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SCENE-A snug riverside nook hard by a weir. Mr. PISCATOR PUNCH discovered enjoying the Contemplative Man's Recrea.
tion in a solitude à deux (with TOBIAS). To him enter, from opposite sides, two furtive, mysterious, and apparently disguised personages, each bearing rod and line, but looking little to the piscatorial manner born.
First Angler (catching sight of second, aside, with acerbity). Tut! tut! He here! Hoped he was at Hawarden !
Second Angler (catching sight of first, aside, peerishly). Confound him! what does he want? Had an idea ho was at Hatfield !
Mr. Punch (catching sight of both, aside, merrily). Aha! here they are. Can't leave me alone. Fancy I do not recognise them, perhaps, in that ill-fitting Izaak-Waltonish disguise. (Sings.)
For Whigs are full of flattery,
Heigh trolollie lollie loe!
All by the river's side.
Heigh" trollie lollie loe!
Mr. Punch (aloud). Hail, Brothers of the Angle! Good-morrow to you both, and a pleasant pitch-at courteous angler's correct distance. Whither away, Gentlemen ? And are you perchance beknown one to the other?
First Angler (embarrassed). Well, Mr. Pu—PISCATOR, we are not of a party on this occasion ; yet meseems I have seen our friend in the voluminous collars somewhere ere now.
Second Angler (awkwardly). And I, on my part, seem to recognise that burly form, that bushy beard
Mr. Punch (laughing). Oh, turn it up, my noble swells ! I know you, as you know each other—and Me! You have both of you tracked me down to my rural retirement, with an eye, respectively, to “ tips." This fortuitous concourse displeaseth you much, but you must make the best of it. Perpend, sham Piscators. What d'ye lack? What, in short, is your little game, Gentlemen ? First and Second Anglers (together). Well, you see, Sir, the Gen
[They both pause. Mr. Punch (grarely). I perceive. In view of the imminent General Election, each of you thought he would like a quiet hour alone with Mr. Punce, with an eye to "pumping” him —each in the interest of his Party. A miscalculation, Gentlemen! Mr. Purcu hath no Party—save Mankind; no Leader—but himself! However, don't look so uncomfortable, the pair of you, but sit down sociably, help yourselves to the shandy-gaff, and have a chat. Let“ peace, and patience, and a calm content cohabit in your cheerful hearts" (as they did in Sir Henry Wotton's), while—as he did-we“ sit quietly in a
summer's evening, on a bank a-fishing." As CORYDON sang, “ Fishers must not wrangle.” Aha! his song might be
We have sly baits in our horn,
Party paste and worms too ;
We can work both night and morn,
Suffer toil and storms too.
None do fear
Arms to bear
In the fray ;
Some sit still,
And bait with skill.
Wire-pullers must not wrangle ! First Angler. Ay, marry, Sir, now you talk like an artist! (Aside) Only wish WILLIAM were not here! Then I might have a chance !
Second Angler (gravely). An art something too artful wholly to hit my taste. (Aside.) Oh, were SOLLY only away! Can't speak freely and frankly in his presence.
Mr. Punch (twigging). Marry, scholars, 'tis little use “muttherin' there as if ye'd been ill-thrated.” My best counsel is at the service of both of you, as old Piscator's was, whether to VENATOR, AUCEPS, PETER, or CORYDON. First and Second Anglers (together, eagerly). Well, what think you of my chances at the Gen- ?
(Both stop short, and scowl at each other. Mr. Punch (winking) singeth :
I'm a gay but “leary" Sage, with my one, two, three,
I'm willing to give counsel or wise warning;
You must get up very early in the morning!
Second Angler (plaintively). But, Master, have you nothing pertinently practical to mix with this frolic discourse, which, in view of the tremendous issues toward, doth now grow tedious and tiresome ?
Mr. Punch. Cheer up, honest Scholars, and perpend! I may not mar this bright June day, this sylvan scene, this quiet swim, with platform platitudes, party bickerings, or wire-puller prophecy. I would rather hear Maudlin piping her “ Milk-Maid's Song," or Corydon trolling his catch. But if it is sage counsel you want, take it. You are about to enter on a great political fishing match. Fight it out like honest anglers and good-tempered—like those that, as Izaak hath it, “ are lovers of virtue, and dare trust in Providence, and be quiet, and go a-angling.” Fish fair, don't foul your opponent's tackle, or needlessly disturb his swim. Don't use fancy or poaching baits, nor overmuch of any. Remember the old angling maxim : “Swear not, lest ye catch no fish."
"Oaths do fray
Fish away,' and vituperation loses Votes. Finally, if you be beaten, take your licking like a man—and an Angler. If further counsel ye want, you will find it to the full of your joint and several needs and capacities in this my
One Hundred and Second Volume !!!
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