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Fisherman's Luck Henry van Dyke

Lovers and Landscape

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"He insisted that the love that was of real value in the world was n't interesting, and that the love that was interesting was n't always admirable. Love that happened to a person like the measles or fits, and was really of no particular credit to itself or its victims, was the sort that got into the books and was made much of; whereas the kind that was attained by the endeavour of true souls, and that had wear in it, and that made things go right instead of tangling them up, was too much like duty to make satisfactory reading for people of sentiment."--E. S. MARTIN: My Cousin Anthony.

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.

The first day of spring is due to arrive, if the calendar does not break down, about the twenty-first of March, when the earth turns the corner of Sun Alley and starts for Summer Street. But the first spring day is not on the time-table at all. It comes when it is ready, and in the latitude of New York this is usually not till after All Fools' Day.

About this time,--

    "When chinks in April's windy dome
    Let through a day of June,
    And foot and thought incline to roam,
    And every sound's a tune,"--

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it is the habit of the angler who lives in town to prepare for the labours of the approaching season by longer walks or bicycle-rides in the parks, or along the riverside, or in the somewhat demoralized Edens of the suburbs. In the course of these vernal peregrinations and circumrotations, I observe that lovers of various kinds begin to occupy a notable place in the landscape.

The burnished dove puts a livelier iris around his neck, and practises fantastic bows and amourous quicksteps along the verandah of the pigeon-house and on every convenient roof. The young male of the human species, less gifted in the matter of rainbows, does his best with a gay cravat, and turns the thoughts which circulate above it towards the securing or propitiating of a best girl.

The objects of these more or less brilliant attentions, doves and girls, show a becoming reciprocity, and act in a way which leads us to infer (so far as inferences hold good in the mysterious region of female conduct) that they are not seriously displeased. To a rightly tempered mind, pleasure is a pleasant sight. And the philosophic observer who could look upon this spring spectacle of the lovers with any but friendly feelings would be indeed what the great Dr. Samuel Johnson called "a person not to be envied."

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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