Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

one hundred and ninety British species | Kingsley was accompanied by his friends of phryganea (?). Phryganea grandis T. Hughes and Tom Taylor. He writes and pantherina are 'flame brown' and eagerly to the former begging him to join 'caperer;' all caddises." Such diligence in his holiday trip. "We may stay two and so many unwearied pains may well or three days at Pen-y-gwyrrryynnwwddrebuke the lazy race of anglers who too elld; there, I can't spell it, but it sounds often fish with a "red spinner," or "blue Pennygoorood, which is the divinest pigupright" without having the least idea sty beneath the canopy, and at Beddgewhat object in nature these nominum lert old Jones, the clerk and king of fishumbræ are meant to represent. We have ermen, will take us in." And he goes met not one but many fly-fishers who had on to mention that he is working at the never so much as heard of Ronald's phryganea. In due time the trip came "Fly-fisher's Entomology," which de-off and was full of fun, as may be gathscribes and figures the commonest of the ered not only from those who shared in insects imitated by the fly-dresser. With it, but from the accounts left of it by Kingsley, to employ a fly of silk and Kingsley. The night before they left, feathers was only an irresistible impulse Tom Taylor, with his usual thoughtfulto make acquaintance with the insect ness, suggested that each of them should itself. He would beat the bushes and write a humorous verse or two in their search the banks of a stream with unwea-host's visitors' book, in order to do him a ried care and attention rather than fail to discover the exact insect on which the fish were that day feeding. Nay, he would even forego angling altogether for the charins of entomology, and be as delighted at the capture of some semi-transparent gauze-winged gnat as another man with taking a three-pound trout. In a word, Kingsley was a scientific and not merely a dilettante fly-fisher. And well is it for his admirers and for fishermen generally that such was his disposition, else they would never have possessed his "Chalk Stream Studies," that treasure of scientific angling.

good turn who had done his best to make them comfortable. Accordingly, the celebrated verses were duly inscribed by the friends, which ere long were torn out of the book, for the sake of the autographs, by some unscrupulous traveller (who will scarcely dare, however, to show his prize), and on being replaced by the kindness of the authors were a second time abstracted. Mrs. Kingsley gives them in full in the biography. Here we shall merely subjoin a characteristic verse of each author.

Tom Taylor.

I came to Pen-y-gwryd with colors armed and
pencils,
But found no use whatever for any such uten-
sils;

So in

default of them I took to using knives

and forks,

made successful drawings — of Mrs.

Owen's corks.

Tom Hughes.
There's big trout, I hear, in Edno, likewise in

Gwynnant Lake,

And the "governor" and "black alder"

To return, however, to the order of time; in 1856 much of his luck seems to have come back to Kingsley. Are we wrong in thinking that the evening's fishing described in the following letter to Tom Hughes was the motif for much of And the evening fishing so pleasantly described in the above-mentioned essay, published in Fraser's Magazine during 1858? "You'll be pleased to hear that I got a fishing at Lady Mildmay's famous Warnborough preserve last night. The day was B. B. B.-burning, baking, and boiling and as still as glass, so I did not tackle to till 5.30, and between that and I grassed twenty fish, weighing twenty-two pounds, besides losing a brace more whoppers. Biggest brace killed three pounds and two pounds, a dead, bright calm and a clear stream. In fifteen minutes I had three fish, two of three pounds, and one of two pounds, but lost one of them after a long fight. Not so shady, Tom, for all on shorm-fly and

caperer.

59

To this year, 1856, belongs that pleas ant fishing-trip to Snowdon in which

are

the flies that they will take; Also the cochybonddhu, but I can only say, If you think to catch big fishes, I only hope

[ocr errors]

you may.

Charles Kingsley.

came to Pen-y-gwryd in frantic hopes of Grilse, salmon, 3-lb. red-fleshed trout, and slaying But

what else there's no saying;

bitter cold, and lashing rain, and black nor'-eastern skies, sir,

Drove me from fish to botany, a sadder man

and wiser.

