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STR Oi V" >,
The Baldwin Library
1 / University
*; ..' "". -
UNDER THE CURRANT BUSHES.
HISTORY OF THE ROBINS
WITH 70 ILLUSTRATIONS BY GTACOMELLI,
ILLUSTRATOR OF THE BIRD.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW,
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
T is now upwards of sixty years since Mrs. Trimmer first
delighted the juvenile world with her "History of the
j Robins;" but the popularity it then acquired it has not
"failed to preserve, partly on account of its subject, which can
S never grow old, and partly on account of the ease and sim-
plicity of its style. It has passed through a large number of editions,
and for more than half a century, in some shape or other, has occupied a
favourite corner on almost every young reader's bookshelf. Recognizing
the purity of its tone, and the usefulness of the lessons which it conveys
in a form so attractive, the Publishers have desired to issue the "old
friend with a "new face,"-a face more agreeable to the tastes of the
present day; and they trust they are not unduly usurping the function
of the critic when they venture to assert that the History of the
Robins" has never before appeared in such an artistic and poetic
The Illustrations, designed expressly for the Publishers by M.
Giacomelli, would surely have charmed Mrs. Trimmer with their
exquisite fidelity to Nature, and their wonderful delicacy of feeling.
They have been carefully engraved by Messrs. Rouget, Berveiller,
vi PUBLISHERS' NOTE.
Whymper, Sargent, and Morison, and show to what perfection the art
of the wood-engraver has recently been carried.
According to the maternal Robin, who figures prominently in the
following pages, neatness is a great advantage to the appearance of
every one." This undeniable truth has been borne in mind by the
Publishers in the preparation of what they hope will become the House-
hold Edition of
Th-e Eiietoru of the Rbobin."
'"? y *
THE ROBINS' NEST IN THE ORCHARD-ROBIN, DICKY, FLAPSY, AND PECKSY-THE
COURTYARD OF THE MANSION-HARRIET AND FREDERICK BENSON.................. 13
FEEDING THE YOUNG ROBINS-ROBIN AND DICKY LEARN TO SING ....................... 20
THE NESTLINGS QUARREL-ROBIN IN DISGRACE-PECKSY'S AMIABILITY-ROBIN IS
PENITENT. ........ ... ................................. .................. ................... 31
ANOTHER QUARREL-RECONCILIATION-THE LOST CANARY-FRED WANTS TO FIND
THE ROBINS' NEST .......... .... .... .................. ... ... .... ......... ............. 40
THE NESTLINGS HAVE A FRIGHT-JOE THE GARDENER... .............................. 52
JOE ANNOUNCES THE DISCOVERY OF THE NEST-THE PAST EXPERIENCE OF THE
ROBINS .................................... .. ..... ............... ... .......... 57
THE CHILDREN GO TO SEE THE NEST-THEY ARE OBSERVED BY THE OLD BIRDS..... 66
EDWARD AND LUCY JENKINS-THREE BIRDS' NESTS--MRS. BENSON'S REPROOF ........ 75
THE LEARNED PIG ........ ... ..... ...... ...... ....... 84
THE BENSONS FETCH THE BIRDS' NESTS ........ ... ................... 89
THE FIRST LESSON IN FLYING-THE YOUNG BIRDS IN THE ORCHARD-THEY ARE
SEEN THERE BY THE CHILDREN. .... ... .. ....... .......... ..... .. 94
ROBIN AND THE LINNET-PECKSY'S OFFERING-ROBIN S CONCEIT -DICKY, FLAPSY,
AND PECKSY RETURN TO THE NEST-ROBIN HAS A FALL--HIS PENITENCE-HE
SLEEPS IN THE TOOL-HOUSE......... ........ .. 105
MRS. BENSON ASSISTS A FAMILY IN DISTRESS. .. ......... ....... .... ..... 122
FREDERICK FEEDS THE ORPHAN NESTLINGS...... .......... 126
ROBIN'S INJURIES-A HAWK--THE PUMP-ROBIN LOST AND FOUND .. ... 131
FREDERICK CATCHES ROBIN-TIE IS CARRIED IN-DOORS IN A HAT-THE YOUNG
BIRDS ARE TOO FAMILIAR .... . 141
THE YOUNG BIRDS EXTEND THEIR FLIGHT-THEY BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH OTHER
BIRDS ... ............ .... .. .... 149
THE BENSONS PREPARE TO VISIT FARMER WILSON-FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE
ROBIN---MRS. WIISON SHOWS THE BENSONS OVER THE FARM. ........... 157
MRS. WILSON AND HER BEES-A TALK ABOUT INSECTS......................... .............. 171
THE BARN-YARD- DINNER AT THE FARM ........................................................... 178
SHEEP-SHEARING-MILKING THE COWS................... ..................................... 180
FARMER WILSON EXPLAINS HOW HE GOT ON IN LIFE-THE BENSONS RETURN HOME 194
THE OLD REDBREASTS TAKE THEIR YOUNG TO SEE THE WORLD-THE BIRD-CATCHER
THE GUN ....................................... ........ 200
THE FLIGHT FURTHER EXTENDED-THE AVIARY, AND LAMENTS OF THE CAPTIVES-
RETURN TO THE NEST IN THE ORCHARD............................ ................. 211
THE REDBREASTS SEND THEIR YOUNG TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES, AND DEPART
M RS. BENSON'S REM ARKS ......................................................................... 221
THE END ................... ............. ............ .... .......... .............. 230
4 -. L -
JIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
DRAWN BY H. GIACOMELLI;
ENGRAVED BY SARGENT, WHYMPER, BERVEILLER, ROUGET, AND MORISON,
EXPRESSLY FOR THIS WORK.
