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First Day



PISCATOR. You are happily overtaken, Sir. May a man be so bold as to inquire how far you travel this way?

VIATOR. Yes, sure, Sir, very freely; though it be a question I cannot very well resolve you, as not knowing myself how far it is to Ashbourn, where I intend to-night to take up my inn.

PISC. Why then, Sir, seeing I perceive you to be a stranger in these parts, I shall take upon me to inform you, that from the town you last came through, called Brailsford, it is five miles; and you are not yet above half a mile on this side.

VIAT. So much! I was told it was but ten miles from Derby; and, methinks, I have rode almost so far already.

PISC. O, Sir, find no fault with large measure of good land; which Deryshire abounds in, as much as most counties of England.

VIAT. It may be so; and good land, I confess, affords a pleasant prospect: but, by your good leave, Sir, large measure of foul way is not altogether so acceptable.

PISC. True, Sir; but the foul way serves to justify the fertility of the soil, according to the proverb, "There is good land where there is foul way": and is of good use to inform you of the riches of the country you are come into, and of its continual travel and traffic to the country-town you came from: which is also very observable by the fulness of its road, and the laden horses you meet every­ where upon the way.

VIAT. Well, Sir, I will be content to think as well of your country as you would desire. And I shall have a good deal of reason both to think and to speak very well of you, if I may obtain the happiness of your company to the fore-mentioned place; pro­ vided your affairs lead you that way, and that they will permit you to slack your pace, out of complacency to a traveller utterly a stranger in these parts, and who am still to wander further out of my knowledge.

PISC. Sir, you invite me to my own advantage, and I am ready to attend you; my way lying through that town; but my business, that is, my home, some miles beyond it; however, I shall have time enough to lodge you in your quarters, and afterwards to perform my own journey. In the mean time, may I be so bold as to inquire the end of your journey?

VIAT. 'Tis into Lancashire, Sir, and about some business of con­cern to a near relation of mine: for I assure you, I do not use to take long journeys, as from Essex, upon the single account of pleasure.

PISC. From thence, Sir! I do not then wonder you should appear dissatisfied with the length of the miles, and the foulness of the way; though I am sorry you should begin to quarrel with them so soon: for, believe me, Sir, you will find the miles much longer and the way much worse, before you come to your journey's end.

VIAT. Why truly, Sir, for that, I am prepared to expect the worst; but methinks the way is mended since I had the good for­ tune to fall into your good company.

PISC. You are not obliged to my company for that: but because you are already past the worst, and the greatest part of your way to your lodging.

VIAT. I am very glad to hear it, both for the ease of myself and my horse: but especially because I may then expect a freer enjoy­ ment of your conversation: though the shortness of the way will, I fear, make me lose it the sooner.

PISC. That, Sir, is not worth your care; and I am sure you deserve much better, for being content with so ill company. But we have already talked away two miles of your journey; for, from the brook before us, that runs at the foot of this sandy hill, you have but three miles to Ashbourn.

VIAT. I meet everywhere in this country with these little brooks; and they look as if they were full of fish. Have they not Trouts in them?

PISC. That is a question which is to be excused in a stranger, as you are: otherwise, give me leave to tell you, it would seem a kind of affront to our country, to make a doubt of what we pretend to be famous for, next, if not before, our malt, wool, lead, and coal: for you are to understand, that we think we have as many fine rivers, rivulets, and brooks as any country whatever; and they are all full of Trouts, and some of them the best, it is said, by many degrees, in England.

VIAT. I was first, Sir, in love with you, and now shall be so enamored of your country, by this account you give me of it, as to wish myself a Deryshire man, or at least that I might live in it; for you must know I am a pretender to the Angle, and, doubtless, a Trout affords the most pleasure to the Angler of any sort of fish whatever; and the best Trouts must needs make the best sport: but this brook, and some others I have met with upon this way, are too full of wood for that recreation.

