+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Here we sighted two Hastings fishing-luggers
in which a crew of sturdy giants in orangy
blouses, under their black patched and tawny
sails, were uproariously shouting and rejoicing
at having secured a boat and a half, fourteen
thousand herrings, in one night.

This event having passed, we returned to
the dog-fish, just as our boat passed a ruined
castle on a cliff, whose broken towers cut dark
against the great shining disc of the setting

I inquired if the whiting were a peculiarly
timid fish.

"That's right," said Coxen, dipping his oar
in the water to try the depth; " they run from
them dog-fish like a rat from a dog, or a mouse
from a cat. You see, sir, the herrings are too
fast for them till the nets stop them, so that
directly they come up to the nets they gap at
them; so when they do catch these customers
the men take and cut them uppiecemeal, or stretch
them across with a spritsail-yard. Same with crabs.
Don't you buy those red prawns they hawks
about, they're only bastard shrimps. We have
no prawns; they've left the coast these twenty
year. I can remember when I used to go on the
main head and pass the net up the weeds off the
pier, and hear them rustle ina good basketful.
The haddock, too, has left the coast. I don't
know whether their food is gone, or how it is.
I remember when they were a dozen for a shiling
in these parts."

These parts meant Splashington beach, which
was, by this time, scraping our keel.


The greatest jealousy exists between the
people of Dippington and those of the adjoining
watering-place of Splashington, "The Splashington
people," according to Coxen, "are all bounce
awful bounceable they are, surely. Their boats
are allays the best and the fastest, and when a
gentleman asks them to have a nip of grog, they
allays mention a shilling's worth."

"Bragging fellows?"

"That's right. Splashington for pluck, is their
cry, and Dippington for money." Coxen had
never seen the like of them, he hadn't.

Indeed, there had once been a regatta at
Dippington, and he (Coxen) had to pick his
crew, and he chose two Splashington men who
was good hands, they was; but they came
after a boosing party of three days, during which
they had eaten scarcely anything, and so lost.
"Oh, they were a queer lot, they were, at Splashington
no account at all."

Now came Parkins's rowing lesson.

"Keep time, sir; no chopping like a
man-of-war's-manhands closer together, siroar more
aft, sirnow well home!"

The "well home" consisted in Parkins's
missing the surface of the water, " catching
a crab," and being nearly knocked off his

More directions, to Parkins's confused and
troubled mind: " Dip your oar a little deeper in
the water, sirto the end of the blade! It is no
exertion if you lean well back, and then pull the
oar homewell home.

Coxen might be right, and rowing may be no
exertion, but Parkins certainly at that moment
looked as if it was. His coat was off, his braces
undone, his face a vivid carmine.

"Steer straight, sir, for the Belly View Tavern
keep time, sir, or it's no usethe faster you
go, you see, the worse you does. Now, one

And so we returned to Dippington.


IT is one of the numerous festivals kept in
honour of the Madonna, we will suppose. The
scene, a hill village among the Apennines,
which the traveller crosses between Ancona and
the Eternal City, not very far from either of
those grand marts of sacerdotal tromperie, the
"Holy House of Loretto," and Assisi, the birth
and burial place of the great Mendicano, St.
Francis. The village consists of one rudely
paved street, at one end of which is the only
substantial-looking house in the place, the walls
of which were covered with numerous placards,
all headed with an ill-printed representation
of the Papal arms, and the ever-present
symbolical keys. This house, in short, is the
bodily presentment of civil government in
Querceto, as our village shall be called. Two
or three remarkably dingy and ill-looking
officials are yawning on a bench at the open door,
and occasionally exchanging with the peasants
scraps of dirty-white paper, half printed, half
written on, and covered with grit, for certain
payments of cash counted out with long and
difficult process of calculation in coins of
infinitesimal value. What the designation of this
department may be, I know not; but it is evident
that " government," in Querceto, means paying
cash. Half-way up the street two pairs of Papal
gendarmes are sauntering along the middle of
the causeway. They are tall, good-looking
fellows, and the only well-dressed and apparently
well-fed individuals the eye can rest on in the
place. At the other and upper end of the
village, which runs up a steep hill, is the church,
with its principal front facing down the street.
The great door is open, and looks, as seen from
the blazing sunlight of the street, like the yawning
mouth of a dark cavern, at the far
end of which are seen a number of
symmetrically disposed twinkling little stars
of rather lurid light. They are the altar
candles. The four or five priests, who have
to get such living as they may out of the
poverty of this little community, are busily at
work in the church. It is their harvest-day.
Two are saying mass at the high altar, one at a
side altar, and one sitting half concealed in a
very tumble-down little box, hearing confessions.
A penitent is kneeling on either side of the box,
with his face close to the little grating which
gives communication with the holy father inside;
and a long train are waiting their turn to