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try what you can do in the streams with that: and I know a Trout taken with a fly of your own making, will please you better than twenty with one of mine. Give me that bag again, sirrah: look you, Sir, there is a hook, towght, silk, and a feather for the wings: be doing with those, and I will look you out a dubbing that I think will do:
Viat. This is a very little hook.
Pisc. That may serve to inform you, that it is for a very little fly, and you must make your wings accordingly; for as the case stands, it must be a little fly, and a very little one too, that must do your business. Well said ! believe me, you shift your fingers very handsomely. I doubt I have taken upon me to teach my master. So, here's your dubbing now.
Viat. This dubbing is very black.
Pisc. It appears so in hand; but step to the doors and hold it
up betwixt your eye and the sun, and it will appear a shining red ; let me tell you, never a man in England can discern the true colour of a dubbing any way but that; and therefore choose always to make your flies on such a bright sun-shine day as this, which also you may the better do, because it is worth nothing to fish in. Here, put it on; and be sure to make the body of your fly as slender as you can. Very good! upon my word, you have made a marvellous handsome fly.
Viat. I am very glad to hear it; 'tis the first that ever I made of this kind, in my life.
Pisc. Away, away! You are a doctor at it: but I will
tell the master of it, as Dapper does Subtle in the Alchemist, that they want a fy; for which they have a thing put into their hands that would pose a naturalist to find a resemblance for : though, when particular directions have been given, I have known them excellently made by the persons employed by the fishing-tackle makers in London. But do thou, my honest friend, learn to make thy own fies; and be assured, that in collecting and arranging the materials, and imitating the various shapes and colours of these admirable creatures, here is little less pleasure than even in catching fish.
not commend you too much, lest I make you proud. Come, put it on; and you shall now go downward, to some streams betwixt the rocks, below the little footbridge you see there, and try your fortune. Take heed of slipping into the water as you follow me under this rock. So now you are over : and now throw in.
Viat. This is a fine stream indeed. There's one! I have him.
Pisc. And a precious catch you have of him; pull him out! I see you have a tender hand. This is a diminutive gentlemen; e'en throw him in again, and let him grow till he be more worthy your anger.
Viat. Pardon me, Sir, all's fish that comes to the hook, with me now.
Viat. I see I shall have good sport now. Another! and a Grayling. Why you have fish here at will.
Pisc. Come, come, cross the bridge; and go down the other side, lower, where you will find finer streams and better sport, I hope, than this. Look you, Sir, here is a fine stream now. You have length enough; stand a little further off, let me entreat you; and do but fish this stream like an artist, and peradventure a good fish may fall to your share. How now! what! is all gone ?
Viat. No, I but touch't him ; but that was a fish worth taking.
Pisc. Why now let mie tell you, you lost that fish by your own fault, and through your own eagerness and haste; for you are never to offer to strike a good fish, if he do not strike himself, till first you see him turn his head after he has taken your fly, and then you can never strain your tackle in the striking, if you strike with any manner of moderation. Come, throw in one again, and fish me this stream by inches; for I assure you, here are very good fish : both Trout and Grayling lie here; and at
that great stone on the other side, 'tis ten to one a good Trout gives you the meeting.
Viat. I have him now: but he is gone down towards the bottom. I cannot see what he is, yet he should be a good fish by his weight; but he makes no great stir.
Pisc. Why then, by what you say, I dare venture to assure you ’tis a Grayling, who is one of the deadesthearted fishes in the world; and the bigger he is, the more easily taken. Look you, now you see him plain ; I told you what he was. Bring hither that landing-net, boy. And now, Sir, he is your own; and, believe me, a good one; sixteen inches long I warrant him: I have taken none such this year.
Viat. I never saw a Grayling before look so black.
you never saw one before in right season; for then a Grayling is very black about his head, gills, and down his back; and has his belly of a dark grey, dappled with black spots, as you see this is; and I am apt to conclude that from thence he derives his name of Umber. Though I must tell you, this fish is past his prime, and begins to decline, and was in better season at Christmas than he is now. But move on; for it grows towards dinner-time; and there is a very great and fine stream below, under that rock that fills the deepest pool in all the river, where you are almost sure of a good fish.
