Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/177

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I nor any of my employés were on terms of sufficient intimacy with them to justify a personal attempt at arbitration. Delaney, however, armed himself with a stout club, deliberately threw himself into the breech and attempted to separate them. In doing so he only exposed himself to the risk of sustaining severe bodily injuries. The birds took no notice of him whatever, but continued to fight, uttering at times a series of piercing screams and hisses. They would swing around each other and land fearful blows.

Their mouths were wide open, their eyes red and hideous, and their magnificent plumage ruffled, until the spectators, while deploring the fight, could not help admiring the splendid appearance of the birds in their rage. The smaller of the two was the more cautious. After a severe blow he would with some difficulty recover his equilibrium and, running off a little distance would suddenly wheel about and deal the big fellow two or three blows in rapid succession.

Delaney jumped between them and used his club on their long necks, but without any effect, for the birds seemed tireless. Their cries grew harsher and louder and the resounding blows fell like the beats of an automatic