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where there is foul way;" and is of good use to inform you of the riches of the country you are come into, and of its continual travel and traffic to the country town you came from: which is also very observable by the fulness of its road, and the loaden horses you meet everywhere upon the way.
Viator. Well, Sir! I will be content to think as well of your country as you would desire. And I shall have a great deal of reason hoth to think and to speak very well of you, if I may obtain the happiness of your company to the forementioned place, provided your affairs lead you that way, and that they will permit you to slack your pace, out of complacency to a traveller utterly a stranger in these parts, and who am still to wander further out of my own knowledge.
PlSCATOR. Sir, you invite me to my own advantage. And I am ready to attend you, my way lying through that town; but my business, that is, my home, some miles beyond it: however, I shall have time enough to lodge you in your quarters, and afterwards to perform my own journey. In the meantime, may I be so hold as to inquire the end of your journey?
Viator. 'Tis into Lancashire, Sir, and about some business of concern to a near relation of mine; for I assure you, I do not use to take so long journeys as from Essex upon the single account of pleasure.
PlSCATOR. From thence, Sir! I do not then wonder you should appear dissatisfied with the length of the miles, and the foulness of the way, though I am sorry you should begin to quarrel with them so soon; for believe me, Sir, you will find the miles much longer, and the way much worse, before you come to your journey's end.
Viator. Why! truly, Sir! for that I am prepared to expect the worst; but methinks the way is mended since I had the good fortune to fall into your good company.
PlSCATOR. You are not obliged to my company for that, but because you are already past the worst, and the greatest part of your way to your lodging.
Viator. I am very glad to hear it, both for the ease of myself and my horse; but especially because I may then expect a freer enjoyment of your conversation: though the shortness of the way will, I fear, make me lose it the sooner.
PlSCATOR. That, Sir, is not worth your care; and I am sure you deserve much better, for being content with so ill company. But we have already talked away two miles of your journey; for from the brook before us, that runs at the foot of this sandy hill, you have but three miles to Ashhoum.
VIATOR. I meet, everywhere in this country, with these little brooks; and they look as if they were full of fish: have they not Trouts in them?
Piscator. That is a question which is to be excused in a stranger, as you are: otherwise, give me leave to tell you, it would seem a kind of affront to our country, to make a doubt of what we pretend to be famous for, next, if not before, our malt, wool, lead, and coal : for you are to understand that we think we have as many fine rivers, rivulets, and brooks, as any country whatever; and they are all full of Trouts, and some of them the best, it is said, by many degrees, in England.
VIATOR. I was first, Sir, in love with you; and now shall be so enamoured of your country, by this account you give me of it, as to wish myself a Derbyshire-man, or at least that I might live in it: for you must know I am a pretender to the angle, and, doubtless, a Trout affords the most pleasure to the angler of any sort of fish whatever; and the best Trouts must needs make the best sport: but this brook, and some others I have met with upon this way, are too full of wood for that recreation.
PlSCATOR. This, Sir! why this, and several others like it, which you have passed, and some that you are like to pass, have scarce any name amongst us: but we can show you as fine rivers, and as clear from wood or any other incumbrance to hinder an angler, as any you ever saw; and for clear beautiful streams, Hantshire itself, by Mr Izaac Walton's good leave, can show none such; nor I think any country in Europe.
Viator. You go far, Sir, in the praise of your country rivers, and I perceive have read Mr Walton's Complete Angler, by your naming of Hantshire; and I pray what is your opinion of that hook?
PlSCATOR. My opinion of Mr Walton's book is the same with every man's that understands anything of the art of angling, that it is an excellent good one; and that the forementioned gentleman understands as much of fish and fishing as any man living. But I must tell you, further, that I have the happiness to know his person, and to be intimately acquainted with him; and in him to know the worthiest man, and to enjoy the best and the truest friend any man ever had: nay, I shall yet acquaint you further that he gives me leave to call him Father, and I hope is not yet ashamed to own me for his adopted Son.*
* Vide p. a18.
