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Suddenly, as I gaze at the somber land in the picture,

The bridge, the enchanted stream, the long, long watery plain, And the dark wood and the small, far houses and the blue hills Flashing like dolphins under a light like rain,

Look, the window has opened! The sounds come in,
Broad, rich, streaming, in the last light of the sun;
The whole wide land is a flood of mysterious sound.
Oh, this is the land where you have gone!

Your voice floats up to me from that bridge; I hear
The tiny words out of dusk, like a gnat-song: "Come!
Stay-stay where you are! You will be happier there.
I will at last, perhaps, come home."

Oh, voice, crying the ineffable, face invisible,

Beauty intangibly gone, like a tracery out of the sky!

Come back! But the window closes; bridge, stream, houses, hills, Are silent. Small is the picture. None stirs in the world save I.


NE afternoon in India, a few years ago, it was my privilege to perform a very gracious act of benevolence toward a Santhal who had stolen a rat. Through that exceptional display of mercy and tolerance I subsequently came into an unusual heritage of bulbuls.

Now, the Santhals are one of the primitive tribes of Bengal, and the one in the case was the first I had ever seen, a naked fellow, shy, predatory, primeval. He was prowling in the jungle, unaware and unexpectant of surveillance, when we caught him redhanded in his thievery. Tucked under the piece of string that he wore around his waist in lieu of other apparel was the grim evidence of his depravitythe limp, gray carcass of the rat he had just poached from my domain.

Caitiff knave that he knew himself to be, the wretch sprang, ape-like, into the branches of a tree on the first glint of trouble. But on the tree being surrounded by my retainers and he being summoned to earth, the ruffian slithered from his sanctuary and groveled before me, as became our respective stations. Then abandoning all effort at excuse or concealment,

he laid his ill-gotten plunder at my feet.

At that moment, as it happened, I had no particular use or desire for a dead rat. Previous intimate association with bubonic plague and with the moribund rodents that were its carriers had imbued me with a distaste for all things rattish. It seemed to me, however, that no good purpose would be served by enlightening the poacher on the subject of these prejudices. Rather would I seize upon the opportunity for such a display of magnanimity as would exalt the fame of the stranger sahib with all these primitive people among whom I had come for a long sojourn. Accordingly, I bade the man take up his rat and walk.

As he attempted to advance beyond the limits of this license by breaking into a run, I ordered his instant recall. Quivering with apprehension, he again groveled in the shadow of the presence. It was then that I issued the immortal order, the hookum, or decree, that lifted my renown to the upper stars, by declaring that henceforth he and all his tribe, the males and the females, the widows and the babes, were to have full permission and liberty within the pale of all those jungles to capture,

have, hold, and carry whatsoever rats or similar vermin they might find throughout the territory wherein my will was the law.

Dazed and overwhelmed in the glory of these new prerogatives, the Santhal again tucked his quarry into his girdle and withdrew. I proceeded with the work in hand, and selected a suitable site whereon to erect the shelter of thatch and brambles that was to 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

Sphinx have ever appeared to me as mere transparent jokes compared with those of ornithology. Adverse circumstances to the contrary, notwithstanding, ornithology continues to be a science concerning which I have been able to maintain an absolutely virgin mind.

Academically, no doubt, I had some useful understanding in the matter of bulbuls. They were, as I had gathered


the jungle. They brought eggs and skinny fowls, for which they were paid justly. They also brought two leopard cubs, with milky-blue eyes and snarling habits, two chameleons, and four fledgling bulbuls. The latter were gifts for which they refused to accept fee or reward of any kind.

Necessity compelled me to undergo certain scholastic examinations in my youth, and thus my unwilling wits were dragged through various rudimentary courses in science and the humanities. But the mysteries of the

from such authorities as Mr. Moore and Lord Byron, melodious nightingales that haunted rose-gardens and enravished the ears of passionate lovers in the bowers and palaces of Persia and Kashmir.

My servitors formed a mixed grill, and were antipathetic in many things. They included Punjabi Mohammedans, Sikhs, Bengali Hindus, a Gharwal Gurkha, and a mongrel Munshi, who had Kashmiri blood in him, but who hailed from Murshidabad. All these persons corroborated the state

ments of the Santhals to the effect that the fledglings in the gift were really bulbuls.

But these birds were not the sort of fowl that I reasonably expected "the bulbuls of a thousand tales" would be. In the country of the Santhals there are no roses, and these fledglings did not seem love-lorn of any roses, and therefore, despite the assurances of my retainers, my heart was filled with misgivings.

Justification for such misgivings came with a fuller knowledge of the birds themselves, because, as I was soon to learn, there are bulbuls and bulbuls, just as there are rats and rats. My tokens of Santhal gratitude, as it happened, were not the rose-worshipers, but birds of a wholly different feather. They were fighting bulbuls, fowl far better calculated to beguile the leisure of such a sahib bahadur, or hero, as the lord of my domain than would any flock of mere love-whistlers from the shriveled hills of Persia or the greener valleys of Kashmir.

