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Pisc. My honest scholar, it is now past five of the clock; we will fish till nine, and then go to breakfast. Go you to yonder sycamore-tree, and hide your bottle of drink under the hollow root of it; for about that time, and in that place, we will make a brave breakfast with a piece of powdered beef, and a radish or two that I have in my fish-bag: we shall, I warrant you, make a good, honest, wholesome, hungry breakfast, and I will then give you direction for the making and using of your flies : and in the mean time there is your rod and line; and my advice is, that you fish as you see me do, and let's try which can catch the first fish. VEN. I thank you, master.
I will observe and practise your directions, as far as I am able.
Pisc. Look you, scholar; you see I have hold of a good fish : I now see it is a Trout. I pray put that net under him, and touch not my line, for if you do, then we break all. Well done, scholar; I thank you.
Now for another. Trust me I have another bite : come, scholar, come lay down your rod, and help me to land this, as you did the other. So, now we shall be sure to have a good dish of fish to supper.
VEN. I am glad of that; but I have no fortune: sure, master, yours is a better rod, and better tackling.
Pisc. Nay, then take mine, and I will fish with yours. Look you, scholar, I have another; come, do as you did before. And now I have a bite at another. Oh me! he has broke all; there's half a line and a good hook lost.
Ven. Ay, and a good Trout too.
Pisc. Nay, the Trout is not lost; for pray take notice, no man can lose what he never had.
VEN. Master, I can neither catch with the first nor second angle: I have no fortune.
Pisc. Look you, scholar, I have yet another; and now, having caught three brace of Trouts, I will tell you a short tale as we walk towards our breakfast. A scholar, a preacher I should say, that was to preach to procure the approbation of a parish, that he might be their lecturer, had got from his fellow-pupil the copy of a sermon that was first preached with great commendation by him that composed it; and though the borrower of it preached it, word for word, as it was at first, yet it was utterly disliked as it was preached by the second to his congregation : which the sermonborrower complained of to the lender of it, and was thus answered ; “ I lent you indeed my fiddle, but not my fiddlestick; for you are to know, that every one cannot make music with my words, which are fitted for my own mouth.” And so, my scholar, you are to know, that as the ill pronunciation or ill accenting of words in a sermon spoils it, so the ill carriage of your line, or not fishing even to a foot in a right place, makes you lose your labour: and you are to know, that though you have my fiddle, that is, my very rod and tacklings with which you see I catch fish, yet you have not my fiddlestick; that is, you yet have not skill to know how to carry your hand and line, nor how to guide it to a right place: and this
must be taught you,--for you are to remember I told you Angling is an art, - either by practice, or a long observation, or both. But take this for a rule: when you fish for a Trout with a worm, let your line have so much, and not more lead than will fit the stream in which
you that is to say, more in a great troublesome stream than in a smaller that is quieter; as near as may be, so much as will sink the bait to the bottom, and keep it still in motion, and not more.
But now let's say grace, and fall to breakfast. What say you, scholar, to the providence of an old Angler ? Does not this meat taste well ? and was not this place well chosen to eat it ? for this sycamoretree will shade us from the sun's heat.
VEN. All excellent good, and my stomach excellent good too. And now I remember and find that true which devout Lessius says, “ that poor men,
and those that fast often, have much more pleasure in eating than rich men and gluttons, that always feed before their stomachs are empty of their last meat, and call for more: for by that means they rob themselves of that pleasure that hunger brings to poor men.” And I do seriously approve of that saying
“that you would rather be a civil, wellgoverned, well-grounded, temperate, poor Angler, than a drunken lord.” But I hope there is none such : however, I am certain of this, that I have been at many very costly dinners that have not afforded me half the content that this has done ; for which I thank God and you.