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VII. Alpenrosen and Goat's-Milk Henry van Dyke

Section IV.

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Landro we found a very different place from Cortina. Instead of having a large church and a number of small hotels, it consists entirely of one large hotel and a very tiny church. It does not lie in a broad, open basin, but in a narrow valley, shut in closely by the mountains. The hotel, in spite of its size, is excellent, and a few steps up the valley is one of the finest views in the Dolomites. To the east opens a deep, wild gorge, at the head of which the pinnacles of the Drei Zinnen are seen; to the south the Durrensee fills the valley from edge to edge, and reflects in its pale waters the huge bulk of Monte Cristallo. It is such a complete picture, so finished, so compact, so balanced, that one might think a painter had composed it in a moment of inspiration. But no painter ever laid such colours on his canvas as those which are seen here when the cool evening shadows have settled upon the valley, all gray and green, while the mountains shine above in rosy Alpenglow, as if transfigured with inward fire.

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There is another lake, about three miles north of Landro, called the Toblacher See, and there I repaired the defeat of Misurina. The trout at the outlet, by the bridge, were very small, and while the old fisherman was endeavouring to catch some of them in his new net, which would not work, I pushed my boat up to the head of the lake, where the stream came in. The green water was amazingly clear, but the current kept the fish with their heads up stream; so that one could come up behind them near enough for a long cast, without being seen. As my fly lighted above them and came gently down with the ripple, I saw the first fish turn and rise and take it. A motion of the wrist hooked him, and he played just as gamely as a trout in my favourite Long Island pond. How different the colour, though, as he came out of the water. This fellow was all silvery, with light pink spots on his sides. I took seven of his companions, in weight some four pounds, and then stopped because the evening light was failing.

How pleasant it is to fish in such a place and at such an hour! The novelty of the scene, the grandeur of the landscape, lend a strange charm to the sport. But the sport itself is so familiar that one feels at home--the motion of the rod, the feathery swish of the line, the sight of the rising fish--it all brings back a hundred woodland memories, and thoughts of good fishing comrades, some far away across the sea, and, perhaps, even now sitting around the forest camp-fire in Maine or Canada, and some with whom we shall keep company no more until we cross the greater ocean into that happy country whither they have preceded us.

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Little Rivers
Henry van Dyke

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