I did not fear the hen-harriers, for I kept no chickens; but I feared the men-harriers rather. I had more cheering visitors than the last.
He peered through the bush as the sound swelled. Presently he saw a white bird come fluttering with a dropt wing, two hen-harriers in close pursuit. They were over her, upon her, there was a wrangle of wings brown and white even while he watched; then the white got clear again, and he could see that she bled in the breast.
Prosper suited his conversation to her book. He told her of the white bird's rescue, and she opened her blue eyes in wonder. "Why, I dreamed of it last night," she said very solemnly. "You dreamed of it, Alice?" he echoed. She was called, she had told him, Alice of the Hermitage. "Yes, yes. A white bird and two hen-harriers. Ah, and there was more. You have not yet done all.
As I told you, I was a boy at the time; but these things stay by you. It is a fact at least that I am queasy on the subject of white birds. Before I came to High March, indeed it was almost my first day in Morgraunt, I saw and rescued a white bird from two hen-harriers; and now I have been troubled by another. I seem beset by white birds!"
After this he asked the next, "Where hast thou passed thy time?" "At court," said the son. "Sparrows and silly little birds are of no use in that place -there one finds much gold, velvet, silk, armour, harnesses, sparrow-hawks, screech-owls and hen-harriers; keep to the horses' stable where they winnow oats, or thresh, and then fortune may give thee thy daily grain of corn in peace."
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