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Sketches by Seymour - Volume 03

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On a grassy bank, beside a meandering stream, sat two gentlemen averaging forty years of age. The day was sultry, and, weary of casting their lines without effect, they had stuck their rods in the bank, and sought, in a well-filled basket of provisions and copious libations of bottled porter, to dissipate their disappointment.

"Ain't this jolly? and don't you like a day's fishing, Sam?"

"O! werry much, werry much," emphatically replied his friend, taking his pipe from his mouth.

"Ah! but some people don't know how to go a-fishinq, Sam; they are such fools."

"That's a werry good remark o' your'n," observed Sam; "I daresay as how hangling is werry delightful vhen the fishes vill bite; but vhen they von't, vhy they von't, and vot's the use o' complaining. Hangling is just like writing: for instance—you begins vith, 'I sends you this 'ere line hoping,' and they don't nibble; vell! that's just the same as not hanswering; and, as I takes it, there the correspondence ends!"

"Exactly; I'm quite o' your opinion," replied his companion, tossing off a bumper of Barclay's best; "I say, Sammy, we mustn't empty t'other bottle tho'."

"Vhy not?"

"Cos, do you see, I'm just thinking ve shall vant a little porter to carry us home: for, by Jingo! I don't think as how either of us can toddle—that is respectably!"

"Nonsense! I'd hundertake to walk as straight as a harrow; on'y, I must confess, I should like to have a snooze a'ter my pipe; I'm used to it, d'ye see, and look for it as nat'rally as a babby does."

"Vell, but take t'other glass for a nightcap; for you know, Sammy, if you sleep vithout, you may catch cold: and, vhatever you do, don't snore, or you'll frighten the fish."

"Naughty fish!" replied Sammy, "they know they're naughty too, or else they voud'nt be so afear'd o' the rod!—here's your health;" and he tossed off the proffered bumper.

"Excuse me a-rising to return thanks," replied his friend, grasping Sammy's hand, and looking at him with that fixed and glassy gaze which indicates the happy state of inebriety, termed maudlin; "I know you're a sincere friend, and there ain't nobody as I value more: man and boy have I knowed you; you're unchanged! you're the same!! there ain't no difference!!! and I hope you may live many years to go a-fishing, and I may live to see it, Sammy. Yes, old boy, this here's one of them days that won't be forgotten: it's engraved on my memory deep as the words on a tombstone, 'Here he lies! Here he lies!'" he repeated with a hiccup, and rolled at full length across his dear friend.

Sammy, nearly as much overcome as his friend, lifted up his head, and sticking his hat upon it, knocked it over his eyes, and left him to repose; and, placing his own back against an accommodating tree, he dropped his pipe, and then followed the example of his companion.

After a few hours deep slumber, they awoke. The sun had gone down, and evening had already drawn her star-bespangled mantle over the scene of their festive sport.

Arousing themselves, they sought for their rods, and the remnants of their provisions, but they were all gone.

"My hey! Sammy, if somebody bas'nt taken advantage of us. My watch too has gone, I declare."

"And so's mine!" exclaimed Sammy, feeling his empty fob. "Vell, if this ain't a go, never trust me."

"I tell you vot it is, Sammy; some clever hartist or another has seen us sleeping, like the babes in the wood, and has drawn us at full length!"