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“ Arn. What say Mercurius, and Publicus Anglicus ?
“ Agrip. You have them both, and the National Diary to boot, where you may read the various products of men, frequent tumults in every corner, general discontents in families ; heatings, but no healings, in their grand consults.
“ Theoph. What do they vary for?
“ Agrip. Something superlative; but the generality cry tempora mutantur.
Theoph. By this I perceive some dig deep to hide their counsels.
“ Arn. Deep or shallow, it's a tiffany plot ; any man with half an eye may easily see through it : who is it cries up peace, only those men whom the times court, and the Constitution flatters? such men as these may cry up for peace, while others solicit an every day's novel : No, Theophilus, there's nothing pleasant, every thing seems in a hurly burly; and France and Spain at sword's point.
Theophilus and Arnoldus are so touched with the times, that they determine to fly to “ the flourishing fields and plentiful streams of Scotland.” But let us have the over-ripe descriptions of mad-cap Richard himself.
“Arn. Let us first dispatch Agrippa, whose countermarch will very much advance our progress.
“ Theoph. That's well consider'd ; pray, let it be so, that without interruption we may ramble all Scotland.
“Arn. And the studious art of angling-must not we make that our employment?
Theoph. Yes, sure; but how must we accommodate ourselves with rods, and other convenient manuals and instruments, whereby to pursue this mysterious art?
“ Arn. Trouble not yourself with that little affair. Here, Agrippa, take you these letters, and sweeten your rhetoric with returns of Arnoldus, so oft as inquired for by my dear Constantia.
Agrip. Can the tides forget their natural course? I'll court sun and moon to sprinkle the tracts with propitious beams, to return me prosperous.
“ Arn. But when you approach those harmonious ports where Constantia dwells, be well advised what you say or express : let not one word slip that may cause a tear; for if one star falls, all the heavens lower.
“ Theoph. And remember me (honest Agrippa) to the vertuosos in Nottingham; together with the generous society of anglers, that traverse the fragrant banks of those silver, silent, and murmuring streams of the famous Trent.
“ Arn. Near whose cultivated shores, and florid meadows, shines the life of my life, in the constant breast of my dear Constantia.
Agrip. I'll observe your punctims, and pay your respects. “ Arn. Do so.
Theoph. Agrippa, farewell! and forget not Theophilus, who petitions their welfare, and thy prosperous journey.
“Agrip. Heavens influence your designs.
“ Ařn. Now, he is gone, (nor will he be long in going ;) in the meantime, let us contemplate the beauteous creation, and retire to those solitary rocks, to defend us from the radiant and refulgent beams of the sun, that direct their strokes upon us; such retirements will moderate extremes; afterwards, we may stretch our limbs to encounter our recreation, and sport ourselves with the princely trout, in the flourishing rivers and rivulets in Scotland, which probably may contribute as much satisfaction as any other rivers in the promontories of Great Britain, if dexterously examined, and industriously managed with patience and other requisites, suitable and agreeable to the methods of art.
“We may also in our progress, as we travel the country, take a survey of their towns, forts, and fortresses. The like we may do of their cities, castles, and citadels ; with their rivers, rivulets, and solitary loughs, which will furnish us with fish enough, provided we can furnish ourselves with baits. But to furnish every angler with a new bait, was the studious invention of Isaac Walton, author (as you may read) of the Complete Angler, who industriously has taken care to provide a good cook, (supposing his wife had a finger in the pie,) which will necessarily be wanting in our northern expedition, where the fry are numerous, (nay numberless almost) in some of those rapid and trembling streams; from whence the artificial fly (if that exercise be well understood) will contribute as much as any thing to court them ashore, and sweeten our recreation. But I speak more peculiarly to ingenious artists, not to those phlegmatie fellows indigent of art; such only I allot an accidental fate.
