If only the gut had held, this sketch would have ended with sentiment, and a sunset, and the music of Ettrick, the melody of Tweed. In the gloaming we’d be roaming homeward, telling, perhaps, the story of the ghost seen by Sir Walter Scott near Ashiesteil, or discussing the Roman treasure still buried near Oakwood Tower, under an inscribed stone which men saw fifty years ago. Or was it a treasure of Michael Scott’s, who lived at Oakwood, says tradition? Let Harden dig for Harden’s gear, it is not for me to give hints as to its whereabouts. After all that ill-luck, to be brief, one is not in the vein for legendary lore, nor memories of boyhood, nor poetry, nor sunsets. I do not believe that one ever thinks of the landscape or of anything else, while there is a chance for a fish, and no abundance of local romance can atone for an empty creel. Poetical fishers try to make people believe these fallacies; perhaps they impose on themselves; but if one would really enjoy landscape, one should leave, not only the fly-book and the landing-net, but the rod and reel at home. And so farewell to the dearest and fairest of all rivers that go on earth, fairer than Eurotas or Sicilian Anapus with its sea-trout; farewell—for who knows how long?—to the red-fringed Gleddis-wheel, the rock of the Righ-wheel, the rushing foam of the Gullets, the woodland banks of Caddon-foot.
The valleys of England are wide,
Her rivers rejoice every one,
In grace and in beauty they glide,
And water-flowers float at their side,
As they gleam in the rays of the sun.
But where are the speed and the
The dark lakes that welter them forth,
Tree and heath nodding over their way—
The rock and the precipice grey,
That bind the wild streams of the North?
Well, both, are good, the streams of north and south, but he who has given his heart to the Tweed, as did Tyro, in Homer, to the Enipeus will never change his love.
P.S.—That Galloway fly—“The Butcher and Lang”—has been avenged. A copy of him, on the line of a friend, has proved deadly on the Tweed, killing, among other victims, a sea-trout of thirteen pounds.
THE DOUBLE ALIBI
Glen Aline is probably the loneliest place in the lone moorlands of Western Galloway. The country is entirely pastoral, and I fancy that the very pasture is bad enough. Stretches of deer-grass and ling, rolling endlessly to the feet of Cairnsmure and the circle of the eastern hills, cannot be good feeding for the least Epicurean of sheep, and sheep do not care for the lank and sour herbage by the sides of the “lanes,” as the half-stagnant, black, deep, and weedy burns are called in this part of the country. The scenery is not unattractive, but tourists never wander to these wastes where no inns are, and even the angler seldom visits them. Indeed, the fishing is not to be called good, and