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The four-oar was launched, the looms of the oars greased, the men settled themselves firmly in their seats, the coxswain took the tiller ropes in hand. "Ready-forward-row!" and the boat shot away from the "Rest" and was lost to sight around a bend in the stream.
"The Angler's Rest" has seen many pleasant gatherings, but few better friends than Bow, Two, Three, Stroke, and Cox. Yet short as the time comparatively is since the angling match, these friends are widely separated, and hear but little of each other. Do you not think they retain the memory of their meetingthe last one—at "The Angler's Rest"?
LONG-LINE FISHING OFF CROMER
CROMER-where the sun rises from, and sets in, the sea-is one of the most delightful of seaside places. It is an oasis of beauty on the uninteresting coast-line of the Eastern Counties. Its comparative inaccessibility keeps it select. The two four-horse coaches which ply daily between Norwich and Cromer do not convey the shoals of noisy excursionists which overflow Yarmouth and Lowestoft. In the months of August and September Cromer is full of the better class of seaside visitors. In those months it is as nearly perfect as a wateringplace may be. Not only is there the broad expanse of sea, with the numerous vessels dotting its surface—long, low, black steamers and large ships in the distance, coasting schooners and brigs inshore, and slow moving trawlers and saucy little crab-boats with their brown
sails-but on shore are delicious walks along fragrant lanes, over breezy knolls, between ferny glades of wood, the sheeny undergrowth of fern having for close company the bright bog heather in masses of pink and purple, shaded by the thick branching oaks, and lit up here and there by brilliant shafts of sunlight. The sight of heather in a wood is sufficiently uncommon to be noticeable, even if it were not for the rich feast of colour it affords to the eye. The first view of Cromer from the Norwich road is one not easily to be forgotten. As you gain the top of the hill above the little town, there bursts upon the eye the sea, the little cluster of houses which form Cromer town hanging, as it seems, right above it; the stately church tower; the woods in the hollows; the knolls and hills covered with heath and fern and yellow gorse; the white lighthouse tower, and the meadows where the sheep and cows are tethered by ropes pegged to the ground. The view appears so suddenly that one is surprised as well as delighted.
Cromer has had a hard fight of it against the sea, which is ever making encroachments. The old church stands some distance out at sea, and the waves wash and fishes feed where parsons preached and sinners listened years ago. The old lighthouse disappeared some time since with a fall of the cliff. The set of the
tides being north and south, or nearly so, the soft material of the cliff is easily worn and carried away. When a great fall of cliffs occurs, geological specimens are often found in abundance. Remains of gigantic creatures that existed before the flood turn up again in these later days, to teach us something of the wonderful past. If there were men in those prehistoric times, they must have had an extremely uncomfortable time of it, with creatures of such devouring capacity as then existed in numbers around them. Perhaps the reason that we find no fossil skeletons of man of so ancient a date, is that they were "chawed up" by the mammoths, &c., and never allowed to die a natural death. It is a wonder the flint implements were not swallowed and digested too, instead of being allowed to remain on or in the earth, and set otherwise rational men by the ears.
Wooden breakwaters project out at intervals to break the force of the current, and the part of the cliff upon the very verge of which the village stands is faced with flint masonry-armour-plated, in fact, with stone armour. Access to the beach and jetty is gained by means of zigzag paths and steps of uncomfortable steepness. The jetty is not a very imposing structure, but it answers all the purposes for which it is intended. As Cromer has no quay, the coal vessels
take the ground at high tide, and are unloaded as rapidly as possible, several horses, however, being required to drag a cart-load up the soft beach.
Pleasant as Cromer is in the summer, it is not at all a bad place in the winter, when the days are fine enough to go out sea-fishing. I had a few days there one November, and one morning I enjoyed capital sport amongst the codlings.
The wind blew fresh the night before, and it was doubtful whether the boats would set out in the morning. I had arranged to go out with two of the fishermen, provided they started early enough to enable me to leave Cromer by midday. The morning broke with little wind and a slight smurr of rain, but the distant horizon looked soft and mellow, and there was nothing of the harshness which precedes heavy rain. We had two sets of lines for our boat. Each set was thirteen hundred yards in length, so that when the two lines. were out they extended about a mile and a half. At short intervals were hooks attached to lengths of snooding. These are baited over night with, in the present instance, and indeed generally, mussels. Baiting them is not by any means a pleasant or enviable job, especially when it has to be done, as is too often the case, in the kitchen, where all the family are collected. The mussels, by the way, are caught in Lynn