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money, and shoots, and fishes, and tells tough yarns for a living. His uncle manages his estate, for although Ned is now of age, yet he don't want to deprive the old man of the commissions; and, besides, ever since Ned got his bachelor's diploma, he has forgotten his Greek and Trigonometry, without which, no man can be an executor. Ned, although not strictly pious, delights not in things of this world. Mere terrestrial axioms know no lodgement in his confidence. His meditations and labors are in another sphere, an universe of his own creation. And yet, he believes himself to be a plain, practical, matter-of-fact man; one who has no fancy, who never tells his dreams for truths, nor adds a single bird or fish in the story of the sum total of his successes. There is no design, upon his part, in the choice of his place of existence, or the description of his sensations and actions. The fault, if any, lies in his original composition; his father and mother are to be blamed for it, not he. His eyes and ears are not as the eyes and ears of other men, and, truly, so is not his tongue. There is an investiture of unearthliness about every thing he sees and hears. By day, and by night, he is contemplating a constant mirage. He never admired a woman on account of her having flesh, blood, bosom, lips, and such things ; but, while he gazed, he worshipped some fairy incarnation, that enveloped and adorned her with unearthly grace, and hypercelestial sweetnesses. Even in his reading he is an original. He never gives to a fine passage in Shakespeare its ordinary interpretation ; but the brilliant light of the poet's thought, is crooked, and thrown off, and sometimes made a caricature rainbow of, by the refraction of his cloudy imagination. His aunt sent him, one new-year’s day, when he was at college, an old copy of the Septuagint, which she had picked up at the auction sale of the effects of a demised ecclesiastic. On re
ceiving the present, he wrote upon the fly-leaf, what he considered to be the apposite sentiments of Mark Antony
“Let but the commons hear this testament,
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read ;" —
That was Ned, all over. With such a constitution, it is quite possible that he may seem, to those men who always want the actual proof of a thing, chapter and verse, to be rather given to romance. Ned hates such people. So do I. They are without faith, earth-bound, and live by sense alone, grossly.
I am, I don't know what I am, exactly. I'm a distant relative of Ned,-a blossom off one of the poor branches of the family. I "expect" I'm a kind of a loafer. I'm Ned's friend, and he's mine. I'm his moralist, and minister, and tiger, and kind of tutor, and he lends me money. I certainly intend to repay him; though I don't owe him much now, by the by, for I have won all the bets we have made lately, as might naturally be presumed-Ned always bets so wildly. We keep along pretty square. Ned's a good fellow. If I only say, “Ned, I'm rather short, to-day, how are you?" he'll give me a draft on his uncle, for a cool hundred. We play picquet, too, now and then, and cassino, and all-fours, a little. I can beat him at those games. I keep my account at the Tea-water Pump. I have thought of getting into some kind of business, -I think I am calculated for it; but my affection for Ned will not permit me to leave him. We were both “ licked” by Joe Nelson, the blind schoolmaster, and hectored by his twinheaded understrapper; and we were classmates in old Columbia, and put into practice the doctrines of forces, and action and reaction at Robinson's, during intermission hours, and were always together. So we ride about and take our comfort.
There was one eminent qualification, which was possessed by each of the trio above outlined, in monopoly without statute. We could each cut down a leather-head, flying by a point of marsh before a strong north-wester, sixty yards off, nineteen times out of twenty. That is a fact; and there are not many men beside us and John Verity, and Raynor Rock, who are up to that performance. Uncle Ben Raynor could do it once, , and Dan thinks he can do it now; but, as Peter Probasco says, “I have my doubts.” Multitudinous sportsmen may shoot well, but none but a man of true genius can shoot splendidly. Shooting, in its refinement and glory, is not an acquired art. A man must be a born shot as much as he must be a born poet. You may learn to wing-break a starved pigeon, sprung out of a trap, fifteen or twenty yards off, but to stop a cock in a thick brake, where you can see him only with the eye of faith ; or to kill a vigorous coot, cutting the keen air, at daybreak, at the rate of three miles a minute, requires an eye, and a hand, and a heart, which science cannot manufacture. The doctrine of Pliny, the naturalist, contained in his chapter on black ducks, is correct beyond a question. "Legere et scribere, est pædagogi, sed optime collineare, est Dei." Reading and writing are inflicted by schoolmasters, but a crack shot is the work of God." Them's my sentiments," as Peter again says.
