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obligingly chime in, about two notes above his and they would gurgle together as long as breath sufficed.

“ I remember. Exceedingly clumsy birds. They seem to have more of themselves than they know how to manage. I have seen them try to balance themselves on a twig that a bulbul had just left and founder about in hopeless awkwardness. And when they walk about the garden they strut along dragging their tails as a man might walk if he had to wear a dress with a long train.

The Philosopher smiled and said, " You should have seen them last summer when the duties of parenthood devolved upon them. First Mrs. Mohok acquired a cackle which was as absurd an attempt as a bachelor's lullaby. A few weeks later she added a magnified cluck to her repertoire that was so funny-it was pathetic. It was the raven playing the part of the hen. They seemed proud of their progeny and took them from the nest when only half fledged, yet they were always self-conscious and embarrassed, perhaps because the little chaps were so painfully ugly. They managed so adroit. ly that the poor things were off their hands before you came down from the hills.

"Yet they built a nest that is really a marvel for neatness, durability, and strength. It is almost as carefully made as a wicker basket."

“ That is just it, my dear; they overdo everything as self-conscious people always do.”

“Speaking of nests, Philo, Imam-ud-din says he is going to get me a bhaia's nest. What is it? Bhaia means brother, doesn't it?

• Probably he said a byah's nest,” returned the Philosopher. “The byah is a small brownie bird that weaves a bottle-shaped nest of grass. It is most cleverly

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done. There are several compartments in each nest, and I was told as a boy that it was so made to hide the eggs from the snakes. I suppose too that a mother bird sitting upon her eggs could protect them more effectively when the opening into the apartment is so small that she could quite fill it with her head.”

“I think he said it was a very friendly bird and yet

I have never seen one."

“When young they are easily tamed. ago one came to the bungalow that had a silver ring around each ankle. Some native had stolen it from its nest when it was tiny and had kept it as a pet. It flew straight to my shoulder and when I held out my hand, perched upon my finger. I fed it but did not cage it and it would follow me about the house devotedly. It stayed with me for months, but flew away when the nesting season came. It probably became lonely then and sought a home in preference to lodgings.

“How interesting! “Mid pleasures and palaces though I may roam.

. Be it ever so humble there's no place like home,

in bird experience,” rejoined the girl. “ By the way, when I was a mere boy, my bearer

I told me a story about the byah. Would you like it?"

“Of course. Did you ever know me to be anything but eager for a story ? Especially yours, Philo dear. Tell it to me while I fill that cup of yours. I do believe it is empty.

Well, once upon a time a monkey was watching a pair of byahs weaving a nest.

He made SO many unpleasant remarks that finally Mrs. Byah retorted : · I would be ashamed if I were you.

You are nearly as big as a man, you look like a man and

do many things as a man does and yet you are not clever or industrious enough to build yourself a house to live in.' The monkey was angered at this and rising he said, I may not be skilful enough to make a nest like this, but I am strong enough to destroy it with one stroke of my hand,' and climbing up into the tree, he tore it to pieces, then walked off chuckling to himself. • There,' said Mr. Byah, 'see what you have done. He is now an enemy.

They then devised a nest which would be so light that it could hang from the end of a slender twig over the water's edge out of the reach of the monkey. They wove it of fine grass in a babul tree which you know is so full of thorns that the monkeys cannot climb it, and so they were safe.”

" It seems to have been a contest of brains and brawn, replied the girl," and I am glad the little

' birds won.

I shall tell Imam-ud-din to bring me a byah's nest without fail, provided he can find a deserted

But while you were speaking just now I heard a bird-call that I have often heard before. It reminds me of a small boy practising his finger exercises. There are only a few notes but they are repeated over and over, slowly, hesitatingly.”

“Oh! that is the white-browed fantail-flycatcher. But I have always thought it like a girl learning to whistle. Listen now, She purses her lips afresh between the notes.”

" You are right,” and the girl laughed merrily. " But what does it look like?"

The Philosopher turned to the bearer and called for his field glasses with which he soon located the birds flitting about nervously in the mahwa tree near by and, handing them to the girl, said, “Yes, there is



a pair of them, small gray and white birds that make quick sallies out of the tree for flies, spreading their tails like fans."

"I see now, but what a long name to give such a small bird ! And yet every part has its meaning; white-browed fantailed-flycatcher did you say?" And as she laid down the glasses. “ There is another bird that I have seen darting out after insects in the air. It is black and has a long forked tail." " You mean the drongo. Do

Do you know what the Hindustani people say it says ? At sunset it calls • Thákurji, Thákurji ji ji.'

" Very good. I have been trying to interpret the early morning calls of the bulbuls. Every morning

comes gaily into the garden. He is quite a dashing cavalier. His peaked

His peaked hat shows him capable of pertness but never anything undignified. He is always at ease, master of the situation and therefore lighthearted.”

“ But how does he say good morning ?" queried the Philosopher as he watched a pair of bulbuls breakfasting on the quis quallis near by.

“ I think it is 'Goodcheer, All goodcheer' that he says, but sometimes I feel as if it would take Browning's lines in Pippa Passes to express all he says in these few notes. Don't


And the Philosopher murmured softly :

“ The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven ;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing ;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven-
All's right with the world."

as a bulbul, perched upon a swaying branch, poured forth the joy of his heart in song. Then turning with an amused smile to the girl, he said, “ Now I have a puzzler for you. What do the owls say when they grow loquacious at evening ? They certainly put a lot of energy into their jargon. I often wonder if it is intelligible to themselves.'

The girl was silent for a moment, then looking up brightly said, “ Have you read any of Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures? No? They are great fun. Mrs. Caudle is supposed to be a woman whose tongue is never still except when she is asleep and naturally it waxes alarmingly energetic at bed time. Poor Mr. Caudle is suffused in a flow of biting sarcasm. Keen humour, and delicious feminine logic as inconsistent as instinctive judgments must ever be. Mrs. Caudle is really kind at heart, but has unfortunately formed the habit of delivering curtain lectures. Don't you think she is like the Indian owl?"

The Philosopher laughed outright. “I must get a copy of Mrs. Caudle's effusions, I see, to understand owl language, for you couldn't possibly deliver a course of such lectures. It is not in

It is not in your line.” The girl shook her head wisely, but there was a whimsical expression in her laughing eyes as she placed her serviette in its ring.


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