« IndietroContinua »
Where his heart ached, but spake not.
"Fetch your son,
And I remain; refuse, and I am gone
Even while we parley." Stifling the great sigh
That heaved his breast, he answered, "He shall die."
Besides themselves there was a Presence there,
Which made his blood run cold, but did not shake
His resolution that, for the king's sake,
His boy must perish. So he said, "I go,"
Ran to her lord, fallen upon the ground;
And while she lifted his dead weight, and wound
Her arms around him, and her tears did rain,
Kissed his cold lips, till, warmed, they kissed her own again ! Meanwhile the sentinel down the royal park
Groped his way homeward, stumbling in the dark,
Uncertain of himself and all about;
For the low branches were as hands thrust out
But whether to urge faster, or delay,
Since they both clutched and pushed, he could not say;
Nor, so irregular his heart's wild beat,
Whether he ran, or dragged his lagging feet!
A cry like Father!-Whence, and whose, the cry?
What if some robber with the boy had fled?
What-dreadful thought!-what if the boy were dead?
As when at set of sun he went on guard,
Shutting the lad in from all nightly harms,
As safe as in the loving mother arms
Which could no longer fold him: all was fast,—
Must find as sudden a relief, or break-
Face buried, and hands wrung above his head,
The king stood waiting him-reprieved of Fate! "What was it, soldier?" "God preserve the King!'Twas nothing." "Tell me, quickly.” “A small thing Not worth your hearing.-In the park I found A lonely woman sitting on the ground, Wailing her husband, who had done her wrong, Whose house she had forsaken-but not long; For I made peace between them-dried the tears, And added some, I hope, to their now happy years." "What bear you there?" "A child I was to bring "He paused a moment-"It is mine, O king!" "I followed, and know all.-So young to diePoor thing!-for me!
You should be King, not I.
You shall be my Vizier-shake not your head;
I swear it shall be so.-Be comforted.
For this dead child of yours, who met my doom,
I will have built for him a costly tomb
Of divers marbles, glorious to behold,
SALMON-FISHING ON THE NIPISSIGUIT.
On one occasion while on the Nipissiguit, as I was sitting under the lee of a cedar-bark smudge, enjoying the fragrant smoke that drove away the mosquitoes, and had just finished the recital of a favorite verse, I saw a fish break the surface on the opposite side of the pool.
"Bruno," I said, "did you see that?" "Yes, sir, I see him very good. Grilso, sir, grilso; saumon no lay dare, water too shallow."
My canoeman had scarcely finished speaking, when there was another break; a swirl in which a fish showed its broad tail as it disappeared.
"But you know, Bruno, that salmon are apt to lie in shallow water, if it is near the head of the pool, when the river is as high as it is now; of course, when the water falls, they will be found lower down where it is deeper." I replied thus as I drew the line through the rings of my rod, and began freeing it for a cast.
At that moment Roma Veno, approaching from the other side of our smudge, said: "Try him, sir; grilso no got tail like dat; saumon, sir, saumon.”
I had already taken the hint from the fish's broad caudal. Alternately drawing an arm's-length from the reel and casting, I had almost covered the place where I saw the rise, when a trout seized my fly as I was retrieving for another cast, and striking short, I snapped my tip near the splice.
"Sacré," said Bruno, “dat bad luck. Reel him in, reel him in, sir; let Roma take him off, while I go for nudder tip." And in a moment he disappeared amongst the cedars on his way to our shanty.
With vexation which it was hard to repress, I landed a beautiful three-pound sea-trout, which, on any stream in the "L States," "I would have been a halfhour in killing with light tackle, and
would have considered it a handsome prize.
But Roma taking the hook from its mouth, administered a hearty kick, sending it some twenty feet inland, with “Aha! you t’ink you saumon, you beggar, you; you no rise to fly no more."
In but a few minutes more than I have taken to record this mishap, Bruno, waving the new tip above his head, and bounding from rock to rock, came down the hill. It was soon spliced on, and in a few minutes more I again handled my seventeen-foot withe.
"I'fraid you no reach him; dat very long cast," said Bruno.
"You shall know; I have see' Captain make longer cast as dat," replied Roma.
I continued drawing an arm's-length from my reel, and casting alternately, each throw dropping my "Silver Gray" three feet nearer the fatal spot. When I covered the place, some twenty-five yards off, my fly falling lightly and taking the drift of the current, there was a bulge, an upheaval of the surface. I did not see the fish, but my rod bent, and there was a heavy strain on my line as the salmon went down.
"Ugh!" grunted Roma. him now, fast as a steeple-church. Ha, ha! no grilso; saumon, sir, big saumon."
The fish treated me with perfect indifference, as if aware of the ten feet of single gut that tapered the end of my casting-line, and moved off sturdily, but slowly, towards the deeper water. But gradually "realizing" that there was something wrong with a hook in its snout, and a certain tension bearing on it, it became uneasy, but showed no fight.
"Very lazy fish," I said.
"You know better after 'while; hard for him know he danger yet," replied Bruno.
The salmon gradually increased its speed, and then in a bold run of forty yards sought the foot of the terrible rapid that came pouring in at the head of the pool. Presenting the butt of my rod towards the fish, and bringing the point well back over my shoulder, I turned her. She came diagonally downstream towards me as I ran backward, reeling in and regaining, most of my line.
"Give when you must, and take when you can; still this is a dull fish," I thought.
"Lazy saumon," muttered Roma; "maybe Monsieur kill him in dis pool."
