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THE CRIME.

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THE CRIME.

"Heark! Oh, heark! you guilty trees,
In whose gloomy galleries

Was the cruellest murder done

That e're yet eclipst the sunne."

I.

OW it happened one day in the early Spring

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time when the sky was china blue and

filmy clouds trailed like lace across the disk of a pale sun, that I, Henry Stenhouse, nineteen years of age, well and sound in mind and body, decided to commit a crime.

The crime which I contemplated was murder. For three years past I had watched the object of my pursuit; I had peered at him at night as he lay sleeping, I had crept stealthily to his home, evening after evening, waiting for a chance to kill him. I had seen him moving about on his daily business, growing fatter and sleeker, serene, sly, self-centred, absorbed in his own affairs, yet keeping a keen, shrewd eye upon strangers. For

he mistrusted strangers; those who passed by him, not even noticing him, he mistrusted less than he did others who came to him with smiles and outstretched hands.

He never accepted anything from anybody. A strange step or the sound of a strange voice made him shy and suspicious. But he was cold and selfish, cold-blooded as a fish-in fact he-but I had better tell you a little more about him first. He was my enemy; I determined to kill him, and perhaps he read it in my drawn face and sparkling eyes, for, as I stepped toward him, the first time, he turned and fled fled straight across the Clovermead River.

And although I searched the river banks up and down and up and down again, I saw no more of him that day.

When I went home, excited, furious, I made passionate preparations to kill him. All night long I tossed feverishly in my tumbled bed, longing, aching for the morning. When the morning came I stole out of the house and bent my steps towards the river, for I had reason to believe that he lived somewhere in that neighbourhood. As I crept along, the early morning sun glittered on something that I clutched with nervous fingers. It was a weapon.

This happened three years ago; I did not find him that morning although I searched until the shadows fell over meadow and thicket. That night too found me on his trail, but the calm

Spring moon rose over Clovermead village and its pale light fell on no scene of blood.

So for three years I trailed him and stalked him, always awaiting the moment to strike,-praying for an opportunity to slay; but he never gave me one. He was fierce and shifty, swift as lightning when aroused, but the battle that I offered he declined. Oh, he was deep,-deep and crafty, cold-blooded as a fish,-in fact, he was a fish, Mine Enemy, the Trout.

Do you imagine that the killing of Mine Enemy was a crime? No, my friend-that, properly done, was what is known as sport; improperly done, it is murder;-there, the murder 's out! I was going to catch the trout with bait !

You, dear brethren of the angle, brave fly-fishermen, all, wet or dry, turn not from me with loathing! Hear my confession, the confession of one who was tempted, listened, fell, and fished for a trout with a worm !

Anyway, it's your own fault if you throw down this book and beat your breasts with cruel violence. I told you that my story was to be the story of a crime, and if you don't like to read about crimes, you had no business to begin this tale. There are worse crimes too,-some people habitually fish with bait; some net fish, and there exist a few degraded objects in human shape who snare trout with a wicked wire loop on the end of a sapling.

Now I don't propose to tell you about these

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