Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/290

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252
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

and the fact that we exhibited live whales from the Isle Aux Condries was proof of our enterprise in this direction. Whales are timid, stupid creatures; in pursuit of small fish they run up close to the shore, and are captured by a comparatively simple method. Across the mouth of some deep bay a line of piles is driven when the water is at low tide; then the fishing fleet only awaits the arrival of a school of cetacea. These will sooner or later be seen rushing madly shoreward in pursuit of the schools of smaller fish on which they feed. When the whales are sighted the fishing vessels separate and endeavor to surround the assemblage of marine monsters. At high tide, when the line of piles is deeply submerged, the fleet crowds in toward the shore, and the frightened whales take refuge in the bay. Here they remain undisturbed, and are generally quiet until they feel the tide receding. Then they become restless, and finally make a dash for deep water, only to run against the line of piles. It would be comparatively easy for a big whale to batter a great gap in the improvised fence, and, in fact, there is frequently room enough between certain piles for him to pass through unharmed, but he is naturally timid and cowardly, and when within a yard or two of the