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ISC. Boy, come, give me my dubbing bag here presently; and now, sir, since I find you so honest a man, I will make no scruple to lay open my treasure before you.
VIAT. Did ever any one see the like! What a heap of trumpery is here! Certainly never an angler in Europe has his shop half so well fur
nished as you have.
PISC. You, perhaps, may think now, that I rake together this trumpery, as you call it, for show only, to the end that such as see it (which are not many I assure you) may think me a great master in the art of angling: but, let me tell you, here are some colours (as
contemptible as they seem here) that are very hard to be got; and scarce any one of them which, if it should be lost, I should not miss, and be concerned about the loss of it too, once in the year. But look you, sir, amongst all these I will choose out these two colours only, of which this is bear's hair, this darker, no great matter what; but I am sure I have killed a great deal of fish with it; and with one or both of these you shall take trout or grayling this very day, notwithstanding all disadvantages, or my art shall fail me.
VIAT. You promise comfortably, and I have a great deal of reason to believe everything you say; but I wish the fly were made that we were at it.
PISC. That will not be long in doing and pray observe then. You see first how I hold my hook, and thus I begin. Look you, here are my first two or three whips about the bare hook; thus I join hook and line; thus I put on my wings; thus I twirl and lap on my dubbing; thus I work it up towards the head; thus I part my wings; thus I nip my superfluous dubbing from my silk; thus fasten; thus trim and adjust my fly; and there's a fly made; and now how do you like it?
VIAT. In earnest, admirably well, and, it resembles a fly but we about London make the bodies of our flies both much bigger and longer, so long as even almost to the very beard of the hook.
Pisc. I know it very well, and had one of those flies given me by an honest gentleman, who came with my father Walton to give me a visit; which (to tell you the truth) I hung in my parlour window to laugh at: but, sir, you know the proverb, "Those who go to Rome must do as they at Rome do ;" and believe me, you must here make your flies after this fashion, or you will take no fish. Come, I will look you out a line, and you shall put it on, and try it. There, sir, I think you are fitted; and now beyond the further end of the walk you shall begin: I see, at that bend of the water above, the air crisps the water a little knit your line first here, and then go up thither, and see what you can do.
VIAT. Did you see that, sir?
PISC. Yes, I saw the fish: and he saw you too, which made him
turn short. You must fish further off, if you intend to have any sport here; this is no New River, let me tell you. That was a good trout, believe me: did you touch him?
VIAT. No, I would I had, we would not have parted so. you, there was another; this is an excellent fly.
PISC. That fly I am sure would kill fish, if the day were right; but they only chew at it, I see, and will not take it. Come, sir, let us return back to the fishing-house; this still water, I see, will not do our business to-day: you shall now, if you please, make a fly yourself, and 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 door 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 chuse always to make your flies on such a bright sunshine 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 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 foot bridge 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 gentleman, 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. Another.
PISC. And of the same standing.
VIAT. I see I shall have good sport now: another! and a grayling. Why, you have fish here at will.