We walked over to Louis' private fishing shack in the ch�teau grounds and examined his minnow equipment. A trap made of a corked burgundy bottle with the glass knocked out from the end of the cone in its base. A miniature trap net that could be staked in the shallows. Hand nets as well. A little rod set up with a tiny hook to take a fragment of worm. Louis had clearly been in this predicament before.
Back to the river again, but this time to a backwater that was less than knee-deep. Louis examined it with care and rejected it. "Bah!" he exclaimed and we walked another quarter mile. This time we found a pool that must have had possibilities, though not for instant fishing with rod and line. Instead Louis set the burgundy trap and we left. "Poop! poop!" he said mysteriously. I figured this out for awhile then realized he wanted to be driven somewhere.
On his directions we motored downstream to the village of La Mal�ne and went into the caf�. Louis seemed to be well-known there. There was a lot of handshaking and we settled down with a couple of brandies until maybe 10 minutes later a small boy burst in with a plastic bottle. Two vairons, by heaven! It was only courteous to take another brandy before we proceeded to our next stop, the caf� at Les Vignes, where a similar drama was enacted. It was several caf�s later, by which time the situation was becoming distinctly Glasgow, that we made our last stop at Le Rozier. That brought us up to two dozen vairons and a diminishing chance of gelling back to the ch�teau that evening. It was only the thought of a repeat order of the entire truffle for starters and a promised cassoulet de Toulouse that got me over the last 20 kilometers and home for dinner. That and hauling the trap net. It contained one minnow.
To describe the rest of the week would merely be repetitious. Each day Louis and I followed the same routine. An early-morning massacre of the trout (we both turned out to be quantity, not quality, men, for we never topped two pounds) followed by a bibulous patrol of the caf�s of the Tarn valley and a restful, well-fed evening. The last morning I recall well, though. I was returning to the ch�teau for breakfast, Louis alongside, when a big, new 4.2-liter Jaguar swirled the gravel as it pulled up on the drive. I scratched my head. Maybe I should have combed my hair that morning or at least shaved off the three-day growth. I had put on four pounds by way of cassoulet, truffles, p�t� of guinea fowl, red wine and cognac, my fishing vest was losing its leather binding and a large stain of raspberry liqueur discolored the place where you are supposed to clip on the little pair of scissors. But I had caught many a trout.
From the Jaguar stepped a large, silver-haired gentleman and I could see the Hardy labels on the rods lying across the back seat. He addressed me politely in Anglo-French. "Est-il possible, Monsieur," he said, "to attraper les trouts round here?" I indicated my friend with a graceful gesture.
"Mon cher colleague, Monsieur Glasgow here, will tell you all about it," I said. "He is king of the Tarn."