PISC. This, Sir! why this, and several others like it, which you have past, and some that you are like to pass, have scarce any name amongst us: but we can show you as fine rivers, and as clear from wood, or any other encumbrance to hinder an Angler, as any you ever saw; and for clear, beautiful streams, Hantshire itself, by Mr. Izaak Walton's good leave, can show none such; nor I think any country in Europe.

VIAT. You go far, Sir, in the praise of your country rivers, and I perceive have read Mr. Walton's Compleat Angler, by your naming of Hantshire; and I pray what is your opinion of that book?

PISC. My opinion of Mr. Walton's book is the same with every man's that understands anything of the art of Angling, that it is an excellent good one; and that the forementioned gentleman understands as much of fish, and fishing, as any man living. But I must tell you further, that I have the happiness to know his person, and to be intimately acquainted with him; and in him to know the worthiest man, and to enjoy the best and the truest friend any man ever had: nay, I shall yet acquaint you further, that he gives me leave to call him father, and I hope is not yet ashamed to own me for his adopted son.

VIAT. In earnest, Sir, I am ravished to meet with a friend of Mr. Izaak Walton's, and one that does him so much right in so good and true a character: for I must boast to you, that I have the good fortune to know him too, and came acquainted with him much after the same manner I do with you; that he was my Master who first taught me to love Angling, and then to become an Angler; and, to be plain with you, I am the very man deciphered in his book under the name of Venator; for I was wholly addicted to the Chase, till he taught me as good, a more quiet, innocent, and less dangerous diversion.

PISC. Sir, I think myself happy in your acquaintance; and before we part shall entreat leave to embrace you. You have said enough to recommend you to my best opinion; for my Father Walton will be seen twice in no man's company he does not like, and likes none but such as he believes to be very honest men; which is one of the best arguments, or at least of the best testimonies I have, that I either am, or that he thinks me, one of those, seeing I have not yet found him weary of me.

VIAT. You speak like a true friend; and, in doing so, render your­ self worthy of his friendship. May I be so bold as to ask your name?

PISC. Yes surely, Sir, and if you please a much nicer question; my name is — , and I intend to stay long enough in your com­pany, if I find you do not dislike mine, to ask yours too. In the mean time, because we are now almost at Ashbourn, I shall freely and bluntly tell you, that I am a Brother of the Angle too; and, peradventure, can give you some instructions how to angle for a Trout in a clear river, that my Father Walton himself will not disapprove; though he did either purposely omit, or did not remem­ber them when you and he sat discoursing under the sycamore-tree. And, being you have already told me whither your journey is intended, and that I am better acquainted with the country than you are, I will heartily and earnestly entreat you will not think of staying at this town, but go on with me six miles farther to my house, where you shall be extremely welcome; it is directly in your way; we have day enough to perform our journey, and, as you like your entertainment, you may there repose yourself a day or two, or as many more as your occasions will permit, to recom­pense the trouble of so much a longer journey.

VIAT. Sir, you surprise me with so friendly an invitation upon so short acquaintance: but how advantageous soever it would be to me, and that my haste, perhaps, is not so great, but it might dis­ pense with such a divertisement as I promise myself in your com­pany, yet I cannot, in modesty, accept your offer, and must therefore beg your pardon: I could otherwise, I confess, be glad to wait upon you, if upon no other account but to talk of Mr. Izaak Walton, and to receive those instructions you say you are able to give me for the deceiving a Trout; in which art I will not deny but that I have an ambition to be one of the greatest deceivers: though I cannot forbear freely to tell you that I think it hard to say much more than has been read to me upon that subject.

