Chapter 5. A Unique History
It is no use for me to try to piece out this account with adventures. If the people who read
it are not interested in these amazing women and their history, they will not be interested
As for us--three young men to a whole landful of women-- what could we do? We did
get away, as described, and were peacefully brought back again without, as Terry
complained, even the satisfaction of hitting anybody.
There were no adventures because there was nothing to fight. There were no wild
beasts in the country and very few tame ones. Of these I might as well stop to describe
the one common pet of the country. Cats, of course. But such cats!
What do you suppose these Lady Burbanks had done with their cats? By the most
prolonged and careful selection and exclusion they had developed a race of cats that did
not sing! That's a fact. The most those poor dumb brutes could do was to make a kind of
squeak when they were hungry or wanted the door open, and, of course, to purr, and
make the various mother-noises to their kittens.
Moreover, they had ceased to kill birds. They were rigorously bred to destroy mice
and moles and all such enemies of the food supply; but the birds were numerous and safe.
While we were discussing birds, Terry asked them if they used feathers for their hats,
and they seemed amused at the idea. He made a few sketches of our women's hats, with
plumes and quills and those various tickling things that stick out so far; and they were
eagerly interested, as at everything about our women.
As for them, they said they only wore hats for shade when working in the sun; and
those were big light straw hats, something like those used in China and Japan. In cold
weather they wore caps or hoods.
"But for decorative purposes--don't you think they would be becoming?" pursued
Terry, making as pretty a picture as he could of a lady with a plumed hat.
They by no means agreed to that, asking quite simply if the men wore the same kind.
We hastened to assure her that they did not--drew for them our kind of headgear.
"And do no men wear feathers in their hats?"
"Only Indians," Jeff explained. "Savages, you know." And he sketched a war bonnet
to show them.
"And soldiers," I added, drawing a military hat with plumes.