And He Wanted Them All For
Himself, So That It Was Forbidden To Sell Or Give Even An Egg Away.
The place was in the charge of a major-domo, a good-natured fellow,
and when he discovered that we
Liked peacocks' feathers for decorative
purposes in the house, he made it a custom to send us each year at the
moulting-time large bundles, whole armfuls, of feathers.
Another curious thing in the estancia was a large room set apart for
the display of trophies sent from Buenos Ayres by the Minister's
eldest son. I have already given an account of a favourite pastime of
the young gentlemen of the capital - that of giving battle to the
night-watchmen and wresting their staffs and lanterns from them. Our
Minister's heir was a leader in this sport, and from time to time sent
consignments of his trophies to the country place, where the walls of
the room were covered with staffs and festoons of lanterns.
Once or twice as a small boy I had the privilege of meeting this young
gentleman and looked at him with an intense curiosity which has served
to keep his image in my mind till now. His figure was slender and
graceful, his features good, and he had a rather long Spanish face;
his eyes were grey-blue, and his hair and moustache a reddish golden-
brown. It was a handsome face, but with a curiously repelling,
impatient, reckless, almost devilish expression.
I was at home again, back in the plantation among my beloved birds,
glad to escape from the noisy dusty city into the sweet green
silences, with the great green plain glittering with the false water
of the mirage spreading around our shady oasis, and the fact that war,
which for the short period of my own little life and for many long
years before I was born, had not visited our province, thanks to Rosas
the Tyrant, the man of blood and iron, had now come to us did not make
the sunshine less sweet and pleasant to behold.
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