This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
He was quieting down and ready to start in for further practice, when he saw F. hook one, which seemed to make him wild, for he reeled up his line, and started to go across the river, as it was near the opposite side of the mill that the boat was anchored. To get there it was necessary to go up the river 75 yards, and walk over a boom formed by pairs of logs treenailed together and covered with boards. Without the slightest thought of his lady companions, he started at a quick march, leaving them to follow him as best they could. I remained on the mill side, watching F. play his fish, which proved to be a wild, stubborn fellow, and occupied half an hour or more to capture. In the mean time the officer had reached the other side, and forded a channel of very swift water into a rocky shoal some 25 yards below F.'s boat, on which he took his stand and commenced fishing up, and consequently against, the stream, nearly causing the loss of F.'s salmon, by tangling the lines.
Those of my readers who are fishermen know that fishing etiquette prevents a second person casting a fly on a pool already occupied. There was no possible chance of his rising, even if the pool had not been fished, as his fly was flowing away from them constantly. Not satisfied with the fruits of that performance, he waded ashore again, and after a time appeared in a boat with a white guide. Prior to his doing this, another boat with two other officers, a major and another captain who had come to the neighbourhood with the Conqueror came with their guide from the tidal waters, and were fishing on one of the lower pools, when the first sportman put in a second appearance. To show his envy or jealousy of F.'s luck, and to annoy him, he caused his guide to pole the boat between where F. was casting and the stern of F.'s boat. Would not such rascality (that term covers it) as that rouse all your fightability ? You may laugh at this recent coinage, but the pith is there, and conveys the idea. He completely circled F.'s boat, to do which he was forced to place his pole on the bottom of the pool; but even this failed to drive F. off. I shall leave him here for a time, still further to thresh water and disturb the pool, and bear my readers to a spot which appeared at one time that afternoon as if it might be the scene of very exciting fishing.
I mentioned that he had left his lady companions on the other side of the river, and at the spot where he first fished, expecting them to join him on the opposite bank through their own skill. My lady friend had returned to Bridgewater by the main road, while I proposed crossing over the boom with my rod and salmon to Lew Labrador's house. The English ladies had come to the breastwork, from which they would have to get down three feet to be on the boom, and were looking most anxiously across the water, as if undecided what to do. My services were here proffered as their guide, and gladly accepted. This boom or track was situated a very short distance above the dam, and through the midst of the strongest current, beginning at the breastwork mentioned and terminating abruptly at the entrance of a large fish-pass, over which the bank was approached by walking up a plank, one end of which rested on a boom, the other at an angle of 25° or 30°, resting on the bank. To one used to it, there were no attractions, and I never used it when it could be avoided.
After they were upon the boom, I led the way, to assure and give them confidence, as they were evidently very nervous. The end .next the pass was reached safely. Here I stopped a little past the end of the plank, standing on the very end of the boom to allow them to walk ahead of me. Had Mrs. G., who had been walking next me, done this, probably there would have been no trouble, but stepping aside to allow her sister to proceed nearly cost her her life. Above the boom here and near the end was an accumulation of numberless little pieces of floating wood-ends and boards from the upper mill, mixed in with sawdust, that, to an inexperienced eye like Mrs. C.'s, would give it the appearance of solidity; and such she thought it was, for she stepped back upon it to let her sister proceed, and back she went. Fortunately for us all, I was near enough to grasp her by the neck of her dress as she fell, and thus kept her head above water, although perilously near being drawn by her off the boom.
No assistance could be obtained by shouting, as the roar of the Falls drowned all other sounds, nor could I send her sister, who was so terrified I feared she would fall off herself, so I bade her sit down on the boom, where she was standing. By this time my thoughts, which had fled for the moment, returned, and the situation was taken in and acted upon. The necessity of drawing her body out from under the boom was so apparent that I acted upon it at once, by drawing her head towards the end of it and the shore. At the same time, I encouraged Mrs. C. to help me with her hands on the boom. By this concerted action we soon freed her body, so that her head could be raised under the plank, and farther out of water. Thus emboldened by our success, I decided her head and body had to be passed under that plank before she could be got out, as the suction was too great to be overcome without more help. By my holding on with my right hand, assisted by Mrs. C. clinging to the upper edge of the plank, I was enabled to lie down on it, and pass my left hand under so as to grip her other shoulder. Then by releasing one hand from above and grasping the lower edge with it, we succeeded in safely getting her under it. At this juncture Mrs. C. had become quite composed, and spoke to her sister, who up to that time was so nervous and frightened that she clung to the boom with a maniacal grip, unable to move. The next movement brought her to the boom and the end of the plank, and between us she was raised on to them. " Saved! saved! " I could not but exclaim.