The trout in the Eaulne are only small, but in some spots are tolerably abundant. I enjoyed pretty good sport for four or five hours, but I obtained nearly the whole of the fish with the fly; a black body and ginger coloured wings was this day the favourite. The country up the higher sections of this stream is very beautiful, and there are many delightful views which would look admirable on canvass.

Some Dieppe anglers, both English and French, prefer the waters of the Béthune to those of the Eaulne, on account of the larger trout which are found in the former. This ground of preference seems to be well grounded, for the fish are decidedly larger in the Béthune, though not 30 numerous as in the Eaulne. And I have found this an invariable law in nature in all rivers I have visited. Whenever trout are above the average size of those of other neighbouring streams they are comparatively fewer in number. Every angler who has fished the tributaries to the river Tweed must have had the verification of this rule of nature presented to his notice in a very marked and pointed manner. I have seen trout in streams running opposite to each other into this splendid river, so remarkably different in colour, size, number, and flavour, that one is almost inclined to consider them two separate species of fish.

The cause of this great variety among trout may be traced, in a great measure, to the different kinds of water they inhabit. The food on which they live is varied in quality and quantity by the nature of the soil over which the waters flow. In an open country where there is nothing but solid rocks, or an uninterrupted bed of gravel, food is scantily procured, and the fish are constantly upon the move to preserve their existence. In rivers which bave a portion of clayey bottom, a considerable quantity of wood along their banks, and deep and still holes, with roots of trees and great stones for shelter and protection, the fish become decidedly richer and larger, and food from insects, worms, and such things, is more amply and regularly supplied. In almost every country you may form a pretty correct idea of the nature and fecundity of the trout in a river by observing the structure of its bed, and ascertaining the general description of country through which it runs.

Trolling is better fitted for the Béthune than fly, although the latter is used to some extent by both English and French anglers. I found the best flies to be the coachman and the blue dun, but various other kinds are used with more or less success, for most all anglers here have their favourites, for the superiority of which they will contend with as much dogmatism and over-heated zeal as a red-hot catholic would do for the supremacy of the Pope.

There are many spots on the banks of the Béthune of great rural beauty. The country has very much the appearance of English cultivation and English scenery.

The river Arques has some good fishing-streams, but on the whole they are, in my opinion, inferior to those of the Eaulne and the Béthune. I only angled in the Arques one day with minnow, and two fish constituted the sum and substance of my success. They were only about a pound each, but of very delicious flavour.

Dieppe is really a pleasant town in summer for an angling excursion. There is a great variety of company, and often of the very best and intelligent of Parisian society, and this, to a person of literary pursuits and taste, is of itself a high recommendation. There is little of historical interest about the town. It was only first recognised in history in the middle of the twelfth century. There are two fishing-tackle shops in this place, where English flies and lines may be obtained.

There are two pretty little angling streams which cross the traveller's route between Dieppe and Havre, and which are worthy of his attention. The one is the Durdent, at the small town of Cany, and the Fecamp at a place of the same name. Both these waters are clear and sparkling, and contain in proportion to their maggitude a considerable number of good trout. Cany itself is a small place, containing about two thousand people. I went up the river, about five miles above the tową, and found the stream clear and lively; but the day proved so overpoweringly hot and bright, with not a breath of air, that fly-fishing was altogether out of the question. I had recourse, therefore, to my usual expedient in such cases—the red worm-among shades and bushes, and I had the pleasure of capturing eight or nine fine trout, which I gave to a poor peasant's wife who was sitting at the door of her cottage knitting, and encircled with half-a-dozen children. She was quite surprised at this unexpected gift, and told me she had never tasted a trout in her life.

Fecamp is a place containing more than ten thousand people. I like the hilly approaches to the town; they remind me of many similar views in various parts of Britain, I had an opportunity of testing the river Fecamp with the fly. I went fully eight miles above the town. The streams were there small and shallow, but they suited the fly pretty well. As the day was clear, and ļittle wind, I used nothing but small gnats, black and red, and on this account I missed a great number of trout. It is always difficult with very small fljes to hook a fish, and landing him in safety is also a matter of uncertainty. But notwithstanding these disadvantages I caught a dozen trout, though they were generally below an average size,

The scenery on the banks of the Fecamp is in many places very interesting. The country is generally hilly, and pretty well wooded. In the vicinity of one of the little villages on the sides of the stream I met with a French fly angler, a young man about twenty years of age. We entered into conversation, and he displayed his fty-book. What a curiosity! What singularly rude and shapeless imitations of nature ! He had some winged flies fully as large as a crown piece ; in fact, they seemed nearly the size and shape of small bats. And yet, strange to say, he had actually taken five or six fine trout with these incomprehensibly queer materials. Such exploits have some tendency to shake our faith in the superiority of British fly-making. They also teach us that trout are not so very deļicate and fastidious about the colour, and shape, and texture of the imitations of nature that we are in the constant habit of presenting to them, when they feel then selves impelled by powerful instincts to regale themselves with insect food.