Viator. In earnest, Sir, I am ravished to meet with a friend of Mr Izaac Walton's, and one that does him so much right in so good and true a character: for I must boast to you, that I have the good fortune to know him too, and came acquainted with him much after the same manner I do with you; that he was my master, who first taught me to love Angling, and then to become an Angler; and, to be plain with you, I am the very man deciphered in his book under the name of Venator; for I was wholly addicted to the Chase, till he taught me as good, a more quiet, innocent, and less dangerous diversion.
PlSCATOR. Sir, I think myself happy in your acquaintance; and before we part, shall entreat leave to embrace you. You have said enough to recommend you to my best opinion: for my father Walton will be seen twice in no man's company he does not like, and likes none but such as he believes to be very honest men, which is one of the best arguments, or at least of the best testimonies I have, that I either am, or that he thinks me one of those, seeing that I have not yet found him weary of me.
Viator. You speak like a true friend; and in doing so, render yourself worthy of his friendship. May I be so bold as to ask your name?
Piscator. Yes surely, Sir, and, if you please, a much nicer
question: my name is , and I intend to stay long enough in
your company, if I find you do not dislike mine, to ask yours too. In the meantime (because we are now almost at Ashhourn) I shall freely and bluntly tell you, that I am a brother of the angle too, and, peradventure, can give you some instructions, How to angle for a Trout in a clear river, and my father Walton himself will not disapprove, though he did either purposely omit, or did not remember them, when you and he sat discoursing under the sycamore-tree.* And, being you have already told me whither your journey is intended, and that I am better acquainted with the country than you are; I will heartily and earnestly entreat you will not think of staying at this town, but go on with me six miles further to my house, where you shall be extremely welcome; it is directly in your way, we have day enough to perform our journey, and, as you like your entertainment, you may there repose yourself a day or two, or as many more as your occasions will permit, to recompense the trouble of so much a longer journey.
Viator. Sir, you surprise me with so friendly an invitation
• Vide p. 99.
upon so short acquaintance; but how advantageous soever it would be to me, and that my haste, perhaps, is not so great but it might dispense with such a divertisement as I promise myself in your company, yet I cannot, in modesty, accept your offer, and must therefore beg your pardon: I could otherwise, I confess, be glad to wait upon you, if upon no other account but to talk of Mr I. Walton, and to receive those instructions you say you are able to give me for the deceiving a Trout; in which art I will not deny but that I have an ambition to be one of the greatest deceivers: though I cannot forbear freely to tell you, that I think it hard to say much more than has been read to me upon that subject.
PlSCATOR. Well, Sir, I grant that too; but you must know that the variety of rivers require different ways of angling: however, you shall have the best rules I am able to give, and I will tell you nothing I have not made myself as certain of, as any man can be in thirty years' experience (for so long I have been a dabbler in that art); and that, if you please to stay a few days, you shall not, in a very great measure, see made good to you. Put of that hereafter; and now, Sir, if I am not mistaken, I have half overcome you: and that I may wholly conquer that modesty of yours, I will take upon me to be so familiar as to say, you must accept my invitation, which, that you may the more easily be persuaded to do, I will tell you that my house stands upon the margin of one of the finest rivers for Trouts and Grayling in England; that I have lately built a little fishing-house upon it, dedicated to anglers, over the door of which you will see the two first letters of my father Walton's name and mine twisted in cipher; * that you shall lie in the same t bed he has sometimes been contented with, and have such country entertainment as my friends sometimes accept, and be as welcome, too, as the best friend of them all.
Viator. No doubt, Sir, but my master Walton found good reason to be satisfied with his entertainment in your house; for you who are so friendly to a mere stranger, who deserves so little, must needs be exceedingly kind and free to him who deserves so much.
* As in the iitlrfngt [of Part II.]—In. Wa.
t Tradition does not point out the room; but Mr Bagster has, in his edition of Cotton given an engraving of the carved mantelpiece of a bedroom, "which," he observes,
though it may not be the very room that Walton slept in. many circumstances unite to lead to that conclusion." In 18a5 there were two bedrooms with similar carved mantelpieces existing, which were then used only as lumber or cheese rooms; and in Alstonefield church is a pew with the back finely carved with the arms of Cotton on the panels.—P.