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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 63 pages of information about A Kentucky Cardinal.

Naturally it has been my wish to bring about between this rain-cow and mocking-bird the desire to pair with one another.  For, if a man always wanted to tell his symptoms and a woman always wished to hear about them, surely a marriage compact on the basis of such a passion ought to open up for them a union of overflowing and indestructible felicity.  They should associate as perfectly as the compensating metals of a pendulum, of which the one contracts as the other expands.  And then I should be a little happier myself.  But the perversity of life!  Jacob would never confide in Mrs. Walter.  Mrs. Walters would never inquire for Jacob.

Now poor Jacob is dead, of no complaint apparently, and with so few symptoms that even the doctors did not know what was the matter, and the upshot of this talk is that his place has been sold, and I am to have new neighbors.  What a disturbance to a man living on the edge of a quiet town!

Tidings of the calamity came to-day from Mrs. Walters, who flew over and sang—­sang even on a January afternoon—­in a manner to rival her most vociferous vernal execution.  But the poor creature was so truly distressed that I followed her to the front gate, and we twittered kindly at each other over the fence, and ruffled our plumage with common disapproval.  It is marvellous how a member of her sex will conceive dislike of people that she has never seen; but birds are sensible of heat or cold long before either arrives, and it may be that this mocking-bird feels something wrong at the quill end of her feathers.

II

Mrs. Walters this morning with more news touching our incoming neighbors.  Whenever I have faced towards this aggregation of unwelcome individuals, I have beheld it moving towards me as a thick gray mist, shutting out nature beyond.  Perhaps they are approaching this part of the earth like comet that carries its tail before it, and I am already enveloped in a disturbing, befogging nebulosity.

There is still no getting the truth, but it appears that they are a family of consequence in their way—­which, of course, may be a very poor way.  Mrs. Margaret Cobb, mother, lately bereaved of her husband, Joseph Cobb, who fell among the Kentucky boys at the battle of Buena Vista.  A son, Joseph Cobb, now cadet at West Point, with a desire to die like his father, but destined to die—­who knows?—­in a war that may break out in this country about the negroes.

While not reconciled, I am resigned.  The young man when at home may wish to practise the deadly vocation of an American soldier of the period over the garden fence at my birds, in which case he and I could readily fight a duel, and help maintain an honored custom of the commonwealth.  The older daughter will sooner or later turn loose on my heels one of her pack of blue dogs.  If this should befall me in the spring, and I survive the dog, I could retort

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