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"You 're daft, but you have grit. I “I know it because in his prison,-' know who you be. Edgerton tele- he stopped, yawned, rubbed his jaw, graphed me you were coming. So you "in his cell I wrestled with the evil like Jason, eh?”
spirit in him.” “I do.”
"You won?" "I tell you he was a thief, a drun- “I did.” kard_"
"But after that—when did he die?" “And I tell you he was a genius!" I asked. “You tell me! Huh!”
“He did n't.” “See here, what reason has there “You mean Jason is alive now, been for your dogging Jason? It sixty years after—" was n't just your boyish fighting and- "He 's ninety-five years old. You how did you find out what became of see, I 'm-I was till I rechristened him after he left Kennuit?"
myself Williams—I'm Jason Sanders," The old man looked at me as though he replied. I were a bug. He answered slowly, Then for two thousand miles, by with a drawl maddening to my impa- village street and way-train and limtience-impatience so whelming now ited, sitting unmoving in berths and that my spine was cold, my abdomen silent in smoking-rooms, I fled to the constricted.
cool solace of Quinta Gates.
The Open Window
By CONRAD AIKEN
Suddenly, as I gaze at the somber land in the picture,
Look, the window has opened! The sounds come in,
Your voice floats up to me from that bridge; I hear
Oh, voice, crying the ineffable, face invisible,
NE afternoon in India, a few he laid his ill-gotten plunder at my
years ago, it was my privilege feet.
Santhal who had stolen a rat. dead rat. Previous intimate associaThrough that exceptional display of tion with bubonic plague and with the mercy and tolerance I subsequently moribund rodents that were its carcame into an unusual heritage of riers had imbued me with a distaste for bulbuls.
all things rattish. It seemed to me, Now, the Santhals are one of the however, that no good purpose would primitive tribes of Bengal, and the one be served by enlightening the poacher in the case was the first I had ever on the subject of these prejudices. seen, a naked fellow, shy, predatory, Rather would I seize upon the opporprimeval. He was prowling in the tunity for such a display of magnajungle, unaware and unexpectant of nimity as would exalt the fame of the surveillance, when we caught him red- stranger sahib with all these primitive handed in his thievery. Tucked under people among whom I had come for a the piece of string that he wore around long sojourn. Accordingly, I bade the his waist in lieu of other apparel was man take up his rat and walk. the grim evidence of his depravity- As he attempted to advance beyond the limp, gray carcass of the rat he had the limits of this license by breaking just poached from my domain. into a run, I ordered his instant recall.
Caitiff knave that he knew himself Quivering with apprehension, he again to be, the wretch sprang, ape-like, into groveled in the shadow of the presence. the branches of a tree on the first glint It was then that I issued the immortal of trouble. But on the tree being sur- order, the hookum, or decree, that rounded by my retainers and he be- lifted my renown to the upper stars, by ing summoned to earth, the ruffian declaring that henceforth he and all slithered from his sanctuary and grov- his tribe, the males and the females, eled before me, as became our re- the widows and the babes, were to spective stations. Then abandoning have full permission and liberty within all effort at excuse or concealment, the pale of all those jungles to capture, have, hold, and carry whatsoever rats Sphinx have ever appeared to me as or similar vermin they might find mere transparent jokes compared with throughout the territory wherein my those of ornithology. Adverse cirwill was the law.
cumstances to the contrary, notwithDazed and overwhelmed in the standing, ornithology continues to be a glory of these new prerogatives, the science concerning which I have been Santhal again tucked his quarry into able to maintain an absolutely virgin his girdle and withdrew. I proceeded mind. with the work in hand, and selected a Academically, no doubt, I had some suitable site whereon to erect the shel- useful understanding in the matter of ter of thatch and brambles that was to bulbuls. They were, as I had gathered be my abode for the ensuing year or so.
Next morning to my tents came a delegation of Santhals, shy little creatures, untidy in their ways, but greatly skilled in the lore and the habitants of
the jungle. They brought eggs and
They brought eggs and from such authorities as Mr. Moore skinny fowls, for which they were paid and Lord Byron, melodious nightinjustly. They also brought two leo gales that haunted rose-gardens and pard cubs, with milky-blue eyes and enravished the ears of passionate snarling habits, two chameleons, and lovers in the bowers and palaces of four fledgling bulbuls. The latter
The latter Persia and Kashmir. were gifts for which they refused to ac- My servitors formed a mixed grill, cept fee or reward of any kind. and were antipathetic in many things.
Necessity compelled me to undergo They included Punjabi Mohammecertain scholastic examinations in my dans, Sikhs, Bengali Hindus, a Gharyouth, and thus my unwilling wits wal Gurkha, and a mongrel Munshi, were dragged through various rudi- who had Kashmiri blood in him, but mentary courses in science and the who hailed from Murshidabad. All humanities. But the mysteries of the these persons corroborated the statements of the Santhals to the effect that -goat's milk proved to be unsuitable the fledglings in the gift were really nourishment for young bulbuls. Chidi bulbuls.
