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.
" Did you throw that stone into the pool ? "
" Oh, you are entirely welcome to that one."
At that reply he seized my rod, and I as quickly seized him by the throat, and thus addressed him: "Don't think, sir, because you are an officer, you can do as you please with Nova Scotians, for you will be greatly mistaken with this crowd. I have always been taught to think of army officers as gentlemen, but have found at least two that are not. Give up that rod at once, or take the punishment;" and I stood with my right drawn & la Jeffries, ready to follow the word by the deed. Right here the gentlemanly major stepped between us, took the rod from him, and passed it to me, with the remark, " Captain, this is most disgraceful." My assailant showed his approval of my defending myself by the remark, " At any rate, you are a plucky old fellow," as he had reason a little later on to substantiate. Thus ended scene three.
The major entered into conversation with me, while the captains mustered their servants, and, after a short consultation, started for the boom to cross to the mill-side, where S. and F. and their guides still were. When they had reached the fish-pass, three of them continued crossing, while Captain C. returned to the major, accosting him thus: " Major, we are going over to fight this out with these fellahs, and want you to come over." " No, no I Captain C, don't be so foolish. You are disgracing your rank. Let the thing drop here." " No, we are going to have it out." So off he started again. Now, I concluded, if there was to be a skirmish, the boys were not going to fight those burly Englishmen alone. I would have a hand in it somewhere, so by the time he was on the boom this reciter was there too, and we landed in the mill yard together. Without any prevarication, and as if all planned, the four of them seized S., the orderlies holding him by the shoulders, while the officers grabbed his gaff, which he was holding, and attempted to wrest it from him and did so throwing it into the river. Now, four on one is rather unfair fighting; so an opening came for me. So soon as they took hold of him, up went the butt of my gaff, no mean stick, and hard wood at that, and down it came on the head and arm of one Mr. Orderly, placing him hors de combat. Then they left S. and made at me, seizing my gaff, which caused a desperate encounter, in which the handle was broken, but not till our pugilistic captain had the marks of it fastened in his hands.
Things were getting lively and well mixed. They were determined to have that gaff, and its owner was just as much so the other way. My boxing lessons came nicely into play just here, and straight away from my right shoulder, & la Corbett, hooked on the jaw, and made the claret appear lively. Then they pressed me so closely that, seeing danger for me so imminent, I concluded discretion the better part of valour, and down I went on the sawdust on all-fours, still clinging to my broken gaff. In this position I knew they could not injure me very much, if they did not use their feet.
While in this position Captain C. was working around, trying to get a return rap at me, and in doing so brought his great muscular calf close by me. In all this fray there was no temper on my part, only I was full of fight, so, with a nice target within reach, and so inviting, I took a pin out of my coat, and gave him a prod. Great Scot! what a jump ! He never took such a stride before in so short a time, I'll guarantee. Well, before he had time to ascertain what hurt him, eight or ten mill hands came rushing to my assistance, and raised me to my feet. What was that puffing and blowing off to my right? What was it? do you ask. It was F. pummelling that other orderly, whom he had pulled off me a few minutes before. The squall had passed over, and, like so many cats, they stood looking at each other. Just then the major, walking over at his leisure, appeared on the scene, and viewed the disgruntled crowd. I don't know whether the combatants looked as if they had lost all their friends, but their appearance evidently affected the major in that way, as his face became as long as the moral law. If it was fighting our braves were after, they had been satisfied, and carried, or at least some of them did, sufficient scars to remember the battle by until they would reach home. Thus ended scene four.
The major was chosen by his companions as peace representative, and S. by F. and myself. At first the major was disposed to censure our party for the trouble, judging by the statements made to him by the captain. After hearing our version, he saw that it had been misrepresented by them, and that the fault lay with them in thinking that Nova Scotia regulations and Nova Scotians were like the fishing laws and some people in the old country, so that when they came to a stream, and said, "Move off! " they expected us to do it, but we did not and would not. Then, to strengthen his sympathy with them, and make them the fiercer against us, they represented to him that F. said they had no business on the pools, when what he really did say was, "You," referring to C. the first afternoon when he had his boat poled through F.'s pool, between his boat and fly, " have no business there." Until this the major, who was a fisherman, did not know that Captain C. had been guilty of such a mean act.
Sundry other explanations were made, which cleared the way for an assembling of us outside the immediate limits of the battle-ground. Then the major made an apology for his friends, requesting us to overlook what had been annoying, attributing it to the ignorance of local customs, they having only been a month or so out here. Here we buried the hatchet, and shook hands heartily, and were always afterwards good friends. Thus ended scene five.
When we understood they planned to go the following day on the Greenfield, the salmon head water on the Medway, for a few days' longer fishing, we placed all our boats and guides at their disposal for the day, which were received in the same friendly spirit as proffered. We shall close scene six by directing attention to oar boats on the pools occupied by the officers, with an additional view of the major, with his rod bent, fighting a wild scamp which he had just hooked, and which he captured that day. Several others were hooked, but they handled them too roughly, and lost them.
It is due to Captain C to tell my readers, before closing this adventure, that he thanked me most heartily, before we separated, for rescuing his lady from drowning. These officers visited the La Have several times after, but in such a way as to be welcomed, and our boats to be placed at their service. We closed our week's outing with nineteen salmon, and must have had as many more hooked that were lost. Such fishing, I fear, will never be witnessed on the stream again, as they get no protection from officials now, and the prowlers seemed determined to scoop in all.