THE PHEASANT-HEN [Thoughtfully.] One feels that you have a soul.—A soul then may find wherewithal to grow, so far from life and its drama, shut in by a farmyard wall with a cat asleep on it?
CHANTECLER With power to see, capacity to suffer, one may come Ito understand all things. In an insect’s death are hinted all disasters. Through a knot-hole can be seen the sky and marching stars!
THE OLD HEN
[Appearing.] None knows the heavens like the water in the well!
CHANTECLER [Presenting her to the PHEASANT-HEN_ before the basket-lid drops._] My foster-mother!
[Politely approaching.] Delighted!
THE OLD HEN
[Slyly winking at her.] He’s a fine Cock!
He is a Cock, moreover, for whom that fact is not the only thing in the
CHANTECLER [Who has gone toward PATOU.] There, my dear boy, is a Hen with whom one can have a bit of solid conversation.
THE SAME, the GUINEA-HEN, and the whole POULTRY-YARD
Cries outside, nearer and nearer, “Ah!—” Enter all the HENS in tumult, preceded by the agitated GUINEA-HEN.
[In his cage.] The next course will be Guinea-hen!
THE GUINEA-HEN [Running to the PHEASANT-HEN.] Ah, my dear, my dear, my dear!—A beauty, a very beauty!—We have come to make your acquaintance, my dear!
[General admiration, “Ah!—” The PHEASANT-HEN is surrounded. Conversation, cries, clucking.]
CHANTECLER [Watching the PHEASANT-HEN, aside.] How well she walks, with free and graceful gait!—[He looks at the HENS.] So differently from my Hens! [Irritably, to the HENS.] Ladies, you walk as if you had blisters! You walk as if you trod on your own eggs!
No mistaking the symptoms! He is very much in love.
[Presenting her son to the PHEASANT-HEN.] The Guinea-cock, my son.
THE YOUNG GUINEA-COCK
[Looking admiringly at the PHEASANT-HEN.] What a jolly shade of blond!
[Disparagingly.] Like butter!
[Turning, dryly to the HENS.] It is time you went indoors.
[Amiably.] So soon?
They retire early.
[A little mortified.] Yes, we must turn in.
They go in by a ladder!
[To the PHEASANT-HEN.] Let us be great friends, my dear, shall we?
CHANTECLER [Looking at the PHEASANT-HEN, aside.] Her sumptuous court-dress sets her apart from the rest, and removes her far above.—My Hens are dowdies!
THE PHEASANT-HEN [To the GUINEA-HEN, excusing herself.] I return to my forest home to-night.