UNDER THE CURRANT BUSHES. ...........................Sargent ................Frontispieec
IN CHASE ............. .............. ..W.. .. Whymper..................... 13
ON THE IN .... ...... .. ....... ......... .. Sargent.................. ..... 19
THE SINOING-LESSON ............. ...... ... .... .. ..Berveiller... ................. .. 20
FEEDING THE YOUNG ROBINS ............................ Whymper ...................... 23
ON THE N EST ................. .. ............ Rouget..................... .. 27
A QUARREL IN THE NEST ................. .. ........Sargent....................... 31
BIRDS ON SPRAY. ... .. .. ............ .Morison ...................... 39
LARKS SEEKING SHELTER FROM THE COLD .................Berveiller .. .................. 40
THE PERSECUTED CANARY ..............................Roget....... ........... 47
TERROR OF THE NESTLINGS ...... ...... .... ........Berveiller.................... 52
A STRANGE VISITOR ........... ..... ......... ......Morison.......... ..... .... 53
DEATH OF ROBIN'S MATE... ... ..... ................. Berveiller..................... 57
A CHAT ABOUT OLD TIMES .............. ...........Rouget.................... 61
FREDERICK'S VISIT TO THE NEST......... .......... .. Wlymper..................... 66
HARRIET'S VISIT TO THE NEST ................. ....... Whymper..................... 69
EDWARD'S CRUEL W ORK............... .. ...... .. Rouget. ....................... 75
NESTS .. ....oro........ ............. M o...... 83
THE LEARNED PI .............. .... ..... ... Sargent............ ..... ..... 84
xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
SPRING............ ..... ........................ ..... M orison. .............. ....... 88
THE MORNING SUMMONS ................... ........ Whymper...................... 89
LEARNING TO FLY............ ... .. .. Berveilter....................... 94
LEAVING THE NEST ............... ..... ..... ....... Sargent ...................... 97
THE BABES IN THE WOOD............. .................Morison.......................... 101
THE LESSON .................. ....... n. o ..rn...................... 104
THE THIEVING LINNET .................. ...............Rouget........................ 105
ROBIN'S FALL ......... ................. ..........Sargent..................... 114
FLYING HOME........... .. .... .. ........... Moriso. .................... 121
THE GIFTS OF CHARITY .................... ........... Sargent....................... 122
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES ............. ..... ..... .Morison..................... 125
THE MORNING FLIGHT.................... ... ... .Sargent.......... ........... 126
ON THE W INDOW-SILL...... ... .. ... ...... ...... .....M orson..................... 129
IN SEARCH OF FOOD ........... ... ....................Morison ....................... 130
APPEARANCE OF AN ENEMY................ ........ ..Beveiller ...................... 131
THE CRUEL HAWK....... ... .....................Berveiller.................... 133
NEAR THE PUMP ............ ..............Berveiller...................... 137
THE BLACKBIRD AND THE LINNET ....................... er.................. ......... 141
AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE...............................R.ouget ........................ 145
BEES AND FLOWERS............ ..... ............ Berveiller. ................... 147
THE VISIT TO THE OWLS' NEST ............... ...... i..Wymper ..................... 148
DEATH OF THE YOUNG CHAFFINCH ....................... ouget....................... 151
THE OWL AND ITS PREY...... ...... ............Morison........................ 155
BUTTERFLY AND FLOWER........... .... .... ........ M rison.... .......... .. 156
THE M OCKING-BIRD............ ... ... ....... .... ..Berveiller...................... 157
THE TELL-TALE CHASED FROM THE ORCHARD ............ ouget ........................ 163
THE LADYBIRD.......... .. ...................MO riso8..................... 170
BEES AND FLOWERS......... ........ ............ Berveiller..................... 171
CONVOLVULUS ........ ..... .. .. ..... forison............... .. ..177
IN THE BARN-YARD...... ....... ....... .. .. ..ouget........................ 178
THE DUCK-POND .................................... .Rouget ......................... 179
