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Scrooge. You 're quite a powerful speaker, sir. I wonder you don't go into Parliament.
Neph. Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow.
Scrooge. I'll see you hanged first.
Scrooge (contemptuously). Because you fell in love! Good afternoon!
Neph. Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?
Scrooge. Good afternoon!
Neph. I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends ?
Scrooge. Good afternoon!
Neph. I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last. So, A Merry Christmas, uncle!
Scrooge. Good afternoon!
[Exit Nephew. CHARLES DICKENS.
XXXI.—THE FORGING OF THE ANCHOR.
YOME, see the Dolphin's anchor forged; 't is at a white heat
now; The bellows ceased, the flames decreased; though on the forge's
brow The little flames still fitfully play through the sable mound; And fitfully you still may see the grim smiths ranking round, All clad in leathern panoply, their broad hands only hare; Some rest upon their sledges here, some work the windlass there.
The windlass strains the tackle chains, the black mound heaves
below, And red and deep a hundred veins burst out at every throe; It rises, roars, rends all outright–0 Vulcan, what a glow! "Tis blinding white, 't is blasting bright; the high sun shines not so; The high sun sees not, on the earth, such fiery, fearful show; The roof-ribs swarth, the candent hearth, the ruddy, lurid row Of smiths, that stand, an ardent band, like men before the foe; As, quivering through his fleece of flame, the sailing monster slow Sinks on the anvil-all about the faces fiery grow“Hurrah!” they shout—“leap out!-leap out!” bang, bang, the
Leap out, leap out, my masters; leap out and lay on load!
Swing in your strokes in order, let foot and hand keep time;
In. livid and obdurate gloom, he darkens down at last,
A trusted and trustworthy guard, if thou hadst life like me, What pleasures would thy toils reward beneath the deep-green
O deep-sea diver, who might then behold such sights as thou?
O broad-armed fisher of the deep, whose sports can equal thine ?
O lodger in the sea-king's halls, couldst thou but understand Whose be the white bones by thy side, or who that dripping band, Slow swaying in the heaving wave, that round about thee bend, With sounds like breakers in a dream, blessing their ancient
friend; O, couldst thou know what heroes glide with larger steps round
thee, Thine iron side would swell with pride, thou ’dst leap within the
Give honor to their memories, who left the pleasant strand
O where you will, with rod in hand, wherever you
find a trout, you will find Nature in her loveliest and most genial mood. Even in the sluggish waters of the verdant South, with the long bulrush and the water-lily mirrored in the stream, and the rude palisade, the village stile, the old hawthorn hedges reflected on its bosom, a kingfisher now and then darting by like a gleam of radiance, and the rustic bridge, festooned with ancient ivy, spanning the full flood—even here is a world of romance and beauty. How fast, as you ply your sport, the panorama changes !
2. Tennyson knew something of the charm when he wrote "The Brook;" but although he does speak of
“Here and there a speckled trout,
And here and there a grayling,” I doubt, judging only from his poem, if he be a true disciple of Izaak Walton.
3. But the streams of the North for me. No sophisticated, well-trained river or rivulet, afraid to lift up its voice and let its gurglet be heard in good society, with a bed so smooth, and a course so noiseless, that not a pebble ripples its surface, nor a rock lashes into foam the decorous current of its course. These have their charms. Yea, they have their trout also,-large, yeoman-like, wary, well-fed denizens, not at all to be despised in capturing, or when captured. But give me the streams of the North,-dashing from the uplands, or springing to liquid life from the cliffs and mountain-peaks.
4. Study a stream closely. There are books to be found in the running brooks. How musical that ever-sounding, ever-varying voice! Loud or low, its full sonorous note fills but never grates upon the ear. It speaks in tones of unnumbered meanings,-doleful or joyous, as the mood of the listener
be. 5. Light and shadow hold revelry on its bosom, reflection
doubling the beauty on its margin. Now, beneath the shadow of that somber crag, with the mountain-ash nodding from its crest, the very darkness of despair inspires it. Anon it leaps into the daylight with a merry bound, mocking the old gray rocks with perennial laughter; now it relaxes its headlong pace, assumes a grave and stately march, widening and expanding its crystal surface with meek and composed dignity; then, bidding all proprieties adieu, rushes in frantic cataract into the very pit of Avernus, and seems to leave sight and hope behind. It is the very pain of Nature's beauty, so suggestive of pure enjoyment, that the earth-born fancy moves too slowly, and the forms crowd so swiftly by that they elude our grasp.
6. All very fine, you will say. But what is all this to trout-fishing? Do you really think that these charms are only disclosed to a stick and a string, with a hook at one end and yourself at the other?
7. Thus I reply. In the first place, but for trout-fishing I should never have seen them; and as you never fish, you have never seen them. But were you a brother of the rod, you would know that between the man who walks and the man who fishes along the bank, there is as much difference as between one who lives with a great man and one who only knows him to bow to. One knows his bodily presence; the other, his ethereal spirit.
8. The angler knows his stream as a friend,-knows him in all his moods of temper, catches responsive wimples and familiar becks which the world wots not of, —
“They may escape the courtly sparks,
The kindly sparkles,” which indicate the falling flood.
9. But you speak of the claims of humanity, tenderness to the dumb animals, the mute fishes. I am, you say, a brute and a barbarian, because with
“ Well-fashioned hook