Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/74

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“He had hardly gone a dozen yards toward it when his first mate touched his arm and pointed straight ahead. Advancing over the crest of the snow came the strangest procession he had ever seen. Thirty or more penguins of enormous size, half as high as a man, were marching straight toward them in single file, the leader ahead. When within a few feet of them the penguins stopped, bunched themselves together, looked the invaders over, bending their heads in a curious way—walking round and round as if to get a better view—and then waddled back to a ridge a few rods off, where they evidently discussed their strange guests.

“The captain and the first mate, leaving the scientist, walked up among them, patted their heads, caressed their necks—the captain at last slipping his hand under one flipper of the largest penguin, the mate taking the other—the two conducting the bird slowly and with great solemnity and dignity back to the boat, its companions following as a matter of course. None of them exhibited the slightest fear; did not start or crane their heads in suspicion, but were just as friendly as so many tame birds waiting to be fed. The boat seemed to interest them as much as the men had done. One