THE ENEMIES OF THE FROGS...... .... .. .......... ROUet....................... 182
THE MISSION OF THE BIRDS............................ Sargent................... .... 183
ROSES AND BUTTERFLIES ............ ..............Bereillter .................. .. 185
THE HAPPY SHEEP ......... ... ... ...............e. .o...................... 186
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. xiii
W AITING .................................. ............. .R get............... .......... 191
THE N EST .......................... ..... ...... o ison...................... 193
THE FARM ... ............... ...... ....W hym er..................... 194
IN THE FIELD .............. .. .......... .Sargent.................. ... 197
THE CONCERT OF BIRDS ................ .. .. ....Berveiller................... .. 200
THE SONGSTERS OF THE GROVE ..................... ..o. OriSO ...................... 202
THE SNARE IN THE GRASS.............. .......... Whymper ..................... 205
THE LINNETS BUILDING THEIR NEST .....................erveiller...................... 211
THE UNHAPPY DOVE............. .......... ...... .. hymper..................... 215
THE ARRIVAL IN THE BREAKFAST-PARLOUR .. ..... .... ITymper ..................... 221
PARTIN W ORDS ............................... Rouget.................... ... 223
ROBIN FORSAKEN BY DICKY AND FLAPSY. ..................Berveiller...... ......... 230
THE BIRD AND THE BOOK................................ l. iSor .................. 234
.. .' .
S l .E [. Ti- .'.i-. .. -- DICKY.
S'i.' i ...F OF THE
l iA .: l 1'' ii i thine lii iin.ii-. in a wall
i i-. .1 it i ri.i n -t.s built
S t!iir in--t. N pi- ,.1 ,1ill iivo; been
"Lbtter cliusn fur th purpiube, it was
sheltered from the rain, screened from the
wind, and in an orchard belonging to a
"gentleman who had strictly charged his domestics not
to destroy the labours of those little songsters who chose
14 THE HAPPY MOTHER.
his ground as an asylum. In this happy retreat, which
no idle school-boy durst enter, the hen redbreast laid four
eggs, and then took her seat upon them, resolving that
nothing should tempt her to leave the nest for any
length of time till she had hatched her infant brood.
Her tender mate every morning took her place while she
picked up a hasty breakfast, and often, before he tasted
any food himself, cheered her .with a song.
At length the day arrived when the happy mother
heard the chirping of her little ones. With inexpressible
tenderness she spread her motherly wings to cover them,
threw out the egg-shells in which they before had lain
confined, then pressed them to her bosom, and presented
them to her mate, who viewed them with rapture, and
seated himself by her side, that he might share her
"We may promise ourselves much delight in rearing
our little family," said he, "but it will give us a great
deal of trouble. I would willingly undertake the whole
myself, but it will be impossible for me, with my utmost
labour and industry, to supply all our nestlings with
what is sufficient for their daily support; it will therefore
be necessary for you to leave the nest sometimes, to seek
provisions for them." She declared her readiness to do
so, and said that there would be no necessity for her to
be long absent, as she had discovered a place near the
A HARD DAY'S WORK. 15
orchard where food was scattered on purpose for such
birds as would take the trouble to seek it, and that she
had been informed by a chaffinch that there was no kind
of danger in picking it up. This is a lucky discovery
indeed for us," replied her mate; "for this great increase
of family renders it prudent to make use of every means
for supplying our wants. I myself must take a larger
circuit, for some insects that are proper for the nestlings
cannot be found in all places; however, I will be with
you whenever it is in my power." The little ones now
began to be hungry, and opened their gaping mouths for
food; on which their kind father instantly flew forth to
find it for them, and in turn supplied them all, as well as
his beloved mate. This was a hard day's work, and
when evening came on he was glad to take repose; so,
tucking his head under his wing, he soon fell asleep. His
mate followed his example; the four little ones had be-
fore fallen into a gentle slumber; and perfect quietness
reigned in the nest for some hours.
