By Andrew Lang
Several of the sketches in this volume have appeared in periodicals.
"The Bloody Doctor" was in Macmillan's Magazine, "The Confessions of
a Duffer," "Loch Awe," and "The Lady or the Salmon?" were in the
Fishing Gazette, but have been to some extent re- written. "The Double
Alibi" was in Longman's Magazine. The author has to thank the Editors
and Publishers for permission to reprint these papers.
The gem engraved on the cover is enlarged from a small intaglio in the
collection of Mr. M. H. N. STORY-MASKELYNE, M.P. Such gems
were recommended by Clemens of Alexandria to the early Christians.
"The figure of a man fishing will put them in mind of the Apostle."
Perhaps the Greek is using the red hackle described by AElian in the only
known Greek reference to fly-fishing.
NOTE TO NEW EDITION
The historical version of the Black Officer's career, very unlike the
legend in "Loch Awe," may be read in Mr. Macpherson's Social Life in the
THE CONFESSIONS OF A
These papers do not boast of great sport. They are truthful, not like
the tales some fishers tell. They should appeal to many sympathies.
There is no false modesty in the confidence with which I esteem myself a
duffer, at fishing. Some men are born duffers; others, unlike persons of
genius, become so by an infinite capacity for not taking pains. Others,
again, among whom I would rank myself, combine both these elements of
incompetence. Nature, that made me enthusiastically fond of fishing,
gave me thumbs for fingers, short-sighted eyes, indolence, carelessness,
and a temper which (usually sweet and angelic) is goaded to madness by
the laws of matter and of gravitation. For example: when another man
is caught up in a branch he disengages his fly; I jerk at it till something
breaks. As for carelessness, in boyhood I fished, by preference, with
doubtful gut and knots ill-tied; it made the risk greater, and increased the
excitement if one did hook a t