The still waters around Bergues are excellent for common fishing. Bream and tench are numerous, and we obtained a few of both, thorigh not of any great size.

The people of Bergues pride themselves in possessing some fine pictures lny Rubens, Vaudyke, and Ségers. It must be confessed that these productions of the pencil do not belie the high praises collferred upon them. There are two of the pictures of first-rate excellence'.

After resting at St. Omer for a few days, I determined to set out for Hesdin, which is the best angling station for trout in the Pas de Calais. I took my place in the diligence, and in a few hours was set down on the banks of the Canche. Hesdin is most charmingly situated, encircled on all sides by hills, whose brows are well cultivated, and shaded with timber of considerable size. The approaches to it on all sides are exceedingly interesting. Eager to throw a line on the celebrated Canche, I rose early the following morning, and walked about four miles down the stream with my trolling apparatus and fies. The day was hot and clear, and scarcely a breath of wind moved upon the surface of the waters. I had just commenced putting my flies in order when I was overtaken by half-a-dozen anglers, well equipped for a resolute day's sport. Two of the number were Englishmen, and members of the British bar. They asked me to join them, which I immediately did, and we walked two miles furiber, till we came to an inn, which is a sort of general rendezvous for anglers during the greater part of the fishing season. Here we insensibly, as it were, fell into an interesting gossip on our various pircatory exploits in divers countries, and this led us to push the vin ordinaire with more activity and zest until the day was considerably spent, and the shades of evening re. minded us that we had six miles to walk to the town of Hesdin. Eight of us then agreed to leave all our rods and baskets until the following morning, when we hoped again to make our appearance, and commence in right earnest the important duties of the day.

We all assembled at the appointed hour of seven in the niorning, and departed for our old quarters, which we had left the previous evening. This day, like the preceding, was clear and bright, and certainly not well adapted for the fly. I began with the minnow, and for an hour was very unsuccessful; but at length I succeeded in hooking a very fine fish of nearly four pounds, which I killed in quick time. This, with other three sinall fish, proved the whole of my success. Some of my companions did not get a single fish. On the other hand, two gentlemen were so successful that they obtained, near a mill-stream, and all within an hour, nearly two dozen of as fine trout as I ever in my life beheld. So much for the caprices of fortune in angling.

The waters of the Canche, below Hesdin, are not to my taste for trout fishing. They are too deep, and the streams are but few in number, and not of that rippling character which the angler delights in. On the whole, this section of the waters is better suited to the minnow than the fly, and this seems to be the general impression among anglers who have frequented these waters for many years. Indeed, from the sluggish and turbid nature of the waters, iny wonder is that the Canche should have such a high repulation among fly fishers. Undoubtedly fine dishes of trout are taken out of it, but its appearances are not by any means of a favourable character.

Some experienced anglers prefer the Canche in the neighbourhood of Montreuil for trolling. There are two feeders of the river in this locality, which have the reputation of containing some good trout streams, the-Etrelle and the Dodaigne.

The flies used in the Canche below the town are very various, and there are often fierce contests among members of the craft as to the merits of particular colours. The following will generally prove useful flies. The coachman, the May-fly, the red and black hackles, the red and black palmers, the blue dun, and the dragon-fly. In the month of May red-coloured flies have a decided preference in the Canche,

I was determined to penetrate higher up the country thau Hesdin, and to ascend to the source of the Canche and the Ternuoise, which join their waters close to the fortifications of the town. With this view I hired a cabriolet, and ascended the Canche, full twenty miles from the town of Hesdin. The driver of the cabriolet was one of those droll-looking little creatures whom the traveller often meets in France, and who seem to justify Voltaire's severe remark on his countrymen, that they were “half monkey and half fiend." This knight of the long whip stood about five feet, and possessed the most baboonish contour I had ever before witnessed. He took precisely six hours to drive me these twenty miles over good roads; and when I expostulated with him on his tardy progress, he cooly asked me if I wished him to kill his master's horse, by over driving it! This is, however, but a fair sample of travelling in France.

