Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/76

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and one hopped toward the captain with a movement as if politely asking his business. He even lifted the young birds from under their mother’s wings without protest of any kind—not even a peck of their beaks—one of the older birds really stepped into his hand and settled herself as unconcerned as if his warm palm was exactly the kind of nest she had been waiting for. He could, he told me, have carried the whole family away without protest of any kind so long as he kept them together.

“The following week he again visited the shore. This time he found not only the friendly penguins, who met him with even more than their former welcome, but a huge seal which had sprawled itself out on the rock and whose only acknowledgment of their presence was a lazy lift of the head followed by a sleepy stare. So perfectly undisturbed was he by their coming, that both the captain and the first mate sat down on his back, the mate remaining long enough to light his pipe. Even then the seal moved only far enough to stretch himself, as if saying, ‘Try that and you will find it more comfortable.’

“On this visit, however, something occurred