The next morning they were awakened at the dawn
of day by the song of a skylark, which had a nest near
the orchard; and as the young redbreasts were impatient
for food, their father cheerfully prepared himself to renew
his toil, requesting his mate to accompany him to the
place she had mentioned. "That I will do," replied she;
"but it is too early yet. I must therefore beg that you
16 A VISIT TO THE COURTYARD.
will go by yourself and bring breakfast for the little ones,
as I am fearful of leaving the nestlings before the air is
warmer, lest they should be chilled." To this he readily
consented, and fed all his little darlings, to whom, for
the sake of distinction, I shall give the names of Robin,
Dicky, Flapsy, and Pecksy. When this kind office was
performed, he perched on a tree, and, while he rested,
entertained his family with- his melody, till his mate,
springing from the nest, called him to attend her, on
which he instantly took wing, and followed her to a
courtyard belonging to a family mansion.
No sooner did the happy pair appear before the
parlour window than it was hastily thrown up by Harriet
Benson, a little girl about eleven years old, the daughter
of the gentleman and lady to whom the house belonged.
Harriet, with great delight, called her brother to see
two robin redbreasts; and she was soon joined by Fred-
erick, a fine, chubby, rosy-cheeked boy, about six years
of age, who, as soon as he had taken a peep at the
feathered strangers, ran to his mamma, and entreated
her to give him something to feed them with. "I must
have a great piece of bread this morning," said he; "for
there are all the sparrows and chaffinches that come
every day, and two robin redbreasts besides." Here is
"a piece for you, Frederick," replied Mrs. Benson, cutting
"a loaf that was on the table; "but if your daily pen-
A VERY GOOD PLAN. 17
sioners continue to increase, as they have done lately, we
must provide some other food for them, as it is not right
to cut pieces from a loaf on purpose for birds, because
there are many children who want bread, to whom we
should give the preference. Would you deprive a poor
little hungry boy of his breakfast to give it to birds?"
"No," said Frederick; "I would sooner give my own
breakfast to a poor boy than he should go without; but
where shall I get victuals enough for my birds ? I will
ask the cook to save the crumbs in the bread-pan, and
desire John to keep all he makes when he cuts the loaf
for dinner, and those which are scattered on the table-
cloth." "A very good plan," said Mrs. Benson; "and
I make no doubt it will answer your purpose, if you can
prevail on the servants to indulge you. I cannot bear to
see the least fragment wasted which may serve as food
to any creature."
Harriet, being quite impatient to exercise her bene-
volence, requested her brother to remember that the
poor birds, for which he had been successfully pleading,
would soon fly away if he did not make haste to feed
them; on which he ran to the window with the bread in
When Harriet first appeared, the winged suppliants
approached with eager expectation of the daily handful
which their kind benefactress made it a custom to distri-
18 FEATHERED PENSIONERS.
bute, and were surprised at the delay of her charity.
They hopped around the window, they chirped, they
twittered, and employed all their little arts to gain atten-
tion, and were on the point of departing, when Fred-
erick, breaking a bit from the piece he held in his hand,
attempted to scatter it among them, calling out at the
same time, "Dicky, Dicky." On hearing the well-known
sound, the little flock immediately drew near. Frederick
begged that his sister would let him feed all the birds
himself; but finding that he could not fling the crumbs
far enough for the redbreasts, that, being strangers, kept
at a distance, he resigned the task, and Harriet, with
dexterous hand, threw some of them to the very spot
where the affectionate pair stood, waiting for her notice,
who with grateful hearts picked up the portion assigned
them; and in the meanwhile, the other birds, being satis-
fied, flew away, and they were left alone. Frederick
exclaimed with rapture that the two robin redbreasts
were feeding! and Harriet thought of a plan of taming
them by kindness. Be sure, my dear brother," said
she, "not to forget to ask the cook and John for the
crumbs, and do not let the least morsel of anything you
have to eat fall to the ground. I will be careful in
respect of mine, and we will collect all the crumbs that
are made at the dinner-table; and, if we cannot by these
means get enough, I will spend some of my money in
A LOVING COUPLE. 19
seed for them." "Oh," said Frederick, "I would give
all the money I have in the world to buy food for my
dear, dear birds "Stay, my love," said Mrs. Benson;
"though I commend your humanity, I must remind you
again that there are poor people as well as poor birds."
" Well, mamma," replied Frederick, I will only buy a
little seed, then." As he spoke the last words, the red-
breasts having finished their meal, the mother-bird ex-
pressed her impatience to return to the nest; and having
obtained her mate's consent, she flew with all possible
speed to her humble habitation, whilst he tuned his
melodious pipe, and delighted their young benefactors
with his music. He then spread his wings, and took his
flight to an adjoining garden, where he had a great
chance of finding worms for his family.
.'H.Al'TEl II -1
: F R.,t:,i .1,'iK I-L 'n-'; *..x [I ,_-,it ,,-oncern
"--.' that the robins had gone; but was comforted
S by his sister, who reminded him that in all
probability his new favourites, having met
with so kind a reception, would return on the morrow.
