Oh cousin! Oh auntie! May we have tea in the kitchen? It is so much nicer there. Why do we sit in this dull room. So, to please the townie children, we have tea spread on the kitchen table, warmed and lit by the slanting rays of the autumnal sun and brightened by the happy looks of the young ones.
“The scones and the bread have a nicer taste in here,” says one earnestly. The real reason is probably that they are not cut off from the happy farm yard life — the battering of the servants’ clogs on the flags, the rattle of the pails, the movements outside. For a door opens direct — and sometimes open on sunny days —- upon the yard and commands a view of most of the farm buildings. So that no movement among cattle, horses or men escapes the eager youthful eyes and ears while the owners are munching their scones and drinking their tea.
Tap! Tap! on the window. And when we looked there were twin black cockerels peering at us inquisitively. As soon as we ceased to regard them and went on with our tea, “Tap, tap, tap” again which excited baby so much that he thumped the table with both fat outspread palms sending a plate spinning on the floor and capsizing a jam dish. We know these twin blacks well. They imagine they have not got sufficient corn and, if the door is shut, they will tap on that.
After we had finished, I proposed, to the delight of the children, to throw some corn to these dissatisfied chickens. But a big white rooster came running up and pecked them away. He, the greedy gob, while he fathers the tiny chicks will not let the big ones have grain while he is near. One of the boys shoo’ed him off “golderin’” in an ungainly canter, which little pantomime made baby chuckle in ecstasy. Then our chickens (almost grown up) had a quiet feed, tapped no more but walked contentedly up the ladder to roost.
Now you see cousin, those triumphantly happy children cry. If we had not been having tea in the kitchen we would have missed those hungry chickens — and tomorrow we will have tea in the field with the men.