PISC. Well, Sir, I grant that too; but you must know that the variety of rivers require different ways of Angling: however, you shall have the best rules I am able to give, and I will tell you noth­ ing I have not made myself as certain of, as any man can be in thirty years' experience, for so long I have been a dabbler in that art; and that, if you please to stay a few days, you shall in a very great measure see made good to you. But of that hereafter: and now, Sir, if I am not mistaken, I have half overcome you; and that I may wholly conquer that modesty of yours, I will take upon me to be so familiar as to say, you must accept my invitation; which, that you may the more easily be persuaded to do, I will tell you that my house stands upon the margin of one of the finest rivers for Trouts and Grayling in England; that I have lately built a little fishing-house upon it, dedicated to Anglers, over the door of which you will see the two first letters of my Father Walton's name and mine, twisted in cipher;* that you shall lie in the same bed he has sometimes been contented with, and have such country entertainment as my friends sometimes accept; and be as welcome, too, as the best friend of them all.

VIAT. No doubt, Sir, but my Master Walton found good reason to be satisfied with his entertainment in your house; for you, who are so friendly to a mere stranger, who deserves so little, must needs be exceeding kind and free to him who deserves so much.

PISC. Believe me, no: and such as are intimately acquainted with that gentleman know him to be a man who will not endure to be treated like a stranger. So that his acceptation of my poor enter­tainments has ever been a pure effect of his own humility and good nature, and nothing else. But, Sir, we are now going down the Spittle Hill into the town; and therefore let me importune you suddenly to resolve, and most earnestly not to deny me.

VIAT. In truth, Sir, I am so overcome by your bounty, that I find I cannot; but must render myself wholly to be disposed by you.

PISC. Why that's heartily and kindly spoken, and I as heartily thank you: and, being you have abandoned yourself to my conduct, we will only call and drink a glass on horseback at the Talbot, and away.

VIAT. I attend you. But what pretty river is this, that runs under this stone bridge? Has it a name?

PISC. Yes, 'tis called Henmore, and has in it both Trout and Grayling; but you will meet with one or two better anon. And so soon as we are past through the town, I will endeavor, by such discourse as best likes you, to pass away the time till you come to your ill quarters.

VIAT. We can talk of nothing with which I shall be more de­ lighted, than of Rivers and Angling.

PISC. Let those be the subjects then. But we are now come to the Talbot. What will you drink, Sir, ale or wine?

VIAT. Nay, I am for the country liquor, Derbyshire ale, if you please; for a man should not, methinks, come from London to drink wine in the Peak.

PISC. You are in the right: and yet, let me tell you, you may drink worse French wine in many taverns in London, than they have sometimes at this house. What, Ho! bring us a flagon of your best ale. And now, Sir, my service to you, a good health to the honest gentleman you know of; and you are welcome into the Peak.

VIAT. I thank you, Sir, and present you my service again, and to all the honest Brothers of the Angle.

PISC. I'll pledge you Sir: so there's for your ale, and farewell. Come, Sir, let us be going: for the sun grows low, and I would have you look about you as you ride; for you will see an odd country, and sights that will seem strange to you.


* As in the title-page.


PISCATOR. So, Sir, now we have got to the top of the hill out of town, look about you, and tell me how you like the country.

VIAT. Bless me! what mountains are here! Are we not in Wales?

PISC. No, but in almost as mountainous a country; and yet these hills, though high, bleak, and craggy, breed and feed good beef and mutton above ground, and afford good store of lead within.

VIAT. They had need of all those commodities to make amends for the ill landscape: but I hope our way does not lie over any of these, for I dread a precipice.

PISC. Believe me, but it does, and down one especially, that will appear a little terrible to a stranger; though the way is passable enough, and so passable, that we, who are natives of these moun­tains, and acquainted with them, disdain to alight.

Vila. I hope though, that a foreigner is privileged to use his own discretion, and that I may have the liberty to intrust my neck to the fidelity of my own feet, rather than to those of my horse; for I have no more at home.

PISC. 'Twere hard else. But in the mean time, I think 'twere best, while this way is pretty even, to mend our pace, that we may be past that hill I speak of, to the end your apprehension may not be doubled for want of light to discern the easiness of the descent.

