Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/159

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41
THE READING-CLUB.

the lake. The trout, as soon as he felt the prick of the hook, was off like a shot, and took out the whole of the line with a rapidity that made it smoke. "Give him the butt," shouted Luke. It is the usual remark in such an emergency. I gave him the butt; and, recognizing the fact and my spirit, the trout sank to the bottom, and sulked. It is the most dangerous mood of the trout, for you cannot tell what he will do next. We reeled up a little, and waited five minutes for him to reflect. A tightening of the line enraged him, and he soon developed his tactics. Coming to the surface, he made straight for the boat faster than I could reel in, and evidently with hostile intentions.

"Look out for him!" cried Luke, as he came flying in the air. I evaded him by dropping flat in the bottom of the boat; and when I picked my traps up he was spinning across the lake as if he had a new idea, but the line was still fast. He did not run far. I gave him the butt again, a thing he seemed to hate, even as a gift. In a moment the evil-minded fish, lashing the water in his rage, was coming back again, making straight for the boat as before. Luke, who was used to these encounters, having read them in the writings of travellers he had accompanied, raised his paddle in self-defence. The trout left the water about ten feet from the boat, and came directly at me with fiery eyes, his speckled sides flashing like a meteor. I dodged as he whisked by with a vicious slap of his bifurcated tail, and nearly upset the boat. The line was, of course, slack; and the danger was, that he would entangle it about me, and carry away one leg. This was evidently his game; but I untangled it, and only lost a breast-button or two by the swift-moving string. The trout plunged into the water with a hissing sound, and went away again with all the line on the reel. More butt, more indignation on the part of the captive. The contest had now been going on for half an hour, and I was getting exhausted. We had been back and forth across the lake, and around and around the lake. What I feared was, that the trout would start up the inlet, and wreck us in the bushes. But he had a new fancy, and began the execution of a manœuvre which I had never read of. Instead of coming straight toward us, he took a large circle, swimming rapidly, and gradually contracting his orbit. I reeled in, and kept my eye on him. Round and round he went, narrowing the circle. I began to suspect the game, which was to twist my