« PreviousContinue »
UNCLE SAM'S PROTECTED PIRATE
EDWARD B. CLARK
HALL it not astonish the gentle “The subject of this sketch," as the minded people of the United biographer wearied with repetition puts States to know that the pro- it, has been called within the space of tecting arm of the Federal gov- two short paragraphs robber, despoiler,
ernment has been thrown about freebooter, pirate, cut-throat and briga robber and a despoiler, a freebooter and. The names are all taken from the and a pirate to whom theft is pleasant dictionary of invection drawn on by and murder joyous ?
Washington men for free and expressive Shall it not astonish the keepers of the use when they have fuund the forces of commandments unto the last letter of the the government between them and him tenth of them to know that the winter whom they would kill. The list could home of the brigand and cut-throat is the be made longer and perhaps more digniCapital City of the United States; that fied by the inclusion of Rob Roy and man is forbidden by statute to molest Captain Kidd, for by use of the names him, and that his quarters are watched of the Highlander and Sea Rover the with jealous official eye lest his goings milder tempered enemies of the villian and comings be hindered, his peace of have sought to epitomize the evil of his mind disturbed, and mayhap his life life. threatened ?
The robber, despoiler, freebooter and
the rest is a bird, and when any one of several names are given him the ornithologist will know him thereby
-Duck Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Wandering Falcon — the Falco peregrinus anatum of the scientist. Wandering falcon is the name which suits the bird best, for it is a wanderer on the face of the earth. It knows Africa and Asia and Europe and America and the Isles of the Sea. Its flight is typical of the freedom of the fields and in its eye there is the wildness of remote woods.
It was eleven years ago that the falcon chose the gray tower of Uncle Sam's Post Office Department building for his winter aerie. His life has been demanded many times and denial has always come.
COURTESY U. 6. BKLUBICAL SURVEY, BULLETIN, A K. FISHER, HAWKS AND OWL
One President of the United States, the water fowl of the Potomac marshes Theodore Roosevelt, made the bird his far away to the South, and then the special charge and gave orders that if falcon unwilling to leave its stone tower anyone were found in an attempt to which it doubtless believes is a crag molest it, “let me be notified at once." raised by nature for its special use, is Four Doctors of Science of the Biolog- compelled to turn for food to the hitherto ical Survey have kept watchful eyes on disdained domestic pigeons of the city. the tower through the years lest some O ne day two years ago the wanderer, scorner of Federal law should seek the perhaps because it was not particularly falcon's life. Twice the Police Depart. hungry and perhaps in the sheer wantonment of the District of Columbia has ness of a wild humor, dropped the body interfered to save the bird from the mul- of a blue rock pigeon fairly on the head titude (word used advisedly) clamoring of a passerby on Pennsylvania Avenue. for his life. Twice the Postmaster Gen- Then trouble for the freebooting baron eral of the United States has interposed of the gray tower began. to prevent the waylaying and the killing Complaint was lodged with an underof the hawk as it made its way back to ling of the Post Office Department who its tower home. For eleven years the knew hawks only as hawks, and knew populace now and again has sought the them all as bad. A man with a shot gun falcon's life, and for eleven years it has went to the roof of the department buildbeen safeguarded by Uncle Sam.
ing and took station just below the This winter the falcon is once more entrance to the tower. The falcon was at home in the City of Washington. It seen returning, but it spied its enemy goes forth daily on marauding and mur- afar off and betook itself to sailing in der intent, and before the day is ended magnificent circles about the tower, alit has known desire's fulfillment. The ways just beyond range. Inviting pieces Government is solicitous for the welfare of raw meat was secured to tempt the of the falcon for several reasons. Uncle bird down. The man with the shot gun Sam as represented in Washington, in did not know the daintiness of appetite two departments at least, is both a scien- of the wandering falcon. While the detist and a sentimentalist. The Duck signing, but rapidly getting hopeless Hawk is a rare bird and a true falcon. gunner was lying in wait on the roof Its courage is as the courage of ten. an immense crowd collected on PennThere is no fear in it. Its habit of life sylvania Avenue and every man in it arouses a keen interest which is only called for the life of the pigeon killer. equaled by the bird's own keenness of While the threats of the years had sense and flight when in pursuit of its been many the wandering falcon for the quarry. The harm that it does is held as first time was hovering near death. nothing when weighed in the balance Then into the crowd on the streets came with sentiment and interest. To exter- one of the bird's friends who knew its minate the tribe of falcons the bird lover history and that its life was of more holds would be like cutting down a for- value than the lives of many pigeons. est of great oaks because their shade Call for help messages were sent to the interfered with the growing of one row White House, to the Biological Survey of corn.
