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Title: Maxims and Hints on Angling, Chess, Shooting, and Other Matters - also, Miseries of Fishing
Author: Penn, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MAXIMS AND HINTS

ON

ANGLING, CHESS, SHOOTING,

AND

OTHER MATTERS;

ALSO,

MISERIES OF FISHING.

With Wood-Cuts.

BY RICHARD PENN, Esq., F.R.S.


_A NEW EDITION, ENLARGED._


        LONDON:
        JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

        MDCCCXLII.



        LONDON:
        Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS,
        Stamford Street.



CONTENTS


  Maxims and Hints for an Angler                     1
  Miseries of Fishing                               25
  Maxims and Hints for a Chess Player               55
  Maxims and Hints on Shooting and Other Matters    81



THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS

FROM THE

Common-Place-Book

OF THE

HOUGHTON FISHING CLUB

ARE RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

TO HIS

BROTHER ANGLERS

BY A

MEMBER OF THE CLUB.

          LONDON,
        _March, 1833._



MAXIMS AND HINTS

FOR

AN ANGLER.

        "You see the ways the fisherman doth take
        "To catch the fish; what engines doth he make?
        "Behold! how he engageth all his wits,
        "Also his snares, lines, angles, hooks, and nets:
        "Yet fish there be, that neither hook nor line,
        "Nor snare, nor net, nor engine can make thine;
        "They must be groped for, and be tickled too,
        "Or they will not be catch'd, whate'er you do."
                                            JOHN BUNYAN



MAXIMS AND HINTS

FOR

AN ANGLER:

BY

A BUNGLER.

[Loosely thrown out, in order to provoke contradiction, and elicit truth
from the expert.]


I.

ARE there any fish in the river to which you are going?


II.

Having settled the above question in the affirmative, get some person
who knows the water to show you whereabout the fish usually lie; and
when he shows them to you, do not show yourself to them.


III.

Comparatively coarse fishing will succeed better when you are not seen
by the fish, than the finest when they see you.


IV.

Do not imagine that, because a fish does not instantly dart off on first
seeing you, he is the less aware of your presence; he almost always on
such occasions ceases to feed, and pays you the compliment of devoting
his whole attention to you, whilst he is preparing for a start whenever
the apprehended danger becomes sufficiently imminent.


V.

By wading when the sun does not shine, you may walk in the river within
eighteen or twenty yards below a fish, which would be immediately driven
away by your walking on the bank on either side, though at a greater
distance from him.


VI.

When you are fishing with the natural May-fly, it is as well to wait for
a passing cloud, as to drive away the fish by putting your fly to him in
the glare of the sunshine, when he will not take it.


VII.

If you pass your fly neatly and well three times over a trout, and he
refuses it, do not wait any longer for him: you may be sure that he has
seen the line of invitation which you have sent over the water to him,
and does not intend to come.


VIII.

If your line be nearly _taut_, as it ought to be, with little or no gut
in the water, a good fish will always hook himself, on your gently
raising the top of the rod when he has taken the fly.

[Illustration: "Whence he is to be instantly whipt out by an expert
assistant, furnished," &c.

To face page 6.]


IX.

If you are above a fish in the stream when you hook him, get below him
as soon as you can; and remember that if you pull him, but for an
instant, against the stream, he will, if a heavy fish, break his hold;
or if he should be firmly hooked, you will probably find that the united
strength of the stream and fish is too much for your skill and tackle.


X.

I do not think that a fish has much power of stopping himself if,
immediately on being hooked, he is moved slowly with the current, under
the attractive influence of your rod and line. He will soon find that a
forced march of this sort is very fatiguing, and he may then be brought,
by a well-regulated exercise of gentle violence, to the bank, from
whence he is to be instantly whipt out by an expert assistant, furnished
with a landing-net, the ring of which ought not to be of a less
diameter than eighteen inches, the handle of it being seven feet long.


XI.

If, after hooking a trout, you allow him to remain stationary but for a
moment, he will have time to put his helm hard a-port or a-starboard,
and to offer some resistance. Strong tackle now becomes useful.


XII.

Bear always in mind that no tackle is strong enough, unless well
handled. A good fisherman will easily kill a trout of three pounds with
a rod and a line which are not strong enough to lift a dead weight of
one pound from the floor, and place it on the table.


XIII.

Remember that, in whipping with the artificial fly, it must have time,
when you have drawn it out of the water, to make the whole circuit, and
to be at one time straight behind you, before it can be driven out
straight before you. If you give it the forward impulse too soon, you
will hear a crack. Take this as a hint that your fly is gone to grass.


XIV.

Never throw with a long line when a short one will answer your purpose.
The most difficult fish to hook is one which is rising at three-fourths
of the utmost distance to which you can throw. Even when you are at the
extent of your distance, you have a better chance; because in this case,
when you do reach him, your line will be straight, and, when you do not,
the intermediate failures will not alarm him.


XV.

It appears to me that, in whipping with an artificial fly, there are
only two cases in which a fish taking the fly will infallibly hook
himself without your assistance, viz.

1. When your fly first touches the water at the end of a straight line.

2. When you are drawing out your fly for a new throw.

In all other cases it is necessary that, in order to hook him when he
has taken the fly, you should do something with your wrist which it is
not easy to describe.


XVI.

If your line should fall loose and wavy into the water, it will either
frighten away the fish, or he will take the fly into his mouth without
fastening himself; and when he finds that it does not answer his
purpose, he will spit it out again, before it has answered yours.


XVII.

Although the question of fishing up or down the stream is usually
settled by the direction of the wind, you may sometimes have the
option; and it is, therefore, as well to say a word or two on both
sides.

1. If, when you are fishing down-stream, you take a step or two with
each successive throw, your fly is always travelling over new water,
which cannot have been disturbed by the passing of your line.


2. When you are fishing up-stream, you may lose the advantage of raising
so many fish; but, on the other hand, you will have a better chance of
hooking those which rise at your fly, because the darting forward of a
fish seizing it has a tendency to tighten your line, and produce the
desired effect.


3. If you are in the habit of sometimes catching a fish, there is
another great advantage in fishing up-stream, viz. whilst you are
playing and leading (necessarily down-stream) the fish which you have
hooked, you do not alarm the others which are above you, waiting till
their turn comes.


XVIII.

The learned are much divided in opinion as to the propriety of whipping
with two flies or with one. I am humbly of opinion that your chance of
hooking fish is much increased by your using two flies; but I think
that, by using only one, you increase your chance of landing the fish.


XIX.

When you are using two flies, you can easily find the bob-fly on the top
of the water, and thus be sure that the end-fly is not far off. When you
are using only one fly, you cannot so easily see where the fly is; but I
think that you can make a better guess as to where the fish is likely to
be after you have hooked him.


XX.

Also, when you are using two flies, you may sometimes catch a fish with
one of them, and a weed growing in the river with the other. When such a
_liaison_ is once formed, you will find it difficult, with all your
attractions, to overcome the strong attachment of the fish to your
worthless rival the weed.


XXI.

If the weed will not give way in the awkward juncture above alluded to,
you must proceed to extremities. "Then comes the tug of war;" and your
line is quite as likely to break between you and the fish, as between
the fish and the weed.


XXII.

When, during the season of the May-fly, your friends, the gentlemen from
London, say that they "have scarcely seen a fish rise all day," do not
too hastily conclude that the fish have not been feeding on the fly.

[Illustration: "You will find it difficult, with all your attractions,
to overcome the strong attachment," &c.

To face page 12.]


XXIII.

The only "rising" which is seen by the unlearned is the splash which is
made by a fish when he darts from a considerable depth in the water to
catch an occasional fly on the surface. There is, however, another sort
of "rising," which is better worth the skilful angler's attention, viz.


XXIV.

