Page images

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 perfectly 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, "They 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, now I think you are fitted; and now

To make a fly is so essential, that he hardly deserves the name of an Angler who cannot do it. There are many who will go to a tackle shop, and tell the Master of it, as Dapper does Subtle, in the Alchemist, that they "want a fly;" for which they have a thing put into their hands that would pose a naturalist to find a resemblance for. Do thou, my honest friend, learn to make thy own flies.-Hawkins.

beyond the farther 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. Look 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

* Cotton has elsewhere thus happily described the circumstances favorable to a day's sport:

A day without too bright a beam.

A warm but not a scorching sun,
A southern gale to curl the stream,
And, Master, half our work is done!

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


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 choose 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 th' 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!


Pisc. Come, come, cross the bridge, and go down the other side lower, where you will find finer streams, and better sport, I hope, than this. Look you, Sir, here is a fine stream now; have you length enough,

« PreviousContinue »