"It's too far to go and fish and come back the same day, comfortably."
"Comfortably. That's a nice word. We'll have to go like hell to get there and back and have any fishing at all."
It was a long walk and the country was very fine, but we were tired when we came down the steep road that
led out of the wooded hills into the valley of the Rio de la Fabrica.
The road came out from the shadow of the woods into the hot sun. Ahead was a river-valley. Beyond the river
was a steep hill. There was a field of buckwheat on the hill. We saw a white house under some trees on the hillside.
It was very hot and we stopped under some trees beside a dam that crossed the river.
Bill put the pack against one of the trees and we jointed up the rods, put on the reels, tied on leaders, and got
ready to fish.
"You're sure this thing has trout in it?" Bill asked.
"It's full of them."
"I'm going to fish a fly. You got any McGintys?"
"There's some in there."
"You going to fish bait?"
"Yeah. I'm going to fish the dam here."
"Well, I'll take the fly-book, then." He tied on a fly. "Where'd I better go? Up or down?"
"Down is the best. They're plenty up above, too."
Bill went down the bank.
"Take a worm can."
"No, I don't want one. If they won't take a fly I'll just flick it around."
Bill was down below watching the stream.
"Say," he called up against the noise of the dam. "How about putting the wine in that spring up the road?"
"All right," I shouted. Bill waved his hand and started down the stream. I found the two wine-bottles in the
pack, and carried them up the road to where the water of a spring flowed out of an iron pipe. There was a board over
the spring and I lifted it and, knocking the corks firmly into the bottles, lowered them down into the water. It was so
cold my hand and wrist felt numbed. I put back the slab of wood, and hoped nobody would find the wine.
I got my rod that was leaning against the tree, took the bait-can and landing-net, and walked out onto the dam.
It was built to provide a head of water for driving logs. The gate was up, and I sat on one of the squared timbers and
watched the smooth apron of water before the river tumbled into the falls. In the white water at the foot of the dam it
was deep. As I baited up, a trout shot up out of the white water into the falls and was carried down. Before I could
finish baiting, another trout jumped at the falls, making the same lovely arc and disappearing into the water that was
thundering down. I put on a good-sized sinker and dropped into the white water close to the edge of the timbers of
I did not feel the first trout strike. When I started to pull up I felt that I had one and brought him, fighting and
bending the rod almost double, out of the boiling water at the foot of the falls, and swung him up and onto the dam.
He was a good trout, and I banged his head against the timber so that he quivered out straight, and then slipped him
into my bag.
While I had him on, several trout had jumped at the falls. As soon as I baited up and dropped in again I
hooked another and brought him in the same way. In a little while I had six. They were all about the same size. I laid
them out, side by side, all their heads pointing the same way, and looked at them. They were beautifully colored and
firm and hard from the cold water. It was a hot day, so I slit them all and shucked out the insides, gills and all, and
tossed them over across the river. I took the trout ashore, washed them in the cold, smoothly heavy water above the
dam, and then picked some ferns and packed them all in the bag, three trout on a layer of ferns, then another layer of
ferns, then three more trout, and then covered them with ferns. They looked nice in the ferns, and now the bag was
bulky, and I put it in the shade of the tree.
It was very hot on the dam, so I put my worm-can in the shade with the bag, and got a book out of the pack
and settled down under the tree to read until Bill should come up for lunch.
It was a little past noon and there was not much shade, but I sat against the trunk of two of the trees that grew
together, and read. The book was something by A. E. W. Mason, and I was reading a wonderful story about a man
who had been frozen in the Alps and then fallen into a glacier and disappeared, and his bride was going to wait
twenty-four years exactly for his body to come out on the moraine, while her true love waited too, and they were
still waiting when Bill came up.
"Get any?" he asked. He had his rod and his bag and his net all in one hand, and he was sweating. I hadn't
heard him come up, because of the noise from the dam.
"Six. What did you get?"
Bill sat down, opened up his bag, laid a big trout on the grass. He took out three more, each one a little bigger
than the last, and laid them side by side in the shade from the tree. His face was sweaty and happy.
