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Over the chimney-piece hung a portrait of old Izaak Walton *; and it does one good to contemplate his countenance, and compare the free, openhearted, hospitable character of the frank old angler, with the precise, cold
blooded generation of every-day beings that swarm around us; mere motes in the sunshine-fruges consumere nati. Let wits talk as they like about a rod, with a fish at one end, and a fool at the other; the idea that a man like this thought such an amusement not unworthy of devoting his leisure to, ought, at least,
establish a title to respect for all anglers, and for an art itself, which, however men's taste may differ, has been the occasion of a work that every one, to whom the expression of goodness of feeling, and generosity of disposition, and purity and chastity of style, are sources of pleasure, will read with delight and advantage to himself, and feelings of admiration and esteem towards the author.
* I am fond of portraits of men who have made themselves worthy of remembrance. These lines of Rogers', I always read with peculiar pleasure, and they may be well introduced here :
Ah! most that art my grateful rapture calls
But the play hour approaches, and I must give up my ideal visionings, in order to enjoy the realities of the scene. I hope to God there will be a full house ; I abominate empty benches; to sit alone on a whole bench, whose very vacuity ia. creases its infernal extent; the house like a desert; the musicians scraping away their rosined bows with careless hands, creating harsh discords ; actors staring about them, kicking their heels, and looking with a most sleepy and insolent indifference on the rari nantes, discernible in the house, with here and there a stray wanderer like myself, lolling at full length, or wandering in discontented solitariness from one side to the other; and in the boxes, the expected bright circle of splendour, to spy occasionally a gloomy face looking abroad, or, perhaps, a group of a dozen,-forming a half, probably, of the whole set,-gathered together in one box, to have something like the appearance of close neighbourhood. I would rather see the face of a printer's devil, importuning for his damned proof sheet, or unfinished article.--Rap, rap, rap !—Zounds ! Speak of the devil, and he's at your elbow'tis he, by all the gods! And so, kind and fair readers, and you, readers, who are neither fair nor kind,