VIAT. I am willing to put forward as fast as my beast will give me leave; though I fear nothing in your company. But what pretty river is this we are going into?

PISC. Why this, Sir, is called Bentley Brook, and is full of very good Trout and Grayling; but so encumbered with wood in many places, as is troublesome to an Angler.

VIAT. Here are the prettiest rivers and the most of them in this country that ever I saw: do you know how many you have in the country?

PISC. I know them all, and they were not hard to reckon, were it worth the trouble; but the most considerable of them I will presently name you. And to begin where we now are, for you must know we are now upon the very skirts of Deryshire; we have, first, the river Dove, that we shall come to by and by, which divides the two counties of Derby and Stafford, for many miles together; and is so called from the swiftness of its current, and that swiftness occasioned by the declivity of its course, and by being so straitened in that course betwixt the rocks; by which, and those very high ones, it is hereabout, for four or five miles, con­ fined into a very narrow stream. A river that, from a contemptible fountain, which I can cover with my hat, by the confluence of other rivers, rivulets, brooks, and rills, is swelled, — before it falls into Trent, a little below Egginton, where it loses the name, — to such a breadth and depth as to be in most places navigable, were not the passage frequently interrupted with fords and weirs: and has as fertile banks as any river in England, none excepted. And this river, from its head, for a mile or two, is a black water, — as all the rest of the Deryshire rivers of note originally are; for they all spring from the mosses, — but is in a few miles' travel so clarified, by the addition of several clear, and very great springs, bigger than itself, which gush out of the limestone rocks, that before it comes to my house, which is but six or seven miles from its source, you will find it one of the purest crystalline streams you have seen.

VIAT. Does Trent spring in these parts?

PISC. Yes, in these parts: not in this county, but somewhere towards the upper end of Staffordshire, I think not far from a place called Trentham; and thence runs down not far from Stafford to Wolsley Bridge, and, washing the skirts and purlieus of the Forest of Needwood, runs down to Burton in the same county: thence it comes into this where we now are, and, running by Swarkeston and Dunnington, receives Derwent at Wildon; and so to Notting­ham, thence to Newark, and by Gainsborough to Kingston upon Hull, where it takes the name of Humber, and thence falls into the sea: but that the map will best inform you.

VIAT. Know you whence this river Trent derives its name?

PISC. No, indeed, and yet I have heard it often discoursed upon, when some have given its denomination from the forenamed Trentham, though that seems rather a derivative from it; others have said, 'tis so called from thirty rivers that fall into it, and there lose their names; which cannot be, neither, because it carries that name from its Very fountain, before any other rivers fall into it: others derive it from thirty several sorts of fish that breed there; and that is the most likely derivation: but be it how it will, it is doubtless one of the finest rivers in the world, and the most abounding with excellent Salmon, and all sorts of delicate fish.

VIAT. Pardon me, Sir, for tempting you into this digression: and then proceed to your other rivers, for I am mightily delighted with this discourse.

PISC. It was no interruption, but a very seasonable question; for Trent is not only one of our Deryshire rivers, but the chief of them, and into which all the rest pay the tribute of their names; which I had, perhaps, forgot to insist upon, being got to the other end of the county, had you not awoke my memory. But I will now proceed; and the next river of note, for I will take them as they lie eastward from us, is the river Wye: I say of note, for we have two lesser betwixt us and it, namely, Lathkin, and Bradford; of which Lathkin is, by many degrees, the purest and most transparent stream that I ever yet saw, either at home or abroad; and breeds, 'tis said, the reddest and the best Trouts in England; but neither of these are to be reputed rivers, being no better than great springs. The river Wye then has its source near unto Buxton, a town some ten miles from hence, famous for a warm bath, and which you are to ride through in your way to Manchester: a black water too at the fountain, but, by the same reason with Dove, becomes very soon a most delicate clear river, and breeds admirable Trout and Grayling, reputed by those who, by living upon its banks, are par­tial to it, the best of any; and this running down by Ashford, Bakewell, and Haddon, at a town a little lower called Rowsley, falls into Derwent, and there loses its name. The next in order is Derwent, a black water too, and that not only from its fountain, but quite through its progress, not having these crystal springs to wash and cleanse it, which the two forementioned have: but abounds with Trout and Grayling, such as they are, towards its source, and with Salmon below: and this river from the upper and utmost part of this county, where it springs, taking its course by Chatsworth, Darley, Matlock, Derby, Burrow-Ash, and Awber­son, falls into Trent at a place called Wildon, and there loses its name. The east side of this County of Derby is bounded by little inconsiderable rivers, as Awber, Eroways, and the like, scarce worth naming, but Trouty too, and further we are not to inquire.