"How are yours?"
"Let's see them."
"How big are they really?"
"They're all about the size of your smallest."
"You're not holding out on me?"
"I wish I were."
"Get them all on worms?"
"You lazy bum!"
Bill put the trout in the bag and started for the river, swinging the open bag. He was wet from the waist down
and I knew he must have been wading the stream.
I walked up the road and got out the two bottles of wine. They were cold. Moisture beaded on the bottles as I
walked back to the trees. I spread the lunch on a newspaper, and uncorked one of the bottles and leaned the other
against a tree. Bill came up drying his hands, his bag plump with ferns.
"Let's see that bottle," he said. He pulled the cork, and tipped up the bottle and drank. "Whew! That makes my
"Let's try it."
The wine was icy cold and tasted faintly rusty.
"That's not such filthy wine," Bill said.
"The cold helps it," I said.
We unwrapped the little parcels of lunch.
"There's hard-boiled eggs."
"Find any salt?"
"First the egg," said Bill. "Then the chicken. Even Bryan could see that."
"He's dead. I read it in the paper yesterday."
"No. Not really?"
"Yes. Bryan's dead."
Bill laid down the egg he was peeling.
"Gentlemen," he said, and unwrapped a drumstick from a piece of newspaper. "I reverse the order. For Bryan's
sake. As a tribute to the Great Commoner. First the chicken; then the egg."
"Wonder what day God created the chicken?"
"Oh," said Bill, sucking the drumstick, "how should we know? We should not question. Our stay on earth is
not for long. Let us rejoice and believe and give thanks."
"Eat an egg."
Bill gestured with the drumstick in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other.
"Let us rejoice in our blessings. Let us utilize the fowls of the air. Let us utilize the product of the vine. Will
you utilize a little, brother?"
"After you, brother."
Bill took a long drink.
"Utilize a little, brother," he handed me the bottle. "Let us not doubt, brother. Let us not pry into the holy
mysteries of the hencoop with simian fingers. Let us accept on faith and simply say--I want you to join with me in
saying--What shall we say, brother?" He pointed the drumstick at me and went on. "Let me tell you. We will say,
and I for one am proud to say--and I want you to say with me, on your knees, brother. Let no man be ashamed to
kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God's first temples. Let us kneel and say: 'Don't eat
that, Lady--that's Mencken.'
"Here," I said. "Utilize a little of this."
We uncorked the other bottle.
"What's the matter?" I said. "Didn't you like Bryan?"
"I loved Bryan," said Bill. "We were like brothers."
"Where did you know him?"
"He and Mencken and I all went to Holy Cross together."
"And Frankie Fritsch."
"It's a lie. Frankie Fritsch went to Fordham."
"Well," I said, "I went to Loyola with Bishop Manning."
"It's a lie," Bill said. "I went to Loyola with Bishop Manning myself."
"You're cock-eyed," I said.
"It's the humidity," Bill said. "They ought to take this damn humidity away."
"Have another shot."
"Is this all we've got?"
"Only the two bottles."
"Do you know what you are?" Bill looked at the bottle affectionately.
"No," I said.
"You're in the pay of the Anti-Saloon League."
"I went to Notre Dame with Wayne B. Wheeler."
"It's a lie," said Bill. "I went to Austin Business College with Wayne B. Wheeler. He was class president."
"Well," I said, "the saloon must go."
"You're right there, old classmate," Bill said. "The saloon must go, and I will take it with me."
"Well, maybe I am."
"Want to take a nap?"
We lay with our heads in the shade and looked up into the trees.
"No," Bill said. "I was thinking."
I shut my eyes. It felt good lying on the ground.
"Say," Bill said, "what about this Brett business?"
"What about it?"
"Were you ever in love with her?"
"For how long?"
"Off and on for a hell of a long time."
"Oh, hell!" Bill said. "I'm sorry, fella."
"It's all right," I said. "I don't give a damn any more."