When a fish is seriously feeding on the fly, he stations himself at no
greater depth than his own length, and, making his tail the hinge of his
motions, he gently raises his mouth to the top of the water, and quietly
sucks in the fly attempting to pass over him. A rising of this sort is
not easily seen, but it is worth looking for; because, although a fish
feeding in this manner will rarely go many inches on either side for a
fly, he will as rarely refuse to take one which comes (without any gut
in the water) directly to him.


XXV.

If your fly (gut unfortunately included) should swim over a fish without
his taking it, look out well for a darting line of undulation, which
betokens his immediate departure; and remember, that it is of no use to
continue fishing for him after he is gone.


XXVI.

The stations chosen by fish for feeding are those which are likely to
afford them good sport in catching flies, viz.

1. The mouths of ditches running into the river.

2. The confluence of two branches of a stream, which has been divided by
a patch of weeds.

3. That part of a stream which has been narrowed by two such patches.

4. Fish are also to be found under the bank opposite to the wind, where
they are waiting for the flies which are blown against that bank, and
fall into the river.


XXVII.

If, during your walks by the river-side, you have marked any good fish,
it is fair to presume that other persons have marked them also. Suppose
the case of two well-known fish, one of them (which I will call A.)
lying above a certain bridge, the other (which I will call B.) lying
below the bridge. Suppose further that you have just caught B., and that
some curious and cunning friend should say to you in a careless way,
"Where did you take that fine fish?" a finished fisherman would advise
you to tell your inquiring friend that you had taken your fish just
_above_ the bridge, describing, as the scene of action, the spot which,
in truth, you know to be still occupied by the other fish, A. Your
friend would then fish no more for A., supposing that to be the fish
which you have caught; and whilst he innocently resumes his operations
below the bridge, where he falsely imagines B. still to be, A. is left
quietly for you, if you can catch him.


XXVIII.

When you see a large fish rising so greedily in the middle of a sharp
stream, that you feel almost sure of his instantly taking your May-fly,
I would advise you to make an accurate survey of all obstructions in the
immediate neighbourhood of your feet--of any ditch which may be close
behind you--or of any narrow plank, amidst high rushes, which you may
shortly have to walk over in a hurry. If you should hook the fish, a
knowledge of these interesting localities will be very useful to you.


XXIX.

When your water-proof boots are wet through, make a hole or two near the
bottom of them, in order that the water, which runs in whilst you are
walking in the river, may run freely out again whilst you are walking
on the bank. You will thus avoid an accompaniment of pumping-music,
which is not agreeable.


XXX.

Never mind what they of the old school say about "playing him till he is
tired." Much valuable time and many a good fish may be lost by this
antiquated proceeding. Put him into your basket _as soon as you can_.
Everything depends on the manner in which you commence your acquaintance
with him. If you can at first prevail upon him to go a little way down
the stream with you, you will have no difficulty afterwards in
persuading him to let you have the pleasure of seeing him at dinner.


XXXI.

Do not be afraid of filling your pockets too full when you go out; you
are more likely to leave something behind you than to take too much. A
man who seldom catches a fish at any other time, usually gets hold of
one (and loses him of course) whilst his attendant is gone back for
something which had been forgotten.


XXXII.

If your attendant is a handy fellow at landing a fish, let him do it in
his own way: if he is not, try to find a better man, or go home.
Although so much depends upon his skill, you will rarely derive much
comfort from asking him for his opinion. If you have had bad sport, and
say to him, "Which way shall we go now?" he will most probably say,
"Where you please, sir." If you ask him what he thinks of the weather,
he is very likely to say that last week (_when you were in London_) it
was "famous weather for fishing;" or he will perhaps say, that he
expects that next week (_when you are to be at home again_) it will be
very good. I never knew one of these men who was satisfied with the
present hour.


XXXIII.

Do not leave off fishing early in the evening because your friends are
tired. After a bright day, the largest fish are to be caught by whipping
between sunset and dark. Even, however, in these precious moments, you
will not have good sport if you continue throwing after you have whipped
your fly off. Pay attention to this; and if you have any doubt after
dusk, you may easily ascertain the point, by drawing the end of the line
quickly through your hand,--particularly if you do not wear gloves.


XXXIV.

No attempt is here made to give directions as to the best seasons for
cutting the woods which are fittest for the making of rods, or as to the
mode of preparing them; because the worst rod which is kept for sale at
the present day is probably as good as the best of the first few dozen
which any amateur is likely to make for himself.


XXXV.

Lastly--When you have got hold of a good fish, which is not very
tractable, if you are married, gentle reader, think of your wife, who,
like the fish, is united to you by very tender ties, which can only end
with her death, or her going into weeds. If you are single, the loss of
the fish, when you thought the prize your own, may remind you of some
more serious disappointment.

                                                            R. P.

  _Rod Cottage, River Side,
      31st May, 1829._

[Illustration]



POSTSCRIPT.


I FORGOT to say, that, if a friend should invite you to his house,
saying that he will give you "an excellent day's fishing," you ought not
to doubt his kind intention, but you certainly ought not to feel very
sure that you will have good sport. Provide yourself for such a visit
with everything which you may want, as if you were going into an
uninhabited country. Above all things, take a landing-net with you. Your
friend's (if he has one) is probably torn and without a handle, being a
sort of reticulated shovel for taking fish out of the well of a punt.
Take warning from the following story:--

Mr. Jackson and Mr. Thompson went last week to the house of Mr. Jenkins,
for a few days' fishing. They were received with the utmost kindness
and hospitality by Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, and on the following morning
after breakfast, the gardener (who was on that day called the fisherman)
was desired to attend them to the river. Thompson, who had a landing-net
of his own, begged to have a boy to carry it. Jack was immediately sent
for, and he appeared in _top_ boots, with a livery hat and waistcoat.

Arrived at the water-side, Thompson gave his gnat-basket to the boy, and
told him to go on the other side of the river, and look on the grass for
a few May-flies. Jack said that he did not exactly know what May-flies
were, and that the river could not be crossed without going over a
bridge a mile off. Thompson is a patient man, so he began to fish with
his landing-net for a few May-flies, and after he had necessarily
frightened away many fish, he succeeded in catching six or seven
May-flies.

[Illustration: The boy exclaiming, "Damn 'un, I miss'd 'un," instantly
threw a second brick-bat.

To face page 23.]

Working one of them with the blowing-line much to his own
satisfaction, and thinking to extract a compliment from his attendant,
he said, "They do not often fish here in this way--do they?" "No," said
the boy, "they drags wi' a net; they did zo the day afore yesterday."

Our angler, after much patient fishing, hooked a fine trout; and having
brought him carefully to the bank, he said, "Now, my lad, don't be in a
hurry, but get him out as soon as you can." Jack ran to the water's
edge, threw down the net, and seizing the line with both hands, of
course broke it immediately.

Nothing daunted, Thompson now mended his tackle and went on fishing; and
when he thought, "good easy man," that the very moment for hooking
another trout was arrived, there was a great splash just above his
fly;--and the boy exclaiming, "Damn un, I miss'd un," instantly threw a
second brick-bat at a rat which was crossing the river.

Mine host, in order to accommodate his friends, dined early; and when
they went after dinner to enjoy the evening fishing, they found that the
miller had turned off the water, and that the river was nearly dry,--so
they went back to tea.

                                                            R. P.

[Illustration: _F. R. Lee, Esq., R.A._]



MISERIES OF FISHING.


"_Quæque ipse miserrima vidi._"



MISERIES OF FISHING.


I.

MAKING a great improvement in a receipt which a friend had given you for
staining gut--and finding that you have produced exactly the colour
which you wanted, but that the dye has made all your bottoms quite
rotten.


II.

Suddenly putting up your hand to save your hat in a high wind, and
grasping a number of artificial flies, which you had pinned round it,
without any intention of taking hold of more than one at a time.