Mrs. Benson then bid them shut the window ; and, taking
THE BUTTERFLY VISITOR. 21
Frederick in her lap, and desiring Harriet to sit down by
her, thus addressed them :
I am delighted, my dear children, with your humane
behaviour towards animals, and wish by all means to
encourage it; but let me recommend you not to suffer
your tender feelings towards animals to gain upon you to
such a degree as to make you unhappy, or forgetful of
those who have a higher claim to your attention: 1
mean poor people. Always keep in mind the distresses
which they endure; and on no account waste any kind
of food, nor give to inferior creatures what is designed
Harriet promised to follow her mother's instructions;
but Frederick's attention was entirely engaged by watch-
ing a butterfly, which had just left the chrysalis, and was
fluttering in the window, longing to try its wings in the
air and sunshine. This Frederick was very desirous to
catch; but his mother would not permit him to attempt
to do so, because, she told him, he could not well lay
hold of its wings without doing it an injury, and it would
be much happier at liberty. "Should you like, Fred-
erick," said she, "when you are going out to play, to
have anybody lay hold of you violently, scratch you all
over, then offer you something to eat which is very dis-
agreeable, and perhaps poisonous, and shut you up in a
little dark room ? And yet this is the fate to which
22 A WALK IN THE GARDEN.
many a harmless insect is condemned by thoughtless
children." As soon as Frederick understood that he
could not catch the butterfly without hurting it, he
stopped at once, and assured his mother he did not want
to keep it, but only to carry it out of doors. "Well,"
replied she, ." that end may be answered by opening the
window ;" which at her desire was done by Harriet. The
happy insect was glad to fly ,away, and Frederick soon
had the pleasure of seeing it upon a rose.
Breakfast being ended, Mrs. Benson reminded the
young lady and gentleman that it was almost time for
their lessons to begin; but desired their maid to take
them into the garden before they applied to business.
During his walk, Frederick amused himself with watch-
ing the butterfly, as it flew from flower to flower, which
gave him more pleasure than he could possibly have
received from catching and confining the little tender
Let us now see what became of our redbreasts after
they had left their young benefactors.
The hen-bird, as I informed you, went immediately to
the nest. Her heart fluttered with apprehension as she
entered it, and she eagerly called out, "Are you all safe,
my little dears ? "All safe, my good mother," replied
Pecksy; "but a little hungry and very cold." "Well,"
said she, "your last complaint I can soon remove ; but I
', :1 .
>-: .. :i. -
FEEDING THE YOUNG ROBINS.
-.. ...l.' .- ... 'i
-- .,'. !",
k" .. .. .- ._-.. -- .....
FEEDIN TH YUN R BIS
AN AWKWARD NURSE. 25
cannot satisfy your hunger; that must be your father's
task. However, he will soon be here, I make no doubt."
Then spreading her wings over them all, she soon gave
warmth to them, and they were again comfortable.
In a very short time her mate returned; for he only
stayed at Mr. Benson's to finish his song, and sip some
clear water, which his new friends always kept where
they fed the birds. He brought in his mouth a worm,
which was given to Robin, and was going to fetch one
for Dicky; but his mate said, My young ones are now
hatched, and you can keep them warm as well as myself;
take my place therefore, and the next excursion shall be
mine." I consent," answered he, "because I think a
little flying now and then will do you good; but, to save
you trouble, I can direct you to a spot where you may
be certain of finding worms for this morning's supply."
He then described the place; and on her quitting the
nest he entered it, and gathered his young ones under his
wings. "Come, my dears," said he, "let us see what
kind of nurse I can make; but an awkward one, I fear.
Even every mother-bird is not a good nurse; but you are
very fortunate in yours, for she is a most tender one, and
I hope you will be dutiful for her kindness." They all
promised him they would. "Well, then," said he, "I
will sing you a song." He did so, and it was a very
merry one, and delighted the nestlings extremely; so
26 PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILY.
that, though they were not quite comfortable under his
wings, they did not regard it, nor think the time of their
mother's absence long. She had not succeeded in the
place she first went to, as a boy was picking up worms
to angle with, of whom she was afraid, and therefore flew
farther; but as soon as she had obtained what she went
for, she returned with all possible speed; and though she
had repeated invitations frori several gay birds which
she met to join their sportive parties, she kept a steady
course, preferring the pleasure of feeding little Dicky to
all the diversions of the fields and groves. As soon as
the hen-bird came near the nest, her mate started up to
make room for her, and take his turn of providing for his
family. "Once more adieu '" said he, and was out of
sight in an instant.
"My dear nestlings," said the mother, "how do you
do?" "Very well, thank you," replied all at once.
