Angling Sketches

Longmans, Green
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Publisher
Longmans, Green
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Published on
Dec 31, 1891
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Pages
176
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Language
English
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This content is DRM free.
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The tale opens abruptly with an opium-bred vision of the tower of Cloisterham Cathedral, beheld by Jasper as he awakens in the den of the Princess Puffer, between a Chinaman, a Lascar, and the hag herself. This Cathedral tower, thus early and emphatically introduced, is to play a great but more or less mysterious part in the romance: that is certain. Jasper, waking, makes experiments on the talk of the old woman, the Lascar and Chinaman in their sleep. He pronounces it Òunintelligible,Ó which satisfies him that his own babble, when under opium, must be unintelligible also. He is, presumably, acquainted with the languages of the eastern coast of India, and with Chinese, otherwise, how could he hope to understand the sleepers? He is being watched by the hag, who hates him.
Jasper returns to Cloisterham, where we are introduced to the Dean, a nonentity, and to Minor Canon Crisparkle, a muscular Christian in the pink of training, a classical scholar, and a good honest fellow. Jasper gives Edwin a dinner, and gushes over Òhis bright boy,Ó a lively lad, full of chaff, but also full of confiding affection and tenderness of heart. Edwin admits that his betrothal is a bore: Jasper admits that he loathes his life; and that the church singing Òoften sounds to me quite devilish,ÓÑand no wonder. After this dinner, Jasper has a Òweird seizure;Ó Òa strange film comes over JasperÕs eyes,Ó he Òlooks frightfully ill,Ó becomes rigid, and admits that he Òhas been taking opium for a pain, an agony that sometimes overcomes me.Ó This Òagony,Ó we learn, is the pain of hearing Edwin speak lightly of his love, whom Jasper so furiously desires. ÒTake it as a warning,Ó Jasper says, but Edwin, puzzled, and full of confiding tenderness, does not understand.
This is the peculiar title of a book that is making something of a literary sensation. This brilliant study of the betrayal and extinction of Jacobitism has triumphantly solved a mystery which once baffled all Europe. History has so far sought in vain to follow the wanderings and intrigues of Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, after his expulsion from France in the last days of 1748. "From this time forward," says Lord Stanhope, writing of the time when the Prince quitted Avignon early in 1749, "his proceedings during many years are wrapped in mystery; all his correspondence passed through the hands of Mr. Walters"--according to Mr. Lang the name should be Waters-"his banker at Paris, even his warmest partisans were seldom made acquainted with his place of abode, and though he still continued to write to his father at intervals, his letters were never dated. Neither friends nor enemies at that time could obtain any certain information of his movements or designs. Now, however, it is known that he visited Venice and Germany, that he resided secretly for some time at Paris, that he undertook a mysterious journey to England in 1750, and perhaps another in 1752 or 1753; but his principal residence was in the territory of his friend the Dukede Bouillon, where, surrounded by the wide and lonely forest of Ardennes, his active spirit sought in the dangerous chase of boars and wolves an image of the warlike enterprise which was denied him. It was not till the death of his father in 1766 that he returned to Rome and became reconciled to his brother. But his character had darkened with his fortunes."
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