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.