No Poaching -Miss Winsome-A Charming Meal-Yellow Sally-Sea-trout and Salmon-Claret and Champagne -An Error of the Head-Two Kinds of Salmon- Whir-r-r-rrr !-A Pretty Picnic-A Valiant Gamekeeper-Escape-All's Well.
The pool had long been an attraction. Passing it often on our way to the stretch of the river which we were privileged to fish, we had always been discovering in it some fresh merit. Had there been a run of salmon or of sea-trout? If so, many of these fish were sure to be resting in the neighbourhood of the Otter's Stone. All through the season, too, brown trout were teeming there. Whenever there was a rise of fly you could see them making the black water boil in the exciting manner peculiar to the Tay. In most waters the heavy trout rise gently, making mere dimples on the surface, while the small ones leap and splash; but in the Tay, as on Lochleven, the rise of the large trout is violent. Then, if there is a hatch of succulent flies anywhere on the river, it is sure to be near the Otter's Stone. Perhaps that is because the pool is screened on the east and the north by a semicircular knoll, and lies open to the sun and the west wind. Besides, it had always looked very easy to fish. In many parts of the Tay, when the water is normal, or lower than that, the sides are shallow, and the channels in which the fish lie are too far off to be reached easily; but in the pool, on our side of it, the water is deep to the very edge. Above all, the pool is out of bounds. It is just beyond the march, a hill burn dividing the domain of Sir John from that of his next neighbour on the south. Perhaps that was its main attraction. It may be that the fish in the pool were like the forbidden fruit which somehow always seems the sweetest. At any rate, they had been very tempting to Miss Winsome. Often, when she and I were guests at Sir John's, I had found difficulty in persuading her not to take a cast in the pool on our way to the places where we could fish lawfully. " What would it matter if we did get a fish here ? " she had reasoned. " Anybody seeing us landing it would just think it had run us down from our own bit." " If the fish were anything under two pounds," I had answered, "that excuse would not work." " But they seem to be all above two pounds," she had insisted; and to that argument, taken by itself, I had found no answer. Certainly the trout, which showed themselves frequently, did seem all to be uncommonly stalwart. It was only through a charming feminine deference to the moral superiority of man that we contrived to refrain from ignoring our neighbour's landmark.