Here are a few more memoranda to show the still eager angler, with his rod

A visit to his beloved chalk streams at Whitchurch in May, 1863, leads him to write to his wife: "Quite safe here, and so jolly at being on the chalk. Just starting to fish Whit. I took seven brace this afternoon (none very large, but what would be a great day at Wildmoor) in three hours. In a note to Froude we hear a little more of his sport: "After the rain it was charming. They took first a little black gnat, and then settled to a red palmer and the conquering turkey-brown, with which we killed so many here before. My beloved black alder they did not care for; for why? She was not out. I kept seven brace of good fish, and threw in twelve. None over one and a half pounds, though."

which "knows all waters from the top of | pursuit of the nobler quarry, as do so Snowdon and Dartmoor down to lowland many anglers. Loddon and Kennet." In June, 1857, he once more writes of his favorite pastime to Tom Hughes: "I caught a fairish lot on the caperer, which they took as a relish to the May-fly; but the moment they were ashore the May-flies came up. A party with doubtful h's and commercial demeanor appears on Wednesday on our little stream and kills awfully. Throws a beautiful line and catches more than I have in a day for this two years here; fly, a little green drake, with a ridiculous tufted, bright yellow wing, like nothing as ever was. Stood aghast, went home, and dreamed all the spiders' webs by the stream were full of thousands of them, the most beautiful yellow ephemera, with green, peacock-tail heads." That trout alone were not his quarry is amusingly apparent from the next citation (part of a letter later in the year to the same friend): "Sell your last coat and buy a spoon. I have a spoon of huge size (Farlow, his make). I killed forty pounds weight of pike, etc., on it the other day at Strath-ety, and strain of mind broke down their fieldsaye, to the astonishment and delight of, who cut small jokes on "a spoon at each end," etc., but altered his tone when he saw the melancholies coming ashore one every ten minutes, and would try his own hand. I have killed heaps of big pike round with it. I tried it in Lord Eversley's lakes on Monday, when the fish wouldn't have even his fly. Capricious party is Jacques. Next day I killed a seven-pounder at Hurst."

Little more is heard of fishing in the pressure of literary and parochial work until, in July, 1858, Kingsley is seen at Malham Tarn, Yorkshire, and he writes of it: "Simply the best trout-fishing I have ever seen. My largest fish to-day was one and a half pounds (a cold northwester), but with a real day I could kill fifty pounds. Unfortunately, it wants all my big lake flies, which I, never expecting such a treat, left at home. The fishing is the best in the whole earth." Two years after, a great event in every fisherman's memory happened. "Markree Castle, Sligo, July 4, 1860. I have done the deed at last, killed a real, actual, live salmon, over five pounds weight, and lost a whopper from light hooking. Here they were by hundreds, and just as easy to catch as trout; and if the wind would get out of the north, I could kill fifty pounds of them in a day." The rest of his notes show, however, that Kingsley never lost his love for trout-fishing in the

At length a black cloud passes over the clear skies of these happy days, and the shadows of evening draw on apace. Sheer hard work and constant exertion, bodily and mental, begin to tell even upon Kingsley's athletic frame. Controversy, anxi

[ocr errors]

victim, and, after a long illness, he once more writes to T. Hughes, but in a very different key from the former jubilant letters. May, 1865.--I catch a trout now and then out of my ponds (I am too weak for a day's fishing, and the doctors have absolutely forbidden me my salmon). I have had two or three this year of three and two pounds, and a brace to-day near one pound each, so I am not left troutless." And a line to his old friend, Rev. P. L. Wood, in 1873, strikes a still sadder chord. "God bless you! shall we not kill a trout together again?" This is amongst his last utterances on fishing. More important matters and deeper truths employ his thoughts. Illness increased, and he set sail for America, where he grows enthusiastic on the beauty of the pine forests and rocky trout-streams; but we do not hear of any fishing, though he writes from Quebec: "The bishop here is a Hampshire man and a trout-fisher," and sends a message to his son, "Tell him there are lots of trout here but it is too hot to catch them." Ere long the chronicle ends but too abruptly.

