I Inherit the World of Gems
ago, when I was walking in Northumberland, I came across an old fellow
on the banks of the Coquet who was busy making artificial flies. He
looked the sort of oddity who is worth a good story or two for the
trouble of drawing him out, so without any formal preliminaries beyond
that of praising the blueness of the sky and the wetness of the water
at our feet I squatted on my heels beside him.
a long while I had to be content with watching in silence while the
taciturn old man continued with his work. But after I had thought to
make him free of my tobacco pouch he talked freely as one brother of
the weed to another. From youth up it appeared that he had been making
flies for the gentry in those parts and for the trade. He was an
expert, and no wonder, for he had learned his craft from his father,
who had been taught by his father and so back into the mists of time.
Not only that, but this singular occupation, which my casual riverside
acquaintance had followed all his life, had also been the calling of
nearly every member of his family for several generations.