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and Mr. Marjoribanks' anticipations were blighted by a misadventure. Nevertheless, the latter gentleman determined to show against the Newmarket "cock of the walk," and purchased, at an enormous expense, from Ibrahim Pacha, the highest blood that could be procured from Arabia, The horse was landed at Bussorah and arrived safely in Calcutta. The match came off on the Calcutta race-course, eight pounds being given to the native of the East. The weights were, I think, 11st. to 10st. 4lb.: distance, one mile and three-quarters round, the course being oval. Old Frank Frost backed Recruit, whilst Esterhazy was attended by an amateur. Time four minutes. Recruit won by a length.
Upon a second occasion Esterhazy challenged his opponent under an understanding that the latter should give him a stone. This was agreed upon the race was run over the same ground; and Recruit came in the winner by half a length.
A third match came of, on the same course, between the two nags. Mr. Marjoribanks solicited General (then Major) Gilbert to allow him two pounds upon Recruit. "What!" replied the Major; "do you wish me to break my horse's back? I'll think of it." A few days afterwards, he consented to the proposal of Mr. M. The race came off as before. Heavy bets were depending upon the occasion. Both steeds came up to the post in prime and promising condition. This was to be the last race ever again to be run by Recruit on an Indian race-course. Three to four on the English nag, before starting; twenty to five immediately followed, as the horn proclaimed the start. For the first mile it was a bursting pace for both the flyers: the weight told sensibly upon the Major's "all and everything. It was a trial of speed against last. On turning the jail boundary, the Arab showed symptoms of "bellows to mend." His wind was evidently at a discount; and Recruit was by his side, as it were in the act of keeping him company, until he came up to the distance post, when, being let out, he turned his back upon his companion, and came in twelve lengths before him, in a canter.
This horse was disposed of to the King of Oude by the Major, and was retained on that prince's establishment as a sire for breeding purposes.
The Arabs are admirably well calculated for short mile heats; but they cannot come up to the stride effected by an English horse of blood and good training.
OLD REMINISCENCES OF YOUNG FISHING DAYS.
BY THEOPHILUS SOUTH.
"But Theo.," interposed Mrs. Percy, "tell us of your Waltonian novitiate."
"Needs must,"" responded Mr. South, "when the dahem! when the ladies desire. And so time passed on; and thence my spirit slept till England's then brightest laurels were won, and Waterloo gave peace to the world. There's grandeloquence for you!"
"I pray you proceed, South," remonstrated ir. Percy; "I am deeply interested."
Meanwhile, I had been kept in strictest bounds at a second school, near to which birch grew too plentifully to allow of the smallest breach of discipline. But about the period of the glorious 18th June, 1815, I was removed to a third school, where we were all bigger boys,' and where we had much liberty, and also the inculcation of a discretion never to abuse it. 'Twas at that venerable old school of Tonbridge, on the Medway and its innumerable tributaries. Here, under favourable auspices, I commenced fishing in earnest, and soon became such a 'dab after minnows,' as to supply many an ample meal for my favoured chum and self. Well I remember with what goût we reduced them to a kind of water souchet, stewing them in salt and water, and butter and parsley, in a style no doubt superior, according to our juvenile tastes, to all the white-bait feasts ever sat down to, by aldermen 'good capon lined,' at Blackwall and its neighbourhood. At my first holidays, did not my father give me a handful of money? and did not my brother, out of his limited store, buy me a splendid six-and-sixpenny rod with three joints! and a Chinese twist line, and float, and half-a-dozen hooks! and was there then a prouder youth in Christendom? And now I sallied with my (I was going to say 'favourite' sister, but they were all favourites) with my sister Mary, to my uncle's estate, and soon got at the cruciant carp and small tench ponds; and there, under the direction of the gamekeeper, we speedily caught fish. Mary by my side, how sweetly passed my noontide hours! she carrying the basket, unhooking my fish caught at one rod, while I went to examine the interest which my two or three others were paying me in the meantime. Excuse me, but I cannot help telling you of a beautiful little trait in her character, so congenial to the softer tender-hearted sex, Percy.
"We got to a narrow sluggish stream, one day, in which there were a few trout in every deep hole, which had no doubt found their way from the river Arun during the higher waters of winter. Ever and anon I caught a fish, which she unhooked: but oh! that wicked Mary! I had counted fourteen nice little trout, as pretty as ever swam; but when I came to look into the basket, in order to lay out my speckled prizes to the best advantage on the fresh wetted grass, preparatory to returning home- One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! That's not all! Why, Mary, where are the rest? Sure you've dropped them out of the basket; let us walk back.' And so she allowed us to do for a full mile, and searched and searched in vain. I looked upon her. She blushed, and drooped her head in silence. I grew vexed: 'This is too bad, Mary 'tis the third time I've caught more fish than we've carried home. You must have lost them: you shall not fish with me again.'