These scattered notices display not merely an ardent but a scientific angler. The contemplative side of the gentle art, with all the virtues with which our fore fathers were wont to endow its professor, from Dame Juliana Berners's time to the days of "Salmonia," was strongly represented, as we have seen, in Charles Kings

--

ley. It is not enough for him to catch fish; he must know the reason why such and such a lure proves tempting in one kind of weather more than in another. Even he, however, could not penetrate that inscrutable mystery which surrounds the apparently capricious commencement and sudden cessation of fishes rising to fly. Like the humblest follower of the craft, he can but murmur, "Unknown atmospheric conditions." But the boylike eagerness of Kingsley for the water-side is balanced, as it were, by the keen eye and thoughtful judgment of manhood. Nothing escapes his notice by the troutstream - bird, beast, fly, flower, all come under his eye, and are duly recorded; not one of nature's marvels is passed by unnoticed. And so it comes to pass that Kingsley's piscatorial writings (alas! all too few) breathe the balmy air of a summer's eve, when the swallows glance and snap up the hovering May-fly from the very jaws of the eager trout. To read a page of his exquisitely natural writing when he has his rod in hand delights an angler only just short of actual participation in the same joys. Literary interest -such, for instance, as breaks out in Wilson's more impassioned rhapsodies on fishing is conspicuously absent from his words, pure and sparkling as the air of his Hampshire meadows; but just because they are so exquisitely true to the angler's simple pleasures are they so highly valued by brother disciples. When he is pleased to be didactic we listen with eager attention, certain that some secret of air or water hitherto undreamt of will be revealed to us; and we are never bored, as, sooth to say, Halieus and Poietes occasionally do bore us in the philosophical pages of Sir H. Davy. Every fly-fisherman must gratefully ac knowledge that his trout-stream has been rendered more attractive since he perused Kingsley's charming" Chalk Stream Studies" and his eyes were unsealed to nature's beauty by the tone of thankful admiration which runs through them. And this, we opine, is what would most have gratified their author.

A few words might have been added on these same "Chalk Stream Studies," which we regard as the model of a fishing essay, but the last paragraph almost renders them needless. As a model of lucid exposition in fishing matters, a sparkling narrative which must suggest to every First published in Fraser's Magazine, September,

Now accessible in the author's volume of

1858. "Prose Idylls."

angling reader memories of similar happy days at the water-side, above all, as an essay stamped with all the earnest versatility of its lamented author, "Chalk Stream Studies" will long continue to bear off the palm among the numerous papers which have since been written in the same style. Its freshness is peren. nial as our favorite trout-stream in meadows where "the crystal water sparkles among the roots of the rich grass, and hurries down innumerable drains to find its parent stream between tufts of great blue geranium, and spires of purple loosestrife, and the delicate pink and white comfrey bells, and the avens fairest and most modest of all the water-side nymphs, who hangs her head all day long in pretty shame, with a soft blush upon her tawny cheek." Its love of nature and the many fanciful touches which adorn it, as in the words just quoted, betray the divine vision of the poet. Genial, pleasant, and full of thoughtfulness to the keepers and underlings who so greatly minister to the angler's amusement, no better essay could be placed in the hands of a tiro or of one who was wont to think scornfully of the angler's craft. Had Kingsley written nothing but this one fishing essay, he would have deserved well of many a generation of anglers. Nor are the higher lessons of the craft ever forgotten in the fulness of its delight in the beautiful. It is indeed

A work of thanks to such as in a thing
Of harmless pleasure have regard to save
Their dearest souls from sin; and may intend
Of precious time some part thereon to spend.*

