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It was some hours before I reached my companions. I found them sitting under a tree, and sat myself down by them without speaking a word, nor did they speak to me, as I remember, for some time, when Captain Cheap, breaking silence, began to ask after the seal and piece of canvas. I told him the disaster I had met with, which he might have easily guessed by the condition the rags I had on were in, as well as having my feet and ankles cut to pieces; but, instead of compassion for my sufferings, I heard nothing but grumbling from everyone for the irreparable loss they had sustained by me. I made no answer, but, after resting myself a little, I got up and struck into the wood, and walked back at least five miles to the tree I had marked, and returned just time enough to deliver it before my companions embarked with the Indians upon a great lake, the opposite part of which seemed to wash the foot of the Cordilleras. I wanted to embark with them, but was given to understand that I was to wait for some other Indians that were to follow them. I knew not where these Indians were to come from; I was left alone upon the beach, and night was at hand. They left me not even a morsel of the stinking
seal that I had suffered so much about. In two days after I joined my companions again, but don't remember that there was the least joy shown on either side at meeting.
Piscator. My honest scholar, it is now past five of the clock; we will fish till nine, and then go to breakfast. Go you to yon sycamore-tree and hide your bottle of drink under the hollow root of it; for about that time and in that place we will make a brave breakfast with a piece of powdered beef, and a radish or two, that I have in my bag: we shall, I warrant you, make a good, honest, wholesome, hungry breakfast. And I will then give you direction for the making and using of your flies; and in the meantime, there is your rod and line, and my advice is, that you fish as you see me do, and let's try which can catch the first fish.
Venator. I thank you, master: I will observe
* Piscator, the fisherman. † Venator, the huntsman.
and practise your directions as far as I am able.
Piscator. Look you, scholar: you see I have hold of a good fish: I now see it is a trout: I pray, put that net under him; and touch not my line, for if you do, then we break all. Well done, scholar! I thank you.
Now for another. Trust me, I have another bite. Come, scholar, come, lay down your rod and help me to land this as you did the other. So, now, we shall be sure to have a good dish of fish for supper.
Venator. I am glad of that: but I have no fortune. Sure, master, yours is a better rod and better tackling.
Piscator. Nay then, take mine, and I will fish with yours. Look you, scholar, I have another. Come, do as you did before. And now I have a bite at another. Ah me! he has broke all: there's half a line and a good hook lost.
Venator. Ay, and a good trout too.
Piscator. Nay, the trout is not lost: for pray take notice, no man can lose what he never had.
Venator. Master, I can neither catch with the first nor second angle: I have no fortune.
Piscator. Look you, scholar, I have yet another. And now, having caught three brace of trout, I will tell you a short tale as we walk towards our breakfast. A scholar, a preacher I should say, that was to preach to secure the approbation of a parish, that he might be their lecturer, had got from his fellow pupil the copy of a sermon that was first preached with great commendation by him that composed it: and though the borrower of it preached it, word for word, as it was at first, yet it was utterly disliked, as it was preached by the second to his congregation— which the sermon-borrower complained of to the lender of it, and was thus answered: ‘I lent you, indeed, my fiddle, but not my fiddlestick; for you are to know that everyone cannot make music with my words, which are fitted to my own mouth.' And so, my scholar, you are to know that as the ill pronunciation or ill accenting of words in a sermon spoils it, so the ill carriage of your line, or not fishing even to a foot in the right place, makes you lose your labour: and you are to know that though you have my fiddle, that is, my rod and tacklings, with which I catch fish, yet you have not my fiddle-stick,
that is, you have not skill to know how to carry your hand and line, or how to guide it to a right place-and this must be taught you: for you are to remember, that angling is an art, either by practice or a long observation, or both. But take this for a rule: when you fish for a trout with a worm, let your line have so much, and more lead than will fit the stream in which you fish; that is to say, more in a great, troublesome stream than in a smaller, that is, quieter: as near as may be, so much as will sink the bait to the bottom, and keep it still in motion, and not more. But now let us say grace and fall to breakfast. What say you, scholar, to the providence* of an old angler? Does not this meat taste well, and was not this place well chosen to eat it? for this sycamore-tree will shade us from the sun's heat.
Venator. All excellent good, and my stomach excellent good too. And now I remember, and find that true which devout Lessius says, 'That poor men, and those that fast often, have much more pleasure in eating than those rich men and gluttons, that always feed before their stomachs are empty of their
* Providence, foresight.