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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.
Piscator. 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 Ashboum) 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 joumey, 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 L 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 re.quire 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 mar. 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. But 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 Ik the title-page [of Part II.]—/*. Wa.
t Tradition does not point out the room ; but Mr Baester has, in his edition of Cotton given an engraving of the carved mantelpiece of a bedroom, 44 which," he observes,
though it may not be the very room thai Walton slept in, many circumstances un re to lead to that_ conclusion." In 1835 there were two bedrooms with similar carved mantelpieces existing, which were then used only as lumber or cheese rooms; and ia Alstonefield church is a pew with the back finely carved with the arms of Cotton on tbe panels,—P.
PlSCATOR. Believe me, no: and such as are intimately acquainted with that gentleman know him to be a man who will not endure to be treated like a stranger. So that his acceptation of my poor entertainments has ever been a pure effect of his own humility and good-nature, and nothing else. But, Sir, we are now going down the Spittle hill into the town ; * and therefore let me importune you suddenly to resolve, and most earnestly not to deny me.
Viator. In truth, Sir, I am so overcome by your bounty, that I find I cannot, but must render myself wholly to be disposed by you.
PlSCATOR. Why, that's heartily and kindly spoken, and I as heartily thank you. And, being you have abandoned yourself to my conduct, we will only call and drink a glass on horseback at the Talbot, and away.
Viator. I attend you. But what pretty river is this that runs under this stone bridge? has it a name?
PlSCATOR. Yes, it is called Henmorejt and has in it both Trout and Grayling: but you will meet with one or two better anon. And so soon as we are past through the town, I will endeavour, by such discourse as best likes you, to pass away the time till you come to your ill quarters.
Viator. We can talk of nothing with which I shall be more delighted than of rivers and angling.
PlSCATOR. Let those be the subjects then. But we are now come to the Talbot : \ what will you drink, Sir? ale or wine?
Viator. Nay, I am for the country liquor, Derbyshire ale, if you please; for a man should not, methinks, come from London to drink wine in the Peak.
PlSCATOR. You are in the right: and yet, let me tell you, you may drink worse French wine in many taverns in London than they have sometimes at this house. What ho! bring us a flagon of your best ale. And now, Sir, my service to you : a good health to the honest gentleman you know of, and you are welcome into the Peak.
* The old road, to the left of the turnpike, before the traveller enters Ashbourn.
t At that time it was commonly so called, because it flowed through Hen Moor; but its proper name is Schoo Brook. See a singular contest regarding the right of fishing in this brook, as reported in Burrows, 2279. Richard Hayne, Esq. of Ashbourn, v. Uriah Corden, Esq. of Clifton.
t This inn stood in the market-place, and till about sixty years since was the first inn at Ashbourn. About that period a wing was divided off for a private dwelling ; and the far-famed Talbot was reduced to an inferior pothouse, and continued thus degraded until the year 1786, when it was totally demolished by Mr Langdale, then a builder in that town, who erected a very handsome structure on its site. Mr Langdale is now (1815) a bookseller in the town, and acts as clerk to the magistrates of the hundred.