Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

a

[ocr errors]

a

what startle simple souls, unversed in the great Art of Politics. Who says that a liberal education is a poor preparation for public life ?

In short, we learn to blunt our moral sensibilities, and confound our natural ideas of right and wrong, for the sake of a few paltry offices, from which hardly any real benefit worth mentioning is to be gained. But we gain a valuable knowledge of human nature, forsooth! And is there no way of studying men but by making them our tools? Do not the various forms of unrestrained social intercourse which we every day enjoy, offer in themselves the best of opportunities for the study of character ? Let us not stultify ourselves, and degrade a noble branch of knowledge, by pretending that it can only be acquired by such disreputable means as those of politics.

It is a natural consequence of this state of things, that those familiar with it often become suspicious and uncharitable. They see men of good reputation guilty of selfish and dishonorable conduct in connection with political transactions, and so come to be always on the look-out for false pretences and sinister motives. Of course their suspicions often do great injustice to others ; and what is worse, their own characters are permanently injured by the habits thus contracted. There are few sadder sights than that which too many of us have seen in the groundless jealousies, suspicions, and heart-burnings, which these wretched squabbles engender among those who ought to be firm friends. With some men the point is soon reached where no man's character can protect him from suspicion, where the most innocent actions are continually misconstrued, and credit is never given for a disinterested motive until the possibility of any other has been disproved. If such extreme cases are rare, I fear those are equally so where men have altogether the infection. All this too among those bound together by similarity of age, occupation, and true interests, and in many cases by congenial tastes and dispositions. All this at a period of life among whose characteristic virtues are generally reckoned sincerity, open-heartedness and generosity!

It may perhaps be said that these evils have been here represented in too strong colors. But the reality of the evils probably all will admit, and I think that among those who have been here longest there will be little difference of opinion as to their magnitude. Probably their removal must be a work of time. Some persons attribute them to our system of secret societies, and claim that if these were abolished the trouble would be removed. But it is difficult to reconcile this theory with the well-known state of things at Andover, where in a single society, professedly literary, a political warfare is maintained which in bitterness of feeling and unscrupulousness as to means is at least equal to anything we have here. Evidently to meet the difficulty by abolishing societies, it will be necessary to proscribe literary societies and boat-clubs as well, and in fact almost every form of student organization. Even if this were done, the real root of the matter would not be reached. To do this, in such a case, we must go beyond mere forms, and seek the source of the trouble in the public sentiment of a community ; in the average opinions, tastes and feelings of the individuals composing it. Whatever tends to advance true scholarship, to promote a healthy taste for literary pursuits, or to engage us more deeply in any worthy object, will do something to divert the energies now wasted in political wrangling into better channels. Everything that raises the popular standard as to what is right and honorable, will operate to bring the politician's profession into discredit. May the day soon come when here at least that profession shall no longer exist!

G, S. M.

Of Trout and Trouting.

THERE dwell in the coldest streams of our Northern and Middle States the noblemen of the finny race, the princes of all piscatorial sport, as the salmon is its king.

These princes are the Trout; cruel cannibal tyrants over their unhappy tenants, the minnow and the herring ; rapacious robbers of the lives of stray flies and angle worms in swimming; admired, loved, preserved only to be destroyed by man their devoted foe.

Worthy of notice is the situation of their domains as co-extensive with those of the most enlightened and artful of their enemies,—the Anglo-Saxon patrons of refined sporting. Wherever the Trout flourish, there the English blood finds its most congenial atmosphere, and takes its heartiest growth ; as if its pure, solid, energetic constitution, in common with that of the clean, hard-fleshed fish, is better adapted to invigorating cold than enervating warmth of climate.

But if we praise them for this, still more admirable is the taste they exhibit in the choice of their palaces. No human sovereign can

surpass them here, for no art of man can rival nature's beauties, and of these the Trout frequents the rarest. Paved they are with rich mosaic of pebbles laid in golden sand; walled with hard clay washed by the stream for centuries; their fluted columns are gnarled roots of oak and chestnut; and their curtains the overhanging bush and grass. There they will lie and wait the food brought to their very doors by the provident waters, and there the angler finds them at home and ready. And they well repay a call by their fierce shyness of spirit in their native element, and their delicate game flavor on the table. Would you make trial of these their recommendations, careful attention is requisite to the little essentials of success, for their favor must be wooed in a courtly manner. Comfort must be sacrificed, toil endured, their smallest whims or slightest habits studied and conformed to. The citizen amateur, he who is most benefited, and should be most fascinated in this sport, is the object of our reference. The rustic who wakes before the sun and lives in the fields, for this reason needs it not; and because that it is always within his reach, and seldom practised with the right means and in the right manner, it loses with its prime advantages its allurements. The citizen, on the contrary, will find this trouting a nutmeg in the “spice of life” by all means to be laid hold upon. Take observations

upon the barometer, prepare bait and tackle under the dictates of experience and Frank Forester, (in whom every devoteé of the art should be versed,) impress upon the somewhat obtuse perception of the family's chief confectioner the necessity of various and hearty provision, set the alarum for 4 A. M., and retire with a conscience as clear as possible. Then, unless long practice has perfected you in the ability to sleep over any summons, you'll rise at break of day, and with sleep yet on your brow, venture forth amid the morning coolness, to be greeted with the lark's matutinal song. The fresh vigor of the spring air will enable you now to agree with Sir Henry Wotton, who said on a similar occasion,

