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husband was fortunately returning, so we were able to give chase at once. We saw nothing further till we had gone about a quarter of a mile, when, on the other side of a small dry river-bed, we caught sight of eight lions: it was only a glimpse, and they almost immediately disappeared into a patch of thick reeds on the edge of a swamp. How long they had been taking stock of us it is impossible to say; and why, as they evidently meant business (lions cannot be accused of suffering from vulgar curiosity, and this is the only other solution to be given of their behaviour), they did not take one of the men, the pony, or myself, is to this day an unsolved mystery. Incidents of this description are of such common occurrence in Africa that daily occupations suffer more through excess of incident than from monotony of routine.
themselves snoring. The grass was long and nothing could be seen, silence was everywhere, and my pony continued to graze quietly. I began to think I had been dreaming, and was just going to settle down again when, distinct and unmistakable, came another grunt. All the men were on the alert this time, and no one claimed the noise: still we could see nothing, and we knew lions were close. At this juncture I had a brilliant inspiration: I caught my pony and jumped on to his back, from which elevation it was possible to see right over the grass. There, sure enough, not ten yards away, was a large lion, sitting up like a cat and watching us. As we saw one another he dropped: lions will drop like this in the grass and remain quite hidden, in a manner that enables them to move off without being visible. My
BY A PHILISTINE.
THAT kindly man, G. S. Maryatt, the dry-fly fisher of the last century as he may be styled, stuck to his theory through thick and through thin, and he would be a bold man who denied that the old angler was justified in his practice. Yet I used to think that in his anxiety to make his experience the experience of all, and to press the fruits of it upon his fellows, he was too unmindful that a dry-fly fisher like George Maryatt comes but once in a generation. Such experts, such rare bigots, alas! are few. Most of us are only the spaniels of the angling world, and it is as the apes and echoes of other fishers that we discover our bigotry. From that foolish zeal no social condition remains unspotted. It snaps its fingers at expense. Matter not the fish, be it trout or salmon, barbel or pike or roach, each contributes votaries to the ovine crowd. There are bigots of the Lea style and of the Nottingham style in roach-fishing, even as there are the hackle-fly bigots of Yorkshire and they of the winged-fly of Derbyshire and the south; ground-bait bigots no fewer than down- and acrossand up-stream fly bigots,-an infinite variety, some of whom it may amuse the reader to contemplate.
The charge being one of bigotry from sole to crown, the evidence may begin with
the angler's dress, and first of all with his waders. Among my angling acquaintance I number one who swears by a pattern of rubber boot with a sole of felt. It is a really excellent design for the southern chalk stream which we generally frequent, and others with myself have been grateful to him for it. But when we go to fish, say, the rocky Derbyshire Derwent and the Cumberland Eden, behold him in the rubber boots and felt soles, unwilling to hear a word against their suitability for these waters, though truly one might as well elect to play ping-pong in one's golfing boots. I am persuaded that his is not an unusual case among anglers. Most salmonand trout-fishers, you will find, pin their faith to one pattern of wader, and use it on all rivers, at all seasons, amid all conditions. Possibly, like my friend's, it is a pattern of their own devising, excellently adapted for the water they usually fish,-a valuable result of specialisation, in short. Bigots all of them, nevertheless, in their failure to appreciate that circumstances alter cases! So with the angler of the one and only coat. It is rather sad to find a gentleman possessed of an elegant well-out garment, so suitable for his south-country waters, appear in it on the Tees, say, where the river is deepflowing, and immediately sub
merges the lower pockets. It may be thought that he errs through ignorance of the character of the Tees; but no: for in view of its deeps he has adopted special wadingtrousers, and actually has devised a button upon which to turn back the lowest pockets! The absurdest bigot I can remember was one from the North who appeared on the Darenth with high trousers and a short tight jacket, and would have persuaded us that no other rig was equal to that, for had not his experience at home taught him so!
Come now to the angler's tackle, and first of all to that important part of it, his rod. If the question were asked, What are the constituents of a good fly-rod? the unanimous answer I suppose would be, Action, balance, and power. It might be thought that these in perfect accord could easily be found; yet I would undertake to fill a number of 'Maga' with the diverse theories as to how to build the perfect flyrod. My own is that, if choice be allowed from all materials of which fly-rods have ever been built, the best combination would be a blue-mahoe butt, a built-cane centre, and a greenheart top. That would be my ideal rod; but I have little hope of getting such a rod built for me, at any rate by one maker. The famous greenheart rods of noted Scottish and English makers still hold their own, but amongst the reasons for the modern vogue of built-cane are the scarcity of the material of a good quality in which the older
rods were built, and the rivalry which the old manufacturers have met with in the firms who have made built-cane a speciality. Add to these the specialisation in manufacture which has run parallel with the faddism of anglers themselves, and you have my reasons for despairing of getting my ideal rod perfectly built in any one workshop. In practice, therefore, I should advise the young fly. fisher to have a rod throughout of cane, as being the material probably in which one can with most certainty get a rod wholly built in any action, and therefore the material which is most likely to realise one's ideals. I say "probably," because of all bigots he is the most foolish who dogmatises about the build of another man's rod.
