"I got six," I said, nonchalantly.
"Six pike?" Lindenburgh asked. "How big?"
I told him that the biggest was maybe five pounds. The great nose twitched. "I thought you said you got pike" he said. "Five pounds is a little jack pike."
A silence followed. I finished my drink and got up to leave. A long red hand pointed at my empty glass. "What was in that?" Lindenburgh asked.
Much later I remember looking at the pub clock, which said it was a quarter past nine. "I'd better call up my..." I started to say for the umpteenth time.
But Lindenburgh was forging on remorselessly. "...all frozen over," he continued, "but there was just this one clear patch, right under the Eight-Arch Bridge. I saw him come swimming out." He paused, thought, then held out a hand, crooking forefinger and thumb so that they almost, but not quite, made a circle. "As big as that," he said. "The yellow spots on his side. As big as that."
"Listen," I said.
"Where are you going?" Lindenburgh asked. It was more command than question. "I saw him closer than that once, though," he resumed. "That was the time I hooked him."
"The time he went under the tree?" I asked.
"Wait a minute," Lindenburgh said. "Did I tell you I was using a spoon? Well, that's what I was using. I cast it up alongside the middle arch, and I was bringing it back, nice and slow, a sort of slow, throbbing action."