"And we have been exceedingly merry," said Robin,
"for my father has sung us a sweet song." I think,"
said Dicky, I should like to learn it." Well," replied
the mother, "he will teach it you, I daresay. Here he
comes; ask him." I am ashamed," said Dicky. "Then
you are a silly bird: never be ashamed but when you
commit a fault. Asking your father to teach you to sing
is not one; and good parents delight to teach their young
ones everything that is proper and useful. Whatever so
ON THE NEST
THE SINGING-LESSON. 29
good a father sets you an example of, you may safely
desire to imitate." Then addressing herself to her mate,
who for an instant stopped at the entrance of the nest,
that he might not interrupt her instructions, Am I not
right," said she, in what I have just told them ?"
"Perfectly so," replied he; "I shall have pleasure in
teaching them all that is in my power: but we must talk
of that another time. Who is to feed poor Pecksy "
"Oh, 1, I," answered the mother, and was gone in an
instant.-" And so you want to learn to sing, Dicky ?"
said the father. Well, then, pray listen very atten-
tively: you may learn the notes, though you will not be
able to sing till your voice is stronger."
Robin now remarked that the song was very pretty
indeed, and expressed his desire to learn it also. By
all means," said his father; "I shall sing it very often,
so you may learn it if you please." For my part," said
Flapsy, I do not think I could have patience to learn
it; it will take so much time." "Nothing, my dear
Flapsy," answered the father, "can be acquired without
patience, and I am sorry to find yours begin to fail you
already; but I hope, if you have no taste for music, that
you will give the greater application to things that may
be of more importance to you." "Well," said Pecksy,
" I would apply to music with all my heart; but I do
not believe it possible for me to learn it." "Perhaps
30 A LESSON IN THE NEST.
not," replied her father; "but I do not doubt you will
apply to whatever your mother requires of you; and she
is an excellent judge both of your talents and of what is
suitable to your station in life. She is no songstress her-
self, and yet she is very clever, I assure you;-here she
comes." Then rising to make room for her, "Take your
seat, my love," said he, "and I will perch upon the ivy."
The hen again covered her brood, whilst her mate amused
her with his singing and conversation till the evening;
except that each parent bird flew out in turn to get food
for their young ones.
In this manner several days passed with little varia-
tion; the nestlings thriving, and daily gaining strength
and knowledge, through the care of their indulgent
parents, who every day visited their friends Frederick
and Harriet Benson. Frederick had been successful
with the cook and footman, from whom he obtained
enough for his dear birds, as he called them, without
robbing the poor; and he was still able to produce a
penny whenever his parents pointed out to him' a proper
object of charity.
,E. .. : .r A r tli'i" T "
S, 'HAPTEI I [..
IT [ipi pt:'ie .l *. L. i t.i t ..tlh tli.. red-
S..-t I\\t l l\\ v v- ,..-lit ( tl' -r to
S Mrs. Buisun ,,n bucaulo if une had waited
f for the other's return it would have missed
the chance of being fed)-it happened, I say,
that they were both absent longer than usual;
for though their little benefactors, like all good
children, were remarkably early risers, and had always
said their prayers, washed themselves, and learned their
32 A SIN OF OMISSION.
lessons before breakfast, yet having been fatigued with
a long walk the evening before, they lay very late in bed
that morning. But, as soon as Frederick was dressed, his
sister, who was waiting for him, took him by the hand
and led him down-stairs, where he hastily asked the cook
for the collection of crumbs. As soon as he entered the
breakfast-parlour he ran eagerly to the window, and
attempted to fling it up. "What is the cause of this
mighty bustle? said his mother. "Do you not see that
I'm in the room, Frederick?" Oh, my birds my birds!"
cried he. "I understand," rejoined Mrs. Benson, "that
you have neglected to feed your little pensioners; how
did this happen, Harriet ?" "We were so tired last
night," answered Harriet, "that we overslept ourselves."
"This excuse may satisfy you and your brother," added
her mamma; "but I fear your birds would bring heavy
complaints against you, were they able to talk. But
make haste to feed them now; and, for the future, when-
ever you give any living creature cause to depend on you
for food, be careful on no account to disappoint it; and
if you are prevented from feeding it yourself, employ
another person to do it for you.
It is customary," continued Mrs. Benson, "for little
boys and girls to pay their respects to their parents
every morning as soon as they see them; this, Frederick,
you ought to have done to me on entering the parlour,
WORDS OF COUNSEL. 33
instead of running across it crying out, 'My birds I my
birds It would have taken you but very little time to
have done so. However, I will excuse your neglect now,
my dear, as you did not intend to offend me; but remem-
ber that you depend as much upon your father and me
for everything you want, as these little birds do on you;
nay, more so, for they could find food in other places, but
children can do nothing towards their own support; they
should therefore be dutiful and respectful to those whose
tenderness and care they constantly experience."