But, Sir, I have carried you, as a man may say, by water, till we are now come to the descent of the formidable hill I told you of, at the foot of which runs the river Dove, which I cannot but love above all the rest; and therefore prepare yourself to be a little frighted.

VIAT. Sir, I see you would fortify me, that I should not shame myself; but I dare follow where you please to lead me; and I see no danger yet; for the descent, methinks, is thus far green, even, and easy.

PISC. You will like it worse presently, when you come to the brow of the hill: — and now we are there, what think you?

VIAT. What do I think? Why I think it the strangest place that ever, sure, men and horses went down; and that, if there be any safety at all, the safest way is to alight.

PISC. I think so too for you, who are mounted upon a beast not acquainted with these slippery stones: and, though I frequently ride down, I will alight too, to bear you company, and to lead you the way; and, if you please, my man shall lead your horse.

VIAT. Marry, Sir! and thank you too: for I am afraid I shall have enough to do to look to myself; and with my horse in my hand should be in a double fear, both of breaking my neck, and my horse's falling on me; for it is as steep as a pent-house.

PISC. To look down from hence it appears so, I confess; but the path winds and turns, and will not be found so troublesome.

VIAT. Would I were well down though! Hoist thee! there's one fair 'scape! these stones are so slippery I cannot stand! yet again! I think I were best lay my heels in my neck, and tumble down.

PISC. If you think your heels will defend your neck, that is the way to be soon at the bottom. But give me your hand at this broad stone, and then the worst is past.

VIAT. I thank your, Sir, I am now past it, I can go myself. What's here? the sign of a bridge? Do you use to travel with wheelbarrows in this country?

PISC. Not that I ever saw, Sir. Why do you ask that question?

VIAT. Because this bridge certainly was made for nothing else;

why a mouse can hardly go over it: 'tis not two fingers broad.

PISC. You are pleasant, and I am glad to see you so: but I have rid over the bridge many a dark night.

VIAT. Why, according to the French proverb, and 'tis a good one among a great many of worse sense and sound that language abounds in, Ce que Dieu garde, est bien gardé. They whom God takes care of are in safe protection; but, let me tell you, I would not ride over it for a thousand pounds, nor fall off it for two; and yet I think I dare venture on foot, though if you were not by to laugh at me, I should do it on all four.

PISC. Well, Sir, your mirth becomes you, and I am glad to see you safe over; and now you are welcome into Staffordshire.

VIAT. How, Staffordshire! What do I there, trow? There is not a word of Staffordshire in all my direction.

PISC. You see you are betrayed into it; but it shall be in order to something that will make amends; and 'tis but an ill mile or two out of your way.

VIAT. I believe all things, Sir, and doubt nothing. Is this your beloved river Dove? 'Tis clear and swift, indeed, but a very little one.

PISC. You see it here at the worst; we shall come to it anon again after two miles riding, and so near as to lie upon the very banks.

VIAT. Would we were there once! But I hope we have no more of these Alps to pass over.

PISC. No, no, Sir, only this ascent before you, which you see is not very uneasy; and then you will no more quarrel with your way.