Theoph. Methinks I grow impatient to attempt these silver streams with our harmless artillery. Here needs no auxiliary force to guard our approaches, when only to trample these delicious, pleasant, and fragrant banks, enamelled with flowers, and green coverings, where every chrystal purling stream is overshadowed with a stately fir tree, or some spreading sycamore, through which Zephyrus inspires a softened breath of air, to curl the surface of the milder streams; and where the glittering shores shine like Peru, or the golden sands of the admired Tagus, as if purposely erected for a tomb or sepulchre, therein to inter the generous trout, which is the angler's trophies, and the ultimate period of art.- Reach me that rod, Arnoldus, and furnish me with tackle to try my fortune. Are these fies proper, and suitable to the season? Is the line tapered, and the rod rush-grown ? Every thing answers to promise success, and now have amongst them; for I resolve, beyond dispute, to approve myself an angler, or shame the art.
“ Arn. An angler! an alligator rather; to rush so rudely upon a river, and forget your rudiments.
Theoph. My passionate zeal, hurried on by avarice, confirmed the difficulty of catching fish, no more than a cast of my fly to summon them ashore.
“ Arn. That would excuse your over-forwardness to put a force upon your exercise. The angler's direction, and the mediums of art, are the Pole-star you must steer by.
Theoph. You do well to reckon up my errors, and lay down rudiments to oblige me to reform. All that I solicit is, to be master of my exercise; that theory and practice be made legible and intelligible; nature, then, will demonstrate herself obvious to the artist.
“ Arn. You have hit the mark; it's true what you say. Art, at the best, is but nature's imitation ; instructions made legible gratify the ingenious, whilst the ignorant read but lectures in their A B C.
Theoph. Then I need not despair. However, as I'm solicitous after the secrets of the art, direct me how to flourish a fly in a torpid, deep, and melancholy water, such as this is.
“ Arn. Stand close, be sure, that's your first caution ; and appear least in sight, that's your second direction; and dibble lightly on the surface of the water, that's your third and final instruction. Now order and manage the affair as well as you can.”
In the course of the last extract, our readers will have encountered one of the Captain's rhapsodies. He is neverending in his descriptions of golden sands and trembling streams; but put him to the explanation of the art of flourishing a fly, and he becomes a quiet fisherman indeed, telling you “ to order and manage the affair as well as you can.
1.". Isaac would not have so served an innocent searcher after knowledge ; but taking up his rod, and the line of his discourse, would have minutely unwound the mystery from butend to hook. Captain Franck is figurative-and a traveller ; Isaac loved repose and untroubled English. The Captain has his brain stuffed full of politics-parliament troops-Scotland -amber skies—theological points, and the unlike. Isaac had pure religion in his heart, and only one maggot in his gentle brain. The noise at a mill-tail was the loudest disturbance in this world he ever heard! But to proceed,- for we have a long stream to fish.
Arnoldus takes a trout, and presents it as handsel to Theophilus ; and then they “ lap up their lines,” and trace the pleasant fields to merry Carlisle.
From Carlisle, after a short but earnest description, the friends journey to Dumfries : first, however, they try their fortunes in the waters; and here the dialogue, instead of assuming the appearance of long orations, as in the polemical and devotional portions of the work, becomes short and hur
and we beg our readers to remark, that whenever they come to these rapids and shallows in books of angling, they may be sure that they are very near to the fish and the sport of fishing.
“ Arn. Then take your lot, and cast in your line; and flourish
your fly, for it's dubbed with bear's hair : and the point of your hook, it's so snug and so sharp, that, as it ought, it must always hang downward. Moreover, it's proportioned of an excellent compass, winged also with the dapple feather of a teal; a dangerous novel to invite a desperate fish ; and suitable to the day and season, in regard it's bright.
“ Theoph. Why thus to capitulate ? let us in amongst them.
Theoph. It's past that now, and I'm past my senses, to feel such trepidations on a sudden invade me. What's the matter with me that I'm thus out of order?
“ Arn. I perceive you disordered, but not much deliciated.
“ Theoph. If I were, it's folly to complain, when past all hope to expect redress. “ Arn. How know
that? Theoph. I know you won't tell me what it is that tugs thus. " Arn. It be a trout; or it
be a salmon. Theoph. Or it may be both, for ought I know ; for it's almost impossible that one single fish should raise the water to such eruptions.
