« AnteriorContinuar »
afterwards at Llandovery, informed us that his ancestor Shenkin-ap-Morgan-ap-Jenkin-ap-Jones had again appeared to him in his sleep, congratulated him on the recovery of the family caxon, and promised never more to haunt him or his.
AN OTTER HUNT
In the Cothy.
On passing an evening with Morgan and Drake Somerset, a few months after our late excursion to Llynn-y-Van, we resolved to try our luck at an Otter Hunt in the Cothy, a little river which flows from two pools in the village of Talley. Having communicated our intention to a gentleman who resides in that neighbourhood, and who keeps some fine otter-dogs, he eagerly entered into our proposals, and engaged us to breakfast with him by daybreak, when he promised to equip us with spears and all the necessary paraphernalia of the hunt.
Accordingly we started at five o'clock, on a fine spring morning, from Llangadock. As our road lay principally over hill and dale, we resolved to shorten it as much as possible. With this view we forded the Towey, which enabled us to gain the
high road, by cutting off an awkward circumbendibus of two miles. In about two hours we arrived at Talley, where we found our friend busied at the door of his cottage in arranging fy-rods, hunting spears, and calling up and cheering the whole posse comitatus of his dogs. Without further ceremony we entered his breakfast-room, paid our devoirs to the mistress of the house, and then manfully dispatched our repast.
In the course of half an hour many of the neighbourhood had assembled, as is usual on such occasions, to join our excursion. One individual in particular told us that near the bridge at Edwin's Fort, a seat on the banks of the Cothy, he had but lately seen an otter engaged in busy slaughter of the trout. We took him immediately for our guide, and set off, man and dog, to the appointed place of rendez
For my own part, as I am a better hand at fly fishing than otter-hunting, I resigned the spear for the rod, intending, after the business was concluded, to pick up a few spanking trout or sewen.
In the mean time our party posted hastily on towards the bridge of Edwin's Fort. The dogs kept up a continued yelping, and one wild indiscriminate chorus of man and beast was the sole music of the road. After a hasty march we came within sight of the bridge, and under a close-set
bank, beneath some trees which overhung the stream, descried a bitch otter, busied like ourselves in her usual morning's amusement.
By the time that we arrived she was above water, at vent, and the dogs close with her. Our spears were in instant requisition ; but notwithstanding our exertions, it is really surprising how long it was before she was finally put down. Don, the trustiest and foremost of our dogs, first seized her-down she went, and in an instant he missed his hold. She rose on the other side, and away swam the rest of the pack in laudable anxiety to claim acquaintance with her haunches. Some were above some under water-while all were completely spent : in fact, had it not been for her own severe exertions, she would have held out some time longer, in despite of hunters, spears, and dogs.
On discovering she was a bitch otter, a cabinetcouncil was held on the propriety of dispatching her young ones.
As we were all inveterate flyfishers, the motion for their destruction was carried unanimously; and, at a trifling distance from the place where she was put down, we discovered four whelps, two of which we killed, while the other two were preserved by our friend at Talley, for the visionary scheme of taming.
Among the first and most officious of our hunt
ers let* me not prætermit little Morgan, who, in the true spirit of an angler, sought out the young otters with vindictive avidity. But while busily engaged in his search, and in the very act of shouting aloud his discovery, the faithless bank gave way, and precipitated him, wig and all, into the water. Here was a terrible mischance! but what rendered him still more disconsolate, was the inexcusable conduct of his caxon, which eloped a second time from his sconce. The dogs were instantly despatched to the rescue; spear after spear, stone after stone, was hurled at it, until it was with some difficulty restored to its owner, who welcomed it with a voluble volley of Welch oaths. Drake and myself undertook the charge of condolence ; I reminded him that misfortune was the lot of man, and the soldier agreed with the preacher that all was vanity and vexation of spirit. what is this to me,” replied the irritable Cambrian, “ will the preacher's sermon curl my wig?”— “ No," quoth Drake, “ but it will teach you to bear adversity with fortitude.”—“. He jests at scars that never felt a wound,'” returned Morgan ; “ when you have lost a wig that had clothed the family-skulls for hundreds of years, you will not be a whit less passionate than myself.”
Having satisfied my curiosity with respect to the