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0105_001E II. The Reward of Virtue Henry van Dyke

Section II.

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He pictured himself, side by side with his goodwife, in the salle a manger of the Hotel Richelieu, ordering their dinner from a printed bill of fare. Side by side they were walking on the Dufferin Terrace, listening to the music of the military band. Side by side they were watching the wonders of the play at the Theatre de l'Etoile du Nord. Side by side they were kneeling before the gorgeous altar in the cathedral. And then they were standing silent, side by side, in the asylum of the orphans, looking at brown eyes and blue, at black hair and yellow curls, at fat legs and rosy cheeks and laughing mouths, while the Mother Superior showed off the little boys and girls for them to choose. This affair of the choice was always a delightful difficulty, and here his fancy loved to hang in suspense, vibrating between rival joys.

Once, at the Riviere du Milieu, after considerable discourse upon Quebec, there was an interval of silence, during which I succeeded in hooking and playing a larger trout than usual. As the fish came up to the side of the canoe, Patrick netted him deftly, exclaiming with an abstracted air, "It is a boy, after all. I like that best."

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Our camp was shifted, the second week, to the Grand Lac des Cedres; and there we had extraordinary fortune with the trout: partly, I conjecture, because there was only one place to fish, and so Patrick's uneasy zeal could find no excuse for keeping me in constant motion all around the lake. But in the matter of weather we were not so happy. There is always a conflict in the angler's mind about the weather--a struggle between his desires as a man and his desires as a fisherman. This time our prayers for a good fishing season were granted at the expense of our suffering human nature. There was a conjunction in the zodiac of the signs of Aquarius and Pisces. It rained as easily, as suddenly, as penetratingly, as Miss Miller talked; but in between the showers the trout were very hungry.

One day, when we were paddling home to our tents among the birch trees, one of these unexpected storms came up; and Patrick, thoughtful of my comfort as ever, insisted on giving me his coat to put around my dripping shoulders. The paddling would serve instead of a coat for him, he said; it would keep him warm to his bones. As I slipped the garment over my back, something hard fell from one of the pockets into the bottom of the canoe. It was a brier-wood pipe.

"Aha! Pat," I cried; "what is this? You said you had thrown all your pipes away. How does this come in your pocket?"

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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