurras inepte"
· Mind who you run against, stupid.” “ IIolloa, shooter," cries a young Life-Guardsman, “ you're coming it strong with your university education." “ All right, old fellow,” responded the guard ; “ Concessi Cantabrigium ad capiendum ingenii cultum ;" which in English means, at least according to the “ Comic Latin Grammar," which I have studied most profoundly, “I went to Cambridge to become a fast man.” What with music, joke, song, and repartee, added to upsets, overthrows, tumbles, break-downs, fights and wrangles, we approached Richmond ; where the shooter, haying appropriately played “ The Lass of Richmond Hill,” gave us another
specimen of his dog Latin, by exclaiming, “ Poreis volentibus, loctissime epulabimur”—Please the pigs, we'll have a jolly good dinner.” We now drove up to the door of the Star and Garter, where the landlord and a bevy of waiters were in readiness to receive us. The pithy order,
dinner at half-past eight for four-and-twenty-price unlimited,” had had its due effect; and we were ushered into the large room, overlooking the river and the green Meadows of Twickenham.
No sooner had we got rid of the dust, which, despite of the surveyor's notice, we had carried away from the roads without permission, than the bugles played “ The roast beef of Old England,” and dinner was an. nounced. Instead of attempting turtle and difficult entrécs, the spirited proprietor of this excellent hostellerie gave us a superb plain dinnerfreshwater fish of every sort and in the highest perfection, plain and spitchcock eels, water zuchet of all the different tribes of the river finny race, with every sort of flesh and fowl, dressed in the best manner. The wines, too, were of the first quality, and I never recollect passing a more agreeable evening. After dinner the president called upon four or five of the party for a song; and until midnight the song, the catch, and glec went round. There was one of our party, whom I must particularly allude to, as not only being of the most gentlemanlike, kind-hearted creatures in the world, but whose taste and voice as a singer “whips,” as the yankces say, any other that I ever heard. Who, that has heard the “ Bonnie, bonnie Owl,” “ The days that we were tipsy in,” and “ The Shooter's Horn,” will fail to recognise the party I allude to, who, on the occasion I write of, delighted us all with his musical talents, and who, although no follower of Father Mathew, always keeps himself sufficiently steady as to be able, at a moment's notice, to take the reins, should the dragsmen happen to find himself Bacchi plenus.
At twelve o'clock the teams were at the door, and after an hour's drive we were safely landed at Crockford's. The club then was in its zenithi, and around the supper table were gathered all the choice spirits of the day; the Badmington, Horace Twiss's, and the waiters' mixtures, all the choicest concoctions of claret, curagoa, orange juice, and iced soda water, quite the modern nectar, passed freely round, and kept up the hearts of those who had been losers by the day; while it almost maddened with joy those who had come off winners. It was nearly daylight before I reached the Clarendon, highly delighted with my trip to Epsom.
By way of a change, I accompanied a party by the Brighton rail to the Oaks, but it was a dull, flat, and unprofitable affair ; we took our hacks with us, and got out at Stoat's Nest. There was no life, bustle, or excitement; and, instead of the humours of the road, nothing was to be seen but a dingy workman or a gaunt policeman, waving a dirt-stained red flag, as we passed the different stations. I was rather amused with an elderly gentleman who sat opposite to me, who informed me that he was a great railroad traveller, and who expatiated not a little upon the charms of steam power over horse-flesh. Among other drawbacks I ventured to remark that getting one's eye filled with iron dust was not the most agreeable thing in the world. “Wear goggles, as I do," responded the blustering railer, " and carry a magnet with you, that will extract every particle of metal that may happen to get within your eyelids.”
The ride from Stoat's Nest to the Downs, was most agrecable : upon