Water-side pleasures have been celebrated by Kingsley in his other books, but there is no need to pursue the subject further. Other anglers may have excelled him in delicacy and length of casting; it is only natural that abundance of leisure in which to practise the mechanical parts of fishing should result, with any devotee of the science, in the attainment of high manual dexterity. Other men may have been more invariably fortunate in catching fish, which also means generally that such men have the power of choosing only those days in which the stream will "fish well," as the saying is, and enjoy a longer acquaintance with the habits of the fish which frequent it; whereas, one whose fishing-days are snatched with difficulty from more serious work, and who is not wholly dependent upon weather-wisdom,

Secrets of Angling. By I. D. (written before 1613)

will of course frequently fail to catch | selves at Andai Village, where a German many fish. Others, too, may possess a missionary resides. Here they had a larger acquaintance with the literature of house built, which was their headquarters the craft. But in knowledge of flies and fish, in all that pertains to the higher branches of fly-fishing, extending beyond the confines of natural theology, imagination, and fancy, no name in the present generation of anglers ranks higher than that of Charles Kingsley.

NEW GUINEA.

From Nature.

OF the few travellers who have attempted to explore the great island of New Guinea, Signor d'Albertis must undoubtedly be considered the chief, since he alone has made extensive and repeated journeys both in the north-western and the south-eastern parts of the island, and has thus been able to examine and compare some of the most distinct tribes or races which inhabit the country. The narrative of his travels has therefore been looked for with some interest, for though several of his journeys have been more or less fully described in newspapers and magazines, it was felt that much must remain to be told, and that so energetic a traveller would probably be able to throw some fuller light on the hitherto doubtful affinities and relations of the Papuan

races.

Leaving Genoa in November, 1871, in company with the well-known traveller and botanist Dr. Beccari, and making short excursions in Java and the Moluccas, our travellers hired a small schooner at Amboyna in March, 1872, to take them to Outanata, on the south coast of New Guinea; and after some delays at Goram seeking a pilot and interpreter, on April 9 D'Albertis records in his journal: "A memorable day! At last I tread the mysterious land. At last, leaping on shore this morning, I exclaimed, We are in New Guinea!"

till November, and D'Albertis succeeded in spending some weeks at Hatam, a village on Mount Arfak, about thirty-five hundred feet above the sea, and in the midst of the forests inhabited by the finest and rarest of the birds of paradise. On the very day after his arrival here he shot both the shielded and the six-shafted paradise-birds (Lophorina atra and Parotia sexpennis), two species which had certainly never before been seen alive or freshly killed by any European; and before he left this spot he obtained many other rare species, besides an altogether new and beautiful kind, which has been named Drepanornis albertisii.

Constant attacks of fever and dropsy, however, reduced him to such a state of weakness that it was absolutely necessary to seek a change of climate, and returning to Amboyna he was taken by an Italian man-of-war to Sydney, making some stay at the Aru Islands and south-eastern New Guinea on the way. Thence he went home by way of the Sandwich Islands, San Francisco, and New York, reaching Europe in April, 1874, and thus terminating his first voyage to the far east.

When leaving Dorey in the end of 1872 he had determined to return to the north coast and to penetrate further into its forest-clad mountains, but the subsequent journeys of Dr. Mayer, of which he heard at Sydney, and Dr. Beccari's intention to return to the same district, induced him to turn his attention to the south, where he had obtained from the natives the skin of a new bird of paradise, and where the lofty ranges of Mount Yule and Mount Stanley offered the prospect of an equally rich and still less known exploring ground. Accordingly in December, 1874, he reached Somerset (Cape York) by way of Singapore, with the intention of settling at Yule Island, which he had before fixed upon as convenient headquarters for the exploration of southern New Guinea. Finding no safe or convenient place to After some difficulty and delay he reached stay at on the south coast, they proceeded the island on March 17, and finding the to Salwati and fixed their abode for some natives friendly obtained permission to time at Sorong, a small island close to the occupy some land and build a house. north-western extremity of the mainland Here he stayed till November, having of Papua. From this point they made with him a young Italian, two Cingalese, excursions into the interior, and D'Al- and five Polynesians; making large colbertis resided some time at the inland lections of natural history, exploring the village of Ramoi, where he was near dying island and the shores of the mainland, but of dropsy and fever. They then went in being quite unsuccessful in his attempts a native vessel to Dorey Harbor, where to reach even the foot of the great mounthey arrived in August, and settled them-tains of the interior.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This completes the first volume, which | ers, and so cowed the whole crew that contains by far the most interesting mat- they became quiet and submissive for the ter both to the naturalist and to the gen- rest of the voyage. An admirable portrait eral reader. The second volume is of one of these Dorey Papuans (Fanduri) devoted to a detailed journal of three suc-is given, and the present writer can almost cessive voyages up the Fly River, the first believe that he recognizes in it one of his in the missionary steamer "Ellangowan," own acquaintances at Dorey in 1858. the two others in a small steam-launch, the "Neva," lent him by the governor of New South Wales. On the second and most successful of these voyages D'Albertis penetrated to the very centre of the great southern mass of New Guinea, reaching the hilly country, but not the great central range of mountains, of which a few glimpses were obtained at a considerable distance.

