A Man and a Woman eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 184 pages of information about A Man and a Woman.
a cover of deep bushes.  Come to close quarters with a black-snake he had never done, for a double reason:  firstly, because stones did almost as well as a club, and, secondly, because his father, fearing for him, had threatened him with punishment if he essayed such combat, and the firm old rule of “spare the rod and spoil the child” was adhered to literally by the father and indorsed by the mother with hesitation.  And, growing close to the house, were slender sprouts of birch and willow, each of which leaned forward as if to say, “I am just the thing to lick a boy with,” and such a sprout as one of these, especially the willow, does, under proper conditions, so embrace one’s shoulders and curl about one’s legs and make itself familiar.  But the feud was on, and as a permanency, though, on this particular afternoon, the young man, as he stood there in the doorway, had no thought of snakes.  Something else this summer was attracting much of his attention.  He had a family on his hands.

CHAPTER III.

Boy, bird and snake.

The young man’s family was not large, but a part of it was young, and he felt the responsibility.  The song-sparrow is the very light and gladness of the woods and fields.  There are rarer singers, and birds of more brilliant plumage, but he is the constant quantity.  His notes may not rival those mellow, brief ones of the blue-birds in early spring, so sweet in their quaint inflection, which suggest all hope, and are so striking because heard while snow may be yet upon the ground; he may not have the wild abandon of the bobolink with that tinkle and gurgle and thrill; he is no pretentious songster, like a score of other birds, but he is a great part of the soul of early summer, for he is telling, morning, noon and night, how good the world is, how he approves of the sunshine, and how everything is all right!  And so the young man approved much of the song-sparrow, and was interested in the movements of all his kind.

One day in May, the boy had noted something in the clump of bushes, between the house and creek, which very much resembled a small bird’s-nest, and had at once investigated.  He found it, the nest of the song-sparrow, and, when the little gray guardian had fluttered away, he noted the four tiny eggs, and their mottled beauty.  He did not touch them, for he had been well trained as to what should be the relations between human beings and all singing birds, but his interest in the progress of that essay in summer housekeeping became at once absorbing.  He announced in the house that he intended to watch over the nest all summer, and keep off the hawks, and that when the little eggs were hatched, and the little birds were grown, maybe he would try to tame one.  He was encouraged in the idea.  It is good to teach a boy to be protective.  And when the birds were hatched, his interest deepened.

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A Man and a Woman from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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