Determined not to be provoked again by this sauntering ninny, I told him to drive home, and I would walk down the course of the river. I found the streams of the Canche, near to their source, very fine for the fly, though the water seemed a little turbid and fresh. Whenever and wherever I find them in this state I put on darkcoloured flies, and I think they answer better than any other on such occasions. They form a contrast to the colour of the water, and are more readily recognised by the fish. I succeeded in capturing about half-a-dozen trout before four o'clock in the evening, when a whole cloud of May-flies made their appearance on the stream, and the waters were literally moving with fish. Nothing could surpass the piscatory voracity with which this inexhaustible stock of food was attacked. The circling ripples of the rising fish were seen down and np the stream as far as the eye could reach. How wonderful does this economy of nature seem, and how accurately means are adjusted to ends in this grand mechanism of organic life!

The trout in the Canche become scarce when we come within three or four miles of Hesdin. The streams in this district are seldom clear of visitors from the town, and great quantities of night lines are used by the soldiers in the barracks.

To fish the Ternuoise, I set out in the diligence to St. Pol; the river is about two miles from the town. This is a much superior water to the Canche for fly-fishing, and also for beauty of scenery. The angler will find about eight miles of most excellent water, abounding with rushing and rippling streams. The trout are smaller, and not so rich as those caught below Hesdin. The Aies I found

best suited for the Ternuoise were the red hackle body, and the drake or woodcock wing. Smaller flies should be used here than in the Canche.

In rambling down the banks of the Ternuoise I have, in twenty places, been struck with the singular beauty of the scenery. Near to the little village of Hemicourt there is a peculiarly interesting view of the stream. After passing a narrow path, near a mill, where there are some fine gurgling and rippling currents, full of trout, you must turn to the left, and at every step you will find the scenery open upon you in coni manding richness. The river itself becomes a striking object of admiration. You no longer see its continuous course as before, over a broad bed, amid fragments all too much alike. But you see the river partially--here, in most beautiful, varied, and gentle falls; there, in deep pools, edged with moving white lines; and beyond, the whole bed is intercepted by the richest foliage of large trees, meeting as it were from bank to bank, through whose branches, here and there, a bright streak indicates the course of the water. When you take your stand ou a rising piece of ground, and look at the falls in succession, the effect is magical; and we can no longer wonder that, in the fabulous spirit of ancient poetry, the heathen mythology admitted the semi-deified personification of rivers.

When the angler is on the Ternuoise, or on the Canche, in the neighbourhood of Hesdin, he must not forget to pay a visit to the bauile field of Agincourt. More than four centuries have now elapsed since this singular conflict took place, and yet there is a halo of imperisbable glory and interest still thrown around the spot, which promises never to disappear from British history and British bosoms. Every countryman of our own, when he treads upon the hallowed ground, feels an inward thrill of interesting but mixed emotions, composed of national exultation at the noble courage and daring enterprise of our ancestors, and a feeling of regret for frail humanity, in thinking of so many noble hearts of both nations having here yielded up their last drops of life, and whose bones still lie under the green sward on which we tread.

In going from Hesdin to the small town of Fruges, and about four miles on the road, the angler will come to a cabaret, and a blacksmith's shop, situated on an elevated and open part of the country, on the left-hand side on the route to Fruges. Here let him stop and inquire the way to Agincourt. It lies immediately opposite to him on the right; and there is a foot-path across the fields, which leads directly to the village, close to which the battle took place. He will find in the neat little church many memorials of this singular conflict. Any person who resides here will direct the traveller to the farmhouse, where the battle field, and the great green mound, in which the remains of ten thousand warriors are inclosed, may be distinctly viewed. From descriptions of the battle usually found in all our histories, a visitor can casily recognise the whole plan of the action, and can readily enough account, from the position of the ground, for the dreadful slaughter which the French troops experienced, and for the trifling injury which the English soldiers sustained, on that memorable 25ih of October, 1415.





Sir Toby." He is knight, dubbed with unhacked rapier, and on carpet con. sideration; but he is a devil in private brawl. Souls and bodies hath he divorced three; and his incenseinent at this moment is so implacable that satisfaction can be none, but by pangs of death and scpulchre. Hob, nob, is his word, give't or taket Sir And.-" Plague on't, I'll not meddle with him."


