Since I've been lying here, I've watched them every night; and, do you know, they really do come and perch, all of them, just about locking-up time; and then first there's a regular chorus of caws; and then they stop a bit, and one old fellow, or perhaps two or three in different trees, caw solos; and then off they all go again, fluttering about and cawing anyhow till they roost."
The sombre pine forests gather about us; a squirrel or two runs across the route, and a solitary crow caws in the tree-top; we hear the loud "tap-tap-tap" of a woodpecker, and see through the sinuous aisles of firs some groups of negroes pattering to church.
All was still as death, except the murmuring caws of the rooks in their nests, and the chattering shriek of a startled blackbird.
When he had succeeded, he flew off with loud, joyous caws to the top of the house, where I heard him rolling nuts or acorns from the ridge, and flying to catch them before they fell off. Their independence of seasons is shown also in their habit of associating in about equal numbers throughout the year.
"Ah, but, Dot, to think of that pompous fool who sits and caws in that dingy book-room of his, with as much wise self-confidence as an antiquated raven to think of him insinuating that I had come there looking for Harry Wyndham's money; when, as you know, I was as ignorant of the poor fellow's death as Lord Cashel was himself a week ago. Insolent blackguard!
All over the flats were cows pasturing, black cows, contrasting with flocks of white sheep, which were gathered together, bleating. The coarse grass was sun-scorched; the slope of the Downs on either side showed the customary chalky green. The mist had now all but dispersed, yet there was still only blurred sunshine. Rooks hovered beneath the sky, heavily, lazily, and uttered their long caws.
During a considerable portion of the pleasant days of the year he is really the watchman upon the tower, ever on the lookout to give notice of the approach of visitors to his castle, and no one can intrude upon the premises under his self-appointed watchmanship without exciting vigorous caws, which are enthusiastically reinforced by those of his faithful subordinate.
Faith cruelly broke up the august assembly by climbing up on the fence and hurling a broken rail at it. Instantly the air was filled with flapping black wings and indignant caws. "Why did you do that?" said Walter reproachfully. "They were having such a good time." "Oh, I hate crows," said Faith airily. "The are so black and sly I feel sure they're hypocrites.
The grass was still grey-hued, the world still colourless and mysterious, the house a long black bulk against a slowly lightening sky. Only the earliest sparrows were twittering; in the trees only the most wakeful rooks were uttering tentative caws. The outburst of joy and life and music which would attend the sun's rising was not yet.
"Well," said I, "I do understand more Welsh than bara y caws I do understand a considerable part of a Welsh conversation; moreover, I can read Welsh, and have the life of Tom O'r Nant at my fingers' ends." "Well, sir, that is speaking plain, and I will tell you plainly that we don't like to have strangers among us who understand our discourse, more especially if they be gentlefolks."
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