He would point out to them the humming-bird that hovered, a bright blur, above the columbine, the woodpecker glued to the trunk of a maple high above their heads, the red gleam of a tanager flashing through sunlit foliage, the oriole and vireo where they hid. And his was the ear that first caught the exquisite, distant note of the hermit.
"Not music but sometimes the fancies which music engenders, trouble me," he answered, bending his earnest searching eyes upon her, and wondering within himself whether such a small, slight gossamer thing of beauty, brilliant as a tropical humming-bird, soft and caressable as a dove, could possibly be expected to have the sweet yet austere fortitude and firmness needed to be a true "helpmeet" to him in the work he had undertaken, and the life he had determined to lead.
It is interesting to recall that puss in Shakespeare's time was he and not she. Among our feathered friends the humming-bird was not uncommon. These lovely but so tiny little morsels are migrants. Indeed one of the family, and one of the tiniest and most beautiful, is known to summer in Alaska and winter in Central America; thus accomplishing a flight twice a year of over two thousand miles.
She remembered that this was the hour when her mother used to yawn over her long seam, or her knitting, and fall asleep by the window, while the bees droned outside in the jessamine, and a humming-bird there had always been one, year after year, and Dilly could never get over the impression that it was the same bird hovered on his invisible perch and thrilled his wings divinely.
In moist copses the ferns and osmundas begin to uncurl in April, opening their soft coils of spongy verdure, coated with woolly down, from which the humming-bird steals the lining of her nest. The early blossoms represent the aboriginal epoch of our history: the blood-root and the May-flower are older than the white man, older perchance than the red man; they alone are the true Native Americans.
The Vision in the starched pink gingham now poised above him like a humming-bird over a flower. From behind her back she withdrew one hand. In the hand was the missing claim stake. "Is this what you are looking for?" she inquired demurely. The mesmeric spell broke, and Bennington was permitted to babble incoherencies. She stamped her foot. "Is this what you're looking for?" she persisted.
He is the mountain streams' own darling, the humming-bird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple-slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows. Among all the mountain birds, none has cheered me so much in my lonely wanderings, none so unfailingly.
"How much thrust?" cried Tom to his machinist. "Twenty-two hundred pounds!" "Good!" The report of the starting-gun could not be heard. But the smoke of it leaped into the air. It was the signal to go. Tom's voice would not have carried five feet. He waved his hands as a signal. His helper thrust the Humming-Bird forward. Over the smooth ground it rushed. Tom looked eagerly ahead.
I remember also that my attempt to photograph a score of bees, two large brown butterflies and one humming-bird, all in attendance upon this birch feast, was a surprising failure. I secured a picture of the holes in the bark, to be sure, but the rapidly moving insect and bird life was too quick for an exposure of even a fraction of a second, and my negative was lifeless.
"'Tis the light heart she has, and slippin' in and out of things like a humming-bird, no easier to ketch, and no longer to stay," said Finden, the rich Irish landbroker, suggestively to Father Bourassa, the huge French-Canadian priest who had worked with her through all the dark weeks of the smallpox epidemic, and who knew what lay beneath the outer gaiety.