The little brown bird had been gashed in the breast by a sharp talon. Jean was much concerned over the wound, even though it did not reach any vital organ. She was afraid of septic poisoning, she told the bird; but added comfortingly: "There--you needn't worry one minute over that. I'm almost sure there's a bottle of peroxide down at the house, that isn't spoiled. We'll go and put some on it right away; and then we'll go bug-hunting. I believe I know where there's the fattest, juiciest bugs!" She cuddled the bird against her cheek, and started back across the wide point of the benchland to where the trail led down the bluff to the house.
She was wholly absorbed in the trouble of the little brown bird; and the trail, following a crevice through the rocks and later winding along behind some scant bushes, partially concealed the buildings and the house yard from view until one was well down into the coulee. So it was not until she was at the spring, looking at the moist earth there for fat bugs for the bird, that she had any inkling of visitors. Then she heard voices and went quickly around the corner of the house toward the sound.
It seemed to her that she was lately fated to come plump into the middle of that fat Mr. Burns' unauthorized picture-making. The first thing she saw when she rounded the corner was the camera perched high upon its tripod and staring at her with its one round eye; and the humorous-eyed Pete Lowry turning a crank at the side and counting in a whisper. Close beside her the two women were standing in animated argument which they carried on in undertones with many gestures to point their meaning.
"Hey, you're in the scene!" called Pete Lowry, and abruptly stopped counting and turning the crank.
"You're in the scene, sister. Step over here to one side, will you?" The fat director waved his pink- cameoed hand impatiently.
An old bench had been placed beside the house, under a window. Jean backed a step and sat down upon the bench, and looked from one to the other. The two women glanced at her wide-eyed and moved away with mutual embracings. Jean lifted her hands and looked at the soft little crest and beady eyes of the bird, to make sure that it was not disturbed by these strangers, before she gave her attention to the expostulating Mr. Burns.
"Did I spoil something?" she inquired casually, and watched curiously the pulling of many feet of narrow film from the camera.
"About fifteen feet of good scene," Pete Lowry told her dryly, but with that queer, half smile twisting his lips.