And so, upon a certain day in June while I was reading in my study, Jerry went out with a rod and fly-book bound for the silent pools of Sweetwater, where the big trout lurked. My book, I remember, was the “Dialogues of Hylas and Philonous upon the Reality and Perfection of Human Understanding,” and before Jerry had been long gone from the house I was completely absorbed in what Fraser in his preface calls “the gem of British metaphysical literature.” But had I known what was to happen to Jerry on that sunny afternoon, or conceived of the dialogue in which he was to take a part, I should have regretted the intellectual attraction of Berkeley’s fine volume which had been the cause of my refusal to accompany the boy.
I find that I must reconstruct the incident as well as I can from my recollection of the facts as related by Jerry in the course of several conversations, each of which I am forced to admit amplified somewhat the one which had preceded it.
It seems that instead of making for the stream at its nearest point to the eastward, Jerry had cast into the woods above the gorge and worked upstream into the mountains. His luck had been fair, and by the time he neared the point where the Sweetwater disappeared beneath the wall his creel was half full. He clambered over a large rock to a higher level and found himself looking at a stranger, sitting on a fallen tree, fastening a butterfly net. He did not discover that the stranger was a girl until she stood up and he saw that she wore skirts, short skirts, showing neat leather gaiters. She eyed him coolly and neither of them spoke for a long moment, the girl probably because she was waiting for him to speak first, Jerry because (as he described it) of sheer surprise at the trespass and of curiosity as to its accomplishment. Then the girl smiled at Jerry.
“Hello!” she said at last.
Jerry advanced a few steps, frowning.
“I suppose you know,” he said quickly, “that you’re trespassing.”
She glanced up at him, rather brazenly I fancy, and grinned.
“Oh, really!” Her eyes appraised him and Jerry, I am sure, felt rather taken aback.
“Yes,” he went on severely, “you’re trespassing. We don’t allow any females in here.”