Hens are devils incarnate. Capt. Beeks lays down this proposition not with the view of inviting discussion, but as an axiom, which his individual experience has taught him, is as immutable and unchangeable as time. Captain Seeks had, with infinite labor and pains, contrived to raise a few strawberries, some nice young peas, and other vegetables, and fondly anticipated how in a few days he would sit down with the produce of his own garden before him, like other “ horny handed sons of toil.” He was just settling himself for an afternoon nap. when the partner of his joys happened to glance out of the window into the garden and exclaimed, “ Drat ! them hens.”
Captain Seeks was on his feet in an instant. “ Somebody’s left the gate open and let them in,” said he ; “ blast ’em,” and with that he started on a run for the garden, loading himself with brick-bats on the way. Setting the gate ajar, he tried to persuade the hens to leave the enclosure, but instead they scampered to the other end of the garden, cackling like mad. After performing this operation several times. Captain Seeks, now losing control over his temper, fired a brick at them, and succeeded in demolishing a dozen young cabbage plants. Growing desperate at the havoc he had made, and regardless of consequences, he fired his arsenal of bricks, one after another in quick succession, at the hens. This time he was successful in—missing the hens ; also, in breaking off two or three palings, smashing the glass of the hot-bed, and nearly driving a hole through Dr Bullett, who had looked over the fence to see what was going on. Dr Bullett, of course, went “to see a man. ” In his excitement Captain Beeks hastily made a few observations concerning ornithology and the specimens before him, which were, on the whole, more remarakable for their com-
pact sincerity than for their strict ad—herence to. the technicalities of scientific Rallying once more, after nearly wrenching his arm and neck from his body in his efforts to convert the wheelbarrow into a projectile, he made a final rush at the cackling hens. He ducked his head at the arbour in going under, but did not make sufficient allowance for momentum. It caught him on the crown of his head, and —he sat down suddenly—on the upturned rake. Whether he was turning over mentally what effect Chandler’s appointment would have on the Herzegovinian disturbance ; or whether the northern portion of Alaska would be a “nice cool place to sit down and rest” will remain for ever a dark and hidden mystery, but as he was moving impetuously away from the solemn scene, he might have been heard to scream : “ Schiedam ends with two ll’s.”
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