III.

Leading a large fish down-stream and arriving at a ditch, the width of
which is evident, although the depth of it may be a matter of some
doubt. Having thus to decide very quickly whether you will lose the fish
and half your tackle, or run the risk of going up to your neck in mud.
Perhaps both.


IV.

Feeling rather unsteady whilst you are walking on a windy day over an
old foot-bridge, and having occasion to regret the decayed state of the
hand-rail, which once protected the passing fisherman.


V.

Fishing for the first time with flies of your own making--and finding
that they are quite as good as any which you can buy, except that the
hooks are not so firmly tied to the gut.


VI.

Taking out with you as your aide-de-camp an unsophisticated lad from the
neighbouring village, who laughs at you when you miss hooking a fish
rising at a fly, and says with a grin. "You can't vasten 'em as my
vather does."

[Illustration: "And having occasion to regret the decayed state of the
hand-rail," &c.

To face page 28.]


VII.

Making the very throw which you feel sure will at last enable you to
reach a fish that is rising at some distance--and seeing the upper half
of your rod go into the middle of the river. When you have towed it
ashore, finding that it has broken off close to the ferule, which is
immoveably fixed in the lower half of your rod.


VIII.

Feeling the first cold drop giving notice to your great toe that in less
than two minutes your boot will be full of water.


IX.

Going out on a morning so fine that no man would think of taking his
water-proof cloak with him--and then, before catching any fish, being
thoroughly wet through by an unexpected shower.


X.

When you cannot catch any fish--being told by your attendant of the
excellent sport which your predecessor had on the same spot, only a few
days before.


XI.

Having brought with you from town a large assortment of expensive
artificial flies--and being told on showing them to an experienced
native, that "They are certainly very beautiful, but that none of them
are of any use here."


XII.

After trying in vain to reach a trout which is rising on the opposite
side of the river--at last walking on; and before you have gone 100
yards, looking back, and seeing a more skilful friend catch him at the
first throw.--Weight 3 lbs. 2 oz.

[Illustration: "Looking back, and seeing a more skilful friend catch him
at the first throw."

To face page 30.]


XIII.

Having stupidly trodden on the top of your rod--and then finding that
the spare top, which you have brought out with you in the butt, belongs
to the rod which you have left at home, and will not fit that which you
are using.


XIV.

Having steered safely through some very dangerous weeds a fish which you
consider to weigh at least 3 lbs., and having brought him safely to the
very edge of the bank,--then seeing him, when he is all but in the
landing-net, make a plunge, which in a moment renders all your previous
skill of no avail, and puts it out of your power to verify the accuracy
of your calculations as to his weight.


XV.

Fishing with the blowing-line when the wind is so light that your fly is
seldom more than two yards from you, or when the wind is so strong that
it always carries your fly up into the air, before it comes to the spot
which you wish it to swim over.


XVI.

Wishing to show off before a young friend whom you have been learnedly
instructing in the mysteries of the art, and finding that you cannot
catch any fish yourself, whilst he (an inexperienced hand) hooks and
lands (by mere accident of course) a very large one.


XVII.

Attempting to walk across the river in a new place without knowing
exactly whereabouts certain holes, which you have heard of, are. Probing
the bottom in front of you with the handle of your landing-net,--and
finding it very soft.

[Illustration: "Probing the bottom in front of you with the handle of
your landing-net."

To face page 32.]


XVIII.

Going some distance for three days' fishing, on the two first of which
there is bright sunshine and no wind, and then finding that the third,
which opens with "a southerly wind and a cloudy sky," is the day which a
neighbouring farmer has fixed upon for washing two hundred sheep on the
shallow where you expected to have the best sport.


XIX.

Being allowed to have one day's fishing in a stream, the windings of
which are so many, that it would require half a dozen different winds to
enable you to fish the greater part of it, from the only side to which
your leave extends.


XX.

Finding, on taking your book out of your pocket, that the fly at the end
of your line is not the only one by many dozen which you have had in
the water, whilst you have been wading rather too deep.


XXI.

Wading half an inch deeper than the tops of your boots, and finding
afterwards that you must carry about with you four or five quarts in
each, or must sit down on the wet grass whilst your attendant pulls them
off, in order that you may empty them, and try to pull them on again.


XXII.

Jumping out of bed very early every morning, during the season of the
May-fly, to look at a weathercock opposite to your window, and always
finding the wind either in the north or east.

[Illustration: "You must sit down on the wet grass whilst your attendant
pulls them off, in order," &c.

To face page 34.]


XXIII.

Having just hooked a heavy fish, when you are using the blowing-line,
and seeing the silk break about two feet above your hand; then
watching the broken end as it travels quickly through each successive
ring, till it finally leaves the top of your rod, and follows the fish
to the bottom of the river.


XXIV.

Receiving a very elegant new rod from London, and being told by one of
the most skilful of your brother anglers, that it is so stiff,--and by
another, that it is so pliant, that it is not possible for any man to
throw a fly properly with it.


XXV.

Being obliged to listen to a long story about the difficulties which one
of your friends had to encounter in landing a very fine trout which has
just been placed on the table for dinner, when you have no story of the
same sort to tell in return.


XXVI.

Hooking a large trout, and then turning the handle of your reel the
wrong way; thus producing an effect diametrically opposite to that of
shortening your line, and making the fish more unmanageable than before.


XXVII.

Arriving just before sunset at a shallow, where the fish are rising
beautifully, and finding that they are all about to be immediately
driven away by five-and-twenty cows, which are preparing to walk very
leisurely across the river in open files.


XXVIII.

Coming to an ugly ditch in your way across a water-meadow late in the
day, when you are too tired to jump, and being obliged to walk half a
mile in search of a place where you think you can step over it.

[Illustration: "Finding that they are all about to be immediately driven
away by five-and-twenty cows."

To face page 36.]


XXIX.

Flattering yourself that you had brought home the largest fish of the
day, and then finding that two of your party have each of them caught a
trout more than half a pound heavier than yours.


XXX.

Finding yourself reduced to the necessity of talking about the beautiful
form and colour of some trout, which you have caught, being well aware
that in the important particular of _weight_, they are much inferior to
several of those taken on the same day by one of your companions.


XXXI.

Telling a long story after dinner, tending to show (with full
particulars of time and place) how that, under very difficult
circumstances, and notwithstanding very great skill on your part, your
tackle had been that morning broken and carried away by a very large
fish; and then having the identical fly, lost by you on that occasion,
returned to you by one of your party, who found it in the mouth of a
trout, caught by him, about an hour after your disaster, on the very
spot so accurately described by you--the said very large fish being,
after all, a very small one.


XXXII.

Arriving at a friend's house in the country, one very cold evening in
March, and being told by his keeper that there are a great many large
pike in the water, and that you are sure of having good sport on the
following day; and then looking out of your bed-room window the next
morning, and seeing two unhappy swans dancing an awkward sort of minuet
on the ice, the surface of the lake having been completely frozen during
the night.

                                                            R. P.

  LONDON,
    _March, 1833._

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _F. R. Lee, Esq., R.A._]



MORE MISERIES.

(Continuation of Story from page 24.)


ON a subsequent occasion our honest anglers repeated their visit to Mr.
Jenkins, who, with the view of making himself more agreeable to his
guests, had, in the meantime, agreed to pay an annual rent to the
miller, for the exclusive right of fishing in some water belonging to
the mill, which was said to contain the largest fish in the river.

Now, this miller had a son, who, whilst he followed his father's daily
occupation of preparing matter for the _loaves_, sometimes thought of
the _fishes_ too; and he was better known in the neighbourhood for his
great skill in fishing, than for any unusual acquaintance with the
mysteries of grinding. He had frequently used much argument and entreaty
to dissuade his father from letting the fishery; but the prudent old
miller thought that £15 per annum, to be paid by Mr. Jenkins, would be
more profitable to him, than any pleasure which his son might derive
from catching many fine brace of trout during the season.

