One so seldom gets the opportunity to score off an aunt, that when my own Aunt Dahlia (bemoaning her lot as proprietress of the eternally insolvent Milady's Boudoir) commented, "You've no idea the trials of a publisher, Bertie!", I leapt to the opportunity to gainsay her, like one of those salmon doing the annual trek upstream.
"Au contraire, my dear Aunt, you forget that I published that children's book on American Birds during my stint in New York. Tiny Tots called it 'riveting'."
"Pish tush," said the aunt, returning me to the present. "You wouldn't know an American Bird if it strolled up and kicked you in the shin!"
"Hoo haw to that, aged relative," said I. "As I recall, we covered the Swamp Swallow, the Marsh Midge, the Prairie Pigeon, the Bayou Budgie and the Western Warbler. Isn't that right, Jeeves?"
"Quite, sir, one each in chapters 1 through 5, I believe. Each species had a particular distinction to its song."
"There you have it, Aunt Dahlia. One of the little blighters stood on one leg when performing its aria, and one made a noise like a train whistle. There was one feathered friend whose whoops could be heard a half-mile away and one that sang exclusively in the evening gloom. What was the other one's specialty, Jeeves?"
"Mr. Wooster would be referring to the songbird that engaged in competitive singing to win its mate, Mrs. Travers. The plumage of the respective fowl were also discussed. Each bird had a different combination of colors to the crest and the breast.
"That's true, I had to foot the bill for full color printing. There was bluecrested redbreast, the bluecrested yellowbreast, the greencrested yellowbreast, the whitecrested blackbreast and the whitecrested redbreast. I say, there's a copy of the book on the coffeetable, by your elbow."
She pounced on the book and gathered it in. "All right, my bonny boy, if you know so much about American Birds, here's a challenge: if you can reconstruct which bird is in these first five chapters, the colors of its plumage, and what its specialty was, I'll have Anatole cook a dinner of your favorite dishes," offered the generous old relation. "I'll give you six clues to be sporting:"