The first impression produced by the careful perusal of these volumes is, that Signor d'Albertis has all the best qualities of an explorer-enthusiasm, boldness, and resource, a deep love of nature, great humanity, and an amount of sympathy with savages which enables him to read their motives and appreciate the good qualities which they possess. To the character of a scientific traveller he makes no claim, and those who expect to find any sound generalizations from the results of his observations will in all probability be disappointed. Let us, however, by a few examples and illustrative passages, enable our author to speak for himself.

[ocr errors]

More amusing was the way in which Signor d'Albertis made use of the aneroid on his journey to Hatam. His porters, who had agreed to take him there for a fixed payment, stopped at a village to rest; and on being told to go on, said, This is Hatam; pay us our wages.' He knew however, both by the distance and elevation, that they were deceiving him, and told them so, but they again said, "This is Hatam; pay us. How do you know that this is not Hatam?" He then took his aneroid out of his pocket, and laying his finger on a point of the scale said, "Here is Hatam; this thing tells me where it is;" and then explained that when they got higher up the mountain the index would move, and when they reached Hatam it would come to the point he had marked. This astonished them greatly, but they would not believe it without proof. So he let one of them carry it himself to the top of a small hill near, when they saw that the index had moved, and on coming down that it moved back again. This quite satisfied them. They acknowledged that the white man knew where he was going, and could not be deceived, so they at once said, rest to-day; to-morrow we will go to Hatam." Of course every man and woman in the village wanted to see the little thing that told the stranger where lay the most remote villages of the forest; and thus the traveller's influence was increased, and perhaps his personal safety secured.

While residing at the village of Ramoi he became prostrated by fever, and was besides almost starving, for the natives would sell him nothing neither would they carry his baggage to enable him to return to Sorong. Determining however, not to die there without an effort, he sent for some of the chiefs to speak to him, and then grasping his loaded revolver assured them that unless they gave him men at once to assist him to leave the place not one of them should quit his hut alive. The plan succeeded. One was allowed to go and fetch the men, the others remaining as hostages, and the revolver never left his hand till his baggage was all on board the canoe. A little later when the travellers were on their way to Dorey, the native crew were very insolent, and boasted that when they reached their own country they would kill all the white men. D'Albertís, hearing this, asked the man if he dared to repeat it, and on his doing so suddenly seized him by the throat and pitched him overboard. He was, of course, on board again in a moment, and instantly seized a bamboo to attack our travellers, but they exhibited their revolv- |

"Let us

In his second journey he provided himself with dynamite and rockets, which were very effectual in frightening the savages and giving him moral power over them. At Yule Island he was on excellent terms with the natives, on whom he conferred many benefits. Yet during his absence on an exploration his house was entered and a large quantity of goods stolen. In recovering these and firmly establishing his power and influence he showed great ingenuity. Calling the chiefs and other natives together who all pretended great regret at his loss, though the robbery must have been effected with their connivance - he told them that he was determined to have his property back, and that if it was not

« VorigeDoorgaan »