“This day dame Nature seemed in love,
The lusty sap began to move;
Fresh juice did stir the embracing vines,
And birds had drawn their valentines,
The jealous trout, that low did lie,
Rose at a well dissembled fly."

Suddenly you remember that you have yet to realize the last two lines, and omitting the recital of the rest, which is deserving, you whip up your horse or quicken your pace. For it is always better to ride

if you may, since thus you can go further and arrive earlier. Pedestrian exercise at all events will not be lacking to the persistent fisherman.

Up and down long hills, through a village or two, past a few strag. gling farm-houses, and a broad shallow stream swarming with minnows, and see ! at the bottom of this long descent, twisting through the vale, glistening in the wood, lies our own particular Mecca,-ours by right of discovery, and supposed known only to a select few of friends. As we approach nearer, we distinguish above the soughing of the breeze among the pines, the roar of a miniature Niagara, at wbose base reclines our future victim. We've found him there, and killed, aye! even eat him a dozen times before, yet he is always on hand to sell himself again for the reputation of his father stream. But let certainty be reserved; we strike the brook further up, where the fishing begins, and watch with anxious eyes, as we progress downwards, for some intruding footstep to have forestalled our success. We are fortune favored, meet no vestiges of dread precursor, and reach in an agreeable complacency the pride (“pride goeth before a fall ") of the stream, the cataract already alluded to. With what care and silence, and there! instead of the lord of the castle and monster of the den, issues a death-doomed shiner, sent forth perhaps as scout and forlorn hope, and encircles thrice that over-hanging branch. Ingenuity may devise various remedies besides profanity, but by none can we escape the vigilant eye of our friend beneath. He has seen the enemy, and will starve, rather than venture from his stronghold. But here are the open lots, and in them the owner of a plough and two fat steers. For sake of effect let us tell him of our miseries, and an empty basket. His self-satisfied smile is immediately ominous of his speech, and sure enough he enasalates,-how once the brook was the best of the county, how his progenitor and himself, a boy, had seen fish of fabulous immensity there; how since that golden past vagrants from the city have foully abstracted these ; sequence—that there can now be no objection to your presence, since worst cannot be worse. In him thus self-committed, a revelation of your captured beauties, or an addition to their number within easy range of his visual organs, is productive of the happiest results,-results indeed worthy to be denominated “ fat.” Not so oily you will think some possible incidents of the day. 'Tis provoking, for instance, after having with astronomical precision calculated and attained by logarithms, etc., the exact location of the victim's lair, and enticed him thence with more skill than a certain magister-doctrina evinces in extracting a “rush"

[ocr errors]

from a modest pupil ;—'tis provoking to have him rise in all his grandeur, with his right ascension in a meridian line passing through your pole, then by centrifugal force take his tangential course for the brook degrees above, where by a peculiar law of refraction, no matter at what angle he strikes the water, or how the angler strikes for him, he disappears from sight forever.

Thus, with excitement shaded by disappointment, or brightened by success, you proceed, and proceeding we leave you. Those who have experienced, winged with memory and imagination, can follow more pleasantly without further accompaniment, while for others we should be loth to spoil all novelty. Let everyone rank himself with the former at an early date, and returning from the day's work laden and hungry, he will moralize,—“. Beware of dogs,' bulls and landowners, • be patient and faint not,' and then, at the results, ‘your children shall rise up and call

you

blessed.' And as be mingles with the true associates of his sport, he will feel that nowhere exists a class of more hearty, jovial yet earnest men, than these same followers of the Trout. As their representatives and chiefs he will venerate Nimrod, Walton and Forester, respecting the long standing repute of the first, poring over the quaint humor of the second, and enshrining the memory of the third in a heart grateful for bis advice, and saddened by his melancholy fate. Well may any one of us, who have vowed an immural of four

years in this our cloister life, say in the verse of Old Isaak,

6

[merged small][ocr errors]

Concerning Power. Power is life, natural and physical; the invisible essence pervading all matter and all men-a link binding the created to Divinity. It is the pleasing influence of a flower, whose perfume is the sweet breath of the Creator; the powder of God's artillery; that human

34

VOL. XXVIII.

« IndietroContinua »