[Illustration: "He now sallied forth, not 'equal to both,' but 'armed
for either field.'"

To face page 43.]

Such was the state of affairs in this part of the world, when Mr.
Jackson and Mr. Thompson arrived early one morning, by special
invitation, to make a first trial of their skill in the new water. The
usual conversation about the state of the weather was quickly despatched
at breakfast. The wind was, for once, pronounced to be in the right
quarter. It was unanimously agreed that there could not well be a more
favourable day for fishing, and that, therefore, the gentlemen ought to
lose no time in going down to the river. Our old friend, Thompson, who,
as we have already seen, was not always very successful with a fly, had
lately, in order that he might have two strings to his bow[A], been
learning another branch of the gentle art, called "Spinning a minnow;"
and he now sallied forth, not "equal to both," but "armed for either
field," and walked with a confident step to a celebrated spot below the
mill. This new acquirement had been kept a profound secret from Jackson,
who went out, as usual, fly-fishing, and proceeded to a part of the
stream above the mill.

It was not to be expected that the young miller would work cheerfully at
the mill that morning. He felt that, although he had been cruelly
deprived of the fishery by his father, he surely had a right to _look_
at the gentlemen if he pleased; he therefore put on his dusty hat and
walked, in a surly mood, to the river side,--taking with him, as the
companion of his sorrows, a ragged little boy, who had often witnessed
his exploits with envy and admiration, and occasionally imitated his
great example in a very humble manner by fishing for gudgeons in the
canal.

The youth and the boy found Thompson so busily engaged in arranging his
new spinning-tackle, that he did not perceive that they had established
themselves within a few yards of him. There he stood upon the bank,
deeply impressed with the value of some excellent instructions which he
had lately received for his guidance, and fully sensible of the vast
superiority over Jackson which he now possessed. Having at last settled
every preliminary to his entire satisfaction, he was just about to cast
in his minnow for the first time, when the miller attracted Thompson's
notice by that peculiar sort of short cough which is a relief to
suppressed insolence, and acts as a safety-valve to prevent explosion.

Poor Thompson! He did not feel quite qualified for a performance of the
kind before a critic so well able to judge, and so little disposed to
admire; but he considered that it would be _infra dig._ to appear
disconcerted by the young miller's presence,--so he assumed a look of
defiance, and manfully commenced operations.

After one or two bad throws, and sundry awkward attempts at improvement,
a fine trout (_mirabile dictu!_) darted from under the bank and seized
his minnow. "Who cares for the miller now?" thought Thompson; but, alas!
the happy thought passed through his mind--

        "Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
         Ere one can say--It lightens."

He unfortunately (vide Maxim IX.) held the fish a little too hard
against the stream, and pulled him so very triumphantly, that the
thrilling sensation of tugging pressure on the rod suddenly ceased, and
the hookless end of the broken line flew into the air!!

At this awful crisis the young miller's cough became very troublesome,
and the boy coolly called out to him--

"_I say, Jack!--I'll lay a penny that wouldn't ha' happened if you had
had hold on 'im!!!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

Long before Thompson had recovered from the effects of this sad
disaster, Jenkins came up to him to announce that luncheon was ready.
Overwhelming our poor sufferer with a torrent of well-meant condolence,
he said--

"Well, Thompson!

"What! no sport?

"That _is_ unlucky!

"I am very anxious that _you_ should catch a good fish. _Jackson_ has
just caught a brace of very fine ones!

"This is exactly the spot where I expected that you would have the best
sport!

[Illustration: "I'll lay a penny that wouldn't ha' happened if _you_ had
hold on 'im!!"

To face page 46.]

"The miller tells me that the largest fish lie there[B], near that
broken post under the opposite bank. Pray cast your minnow close to
that, and you will be sure to run a fish almost immediately."

Jenkins little knew what he was asking. The aforesaid post was at a
formidable distance,--it could only be reached by a most skilful hand.
Thompson felt by no means disposed to attempt it, because, although
Jenkins appeared to think that it would be an easy task for so finished
an angler as Thompson, he himself had no doubt that the odious miller,
who was still looking on, was of a very different opinion. He therefore
thought that it would be wise to leave the question undetermined, and
not to give a _casting_ vote on the occasion.

And now Thompson, turning his back on the river, walked home arm-in-arm
with his friend Mr. Jenkins, grieving much about the fish which he had
lost, and perhaps a little about those which Jackson had caught.

The brace of very fine trout, said to have been caught by Mr. Jackson,
were exhibited by him in due form to Mr. Thompson and the ladies, just
before luncheon. Whilst he was pointing out the beautiful condition of
the fish, without at all underrating their weight, Miss Smith, who was
staying on a visit with her sister, Mrs. Jenkins, pleasantly remarked
that Mr. Jackson was very _lucky_ to have caught two such fine fish
whilst Mr. Thompson had not caught any. This led to an interesting
conversation about the caprice of the fickle goddess, so often alluded
to in the lamentations of an unsuccessful angler. Thompson took no part
in the discussion, and he did not refer them to the miller or the little
boy for any other explanation[C] of the cause of his failure; but he
begged that they would allow him to eat his luncheon, without waiting
for the rest of the party, as he was anxious to return as soon as
possible to the river, where he expected to have great sport in the
evening.

[Illustration: _Geo. Jones, Esq. R.A._

"He begged that they would allow him to eat his luncheon without waiting
for the rest of the party."

To face page 49.]

After luncheon, our unfortunate hero did not catch any fish, and he
found that he could not throw his minnow within several yards of the
far-famed post, even when he was not annoyed by spectators. He
contrived, however, to get fast hold of another, at a much less distance
from him; in consequence of which, he was obliged to abandon a second
set of his best minnow tackle (price 2_s._ 6_d._) to its fate in the
middle of the river.

[Illustration: "His ears were assailed by a loud repetition of the cruel
cough."

To face page 51.]

At the end of _his day's sport_, Thompson omitted to use the wise
precaution of taking his rod to pieces[D], before leaving the river
side. On his way homewards, in the evening, he met the little boy, who
slily asked him if he had had good sport _since_. This brought to his
recollection the fact of his having to pass through the mill, in order
to cross the river; and the prospect of his being asked a similar
question by the miller was not agreeable. When he arrived at the mill,
all was quiet; and he, therefore, flattered himself that the miller was
comfortably enjoying his pipe at the ale-house.--Thompson was now so
elated at the idea of passing through unobserved, that he quite forgot
the exalted state of his rod, until he was reminded of it by a sudden
jerk which broke off the top, leaving his third and last set of tackle,
with a brilliant artificial minnow, sticking fast in a projecting
rafter[E] above his reach. Hastily shoving the broken joint (Thompson
never swears) into the butt of his rod, he hoped that he should be able
to conceal all knowledge of this last misfortune. He, however, felt very
unwilling that the shining little minnow should remain in its present
position, as a glaring proof of his awkwardness; and it immediately
occurred to him, that a small ladder, which was close at hand, was a
thing exactly suited to the occasion; but at the very moment when he
became convinced, by actual experiment, that it was too short for his
purpose, his ears were assailed by a loud repetition of the cruel cough,
and his eyes were met by a killing glance from those of the miller's
son.

On the following day, Thompson returned, much out of spirits, to
London. On that day, too, the young miller resumed his duties at the
mill, less out of humour than before. Very shortly after this the old
miller died, and the son then took the fishery into his own hands; and,
however closely he may now resemble his late grandfather (who formerly
lived on the River Dee), in caring for nobody, he never, whilst Thompson
lives, will be able to say "Nobody cares for me."

