WHEN Phoebe awoke,--which she did with the early twittering
of the conjugal couple of robins in the pear-tree,--she heard movements below stairs, and, hastening down, found Hepzibah already in the kitchen.
Hard by the farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have served for a church; every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resounding within it from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering
about the eaves; an rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings or buried in their bosoms, and others swelling, and cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof.
The air was full of the smell of flowers, and the buzzing of insects, and the twittering
of birds, and there were no people, no wagons, there was no stir of life, nothing going on.
The stillness of early morning slumbered everywhere; the curtains were yet drawn over the servants' chamber windows; little birds were just twittering
in the blossom-blanched orchard trees, whose boughs drooped like white garlands over the wall enclosing one side of the yard; the carriage horses stamped from time to time in their closed stables: all else was still.
A noise of confused, multitudinous chirping or twittering
issued from them at intervals as long as they were moving; but sometimes they ceased from motion, and then all was silence.
But for the twittering
of the sparrows and the crunching of his own feet upon the frozen snow, the whole windless world of air hung over him entranced, and the stillness weighed upon his mind with a horror of solitude.
This seemed to puzzle him, so I followed it up, "A nice time you'll have some time when you're flying out here, with the souls of thousands of flies and spiders and birds and cats buzzing and twittering
and moaning all around you.
Then he took it in his right hand to prove the string, and it sang sweetly under his touch like the twittering
of a swallow.
If Hercules heard their shrieks, however, he took no notice, and perhaps fancied them only the shrill, plaintive twittering
of small birds that had been frightened from their nests by the uproar of the battle between himself and Antaeus.