« НазадПродовжити »
In the borderland of Wales and other districts, where the scenery is varied and interesting, it is no great hardship to have poor sport; but in Norfolk one depends entirely on the sport for pleasure, especially in the winter. At eventide there is certainly some beauty in the undulating fields and woods half shrouded in the gloaming, and in the long stretch of ploughland rising in gradually deepening purple, until it is outlined with a line of intense black against the stormy orange sky, on which a long low line of olivegreen cloud is resting. Undoubtedly there are many pretty spots in Norfolk, but they do not usually come in the way of the angler, and, failing a heavy catch, he has nothing but sluggish stream and steaming marsh with which to solace himself.
I should mention a formidable instrument found in the bottom of the boat, and sent to me afterwards by Mr. G-, who thought it belonged to me. It consisted of a large bullet fixed to the end of a strip of whalebone from an umbrella, and had evidently been used for stunning fish, for which it is admirably adapted. I would recommend its adoption by the humane angler.
In spite of wind and rain I had a most pleasant day. I can certainly say one thing in favour of the Norfolk people, and that is, that they are extremely hospitable -as far, at least, as my experience of them goes, and that is not a little.
I returned to Norwich the next morning by coach from Horstead. Norfolk is still in the dark as far as railways are concerned, and smacks considerably of the “olden time” in its means of locomotion.
A WHIFF OF THE SEA
Who has not felt at times an insatiable longing to escape from the monotony of one's ordinary occupation and rush off to the nearest watering-place for a sight of the grand old sea and a whiff of the bracing winds which blow over it? What visions cross the brain as we sit fagged and weary by the light of the midnight lamp, of the bonny wild waves sparkling in the sun ; of flowery slopes between the precipitous cliffs; of seabirds swooping from rocky ledges, and of magnificent sunsets behind the level sea! And what a relief, say, on a Saturday to close the book, throw down the pen, lock up the papers, and speed as fast as the train can carry us to the realization of our wishes. Oh, the sweetness of such brief holidays, all the pleasanter because short and few and far between! A
holiday, methinks, should never be prolonged until the freshness has worn off.
It is even an advantage to be a bachelor in taking such brief excursions. There is no better half to interfere with one's arrangements, or be cross because she cannot accompany us. It does not take long to pack up, and I take care to put in a case of sea-fishing tackle, in view of probable requirements. The beauty of only having oneself to consult is, that one need not decide where to go until the last moment, and accordingly it is only as I arrive at the ticket office that I decide upon Borth. There, at least, I shall be quiet, and I feel just now as if that were the greatest desideratum. Well, here I am in the train; and, as my habit is while travelling, I examine myself, as it were, as to whether things at home are left in proper trim, if I have everything I want, and how many changes I shall have to make and where? Then to settle down quietly to the perusal of my paper or a comfortable nap.
On we speed, through mountain scenery which grows wilder every mile ; past leaping cataracts which almost seem to overhang the line, woods which grow more stunted as we near the sea ; villages which grow more picturesque and, alas ! more dirty, until it is getting dusk and the rhythmic rattling of the train has resolved itself into a song with regular cadences, lulling the mind until the whilom active thoughts grow wandering and the senses duller. I am awaked from a sound sleep by a gust of wind through the open window, carrying with it the unmistakeable odour of the sea. There it is, that long grey line like a wall just discernible in the summer twilight over the hazy marsh. What a luxury it is to take in breath after breath of the fresh breeze, so invigorating and spiritcheering after the sultry inland air ! Now we pass by the side of the Dovey, and over its sands the white seabirds are flying, the highest of them having the crimson of the sunset still reflected on their breasts. How weird their cries sound in the gloaming! Along the edge of a dyke six herons stand solemnly in a row, a most unusual sight, for generally speaking a heron loves his own company better than that of his brethren. On a sandbank in the estuary are grouped a number of sooty cormorants, and over the nearest marsh the lapwings sweep and toss, and scream in rare affright at the gunner walking beneath them.
Borth at last; and after replenishing the inner man and refreshing the outer with a wash, I turn out for a stroll along the edge of the waves, and listen to their inspiriting music. The long subdued murmur of the summer sea and the dreamy plash of its waves are to my mind the pleasantest of nature's sounds. In them