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eight stories high, mounted aloft in the ambient air. But the length, as I take it, exceeds not one mile, and the breadth on't measures little more than half a mile; nor is there more than one fair street, to my best remembrance. But then it's large and long, and very spacious, whose ports are splendid, so are her well-built houses and palaces, corresponding very much to complete it their metropolis."
Theophilus inquires very pleasantly after the Solon Goose, which is "flesh in the hand, but fish in the mouth," and is therefore "quite the reverse" of goodly Dame Quickly, who was neither fish nor flesh." Arnoldus gives a very solemn account of the goose, as though his pen were inspired to write finely of its parent.
"Tintaw Top," so celebrated in Scottish song, is remem bered by the Captain, and a riddle connected with it is given, which we must not withhold from our readers: no explanation is offered by our trooper, and we there leave it to be" riddleme-riddle-me-ree'd by our readers."
On Tintaw top thar dwells a mist;
And e'en that mist thar is a kist.
On Tintaw top.
The travellers now rest for a night at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and "bid a farewell to Scotland." Theophilus declares his opinion to be, that "rest and refreshment are the relatives to travellers," and that without it, the day's journey had broke his heart.
"Arn. Then to cement it again, what if I proceed to instruct you of all those eminent rivers and rivulets, in our passage southward, till we arrive at the beautiful streams of triumphant Trent; whose florid and fertile banks, with a majestick brow, smile on the amorous fields, and England's Elisium, the forest of Sherwood; whose shady trees, as a pavilion, shelter and solace the contemplative angler: there it is that Philomel melts the air in delightful groves; there the hills will shelter us, the rocks surround us, and the shady woods relieve and retrieve us, whilst Nottingham, that nonsuch, doth sweeten our ears with delicious concerts, and our eyes with variety of buildings, that stand in a serene and wholesome air. But their cellarage, beyond compare, is the best in England, and most commodious, and the whole town situated on a pleasant rock; where the streets are adorned with beautiful houses, the florid fields filled with aromas; and the exuberant meadows enriched with fragrant perfumes, that will ravish the angler, if when to trace and examine the gliding silver streams of famous Trent.
Theoph. Rome was not built in a day, nor are my resolutions so precipitant to build without materials; for if rash results reap repentance, it's good and wholesome advice, to look before we leap; old proverb is a good premonition, and a timely premonishment prevents a premonire. I cannot say where to settle, but am desirous my lot may fall in or near to the forest of Sherwood, that mingles her shades with the florid meadows that adorn the beautiful streams of Trent; on whose polite sands and murmuring streams, I could freely espouse my vacant hours."
The bare mention of the Trent, and the rich beauty of Sherwood, intoxicate our author at once, and set his brain whirling round in a thousand phantasies.
Beggarly Belgrade" is mentioned next, and immediately afterward, Alnwick and Felton Bridge, " built all of stone, under which there glide most limpid streams that accommodate the angler." Newcastle, Durham, and " Dirty Darlington," are noted; and our travellers pass on rapidly through Boroughbridge to York, and on to the skirts of Doncaster." No other mention is made of Doncaster!-But then, the grandest race-course in the world was a wilderness, and the Great St. Leger stakes were not even " in the bud."
Newark appears in sight, "whose flourishing fields are bathed with the slippery streams of the silver Trent, that glides along through fragrant fields, to wash the foundation of her florid meadows." The tributary streams of the Trent are carefully and boastingly set down, and our author enters into a very tiresome account of the corporation of Newark. Several places by the side of the Trent, or " hovering over it," are now passed, and we arrive at Nottingham, where every church, street, and market-place, is tenderly pointed out. Indeed, we' never met in the work of any angler with a more curious morsel of description than the following.
"But I forgot to tell you, that in the very centre or division of the Pavement, there stands a Bow (or a fair Port) opposite to Bridlesmith-Gate; adjoining to which is Girdle-smith-Gate; and next unto that is Peter-Gate, a derivative from the church that fronts the west angle, and directs into Hungate. But presupposing your station at the north end of Bridle-smith-Gate, immediately then you face HenCross, which in a direct line leads on to Cow-lane-Bar; but if otherwise you incline to the left, then you leave the Saturday Shambles, the Fruiterers, and the Cage on your right hand, and Peck-lane that directs to Peter's Church, on your left; but if pointing your passage towards the western angle, you then enter the Sands, and also the Sheep-Market, which is commonly kept upon Timber-hill."
At this paradise of Cow Lane Bars and Saturday shambles the journey ends. And Arnoldus, having mentioned four great
worthies, viz. O. P., Lord R., Col. A. S., and Alderman C., concludes his work upon angling with a meditation upon Adam, extending over eight pages, and then with a set of General Rules" for fish and fishing;" wherein every fish is separately treated, and treated too with spirit and ingenuity. The flounder was never better cooked by a pen-cook. Let Dr. Kitchener look to it!
