or a good man, either, i am sure. for he who knows only how to enjoy, and not to endure, is ill-fitted to go down the stream of life through such a world as this.
i would not have you to suppose, gentle reader, that in discoursing of fisherman's luck i have in mind only those things which may be taken with a hook. it is a parable of human experience. i have been thinking, for instance, of walton's life as well as of his angling: of the losses and sufferings that he, the firm royalist, endured when the commonwealth men came marching into london town; of the consoling days that were granted to him, in troublous times, on the banks of the lea and the dove and the new river, and the good friends that he made there, with whom he took sweet counsel in adversity; of the little children who played in his house for a few years, and then were called away into the silent land where he could hear their voices no longer. i was thinking how quietly and peaceably he lived through it all, not complaining nor desponding, but trying to do his work well, whether he was keeping a shop or writing books, and seeking to prove himself an honest man and a cheerful companion, and never scorning to take with a thankful heart such small comforts and recreations as came to him.
it is a plain, homely, old-fashioned meditation, reader, but not unprofitable. when i talk to you of fisherman's luck, i do not forget that there are deeper things behind it. i remember that what we call our fortunes, good or ill, are but the wise dealings and distributions of a wisdom higher, and a kindness greater, than our own. and i suppose that their meaning is that we should learn, by all the uncertainties of our life, even the smallest, how to be brave and steady and temperate and hopeful, whatever comes, because we believe that behind it all there lies a purpose of good.