"Really. Only I'd a hell of a lot rather not talk about it."
"You aren't sore I asked you?"
"Why the hell should I be?"
"I'm going to sleep," Bill said. He put a newspaper over his face.
"Listen, Jake," he said, "are you really a Catholic?"
"What does that mean?"
"I don't know."
"All right, I'll go to sleep now," he said. "Don't keep me awake by talking so much."
I went to sleep, too. When I woke up Bill was packing the rucksack. Jt was late in the afternoon and the
shadow from the trees was long and went out over the dam. I was stiff from sleeping on the ground.
"What did you do? Wake up?" Bill asked. "Why didn't you spend the night?" I stretched and rubbed my eyes.
"I had a lovely dream," Bill said. "I don't remember what it was about, but it was a lovely dream."
"I don't think I dreamt."
"You ought to dream," Bill said. "All our biggest business men have been dreamers. Look at Ford. Look at
President Coolidge. Look at Rockefeller. Look at Jo Davidson."
I disjointed my rod and Bill's and packed them in the rod-case. I put the reels in the tackle-bag. Bill had
packed the rucksack and we put one of the trout-bags in. I carried the other.
"Well," said Bill, "have we got everything?"
"Your worms. Put them in there."
He had the pack on his back and I put the worm-cans in one of the outside flap pockets.
"You got everything now?"
I looked around on the grass at the foot of the elm-trees.
We started up the road into the woods. It was a long walk home to Burguete, and it was dark when we came
down across the fields to the road, and along the road between the houses of the town, their windows lighted, to the
We stayed five days at Burguete and had good fishing. The nights were cold and the days were hot, and there
was always a breeze even in the heat of the day. It was hot enough so that it felt good to wade in a cold stream, and
the sun dried you when you came out and sat on the bank. We found a stream with a pool deep enough to swim in.
In the evenings we played three-handed bridge with an Englishman named Harris, who had walked over from Saint
Jean Pied de Port and was stopping at the inn for the fishing. He was very pleasant and went with us twice to the
Irati River. There was no word from Robert Cohn nor from Brett and Mike.
One morning I went down to breakfast and the Englishman, Harris, was already at the table. He was reading
the paper through spectacles. He looked up and smiled.
"Good morning," he said. "Letter for you. I stopped at the post and they gave it me with mine."
The letter was at my place at the table, leaning against a coffeecup. Harris was reading the paper again. I
opened the letter. It had been forwarded from Pamplona. It was dated San Sebastian, Sunday:
_We got here Friday, Brett passed out on the train, so brought her here for 3 days rest with old friends of ours.
We go to Montoya Hotel Pamplona Tuesday, arriving at I don't know what hour. Will you send a note by the bus to
tell us what to do to rejoin you all on Wednesday. All our love and sorry to be late, but Brett was really done in and
will be quite all right by Tues. and is practically so now. I know her so well and try to look after her but it's not so
easy. Love to all the chaps_,
"What day of the week is it?" I asked Harris.
"Wednesday, I think. Yes, quite. Wednesday. Wonderful how one loses track of the days up here in the
"Yes. We've been here nearly a week."
"I hope you're not thinking of leaving?"
"Yes. We'll go in on the afternoon bus, I'm afraid."
"What a rotten business. I had hoped we'd all have another go at the Irati together."
"We have to go _into_ Pamplona. We're meeting people there."
"What rotten luck for me. We've had a jolly time here at Burguete."
"Come on in to Pamplona. We can play some bridge there, and there's going to be a damned fine fiesta."
"I'd like to. Awfully nice of you to ask me. I'd best stop on here, though. I've not much more time to fish."
"You want those big ones in the Irati."
"I say, I do, you know. They're enormous trout there."
"I'd like to try them once more."
"Do. Stop over another day. Be a good chap."
"We really have to get into town," I said.
"What a pity."
After breakfast Bill and I were sitting warming in the sun on a bench out in front of the inn and talking it over.
I saw a girl coming up the road from the centre of the town. She stopped in front of us and took a telegram out of
the leather wallet that hung against her skirt.
