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matter; or make any scruple to give out, as he did in Petronius, that he was master of a ship, kept so many servants, and to personate their part the better, take upon them to be gentlemen of good houses, well descended and allied, hire apparel at brokers, some Scavinger or prick-louse Tailours to attend upon them for the time, swear they have great possessions, bribe, lye, cog and foist how dearly they love, how bravely they will maintain her, like any Lady, Countess, Duchess, or Queen; they shall have gowns, tiers, jewels, coaches and caroches, choice. diet.
The heads of Parrats, tongues of Nightingals,
The milk of Unicorns, etc."
(Anat. III, 2, iii, 4).
To courses equally immoral, to such raving melancholy, does the love of the coy chub drive the enamoured and baffled angler. He would think no trick too mean, no imposture too lawless to try, if only he could recall the banished, vanished objects of his hope. But, alas! had the time wasted upon the beguiling of women only been put to
nobler use in devising new baits and methods for angling, we should not feel so impotently and atrabiliously baffled, as we not infrequently do.
Let romancers write in angling papers and books what they choose the sad fact remains that there are many and great disappointments in this life, even to the skilful and the sanguine. Philosophy can open new doors of hope, but of the keen votaries who press in, how few there are will meet with their heart's desire! And even those who catch a chub every day have larger hopes than ever fructify.
But before you wipe the likely tear away, use your handkerchief rather to catch a bumble bee, with tenderness. Tie two of her feet, with silk, to a perch hook, and put your rod through the bushes and lay it down, leaving the bee to swing an inch, not less, above the level of the stream. Then go back, sit down out of sight and listen. The bee will swing your line to and fro, buzzing, now this way, now that, with pauses. The goggle-eyed chub will watch that bee, until they are convinced by the utter stillness of the bank that you have gone away in mulish disgust at their vacant room.
Presently they will return, look, wheel, long, circle near, until one, more sure than the rest, pops his great mouth out of the water and seizes your bee, and, if you have skill and luck, hooks himself. The higher you can make him jump the more certain he is to hook himself. Three inches is an easy jump for a chub, and he can manage twice that height without any difficulty, that is, if he will only return.
If not, repeat to yourself these appropriate
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Then try for some other kind of fish, or for chub in some other place. It is useless to outstay a very scant welcome.
Why do chub and roach never do well in the aquarium? Why should dace outlive these others cæteris paribus? It can hardly be a question of food, for the chub eats everything edible. It cannot be fright which kills him, for the carp, who is more easily frightened, lives well in captivity, and indeed, in gold-fish form, is native to slavery.
Perhaps carp live because they are so very intelligent,; they soon learn how little the globe-shaking monster masters really injure them. Chub die because they never really understand this simple plan but take the gloomiest views of their own prospects, and thus by melancholy verify their own forebodings and die mostly by suggestion. Thus in matters critical the chub belongs to the conservative school. He is of the Miller and Burgon following; and out of sheer pavid peevishness refuses to adapt himself to servile and narrow surroundings. To look his enemy fearlessly in the face, with goggle eye, and to flourish in despite of him, that is too magnanimous a course for him he prefers to worry himself to death. Even in ponds he cuts but a poor figure, and is among the first to die-of chagrin it must be, unless the anatomists can propound a likelier theory. Like other conservatives, the chub, before he is captured, has an obstinate preference for living his own life in his own way, and distrusts the demagogic orators, who offer cheese and other linings for his fair round belly. His melancholy is contagious.
CHAPTER XII-The Close Season.
HAT the pause is in music, what rain is after many blue days, such is the close season. Mr. Mundella was not only a man of Science, he was an Artist and a Poet, possibly all in his own despite. The ship which is made for sea finds her night of life, her repose and her goal, in the flat quiet of some uneventful dock, where new mornings find her out, and load her with new hopes whence they send her forth upon new ventures. The Close Season-the very sound has a quaker grey about it, a scent of ebb tides, the hush of a large hall when the organ is closed and the people have gone home, and the one old man is putting out the lights. It is lovely and pleasant. Everything ought to have its Close Season: tennis, marriage, golf, home, travel, meat, religion, clarets, controversy, shaving, books, talk, dunning, pomposity, the rules of science, virtue, tobacco, politics, flirtation, hope, oranges, faith, potatoes,