Among those who strongly advocate the older make of rod are fishermen so expert that it seems unnecessary to listen to other advice than theirs. But, then, anglers equally notable as ardently declare for the builtcane. It comes to a choice of experts, therefore, for those (and they are the majority of anglers) who are ready to listen to any teaching save that of their own experience. Thus there arises that great body of second-hand bigots who, without the justification of the specialists by whose advocacy of particular patterns and methods the fly-fisher's art is brought step by step to perfection, weary us with their cries about rods which are only parrot cries. An eminent fisher, let us say, is happy in having a fine old greenheart, and is never
weary of singing its praises: in his distinguished use of greenheart he unconsciously becomes the bell-wether of a flock of "greenheartites" (pardon the word). Or perhaps another well-known angler has written a book in which he records his high opinion of built-cane; and immediately "built-cane" is in the mouths of a following who call him Master, greatly to his discomfort. What would they say did they know that, while he advocates built-cane (because it is the most practical material for most anglers' necessities), he himself uses a greenheart of which he is the lucky possessor? Such happens often. But the second-hand bigots know nothing of that, and continue their tale of the incomparable merits of built
The foolishness of all this becomes clear when we reflect that howsoever great an authority the apostle of a particular build of rod may be, in that matter he can only be an authority for himself. In the case of waders or of a coat or basket or reel, nine times out of ten the choice is merely a question of water-conditions, Given a pattern serviceable on a particular river for one angler, on that particular river it is pretty certain to be serviceable for all. It is otherwise with a rod, for here there enters into the problem a new equation, the physique and build and temper-in short, the entire individuality-of the angler himself. A rod is of a piece with the angler, or it ought to be: it is the extension of his fore
arm,-that is all. The angler, therefore, ought to be fitted with his rod as carefully as ever shooter is with his gun. The experience of his Prophet is really no proper guide for the bigot at second hand; who, consequently, in preaching a borrowed gospel very frequently is perpetuating error. One individual and personal preference I have observed in disputatious argument upon Short rods v. Long rods: outside of the experts, little men swear by long rods, and long men by short. Otherwise, most fly-fishers seem to set their minds on a particular make of rod, for reasons altogether outside of their own experience, and they are not happy till they get it. Or, rather, until they think they get it; for get it they never do. They give their order to the maker in accordance with some special design; but, though they may not know it, it is not the rod they ordered that is sent home to them. For the action of any rod cannot be precisely copied. I have no doubt that every great rod - manufacturer will bear me out in this. And so to the other futilities of the rod-bigot has to be added this: he doesn't even get that which he says and believes he has got.
Specialisation in the making and fitting of rods, marvellous as is the perfection to which it has been brought, and the modern built-cane rod in eleven sections is certainly a marvel, has encouraged a great deal of foolishness in the ruck of flyfishers. Material and fittings are made too much of. Blind
fold an angler, the expertest, put a rod into his hand, and (forbidding him to apply the test of feel to the shape, hexagonal or round) ask him to judge of the rod by the casting power of it, and nine times out of ten he will be wrong in his guess as to the material used in its build. The clever angler, if he is driven into a corner, can do wonders with an indifferent rod; and, on the other hand, the finest product of the manufacturer's skill avails little in the hands of a duffer. It is beyond human ingenuity to make a rod that will make an angler. The rod is the test of the angler, and equally the angler is the test of the rod. What is best for one is not necessarily best for another. Hear then this counsel, O novice! If you would be fitted with a rod, place yourself in a good manufacturer's hands, put his advice to the test for yourself at the river-side, judge sagaciously between your own experience and the opinion of any expert who offers one, and turn a deaf ear to all second-hand bigots, Finally, having made an excellent choice beware of becoming a bigot of that choice in turn, A counsel of perfection, no doubt; for which of us is free from original sin?
shy of plaited wire than generally they do of suchlike innovations. No; the cause in which the line bigots are found actively taking sides is that of Taper-line v. Level-line, and a complicate cause it is. The level-line explains itself. The taper-line, I may say for the benefit of any reader, not a fisher, who has honoured us with his company so far, may be either a line with a single taper or a line with a double taper. There are thus three great communions of of line bigots; but since a taper, where used, varies in grade with every style of sport and may vary in position in any one style, there are as many bodies of dissent from the taper communions as there are sixteenths of an inch of line about which to disagree. The argument for the single taper is that the line ought to be a true extension of the rod, and theoretically it is unanswerable. On the other hand, the double taper gives increased power in casting. For long casting, especially on heavy, sluggish streams, where you have to get well over the fish, the double taper is often invaluable. I have found it so, but I have found also that with the double taper there is a double drag on the cast and a pull which prevent the correct extension and fall which the level line gives. Perfection of close plaiting of the silk line has supplied in great measure the weight and power found in the taper, without causing that imperfection in alighting to which I refer. I am a levelliner, therefore, but none of
Pass now to the angler's line. Here, wonderful to say, there is unanimity as to material. Now that excellent lines of pure silk can be bought at a low price, the only reason for preferring the old silk-andhair has been removed; while for some inexplicable reason the faddists have fought more