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IT is May-day, and the earth is dressed in a fair new garment of green; the copious showers of the day before yesterday, followed by yesterday's brilliant sunshine and warm south wind, have made the leaves rush forth with a sudden bound from the buds which hitherto have been so jealously closed. To-day the bright sunshine pours out of a cloudless sky upon a green world, which in its vividness of colour seems to be gifted with the lustrous. transparency of the sky itself.

On such a day it were a shame to stay indoors and see nothing bluer than foolscap-nothing greener than writing fluid; besides, this morning our rod fell from its bracket when no one was near. The housemaid said it was a strong breeze through the open window which dislodged it, but that is all nonsense. It was the spirit


of the spring which moved it to protest against inaction on such a day. We are not superstitious, but we dare not disregard such a warning; therefore let us take our trusty rod in our hand, and wander forth to revel in the sight of the blue sky and the green woods, so delightful after the discomforts of a long and cruel winter.

Whither shall we go? What need to ask? There is but one stream in the verdant valley, and wherever we strike it our steps are sure to be irresistibly led, upwards or downwards as the case may be, to the mill, which for a century has nestled among the great trees in the heart of the valley, and has been so frequented by angling visitors that it has earned the name of the Angler's Paradise.

Our way lies over meadows yellow with the lowflowered celandine, the taller and more kingly buttercups, and scattered clumps of nodding cowslips. It is a field of cloth of gold, the whole of this low ground; but in lieu of gaudily-bedecked knights and horses, there are only our sober selves clad in homely grey, and red and white satin-flanked cows to view its loveliness.

The hedges look like the spray of a waterfall turned into emeralds, and set with the pearly white of the blossoming thorns. On the uppermost branch of a tall hazel clump a thrush is singing with all his heart, his fawn-coloured throat throbbing with the music of

his voice; while not far off his mate is sitting on her blue eggs, and listening proudly to his matrimonial epithalamium.

In the pauses of his song you can hear another and a merrier one, dropping faintly down from that speck in the dazzling blue, which you know to be a lark.

Ah, there, too, is the first swallow skimming over that still pool, on which the white ranunculus flowers lie in such perfect purity; and hark! was that a cuckoo ? or was it but a dove, whose voice is so tremulous with the happiness of his recent wedding that his coo-o is broken into two syllables?

How welcome is each sight and sound that indicates the advancing spring; how impossible it is to be sad on such a day!

There is the brook sparkling over gravelly fords, and circling slowly in quiet pools, its foambells sparkling in the sunshine. It has cleared so rapidly after the rain that only in the deeps is it a pale amber colour; elsewhere the water is blue, or golden, or brown, or black, as the shadows fall. The gravel shines, and the blue sky is reflected; but everywhere there is white and sparkling foam in lines and splashes.

Rigging up our rod and flies, we wade knee-deep among the broad-leaved butterburs, and with a wave of the rod the glistening line is despatched on its

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