It is even alleged that it will go far to decide the question of the possibility of flight or of the construction of an aerial machine. Without entering into this portion of the discussion, let us examine the kestrel's habits. This hawk has a light easy flight, usually maintaining an altitude a little lower than the tallest elms, but higher than most trees.
The kestrel's wings strike downwards and a very little forwards, for his natural tendency is to slip forwards, and the object of slightly reversing his vanes is to prevent this and yet at the same time to support him.
Keith turned on him so quickly that he pushed his chair back as if he were afraid he might spring across the table on him. "Yes. Resign!" Keith was leaning forward across the table now, resting his weight on one hand. "Anything to terminate our association. I am no longer in your employ, Mr. Kestrel." His eyes had suddenly blazed, and held Mr. Kestrel's eyes unflinchingly.
There was no response, only a buzz of conversation reached their ears, and the boats came rapidly on, the occupants of the Kestrel's deck seeing that they separated and changed position, so as to board on each bow, for the cutter now lay with her sail flapping, like a log upon the water. "She's an enemy, sir," whispered Hilary; and he did not alter his opinion as the boats neared. "All raight.
"Here's Arthur, a regular young town-mouse, with a natural taste for the woods, Martin, longing to break his neck climbing trees, and with a passion for young snakes." "Well, I say," sputtered out Martin eagerly, "will you come to-morrow, both of you, to Caldecott's Spinney then? for I know of a kestrel's nest, up a fir-tree.
The lights were extinguished; and Hilary, wondering at his escape, felt his heart bound with joy, for by that time the crews of a couple of boats must have been mustered on the Kestrel's deck, and in another five minutes they would be pulling, with muffled oars, towards the shore.
I order you again, sir, to risk more canvas." Hilary stood for a moment undecided, and his thoughts flashed rapidly through his brain. This man was unreasonable. He did not understand the Kestrel's powers, for she was already dashing at headlong speed through the sea, and he wanted him to run an unwarrantable risk. At all hazards he would refuse.
His shape is such that if he were rigid with outstretched wings he would glide ahead, just as a ship in a calm slowly forges ahead because of her lines, which are drawn for forward motion. The kestrel's object is to prevent his slip forwards, and the tail alone will not do it.
Such currents, when they do exist, are very local; but the kestrel's hover is not local: he can hover anywhere. He can do it in the face of a stiff gale, and in a perfect calm. The only weather he dislikes is heavy thunder, rain, or hail, during which he generally perches on a tree; but he can hover in all ordinary rain. He effects it by sheer power and dexterity of wing.
They were there seized by a party of natives, who were on the point of carrying them off into captivity when the boats had arrived and they had been rescued. These, with the four already on board the corvette, had alone escaped of all the frigate's gallant grew, several men having died on the wreck. The other incidents of the "Kestrel's" cruise need not be described.