Harriet promised her mother that she would, on all
occasions, endeavour to behave as she wished her to do;
but I am sorry to say Frederick was more intent upon
opening the window than profiting by the good instruc-
tions that were given him. This he could not do ; there-
fore Harriet, by her mother's permission, went to his
assistance, and the store of provisions was dispensed. As
many of the birds had nests, they ate their meal with
all possible expedition. Amongst this number were the
robins, that despatched the business as soon as they
could, for the hen was anxious to return to her little
ones, and the cock to procure them a breakfast; and
having given his young friends a song before they left
their bedchambers, he did not think it necessary to stay
to sing any more ; they therefore departed.
When the mother-bird arrived at the ivy wall, she
34 QUARRELSOME YOUNGSTERS.
stopped at the entrance of the nest with a beating heart;
but, seeing her brood all safe and well, she hastened to
take them under her wings. As soon as she was seated,
she observed that they were not so cheerful as usual.
"What is the matter? she said. "How have you
agreed during my absence? To these questions all were
unwilling to reply, for the truth was that they had been
quarrelling almost the whole time. "What, all silent ? "
said she. "I fear you have not obeyed my commands,
but have been disputing. I desire you will tell me the
truth." Robin, knowing that he was the greatest offender,
began to justify himself before the others could have time
to accuse him.
"I am sure, mother," said he, I only gave Dick a
little peck, because he crowded me so; and all the others
joined with him, and fell upon me at once."
Since you have begun, Robin," answered Dicky, I
must speak, for you gave me a very hard peck indeed,
and I was afraid you had put out my eye. I am sure I
made all the room I could for you, but you said you ought
to have half the nest, and to be master when your father
and mother were out, because you are the eldest."
"I do not love to tell tales," said Flapsy, "but what
Dicky says is very true, Robin; and you plucked two or
three little feathers out of me, only because I begged you
not to use us ill." "And you set your foot very hard
ROBIN IN DISGRACE. 35
upon me," cried Pecksy, "for telling you that you had
forgotten your dear mother's command."
"This is a sad story indeed," said the mother. I
am very sorry to find, Robin, that you already have so
turbulent a disposition. If you go on in this manner
we shall have no peace in the nest, nor can I leave it
with any degree of satisfaction. As for you being the
eldest, though it makes me show you a preference on all
proper occasions, it does not give you a privilege to
domineer over your brother and sisters. You are all
equally objects of our tender care, which we shall exercise
impartially among you, provided you do not forfeit it by
bad behaviour. To show you that you are not master of
the nest, I desire you to get from under my wing and
sit on the outside, while I cherish those who are dutiful
and good." Robin, greatly mortified, retired from his
mother; on which Dicky, with the utmost kindness,
began to intercede for him. "Pardon Robin, my dear
mother, I entreat you," said he. I heartily forgive his
treatment of me, and would not have complained to you,
had it not been necessary for my own justification."
"You are a good bird, Dicky," said his mother. But
such an offence as this must be repented of before it is
pardoned." At this instant her mate returned with a
fine worm, and looked as usual for Robin, who sat apart
by himself. Give it," said the mother, "to Dicky;
36 IMPENITENT ROBIN.
Robin must be served last this morning; nay, I do not
know whether I shall permit him to have any victuals
the whole day." Dicky was very unwilling to mortify his
brother; but, on his mother's commanding him not to
detain his father, he opened his mouth and swallowed the
delicious mouthful. What can be the matter? said
the good father, when he had emptied his mouth.
" Surely none of the little ones have been naughty ? But
I cannot stop to inquire at present, for I left another
fine worm, which may be gone if I do not make haste
As soon as he departed, Dicky renewed his entreaties
that Robin might be forgiven; but as he sat swelling
with anger and disdain, because he fancied that the eldest
should not be ordered to go from under his mother's wing
while the others were fed, she would not hear a word in
his behalf. The father soon came and fed Flapsy, and
then, thinking it best for his mate to continue her admo-
nitions, he flew off again. During her father's absence,
Pecksy, whose little heart was full of affectionate concern
at the punishment of her brother, thus attempted to
comfort him :
"Dear Robin, do not grieve; I will give you my
breakfast, if my mother will let me." Oh," said Robin,
" I do not want any breakfast; if I may not be served
first, I will have none." "Shall I ask my mother to
WHAT HAS ROBIN DONE ? 87
forgive you ? said Pecksy. I do not want any of your
intercessions," replied he. If you had not been a parcel
of ill-natured things I should not have been pushed about
as I am."
