MY MASTER’S TEMPER were by spasms choleric, the spasms exacerbated by trespass, real or fancied, of his slaves, all of whom had had occasion to beg their fellows daub their backs with salve of rum and lard. Yet Dufay had raised up drivers to lash the hands to work, drivers on whom he palmed off most of the stewardship, that he might dedicate himself to advancement of universal knowledge. In sun and rain he tramped, far from the carries where his hands labored, peering under leaves, down burrows and up into nests to discover and name what creatures inhabited the wilderness parts of his domain.

An excellent draftsman, he delighted in sketching particulars of feather, fur and scale; the curve of claws, of teeth and beaks; the depths of eyes; the stretch and shove of limbs. On sketching expeditions to the rockiest, most surf-pounded tips of St. Michel, he spied from blinds he had had constructed on narrow ledges, to watch the sea birds fighting and fishing and rutting. (Some said he spied on the slaves, yes, on his own wife and children, in like manner, but I never saw him loiter in the shadows of human habitation.)