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farmer’s letter to back it,” he answered, with a wink at me behind his hand; “and so would you if you had been humbugged by them as many times as I have. Ask Peter—he’ll tell you the same thing. And I’ll tell you something else. On the edge of that same village was a jumble of shanties inhabited by a lot of Italians who had come up from New York to work a quarry near by. On Sundays and holidays these fellows went gunning for the small birds, especially cedar birds and flickers, hiding in the big woods a mile away. After these birds had stood it for a while they put their dear little innocent heads together and thought it all out. Women and children did not shoot, therefore the safest place for nesting and skylarking was among these very women and children. After that the woods were empty; the birds just made fools of the pot-hunters and swarmed to the gardens and yards and village trees. No one had ever seen them before in such quantities, and—would you believe it?—they never went back to the woods again until the Italians had left for New York.”

Lemois, having also missed the humor in Brierley’s tone, rose from his place beside the coffee-table, leaned over the young writer, and,