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---I Stray Notes.


Stray Notes. [By Fagius."] Tommy is one of the oldest inhabi- tants of Tenby, having exceeded the allotted span by eight years. He is a quaint old fellow, can crack jokes with the best of his fellows, and can tell many a good yarn of the far-off days, when things was not the same in those days, sir." Thomas has a deep sense of humour as well, and, let it be whispered, he is as deep as the sea on which he has thrived all his lifetime. He, unfortunately, has one affliction, he is troubled with the rheumatics very bad, and in reply to any interrogations about his health, he remarks: Oh, yes, mister, I'm well enough, on'y in these days I gets the rheu- matics very bad, sir." Tommy is a boatman of many years' standing, and boasts his own boat, which, when new, he assured me cost thirteen pounds. In a, burst of honesty, he added I bought it second-hand, sir, off another chap, and she's done me well enough. Wants a bit of paint, though; haven't r-ainted her this 'ear yet, mister; weather's bin so bad, you know." I struck Tommy's acquaintance yesterday. I was proceeding along the beach in a, blaze of afternoon sunshine. The sea looked most tempting, and I was seriously debating with myself whether a dip" or a row would be the pleasantest. The appearance of Tommy" decided the question, and in less than two minutes I was being rowed across the rippling sur- face of Davy Jones. Fine coast here, sir," remarked Tommy, with a wave of his rheumatised hand. Yes," I replied, it is very fine." Plenty of sand for bathing, sir, too," continued Tommy that's the beauty of it. By the way, we had a very big shark up around here the other day, mister, but we didn't tell, mister; we kept it a secret," and he added, with a confidential whisper, It wouldn't do, you know." H'm, that's not very comforting news in a small boat like this," I observed. Oh, but we're all right. It won't do anything to the boat, mister. These sharks go for the bathers," replied Tommy in his most assuring manner. The boat glided over the sunlit waters, and there was nothing to break the calm of the afternoon except the plashing of Tommy's oars. Presently he looked up with his sweetest smile, and having eyed my proportions very carefully, he inquired; Can you row, sir P With regret I was compelled to answer: I am sorry I cannot, but if you will allow me, I will try." I fell a victim to Tommy's seductiveness. Here ye are, sir," he said, as he handed over the oars to me. Now, sir, sit right in the middle of the boat, and pull away." I pulled away with all my might. 'Old her square, sir, an' give her more water." I obeyeu, and Tommy remarked with a grunt of satisfaction That's beautiful, mister; you wouldn't take a long time to do a fine rower, sir." I bowed my acknowledgments-i-ather, I should say I turned round to, face Tommy, and muttered: Thank you." It was a very great compliment from such an ex- perienced oarsman. We were nearing the beach again after an hour and a half of hard pulling. Can you fish, sir," queried Tommy. I am afraid my countenance betrayed such a woeful ignorance of this most inspiring art that Tommy observed my discomfiture, and he remarked con- solingly But you'll soon learn, mister." I'm afraid that I am a very bad fisherman," I replied, sheepishly. Well, I'll tell you what we'll do," he proceeded. "You come down to the pier to-morrow morning What time can you come? I'll come after breakfast," I replied. That'll do grand, and What's the damage, please? I asked, fumbling the few stray coins I had in my pocket. Well, let me see," he replied, with a roguish twinkle in his eye; supposing we pay half-a-crowi; I handed hiirx the coin, and as I turned to leave, he grasped my coat-tails: "Mind to-morrow mornin', mister, after break-I fast, an' we'll have some fine sport." olbo0w I rose early this morning, and after a very hearty meal, proceeded to the pier to nieet my friend the boatman. I observed him as I ran down the slope, and he no sooner caught sight of me than he shouted out: "Right ye are, sir j fine mornin, some lofely sport to-day, sir. I stepped into, the little boat, and as he handed one of the oars to me, Tommy remarked: Look 'ere, mister, I was talking about you to a few cha.ps last night up at the Wheatsheaf,' and told them how you got on so well with the rowing yesterday, and they said they never 'card such a thing in their life, sir. They did, mister." I am deeply grateful to you and your friends, Mister-—- Call me 1 Tommy,' mister; Tommy, the oldest boatsman in Tenby, seventy- eight years of age, sir." I am deeply grateful to you and your friends, Tommy," I proceeded, for your good opinion; but I am afraid you praised me more than was my due." Oh, no, sir, I never saw anything like it." What about the fish, Tommy P I in- quired, anxious to change the subject. Oh, we'll have some directly," he re- plied. We pulled away, until we came to a certain spot, when Tommy commanded me to stop rowing, and immediately^ pro- ceeded to put the lines and the baits in- order. You take the stern, sir, and I'll go here," he ordered. I did so, and after a, quarter of an hour s anxious watching, I felt a slight tug at my line.


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