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looked as if he were about to turn a wheel into eternity. They shovelled back the earth rather gingerly, avoiding the dead man's face; but, after all, it had to be covered the same as the rest. When they had finished their task they strolled off towards the camp, only Termater Bill remaining behind. He went to Battista's hut and peered through the half-shut door there in the corner the little blue-and-gold image stared, smil ing down inscrutable, indifferent. Long the man gazed back on it; then with sudden determination he entered the hut, and taking Bat

tista's coat from a bench, covered the small figure, then lifting it in his arms, carried it out and flung it down the deep shaft.

But under the gum-trees Battista lay still, silent, satisfied. The years went on, the bottom of the shaft filled with water, and the mullock slipped back into it with a heavy splash; the windlass rotted and grew green, and some one stole the bucket and hide rope; far, far below in the valley the sweetscented wattle burst into tufted yellow balls, and the blue mists lay on Omeo.


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I TAKE to witness this westering light to which I look that all the grumbling I have ever been guilty of was official and for the public good. With me as with the rest of mankind there have been griefs upon the road, disappointments, hardship as well as error, and various kinds of wounding and robbery to endure, as well as too much matter of self-reproach. Yet never as boy or man have I been a grumbler, but only as journalist, and in performance of the natural duties of journalism. Even this I can say, that no one has ever heard me grumble at being so much a journalist, after determining to be in that line of life for only a little while and as a makeshift, the determination of so many young men whose real vocation is poesy and the writing of incomparable essays. And perhaps it would be ungrateful to repine at a perversion which carried the pervert into so many pleasures and advantages, and even to a place of power at least equal to half-adozen seats in Parliament: at least. half-a-dozen, and these free of the Whip, independent of the Speaker, and subject not at all to the gentlemen of the front benches. It would be ungrateful, too, because my long spell of journalism began at about the most fortunate time in the history of what is sometimes called a "profession," though it is not that any more than it is Cabinetministering, unless when calculation chooses to make it so.

It was a fortunate time-I speak of 1860 or thereabout-for almost every reason that the good journal ist should rejoice at. time of emergence from small

It was a

credit and a poor wage to pay that was a good enough return for the commodity supplied, and to as much consideration in the world as modest worth should look for, whenever it cares about the world at all. I do not know what intellectual or artistic employment could be called flourishing in those dull years from the thirties to the fifties, unless in the hands of a few individuals not all very great. Mechanical invention and appliance, of course; but not painting, nor sculpture, nor music, nor literature, nor the stage, and certainly not journalism—which, with one or two exceptions, as in Printinghouse Square, seems rather to have fallen back from an already poor estate. I know of a London morning paper-rich enough in these days, and no doubt as liberal as wealthy-which even toward the end of that period filled its pages with leading articles, reviews, and other high critical matter, at the rate of ten shillings per yard-long column; and I also know of a great writer, already proved and popular, who jumped at a scale of pay which could not be offered now to scribes with half his reputation: there are none with half his charm, and few with all his fitness. Moreover, till those times journalism was hardly allowed to be respectable, even with writers like Coleridge and Hazlitt to ennoble its practice; and if in the third or fourth decades of the century it was less looked down upon, it was a poorer trade than ever, I fancy, for any but a few writers in one or two

newspapers alone.

A business so ill paid, so ill thought of, and so limited in

Bohemianism was its reproach, and the poverty which, in denying the means of cultivating the graces and refinements of life, provokes in some hurt minds an affectation of despising them. But journalism was practised out of Bohemia as well as within that vanished land. All newspaper proprietors were not as Thackeray's Mr Bungay, nor all journalists like Captain Shandon and Jack Finucane. The author of 'Vanity Fair' knew the world to which those gentlemen belonged very well. Most unwillingly, he had been in it; never willingly would he have remained in it for an hour; finding therein a vast deal that he despised, and despised with a certain hate and a certain fear which, in combination, formed a very lively and a rather worrying sentiment which he did not get rid of to the end of his life. It certainly checked and hampered him when he came to write of young Arthur's excursion into journalism; and so it is that even in Pendennis' we have but faint uncertain glimpses of an underworld which has never been well

opportunity, was little likely to attract young ambition, or to draw into it the kind of men who not long afterwards strove for a place on that cloud-capped Olympus, the 'Times,' or to share the Byronic glories of the Saturday Review.' And there are signs that when journalism was a new employment, writing for a newspaper was thought more respectable than to edit it. Nor, for intelligible reasons, is that an extinct prejudice yet. Amongst writers of the superior sort there are many whose feelings inform them that, whatever the difference in emolument and authority, it is better to range at large as independent contributors than to sit in the editorial chair. Two generations ago it was a prevalent feeling. Scott seems to have been much disturbed upon hearing that Lockhart might become editor of a newspaper which there could be no discredit in writing for; and the same distinction gleams out clearly in the late Lord Blachford's story of how he came to write for the 'Times.' At the age of twenty-nine, before he had made choice of a career, he was repeat-described to this day. There are edly pressed by the proprietor of that journal to take its editorship. This he declined to do; but being then urged to write for the paper, he almost thinks that he will try his hand. Not that Frederic Rogers (as he then was) quite liked it. However, "this unattached way of doing things seems to me very feasible. . . . No one will know anything about the matter except my own private friends, and I can do just as much and as little as I please." No one will know! This was in 1840, when the newspaper press had already made considerable progress in gentility, and a yet more pronounced advance to the authority of a Fourth Estate of the Realm.

