The man told her that that was some sort of fish-eagle or hawk. Its normal habit was to chase the gulls which, in their terror, would drop their booty of herrings, whereupon the eagle would catch the fish before it struck the water. At the moment the eagle was not on duty, but the gulls were just as terrified as if it had been.
Sylvia stayed for a long time watching the convolutions of the eagle. It pleased her to see that, though nothing threatened the gulls, they yet screamed and dropped their herrings...The whole affair reminded her of herself in her relationship to the ordinary women of the barnyard...Not that there was the breath of a scandal against herself; that she very well knew, and it was her preoccupation just as turning down nice men--the 'really nice men' of commerce--was her hobby.
I like Sylvia. She has her faults and there is a certain resemblance to Du Maurier's Rebecca in her, or maybe even a little Lady Macbeth (?), but I really like her. She's not a complete villain, she just seems really, really bored and seems to show her affection for her hubby (Tietjens) by wanting to get a rise out of him, for him to show some sort of emotion.