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The Extra Day

17.
A Day Has Come
Maria's Particular Adventure
The day was hardly born, and still unsure of itself, when a robin with its tail cocked up
stood up alertly on the window-sill of Uncle Felix's bedroom, peeped in through the open
sash, and noticed the objects in front of it with a certain deliberation.
These objects were half in shadow, but, unlike those it was most familiar with, they did
not move in the breeze that stirred the world outside. The robin had just swung up from
a lilac branch below. Its toes were spread to their full extent for balancing purposes. It
peeped busily in all directions. Then, suddenly, a big object at the far end of the
darkened room moved slowly underneath a mass of white, as Uncle Felix, aware that
some one was watching him, rolled over in his bed, opened his sleepy eyes, and stared.
At the same moment the robin twitched, and fixed its brilliant glance upon him. It had
found the particular object that it sought.
Uncle Felix, somewhat dazed by sleep and dreams, saw the tight, fat body of the bird
outlined against the open sky, but thought at first it was an eagle or a turkey, until
perspective righted itself, and enabled him to decide that it was a robin only. He saw its
scut tail pointing. And, from the attitude of the bird, of its cocked-up tail, the angle of its
neck and head, to say nothing of the inquisitive way it peeped sideways at him over the
furniture, he realised that it had come in with a definite purpose--a purpose that
concerned himself. In a word, it had something to communicate.
"Odd!" he thought drowsily, as he met its piercing eye. "A robin in my room at dawn! I
wonder what it's up to?"
Then, remembering vaguely that he expected somebody or something out of the
ordinary, he made a peculiar noise that seemed to meet the case: he tried to whistle at
it. But his lips, being rather dry, made instead a hissing sound that would have
frightened most robins out of the room at once. On this particular bird, however, the
effect was just the opposite. It hopped self-consciously on to the dressing- table,
fluttered next to the arm-chair, and the same second dropped out of sight behind the
end of the four-poster bed. It acted, that is, with decision; it was making distinct
advances.
He sat up then in order to see it better, and discovered it perched saucily upon the toe
of his evening shoe, looking deliberately into his face as it rose above the bed-clothes.
"Come along," he said, making his voice as soft as possible, "and tell me what you
want."
 
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