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There was one eminent qualification, which was possessed by each of the trio above outlined, in monopoly without statule. We could each cut down a leather-head, flying by a point of marsh before a strong north-wester, sixty yards off, nineteen times out of twenty. That is a fact; and there are not many men beside us and John Verity, and Raynor Rock, who are. up to that performance. Uncle Ben Raynor could do it once, and Dan thinks he can do it now; but, as Peter Probasco says, “I have my doubts.” Multitudinous sportsmen may shoot well, but none but a man of true genius can shoot splendidly. Shooting, in its refinement and glory, is not an acquired art. A man must be a born shot as much as he must be a born poet. You may learn to wing-break a starved pigeon, sprung out of a trap, fifteen or twenty yards off, but to stop a cock in a thick brake, where you can see him only with the eye of faith; or to kill a vigorous coot, cutting the keen air, at day. break, at the rate of three miles a minute, requires an eye, and a hand, and a heart, which science cannot manufacture. The doctrine of Pliny, the naturalist, contained in his chapter on black ducks, is correct beyond a question. “Legere et scribere, est pædagogi, sed optime collineare, est Dei." Reading and writing are inflicted by schoolmasters, but a crack shot is the work of God. “ Them's my sentiments," as Peter again says.
The same doctrine has been truly declared of angling. No genuine piscator ever tabernacled at Fireplace, or Stump-pond, who could not exhibit proofs of great natural delicacy, and strength of apprehension—I mean of “ things in general,” including fish. But the “vis vivida animi,” the “
Os magna 50nans,” the “ manus mentis," the divine rapture of the seduction of a trout, how few have known the apotheosis ! The creative power of genius can make a feather-fly live, and move, and have being; and a wisely.stricken fish gives up the ghost in transports. That puts me in mind of a story of Ned Locus. Ned swears that he once threw a fly so far, and delicately, and suspendedly, that just as it was dropping upon the water, after lying a moment in the scarcely-moving air, as though it knew no law of gravity, it actually took life and wings, and would have flown away, but that an old four-pounder, seeing it start, sprang and jumped at it, full a foot out of his element, and changed the course of the insect's travel, from the
upper air to the bottom of his throat. That is one of Ned's, and I do not guarantee it ; but such a thing might be. Insects are called into being in a variety of mysterious ways, as all the world knows ; for instance, the animalculæ that appear in the neighborhood of departed horses; and, as Ned says, if death can create life, what is the reason a smart man can't ? Good fishermen are generally great lawyers ; ecce signa, Patrick Henry, and Daniel Webster. I have known this rule, however, to have exceptions. But the true sportsman is always, , at least, a man of genius, and an honest man. I have either read or heard some one say, and I am sure it is the fact, that there never was an instance of a sincere lover of a dog, gun, and rod, being sent to bridewell or penitentiary. Jails they did whilom affect, before John Doe and Richard Roe were banished from the state, and when an unhappy devil might be held to bail to answer for his misfortunes; but although they have experienced much affliction under the issue of “ sumpsit,” never was there one who suffered judgment upon the finding of a jury on the plea of “not guilty.” If I were governor, and knew a case, I would exert the pardoning power without making any inquiry. I should determine, without waiting to hear a single fact, that the man was convicted by means of perjury. There is a plain reason for all this. A
genuine sportsman must possess a combination of virtues, which will fill him so full that no room can be lest for sin to squeeze in. He must be an early riser-to be which is the beginning of all virtue-ambitious, temperate, prudent, patient of toil, fatigue, and disappointment, courageous, watchful, intent upon his business, always ready, confident, cool, kind to his dog, civil to the girls, and courteous to his brother sports
This discourse hath brought us in front of the fishing-hut of Raynor Rock, near the lighthouse on the beach. Rest thee, now, most weary reader,-for we have had a lony sail, with a head wind and a wei sheet,—while I rehearse the causes that have brought Sir Raynor, and his crew of twenty picked boys, - picked up along shore, — down to this desolatē spot. Streaked bass and wild fowl are the motives of their sojournment. The former are sparkling in the surf, and making love to, and eating up each other; the latter cluster in the inlets, and stream above the breakers. The net carries into captivity them of the sea ; powder and shot superinduce widowhood and orphanage upon the tenants of the air. Fulton Market, and the cooks of the board of aldermen know the rest. Hence arise wise ordinances and stomachs sleek; and Raynor and the boys are glad in the silver music that rings in their presseddown pockets. “ Proba merx facile emptorem invenit."
We arrived at Raynor's just about dark, and the boys had all turned in, to get a good nap, before the tide served for drawing the seine,—all but Raynor, who was half sitting, half lying on the plentiful straw by the fire in the centre of the hut, smoking his quiet pipe. We entered, and grasped the welcoming hand of as clever a fellow—both Yankee and English clever—as ever sat foot on Matowacs.
“ Hullow! hullow! hullow! wake up, boys! wake up!
Here's Mr. Cypress, and Ned Locus, and Oliver Paul !-By gad, I'm glad to see ye.-How are ye! how are ye !"
How d'ye do! how d'ye do, fellows! Give us your fist, Raynor. Peter, what the d-1 brought you down here ? Dan, alive ? how are ye, how are ye all ?
At Raynor's call, the boys sprang up from their straw and pea-jackets, upon which they had been snoring in their sleeping places around the floor of the mansion, and rushed upon us with unaffected gratulation. The story of the reception can be briefly told. There were three of us, and twenty of them, and we all and each jointly and severally said, “ how have you been? Pretty well, thank ye ;" and shook hands. Make the calculation yourself. While you are cyphering it out, I'll stop and rest.
'I will promise you, I will sing another song in praise of angling, tomorrow night ; for we will not part till then ; but fish to-morrow, and sup together, and the next day every man leave fishing, and fall to his business.'
“ Venator. "'Tis a match ; and I will provide you with a song, or a catch, or a merry tale against then, too, which shall give some addition of mirth to the company; for we will be civil and merry as beggars.'
“ Piscator. "Tis a match, my masters. Let's e'en say grace, and turn to the fire, drink the other cup to whet our whistles, and so sing away all sad thoughts. Come, on, iny masters, who begins ? I think it is best to draw cuts, and avoid contention.'”-lzaak Walton.
“Ex urbe ad mare huc prodimus pabulatum :
Pro exercitu gymnastico et palaestrico, hoc habemus,
PLAUTUS—RUDENS, Act I., SCE. I.
It is meet, and commendable in a veracious traveller, upon his arrival in an undiscovered country, to note, and register the appointments of his hostelry. Record we, therefore, circumspectly, an inventory of our new tenement and comfortable head-quarters. Oh, for a pen worthy of the grave, and dangerous obligation! Hope, not, proud dweller in houses with chimneys, for a vision of gorgeous brick and mortar, nor the architectural glories of granite magnificence, nor the adornments of pompous garniture. Ask not for needless chairs, nor seek superfluous tables ; no, nor the vanities of boarded floorings. Simplicity and republican thrift constructed and apparelled the edifice. Babylon nursed the young saplings, which, lopped from their sprouty trunks, and into the sandhills driven deep, incline their leafless tops bending to meet