Christian Dancing, Christian Hunting, Christian Angling.

Christian Dancing.

  We are reminded of an advertisement which appeared some three or four weeks since in the papers under this head, by the following passage in a French journal:


  “A grand Ball was given last Sunday, by M. de L.P. which assembled the flower of society of Cambrae. At half-past eleven a carriage stopped at the door; a venerable man alights, enters the saloon, and the dancers remain as if transported, with one foot in the air, like scholars caught in flagrant delict, for they recognized the Archbishop. M. Giraud, following in the footsteps of the ever to be regretted Cheverus, Archbishop of Bordeaux, presents to the company the passe of a mendicant friar, passing through the quadrides, visiting the card-tables as a beggar for the poor, with these words—‘Where Pleasure reaps her harvest, Charity has a right to come as a gleaner.’ Then the Archbishop, to restore liberty to others and preserve his own, went away rejoicing in the means he had gained of relieving poverty.”


  Many young people have of late been given to long hunting parties in the neighborhood of Rome. They would go out and pursue the chase for fifteen days at a time, passing their evenings in drinking and revelry. The Catholic Government has interfered, obliging each such party to take as companion and mentor of their banquets a priest, who is, beside, to say mass for them every morning. This step has been considered the more singular, as most of these youths are English and Germans, consequently Protestants.


  We have received from the publishers, Burgess, Stingers & Co. a pretty little book called “The American Angler’s Guide,” which those interested in the craft, or whatever the pursuit may be called, will find for sale by John J. Brown & Co., Angler’s Depot, 122 Fulton st. It teaches how to catch the fish both by knowing how to look for them and how to make or choose the proper baits. In looking at the pretty lines quoted about making the flies,

  “If an insect fall (his certain guide,)
He gently takes from him the whiriling tide;
Examines well his form with curious eyes,
His gaudy vest, his wings, his horns, his size;
Then round the hook the chosen fur he winds,
And on the back a speckled feather binds;
So just the colors shine in every part,
That Nature seems to live again in art.
    *      *      *      *      *
  To frame the little animal, provide
All the gay hues that wait on female pride;
Let Nature guide thee; sometimes golden wire
The shining bellies of the fly require;
The peacock’s plumes thy tackle must not fail,
Nor the dear purchase of the sable’s tail;
Each gaudy bird some slender tribute brings,
And lends the glowing insect proper wings.
Silks of all colors must their aid impart,
And every fur promote the fisher’s art;
So the gay lady, with expensive care,
Borrows the pride of land, of sea, of air;
Furs, pearls and plumes the glittering thing displays,
Dazzles our eyes, and easy hearts betrays.”

  In reading these lines we were reminded of a tame wild man of the West, whom one knew him well characterized as “half dandy, half savage,” a mixture not unfrequently found in the French resident in a new country. He thought the Summer days would be best spent by him and so have her part in the poetry, for “that, too,” said he, is a “Fine Art.” The picture pleased us. Most men would have contented themselves with having the wife broil the fish when caught.

  But to return to the Angler’s Guide. The Book, after giving the substantial directions and informations sought by the amateur, thinks it needful to apologize for the taste in the following fashion: A “mild and enthusiastic amateur,” after delineating the enjoyments of the beauties of Nature associated with angling, adds: “As a Christian, I certainly say, that, in some of my solitary rambles, or boat excursions, with my rod, I have been favored with most devout and grateful emotions of the heart, in contemplating the beauties of creation; and looking up from the works of my Maker around me, to Him who made them all, my meditations on the Divine goodness and grace have been most sweet,” &c. Farther on,

“When we examine the Book of Books we find in the Book of Job and in parts of the New Testament, references directly made to drawing with a hook, as:
“Canst thou draw out the Leviathan with a hook, or his tongue with a cord which then lettest down! Canst thou put a hook into his nose?”

  What nonsense will not the mania of living by texts give birth to next? As well might the Shaker find them for comparing the stern professor of religion who makes girls in their teens faint by asking them in a sepulchral tone “If they are willing to be summoned to the presence of their Maker in the middle of a dance?” to profane Michal, who laughed in her heat at dancing.

  Do people think? Do they look around them and yet seriously suppose that the Power which plants dimples on the cheek of childhood and daises in the field has any objection to a mixture of mirth in our lives, and of mirth enjoyed for its own sake? Moderation, indeed, is the beautiful law, the law by which alone either pleasure or business can be kept pure. There may be excess in dancing, in hunting, in angling; there is deeper objection to the last two because pain is given to living things, and violence done in the world by the ministers of a higher dispensation. This is done in earnest all the time, but one would think it need not for pleasure.

  Though the “gleaning” of the Archbishop is not amiss, and might be a reminder of duty to the rich as well as a relief to the poor, yet who will suppose, in a free state of thought, that any good is gained by enforcing restraint on the hunting party by the presence of a priest, or that the hook will hurt the little fish less because it has been mentioned in the book of Job? O men, pray, pray look more simply into your own natures, more simply study the intentions of the Divine Being. It is much the precepts of a darker day, the thoughts of a mere childish epoch in the world’s history that keep you so narrow and thoughtless as you are. Think, live, fear not; God is the Father of Thought and Life; he must wish that men should have free thoughts, full lives.*

“Christian Dancing, Christian Hunting, Christian Angling,” New-York Daily Tribune, 16 May 1846, p. 1.