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I sat moodily poking holes in the sand with the butt of my landing-net.

We spoke of other things for a time, sinking our voices below the roar of the river. Presently a sunbeam stole through the vapour above, lighting the depths of the dark pool. And all at once we saw the trout, hanging just above the pebbly bottom; we saw the scarlet fins move, the great square tail waving gently in the current, the mottled spotted back, the round staring eyes. The swelling of the gills was scarcely perceptible, the broad mouth hardly moved.

For a long time we sat silent, fascinated; then something stirred behind us on the beach and we slowly turned. It was Solomon.

"Ciel !" faltered Diane, "what is that?"

'My bird-an Egyptian Ibis," I whispered, laughing silently; "he has followed me, after all."

Solomon ruffled his scarlet plumes, blinked at me, scratched his head with his broad foot, pecked at a bit of mica, and took two solemn steps nearer.

"Diane," said I, suddenly, "I'll get a red fly for you; don't move-the bird will come close to us."

But Solomon was in no hurry. Inch by inch he sidled nearer, dallying with bits of moss and shining pebbles, often pausing to reflect, but gradually approaching, for his curiosity concerning Diane was great.

"He looks as if he had stepped off an obelisk," murmured Diane; "I have seen hieroglyphics that resembled him. Oh, what a prehistoric head -so old, so old!"

"His name is Solomon," I whispered. "Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. I'm going to have a small bit of Solomon's glory-sh-h! ah! I've got him!"

It was over in a second, and I do not believe it was painful. There was a flurry of sand, a furious flapping of flame-coloured wings, a squawk! a smothered laugh-nothing more.

Mortified, furious, Solomon marched off, shaking the river sand from wing and foot, and Diane and I, with tears of laughter in our eyes, wound the scarlet feather about a spare hook, tied it close with a thread from my coat, and whipped it firmly to the shank. I looped the improvised fly to Diane's leader, and she shook the line free. The reel sang a sweet tune as she drew the silk through the guides, and presently she motioned me to follow her out into the rippling shallows, and I went, swinging my landing-net to my shoulder. She cast once. The fly struck the swirl and sank a little, but she drew it to the surface and the current swept it under the alders. For a moment it sank again; then the ripples parted, and a broad crimson-flecked side rolled just below the surface of the water. At the same moment the light rod curved, deeply quivering, the reel screamed like the wind in the chimney,

and the straining line cut through the water, moving up the pool with lightning speed.

"Strike!" I cried, and she struck heavily, but the reel sang out like a whistling buoy, and the fish tumbled into the churning water under the falls at the head of the pool.

"Now," said Diane, with a strange quiet in her voice, "I suppose he is gone, Louis."

But the vicious tug and long, fierce strain contradicted her, and I stepped back a pace or two to let her fight the battle to the bitter end.

The struggle was splendid. Once I believe she became a little frightened, the rod was staggering under the furious fish,-and she spoke in a queer, small voice: "Are you there, Louis?" "I am here, Diane."

"Close behind? '

"Close behind."

She said nothing more until the great fish lay floating within reach of my net.

"Now!" she gasped.

It was done in a second; and, as I bore the deep-laden net to the beach, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a figure among the trees on the bank above. Diane was kneeling breathlessly on a rock beside me; she did not see the figure. I did, for an instant. It was Ferris.

D

VII.

INNER was over.

Ferris and I lingered

silently over the Burgundy, and Howlett hovered in the corner with a decanter of port until Ferris shook his head.

It had been a silent dinner. Ferris tried to be cordial, and failed. Then he tried to be indifferent, with better success. We exchanged a word or two concerning a new keeper who was to be stationed at the notch in the north, and I spoke to Howlett about cleaning the lamps.

Neither of us mentioned rods or trout, although Howlett had served us a delicious sea-trout that evening which had fallen to Ferris's rod, over which we ordinarily should have exulted.

Ferris of course knew that I had seen him among the trees on the bank above the long pool. It was my place to speak; we both understood that, but I did not. What was there to say? Suppose I should go back to the beginning and tell him-not all, but all that I was bound in honour to tell him. What would he think if I spoke of the Spirit-bird, of the Silent Land, of my long deception? An explanation was due him-I felt that with a

vague sense of anger and humiliation. For weeks I had abandoned him; I never thought about his being lonely, but I knew now that he had felt it deeply. Oh, it was the underhand part of the business that sickened me, the daily deceit, the double dealing. Ferris was no infant. A word would have been enough. I had never by sign or speech spoken that word which would at least have set me right with him, and which I could have spoken honourably. And moreover, if I had spoken that word,-no, not a word even, a look would have been enough,-Ferris would never have entered the western forest belt.

We sat dawdling over our wine in the glow of the long candles while the fire crackled in the chimney place; for the evening was chilly, and Solomon brooded sullenly before the blaze. Howlett, noiseless and pompous, glided from side-board to table, decorously avoiding the evil jabs from Solomon's curved bill, until Ferris woke up and told him he might retire, which he did with a modest "good-night, sir," and a haughty glance at Solomon. A half hour of strained silence followed. I leaned on the table, my head on my hands, watching the candle light reflected on the fragile wine glasses. Myriads of little flames glistened on the crystal bowls, deep stained with the red wine's glow. The fire snapped and sparkled on the hearth, and Solomon slept, his wizened head buried in the depths of his flaming plumage.

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