       *       *       *       *       *

"So ends my Tale:" for I fear that the reader must think that, like
Thompson, he has now had quite enough of "THE MISERIES OF FISHING." I
feel, however, assured that he will forgive me for relating this story,
because, although his attention may be fatigued by the perusal of it,
his eye will be gratified by the beauty of several new illustrations,
which I owe to the kindness of my friends, the distinguished artists,
whose names are printed under their welcome contributions to my little
book.

                                                            R. P.

  _Whitehall,
    March, 1839._

[Illustration: _Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A._]


FOOTNOTES:

[A] It was a long one, when he talked about fishing.

[B] There the fish did not _lie_, but the miller did. He well knew that,
since the letting of the fishery, his son had taken good care that the
best of them should be gradually removed to Billingsgate by a more
summary process than that of rod and line.

[C] Neither did Mr. Jackson think it necessary to explain to the ladies,
or even to his friend Thompson, that the very fine fish, about which he
had received so many compliments, had been taken by fixing his
landing-net at the mouth of one of the narrow water-courses, up which
they had worked their way in search of minnows;--a secret method of
ensuring good sport, well known to some few very cunning anglers, whose
motto is

        "Unde habeas quærit Nemo, sed oportet habere."--JUV.


[D] I understand that Thompson has written a long letter, complaining of
my not having given any maxim or hint on this important point. I beg
leave here to apologise for the omission; and I have no hesitation in
advising him, if he should ever put his rod together again, not to omit
taking it to pieces as soon as he has done fishing.

[E] Piscium et summâ genus hæsit ulmo.--HOR.



MAXIMS AND HINTS

FOR A

CHESS PLAYER.

"_Lorsque je veux, sans y faire semblant, me livrer aux méditations
d'une douce philosophie, je vais à la pêche. Ma longue expérience me
tient en garde contre les inconveniens d'une mauvaise pratique; et je
jouis de mon succès, qu'aucun jaloux ne vient troubler. Ma pêche finie,
eh bien! je rentre dans le mouvement de la vie, je fais ma partie
d'échecs; je triomphe, mon sang circule; je suis battu, mais je me
releve._"--TACTIQUE DES RECREATIONS.



MAXIMS AND HINTS

FOR A

CHESS PLAYER.

[Illustration]


I.

WIN as often as you can, but never make any display of insulting joy on
the occasion. When you cannot win--lose (though you may not like it)
with good temper.


II.

If your adversary, after you have won a game, wishes to prove that you
have done so in consequence of some fault of his rather than by your own
good play, you need not enter into much argument on the subject, whilst
he is explaining to the by-standers the mode by which he might have won
the game, _but did not_.


III.

Nor need you make yourself uneasy if your adversary should console
himself by pointing out a mode by which you might have won the game in a
shorter and more masterly manner. Listen patiently to his
explanation--it cannot prove that your way was not good enough. _Tous
les chemins sont bons qui ménent à la victoire._


IV.

When you are playing with an opponent whom you feel sure that you can
master, do not insult him by saying that you consider him a stronger
player than yourself,--but that perhaps particular circumstances may
prevent him from playing with his usual force to-day, &c. &c. Men
usually play as well as they can: they are glad when they win, and sorry
when they lose.


V.

Sometimes--when, alas! you have lost the game--an unmerciful conqueror
will insist on "murdering Pizarro all over again," and glories in
explaining how that your game was irretrievable after you had given a
certain injudicious check with the queen,[F] (the consequence of which
_he says_ that he immediately foresaw,) and that then, by a succession
of very good moves on his part, he won easily. You must bear all this as
well as you can, although it is certainly not fair to "preach'ee and
flog'ee too."


VI.

A good player seldom complains that another is slow. He is glad to have
the opportunity thus afforded to him of attentively considering the
state of the game. Do not, therefore, be impatient when it is your
adversary's turn to move. Take as much time as you require (_and no
more_) when it is your own turn.


VII.

If, whilst you are playing, your adversary will talk about the state of
the game, it is very provoking, but you cannot help it, and the pieces
will give you ample revenge, if you can avail yourself of their power.


VIII.

If the by-standers talk, it is still more annoying: they always claim
the merit of having foreseen every good move which is made, and they
sometimes express great surprise at your not making a particular move;
which, if you had made it, would probably have led to your speedily
losing the game--before which time they would have walked away to
another table.


IX.

Almost every moderate player thinks himself fully qualified to criticise
the move by which a game has been lost.--Although, if he had himself
been in the loser's place, he would, very probably, have been
check-mated twenty moves sooner than the opportunity occurred for
committing the particular mistake, which he thinks he should have
avoided.


X.

Amongst good players, it is considered to be as much an indispensable
condition of the game, that a piece once touched must be moved, as that
the queen is not allowed to have the knight's, or a rook the bishop's
move.


XI.

Some persons, when they are playing with a stranger who entreats to be
allowed to take back a move, let him do so the first time: then, almost
immediately afterwards, they put their own queen _en prise_; and when
the mistake is politely pointed out to them, they say that _they_ never
take back a move, but that they are ready to begin another game.


XII.

Do not be alarmed about the state of your adversary's health, when,
after losing two or three games, he complains of having a bad head-ache,
or of feeling very unwell. If he should win the next game, you will
probably hear no more of this.


XIII.

Never (if you can avoid it) lose a game to a person who rarely wins when
he plays with you. If you do so, you may afterwards find that this one
game has been talked of to all his friends, although he may have
forgotten to mention ninety-nine others which had a different result.
Chess players have a very retentive memory with regard to the games
which they win.


XIV.

If, therefore, any one should tell you that on a certain day last week
he won a game from one of your friends, it may be as well to ask how
many other games were played on the same day.


XV.

There is no better way of deciding on the comparative skill of two
players than by the result of a number of games. Be satisfied with that
result, and do not attempt to reason upon it.


XVI.

Remember the Italian proverb, "Never make a good move without first
looking out for a better." Even if your adversary should leave his
queen _en prise_, do not snap hastily at it. The queen is a good thing
to win, but the game is a better.


XVII.

Between even, and tolerably good, players a mere trifle frequently
decides the event of a game; but when you have gained a small advantage,
you must be satisfied with it for the time. Do not, by attempting too
much, lose that which you have gained. Your object should be to win the
game, and the dullest way of winning is better for you than the most
brilliant of losing.


XVIII.

If your knowledge of "the books" enables you to see that a person, with
whom you are playing for the first time, opens his game badly, do not
suppose, as a matter of course, that you are going to check-mate him in
ten or twelve moves. Many moves called _very bad_ are only such if well
opposed; and you can derive but little advantage from them unless you
are well acquainted with the system of crowding your adversary,--one of
the most difficult parts of the game.


XIX.

Some players have by study acquired mechanically the art of opening
their game in a style much above their real force; but when they have
exhausted their store of _book-knowledge_, they soon fall all to pieces,
and become an easy prey to those who have genuine talent for the game.
Others do not know how to open their game on scientific principles, and
yet, if they can stagger through the beginning without decided loss,
fight most nobly when there are but few pieces and pawns left on the
board. All these varieties of play must be carefully studied by those
who wish to win. It is only talent for the game, combined with much
study and great practice, which can make a truly good player.


XX.

Although no degree of instruction derived from "books" will make a good
player, without much practice with all sorts of opponents, yet, on the
other hand, when you hear a person, who has had great practice, boast of
never having looked into a chess-book, you may be sure either that he is
a bad player, or that he is not nearly so good a player as he might
become by attentively studying the laborious works which have been
published on almost every conceivable opening, by such players as Ercole
del Rio, Ponziani, Philidor, Sarratt, and Lewis.


XXI.

Between fine players, small odds (viz. pawn, with one, or with two
moves) are of great consequence. Between inferior players they are of
none. The value of these odds consists chiefly in position; and in every
long game between weak players, such an advantage is gained and lost
several times, without either party being aware of it.