Anyhow, the bulbuls were taken into my entourage, as were the chame leons and the leopard cubs, bringing with them a heavy and unsuspected burden of trouble.

Much hardship in a gastronomic way has been spared to me in remote places by the fact that I do not use milk or butter. As a result of my dislike for such food, we had no milk in my camp, and the young leopards whined for such sustenance. They whined continuously. A female goat was procured from the Santhals at a price approximating half a dollar, and the whinings of the leopards were allayed.

But-and here is a discovery that the works of Audubon may not record

goat's milk proved to be unsuitable nourishment for young bulbuls. Chidi Khan, my cook, was a Punjabi from Peshawar, wise in all things not pertinent to his calling. He informed me that, did I desire to wean those birdlings and see them prosper, I should have to feed them on the tenderer lower halves of grasshoppers. That was the only way.

I asked Chidi Khan if he could picture me with a bulbul in one hand and a net in the other flitting about the jungle catching grasshoppers for the delectation of the bird.

Chidi Khan agreed that such a spectacle would be a preposterous absurdity, but contended that a suitably active and diligent urchin could be employed as a purveyor of grasshoppers, and thus at a comparatively small outlay a continuous and ample ration of bulbul food could be obtained.

In this suggestion I concurred. Meanwhile one of the workmen had been taken off the all-important task of building my residence, and was busily constructing a cage, or aviary, for the bulbuls. A grasshopper-boy was produced out of the Ewigkeit. He sallied forth with two empty vegetable cans, and returned in an incredibly short period with about half a pound of live grasshoppers in bulk. Chidi Khan then showed me how to feed the fledglings. He nipped off the edible end of a grasshopper, then he took the bulbul in his hand, with its head up, and held the morsel of food about its beak.

The bulbul wriggled uneasily, but made no effort to eat. Thereupon Chidi Khan waved his hand, fluttering it the while, over the orphan. Promptly, the little creature opened its beak and struggled upward, and Chidi Khan

dropped the grasshopper into the gaping orifice. The bulbul gobbled it up. The fledgling, accustomed to such phenomena, had associated the cook's fluttering fist with the flutter of the parent bird's wings above its nest. Thus reassured, it gaped for and swallowed the grasshopper and was


I quickly learned how to perform this operation of feeding the youngsters myself, and thus in the course of one brief afternoon became fostermother to four bulbuls, all creatures of insatiable appetite. At sundown we put them to bed in one of the three cages that had meanwhile been fashioned.

Next morning I was up and about before they were; but when the grasshopper-boy appeared and I went to the cage, the little creatures were as hungry as hawks. Thus we kept on feeding them at varied intervals until about nine o'clock, when a fresh delegation of Santhals appeared on the scene with four more bulbuls and a young owl.

The young owl succumbed to the rigors of captivity, as did a young goatsucker that was later brought in by our aboriginal friends. Both birds swallowed the raw meat that we fed to them, but it gave them appendicitis, or something else that was beyond the purview of my simple surgery, and they perished. The bulbuls, however, flourished like young bay-trees, and in due season were allowed to fly loose all over the place.

In time, as instructed by the cook, I changed their diet. Coarse flour, called attah, was brought from the servants' quarters, and mixed with water into a very stiff porridge. Then a slip of split bamboo, like a piece of

whalebone, was used as a spoon, and the porridge was ladled into the bulbuls' beaks.

While this was being done, they were held in the hand, just as they had been held for their first grasshoppers. But as time passed, and they learned how to fly about and fend for themselves, the greedy little rascals became more troublesome, and this feeding business assumed fresh complications. The attah porridge was kept in a little red clay pot, or chatty, and the birds knew that chatty as well as I did.

Additional gifts from the Santhals had brought up the number of the flock to more than a dozen, and these were collected every evening and stored overnight in three cages adjacent to my bed. There they remained as quiet as mice, no matter what number of servants might pass that way, until the first disturbance of the mosquitocurtains around my bed in the morning indicated to them that I was about to get up. Then, instantly, all was uproar and confusion.

It was my custom, immediately upon arising, to get the pot of attah and its complementary feeding-stick and approach the hungry captives. Thereafter between me and the birds ensued a period of riot, rebellion, and battle royal.

As I strove to open the doors of their respective cages, each and every one of the birds fought to be first in egress. egress. A moment later the lot of them would be scrambling and clawing and pecking and twittering all over my arms, neck, and shoulders, and pouncing down viciously at the attah-pot, sometimes colliding with one another in mid-air as they dashed for their provender.

Then as I would grasp one and hold

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