“ Arn. And impossible for you (I perceive) to reclaim him.
Theoph. Do but resolve me what it is, and then I'll resolve myself what to do.
“ Arn. Make your own choice, what would you have it?
Theoph. I would have it a fish.
“ Arn. So it is; and it may be a fish of the largest size; therefore, look well about you.
Theoph. I may look which way I will, and despair at last; what makes the water swell with ebullitions ?
“ Arn. Nothing I suppose but a change of elements, the fish has no mind to come a-shore.
Theoph. And I have as little inclination to go to fetch him.
“ Arn. Then were your hazards equal; and hitherto, as I apprehend, you have much the odds.
Theoph. Odd or even, I know not how to manage him.
“ Arn. Would you put a force upon Neptune, to compel' his subjects a-shore ?"
This smart colloquy does not end here, but the tug at this mighty fish lasts for three pages, Arnoldus advising like a philosopher, and Theophilus acting like a school-boy. The fish escapes
the hook, but the fisherman does not escape a lecture on his folly in “ being too rude with the fish.” An account of Dumfries follows the lecture—and the two friends rest there for the night. Theophilus rises early in the morning, before Zephyrus has softly breathed his balmy sigh through the blushing roses,—and exclaims
“O, Arnoldus, I'm almost worried to death with lice, my skin is all mottled and dappled like an April trout. Can
blame me to relinquish this lousy lodging, when my battered sides are pincked full
of ilet-holes? One brigade pursues another, and flight I find the best expedient; for my enemies, 1 perceive, are so desperately resolved, that they'll rather die than quit the field. Dangers foreseen are the sooner prevented, and I design to sleep in a whole skin as long as I can. Zanker, farewell, I am glad to see thee behind me, and no need of a chirurgeon."
The travellers ramble on to Kilmarnock over some very heavy prose;.- and thenee on to Glasgow ; -“ flourishing Glasgow.” But before we get fairly into this famous city, the author luxuriates in a gorgeous description of its walls and wonders; in the course of which he protests, that it excels all others in fish, fowl, and good French wines. This description, or rather eulogy, is followed by two magnificent orations, which we will not spoil by omission or curtailment.
“ Theoph. What to think, or what to say of this eminent Glasgow, I know not, except to fancy a smell of my native country. The very prospect of this flourishing city reminds me of the beautiful fabrics and the florid fields in England, so that now I begin to expect a pleasant journey. Pray tell me, Arnoldus, how many such cities shall we meet with in our travels, where the streets and the channels are so cleanly swept, and the meat in every house so artificially drest? The linen, I also observed, was very neatly lapped up, and, to their praise be it spoke, was lavender proof; besides, the people were decently drest, and such an exact decorum in every society, represents it, to my apprehension, an emblem of England, though, in some measure, under a deeper die. However, I'll superscribe it the nonsuch of Scotland, where an English florist may pick up a posy; so that should the residue of their cities, in our northern progress, seem as barren as uncultivated fields, and every field so replenished with thistles that a flower could scarcely flourish amongst them, yet would I celebrate thy praise, 0, Glasgow! because of those pleasant and fragrant flowers that so sweetly refreshed me, and, to admiration, sweetened our present interments.
“Arn. Now the day-star springs, and the flaming steeds of the sun invite our departure. The smiles of the weather prognosticate we shall reach Dumbarton in very good time, where we may redress and refit such tackle as shall serve to accommodate both our art and exercise ; for near to those famous and flourishing ports there glides a rapid and peremptory river, that gulphs forth the bowels of Loemon, replenished with trout, and, beyond all measure, ofo incomparable salmon, (if I calculate right) where we may sport to-day, and to-morrow too, provided the season serve to our purpose. So from thence we may pass into the fields of Luss (by fording the Loemon), where, beyond dispute, we shall gratify ourselves with such solitary entertainments as the angler most delights in; so from thence, by crossing the Loemon eastward, we arrive in the steril fields of Bohannan, a situation, by some, thought almost inaccessible, by reason of hills and multiplicity of bogs."