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overhangs the deep black mill-pond, in the gorge of the hills; the tortoise letting himself slip sideways from off the stone or log on which he is sunning himself; and the panic-struck frog plumping in headlong as they approach, and spreading an alarm throughout the watery world around.
I recollect, also, that, after toiling and watching and creeping about for the greater part of a day, with scarcely any success, in spite of all our admirable apparatus, a lubberly country urchin came down from the hills, with a rod made from a branch of a tree; a few yards of twine; and, as heaven shall help me! I believe a crooked pin for a hook, baited with a vile earth-worm-and in half an hour caught more fish than we had nibbles throughout the day.
But above all, I recollect the "good, honest, wholesome, hungry” repast, which we made under a beech-tree just by a spring of pure sweet water, that stole out of the side of a hill; and how, when it was over, one of the party read old Izaak Walton's scene with the milk-maid, while I lay on the grass and built castles in a bright pile of clouds, until I fell asleep. All this may appear like mere egotism ; yet I cannot refrain from uttering these recollections which are passing like a strain of music over my mind, and have been called up by an agreeable scene which I witnessed not long since.
In a morning's stroll along the banks of the Alun, a beautiful little stream which flows down from the Welsh hills and throws itself into the Dee, my attention was attracted to a group seated on the margin.
On approaching, I found it to consist of a veteran angler and two rustic disciples. The former was an old fellow with a wooden leg, with clothes very much, but very carefully patched, betokening poverty, honestly come by, and decently maintained. His face bore the marks of former storms, but present fair weather; its furrows had been worn into a habitual smile; his iron-gray locks hung about his ears, and he had altogether the good-humoured air of a constitutional philosopher, who was disposed to take the world as it went. One of his companions was a ragged wight, with the skulking look of an arrant poacher, and I'll warrant could find his way to any gentleman's fish-pond in the neighbourhood in the darkest night. The other was a tall, awkward, country lad, with a lounging gait, and apparently somewhat of a rustic beau. The old man was busied examining the maw of a trout which he had just killed, to discover by its contents what insects were seasonable for bait; and was lecturing on the subject to his companions, who appeared to listen with infinite deference. I have'a kind feeling toward all“ brothers of the angle,” ever since I read Izaak Walton. They are men, he affirins, of a “mild, sweet, and peaceable spirit;" and my esteem for them has been increased since I met with an old "Tretyse of fishing with the Angle,” in which are set forth many of the maxims of their inoffensive fraternity. “Take goode hede,” sayth this honest little tretyse, “ that in going about your disportes ye open no man's gates but that ye shet them again. Vol. II.
Also ye shall not use this foresaid crafti disport for no covetousness to the increasing and sparing of your money only, but principally for your solace and to cause the helth of your body and speçyally of your
I thought that I could perceive in the veteran angle before me an exemplification of what I had read and there was a cheerful contentedness in his looks, that quite drew me towards him. I could not but remark the gallant manner in which he stumped from one part of the brook to another; waving his rod in the air, to keep the line from dragging on the ground, or catching among the bushes; and the adroitness with which he would throw his fly to any particular place; sometimes skimming it lightly along a little rapid; sometimes casting it into one of those dark holes made by a twisted root or overhanging bank, in which the large trout are apt to Jurk. In the meanwhile, he was giving instructions to his two disciples ; showing them the manner in which they should handle their rods, fix their flies, and play them along the surface of the stream. The scene brcught
* From this same treatise, it would appear that angling is a more industrious and devout employment than it is generally considered. “ For when ye purpose to go on your disportes in fishynge, je will not desyre greatlye many persons with you, which might let you of your game. And that ye may serve God devoutly, in sayinge effectually your customable prayers. And thus dnying, ye shall eschew and also avoyde many vices as ydleness, which is a principall cause to induce man to many other vices, as it is right well known."
to my mind the instructions of the sage Piscator to huis scholar. The country around was of that pastoral kind which Walton is fond of describing. It was a part of the great plain of Cheshire, close hy the beautiful vale of Gessford, and just where the inferior Welsh hills '
begin to swell up from among freshsmelling mcadows. The day, too, like that recorded In his work, was mild and sunshiny; with now and Then a soft dropping shower, that sowed the whole Carth with diamonds.
I soon fell into conversation with the old angler, and was so much entertained, that, under pretext of receiving instructions in his art, I kept company with him almost the whole day; wandering along the banks of the stream, and listening to his talk. He was very communicative, having all the easy garrulity of cheerful old age; and I fancy was a little flattered by having an opportunity of displaying his piscatory lore; for who does not like now and then to play the sage?
He had been much of a rambler in his day; and had passed some years of his youth in America, particularly in Savannah, wliere he had entered into trade, and had been ruined by the indiscretion of a partner. He had afterwards experienced many ups and downs in life, until he got into the navy, where his leg was carried away by a cannon-ball, at the battle of Camperdown. This was the only stroke of real good fortune he had ever experienced, for it got him a pension, which, together with some small paternal property, brought him in a revenue of nearly
forty pounds. On this he retired to his native village, where he lived quietly and independently, and devoted the remainder of his life to the noble art of angling."
I found that he had read Izaak Walton attentively and he seemed to have imbibed all his simple frank ness and prevalent good-humour. Though he had been sorely buffeted about the world, he was satisfied that the world, in itself; was good and beautiful. Though he had been as roughly used in different countries as a poor sheep that is fleeced by every hedge and thicket, yet he spoke of every nation with candour and kindness, appearing to look only on the good side of things : and above all, he was almost the only man I had ever met with, who had been an unfortunate adventurer in America, and had honesty and magnanimity enough, to take the fault to his own door, and not to curse the country.
The lad that was receiving his instructions I learnt. was the son and heir apparent of a fat old widow, who kept the village inn, and of course a youth of some expectation, and much courted by the idle, gentleman-like personages of the place. In taking him under his care, therefore, the old man had probably an eye to a privileged corner in the tap-room, and an occasional cup of cheerful ale free of expense.
There is certainly something in angling, if we could forget, which anglers are apt to do, the cruelties and tortures inflicted on worms and insects, that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, and a pure serenity of