Angling Sketches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 124 pages of information about Angling Sketches.
would have said.  He was simply but decently wrapped round, from snout to tail, in very fine water-weeds, as in a garment.  Moreover, he was as black as your hat, quite unlike the comely yellow trout who live on the gravel in Clearburn.  It hardly seemed sensible to get drowned in this gruesome kind of angling, so, leaving the Lake of Darkness, we made for Buccleugh, passing the cleugh where the buck was ta’en.  Surely it is the deepest, the steepest, and the greenest cleugh that is shone on by the sun!  Thereby we met an angler, an ancient man in hodden grey, strolling home from the Rankle burn.  And we told him of our bad day, and asked him concerning that hideous fly, which had covered the loch and lured the trout from our decent Greenwells and March browns.  And the ancient man listened to our description of the monster, and He said:  “Hoot, ay; ye’ve jest forgathered wi’ the Bloody Doctor.”

This, it appears, is the Border angler’s name for the horrible insect, so much appreciated by trout.  So we drove home, when all the great tableland was touched with yellow light from a rift in the west, and all the broken hills looked blue against the silvery grey.  God bless them! for man cannot spoil them, nor any revolution shape them other than they are.  We see them as the folk from Flodden saw them, as Leyden knew them, as they looked to William of Deloraine, as they showed in the eyes of Wat of Harden and of Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead.  They have always girdled a land of warriors and of people fond of song, from the oldest ballad-maker to that Scotch Probationer who wrote,

   Lay me here, where I may see
   Teviot round his meadows flowing,
   And about and over me
   Winds and clouds for ever going.

It was dark before we splashed through the ford of Borthwick Water, and dined, and wrote to Mr. Anderson of Princes Street, Edinburgh, for a supply of Bloody Doctors.  But we never had a chance to try them.  I have since fished Clearburn from a boat, but it was not a day of rising fish, and no big ones came to the landing-net.  There are plenty in the loch, but you need not make the weary journey; they are not for you nor me.


The circumstances which attended and caused the death of the Hon. Houghton Grannom have not long been known to me, and it is only now that, by the decease of his father, Lord Whitchurch, and the extinction of his noble family, I am permitted to divulge the facts.  That the true tale of my unhappy friend will touch different chords in different breasts, I am well aware.  The sportsman, I think, will hesitate to approve him; the fair, I hope, will absolve.  Who are we, to scrutinise human motives, and to award our blame to actions which, perhaps, might have been our own, had opportunity beset and temptation beguiled us?  There is a certain point at which the keenest sense of honour, the most chivalrous affection and devotion, cannot bear the strain, but break like a salmon line under a masterful stress.  That my friend succumbed, I admit; that he was his own judge, the severest, and passed and executed sentence on himself, I have now to show.

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Angling Sketches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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