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but there are not many that are so; for usually they be in their perfection in the month of May, and decline with the buck. Now you are to take notice, that in several countries -as in Germany, and in other parts-compared to ours, fish do differ much in their bigness and shape, and other ways, and so do trouts. It is well known, that in the Lake Leman, the lake of Geneva, there are trouts taken of three cubits long; as is affirmed by Gesner, a writer of good credit. And Mercator 2 says, the trouts that are taken in the Lake of Geneva are a great part of the merchandise of that famous city. And you are further to know, that there be certain waters that breed trouts remarkable, both for their number and smallness. I know a little brook in Kent,3 that breeds them to a number incredible, and you may take them twenty or forty in an hour, but none greater than about the size of a gudgeon. There are also, in divers rivers-especially that relate to, or be near to the sea, as Winchester, or the Thames about Windsor-a little trout called a samlet, or skegger trout; in both which places I
1 That is, four feet and a half, a length scarcely credible, although it is known that trout attain a great size in very large lakes. One of the largest English trout on record, was taken in a small stream which runs through the park at Drayton Manor, the seat of Sir Robert Peel. It weighed twenty-two pounds and a half. The skeleton of it is preserved in the College of Surgeons, and a painting of it is in the possession of Professor Owen.-ED.
2 Gerard Mercator, of Ruremond in Flanders, a man of so intense application to mathematical studies, that he neglected the necessary refreshments of nature. He engraved with his own hand, and coloured, the maps to his geographical Atlas. He wrote several books of Theology, and died 1594.-H.
3 Probably the Cray, which is famous for small trout.-R.
4 The skegger, which used to be so common in the Thames, is now never
have caught twenty or forty at a standing, that will bite as fast and as freely as minnows: these be by some taken to be young salmons; but, in those waters they never grow to be bigger than a herring.
There is also in Kent, near to Canterbury, a trout called there a Fordidge trout, a trout that bears the name of the town where it is usually caught, that is accounted the rarest of fish; many of them near the bigness of a salmon, but known by their different colour; and in their best season they cut very white: and none of these have been known to be caught with an angle, unless it were one that was caught by Sir George Hastings,' an excellent angler, and now with God; and he hath told me, he thought that trout bit, not for hunger, but wantonness; and it is the rather to be believed, because both he, then, and many others before him, have been curious to search into their bellies, what the food was by which they lived, and have found out nothing by which they might satisfy their curiosity.
Concerning which you are to take notice, that it is reported by good authors, that grasshoppers, and some fish have no
met with. I have, for some years past, offered the Thames fishermen in my neighbourhood, twenty shillings for a skegger, but have not yet had one brought me. They are, I have no doubt, young salmon of the second year, a fish now never caught in the Thames; for if the skegger was a distinct fish, why should it have disappeared with the salmon? Mr. Yarrell, for whose opinion I have the greatest respect, thinks the parr, or samlet, and the skegger, are the same fish; but I have never found roe in the skegger, and have always met with them of nearly the same size, both in the Thames and the River Wye. Mr. Yarrell's reasons for his opinion are certainly very strong, but I cannot think them conclusive.-Ed.
1 Apparently Sir George Hastings, son and heir of that fine old English gentleman, Henry Hastings, of Woodlands, who died in 1650, at the advanced age of ninety-nine, and whose character is so graphically drawn by Lord Shaftesbury, and inscribed beneath his portrait at Winborne, Dorset. See it printed in Gent.'s Mag., xxix. p. 160.-ED.
2 It has been said by naturalists-particularly by Sir Theodore Mayerne, 'Epistle to Sir William Paddy," prefixed to the translation of Mouffet's "Insect. Theatr." printed with Topsel's "History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents"-that the grasshopper has no mouth, but a pipe in his breast, through which it sucks the dew, which is its nutriment. There are two sorts, the green and the dun; some say there is a third, of a yellowish green. They are found in long grass, from June to the end of September, and even in October, if the weather be mild. In the middle of May, you will see, in the joints of rosemary, thistles, and almost all the larger weeds, a white fermented froth, which the country people call
mouths, but are nourished and take breath by the porousness of their gills, man knows not how; and this may be believed, if we consider that when the raven hath hatched her eggs, she takes no further care, but leaves her young ones to the care of the God of nature,' who is said in the Psalms, "To feed the young ravens that call upon him ;" and they be kept alive and fed, by dew, or worms that breed in their nests; or some other way that we mortals know not. And this may be believed of the Fordidge trout, which—as it is said of the stork, that he knows his season, so he knows his times, I think almost his day, of coming into that river out of the sea; where he lives, and (it is like) feeds nine months of the year; and fasts three in the river of Fordidge. And you are to note, that those townsmen are very punctual in observing the time of beginning to fish for them; and boast much that their river affords a trout that exceeds all others. And just so does Sussex boast of several fish; as namely, a Shelsey cockle, a Chichester lobster, an Arundel mullet, and an Amerley trout.