VIAT. Well, if ever I come to London, of which many a man there, if he were in my place would make a question, I will sit down and write my travels; and, like Tom Coriate, print them at my own charge. Pray what do you call this hill we come down?

PISC. We call it Hanson Toot.

VIAT. Why, farewell Hanson Toot! I'll not more on thee: I'll go twenty miles about first. Puh! I sweat, that my shirt sticks to my back.

PISC. Come, Sir, now we are up the hill, and now how do you?

VIAT. Why, very well, I humbly thank you, Sir, and warm enough, I assure you. What have we here, a church! As I'm an honest man, a very pretty church! Have you churches in this country, Sir?

PISC. you see we have: but, had you seen none, why should you make that doubt, Sir?

VIAT. Why, if you will not be angry, I'll tell you I thought myself a stage or two beyond Christendom.

PISC. Come, come! we'll reconcile you to our country, before we part with you; if showing you good sport with Angling will do it.

VIAT. My respect to you, and that together may do much, Sir; otherwise, to be plain with you, I do not find myself much inclined that way.

PISC. Well, Sir, your raillery upon our mountains has brought us almost home. And look you where the same river of Dove has again met us to bid you welcome, and to invite you to a dish of Trouts to-morrow.

VIAT. Is this the same we saw at the foot of Penmen-Maure? It is a much finer river here.

PISC. It will appear yet much finer to-morrow. But look you, Sir, here appears the house, that is now like to be your inn, for want of a better.

VIAT. It appears on a sudden, but not before 'twas looked for. It stands prettily, and here's wood about it too, but so young, as appears to be of your own planting.

PISC. It is so. Will it please you to alight, Sir. — And now permit me, after all your pains and dangers, to take you in my arms, and to assure you that you are infinitely welcome.

VIAT. I thank you, Sir, and am glad with all my heart I am here; for, in downright truth, I am exceeding weary.

PISC. You will sleep so much the better: you shall presently have a light supper, and to bed.

Come, Sirs, lay the cloth, and bring what you have presently, and let the gentleman's bed be made ready in the mean time, in my Father Walton's chamber. And now, Sir, here is my service to you; and once more welcome!

VIAT. I, marry, Sir, this glass of good sack has refreshed me. And I'll make as bold with your meat, for the trout has got me a good stomach.

PISC. Come, Sir, fall to then, you see my little supper is always ready when I come home; and I'll make no stranger of you.

VIAT. That your meal is so soon ready, is a sign your servants know your certain hours, Sir. I confess I did not expect it so soon; but now 'tis here, you shall see I will make myself no stranger.

PISC. Much good do your heart! and I thank you for that friendly word. And now, Sir, my service to you in a cup of More-Lands ale; for you are now in the More-Lands, but within a spit and a stride of the Peak. Fill my friend his glass.

VIAT. Believe me, you have good ale in the More-Lands: far better than that at Ashbourn.

PISC. That it may soon be; for Ashbourn has, which is a kind of a riddle, always in it the best malt, and the worst ale in England. Come, take away, and bring us some pipes, and a bottle of ale, and go to your own suppers. Are you for this diet, Sir?

VIAT. Yes, Sir, I am for one pipe of tobacco; and I perceive yours is very good by the smell.

PISC. The best I can get in London, I assure you. But, Sir, now you have thus far complied with my designs, as to take a trouble­ some journey into an ill country, only to satisfy me; how long may I hope to enjoy you?

VIAT. Why, truly, Sir, as long as I conveniently can; and longer, I think, you would not have me.

PISC. Not to your inconvenience by any means, Sir, but I see you are weary, and therefore I will presently wait on you to your chamber, where take counsel of your pillow, and to-morrow resolve me. Here! take the lights, and pray follow them, Sir: here you are like to lie: and, now I have showed you your lodgings, I beseech you command anything you want; and so I wish you good rest!

VIAT. Good night, Sir!

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