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Related article: one of them half a pound "for sure," and many smaller fry are put back. Above this point the boughs close in, and the stream swirls again over rocks ; it is un- fishable in summer, but now the barer boughs tempt me to try it. This resolve leads to a half-hour's struggle with many difficulties, and the loss of my trusty March Brown : and some two or three more trout are all that I can add to my take. O. 176 [March Antony and Cleopatra. Lady Cleopatra Hanwell wor- shipped genius. Her husband, Mr. Hanwell, generally avoided it, but as he was rich and of a complacent nature, he made no objection to his wife's lion-hunting in town as long as she made none to his fox-hunting in the country. On her part she was far from making such objection, for she was as enthusiastic about sport of every kind as about the hun- dred and one pursuits in which, without any remarkable talent, by dint of persistent practice she had attained a tolfrable profi- ciency. She was tall, plain, and thin ; indeed, it would be impos- sible for anyone to endure the exercise, mental and bodily, that she underwent and remain fat. Scandal did not know her even by name. She was a good woman, devoted to her husband and her three children. Her latest discovery was a young" actor, Mr. Antony Fitz- bower, who owed his rapid rise in the profession to his own ability and his social success mainly to her patronage. He was an Irish- man, and had wit enough to maintain the interest his talent had aroused, while he showed his gratitude without evincing a desire to lick the varnish from her ladyship's shoes, and refrained from exhibiting such monkey- tricks as mediocrity mounted on a pedestal would fain palm off upon its admiring patrons as the eccentricities of an uncontrollable genius. It happened, moreover, that he was the only one of a long succession of " lions " with whom Hanwell found he had anything in common, for he was passionately fond of hunting. The two fox -hunters soon became friends, and at the end of the London season Fitzbower ac- cepted a cordial invitation to come down whenever he could and have a day with the hounds. November was drawing to a close before the desired oppor- tunity presented itself, and Fitz- bower found himself a welcome guest at his friend's country seat. He had looked forward to this visit with what amounted almost to a longing. The late hours and confinement, the excitement and anxiety, inseparable from the theatrical life, enhanced the joy with which he anticipated ex- panding his chest with unpolluted air, exposing his unpainted cheek to the eye of heaven, and ex- changing the clamour of "the gods " for the music of a pack of hounds. Who that is fond of the sport, and has been forced to forego it for a season, does not long to hear the Ticlid 250 Mg huntsman's voice, to watch the feathering hounds, to catch the sound of the holloa as it floats faintly up the wind, and to feel the bound of a mettled steed between his legs ? " Hounds, gentlemen, please ! " Such were Fitzbower's antici- pations ! But if he expected a complete holiday, he was mistaken, for with Lady Cleopatra there were no holidays. She took life seri- ously. It was a sacred trust, a gift not to be buried in a napkin, but to be employed for the im- provement of mankind. Her corporeal part she left pretty much to the ordinary routine, but her intellect she regarded as a farm which she was bound by her lease to cultivate with all dili- gence. She was ever ploughing, harrowing, sowing, reaping, or, by way of enriching the soil, Egging in cartloads of other 1899.] ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. 177 people's ideas ; while her " living soul, the beauty of the world," represented the bailiff who would be called one day to give an account of his stewardship. He, poor soul ! was thoroughly im- bued with a sense of his responsi- bilities, and allowed himself very little relaxation. Hence Lady Cleopatra's desire to get hold of genius, to get all she could out of him, to keep the engines going at full steam and lift as many foot- pounds as possible in the brief time allotted to her. Genius, therefore, must not be idle ; there must be a constant interchange of ideas, brilliant, and above all improving, a continual whipping of the top of conversation, which, set spinning immediately after morning prayers, was never allowed to flag till it received its final titillation as her ladyship retired with her bedroom candle- stick. It was Lady Cleopatra's habit to select a topic for discussion, and that chosen upon the evening of Fitzbower's arrival was " The possibility of reforming the stage." The vicar of the parish, with whom it was a favourite theme for declamation, was invited to dinner to assist in the ventilation of the subject. " The immorality connected with the stage," said the vicar, with great solemnity, in the course of the conversation, " is appall- ing!" " I don't find it troubles me much," replied Fitzbower, with gentle irony, which was quite lost upon his hostess ; and probably on the vicar also, for they were equally unconscious that there was anything humorous in the interest they evinced at being admitted, as it were, behind the scenes, when they would have exclaimed with horror had Fitz- bower proposed that they should come into actual bodily contact .with the green - room. But Fitzbower was more than amus- ing ; he excelled as a conversa- tionalist, and by suggesting a word here, a thought there, a sentiment to the vicar, a practical point to his hostess, he brought them to such an admiration of their own brilliancy that when at length they Buy Ticlid retired for the night they were fully convinced that the dawn of the Reformation they had so much at heart was already