In the shade of a high greasewood we unpacked the pony carriage. This was before the days of thermos bottles, so we had a most elaborate wicker basket whose sides let down to form a wind shield protecting an alcohol burner and a kettle. When the water boiled, we made hot tea, and so came to lunch.
Strangely enough this was my first experience at having lunch brought out to the field. Ordinarily we had been accustomed to carry a sandwich or so in the side pockets of our shooting coats, which same we ate at any odd moment that offered. Now was disclosed an astonishing variety. There were sandwiches, of course, and a salad, and the tea, but wonderful to contemplate was a deep dish of potted quail, row after row of them, with delicious white sauce. In place of the frugal bite or so that would have left us alert and fit for an afternoon’s work, we ate until nothing remained. Then we lit pipes and lay on our backs, and contemplated a cloudless sky. It was the warm time of day. The horses snoozed, a hind leg tucked up; old Ben lay outstretched in doggy content; Mrs. Kitty knit or crocheted or something of that sort; and Carrie and the Captain and I took cat naps. At length, the sun’s rays no longer striking warm from overhead, the Captain aroused us sternly.
“You’re a nice, energetic, able lot of sportsmen!” he cried with indignation. “Have I got to wait until sunset for you lazy chumps to get a full night’s rest?”
“Don’t mind him,” Mrs. Kitty told me, placidly; “he was sound asleep himself; and the only reason he waked is because he snored and I punched him.”
She folded up her fancy work, shook out her skirts, and turned to the ponies.
It was now late in the afternoon. We had disgracefully wasted our time, and enjoyed doing it. The Captain decided it to be too late to hunt up a new covey, so we reversed to pick up some of those that had originally doubled back. We flushed forty or fifty of them at the edge of the road. They scattered ahead of us in a forty-acre plowed field.
Until twilight, then, we walked leisurely back and forth, which is the only way to walk in a plowed field, after all. The birds had pitched down into the old furrows, and whenever a tuft of grass, a piece of tumbleweed, or a shallow grassy ditch offered a handful of cover, there the game was to be found. Mrs. Kitty followed at the Captain’s elbow, and Carrie at mine. Carrie made a first-rate dog,