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not far from this place, where I purpose to lodge to-night, there is usually an Angler that proves good company. And let me tell you, good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue. But for such discourse as we heard last night, it infects others; the very boys will learn to talk and swear, as they heard mine host, and another of the
that shall be nameless :-I am sorry the other is a gentleman; for less religion will not save their souls than a beggar's: I think more will be required at the last great day. Well! you know what example is able to do; and I know what the poet says in the like case,—which is worthy to be noted by all parents and people of civility:
many a one
Had but his nurse or mother taught him so. This is reason put into verse, and worthy the consideration of a wise man. But of this no more ; for though I love civility, yet I hate severe censures. I'll to my own art; and I doubt not but at yonder tree I shall catch a Chub: and then we'll turn to an honest cleanly hostess, that I know right well; rest ourselves there; and dress it for our dinner.
Ven. Oh, Sir! a Chub is the worst fish that swims; I hoped for a Trout to my dinner.
Pisc. Trust me, Sir, there is not a likely place for a Trout hereabout: and we staid so long to take our leave of your huntsmen this morning, that the sun is got so high, and shines so clear, that I will not undertake the catching of a Trout till evening. And though a Chub be, by you and many others, reckoned the worst of fish; yet you shall see I'll make it a good fish by dressing it.
Ven. Why, how will you dress him?
Pisc. I'll tell you by and by, when I have caught him. Look you here, Sir, do you see? (but you must stand
very close,) there lie upon the top of the water, in this very hole, twenty Chubs. I'll catch only one, and that shall be the biggest of them all: and that I will do so, I'll hold you twenty to one: and you shall see it done.
Ven. Ay, marry! Sir, now you talk like an artist; and I'll say you are one, when I shall see you perform what you say you can do: but I yet doubt it. Pisc. You shall not doubt it long; for you
shall do it presently. Look! the biggest of these Chubs has had some bruise upon his tail, by a Pike, or some other accident; and that looks like a white spot. That very Chub I mean to put into your hands presently: sit you but down in the shade; and stay but a little while; and, I'll warrant you, I'll bring him to you.
Ven. I'll sit down, and hope well; because you seem to be so confident.
Pisc. Look you, Sir, there is a trial of my skill; there he is; that very Chub, that I shewed you, with the white spot on his tail. And I'll be as certain to make him a good dish of meat, as I was to catch him: I'll now lead you to an honest ale-house, where we shall find a cleanly room, lavender in the windows, and twenty ballads stuck about the wall. There my hostess (which I may tell you is both cleanly, and handsome, and civil) hath dressed many a one for me; and shall now dress it after my fashion, and I warrant it good meat.
Ven. Come, Sir, with all my heart, for I begin to be hungry, and long to be at it, and indeed to rest myself too; for though I have walked but four miles this morning, yet I begin to be weary; yesterday's hunting hangs still
Pisc. Well, Sir, and you shall quickly be at rest; for yonder is the house I mean to bring you to.
(1) A very homely, artless, and yet a picturesque scene: and I wish the honest angler no worse entertainment than many such houses as this afford.
Come, hostess, how do you? Will you first give us a cup of your best drink, and then dress this Chub, as you dressed my last, when I and my friend were here about eight or ten days ago? But you must do me one courtesy, it must be done instantly.
Host. I will do it, Mr. Piscator, and with all the speed
Pisc. Now, Sir, has not my hostess made haste? and does not the fish look lovely?
Ven. Both, upon my word, Sir; and therefore let's say grace and fall to eating of it.
Pisc. Well, Sir, how do you like it?
Ven. Trust me, 'tis as good meat as I ever tasted. Now let me thank you for it, drink to you, and beg a courtesy of you, but it must not be denied me.
Pisc. What is it, I pray, Sir? You are so modest, that methinks I may promise to grant it before it is asked.
Ven. Why, Sir, it is, that from henceforth you would allow me to call you master, and that really I may be your scholar; for you are such a companion, and have so quickly caught and so excellently cooked this fish, as makes me ambitious to be
scholar. Pisc. Give me your hand; from this time forward I will be your master, and teach you as much of this art as I am able; and will, as you desire
you somewhat of the nature of most of the fish that we are to angle for, and I am sure I both can and will tell you more than any common angler yet knows.
How to fish for, and to dress, the CHAVENDER or CHUB.
The Chub though he eat well, thus dressed, yet as he is usually dressed, he does not. He is objected against, not only for being full of small forked bones, dispersed through all his body, but that he eats waterish, and that the flesh of him is not firm, but short and tasteless. The French esteem him so mean, as to call him Un Villain; nevertheless he may be so dressed as to make him very good meat; as, namely, if he be a large Chub, then dress him thus:
First, scale him, and then wash him clean, and then take out his guts; and to that end make the hole as little, and near to his gills, as you may conveniently, and especially make clean his throat from the grass and weeds that are usually in it; for if that be not very clean, it will make him to taste very sour. Having so done, put some sweet herbs into his belly; and then tie him with two or three splinters to a spit, and roast him, basted often with vinegar, or rather verjuice and butter, with good store of salt mixed with it. Being thus dressed, you will find him a much better dish of meat than you, or most folk, even than anglers themselves, do imagine: for this dries up the fluid watery humour with which all Chubs do abound.
But take this rule with you, that a Chub newly taken and newly dressed, is so much better than a Chub of a day's keeping after he is dead, that I can compare him to nothing so fitly as to cherries newly gathered from a tree, and others that have been bruised and lain a day or two in water. But the Chub being thus used, and
dressed presently; and not washed after he is gutted, (for note, that lying long in water, and washing the blood out of any fish after they be gutted, abates much of their sweetness,) you will find the Chub (being dressed in the blood, and quickly) to be such meat as will recompense your labour, and disabuse your opinion. Or you may
dress the Chavender or Chub thus:When you have scaled him, and cut off his tail and fins, and washed him very clean, then chine or slit him through the middle, as a salt-fish is usually cut; then give him three or four cuts or scotches on the back with your knife, and broil him on charcoal, or wood coal, that are free from smoke: and all the time he is a broiling, baste him with the best sweet butter, and good store of salt mixed with it. And, to this, add a little thyme cut exceeding small, or bruised into the butter. The Cheven thus dressed hath the watery taste taken away, for which so many except against him. Thus was the Cheven dressed that you now liked so well, and commended so much. But note again, that if this Chub that you eat of had been kept till to-morrow, he had not been worth a rush. And remember, that his throat be washed very clean, I say very clean, and his body not washed after he is gutted, as indeed no fish should be.
Well, scholar, you see what pains I have taken to recover the lost credit of the poor despised Chub. And now I will give you some rules how to catch him: and I am glad to enter you into the art of fishing by catching a Chub, for there is no fish better to enter a young Angler, he is so easily caught, but then it must be this particu
Go to the same hole in which I caught my Chub, where, in most hot days, you will find a dozen or twenty Chevens floating near the top of the water. Get two or three grasshoppers as you go over the meadow: