THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
the State a new law came into force making it cost a month’s wages for any pot-hunter to kill a duck or even have one in his possession. The law, as is customary, was duly advertised. Not only was it published in the papers but stuck up in bar-rooms and county post-offices, and at last became common gossip around the feeding-ground of the ducks. At first they didn’t believe it, for they still kept out of sight, flying high—and few at that. But when they found the law was obeyed and that all firing had ceased, not a gun being heard on the river, they tumbled to the game as quick as did the pot-hunters. When the shooting season opened the following year, hardly a duck showed up. Those that came were evidently stragglers who rested for a day on their long flight south; but the Long Island Sound ducks—the well-posted ducks—stayed away altogether until, with the first of the month, the law for their protection came into force again. Then, so the old farmer, a very truthful man with whom I used to put up, wrote me, they came back by thousands; the shore was black with them.”
“And you really believe it, Brierley?” Louis’ head was shaking in a commiserating way.
“Of course I believe it, and I can show the