XXII.

Almost all good players (_and some others_) have a much higher opinion
of their own strength than it really deserves. One person feels sure
that he is a better player than some particular opponent, although he
cannot but confess that, for some unaccountable reason, or other, he
does not always win a majority of games from him. Another attributes his
failure solely to want of attention to details which he considers hardly
to involve any real genius for the game; and he is obliged to content
himself with boasting of having certainly, at one time, had much the
best of a game, which he afterwards lost, _only by a mistake_. A third
thinks that he must be a good player, because he has discovered almost
all the many difficult check-mates which have been published as
problems. He may be able to do this, and yet be unable to play a whole
game well, it being much more easy to find out, at your leisure, the way
to do that which you are told beforehand is practicable, than to decide,
in actual play, whether, or not, it is prudent to make the attempt.


XXIII.

A theoretical amateur, with much real genius for the game, is often
beaten by a fourth-rate player at a chess club, who has become from
constant practice thoroughly acquainted with all the technicalities of
it, and quietly builds up a wall for the other to run his head against.
The loser in this case may _perhaps_ eventually become the better player
of the two; but he is not so at present.


XXIV.

A person sometimes tells you that he played the other day, for the first
time, with Mr. Such-a-one, (a very celebrated player,) who won the game,
with great difficulty, after a very hard fight. Your friend probably
deceives himself greatly in supposing this to be the case. A player who
has a reputation to lose, always plays very cautiously against a person
whose strength he does not yet know: he runs no risks, and does not
attempt to do more than win the game, which is all that he undertook to
do.


XXV.

When you receive the odds of a piece from a better player than yourself,
remember he sees everything which you see, and probably much more. Be
very careful how you attack him. You must act in the early part of the
game entirely on the defensive, or probably you will not live long
enough to enjoy the advantage which has been given you. Even though you
may still have the advantage of a piece more, when the game is far
advanced, you must not feel too sure of victory. Take all his pawns
quietly, _if you can_, and see your way clearly before you attempt to
check-mate him. You will thus perhaps be longer about it, but winning is
very agreeable work.


XXVI.

Many persons advise you, when you receive the odds of a rook, _always_
to make exchanges as often as you can, in order to maintain the
numerical superiority with which you began. This is very cunning; but
you will probably find that "_Master is Yorkshire too_," and that he
will not allow you to make exchanges early in the game, except under
circumstances which lead you into a ruinous inferiority of position.


XXVII.

You will never improve by playing only with players of your own
strength. In order to play well, you must toil through the humiliating
task of being frequently beaten by those who can give you odds. These
odds, when you have fairly mastered them, may be gradually diminished as
your strength increases. Do not, however, deceive yourself by imagining,
that if you cannot win from one of the _great players_ when he gives you
the odds of a rook, you would stand a better chance with the odds of a
knight. This is a very common error. It is true that, when a knight is
given, the attack made upon you is not so sudden and so violent, as it
usually is when you receive a rook--but your ultimate defeat is much
more certain. If, in the one case, you are quickly killed, in the other
you will die in lingering torments.


XXVIII.

When you hear of a man from the country, who has beaten every body whom
he has ever played with, do not suppose, as a matter of course, that he
is a truly good player. He may be only a "Triton of the Minnows." All
his fame depends upon the skill of the parties with whom he has hitherto
contended; and provincial Philidors seldom prove to be very good
players, when their strength is fairly measured at the London Chess
Club, particularly such of them as come there with the reputation of
having never been beaten.


XXIX.

An elderly gentleman, lately returned from India, is apt to suppose that
his skill has been much impaired by the change of climate, or some other
cause, when he finds, to his great surprise, that his style of play does
not produce such an alarming effect in the Chess Clubs of London or
Paris, as it used to do at Rumbarabad.


XXX.

When you can decidedly win, at the odds of a rook given by a first-rate
player, you will rank among the chosen few. It would be very difficult
to name twenty-five persons in London to whom Mr. Lewis could not fairly
give these odds, although there are many hundreds who would be much
offended at its being supposed to be possible that any one could give
them a knight.


XXXI.

A first-rate player, who is to give large odds to a stranger, derives
great advantage from seeing him first play a game, or two, with other
persons. His style of play is thus shown, and the class of risks which
may be ventured on is nicely calculated. That which, before, might have
been difficult, thus becomes comparatively easy.


XXXII.

There is as much difference between playing a game well, by
correspondence, and playing one well over the board, as there is between
writing a good essay, and making a good speech.


XXXIII.

No advantages of person and voice will enable a man to become a good
orator if he does not understand the grammatical construction of the
language in which he speaks: nor will the highest degree of ingenuity
make any man a good chess player, unless his preparations for the
exercise of that ingenuity are made upon the soundest principles of the
game.


XXXIV.

Every game perfectly played throughout on both sides would be by its
nature drawn. Since, then, in matches between the most celebrated
players and clubs of the day some of the games have been won and lost,
it seems to follow that there _might_ be better players than have been
hitherto known to exist.


XXXV.

Most of the persons who occasionally "play at Chess" know little more
than the moves and a few of the general rules of the game. Of those who
have had more practice, some have acquired a partial insight into the
endless variety of the combinations which may be formed, and their
beautiful intricacy:--a few play moderately well; but, however small the
number of good players may be, it would be difficult to find any one
who, after having played a few hundred games, would not think it an
imputation on his good sense to be considered a very bad player;--and
this is the universal feeling, although it is well known that men of the
highest attainments have studied Chess without great success; and that
the most celebrated players have not always been men of distinguished
talents.


XXXVI.

He who after much practice with fine players remains for a long time
without taking his station amongst them, will find at last that there is
a point which he cannot pass. He is obliged to confess his incurable
inferiority to players of the higher order, and he must be content with
easy victories over a large majority of those whom he meets with in
society.

[Illustration]


CONCLUSION.

Chess holds forth to the philosopher relaxation from his severer
studies,--to the disappointed man, relief from unavailing regret,--and
to the rich and idle, an inexhaustible source of amusement and
occupation. It has, however, been frequently urged as an objection to
the study of the game, that no man can pursue it, with a fair prospect
of becoming a good player, without devoting to it much time and
attention which might be more beneficially employed.

Although it may perhaps be true in the abstract, that even a high degree
of skill is not _per se_ worth the time and trouble which it must have
cost, it should be remembered that on this "mimic stage" of life much
besides chess may be seen and studied with advantage. The real character
of a man's mind may, almost always, be known by his behaviour under the
varying circumstances of this most interesting game. The triumph of the
winner, and the vexation of the loser, are often coarsely displayed
amongst inferior players; and, although good players very rarely give
way to this degrading weakness, still, the good breeding of some of
them, towards the end of a difficult match, is not always quite perfect.

The temper of the student cannot fail to derive very material benefit
from the severe discipline to which it will be subjected. When he begins
to play well he will find that he has learnt to submit patiently to
contradiction; and that he has become convinced of the necessity of
abandoning his most favourite schemes, whenever he sees that from a
change of circumstances they can be no longer pursued with safety.--He
will have felt the full value of using caution and circumspection, when
called upon to exercise his judgment in cases of complicated difficulty,
and he will have acquired the faculty of fixing his undivided attention
on the business in which he is engaged.

If such qualities of the mind are called forth and strengthened in the
pursuit of a harmless and delightful recreation, the time cannot have
been wholly wasted, although the professed object of study may have been
only the art of giving CHECK-MATE.

                                                            R. P.

  _Whitehall, March, 1839._

[Illustration]


FOOTNOTE:

[F] _Infandum Regina jubes renovare dolorem._



MAXIMS AND HINTS

ON

SHOOTING

AND

OTHER MATTERS.