And, now, for some confirmation of the Fordidge trout: you are to know that this trout is thought to eat nothing in the fresh water; and it may be the better believed, because it is well known that swallows, and bats, and wagtails3-which are called half-year birds, and not seen to fly in England for
Cuckow's Spit; in these the eggs of the grasshopper are deposited [no; it is the larva of a fly.-ED.]; and if you examine them, you shall never fail of finding a yellowish insect, of about the size and shape of a grain of wheat, which, doubtless, is the young grasshopper. A passage to this purpose is in Leigh's "History of Lancashire," page 148.-H. We give this note because it is found in most editions, including Sir Harris Nicolas's, without refutation. It is obvious that Sir John Hawkins is labouring under a vulgar error. The grasshopper has large jaws, and is voracious rather than otherwise, sometimes feeding on their own species, as has been proved. -ED.
1 On the contrary, the raven, like the rook, feeds and attends her young with great care. The Psalmist, no doubt, refers to the young ravens after they have quitted their nest.-Ed.
2 Mr. Yarrell says that the Fordwich Trout of Izaac Walton is the Salmon Trout (Salmo Trutta), and that "its rare good meat" was greatly enhanced, no doubt, by the opportunity of eating it very fresh. They have been caught seventeen pounds in weight. Is this the Sewen of the fresh rivers in Glamorganshire ?-ED.
3 Bats and wagtails are not migratory.-ED.
six months in the year, but, about Michaelmas, leave us for a hotter climate-yet some of them that have been left behind their fellows, have been found, many thousands at a time, in hollow trees, or clay caves, where they have been observed to live, and sleep out the whole winter, without meat. And so Albertus observes, that there is one kind of frog that hath her mouth naturally shut up about the end of August, and that she lives so all the winter; and though it be strange to some, yet it is known to too many among us to be doubted.5
And so much for these Fordidge trouts, which never afford an angler sport; but either live their time of being in the fresh water, by their meat formerly gotten in the sea,(not unlike the swallow or frog)-or by the virtue of the fresh water only, or, as the birds of paradise and the chameleon are said to live, by the sun and the air.7
There is also in Northumberland a trout called a bulltrout, of a much greater length and bigness than any in these southern parts. And there are, in many rivers that
1 See Topsel on Frogs.-[Walton.]}] 2 View Sir Francis Bacon, 66 impossible.-R.
Exper.," 899.-[Walton.] Physically
Albertus Magnus, a German Dominican, and a very learned man : Urban IV. compelled him to accept of the bishopric of Ratisbon. He wrote a treatise "On the Secrets of Nature," and twenty other volumes in folio; and died at Cologne, 1280.-H.
4 See Topsel on Frogs.-Edward Topsel was the author of a "History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents "-collected out of the works of Gesner, and other authors-folio, Lond. 1658. In this history he describes the several kinds of frogs; and, in page 721 thereof, cites from Albertus the fact here related. See an account of him in 'Walton's Life,' (ante, p. 8).-H.
5 See Chap. VIII.-W. The mouth of the frog is no doubt closed during its winter torpidity.-RENNIE.
6 This Trout affords excellent sport; it is a greedy feeder, and the stomach, when examined, is full of insects, particularly the sandhopper.-ED.
7 That the chameleon lives by the air alone is a vulgar error, it being well known that its food is flies and other insects. See Sir Thomas Brown's "Enquiry into Vulgar and Common Errors," book iii. chap. 21. About the year 1780, a living chameleon was to be seen in the garden of the Company of Apothecaries at Chelsea.-H. To which may be added, that what is said about fish and grasshoppers having sown-up mouths, or none at all, is equally fabulous.-ED.
8 These are also found in the Yorkshire, Dorsetshire, and Devonshire rivers, where they come from the sea the beginning of May. [They are also found in the south of Scotland, and especially in Dumfrieshire.] They lie
relate to the sea, salmon-trouts, as much different from
The Salmon Trout.
others, both in shape and in their spots, as we see sheep in some countries differ one from another, in their shape and bigness, and the fineness of their wool. And, certainly, as some pastures breed larger sheep, so do some rivers, by reason of the ground over which they run, breed larger
Now the next thing that I will commend to your consideration is, that the trout is of a more sudden growth than other fish. Concerning which, you are also to take notice, that he lives not so long as the perch,' and divers
in deep holes under the root of a tree on the side next the stream, and will rise at an artificial fly; but the best bait is a well-scoured brandling, bred in Tanners' bark. They bite all the summer in the morning, and in the evening from fine till dusk.-BROWN.
1 The Trout may be called a long-lived fish. Mr. Oliver mentions a Trout which had been for twenty-eight years an inhabitant of the well at Dumbarton Castle; and the "Westmoreland Advertiser" of August, 1826, contained a paragraph stating that a Trout had lived fifty-three years in a well in the orchard of Mr. William Mossop, of Board Hall, near Broughtonin-Furness.-ED.