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there is no time to go round and release it, so we scamper off with our twelve-poundbag, and forget that it is cold and the fog is rising. We only know that we have had a glorious day, and can fill the frying pans of half the village widows with our takings— and that is much.
CHAPTER XI-The Chub and Mel
AVE only carp, the chub engenders more melancholy than any fish that swims. He is always with us. We see him in the summer roll from water-lily to water-lily with most provoking girth and clearness. He leaps in the evening a full foot out of the water. He is heard in the winter smacking his coarse lips in the turbid eddies. He darts from the shallows with a lively swish thirty yards before we get within view of him. He is an omnivorous glutton, who can yet refuse the great cravings of his master maw. He is as self-controlled as an ascetic, though as full of desires as an alderman. He is a very fool and yet a Solomon. All that has been said of his wariness and wisdom is true; but it is also true that he may be taken with the stoutest tackle and the roughest gear. He will flee from the shadow of a split-cane rod, but he will fall a victim to coarse string and a barge pole. He will eat anything that any fish will ever eat. He
may be caught with pike-spoon bait, sparrow's eggs, bread, gooseberries, blood, worms, cheese, bees, cockroaches, chafers, minnows, frogs, sardines, raw beef, fat, gentles, alexandras, meal worms, honey, bits of white kid, and indeed, by almost anything. So off you go and try, taking all these things and more, to a really noble haunt of chub. But you return with broken hope, and hardly animation enough to hum a tune, half inclined to believe that life itself is a savage fraud, with doubts even about angling itself. OUT IN THE SUN.
How slowly crawls the road
Autumn grass is lush with dew
HOME IN THE RAIN.
Ah, but Time which walked so slow
Empty basket, empty heart,
Is there any place to dry?
Dry and rest us when we pass ?
There are anglers who have fished the rivers for thirty years and have never taken a chub at all: but there are anglers who have, upon the third or the fourth attempt, made some little inroad upon the paradoxical host. In the hurricane, for example, when men of less daring are at home, you can, with a small spoon, make the further acquaintance of the chub. A line of surgical silk, with a small float forty yards away, will coax him from clear waters, and in ale-coloured locks you may hoist him from under your very feet with a heavy-shotted cable and a sort of meat hook armed with the coarsest lob. Or, again, you may not.
Expect nothing. Fish with a dreary sense of duty. Think that you are taking scientific soundings or making experiments upon the parallelogram of forces. Resolve upon a blank day. Start as a hopeless patient resolved upon the fresh-air cure for the last stage of phthisis. Make believe that you would rather know than catch. Take a pledge of good resolutions never to be cast down. Consult Dr. Smiles, Hannah More, Akenside, the moral maxims of the Wesleyan, Baptist, and Sandemanian bodies passim. Wean your soul. Cast out desires like a Buddhist. Think how bald the Universe really is. Remember that you have attempted virtue in your time, and with what success. Start with a heavy heart and you can end with nothing worse. He that is down need fear no fall. Chubs sort well with a chastened spirit. It may be there are odd chances-some one must be Archbishop of Canterbury and basket that £15000 a year, with purple. Some one must get that Field Marshal's baton. These things fall to those who do their duty until they have no relish left for plums. Be clothed with humility and your oldest waistcoat. Flatten yourself: wear a gag. Leave the