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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 104 pages of information about Chantecler.

AN OWL
Asio, are you coming?

ANOTHER OWL
[Calling.] Nictea!

ANOTHER [Fluttering up to him.] Yes, my dear! [They all stagger and trip over their wings.]

THE BLACKBIRD
What makes them stumble?

THE NIGHT-BIRDS [Winking and blinking with marked evidences of pain.] Oh, how it hurts!  Ow!  Ow!

THE BLACKBIRD
Lightning opthalmia, I declare! [One by one the OWLS fly off.]

THE GRAND-DUKE [The last to go, spins on himself with a cry of pain and rage.] How does he contrive, that pernicious Cock, to have a voice that fairly puts out your eyes! [He heavily flaps off.]

VOICES OF THE NIGHT-BIRDS
[In the distance.] Strix!

THE BLACKBIRD [Looking after them among the branches, and later in the blue space over the valley.] They are calling one another!

VOICE IN THE DISTANCE
Scops!

THE BLACKBIRD [Bending over the valley, where the dark wings are dwindling and fading.] They wheel—­waver—­dip—­

VOICES
[Dying in the distance.] Owl of the Wall!  Of the Belfry!  Of the Yew!

THE BLACKBIRD Gone! [He looks about, gives a hop, and with an immediate return to levity.] But it’s supper-time.—­Now for a bite of cold grasshopper! [The PHEASANT-HEN suddenly flies over the brushwood tangle, dropping beside him.] You!

SCENE SECOND

THE BLACKBIRD, THE PHEASANT-HEN, later CHANTECLER

THE PHEASANT-HEN [Panting, tragically earnest.] I ran all the way.—­You were there.—­Oh, I am half dead with terror!—­Well you must have overheard their dreadful secret!  You, his friend!

THE BLACKBIRD [Cheerfully rummaging among the moss.] Or the thigh of a katydid will do.

THE PHEASANT-HEN I was watching from a distance.  I crouched in a ditch—­[In an anguished voice.] Well?

THE BLACKBIRD
[In genuine surprise.] Well, what?

THE PHEASANT-HEN
Their conspiracy—­

THE BLACKBIRD
[Calmly.] It all went off very nicely.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
What do you mean?

THE BLACKBIRD
The shadow was a correct and appropriate blue, and the Owls said
perfectly characteristic things.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
[In wild alarm.] Heavens, they plotted his death?

THE BLACKBIRD
His decease, which is not nearly so bad.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
But—­

THE BLACKBIRD Don’t smite your brow!  In spite of the Screech-Owl’s grave and self-important tone, I shouldn’t wonder if it all amounted to very little.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
Those Owls—­

THE BLACKBIRD
Are good enough in their various parts, but it’s the old excessive style
of acting.

THE PHEASANT-HEN
I beg your pardon?

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