I looked at it. The address was: "Barnes, Burguete."
"Yes. It's for us."
She brought out a book for me to sign, and I gave her a couple of coppers. The telegram was in Spanish:
"Vengo Jueves Cohn."
I handed it to Bill.
"What does the word Cohn mean?" he asked.
"What a lousy telegram!" I said. "He could send ten words for the same price. 'I come Thursday'. That gives
you a lot of dope, doesn't it?"
"It gives you all the dope that's of interest to Cohn."
"We're going in, anyway," I said. "There's no use trying to move Brett and Mike out here and back before the
fiesta. Should we answer it?"
"We might as well," said Bill. "There's no need for us to be snooty."
We walked up to the post-office and asked for a telegraph blank.
"What will we say?" Bill asked.
" 'Arriving to-night.' That's enough."
We paid for the message and walked back to the inn. Harris was there and the three of us walked up to
Roncesvalles. We went through the monastery.
"It's remarkable place," Harris said, when we came out. "But you know I'm not much on those sort of places."
"Me either," Bill said.
"It's a remarkable place, though," Harris said. "I wouldn't not have seen it. I'd been intending coming up each
"It isn't the same as fishing, though, is it?" Bill asked. He liked Harris.
"I say not."
We were standing in front of the old chapel of the monastery.
"Isn't that a pub across the way?" Harris asked. "Or do my eyes deceive me?"
"It has the look of a pub," Bill said.
"It looks to me like a pub," I said.
"I say," said Harris, "let's utilize it." He had taken up utilizing from Bill.
We had a bottle of wine apiece. Harris would not let us pay.
He talked Spanish quite well, and the innkeeper would not take our money.
"I say. You don't know what it's meant to me to have you chaps up here."
"We've had a grand time, Harris."
Harris was a little tight.
"I say. Really you don't know how much it means. I've not had much fun since the war."
"We'll fish together again, some time. Don't you forget it, Harris."
"We must. We _have_ had such a jolly good time."
"How about another bottle around?"
"Jolly good idea," said Harris.
"This is mine," said Bill. "Or we don't drink it."
"I wish you'd let me pay for it. It _does_ give me pleasure, you know."
"This is going to give me pleasure," Bill said.
The innkeeper brought in the fourth bottle. We had kept the same glasses. Harris lifted his glass.
"I say. You know this does utilize well."
Bill slapped him on the back.
"Good old Harris."
"I say. You know my name isn't really Harris. It's Wilson Harris. All one name. With a hyphen, you know."
"Good old Wilson-Harris," Bill said. "We call you Harris because we're so fond of you."
"I say, Barnes. You don't know what this all means to me."
"Come on and utilize another glass," I said.
"Barnes. Really, Barnes, you can't know. That's all."
"Drink up, Harris."
We walked back down the road from Roncesvalles with Harris between us. We had lunch at the inn and Harris
went with us to the bus. He gave us his card, with his address in London and his club and his business address, and
as we got on the bus he handed us each an envelope. I opened mine and there were a dozen flies in it. Harris had
tied them himself. He tied all his own flies.
"I say, Harris--" I began.
"No, no!" he said. He was climbing down from the bus. "They're not first-rate flies at all. I only thought if you
fished them some time it might remind you of what a good time we had."
The bus started. Harris stood in front of the post-office. He waved. As we started along the road he turned and
walked back toward the inn.
"Say, wasn't that Harris nice?" Bill said.
"I think he really did have a good time."
"Harris? You bet he did."
"I wish he'd come into Pamplona."
"He wanted to fish."
"Yes. You couldn't tell how English would mix with each other, anyway."
"I suppose not."
We got into Pamplona late in the afternoon and the bus stopped in front of the Hotel Montoya. Out in the plaza
they were stringing electric-light wires to light the plaza for the fiesta. A few kids came up when the bus stopped,
and a customs officer for the town made all the people getting down from the bus open their bundles on the
sidewalk. We went into the hotel and on the stairs I met Montoya. He shook hands with us, smiling in his
"Your friends are here," he said.