[Illustration: Drawn by the late Sir FRANCIS CHANTREY, R.A.]



MAXIMS AND HINTS

ON

SHOOTING,

_&c. &c._


I.

LET the person to whose care a young dog is intrusted for education be
furnished with an instrument like a short trumpet, which produces a few
harsh and discordant notes; and whenever it may be necessary to correct
the dog, in order to enforce obedience, let such correction be
accompanied by the noise of this instrument rather than by "the
thundering voice and threatening mien" usually employed on such
occasions. When the dog's education has been properly completed under
this system, although you may be comparatively a stranger to him on
first taking him into the field, you will find that by carrying with
you a duplicate of the _un_musical instrument you will have his master's
voice in your pocket, and you will be able at once to make a very
commanding impression upon him, by sounding a few of the harsh and
discordant tones which he has been taught to fear and obey.


II.

You must not insist upon its being admitted without dispute, that the
man who made _your_ gun is the best maker in London. This town is a very
large place, and it contains a great many gunmakers. You must also
remember that it "stands within the prospect of belief" that there may
be other persons who think themselves as competent to select a good gun,
and to shoot well with it afterwards as you are.


III.

In like manner, although you may prefer using one kind of wadding to
another, or may perhaps like to wear shoes and gaiters rather than
trousers and laced boots, you must not suppose that every man who takes
the liberty of forming a different opinion from yours on these subjects
is a mere bungler.


IV.

However steady your pointer may be, remember that he is but a dog. If
you encourage him to run after one hare because it has been wounded by
yourself, you must not be angry with him for chasing another which may
be shot at by your friend. Canine flesh and blood cannot bear this.


V.

Although you may be a very agreeable gentleman, generally speaking, you
will choose an unlucky moment for making yourself particularly so, if
you should on some fine morning after breakfast volunteer to accompany
two of your friends who are preparing to leave the house for a day's
partridge-shooting without any expectation of being joined by a third
person.


VI.

When you are obliged to walk on the left-hand side of a man who carries
the muzzle of his gun too low, do not be so very polite as to take no
notice of this dangerous habit. He will, perhaps, appear quite offended
when you venture to question your perfect safety. But be that as it may,
your position was so awfully unpleasant whilst you were constantly
stared at by the eyes of a double-barrelled gun that your friend's
looking rather cross at you is a matter of much less consequence.


VII.

When a long search amongst high turnips has been made, at your
particular request, for a bird which you erroneously suppose that you
have brought down, and which (naturally enough under such circumstances)
cannot be found, you must not say that your friend's retriever has a
very bad nose, or fancy that "poor old Trigger, if he had been still
alive, could have easily found the bird."


VIII.

Should a farmer's boy come running to you with a partridge which he has
lately picked up after seeing it fall in the next field, your companion
in arms will perhaps assure you that this bird can be no other than that
which _he_ shot at, as you may remember, immediately after you had both
of you passed through the last hedge, and which he afterwards saw flying
very low, and very badly wounded, exactly in the direction which the boy
has come from. An _enfant trouvé_ like this seldom waits long for a
father to adopt it.


IX.

Sometimes towards the end of a fatiguing day, when you feel like an
overloaded gun-brig, labouring against a heavy sea of turnips, you may
perchance espy a large covey of partridges in the act of settling near a
hedge a long way before you. Supposing in such case that your brother
sportsman should be a much younger man than yourself, and yet should not
have also seen these birds, it is not always quite prudent that you
should announce the fact to him immediately. If you wish to have a shot
at them, you would, perhaps, do well to say nothing about them till your
weary limbs have borne you unhurried a little nearer to the hedge in
question. The good old rule of _seniores priores_ is sometimes reversed
in a large turnip-field.


X.

In the case of a double shot a gamekeeper never hesitates an instant in
deciding whether the bird was killed by his master's gun or by another
person's, fired at the same moment.


XI.

When you are making your way through a thick wood with too large a
party, it is better that you should be scolded by some of your friends
because you trouble them with very frequent notice of your individual
locality, than that you should be shot by any of them because you do
not.


XII.

On the day of a great battue, if one of the party (not you) should shoot
much better than the others, and if this should by chance be talked of
after dinner (as such matters sometimes are), do not say much about the
very large number of hares and pheasants killed by you--on some other
occasion.


XIII.

When you are shooting in a wood, if some hungry fox, in pursuit of his
prey, should chance to cross your path, it depends entirely upon the
"custom of the country" whether you ought to kill him or not. Bob Short
says, in his Rules for Whist, "When in doubt, win the trick."


XIV.

Never ask beforehand whether or not you are to shoot hares in the cover
into which you are going, but never shoot one after you have been told
not to do so.


XV.

A singular species of optical delusion often takes place in the case of
a man shooting at a woodcock in a thick cover. According to the
impression said to be made upon the shooter's eye, the bird appears to
fall dead more frequently than he can afterwards be found--so that the
truth of this appearance must never be relied on when the evidence of
the bird himself cannot be brought forward to support it.


XVI.

On a grand occasion you need not always trouble yourself to keep an
account of the number of head killed by you, particularly if you do not
dine with the party on that day; because, in your absence, the total
number brought home may perhaps be accounted for after dinner, without
any reference being made to the amount of your[G] performances.


XVII.

When you sit down (_horresco referens_) in a dentist's chair,[H] in
order to have your teeth cleaned, and point out to him, with fear and
trembling, one of them which you think must be drawn;--if he should tell
you that the tooth can be easily stopped, and may still be of much
service to you, do not immediately thereupon feel quite bold and very
comfortable. After a moment's further inspection he may, perhaps, add
very quietly, in a kind of whispering soliloquy, "Here are two others
which must be removed."


XVIII.

If you should stop, with a tired horse, at the door of the "King's Head"
anywhere, and should say to the bowing landlord thereof, that, unless
you can find some other means of pursuing your journey, you shall be
obliged to have a chaise immediately, you must not expect to be told by
him that a very good coach, which is going your way, will change horses
at the "Red Lion," nearly opposite, in less than ten minutes. Should
this be the real state of the case, he will feel that he has no time to
lose; and therefore, instantly seizing the handle of the hostler's bell,
and ringing a louder peal than usual, he will at once show you into a
back parlour, for fear that you should see the coach before a chaise can
be got ready for you.


XIX.

Should it have been your fate to travel often, _more majorum_, on the
box of a stage-coach, more than one coachman has probably told you a
story, two miles long, about some mare so vicious and unmanageable that
she had been rejected by every other coachman on the road, and that
nobody but himself had ever been able to drive her, saying at the same
time, "She is now, as you see, Sir, as quiet as a lamb." You must not
believe all this, although it may perhaps be very true that the mare
kicks sometimes, and that the man is not a bad coachman.


XX.

Although our friend the coachman is supposed to have been so very
communicative to you on the last occasion, he may not perhaps be equally
so on all others: for instance, if, when the roads are very bad, and the
coach is heavily laden, he should, near the end of a difficult stage,
pull up at some turnpike, and enter into a long talk apparently about a
bad shilling or a lost parcel, he is very likely not to explain to you
and the other passengers that his real reason for thus stopping is
because his horses are so much distressed that they would otherwise be
scarcely able to reach the end of their ground. The conference at the
gate is held in order to facilitate the ratification of the treaty for
fresh horses to be exchanged in the next town.


XXI.

On arriving at the place where "the coach dines," walk to the nearest
baker's shop, and there satisfy your hunger in a wholesome manner. At
the dinner which is prepared for the passengers it frequently happens
that if there should have been any cock-fighting in the town lately,[I]
the winner and the loser of the last battle appear at the top of the
table as a couple of boiled fowls; and whenever there is a roast goose
at the bottom, it is probably some old gander, who, after having lived
for many years in the parish, is at last become so poor that he is
obliged to be "taken into the house."


