In chapter 11 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace, the author was describing an old man who was changing the topics of talking very quickly:

The old man had a trick of striking off at a tangent; from one subject to another he leapt like a will-o’-the-wisp. Before Horace had framed half a dozen words the old man was dragging his unwilling victim along a piscatorial road, and Sir Isaac was floundering out of his depths in a morass—if the metaphor be excused—of salmon-fishing, trout-poaching, pike-fishing—a sport on which Sir Isaac Tramber could by no means deem himself an authority.

I don't get what's meant by "drag him along a piscatorial road"! Does he mean that "he make him trying to catch him, as if he was a fish, from one topic to another"?!!

1 Answer 1


“Piscatorial” means “relating to the sport of fishing” and “dragging his unwilling victim along a road” is a metaphor for one of the participants in a conversation choosing a topic that the other does not enjoy talking about. Putting this together, Lord Verlond is insisting on talking about fishing to Sir Isaac, who is not at all interested.

Wallace expresses this simple idea in an absurdly laboured way, with a mixed metaphor (Sir Isaac cannot be simultaneously being dragged down a road and floundering in a morass) followed by an aside drawing the reader’s attention to this catachresis. The author probably intended it to be funny.

  • 1
    And he probably dragged the word 'floundering' into it because a flounder is a fish. It's heavy-handed humour. Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 7:46
  • Now I get it, thank you so much. Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 10:19

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