fields of observation which no satirist less stout than Swift can hope to traverse, pen in hand, with comfort and composure; and, feeling this, the Muse of Titmarsh allowed a tormentingly inviting theme to repose at the bottom of his inkpot. True, Bludyer was fished up, but not as a contemporary specimen. To avoid unpleasantness, Thackeray explained that Bludyer was no actual denizen of Fleet Street, but belonged to an anterior period. He was to be regarded as representing a lingering "monster of the ooze"; though, truth to tell, his race was not yet quite extinct. I myself knew a very perfect Bludyer years after

Pendennis' came out,- his end so miserable, from the fairest be

up the north bank. The keeper was sitting on a stone, quietly smoking, with no trace of anger on his face, and before him, on a bit of smooth thymy turf, lay a salmon such as many a man has dreamt about, but few, indeed, ́seen with mortal eyes. Then for the first time that day the poor crofter forgot his troubles: for half a minute his only feeling was one of intense pride at such a victory.

"Well-he's safe now," Rory said at length.

"Ay!" replied Archie, still gaping at him.

"Erchibald," went on the keeper, "oh man! you worked him just deevilish!" The other shook his head deprecatingly "Just deevilish ! -frae start to finish!"

"That was no' a bad bit o' work for a man o' my years," the keeper continued. "Gin I hadna been waiting for him there when he came by, it's little you'd have ever seen of your fish!"

"I ken that fine,” said Archie. "Gin I had no' been quick enough to slip it into him thereit would be at Bonaw he would be by this time."

"I'm believing that," replied the crofter.

"It was no' an easy job neither. Stand you on yon stane, and see what footing you'll have."

"There was few could do it, indeed, Mr MacGilp."

"He was far more like a stirk to lift out of the water than a decent saumon !"

"He was, Mr MacGilp, far more, indeed, like a very heavy stirk!" "If it hadna been my knowledge of all they sunken rocks, and shouting myself hoarse to guide you, where would you have been, my man, by this time?"

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'Archie, lad," said the keeper, and the voice of the man changed now, and he spoke so softly and low it was difficult to recognise the same organ which a few minutes before had been hurling denunciations across the river, "I've been fishing here all my life; man and boy I've been fishing here for nearly fifty years, an' I never yet had the luck to get the grip of such a fish as that!"

MacCorquodale looked at him curiously, and he was never able to say positively he was never quite sure in his own mindwhether it was a tear which fell down over the rough cheek or not. Then there was a long silence.

"An' where will it be ye'll be flitting to?" the old man asked, in quite another tone, and so suddenly that it made the crofter-deep in a reverie-jump.

"Where'll I be-where-oh !— Mr MacGilp!"

"I believe I got yon muckle fish MYSELL!" with great emphasis on the last word.

Archie looked north and east and west, and then at the salmon. "MYSELL!" as if finally and for the last time.

"I believe that

- too," said Archie, with a groan. The last three words came out with a gulp.

"Well-he'll be an ugly burden to bear away doun. But a man canna pick an' choose as he would in this world! Good day to you then, Erchibald. And you might be going on wi' that new bit o' garden you're sae proud of; I'll gie you a wheen grand potatoesnext year for seed for't."

So MacCorquodale set out under the hot sun homewards.


more he had a reprieve, and he wondered how it was he did not feel happier. During the exciting fight he had many a time pictured to himself the little house from which he would be banished at Whitsunday, its rough meadow in front, and the peat-stacks, and the sunny untidy bit of garden, half filled with currant bushes and ribes and southernwood, over which the bees came in the gloaming, slow flying after their afternoon labour on the moor. Now he thought only of the battle he had won, which was not to bring him in any honour now, or happy reminiscences afterwards. 'Deed, I'll never have the chance of doing the like of yon again!" muttered the poor crofter to himself.



Note. The writer would like to add that he knows who the chief

guardian of the Awe was at the period of this sketch. The real keeper was a very different man from the entirely imaginary one here depicted, and it is only by a kind of poetical-or prose-licence that the latter is pushed into a position which he never occupied in the flesh.-G. W. H.

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