Viat. Let him come, I'll try a fall with him. But I had thought that the Grayling had been always in season with the Trout, and had come in and gone out with him.
Pisc. Oh no! assure yourself a Grayling is a winterfish; but such a one as would deceive.
but such as know him very well indeed; for his flesh, even in his worst season, is so firm, and will so easily calver, that in plain truth he is very good meat at all times : but in his perfect season (which, by the way, none but an.overgrown Gray.
ling will ever be) I think him so good a fish, às to be little inferior to the best Trout that ever I tasted in
life. Viat. Here's another skip-jack; and I have raised five or six more at least whilst you were speaking. Well, go thy way, little Dove! thou art the finest river that ever I saw, and the fullest of fish. Indeed, Sir, I like it so well, that I am afraid you will be troubled with me once a year, so long as we two live.
Pisc. I am afraid I shall not, Sir: but were you once here a May or a June, if good sport would tempt you, I should then expect you would sometimes see me; for
you would then say
were a fine river indeed, if you had once seen the sport at the height.
Viat. Which I will do, if I live, and that you please to give me leave. There was one, and there another.
Pisc. And all this in a strange river, and with a fly of your own making ! why what a dangerous man are you !
Viat. I, Sir: but who taught me? and as Damatas says by his man Dorus, so you may say by me,
If any man such praises have,
What then have I that taught the knave ?1 But what have we got here? a Rock springing up in the middle of the river! this is one of the oddest sights that ever I saw.
Pisc. Why, Sir, from that Pike that you see standing up there distant from the rock, this is called Pike-Pool. And young
Mr. Izaac Walton was so pleas'd with it, as to draw it in landscape, in black and white, in a blank
(1) Sidney's Arcadia. (2) 'Tis a rock, in the fashion of a spire-steeple, and almost as big. It stands in the midst of the river Dove; and not far from Mr. Cotton's house, below which place this delicate river takes a swift career betwixt many mighty rocks, much higher and bigger than St. Paul's church before 'twas burnt. And this Dove being oppos'd by one of the highest of them, has, at last, forc'd itself a way through it; and after a mile's concealment, appears again with more glory and beauty than before that opposition, running through the most pleasant valleys and most fruitful meadows that this nation can justly boast of.-Walton.
book I have at home, as he has done several
prospects of my house also, which I keep for a memorial of his favour, and will shew you when we come up to dinner.
Viat. Has young master Izaac Walton been here, too?
Pisc. Yes, marry has he, Sir, and that again and again too; and in France since, and at Rome, and at Venice, and I can't tell where; but I intend to ask him a great many hard questions so soon as I can see him, which will be, God willing, next month. In the mean time, Sir, to come to this fine stream at the head of this great pool, you must venture over these slippery, cobbling stones. Believe me, Sir, there you were nimble, or else you had been down. But now you are got over, look to yourself: for, on my word, if a fish rise here, he is like to be such a one as will endanger your tackle. How now !
Viat. I think you have such command here over the fishes, that you can raise them by your word, as they say conjurors can do spirits, and afterward make them do what you
bid them; for here's a Trout has taken my fly; I had rather have lost a crown. What luck's this ! he was a lovely fish, and turned up a side like a Salmon.
Pisc. O Sir, this is a war where you sometimes win, and must sometimes expect to lose. Never concern yourself for the loss of your Fly; for ten to one I teach you to make a better. Who's that calls ?
Serv. Sir, will it please you to come to dinner?
Pisc. We come. You hear, Sir, we are called : and now take your choice, whether you will climb this steep hill before you, from the top of which you will go directly into the house, or back again, over these stepping stones, and about by the bridge.
Viat. Nay, sure the nearest way is best; at least my stomach tells me so; and I am now so well acquainted with your rocks, that I fear them not.
Pisc. Come then, follow me. And so soon as we have