Ralph Waldo Emerson - John Lothrop Motley - Two Memoirs

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Read Books, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 556 pages
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PREFACE. THE Author of this very practical treatise on Scotch Loch - Fishing desires clearly that it may be of use to all who had it. He does not pretend to have written anything new, but to have attempted to put what he has to say in as readable a form as possible. Everything in the way of the history and habits of fish has been studiously avoided, and technicalities have been used as sparingly as possible. The writing of this book has afforded him pleasure in his leisure moments, and that pleasure would be much increased if he knew that the perusal of it would create any bond of sympathy between himself and the angling community in general. This section is interleaved with blank shects for the readers notes. The Author need hardly say that any suggestions addressed to the case of the publishers, will meet with consideration in a future edition. We do not pretend to write or enlarge upon a new subject. Much has been said and written-and well said and written too on the art of fishing but loch-fishing has been rather looked upon as a second-rate performance, and to dispel this idea is one of the objects for which this present treatise has been written. Far be it from us to say anything against fishing, lawfully practised in any form but many pent up in our large towns will bear us out when me say that, on the whole, a days loch-fishing is the most convenient. One great matter is, that the loch-fisher is depend- ent on nothing but enough wind to curl the water, -and on a large loch it is very seldom that a dead calm prevails all day, -and can make his arrangements for a day, weeks beforehand whereas the stream- fisher is dependent for a good take on the state of the water and however pleasant and easy it may be for one living near the banks of a good trout stream or river, it is quite another matter to arrange for a days river-fishing, if one is looking forward to a holiday at a date some weeks ahead. Providence may favour the expectant angler with a good day, and the water in order but experience has taught most of us that the good days are in the minority, and that, as is the case with our rapid running streams, -such as many of our northern streams are, -the water is either too large or too small, unless, as previously remarked, you live near at hand, and can catch it at its best. A common belief in regard to loch-fishing is, that the tyro and the experienced angler have nearly the same chance in fishing, -the one from the stern and the other from the bow of the same boat. Of all the absurd beliefs as to loch-fishing, this is one of the most absurd. Try it. Give the tyro either end of the boat he likes give him a cast of ally flies he may fancy, or even a cast similar to those which a crack may be using and if he catches one for every three the other has, he may consider himself very lucky. Of course there are lochs where the fish are not abundant, and a beginner may come across as many as an older fisher but we speak of lochs where there are fish to be caught, and where each has a fair chance. Again, it is said that the boatman has as much to do with catching trout in a loch as the angler. Well, we dont deny that. In an untried loch it is necessary to have the guidance of a good boatman but the same argument holds good as to stream-fishing...

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About the author (2007)

A devoted physician and professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard College for 35 years, Holmes used his literary talents to enhance his life, not to define it. Literary fame came relatively early to Holmes, when in 1830 he published a few lines of verse in a Boston newspaper in which he objected to the dismantling of the frigate Constitution, which had served its nation victoriously in the Tripolitan War and the War of 1812. The poem, "Old Ironside," was a great success, both for Holmes as a poet and in saving the frigate. However, his medical studies left Holmes little leisure for literature for the next 25 years. That changed, however, with the publication of an animated series of essays in the newly founded Atlantic Monthly in 1857 and 1858, and afterwards published in book form as The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). Not only did these essays help secure the magazine's success, but also brought Holmes widespread popularity. Holmes as an essayist has been compared with all of the great writers in that genre, from Michel de Montaigne to Charles Lamb, but his compositions are closer to conversational than to formal prose. Later volumes---The Professor at the Breakfast-Table (1860), The Poet at the Breakfast-Table (1872), and Over the Teacups (1891)---extend the autocrat's delightfully egotistical talks, mainly of Boston and New England, in which Holmes was, by turns, brilliantly witty and extremely serious. During these same years, he also wrote three so-called medicated novels: Elsie Venner (1861), The Guardian Angel (1867), and A Mortal Antipathy (1885). Though undistinguished as literary documents, they are important early studies of that "mysterious borderland which lies between physiology and psychology," and they demonstrate that Holmes was advanced in his conception of the causes and progress of neuroses and mental disease. Many of Holmes's best poems appeared first in his "Breakfast Table" series. "The Deacon's Masterpiece, or the Wonderful One-Hoss Shay," "The Chambered Nautilus," and "The Living Temple" all may be found in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). But the bulk of Holmes's poetry is occasional verse, written "on command" to celebrate "the affairs of men and nations." Indeed, so many events are commemorated in his verses that a social history of the times---at least in Boston---may be read in his complete poems. Much more lasting as literary artifacts, however, are his short, humorous verses, like "The Ballad of the Oysterman" (1830), "The Last Leaf" (1831), and "My Aunt" (1831).

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