and to the Post Office Department. The Every morning in winter from his Post Master General of the United gray tower overlooking the life of Penn- States it happens is an ornithologist. It sylvania Avenue the falcon puts forth to took about one minute to drive the find its breakfast in the marshes of the gunner from the roof and another minPotomac. It is the epicure of the bird ute to nail up the door leading to the kind. It disdains mice and barnyard tower stairway. The falcon came down fowls and lives almost wholly upon game. unmolested to its retreat. Its delight is in the chase and it easily The mere official act of throwing a overtakes the teal in its “mile a minute" gunner down a flight of stairs and of flight and seizing it, bears it away for a nailing up a tower door did not serve to feast.
cool the indignation, nor to curb the Once in a while extreme cold drives desires, of several Washington residents
to make Rob Roy pay the penalty of his Sharp Shinned hawks.” The shooting pigeon appetite. The bird of the tower license issued the day before were rehad one day's rest from persecution and voked and several disappointed dead then his life was sought again from shots put their guns back into their cases. points of vantage other than the depart- The Federal law had saved the life of the ment roof, by dead-shots who had se- "feathered pirate." cured permission from the Police Depart- One year later “excitement came inent to kill “within the District a mur- again” on Pennsylvania Avenue under derous bird bent on killing all the Wash- the shadow of the tower. Word had been ington pigeons.”
passed that “Baron Rob Roy, freebooter Once more the hawk's friends rallied and murderer” as the daily press put it, from White House, Post Office Department and Biological Survey. The attention of the Police Department was called to the fact that under the laws of the District of Columbia it is illegal to shoot any birds of prey "except the two species known as the Cooper and the
had been caught in a steel trap while en- imprisonment and there they found not gaged in the degrading pursuit of trying the Baron, but an ordinary, rat loving, to steal a restaurant keeper's chickens. red shouldered hawk whose caste is In a yard within a block of the depart ninety-nine degrees lower in the bird ment building the pirate, confined in a family than that of the falcon. chicken coop iron grated for the OC- Before the exulting ones knew that casion, was shown to an exulting and en their triumph was vain, a shadow passed thusiastic crowd.
over the chicken coop prison. Looking Word went forth at once that the up the crowd saw Baron Rob Roy going Baron's days of freebooting were over down wind hot-paced to the river for a and that while the Federal law said that game dinner. He is still making the he neither must be killed nor caught, yet same daily journeys. His enemies still it made an exception in case he was wait their chance. Uncle Sam says it caught red-clawed in the act of murder will be a long wait and Uncle Sam is Quickly friends went to the scene of the probably right.
How Ridiculous The Friend—“Your wife doesn't appear to be in very good humor."
HUSBAND—"No; she thinks I've invited you to dinner.”—Jean Qui Rit.
What the Maid Said MRS. DALTON had become very tired from shopping, and, slipping on her kimono, prepared herself for a period of rest. Her colored maid appeared just at this point and announced a caller.
"No, Anne," said Mrs. Dalton; "I cannot see him. Please tell him to excuse me as I am in negligee."
When the message was delivered Mrs. Dalton heard her visitor laugh so heartily that it even penetrated to her bedroom
Calling Anne she asked the maid the cause of the hilarity.
"I dunno, ma'am, I really dunno," answered Anne.
"What did you tell him?" asked Mrs. Dalton.
"Why I done tole him to please 'scuse you, as you was naked as a jay."
Many Such "KATHERINE SHREWSBURY is engaged to be married." "Who is the lucky man?" "Her father!”—Town Topics.
The Polite Conductor "CONDUCTOR !" exclaimed an irate woman who carried many bundles, as she paused on the platform of the crowded car, “I thought I told you that I wanted to get off at Fiftysecond street."
“Don't you say a word! I know all about your car being very full, and not being able to remember where everybody gets off. I've heard all that before."
“But, madam. I- "
"You may be sure that I shall report you, sir; and for your impudence, too!".
She alighted, the conductor rang his bell and as the car started he said politely, as he touched his cap:
"I'm very sorry, madam, but Fifty-second street is half a mile further on.”—Chicago Record-Herald.
Feline Creatures SLIMM—"Our landlady says she likes to see her boarders have good appetites."
SMART—"Well, some women are naturally cruel.”—Boston Transcript.
Domestic Bliss "Do you and your wife agree?"
"Oh, yes, always—at least, I do.”-Cleveland Plain Dealer.
of the hand at once straightened up and in a most frigid tone said: "I have not the pleasure of your acquaintance, but you have forgotten to button your waist."