And now every breath he drew was quickening his pulses with the sense of home-coming; he saw the red-bellied woodpeckers sticking like shreds of checked gingham to the trees, turning their pointed heads incuriously as he passed; the welling notes of a wren bubbled upward through the sun-shot azure; high in the vault above an eagle was passing seaward, silver of tail and crest, winged with bronze; and everywhere on every side glittered the gold-and-saffron dragon-flies of the South like the play of sunbeams on a green lagoon.
I'd invite um all to a big feast, and make b'lieve I wanted to have a big talk; and as soon as I got um all together, I'd pitch in and sculp about half of um, and then t'other half would be mighty glad to make a peace that would stick. That's the way I'd make a treaty with the dog'ond, red-bellied varmints; and as sure as you're born, Cap., that's the only way."
A flock of parrots screamed overhead and a red-bellied squirrel followed persistently scolding at the top of its voice, but the monkeys continued to call. The querulous squealing abruptly ceased and we stood motionless beside a tree. For an instant the countless jungle sounds were hushed in a breathless stillness; then, low and sweet, sounded a moaning wail which swelled into deep full tones.
The Wilson thrush and the red-bellied nuthatch I have seen once or twice each. The chewink is more constant in his visits, as is also the golden-winged woodpecker. Our familiar little downy woodpecker, on the other hand, has thus far kept out of my catalogue.
Match struck by the Colonel just as something crawls over my hand and falls to the floor. It is a red-bellied terrapin. Some ferns appear neatly arranged on the table in front and to the left of the Medium. Expressions of gratification. Dark. Singing. A pine-bough is thrown against me. Screaming on account of terrapin. Match. Several parties have large lilies in front of them. Dark. Singing.
In this same grove I twice saw the rare red-bellied woodpecker, who, on both occasions, after rapping smartly with his beak, turned his head and laid his ear against the trunk, evidently listening to see whether his alarm had set any grub a-stirring. Near by, in an undergrowth, I fell in with a few worm-eating warblers.
I'd invite 'em all to a big feast, and make 'em think I wanted to have a talk; and as soon as I got 'em together, I'd light in and raise the har of half of 'em, and then t'other half would be mighty glad to make terms that would stick. That's the way I'd make a treaty with the dog'oned red-bellied varmints; and as sure as you're born, Cap., that's the only way."
At the tip of one sat a sparrow-hawk, and to the trunk of another clung a red-bellied woodpecker, who, with characteristic foolishness, sat beside his hole calling persistently, and then, as if determined to publish what other birds so carefully conceal, went inside, thrust out his head, and resumed his clatter.
The little red-bellied nuthatches, the chickadees, and little brown creepers, threading the furrows of the bark of the pines, searching for food in the crevices.
The meadow shimmered. No part of the horizon was in sight only the sky overhanging the little open of grass, and this was cloudless, though far from blue. Perhaps there was not a real sign of uneasiness anywhere except in my boat; yet I felt something ominous in this silent, stifled noon. After all, I ought to have scotched the rusty, red-bellied water-snake leering at me now.