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VIAT. I attend you. under this stone bridge? PISC. Yes, 'tis called
entertainment 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.
VIAT. In truth, sir, I am so overcome by your bounty, that I find I cannot, but must render myself wholly to be disposed of by you.
PISC. 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
But what pretty river is this, that runs
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.
VIAT. We can talk of nothing with which I shall be more delighted than of rivers and angling.
PISC. Let those be the subjects, then; but we are now come to the Talbot. What will you drink, sir, ale or wine?
VIAT. 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.
PISC. 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.
VIAT. I thank you, sir, and present you my service again, and to all the honest brothers of the angle.
Pisc. I'll pledge you, sir: so, there's for your ale, and farewell. Come, sir, let us be going, for the sun grows low, and I would have you look about you as you ride; for you will see an odd country, and sights that will seem strange to you.
Observations of the principal rivers in Derbyshire; Viator lodges at Piscator Junior's House.
ISC. So, sir, now we have got to the top of the hill out of town, look about you, and tell me how you like the country.
VIAT. Bless me, what mountains are here! Are we not in Wales?
PISC. No, but in almost as mountainous a country; and yet these hills, though high, bleak, and craggy, breed and feed good beef and mutton, above ground, and afford good store of lead within.
VIAT. They had need of all those commodities to make amends for the ill landskip: but I hope our way does not lie over any of these, for I dread a precipice.
PISC. Believe me, but it does, and down one, especially, that will appear a little terrible to a stranger: though the way is passable
enough, and so passable, that we who are natives of these mountains and acquainted with them, disdain to alight.
VIAT. I hope, though, that a foreigner is privileged to use his own discretion, and that I may have the liberty to entrust my neck to the fidelity of my own feet, rather than to those of my horse, for I have no more at home.
PISC. 'Twere hard else. But in the meantime, I think 'twere best, while this way is pretty even, to mend our pace, that we may be past that hill I speak of; to the end your apprehension may not be doubled for want of light to discern the easiness of the descent.
VIAT. I am willing to put forward as fast as my beast will give me leave, though I fear nothing in your company. But what pretty river is this we are going into?
PISC. Why this, sir, is called Bently-brook, and is full of very good trout and grayling; but so encumbered with wood in many places, as is troublesome to an angler.
VIAT. Here are the prettiest rivers, and the most of them in this country that ever I saw; do you know how many you have in the country?
PISC. I know them all, and they were not hard to reckon, were it worth the trouble; but the most considerable of them I will presently name you. And to begin where we now are (for you must know we are now upon the very skirts of Derbyshire) we have first the river Dove, that we shall come to by-and-by, which divides the two counties of Derby and Stafford for many miles together; and is so called from the swiftness of its current, and that swiftness occasioned by the declivity of its course, and by being so straitened in that course betwixt the rocks; by which, and those very high ones, it is, hereabout, for four or five miles, confined into a very narrow stream; a river that from a contemptible fountain (which I can cover with my hat) by the confluence of other rivers, rivulets, brooks, and rills, is swelled before it falls into Trent, a little below Eggington, where it loses the name, to such a breadth and depth as to be in most places navigable, were not the passage frequently interrupted with fords and weirs; and has as fertile banks as any river in England, none excepted. And this river, from its head for a mile or two, is
a black water (as all the rest of the Derbyshire rivers of note originally are, for they all spring from the mosses); but is in a few miles' travel so clarified by the addition of several clear and very great springs (bigger than itself) which gush out of the limestone rocks, that before it comes to my house, which is but six or seven miles from its source, you will find it one of the purest crystalline streams you have seen.
VIAT. Does Trent spring in these parts?
PISC. Yes, in these parts; not in this country, but somewhere towards the upper end of Staffordshire, I think not far from a place called Trentham; and thence runs down, not far from Stafford, to