Paul Lenthier's Feeshin'-Pole

ALL his neighbors grew richer than
Old Paul Lenthier, trout-fisherman.
Yet what man in the settlement
Possessed his soul in more content ?
Those days he paddled to some clear pool
Where trout lay deep in waters cool,
Those days he sat with pole and line
Drinking the air that was like good wine,
Watching the duck-brood learn to dive,
Glad like them to be there and alive.
He sang, and taught little Jeanne to fish,
To go with him was Jeanne’s first wish; —
“ Rich Joe Bruseau he make charcoal,
On de lake he cannot go ; —
We, Jeanne, have only de feeshin’-pole,
But we ’re richer dan rich Joe ! ”
Jeanne grew fair as that white birch there,
Bruseau’s Marie and she were a pair;
But Bruseau’s Marie had money to buy
Finery for a French girl’s eye ;
Jeanne almost cried her bright eyes out,
“ Dere comes no money from feeshin’ trout! ”
Paul heard, and sadly stole away
To fish alone the whole of a day ;
That night he hung up his pole and net
Slowly, with just a sigh of regret;
Then whistled as gay as blackbirds can
And bargained to be Joe Bruseau’s man,
Vowing so stoutly that he was fit,
Joe gave him work in the charcoal pit.
And now Jeanne laughs, she’s covered o’er
With ribbons from the notion-store ;
Old Paul laughs too, through dust of the coal, —
And tries to forget his fishing-pole.
But in the bays, spruce-darkened, dim,
The splashing duck-brood watch for him :
“Come back! come back!’’ they make their cry,
“ Come back to lake and wood ;
Quick back, old Paul, you soon must die ;
Come back where life is good ! ”
Francis Sterne Palmer.