“I do not above half like those Irish rods,” said the Parson; “they are
“They have the advantage of costing about one-third the price of your London affair,” said the Captain; “and, for a strong man, Kelly’s rods answer extremely well.”
“Yes, for a strong man,” said the Parson; “but they are so ill-balanced and so top-heavy, that it is killing work to us mere mortals; besides, they have all too much play in the third joint, which makes them work like cart-whips when you are casting, and prevents your getting a command over your fish when you have struck him.”
“It is made so purposely,” said the Captain; “that and the heavy top together give a beautiful spring to the line. I am sure that you can send out a yard or two more with one of Kelly’s rods than you can with any other.”
“You can, but I cannot,” said the Parson; “I cannot stand the weight, - I do not mean avoirdupois, but the balance – the weight on my muscles as I spring it. I would never possess an Irish rod. For beauty, for elegance, for lightness, and for strength, give me Bowness.”
“And for price?” added the Captain.
“Well, for price,” said the Parson. “ I grant you that Bowness is the dearest shop I know; but a well-seasoned rod, well taken care of, will last a man half a lifetime; and it is very poor economy to save a pound at the expense of an aching pair of arms and shoulders every time you go out. Bell Yard against the world, say I.”
Yes, for fine weather,” said the Squire; “and, indeed, most of my own tackle comes from that shop; but for storm, and rain, and a heavy head-wind, let me have one of those stubby fellows that Edmondson makes for the Scotch fishing. Without half the elegance and finish of Bowness, but stiff and obstinate as a Presbyterian, it forces out its line in the very teeth of difficulties; and as for reel-line ........”
“Oh, there I yield at once,” said the Parson; “Edmondson is the man. Bowness’s silk and hair lines always kink, and go on plaguing you to the end of the chapter; they are all laid up too tight. And as for those Dublin silk lines, they cost, it is true, just half as much as the others; but no one who has ever tried them in rainy weather would think of them again; they cling to the rod as if they were dipped in glue.”
“Have you ever tried the oiled silk lines that they make at Limerick?” said the Captain.
“I have one of them,” said the Squire, “and I am disposed to think very favourably of it. It is very elastic, and strong enough to land a shard. I have fished with it during the last week, and have every reason to be satisfied with it.”
“The London imitation is not worth a stiver,” said the Parson. “ I gave mine away last week to Pat, and I believe he has made it over in the grocer to tie up parcels with. But I have this morning had a consignment from O’Shaughnessey’s at Limerick, and I mean to give them a fair trial, they are cheap enough, at any rate.”
“It will be some time before you try your silk lines or anything else,” said the Scholar, who, not having met with the amusement he expected in the kitchen, had put on his Macintosh, and had gone down to look at the river. “The water is positively like coffee, and good strong coffee, too.”
“Not so long as you think,” said the Parson. “I see signs of clearing in the sky. The clouds do not hang so low as they did; and if we have anything like fine weather, you will be astonished to see how soon a lake-river runs off: the cesspool principle, which made it slow to colour, makes it also quick to clear. I should not wonder if we caught a fish to-morrow.”
“If there is any truth in dreams, I ought to catch one to-day,” said the Squire; “for I dreamed of nothing else last night. I went through the whole ceremony, from making the fly to landing the fish.”
“What fly was it, your honour?” said Pat, who, at the mention of the dream, had been listening eagerly.
“Well, it was a queer fly,” said the Squire; “I question whether it ever had an existence in real earnest.”
“But what fly was it?” persisted Pat.
“Well,” said the Squire, laughing, “it had a mixed tail, black body and hackle, with gold twist, blood-red hackle on the neck, blood-red under-wings, wings of argus black spotted with white, black ostrich head, and red macaw horns.”
“A very pretty fly to catch a whale,” said the Captain. “I do not think it will catch anything else – at least, out of fairy land.”
“Has your reverence got a spotted argus?” said Pat, who had already selected the other feathers and silks.
“Well done, Pat!” said the Squire. “He takes my dream for an oracle.”
“And you for a conjurer,” said the Captain. “I am afraid he will find himself mistaken.”