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PISC. 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 Ashborn.
VIAT. 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?
PISC. 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.
VIAT. 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.
Pisc. 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. Izaak Walton's good leave, can show none such; nor I think any country in Europe.
VIAT. You go far, sir, in the praise of your country rivers, and I perceive have read Mr. Walton's Compleat Angler, by your naming of Hantshire; and I pray what is your opinion of that book?
PISC. 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 fore-mentioned 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.
VIAT. In earnest, sir, I am ravished to meet with a friend of Mr. Izaak 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 chace, till he taught me as good, a more quiet, innocent, and less dangerous diversion.
Pisc. 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 I have not yet found him weary of me.
VIAT. 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? PISC. 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 Ashborn, 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, that 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 farther 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.
VIAT. Sir, you surprise me with so friendly an invitation 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.
Pisc. 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 a 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, 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 fishinghouse 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 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.
VIAT. 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 exceeding kind and free to him who deserves so much.
PISC. 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