I do not set up for the character of having more nerve than my neighbours ; and I can conceive no anticipations, except perhaps those of a gentleman engaged to be hanged, more disagreeable than the forebodings which darken the existence of a quiet steady-going man, who for the first time in his life finds he has got a duel upon his hands. When I left Cotherstone's house on the night of our fracas, it was evident to me that, come what might, the thing could only have one conclusion. If I steadily persevered in my resolution of refusing to pay, mine adversary would of course take such steps as should make it imperative on me to call him out. If, on the other hand, I accepted the unpalatable alternative of “ booking up,” I was not at all satisfied that the language I had made use of would not be sufficient to provoke a man in Cotherstone's ambiguous position to the immediate use of fire-arms at a short distance ; and view it whichever way I would, one thing was clear—the business must end in a fight. With this soothing lullaby, I sought my pillow ; and feverish was the rest, and disturbed the dreams, that hovered over my couch. Now I was Gustavus, of dancing memory, threading the lively “galop” with my fascinating Kate, through the conservatory, out into the garden, round the shrubberies, while Mrs. C. beat time, and nodded with a mother's pride in the graceful pair. Anon, Papa, in the guise of the jealous Ankerström, rises from the Ha ha, with a long rifle-barrelled pistol in his hand, and Kate flying into the house, disappears with an eldritch shriek. Then the scene changes, and I am driving with Jack Raffleton to witness a private trial, from which we both expect great things. It is early morning as we arrive upon the Downs ; and the sun, just peeping above the horizon, throws his slanting beams over as fair a scene as merry England can produce. The lark is rising into the deep blue sky, marbled here and there with light and fleecy clouds ; and never, I think, was the world so beautiful--never was life so enjoyable. I get up to ride the trial !--such are the inconsistencies of a dreambut the animal I bestride is rooted to the ground. “Give it him!” says Jack, as he puts a pistol into my hand. John Scott assumes the form of Mr. Cotherstone, and Alfred Day shoots suddenly up into

a truculent-looking gentleman, six feet high. I find myself placed within arm's length of my antagonist, and in a frantic attempt to cock my pistol, the hammer of which no power seems able to displace. I awake! with that heavy feeling of oppression which makes us conscious of misfortune, ere our faculties have shaken off the influence of sleep sufficiently to perceive the whole extent of the troubles in which we are involved. It was later than I should have thought ; and hurrying my toilet, I ordered my hack, and galloped off to the barracks at Windsor, to gather counsel and assistance from my friend Jack Raffleton. That gallant defender of his country was in the act of sitting down to a late and luxurious breakfast, after the fatigues of a “marching-order fieldday" in the park, when I was ushered into his presence in the messroom. Jack saw by my countenance that the mission with which I was charged was of no pleasant nature ; but as several brother-officers were present, it was not a time for explanation, and I accepted, though with no great appetite, the cordial invitation to join these joyous spirits in their merry repast. Fun, good humour, and chaff" were paramount as ever ; and although in low spirits myself, and by no means in a frame of mind to make the companionship of a lot of deyil-may-care fellows any more acceptable than the profuse breakfast which tempted my unwilling palate, I could not help envying my companions their hilarity, and thinking within myself, “ What a jolly life these fellows lead !” The repast, interminable as I thought it, at length came to an end, and over a weed in Jack's tarrack-room I explained to bim the scrape I had got into, and asked his advice as to how I was to act.

" Why,” said Jack, to whom, as an oracle in these matters, I listened with undivided attention, “we have nothing to do but to keep quiet : you have distinctly refused to pay, and have, besides, given Cotherstone a pretty good piece of your mind. If he takes no further notice, well and good ; though, from my knowledge of the man, I think such a chance extremely improbable. He is a fighting sort of fellow, confound him! and I recollect his "parading' Brampton of the Bays, about a disputed bet at Newmarket: everybody said Brampton was right, but he had to pay notwithstanding ; and Cotherstone, not satisfied with receiving his money, must stand upon his character, forsooth! and have a shot at him besides."

“How did it end?” I inquired, somewhat aghast to hear of these strong fighting inclinations.

“ Cotherstone shot him in the wrist,'' was the reply: "the ball took off the lock of his pistol, and ran up his arm to the elbow. The whole thing was badly managed by the seconds : however, it was hushed up, and made all right. But I'll tell you how we must act. It will never do for you to be out of the way should a message arrive. We will drive back to your villa together; stay there all the afternoon, and have an early dinner with a bottle of light claret,"'--Jack settled it all as if it was a picnic — " and then if anybody calls we shall be ready for them, and I should hope, with a little good diplomacy, it will not be necessary to come to extreme measures."

With this consolatory remark, Jack ordered his dog-cart, and sending my horse back by his servant, we drove together through the glorious summer noon, striving to converse on indifferent subjects ; but, as far as one of us was concerned, I can answer for the effort being most un

« ForrigeFortsett »