"Yes. Mr. Cohn and Mr. Campbell and Lady Ashley."
He smiled as though there were something I would hear about.
"When did they get in?"
"Yesterday. I've saved you the rooms you had."
"That's fine. Did you give Mr. Campbell the room on the plaza?"
"Yes. All the rooms we looked at."
"Where are our friends now?"
"I think they went to the pelota."
"And how about the bulls?"
Montoya smiled. "To-night," he said. "To-night at seven o'clock they bring in the Villar bulls, and to-morrow
come the Miuras. Do you all go down?"
"Oh, yes. They've never seen a desencajonada."
Montoya put his hand on my shoulder.
"I'll see you there."
He smiled again. He always smiled as though bull-fighting were a very special secret between the two of us; a
rather shocking but really very deep secret that we knew about. He always smiled as though there were something
lewd about the secret to outsiders, but that it was something that we understood. It would not do to expose it to
people who would not understand.
"Your friend, is he aficionado, too?" Montoya smiled at Bill.
"Yes. He came all the way from New York to see the San Fermines."
"Yes?" Montoya politely disbelieved. "But he's not aficionado like you."
He put his hand on my shoulder again embarrassedly.
"Yes," I said. "He's a real aficionado."
"But he's not aficionado like you are."
Aficion means passion. An aficionado is one who is passionate about the bull-fights. All the good bull-fighters
stayed at Montoya's hotel; that is, those with aficion stayed there. The commercial bullfighters stayed once, perhaps,
and then did not come back. The good ones came each year. In Montoya's room were their photographs. The
photographs were dedicated to Juanito Montoya or to his sister. The photographs of bull-fighters Montoya had really
believed in were framed. Photographs of bull-fighters who had been without aficion Montoya kept in a drawer of
his desk. They often had the most flattering inscriptions. But they did not mean anything. One day Montoya took
them all out and dropped them in the waste-basket. He did not want them around.
We often talked about bulls and bull-fighters. I had stopped at the Montoya for several years. We never talked
for very long at a time. It was simply the pleasure of discovering what we each felt. Men would come in from
distant towns and before they left Pamplona stop and talk for a few minutes with Montoya about bulls. These men
were aficionados. Those who were aficionados could always get rooms even when the hotel was full. Montoya
introduced me to some of them. They were always very polite at first, and it amused them very much that I should
be an American. Somehow it was taken for granted that an American could not have aficion. He might simulate it or
confuse it with excitement, but he could not really have it. When they saw that I had aficion, and there was no
password, no set questions that could bring it out, rather it was a sort of oral spiritual examination with the questions
always a little on the defensive and never apparent, there was this same embarrassed putting the hand on the
shoulder, or a "Buen hombre." But nearly always there was the actual touching. It seemed as though they wanted to
touch you to make it certain.
Montoya could forgive anything of a bull-fighter who had aficion. He could forgive attacks of nerves, panic,
bad unexplainable actions, all sorts of lapses. For one who had aficion he could forgive anything. At once he
forgave me all my friends. Without his ever saying anything they were simply a little something shameful between
us, like the spilling open of the horses in bull-fighting.
Bill had gone up-stairs as we came in, and I found him washing and changing in his room.
"Well," he said, "talk a lot of Spanish?"
"He was telling me about the bulls coming in tonight."
"Let's find the gang and go down."
"All right. They'll probably be at the café."
"Have you got tickets?"
"Yes. I got them for all the unloadings."
"What's it like?" He was pulling his cheek before the glass, looking to see if there were unshaved patches
under the line of the jaw.
"It's pretty good," I said. "They let the bulls out of the cages one at a time, and they have steers in the corral to
receive them and keep them from fighting, and the bulls tear in at the steers and the steers run around like old maids
trying to quiet them down."
"Do they ever gore the steers?"
"Sure. Sometimes they go right after them and kill them."
"Can't the steers do anything?"
"No. They're trying to make friends."
"What do they have them in for?"
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