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to make against night; for our countryman, honest Coridon, will expect your catch, and my song, which I must be forced to patch up, for it is so long since I learnt it, that I have forgot a part of it. But, come, now it hath done raining, let's stretch our legs a little in a gentle walk to the river, and try what interest our angles will pay us for lending them so long to be used by the Trouts; lent them indeed, like usurers, for our profit and their destruction.
Venator. Oh me! look you, master, a fish! a fish! Oh, alas, master, I have lost her.
PlSCATOR. Ay marry, Sir, that was a good fish indeed: if I had had the luck to have taken up that rod, then 'tis twenty to one he should not have broke my line by running to the rod's end, as you suffered him. I would have held him within the bent of my rod, unless he had been fellow to the great Trout that is near an ell long, which was of such a length and depth that he had his picture drawn, and now is to be seen at mine host Rickabie's, at the George in Ware,5 and it may be, by giving that very great Trout * the rod, that is, by casting it to him into the water, I might have caught him at the long-run, for so I use always to do when I meet with an over-grown fish; and you will learn to do so too, hereafter, for I tell you, scholar, fishing is an art, or, at least, it is an art to catch fish.
Venator. But, master, I have heard that the great Trout you speak of is a Salmon.
5 I would have held him, unless he had been fellow to the great Trout that is near an ell long, which had his picture drawn, and now is to be seen, &c.—lit edit.
* In the reign of Charles the Second a Trout was taken in the river Kennet near Newbury, with a casting net, which measured forty-five inches in length. Gainsford, in "The Glory of England," 4to, Lond. 1619, p. 147, mentions one taken near Tyrone, forty-six inches long, " the portraiture of which worthy Sir Josias Bodley hath depicted in piano." The largest Trout known to have been caught with a minnow, in the South of England, was taken in 1755, by Mr Howell of Cateaton Street, at Hambledon Lock (between Maidenhead and Henley), the weight of which was sixteen pounds. In 1794' Mr Daniel, the author of " Rural Sports," killed a Trout near Richmond Bridge, that weighed ten pounds and a half: and in the following year, a Mr Jons speared, at Cook's Ferry in the river Lea, a Trout weighing fifteen pounds. An instance of the longevity of the Trout is cited in the Sporting Magazine for September 18a6: "Fifty-three years ago Mr William Mossop of Board Hall, near Broughton in Furness, placed a small trout in a well in the orchard belonging to his family, where it has ever since remained until last week, when it died for want of water, the severe drought having dried up the
spring by which the well was supplied. This fish would receive from Mr M 's hands
snails, worms, and bread, and always seemed pleased at the presence of its feeder, frequently moving its tail and fins with the greatest rapidity, and approaching the surface of the water. Trout were several times put into the well, which were as constantly devoured by the solitary inmate, who had increased in size, and weighed at his death, ahout two pounds."