"He wake up bime-by," replied Bruno. Then my old reel discoursed music that reminded me of a rattlesnake, and three feet of molten silver shot above the surface, and glimmered for an instant in the rays of the morning sun. Then there was a lull, then a circuitous run, and another leap, and she turned her nose down-stream. "Canoe!" exclaimed Bruno, shaking his paddle above his head excitedly, and beckoning to his companion. Keeping the point of my rod well up, and a taut line, I stepped into the canoe, steadied by Bruno's arm. We pushed rapidly out from the shore, the fish by this time having run out two thirds of my line, when she stopped in the eddy of a boulder.
bow, and both paddled with all their might.
With a wild whoop, we ran the pitch. The flight of our canoe was like that of an arrow; the gray rocks seeming to pass like phantoms up-stream as we shot past. The stem of our birch parted the troubled waves below, and a deluge of spray came over us.
The men shook themselves like a pair of Newfoundland dogs, as I reeled up the slack of my line. Finding the fish still fast, I landed on the ledge of rock that formed one shoulder of the pitch.
"We will fight it out here, my lady," I said, as I forced her into the eddy. She came reluctantly, with much desperate shaking and sawing of her head, and a stubborn disposition to sulk. But I kept her moving; and after a few runs, each showing that her pluck was gone and her strength declining, I saw her dark-blue back and silver sides. In a few minutes I drew her into a little cove. Bruno's gaff went hook-deep into her side, and she was landed on the rocks after a contest of nearly an hour. The spring-balance was produced from my satchel, the hook inserted in her snout, and down went the index, marking twenty-nine pounds,-a fresh-run fish, measuring three feet four inches.
This, with the exception of the uncommon size of the fish for the Nipissiguit, and running the pitch at that stage of water, had been a matter of daily occurrence for more than a week. I had hooked this fish in the "Big pool," and had landed a brace of twelvepounders at the "Middle Pool" as I came down. These we picked up as we went up the river. I cast a longing look at the "Flat Rock Pool" on our way to
"Au terre?" asked Roma, hesitating our shanty, but the water was too wild to shoot the rapid.
"Bah! no, no, au large," responded Bruno. Then turning to me, “No time for de shore-channel; have to run de pitch. Down on your knee, sir, and brace youse'f hard 'gin de mid strip; " and with one vigorous sweep of his paddle, he sent our bark into the main channel. Roma dropping his pole, and seizing his paddle, kneeled in the
for that cast; so I toiled up the hill with a merry heart and a stout appetite. In front are the Papineau, or, as the inhabitants call them, the "Pabineau " Falls. We are seven miles from Bathurst, where I bought my stores and embarked with these same canoemen who had served me several summers before. With an "old chum " in Philadelphia I own one third of the rod-fishing on this
"How did I get here?" Why, of course, I came from Boston by steamer to St. John, where Walter and I spent a few days with my old fishing-companion, Nicholson, who, I am happy to say, will join me at the Grand Falls, fifteen miles above, in the course of a week or ten days. From St. John we came to Shediac by the Intercolonial Railroad. Every thing of that sort, including stage-lines and taverns, are “intercolonial or "international" in this Province of New Brunswick. Then we came leisurely by stage and private express along through Chatham, crossed the Miramichi and stopped at Mrs. Harris', the half-way house on the road to Bathurst, where we stayed a day and went trout-fishing. I must tell you about it.
It was an hour by sun when we got there. The little river-I mean the Tabasintac-was in good flow. Walter could not wait until next morning, but must take a few casts. So with bloody intent he put up his rod, tied on his casting-line, and selected for his whip a brace of bright-red hackles, while I kept off the mosquitoes and blackflies. Then anointing his face and hands with a little tar, diluted with sweet oil, he made "a bee-line" for the upper end of the meadow, a hundred yards off. I knew what was coming next day, so I did not put up my rod, but followed after to string his fish. At his first cast. he hooked a brace of trout, and by supper-time he had caught a string of them as long as his leg-small, however, not averaging over a foot long.
The following morning we embarked on a craft which is a "peculiar institution" in New Brunswick-a large dugout canoe, the motive power a pair of good horses. It was driven by young Harris; so, floating smoothly through pools, rumbling over cobble-stones and grating our Argo's bottom on pebbly shallows, in about two hours we made
"Walter," I said, as we travelled back in this delightful conveyance, “do me a sum in cubic measure." I took the length and breadth of the bunk into which we had thrown our fish, and then measured the depth to which we had filled it. If I studied Pike's old arithmetic to any purpose when I was a boy, and 21.50 cubic inches-as old Hutton has it is a Winchester bushel, we had something over five bushels of bright sea-trout. We did not count them all, but threw into a pile a hundred, the smallest of which weighed two pounds. Many of them weighed four pounds, although young Harris regretted that there were no "large ones " in the pool at the time. We would have ceased this murder sooner, but Harris persuaded us to keep on fishing a while longer, as it would save him the trouble of coming down to drag the pool with his net, which he did occasionally through the summer to get trout to salt down. An ordinary trout casting-line was of no use, especially when fishing with two flies; for, getting a dead pull against each other, one or both fish would break loose and carry off part of the leader or a gut-length. So we used a salmon casting-line and a salmon fly; generally an old worn-out one left from a previous summer. As long as there was feather or dubbing left on the hook they would seize it. Spirit of Father Isaac absolve me! I will sin no more in this way. Better wade Broadhead's creek till noon, and have barely as many speckled " in the bottom of my creel as will make a roast for dinner, than perpetrate an enormity of this kind.
But come, take a view of my camp, here on this broad, flat mass of granite which fronts these Pabineau Falls, whose troubled waters have sung that same hoarse song for ages. This is our shanty. Some of those rascally vandals