"The colour left her beauteous dimpled cheek; her bright eyes became dimmed with a gathering tear. Forgive me, brother: indeed I could not resist it.'
"Resist what?' cried I, still angry, but relenting as I saw my sister pained Resist what? Where are the fish? Come, tell me; I'll not be angry.'
"The rest are living in the stream,' she said; they looked so fresh and beautiful, their full bright eyes cast upon me so imploringly, telling me their poor short lives were at my mercy, I could not restrain my
compassion; so, while you went to your other rods, I let them glide out of my hand quietly into the water. Don't be vexed, dear brother. Believe me, I could not resist their appealing looks. My heart melted while I gazed upon them.'
"And could I resist those appealing, imploring eyes of one SO cherished? She had shown 'mercy' to the fish, could I refuse mercy to her? No! down I dropped rod and basket; I clasped her to my arms; kissed the kiss of love and peace, wiped her dewy cheeks, and told her she should always go fishing with me, but that I would carry the basket, and basket the fish. She entreated; and her loving ways prevailed; and it was ultimately settled that she should still continue to carry them, but never indulge in woman's propensity, 'curiosity,' and thus avoid the temptation of another repetition of the trick. However, I never counted my fish after that, in her company, till I got fairly home; and nevertheless we had many a happy day's fishing together.
"Well, when I returned to school, I did not neglect my books; and yet I studied my hooks. It was the very neighbourhood for fishing. Roach, dace, chub, carp, a few tench, perch, pike, and a few trout were at hand; and many of most of them I grossly deluded unto death. Shall I forget one muddy day in March, seeing in Medway's silent stream the first large pike?-about a yard long; no less! How that set my aspiration to work! But then came the effect on my propensities, wrought by the incidental discovery, one evening, in a narrow deep dyke attached to the old domains of Tonbridge Castle, of very numerous monstrous carp! I never experienced greater astonishment than on so unexpectedly beholding them, where no one, as I thought, dreamt of their existence. Ten!-twelve-fourteen pounds in weight! Having permission to fish all round the neighbourhood hard by, I deemed it no harm to try there-(I never poached but once in my life)-and try I did. I had just managed to get my hook down through the matted lily leaves; and just saw a nibble; expectation was at its height, when a warning voice horrified my ears with-You must not fish here sir.' The speaker was a kind-hearted fellow, whom I knew; but he was the gamekeeper. I begged and pressed in vain: 'twas more than his situation was worth.' And away I was obliged to trudge. The good fellow, however, seeing my downcast looks, led me to a hole 'unpreserved, and causing me to fit up an apology for more proper tackle, pretended to make me catch my first pike-no less than what then was to me a monster, of six pounds weight! but in fact it was he that hooked it, and landed it, and everything. However, I still dreamt of the carp; and how to obtain permission to circumvent them became my most carnest care. I applied in a straightforward, honest manner, with all humility, to the owner of the castle, who knew me by name, &c. But shall I say it? he is the only owner of a fishery who has ever refused me permission. Many is the time when I have since done a similar 'doing,' as a perfect stranger, and representing who and what I was, I have been invariably answered by a permission,' and mostly received and welcomed as an honoured guest on the occasion. Give me my juvenile scrap-book, Alice, at your elbow. Here is one answer, out of the many I have treasured."
"Read it to us, South," said Mr. Percy.
"That I will willingly; for I have preserved it rather in honour for the writer, in token of his kindly disposition, than from any family pride within me:
'Mr. -'s learned father cannot be considered a stranger to any owner of a fishery. Mr. L therefore presents his compliments, and encloses a ticket to angle in the waters of the Lea, at Eufield Lock. The date is left blank for Mr. convenience.
'Waltham Abbey, Tuesday morning.'
