A DANGEROUS GAME
"It arn't a conger, or he'd begin to cut about now and shake his head to get riddy of the hook."
"Then it's some other big fish. Think it's a shark."
"No. What would a shark be doing there?"
"I dunno; but he's coming up. I say, put down the oars."
Hezz nodded, laid in his oars, and stood close behind his companion, gradually growing as excited for a minute or so, and then grinning.
"It arn't no fish," he said.
"It is, I tell you," cried Lance, as he kept up a steady haul, the boat having yielded till it was exactly over the line.
"I never see a fish take it so quiet as that," continued Hezz.
"It's only till he sees us, and then he'll make a desperate rush to get away."
"I'll be ready for him," said Hezz, laughing softly, as he gently rested the handle of the boat-hook on the side, thrusting it out towards the tightened line, which still came slowly in, though the strain threatened to make it part. "Hope it will be good to eat, Master Lance."
"I know what it is," cried the boy, in a low hoarse voice. "It's one of those great cuttles, the same as were washed on shore after last year's storm. It will come up all of a lump, with its feelers and suckers twisted round the line."
A sudden change came over Hezz. Instead of grinning, his face turned preternaturally solemn, and taking his right hand from the boat-hook he thrust it into his pocket, drew out a big jack-knife, to open it by seizing the blade in his teeth.
"That's right," whispered Lance, husky now with the excitement; "but don't use the knife if you can get a good hold with the hook. Look, look, here it comes! Oh, it is a monster!"