From a little further conversation with this young Frenchmay, I found that he was a poet as well as an angler, He pressingly invited me to his father's house, in a village about two miles from where we then were; and on complying with his urgent wishes I found his home a neat little house, composed of four apartments, with a small garden behind and in front. He lived with his father and mother, and was an only son. After regaling me with excellent coffee he brought out of his desk a small portfolio, in which he shewed me a number of fugitive pieces from

his pen, which had been taken out of the provincial newspapers to which they had been sent from time to time. His ambition had now, however, taken a higher flight; for he informed me he had sent three or four larger compositions to Paris, and soon hoped to have the pleasure of seeing them inserted in one or more of the leading periodicals of that fashionable and literary metropolis.

How universally is the principle of poetry diffused over the world! There is no nook or corner of this terrestial globe where its influence is not witnessed and felt. Poetic compositions seem natural to our race; and no doubt tend, by their condensed nature and musical construction, to excite the attention and memory more forcibly than prose composition. In the earlier ages of civilization men were led from this principle to employ poetry as a convenient instrument for bringing to their recollection the few general but necessary rules and maxims of legislation and morals connected with the simple state of society prevailing at that time among them. Indeed, we strikingly see this poetic principle developed in children and young persons, who turn every little saying into rhyme, and seem quite delighted with the undertaking, and are thereby enabled to retain aphorisms of wisdom and prudence in their memory which exercise a powerful influence over their conduct during the whole progress of life. May we not therefore infer, without overstepping the legitimate boundaries of induction, that what assisted the memory and fixed the attention of young persons may not be as effectual in producing similar effects upon the aged and uninformed multitude? If this opinion be correct, we ought to estimate pretty highly the value of even comparatively rude attempts at poetic excellence, inasmuch as they are calculated to rivet the attention of the unstable and volatile part of mankind ; to smooth down the rugged prominences of their character, and to fit them for the higher influences of more powerful principles of intellectual culture and regeneration.

From these and other reasons which might be advanced, we may clearly perceive that poetry in all its multiform phases springs naturally out of the rude and native materials of the human mind, and, like everything else which nature has provided, is calculated to produce a certain portion of good. There is a wonderful and beautiful concatenation throughout every department of the mental and moral worlds; and this is not less strikingly exemplified in the creatures and intellectual move. ments of the little village poet or rhymester. Throughout the whole of nature's wide domain we find village or rural poets planted, as it were, at suitable and convenient distances, to charm the heart of their fellowcreatures. And it would exceed our powers of belief were we in a situation to make an accurate calculation of all the odes, elegies, sonnets, and other poetical compositions of a miscellaneous description which are every year poured forth, like the annual overflowings of the Nile, to fertilize the light and uncultivated soils of human civilization. Whenever nature has been bountiful in her favours in the way of interesting and picturesque landscapes, we invariably find some heavenly-inspired poetic warbler riveted to the spot to sing her praise, and who, in the most disinterested and plaintive accents,

"Pours, with grace, his dillest notes
On pebbly streams and billy-goats."




So-ho, there! Old Juno has them! and well-found and well-backed brings us up to the first covey of the season. It is a nervous time just now for all parties. If a dog is inclined to be wild, ten to one but he will let out on the opening day; and if a man ever can feel a little flurried, he may own to the soft impeachment on some such auspicious an occasion. In becoming association with the print, as well as by way of proper caution to the fresh.entered sportsman, we offer the following commentary from the pages of a work* now most appropriately introduced to the season of the year :

" Whenever the sportsman approaches the pointing dog, if he feel a little palpitation- an unusual sort of respiration, let him pause till his agitation has entirely subsided : he should go up to his game as calm and unruffled as a Stoic. The sudden spring of the covey after a pause (which appears to impress something of an awful feeling in the tyro), with a tremendous whirring and flutter, the piercing scream of the old cock, and the general confusion, will scarcely fail to produce considerable trepidation in those unused to the business ; but those who feel anxious to obtain satisfactory proficiency as marksmen may rest assured that till such a time as they have attained sufficient coolness, till they can go up quite calmly, they have not a chance of accomplishing their object.”

The succeeding paragraph from the same chapter is equally in place here :

" When shooting in company at grouse or partridges, select your object on your own side : never attempt to shoot across to your friend's side ; rather remain inactive if the birds rise thus awkwardly."

The next hint has reference to what the shooter should do after his bird has fallen ; but as this gets beyond our stage in the proceedings, we will conclude our selections with a recommendation altogether in accordance with our own practice :

• There is no great advantage to be derived from taking the field very soon in the morning. The birds on leaving their sleeping-place, which they do very early (frequently before the break of day separate in search of insects ; but do not like to run much, owing to the heavy dews which prevail in September, and consequently they are on the alert upon the approach of the dog, and often fly, without running at all, upon the least noise. Nine o'clock is time enough to take the field ; and though good diversion may be had occasionally before that hour, it must be considered as an exception—not the rule.”

And so “steady, old girl !” and “gently, old boy!” and we'll have a brace a-piece out of 'em to begin with !

*** The Gun, and how to Use it."- Vide Pericws.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »