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“ Man with Pigeons”
By WILLIAM ROSE BENÉT
Decorations by Earl Schrack
HEARD him with his trilling whistle call
The iridescent-breasted pigeons, fluttering,
Or leisure moments for a glimpse of wings
For it was rude and crude
There is a white-sand walk
kind hosts in those remote dominions,
T was very hot in Camagüey that after- They disclosed, Caxton was pleased to
noon, and very still. High in the bur- fancy, the presence of gentle breeding; but nished-silver sky a vulture wheeled slowly the eyes were beautiful and held the poon motionless wings, the only living crea- tentiality of supreme devotion. He told ture that Caxton's wandering gaze en- himself that they could be no other than countered. A lingering touch of the ner- the
eyes of a young girl as yet untouched vous restlessness that had forced him to by love or great joy or sorrow, so starry seek a long rest in the tropics had driven pure was their gaze, so fearlessly childlike. him forth from his hotel while all Cama- A certain susceptibility of his nature to güey was hushed in the siesta, and already romantic influences that had something alregretting his abnormal activity, he had most boyish in its disregard of convention stopped for a moment in the shadowed re- was deeply stirred. The familiar story of cess of an orange-hued wall. Above the Cuvier's power to reconstruct a prehistop of the opposite wall of the narrow toric animal from a single bone came to street he caught the sound of the heaving him now with none of his old awe of surge of wind-blown boughs; but there Cuvier's genius. From these eyes alone, was no coolness in the sound or in the ac- he told himself fervidly, he might with tual pressure of the trade-wind on his reasonable certainty reconstruct their harAushed face. He gasped in the hot rush of monious abode. All at once he awoke to the scented air; for a moment he felt the the length of his scrutiny. light-headed and incorporeal sensation of "Pardon, Señorita,” he said. “I was one suddenly awakened from fevered sleep. hardly aware of my rude staring.”
The feeling passed, and presently he Something that he was pleased to transbecame aware of a new sensation : he felt late as amused interest came to her eyes as that he was not alone. Turning slowly, she said: his gaze met the fixed look of a woman's “I could have gone away, Señor." eyes. A narrow, grated window set in the “But you did not,” he replied. “Ah, shadowed wall brought its sill slightly you would know that it was not intenabove the level of his head, and above the tional rudeness. I might have known that sill, a little back from the opening, her you would understand.” eyes gazed straight into his.
“Understand?" she repeated questionThe black mantilla that dropped to the ingly. edge of her clearly marked brows was held "All that I saw in your eyes,” he exin such fashion that only the eyes, with a plained. narrow setting of face, and the slender Unmistakably her eyes laughed then. hand that held the mantilla in place were "The señor is perhaps a fortune-teller?" to be seen.
The rimming face and the she queried mockingly. hand were ivory-hued, the fingers delicate, "No; only confident of your past," he shapely, and untouched by marks of tol. answered.