[After a glance.] Affirmative. [Sensation.]
THE TUFTED HEN
[Same business.] And my bonnet? [Suspense.]
[In a burst of emotion.] Our bonnets are absolute!
[Affecting exclusive interest in the BEES.] Ah, there is the Choir
Invisible striking up again!
THE GUINEA-HEN [Presenting the young GUINEA-COCK to the PEACOCK.] My son!—What do you think of him?
CHORUS OF WASPS
[Overjoyed, running to the PHEASANT-HEN.] Oh, he said he was plausible!
CHORUS OF BEES
Too holly glows
Seek the shade
Inside the rose!
THE GUINEA-HEN [Returning to the PEACOCK.] Does not the rhythm of that chorus impress you as—
[To the GUINEA-HEN.] Your guest, my dear, can fit an epithet!
Pontiff of the Unexpected Adjective I call him!
[Distilling his words, in a discordant haughty voice.] True it is that—
Ah, this is most pleasant, most pleasant! He is going to talk to us.
THE PEACOCK —a Ruskin rather more refined, I hope, than the earlier one, with a tact—
PEACOCK —a tact for which I stand largely in my own debt, I have constituted myself Petronius-Priest and Maecenas-Messiah volatile volatiliser of words, and that, jeweled judge, I love by my cameos and filigrees of speech to represent the Taste of which I am the—
Oh, my poor head!
[Nonchalantly.]—shall I say guardian?
[Effervescently.] Do say guardian!
No. Thesmothetes. [Respectful murmur of delight.]
THE GUINEA-HEN [To the PHEASANT-HEN.] Now you have seen our Peacock! Aren’t you excited?
[Slightly bored.] Yes,—because I know the Cock is coming.
THE GUINEA-HEN [Delighted.] To-day? He is coming to-day? [She announces to the general company, enthusiastically.] Chantecler!
THE PEACOCK [Slightly miffed.] A far greater triumph lies in store for you, fair friend.
Triumph? [The PEACOCK nods mysteriously.] What triumph?
[Walking away from her.] You shall see.
[Following him.] Of what triumph are you speaking?