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man may make a just quarrel, but I will not; I will leave them to be quarrelled with, and killed by others; for I am not of a cruel nature, I love to kill nothing but fish.
And now to your question concerning your host : to speak truly, he is not to me a good companion; for most of his conceits were either Scripture jests, or lascivious jests; for which I count no man witty, for the devil will help a man, that way inclined, to the first; and his own corrupt nature, which he always carries with him, to the latter : but a companion that feasts the company with wit and mirth, and leaves out the sin which is usually mixed with them, he is the man; and indeed such a companion should have his charges borne; and to such company I hope to bring you this night; for at Trout-Hall, 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 company 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
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 see me 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 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 upon me.
Pisc. Well, Sir, and you shall quickly be at rest; for yonder is the house I mean to bring you to.
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.
Hostess. I will do it, Mr. Piscator, and with all the speed I can.
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
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