Mrs. Izaak Walton Writes A Letter To Her Mother by Christopher Morley

Story type: Essay

CHANCERY LANE, LONDON, April 28, 1639.

My Dearest Mother: Matters indeed pass from badd to worse, and I fear mee that with Izaak spending all hys tyme angling along riversydes and neglecting the millinery shoppe (wych is our onlie supporte, for can bodye and soule be keppt in one by a few paltrie brace of trouts a weeke?) wee shall soone come to a sorrye ende. How many tymes, deare Mother, have I bewailed my follye in wedding this creature who seemeth to mee more a fysh than a man, not mearly by reason of hys madnesse for the gracelesse practice of water-dabbling, but eke for hys passion for swimming in barley wine, ale, malmsey and other infuriatyng liquours. What manner of companye doth this dotard keepe on his fyshing pastimes, God wot! Lo he is wonte to come home at some grievous houre of ye nyghte, bearing but a smalle catche but plentyful aroma of drinke, and ofttimes alsoe hys rybalde freinds do accompany hym. Nothing will serve but they must arouse our kytchen-maide and have some paltry chubb or gudgeon fryed in greese, filling ye house wyth nauseous odoures, and wyth their ill prattle of fyshing tackle, not to say the comely milke-maides they have seen along some wanton meadowside, soe that I am moste distraught. You knowe, my deare, I never colde abyde fyssche being colde clammy cretures, and loe onlye last nyghte this Monster dyd come to my beddside where I laye asleepyng and wake me fromm a sweet drowse by dangling a string of loathsome queasy trouts, still dryppinge, against my nose. Lo, says he, are these not beuties? And his reek of barley wine did fille the chamber. Worste of alle, deare Mother, this all-advised wretche doth spend alle his vacant houres in compiling a booke on the art (as he calleth it) of angling, surely a trifling petty wanton taske that will

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make hym the laughing-stocke of all sober men. God forbidd that oure littel son sholde be brought uppe in this nastye squanderinge of tyme, wych doth breede nought (meseems) but ale-bibbing and ye disregarde of truth. Oure house, wych is but small as thou knowest, is all cluttered wyth his slimye tackle, and loe but yesterdaye I loste a customer fromm ye millinery shoppe, shee averring (and I trow ryghtly) that ye shoppe dyd stinke of fysshe. Ande soe if thys thyng do continue longer I shall ripp uppe and leave, for I thoght to wed a man and not a paddler of dytches. O howe I longe for those happy dayes with thee, before I ever knew such a thyng as a fysshe existed! Sad too it is that he doth justifye his vain idle wanton pasttyme by misquoting scriptures. Saint Peter, and soe on. Three kytchen maides have lefte us latelye for barbyng themselves upon hydden hookes that doe scatter our shelves and drawers.

Thy persecuted daughter, ANNE WALTON.

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