A DANGEROUS GAME
Lance thrust in the oars and hitcher and sprang in, after giving the boat a thrust; and as a little wave came in and floated her, Hezz ran her out a bit farther and sprang in too, thrust an oar over the stern, and sculled the craft out, fish-tail fashion, to where a black keg did duty for a buoy. Here he kept the boat's head while Lance leaned over the side to unhitch a piece of line and draw a spindle-shaped wicker basket along the side to the stern, where he made it fast to a ring bolt, the movement sending a score or so of eely-looking silvery fish gliding over one another and flashing by the thin osiers of which the basket was formed.
Then each seized an oar and pulled right away to get round the rocky buttress which was continued outward in a few detached rocks, that stood up boldly, to grow smaller farther out, and farther, till only showing as submerged reefs over which the sea just creamed and foamed.
It was out here that the tide ran swiftly, a favourite spot for the bass to play, and as they approached the familiar spot Lance handed his oar to his sturdy companion, while he took one of the lines, laid the hook and lead ready, and then drew the coorge in, opened a wicker trap-door in the top, inserted his hand, closed the lid again, and with deft fingers hooked the silvery writhing fish, popped it overboard, and let the line run out with the tide, while Hezz kept the boat carefully, as nearly as he could, in one place.
"There they are, Master Lance," he cried. "Be on the look-out; they'll take that bait pretty sharp perhaps."
The lad was quite right, for hardly five minutes had elapsed before there was a snatch at the line, and something was hooked."Got him!" cried Lance, whose face was glowing with excitement. "Oh, why didn't Alfy come? I say, Hezz, he's a whopper. He does pull. Shall I let him run?"