Khan, my cook, was a Punjabi from But these birds were not the sort of Peshawar, wise in all things not pertifowl that I reasonably expected "the nent to his calling. He informed me bulbuls of a thousand tales" would be. that, did I desire to wean those birdIn the country of the Santhals there lings and see them prosper, I should are no roses, and these fledglings did have to feed them on the tenderer not seem love-lorn of any roses, and lower halves of grasshoppers. That therefore, despite the assurances of my was the only way. retainers, my heart was filled with mis- I asked Chidi Khan if he could picgivings.
ture me with a bulbul in one hand and
a Justification for such misgivings a net in the other flitting about the came with a fuller knowledge of the jungle catching grasshoppers for the birds themselves, because, as I was delectation of the bird. soon to learn, there are bulbuls and Chidi Khan agreed that such a specbulbuls, just as there are rats and rats. tacle would be a preposterous absurdMy tokens of Santhal gratitude, as it ity, but contended that a suitably happened, were not the rose-worship- active and diligent urchin could be ers, but birds of a wholly different employed as a purveyor of grasshopfeather. They were fighting bulbuls, pers, and thus at a comparatively fowl far better calculated to beguile small outlay a continuous and ample the leisure of such a sahib bahadur, or ration of bulbul food could be obtained. hero, as the lord of my domain than In this suggestion I concurred. would any flock of mere love-whistlers Meanwhile one of the workmen had from the shriveled hills of Persia or the been taken off the all-important task greener valleys of Kashmir.
of building my residence, and was Anyhow, the bulbuls were taken busily constructing a cage, or aviary, into my entourage, as were the chame for the bulbuls. A grasshopper-boy leons and the leopard cubs, bringing was produced out of the Ewigkeit. with them a heavy and unsuspected He sallied forth with two empty vegeburden of trouble.
table cans, and returned in an incrediMuch hardship in a gastronomic bly short period with about half a way has been spared to me in remote pound of live grasshoppers in bulk. places by the fact that I do not use Chidi Khan then showed me how to milk or butter. As a result of my dis- feed the fledglings. He nipped off the like for such food, we had no milk in edible end of a grasshopper, then he my camp, and the young leopards took the bulbul in his hand, with its whined for such sustenance. They head up, and held the morsel of food whined continuously. A female goat about its beak. was procured from the Santhals at a The bulbul wriggled uneasily, but price approximating half a dollar, and made no effort to eat. Thereupon the whinings of the leopards were
Chidi Khan waved his hand, fluttering allayed.
it the while, over the orphan. PromptBut-and here is a discovery that ly, the little creature opened its beak the works of Audubon may not record and struggled upward, and Chidi Khan
dropped the grasshopper into the gap- whalebone, was used as a spoon, and ing orifice. The bulbul gobbled it up. the porridge was ladled into the bul
The fledgling, accustomed to such buls' beaks. phenomena, had associated the cook's While this was being done, they were fluttering fist with the flutter of the held in the hand, just as they had been parent bird's wings above its nest. held for their first grasshoppers. But Thus reassured, it gaped for and as time passed, and they learned how swallowed the grasshopper and was to fly about and fend for themselves, content.
the greedy little rascals became more I quickly learned how to perform troublesome, and this feeding business this operation of feeding the young- assumed fresh complications. The sters myself, and thus in the course of attah porridge was kept in a little red one brief afternoon became foster- clay pot, or chatty, and the birds mother to four bulbuls, all creatures knew that chatty as well as I did. of insatiable appetite. At sundown Additional gifts from the Santhals we put them to bed in one of the had brought up the number of the flock three cages that had meanwhile been to more than a dozen, and these were fashioned.
collected every evening and stored Next morning I was up and about overnight in three cages adjacent to before they were; but when the grass- my bed. There they remained as quiet hopper-boy appeared and I went to the as mice, no matter what number of cage, the little creatures were as hun- servants might pass that way, unti) gry as hawks. Thus we kept on feed- the first disturbance of the mosquitoing them at varied intervals until curtains around my bed in the morning about nine o'clock, when a fresh dele indicated to them that I was about to
a gation of Santhals appeared on the get up. Then, instantly, all was upscene with four more bulbuls and a roar and confusion.
It was my custom, immediately upThe young owl succumbed to the on arising, to get the pot of attah and rigors of captivity, as did a young its complementary feeding-stick and goatsucker that was later brought in approach the hungry captives. Thereby our aboriginal friends. Both birds after between me and the birds ensued swallowed the raw meat that we fed to a period of riot, rebellion, and battle them, but it gave them appendicitis, royal. or something else that was beyond the As I strove to open the doors of purview of my simple surgery, and their respective cages,
their respective cages, each and every they perished. The bulbuls, however, one of the birds fought to be first in flourished like young bay-trees, and in egress. A moment later the lot of due season were allowed to fly loose all them would be scrambling and clawing over the place.
and pecking and twittering all over my In time, as instructed by the cook, I arms, neck, and shoulders, and pouncchanged their diet. Coarse flour, ing down viciously at the attah-pot, called attah, was brought from the sometimes colliding with one another servants' quarters, and mixed with in mid-air as they dashed for their water into a very stiff porridge. Then provender. a slip of split bamboo, like a piece of Then as I would grasp one and hold