Seagrave collected the branches while William and Ready worked upon the sides and roof, and before the evening closed in, the fowl-house was complete. William enticed the fowls down to it with some more split peas, and then walked away. "Now, sir, the creatures will soon find their way in; and by and by, when I have time, I'll make a door to the entrance."
They were especially earnest as they assured us of the peril there would be in loitering away from the body of the company, as they had noticed some of our boys doing, that day, while hunting for sage fowls. After awhile, he of the big hat inquired and seemed almost to tremble with solicitude as he spoke: "Are you prepared to defend yourselves, in case of an attack?"
Yet Lothaw soon tired of the game, and after seriously damaging his aristocratically large foot in an attempt to "tight croquet" the Lady Aniseed's ball, he limped away to join the Duchess. "I'm going to the hennery," she said. "Let me go with you; I dearly love fowls broiled," he added thoughtfully.
As we watched behind the curtains a Dorking stepped through and began to prospect among the sumach and stramonium that Bill had encouraged along our frontiers, under an illusion that plants labelled "poisonous" in her American gardening book would decimate the fowls. "I wish they wouldn't," said Bill sadly, and added, "It's rotten, you know. I shall speak to them about it one of these days."
They took their provisions and stores up to the house, and made fast the door, called the fowls, and gave them some damaged rice which Ready had brought from the cove, and found, to their great delight, that they had now upwards of forty chickens; some, indeed, quite grown, and large enough to kill.
The reptilian scales are retained on the tarso-metatarsal region of the leg in the majority of birds, and it would be expected, if the view just quoted were correct, that a transition from scales to feathers would be visible at the ankle-joint. This, however, is not the case. In fowls some breeds have scaly shanks and others feathered.
These are fowls with so firm a faith in the Mosaic code of an eye for an eye that when Miss Sally Ruth has six blind of the right eye we have five blind of the left. We are at times stung by the Mayne bees, but freely and bountifully supplied with the Mayne honey, a product of fine flavor.
He delighted, in addition, to have about the house many kinds of extraordinary animals; badgers, squirrels, apes, marmosets, dwarf asses, horses, barbs for running races, little horses from Elba, jays, dwarf fowls, Indian turtle-doves, and other suchlike animals, as many as he could lay his hands on.
Then she raised the curtains and reopened the door to the innocent spring night, after which we sat to our meatless and wheatless repast. In place of meat we sternly contented ourselves with stewed chicken, certain of the Arrowhead fowls having refused to do their bit in eggs and now paying the penalty in a crisis when something is expected from everyone.
The light revealed objects unseen before, mountains, gleaming lakes, glimpses of a creation among the chaos; but also, as was unavoidable, it attracted bats and owls and the whole host of night birds, which flapped their dusky wings against the gazer's eyes, and sometimes were mistaken for fowls of angelic feather. Such delusions always hover nigh whenever a beacon-fire of truth is kindled.