The same doctrine has been truly declared of angling. No genuine piscator ever tabernacled at Fireplace, or Stump-pond, who could not exhibit proofs of great natural delicacy, and strength of apprehension—I mean of things in general,” including fish. But the “vis vivida animi," the “ os magna sonans,” the “manus mentis," the divine rapture of the seduction of a trout, how few have known the apotheosis ! The creative power of genius can make a feather-fly live, and move, and have being; and a wisely.stricken fish gives up the ghost in transports. That puts me in mind of a story of Ned Locus. Ned swears that he once threw a fly so far, and delicately, and suspendedly, that just as it was dropping upon the water, after lying a moment in the scarcely-moving air, as though it knew no law of gravity, it actually took life and wings, and would have flown away, but that an old four-pounder, seeing it start, sprang and jumped at it, full a foot out of his element, and changed the course of the insect's travel, from the upper air to the bottom of his throat. That is one of Ned's, and I do not guarantee it; but such a thing might be. Insects are called into being in a variety of mysterious ways, as all the world knows; for instance, the animalculæ that appear in the neighborhood of departed horses ; and, as Ned says, if death can create life, what is the reason a smart man can't? Good fisherinen are generally great lawyers ; ecce signa, Patrick Henry, and Daniel Webster. I have known this rule, however, to have exceptions. But the true sportsman is always, at least, a man of genius, and an honest man. I have either read or heard some one say, and I am sure it is the fact, that there never was an instance of a sincere lover of a dog, gun, and rod, being sent to bridewell or penitentiary. Jails they did whilom affect, before John Doe and Richard Roe were banished from the state, and when an unhappy devil might be held to bail to answer for his misfortunes; but although they have experienced much affliction under the issue of “ non assumpsit,” never was there one who suffered judgment upon the finding of a jury on the plea of “not guilty.” If I were governor, and knew a case, I would exert the pardoning power without making any inquiry. I should determine, without waiting to hear a single fact, that the man was convicted by means of perjury. There is a plain reason for all this. A
genuine sportsman must possess a combination of virtues, which will fill him so full that no room can be lest for sin to
He must be an early riser—to be which is the beginning of all virtue-ambitious, temperate, prudent, patient of toil, fatigue, and disappointment, courageous, watchful, intent upon his business, always ready, confident, cool, kind to his dog, civil to the girls, and courteous to his brother sports
This discourse hath brought us in front of the fishing-hut of Raynor Rock, near the lighthouse on the beach. Rest thee, now, most weary reader,- for we have had a lony sail, with a head wind and a wei sheet,—while I rehearse the causes that have brought Sir Raynor, and his crew of twenty picked boys, — picked up along shore, — down to this desolate spot. Streaked bass and wild fowl are the motives of their sojournment. The former are sparkling in the surf, and making love to, and eating up each other; the latter cluster in the inlets, and stream above the breakers. The net carries into captivity them of the sea ; powder and shot superinduce widowhood and orphanage upon the tenants of the air. Fulton Market, and the cooks of the board of aldermen know the rest. Hence arise wise ordinances and stomachs sleek; and Raynor and the boys are glad in the silver music that rings in their presseddown pockets. “Proba merx facile emptorem invenit."
We arrived at Raynor's just about dark, and the boys had all turned in, to get a good nap, before the tide served for drawing the seine,-all but Raynor, who was half sitting, half lying on the plentiful straw by the fire in the centre of the hut, smoking his quiet pipe. We entered, and grasped the welcoming hand of as clever a fellow-both Yankee and English clever—as ever sat foot on Matowacs.
“ Hullow! hullow! hullow! wake up, boys! wake up!