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There were three of them. There were four of us, and April lay on the campsite and on the river. This was Deer Lodge on the Pine River in New Hampshire. Brother Bentley’s father had found this place sometime after the First World War, a foreign affair that had seriously done him no good but he found solitude abounding here. Now we were here, post World War II, post Korean War, Vietnam War on the brink. Peace was everywhere about us, in the riot of young leaves, in the spree of bird confusion and chatter, in the struggle of pre-dawn animals for the start of a new day.

We had pitched our camp in the near darkness, Ed LeBlanc, Brother Bentley, Walter Ruszkowski and myself. A dozen or more years we had been here and seen no one. Now, into our campsite deep in the forest came an old van. Two elderly men sat in the front seat, felt hats at the slouch and decorated with an assortment of tied flies. ‘Morning, been yet?’ one of them said as he pulled his boots up from the folds at his knees. His hands were large, the fingers long and I could picture them in a shop barn working a primal plane across the face of a maple board.

‘Barely had coffee,’ Ed LeBlanc said, the most vocal of the four of us, quickest at friendship, at shaking hands. ‘We’ve got a whole pot almost. Have what you want.’ The pot was pointed out sitting on a hunk of grill across the stones of our fire, flames licking lightly at its sides. When we fished the Pine River, coffee was the glue, the morning glue, the late evening glue, even though we’d often unearth our beer from a natural cooler in early evening. Camp coffee has a ritual. It is thick, it is potboiled over a squaw-pine fire, it is strong enough to wake the demon in you. But into that pot has to go fresh eggshells to hold the grounds down, give coffee a taste of history, a sense of place. That means at least one egg must be cracked open for its shells. I suspect that’s where ‘scrambled eggs’ originated, from some camp like ours.

‘You’re early enough for eggs and bacon if you need a start.’ Eddie added, his invitation tossed kindly into the morning air. ‘We have hot cakes and home fries, if you want.’ ‘Been there already,’ the other man said, his weaponry also noted by us, a little more orderly in its presentation, including an old Boy Scout sash across his chest and the galaxy of flies in supreme positioning. They were old Yankees, in the face and frame, the pair of them undoubtedly brothers. They were taller than we were, no fat on their frames, wideshouldered, big-handed, barely coming out of their reserve, but fishermen. That fact alone would win any of us over.

Then the pounding came from inside the truck and the voice of authority from some place in space, some regal spot in the universe. ‘I’m not sitting here the livelong day whilst you boys gab away.’ ‘Coming, pa,’ one of them said, the most orderly one. They pulled open the back doors of the van, swung them wide, to show His Venerable Self, ageless, white-bearded, felt hat too loaded with an arsenal of flies, sitting on a white wicker rocker. Across his lap he held three delicate fly rods, old as him, thin, bamboo in colour, probably too slight for a lake’s three-pounder.

Rods were taken from the caring hands and His Venerable Self was lifted from the truck and set by our campfire. The old one looked about the campsite, noted clothes drying from a previous day’s rain, order of equipment and supplies aligned the way we always kept them, the canvas of our tent taut and true in its expanse, our fishing rods off the ground and placed atop the flyleaf so as not to tempt raccoons with smelly cork handles, no garbage in sight. He nodded. We had passed muster.

‘You the ones leave it cleaner than you find it every year. We knew something about you. Never disturbed you before. But we share the good spots.’ He looked closely at Brother Bentley, nodded a kind of recognition. ‘Your daddy ever fish here, son?’ Brother must have passed through the years in a hurry, remembering his father bringing him here as a boy. ‘A ways back,’ Brother said in his clipped North Saugus fashion, outland-er, specific, no waste in his words.

ВОПРОС 1 When Brother Bentley’s father found Deer Lodge, he appreciated that
1) there was no war.
2) he could listen to the birds singing.
3) there were lots of animals to hunt.
4) there were no people there.

ВОПРОС 2 The narrator thought that the elderly men could have worked as
1) mechanics.
2) carpenters.
3) shop assistants.
4) plumbers.

ВОПРОС 3 Ed LeBlanc
1) was the most outspoken of the four people.
2) was the most modest of the four people.
3) was the worst at communication.
4) had the best voice in the company.

ВОПРОС 4 The narrator and his friends
1) drank coffee only in the morning.
2) drank only coffee in the camp.
3) made coffee in a special way
4) always had ‘scrambled eggs’ for breakfast.

ВОПРОС 5 The four men liked newcomers because
1) they had a notable weaponry.
2) they were friendly.
3) they were fisherman.
4) were old Yankees.

ВОПРОС 6 In paragraph 6 ‘We had passed muster’ means that
1) the old man approved of our camp.
2) we were considered to be experienced fishermen.
3) we had to leave our camp in a clean state.
4) we felt a surge of relief.

ВОПРОС 7 The old fisherman
1) didn’t want to disturb Brother Bentley.
2) did not recognize Brother Bentley.
3) was a friend of Brother Bentley’s father.
4) had already seen Brother Bentley here.

ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 2
ВОПРОС 3: – 1
ВОПРОС 4: – 3
ВОПРОС 5: – 3
ВОПРОС 6: – 1
ВОПРОС 7: – 4