Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Stickle-bag, or any other small fish that will turn quick, will serve as well: and you are yet to know, that you may salt them, and by that means keep them ready and fit for use three or four days, or longer; and that of salt, bay-salt is the best.

And here let me tell you, what many old Anglers know right well, that at some times, and in some waters, a Minnow is not to be got, and therefore let me tell you, I have,—which I will shew to you,— an artificial Minnow, that will catch a Trout as well as an artificial Fly, and it was made by a handsome woman that had a fine hand, and a live Minnow lying by her: the mould or body of the Minnow was cloth, and wrought upon or over it thus with a needle: the back of it with very sad French green silk, and paler green silk towards the belly, shadowed as perfectly as you can imagine, just as you see a Minnow; the belly was wrought also with a needle, and it was a part of it white silk, and another part of it with silver thread; the tail and fins were of a quill, which was shaven thin; the eyes were of two little black beads, and the head was so shadowed, and all of it so curiously wrought, and so exactly dissembled, that it would beguile any sharp-sighted Trout in a swift stream. And this Minnow I will now shew you; look, here it is: and if you like it, lend it you, to have two or three made by it, for they be easily carried about an Angler, and be of excellent use; for note, that a large Trout will come as fiercely at a Minnow, as the highest mettled hawk doth seize on a partridge, or a greyhound on a hare. I have been told, that 160 Minnows hare been found in a Trout's belly; either the Trout had devoured so many, or the Miller that gave it a friend of mine, had forced them down his throat after he had taken him.

Now for Flies, which are the third bait wherewith Trouts are usually taken. You are to know, that there are so many sorts of flies as there be of fruits: I will name you but some of them, as the Dun-fly, the Stone-fly, the Red-fly, the Moor-fly, the Tawnyfly, the Shell-fly, the Cloudy or Blackish-fly, the Flag-fly, the Vine-fly: there be of flies, Caterpillars, and Canker-flies, and Bear-flies, and indeed too many either for me to name or for you to remember: and their breeding is so various and wonderful, that I might easily amaze myself, and tire you in a relation of them.

And yet I will exercise your promised patience by saying a little of the Caterpillar, or the Palmerfly or worm, that by them you may guess, what a work it were in a discourse but to run over those very many flies, worms, and little living creatures with which the Sun and Summer adorn and beautify the river banks and meadows, both for the recreation and contemplation of us Anglers; pleasures which, I think, myself enjoy more than any other man that is not of my profession.

Pliny holds an opinion, that many have their birth or being from a dew, that in the Spring falls upon the leaves of trees; and that some kinds of them are from a dew left upon herbs or flowers; and others from a dew left upon coleworts or cabbages: all which kinds of dews being thickened and condensed, are by the Sun's generative heat most of them hatched, and in three days made living creatures; and these of several shapes and colours; some being hard and tough, some smooth and soft; some are horned in their head, some in their tail, some have none: some have hair, some none: some have sixteen feet, some less, and some have none; but, as our Topscl hath, with great diligence, observed, those 'j-^TM0*9 which have none, move upon the earth, or upon broad leaves, their motion being not unlike to the waves of the sea. Some of them he also observes to be bred of the eggs of other caterpillars, and that those in their time, turn to be butterflies: and again, that their eggs turn the following year to be caterpillars. And some affirm, that every plant has his particular fly or caterpillar, which it breeds and feeds. I have seen, and may therefore affirm it, a green caterpillar, or worm, as big as a small peascod, which had fourteen legs, eight on the belly, four under the neck, and two near the tail. It was found on a hedge of privet, and was taken thence, and put into a large box, and a little branch or two of privet put to it, on which I saw it feed as sharply as a dog gnaws a bone: it lived thus five or six days, and thrived, and changed the colour two or three times, but by some neglect in the keeper of it, it then died and did not turn to a fly: but if it had lived, it had doubtless turned to one of those flies that some call flies of prey, which those that walk by the rivers, may in Summer see fasten on smaller flies, and I think make them their food. And 'tis observable, that as there be these flies of prey which be very large, so there be others very little, created, I think, only to feed them, and breed out of I know not what; whose life, they say, Nature intended not to exceed an hour, and yet that life is thus made shorter by other flies, or accident.

'Tis endless to tell you what the curious searchers into Nature's productions have observed of these worms and flies: but yet I shall tell you what Aldrovandus, our Topsel, and others say of the Palmerworm or Caterpillar; that whereas others content themselves to feed on particular herbs or leaves,— for most think those very leaves that gave them life and shape, give them a particular feeding and nourishment, and that upon them they usually abide;—yet he observes, that this is called a Pilgrim or Palmer-worm, for his very wandering life and various food; not contenting himself, as others do, with any one certain place for his abode, nor any certain kind of herbs or flowers for his feeding; but will boldly and disorderly wander up and down, and not endure to be kept to a diet, or fixed to a particular place.

Nay, the very colours of caterpillars are, as one has observed, very elegant and beautiful; I shall, for a taste of the rest, describe one of them, which I will sometime the next month shew you feeding on a Willow-tree, and you shall find him punctually to answer this very description; his lips and mouth somewhat yellow, his eyes black as jet, his forehead purple, his feet and hinder parts green, his tail two forked and black, the whole body stained with a kind of red spots which run along the neck and shoulder-blade, not unlike the form of Saint Andrew's cross, or the letter X, made thus cross-wise, and a white line drawn down his back to his tail; all which add much beauty to his whole body. And it is to me observable, that at a fixed age this caterpillar gives over to eat, and towards Winter comes to be covered over with a strange shell or crust, called an Amelia, and so lives a kind of dead life, without eating all the V^J%^\ Winter; and, as others of several kinds 728 and 29, turn to be several kinds of flies and ^J^'""' vermin the Spring following, so this caterpillar then turns to be a painted butterfly.

Come, come my Scholar, you see the river stops our morning walk, and I will also here stop my discourse, only as we sit down under this honeysuckle hedge, whilst I look a line to fit the rod that our brother Peter hath lent you, I shall, for a little confirmation of what I have said, repeat the observation of Du Bartas.

« AnteriorContinuar »