XXII.

If you have children, who are clever, do not question them too closely
in company. Supposing, for example, that at the close of a social meal
in the country, you should be sitting at table with your guests, on the
eve of their departure from your hospitable roof: if, under these
circumstances, some nice little fellow, who has lately rushed into the
room, and is now busily employed with a bunch of grapes, should be
called upon by you to join in the general expression of regret that your
friends are to leave you to-morrow, he may perhaps say, "Yes, papa, we
shall have no grapes after dinner to-morrow."


XXIII.

If you are thought to excel in any particular game or sport, do not too
often lead to it as a subject of conversation: your superiority, if
real, will be duly felt by all your acquaintance, and acknowledged by
some of them; and you may be sure that "a word" in your favour from
another person will add more to your reputation than "a whole history"
from yourself.


XXIV.

On seeing a new invention for the first time, do not instantly suggest a
material alteration of it, as if you felt quite sure that this sudden
thought of yours must be a very clever one. It may be reasonably
supposed that the inventor did not hastily build up his work in its
present form; and it would, therefore, be very unkind that you should
bring the whole broadside of your intellectual guns to bear upon it in a
moment. Besides, after all, it is just possible that the thing may be
better as it is--without your improvement.


XXV.

The great merit of an important discovery frequently consists in the
first application of some well-known principle of action to a class of
objects to which it had not before been applied. When such discovery has
been brought before the public in one instance, the application of the
same principle to other nearly similar objects requires a much lower
degree of inventive talent. A sub-inventor of this sort often views the
result of his labour with all the pride of a mother, when he is only
entitled to the praise due to an accoucheur.


XXVI.

When your friends congratulate you on your recovery from the effects of
a serious accident, it is very proper that you should thank them
sincerely for their kindness in so doing: but it is by no means
necessary that you should give a very detailed description of all your
sufferings, and of every symptom attending the gradual progress of your
recovery; nor need you explain exactly what was at first said by Mr.
Drugger, the apothecary, and what was afterwards the opinion of Sir
Astley Cooper. You had better not do this; although some persons think
that what the nurse occasionally said ought not, in a case like theirs,
to be omitted.


XXVII.

On the same principle, if you should have lately been robbed, and should
feel disposed to communicate the particulars of this sad affair, you
really must not begin your account of it by telling us every thing which
you were dreaming about just before you first heard the noise of thieves
in your house on the eventful night of the robbery, adding always in
conclusion, by way of appendix to your copious narrative, a correct list
of the articles stolen. If you do this too often, you must not be
surprised if some of your hearers should at last be almost tempted to
regret that when you were robbed you were not murdered also.


XXVIII.

If it should be mentioned in conversation that a celebrated mare,
belonging to Mr. Swindle, of Newmarket, has lately trotted sixteen miles
within the hour, in harness, do not think it necessary to recount the
wonderful performances of a famous gig-horse which you once had.


XXIX.

After having lost several games at billiards, when you are playing at a
gentleman's house, it is not polite that you should attribute your
failure to the inaccuracies of the table. These sundry defects of level
are less likely to be complained of by the winner than by you; and he,
therefore, stands less in need of this caution than you do.


XXX.

When the lord of the manor is showing the beauties of his house and
grounds to you, and points out a very fine row of trees for your
particular admiration, make no allusion to the magnificence of the
avenue at Wimpole; and if he should afterwards show to you one of his
pictures, which he values highly as the work of some celebrated master,
remember that, although you may have been told privately, by a good
authority, that the picture is not really what your friend supposes it
to be, you are not called upon to display your borrowed knowledge as
your own, and to make yourself odious by endeavouring to convince him
that he has been deceived in the purchase.


XXXI.

Do not bestow extravagant praise upon every article lately bought by
you, as if you considered that it had acquired increased value from
having fallen into the hands of so distinguished a purchaser. Other
persons will estimate the worth of it rather by its own merits than by
yours.


XXXII.

It is quite unnecessary that you should always, in order to show the
extent of your reading, claim a previous acquaintance with every
expression which may be referred to in conversation as having been used
by some celebrated author in one of his works. It is much easier for
another person to quote lines which never were written than it would be
for you to find them.[J]


XXXIII.

Do not consider it to be at all times your bounden duty to correct every
mistake which may be made in your presence as to a name or an
unimportant date. Some persons are so extremely sensitive on these
points that they never allow the offender to escape a summary
conviction. However interesting the conversation may be, they always
feel justified in interrupting it if they can show that the anecdote
which they have cut short related to the late General A., and not to his
brother the admiral.


XXXIV.

If one of your party should be prevailed upon to sing a comic song for
the amusement of the company, he will of course do it as well as he can,
and it would not be flattering to him that you should immediately
afterwards talk about the great pleasure which you formerly derived from
hearing the same song sung by Mathews, or Bannister.


XXXV.

Beware of the amiable weakness of repeatedly telling long stories about
your late father or uncle. They may have been excellent persons, and
their memory may be deservedly respected by you; but it does not
therefore necessarily follow that a full account of everything which was
said or done by either of these worthy men on some trivial occasion
should be very interesting to other people, not even to such of your
friends as may be lucky enough not to have heard it before.


XXXVI.

If you should have lately suffered any great reduction of income from
causes over which you had no control, it is better that you should bear
your misfortunes quietly than that you should be very extensively
communicative to your acquaintance on the subject of your grievances.
If, for instance, you tell them in confidence that you now have only
600_l._ a-year to live upon, such of them as have but 500_l._ will
perhaps think that you still have at least 100_l._ more than you ought
to have.


XXXVII.

Do not think yourself an accomplished traveller merely because you have
visited places where you _might_ have acquired much information. Many a
man has passed some time in a foreign town without learning more about
the beauties of its cathedral or the manners and customs of its
inhabitants than was previously known to others through the instructive
medium of a book and pair of spectacles at home; and therefore although
you may have really been at Rome, and may have actually seen with your
own eyes both the Apollo Belvidere and Raphael's Transfiguration, you
must not, on that account only, consider yourself qualified to take a
leading part in every conversation on subjects connected with the fine
arts.


XXXVIII.

Many persons who are possessed of much information have a tedious and
unconnected way of imparting it. Such men are like dictionaries, very
instructive if opened in the right place, but rather fatiguing to read
throughout.


XXXIX.

The foundation of good breeding is the absence of selfishness. By acting
always on this principle--by showing forbearance and moderation in
argument when you feel sure that you are right, and a becoming
diffidence when you are in doubt, you will avoid many of the errors
which other men are apt to fall into.


XL.

Artists, medical men, and engineers are much to be feared by those
persons who are apt to talk a little sometimes on matters which they do
not very well understand. If, reader, you are, like me, subject to this
infirmity, mind what you are about when any professional men are
present.

                                                            R. P.

  _Whitehall, February, 1842._

  London: Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street


FOOTNOTES:

[G] Acting on this principle, I was once supposed to have killed a brace
less than nothing, viz., I went out partridge shooting with two other
persons. At the end of the day one of these said that he had killed
twelve brace, and the other claimed eleven brace. When the birds were
afterwards counted, the number of them was forty-four. I therefore
conclude that the brace which was wanting must have been considered as
my share of the day's sport.

[H]

        "Whose iron scourge and torturing hour
         The bad _extract, and clean_ the best."


[I]

        "Thus fell two heroes, one the pride of Thrace,
         And one the leader of the Epeian race;
         Death's sable shade at once o'ercast their eyes:
         _In dish_, the vanquish'd and the victor lies."

_Pope says_, "In dust."

[J] _e. g._ Vide quotation, p. 56.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

The original text does not have a table of contents. One was created for
this version.

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 6, illustration caption, "asssitant" changed to "assistant" (an
expert assistant)

Page 37, "your's" changed to "yours" (heavier than yours)





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