He does not pretend to have written anything new, but to have attempted to put what he has to say in as readable a form as possible.
Everything in the way of the history and habits of fish has been studiously avoided, and technicalities have been used as sparingly as possible. The writing of this book has afforded him pleasure in his leisure moments, and that pleasure would be much increased if he knew that the perusal of it would create any bond of sympathy between himself and the angling community in general.
This section is interleaved with blank shects for the readers notes.
The Author need hardly say that any suggestions addressed to the case of the publishers, will meet with consideration in a future edition. We do not pretend to write or enlarge upon a new subject. Much has been said and written-and well said and written too on the art of fishing but loch-fishing has been rather looked upon as a second-rate performance, and to dispel this idea is one of the objects for which this present treatise has been written.
Far be it from us to say anything against fishing, lawfully practised in any form but many pent up in our large towns will bear us out when me say that, on the whole, a days loch-fishing is the most convenient.
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One great matter is, that the loch-fisher is depend- ent on nothing but enough wind to curl the water, -and on a large loch it is very seldom that a dead calm prevails all day, -and can make his arrangements for a day, weeks beforehand whereas the stream- fisher is dependent for a good take on the state of the water and however pleasant and easy it may be for one living near the banks of a good trout stream or river, it is quite another matter to arrange for a days river-fishing, if one is looking forward to a holiday at a date some weeks ahead. Providence may favour the expectant angler with a good day, and the water in order but experience has taught most of us that the good days are in the minority, and that, as is the case with our rapid running streams, -such as many of our northern streams are, -the water is either too large or too small, unless, as previously remarked, you live near at hand, and can catch it at its best.
Like him, the fauns and satyrs had furry, pointed ears, and little horns that sprouted above their brows; in fact, they were all enough like wild creatures to seem no strangers to anything untamed. They slept in the sun, piped in the shade, and lived on wild grapes and the nuts that every squirrel was ready to share with them.
Mythology folk tales
The woods were never lonely. A man might wander away into those solitudes and think himself friendless; but here and there a river knew, and a tree could tell, a story of its own. Beautiful creatures they were, that for one reason or another had left off human shape.
Some had been transformed against their will, that they might do no more harm to their fellow-men. Some were changed through the pity of the gods, that they might share the simple life of Pan, mindless of mortal cares, glad in rain and sunshine, and always close to the heart of the Earth.
There was Dryope, for instance, the lotus-tree.
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Once a careless, happy woman, walking among the trees with her sister Iole and her own baby, she had broken a lotus that held a live nymph hidden, and blood dripped from the wounded plant. Too late, Dryope saw her heedlessness; and there her steps had taken root, and there she had said good-by to her child, and prayed Iole to bring him sometimes to play beneath her shadow.
Poor mother-tree! Perhaps she took comfort with the birds and gave a kindly shelter to some nest. There, too, was Echo, once a wood-nymph who angered the goddess Juno with her waste of words, and was compelled now to wait till others spoke, and then to say nothing but their last word, like any mocking-bird. One day she saw and loved the youth Narcissus, who was searching the woods for his hunting companions.
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But the youth, angry at such mimicry, only stared at her and hastened away. From that time she faded to a voice, and to this day she lurks hidden and silent till you call. But Narcissus himself was destined to fall in love with a shadow. For, leaning over the edge of a brook one day, he saw his own beautiful face looking up at him like a water-nymph. He leaned nearer, and the face rose towards him, but when he touched the surface it was gone in a hundred ripples.
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Day after day he besought the lovely creature to have pity and to speak; but it mocked him with his own tears and smiles, and he forgot all else, until he changed into a flower that leans over to see its image in the pool. There, too, was the sunflower Clytie, once a maiden who thought nothing so beautiful as the sun-god Phoebus Apollo. All the day long she used to look after him as he journeyed across the heavens in his golden chariot, until she came to be a fair rooted plant that ever turns its head to watch the sun. Many like were there.
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