PART II. Neighboring Fields
5. CHAPTER V (continued)
He crossed the fence into the pasture that was now the Shabatas' and
continued his walk toward the pond. He had not gone far, however,
when he discovered that he was not the only person abroad. In the
draw below, his gun in his hands, was Emil, advancing cautiously,
with a young woman beside him. They were moving softly, keeping
close together, and Carl knew that they expected to find ducks on
the pond. At the moment when they came in sight of the bright spot
of water, he heard a whirr of wings and the ducks shot up into the
air. There was a sharp crack from the gun, and five of the birds
fell to the ground. Emil and his companion laughed delightedly,
and Emil ran to pick them up. When he came back, dangling the
ducks by their feet, Marie held her apron and he dropped them into
it. As she stood looking down at them, her face changed. She
took up one of the birds, a rumpled ball of feathers with the blood
dripping slowly from its mouth, and looked at the live color that
still burned on its plumage.
As she let it fall, she cried in distress, "Oh, Emil, why did you?"
"I like that!" the boy exclaimed indignantly. "Why, Marie, you
asked me to come yourself."
":Yes, yes, I know," she said tearfully, "but I didn't think. I
hate to see them when they are first shot. They were having such
a good time, and we've spoiled it all for them."
Emil gave a rather sore laugh. "I should say we had! I'm not going
hunting with you any more. You're as bad as Ivar. Here, let me
take them." He snatched the ducks out of her apron.
"Don't be cross, Emil. Only--Ivar's right about wild things. They're
too happy to kill. You can tell just how they felt when they flew
up. They were scared, but they didn't really think anything could
hurt them. No, we won't do that any more."
"All right," Emil assented. "I'm sorry I made you feel bad." As
he looked down into her tearful eyes, there was a curious, sharp
young bitterness in his own.