"The flounder is a fish that bites before any man's face, not dreading the aspect of an invader. It's true, he's a fish that's as bold as a buccaneer; of much more confidence than caution, yet nothing more curious; one that loves good meat, and is good meat himself; whose appetite is open as early as his eyes, and contemplates day before sun-rise, frequently busying himself about breakfast, half an hour sometimes before break of day; and delights, I must tell you, to dwell among stones, so does he among stakes and gravelly bottoms; besides he's a great admirer of deeps and ruinous decays, yet as fond as any fish of moderate streams, and none beyond him, except the perch, that is more solicitous to rifle into ruins; insomuch that a man would fancy him an antiquary, when to consider him so affected with relics, yet of that undaunted courage, that he dares to feed before any man's face, provided there be but water enough to cover him, though not to conceal him. Moreover, he adheres so close to the bottom, that a man would think him inoculated to it, or at least an inmate in another element.
"For that end let us consider the flounder a resolute fish, and one that struggles stoutly for a victory with the angler, and is more than ordinarily difficult to deal with, by reason of his build, which is altogether flat as it were a level; so that if it happen your tackle be fine, and the bottom, as it sometimes falls out, to be foul, you run the risk of your adventure and artillery. Now some folks, beyond measure, admire this fish, because opinionated he is so nutricious; and. truly he's good food, which makes him so desirable, though seldom or rarely not over-cautious to come by, if the angler be industrious but to bring him a bait that he likes, and that is but reasonable. Present him with a lob-worm, he'll retaliate your courtesy; or in exchange, a depurated dew-worm, he'll not be ungrateful, for he loves variety of all sorts of worms, the tag or tagil, besides bradlins and gild-tails, which will at any time intice him to die for what he loves; for you must know he's a fish so fond of a worm, that he'll go to the banquet though he die at the board."
Such is the rambling work of Captain Richard Franck, Philanthropus!-Prejudiced he is, for he lived in a ripe time of prejudice; but with all the faults of an evil style, obstinate antipathies, and disordered fancies, he has written a book full of amusement to the traveller, the soldier, and the fisherman. Our readers cannot fail to be struck with the hasty and careless mention of places throughout the volume, which, since the time of Franck, have, through the poet or the soldier, become
memorable; and we think these pictures of a country, at certain periods," in its habit as it lived," are most interesting. Captain Franck writes honestly at any rate; for it is easy to trace the footsteps of the trooper and the angler through" the flourishing fields" and by river-side. You find him revelling in the deeds of the Marquess Montrose on one page, and throwing a fly over the silver Trent, or "dibbing on a torpid lake" in the next. He protests against repetition in more than one of his prefaces, and our readers will have seen how rigidly he has abstained from it.
Franck's heart was certainly bent upon angling. In angling he took delight, and could bear no rival. Fighting was his trade, and he followed it as long as it was profitable; but he did not envy great generals or warriors of larger fame, for he loved not the red sport well enough to be emulous of exceeding all other artists in it but he must be first fisherman, or nothing. He could bear no partner near the scaly throne—and hence is to be attributed the mortal dislike which he entertained towards Isaac Walton. Did Isaac Walton merit unkindness of any man?-No.
Oh! better than all the wordy enthusiasm of Captain Franck, is the patient unaffected earnestness of old Isaac Walton; who gave no flourishing description of rivers out of England, nor indulged in any impatient cavillings with other masters of the rod; who made not his book on fishing a receptacle for theological controversy, or polemic inferences, but wrote, as he proposed, on fish, and on the best way to take them; talking like an innocent old man on a favourite pastime, and giving way to piety or poetry, as his feelings and the love of the art naturally led him. In reading the Captain's account of Scotland, you are amused with his extravagant descriptions, but you are not familiarized with any spot, or beguiled into the love of any favourite river: Isaac Walton, on the contrary, does not merely describe; he takes you with him into the fields,--shews you Ware; walks with you by Tottenham, and on to Amwell Hill; rambles with you by the Lea. The purity of the morning light gleams over his language, and the freshness of the river-breezes breathes through his thoughts. Every turn of the Lea may, indeed, be unwound, and we seem to know and love its waters.
We had intended to indulge at considerable length in remarks on that delightful book The Complete Angler of our favourite Isaac Walton; but the length to which our notice of Captain Franck's work has extended compels us to desist, and we must still therefore postpone our observations on that kind and venerable Fisher to some other day. There is a new
VOL. VIII. PART I.
edition of the work lately published,* with engravings of fish and of the fishing spots about the river Lea and Dovedale, which make it fit company for Walton's own fish and Walton's own Lea. Fishing certainly is catching, for we are determined to become anglers ourselves this autumn, and to try our fortunes and our flies in the streams that run over "the flourishing fields of Albion."
• The Complete Angler, by J. Major, of Fleet Street.
END OF VOL. VIII. PART I.
Printed by D. S. Maurice, Fenchurch Street.