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For amusement as well as for warmth, therefore,
we skated in the immediate vicinity of
our lines, of which we seldom lost sight. The
fish, which is a species of pike, and attains a
large size, sometimes weighing upwards of
thirty pounds, are soon attracted to the spot
by the columns of light descending through
the apertures in the ice. It is seldom, therefore,
that the angler has to remain long in
suspense ere some token is afforded him that
his labour is not likely to be in vain. A few
minutes after the casting of the nets, I happened
to approach the hole in which mine
were set, and was looking inquisitively into its
leaden depths, eager, if possible, to catch a
glimpse of what was going on underneath,
when suddenly the stick to which one of the
lines was attached, was dragged towards the
aperture with great velocity, and catching me
by the heels, turned poor Blungle's laugh
completely against me; for it laid me at once
upon my back, with my legs spanning the
hole. I should certainly have gone with it,
but that the stick, when the fish came to the
end of his run, lay firmly across it, and kept
me up. Having risen, I thought it my time,
and began to pull at the line. From the
power with which I had to contend, however,
I found it necessary to have a better foundation
than my skates afforded me; so getting
upon my knees, I soon brought my captive to
light, and deposited him upon the ice. He
was a splendid fish, weighing upwards of
twenty pounds, and floundered prodigiously
for a few minutes. The frost, however, soon
tranquilised him, and in about a quarter-of-
an-hour he was as hard and brittle as an
icicle.

We continued our sport for some time with
tolerable success, having, by three o'clock,
caught eleven fish, the smallest of which
weighed eight pounds. But our pleasures were
brought to an untimely period by Blungle,
whose ill luck had now passed into a proverb
amongst us. Hitherto no fish had favoured
his line with so much as the passing compliment
of a nibble. He had given up the attempt,
and for nearly two hours had been
amusing himself by skating up and down the
lake. Practice had improved him, and like
all beginners, he was proud of his prowess,
and was particularly anxious to redeem his
lost character for skating by one extraordinary
achievement. He had been warned to give
what a nautical friend of our host called a
"wide berth" to the mouth of the stream
which ran into the lake. Bold in the strength
of his newly acquired skill, he neglected this
advice, and about three o'clock shot rapidly
past us in the direction of the stream. In
less than a minute there was a loud agonising
cry for help.

We looked round. Every vestige of Blungle
was invisible, except his head, and that
was seen just above the ice, his body being
immersed in water. He had ventured too
far, and the ice had given way with him.
Mirth instantly was changed to the acutest
apprehension. In that part, the ice was so
weak, that he might have broken it by pressing
his arms against it. But this he could not
do; for although his toes touched ground, he
happened to be standing on the tail of a small
bank, off which the water rapidly deepened
in one direction. For a moment or two we
were perplexed what to do, when it occurred
to us that we might turn the hand sleigh to
account. Having tied the three chisels with
their long handles, firmly together, we tied
the long pole thus furnished, to the sleigh,
and pushed it towards him; Perroque putting
a large piece of pork upon the sleigh, that he
might bite at it. He hesitated for some time
to relinquish his secure foothold; but at
length, seeing that it was his only chance,
and being terrified by a great fish which came
up and stared him hungrily in the face, he
seized the sleigh, which we then pulled towards
us, and got safely to land. It crushed
and broke the weak ice, but rose upon
that which was stronger, dragging Blungle
with it.

For some time he lay where we landed him,
and would soon have been as stiff as the fish,
had we not raised him to his feet, when he
immediately started for the house. We followed
him as soon as we could, dragging our
tackle, implements, and spoils along with us,
and were not long in overtaking him; for
before he had got half-way down the lake, his
clothes had become quite stiff, and he looked
like a man in a cracked glass case. On reaching
the house, it was with difficulty we undressed
him and put him to bed; when by
dint of warmth without, and brandy administered
within, we gradually thawed him. He
did not afterwards join our fishing; but confined
himself to improving his skill in skating
in the centre of the lake.

We remained altogether four days, by
which time we had caught as many fish as we
had room for in our sleigh. We then bade
adieu to our kind host and his family, and
after a pleasant journey, arrived towards the
evening of the second day, at Quebec. The
fish, which were still frozen and in excellent
condition, we distributed in presents to our
friends.

A WISH.

OH, that I were the Spirit of a Plant,
Rear'd in Imagination's evergreen world,—
To lift my head above the meadow grass,
And strike my roots, far-spread and intervolved,
Deep as the Central Heart, wherefrom to taste
The springs of infinite being! From that source
What pregnant fermentations would arise;
What blossom, fruit, perfume, and influence;
To purify mankind's destructive blood,—
So full of life and elevating powers
So cloy'd and clogg'd for exercise of good.

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