However, to return to school-days: I next prevailed on a schoolfellow, who used to visit the then owner of Tonbridge Castle every Sunday, to back my petition. He did so; yet still the crabbed owner remained inexorable. What! refuse permission to a mere lad to try, and in such a weedy place, to catch large carp? Bah! why his youth, the weeds, and the fish's known strength and cunning were sufficient to ensure their safety. Had I become poacher, and remained so all my life, and robbed him of all his fish, I do think the sin would have been carried to his debtor-account, not mine! But I did not, the rather maintaining the discretion allowed us by our reverend master, and by my forbearance enjoyed many and many an hour's fishing elsewhere, till I became the best fisher in the school, bad though that was; and had even the honour of lending my rod and tackle to the once, and why not ever celebrated Dr. Vicissimus Knox? with whom in consequence I became somewhat a favourite. He, in return, introduced me to Summer Hill,' where I had many a happy ramble. He introduced me, too, to the Postern,' where I caught fish when I pleased, and IF I could, and spent happy hours and made friends that have lasted until now. And his son, my reverend master, what did he in return? He took me with him shooting, gave me the authority to protect his pointers, poor Pluto' and 'Juno bright,' from more evil-disposed boys than myself; and when an usher attempted to bully me unjustly, why he hated him thenceforth. Let me finish my school-days with this, that I loved that reverend man."
"Reverend and hating!" expostulated Alice; "surely, cousin, your master's cloth should have forbade him hating anyone!"
"Aye, in truth you're right, Alice; and I was wrong," replied South. ""Twas only my figurative mode of expressing it. The Greeks had no medium 'twixt love and hate. My master, to speak as you would approve of, distrusted his usher, and got rid of him."
"Dear coz.," cried the appeased young lady, "why don't you go out fishing somewhere near, and take us with you? We'd have such a nice pic-nic."
Nonsense, child," objected the desponding South; "a pic-nic in Jamaica! But Percy," he continued, "here in the old Dr. Knox is another instance which never struck me till now, of men of vast intellect being fishers; and I really feel proud that I have an opportunity, though late, of adding his name to the list of piscators.
"I can tell you little more, my good friends, because the combat thickens too much to particularize. Leaving school, I ceased to care so much for bottom fishing, and became a fly-fisher."
"What's a fly-fisher, cousin ?" interrupted the enquiring Alice. "Don't you catch butterflies?" said the provoking angler.
you're a fly-catcher. And don't I catch fish? Well, then I am a flyfisher; that's all the difference, by the rules of chop logic. Never mind, Alice; I'll show you all about it one day or other."
"Marian," exclaimed Mr. South suddenly, addressing Mrs. Percy, "don't you remember the stream that ran near to my father's house? Stream I call it now; it was called River once, and may be still; where oft, it may be said, the blood of Rome and Britain mingled; a stream which carried to Old Father Thames the blood of Goth, of Saxon, and of Norman."
"Come, come," cried Mrs. Percy, "I know what you mean; but do not pretend to be so profound, nor teach such arrant nonsense: you mean the Dart or Darent. I know it afforded you sport and amusement, and me one happy never-to-be-forgotten day of pleasure unalloyed, and a few tastings of very nice trout, while at my uncle's, as a child, and in your company."
"Really, sweet cousin," still persisted Mr. South, "it is very well for you to call it nonsense; but what, at all events, did Hengist and Horsa and the two sons of Vortigern on the Darent? You know that the Saxon and British blood, then spilt, turned the trout in the river so beautifully red, and made them so rich; just as much as that all the cray fish in the neighbouring crays at Crayford, and North Cray, and Foot's Cray, and St. Paul's Cray, and St. Mary's Cray, and all the other Crays, were all black until after the total defeat of the Britons at Crayford in A.D.
'Yes, just as much," replied Mrs. Percy, " and no more.' Nay, good Marian," cried Mr. South, "do not you desert me. Be appeased, I pray you. Well, good people, to be serious, I was cast near the Darent, which is a trout-stream. Now you are aware, Percy, that a trout-stream is different from any other stream, and there are scarcely any other fish than trout and their prey in a troutstream. So, if you wish to catch fish there, you must wish to catch trout; and if you wish to catch trout, you must learn how. You may try with a worm for bait, and be deemed a poacher, and be turned off, if you like; but if you wish to continue fishing, or to maintain peace, or to derive any credit, you must try with a fly, and that an artificial one only; and you must learn to throw it, so that the fly artificial shall alight on the water like the fly natural. Here was a leap for me to take! How my scholastics felt humbled! However, I have said I was innately a fisherman; so fear nothing. Tom, dear Tom, gave me a new splendid fly rod. But stay; where are my keys!" exclaimed Mr. South, starting from his chair, and ordering a servant to bring from his room' the long blue box,' which he unlocked, selecting from others taken from its recess a brownholland case, in which was deposited the carefully-cherished gift of early brotherly love. He continued:
"Here it is-bright, new, and strong as ever. How many a happy hour, how many a speckled prize, hast thou yielded to me, thou pledge of brother's love!"
"What's this inscription?" interrogated Mr. Percy, examining the rod handed to him by the enthusiastic angler: Theophilus South, Esquire.' Come, my friend, you were not dubbed so carly as that, South?"