"Come back, Pecksy," said the mother, who over-
heard them. I will not have you speak to so naughty
a bird. I forbid every one of you even to go near him."
The father then arrived, and Pecksy was fed. You
may rest yourself, my dear," said the mother; "your
morning's task is ended." "Why, what has Robin done ?"
asked he. "What I am sorry to relate," she replied;
"quarrelled with his brother and sisters." Quarrelled
with his brother and sisters! you surprise me; I could
not have suspected he would have been either so foolish
or so unkind." "Oh, this is not all," said the mother;
"for he presumes on being the eldest, and claims half the
nest to himself when we are absent; and now is sullen
because he is disgraced, and not fed first as usual." If
this be the case," replied the father, "leave me to settle
this business, my dear, and pray go into the air a little,
for you seem to be sadly grieved at his misconduct." I
am disturbed, I confess," said she; for, after all my care
and kindness, I did not expect such a sad return as this.
I am sorry to expose this naughty bird even to you, but
he will not be corrected by me. I will do as you desire
-go into the air a little." So saying, she flew to a neigh-
38 A PATERNAL REPROOF.
bouring tree, where she anxiously waited while the father
As soon as the mother departed, the father thus
addressed the naughty bird: "And so, Robin, you want
to be master of the nest? A pretty master you would
make indeed, who do not even know how to govern your
own temper I will not stand to talk much to you now,
but, depend upon it, I will not suffer you to use any of
the family ill, particularly your good mother; and if
you persist in obstinacy, I will certainly turn you out of
the nest before you can fly." These threats frightened
Robin; he also began to be very hungry as well as cold;
he therefore promised to behave better for the future, and
his brother and sisters pleaded earnestly that he might
be forgiven and restored to his usual place.
I can say nothing in respect to the last particular,"
replied the father; "that depends upon his mother; but
as ii is his first offence, and he seems to be very sorry, I will
myself pardon it, and intercede for him with his mother."
On this he left the nest to seek for her. "Return, my
dear," said he, "to your beloved family; Robin seems
sensible of his offence, and longs to ask your forgiveness."
Pleased at this intelligence, the mother raised her droop-
ing head and closed her wings, which hung mournfully
by her sides, expressive of the dejection of her spirits.
" I fly to give it to him," said she, and hastened into the
PENITENT AND FORGIVEN. S9
nest. In the meanwhile Robin wished for yet dreaded
As soon as he saw her he lifted up a supplicating eye,
and in a weak tone (for hunger and sorrow had made
him faint) he cried, "Forgive me, dear mother; I will
not again offend you." "I accept your submission,
Robin," said she, "and will once more receive you under
my wing; but, indeed, your behaviour has made me very
unhappy." She then made room for him. He nestled
closely to her side, and soon found the benefit of her
fostering heat. He was still hungry, yet had not con-
fidence to ask his father to fetch him any food; but this
kind parent, seeing that his mother had received him into
favour, flew with all speed to an adjacent field, where
he soon met with a worm, which, with tender love, he
presented to Robin, who swallowed it with gratitude.
Thus was peace restored to the nest; and the happy
mother once more rejoiced that harmony reigned in the
--" ^ ;^
'. .r T .-- F i l. i i I. t
I" "iE Li : ['L T T
A FF. : -, -1 f'ter f l i d ti- ll:.i-
,.,:. tl-, : ,\ ":.t A ll th, li-ttle
h' Pitt,.. I ,,, f .I, 1.11 t W ,t hA ,_
..ir whi,- th,. 'e v:-
I, I I,,., i,,he, l,1t 'he
PEOKSY THE PET. 41
was of so amiable a disposition, that it was her con-
stant study to behave well, and avoid giving offence,
on which account she. was justly treated by her parents
with distinguished kindness. This excited the envy of
the others, and they joined together to treat her ill,
giving her the title of the pet, and saying that they
made no doubt their father and mother would give the
nicest morsels.to their darling.
Poor Pecksy bore all their reproaches with patience,
hoping that she should in time regain their good opinion
by her gentleness and affection. But it happened one
day that, in the midst of their taunting, their mother
unexpectedly returned, who, hearing an uncommon noise
among her young ones, stopped on the ivy to learn the
cause; and as soon as she discovered it, she made her
appearance at the entrance of the nest with a countenance
that showed she knew what was going on.
"Are these the sentiments," said she, "that subsist
in a family which ought to be bound together by love
and kindness? Which of you has cause to reproach
either your father or me with partiality ? Do we not,
with the exactest equality, distribute the fruits of our
labours among you ? And in what respect has. poor
Pecksy the preference, but in that praise which is justly
her due, and which you do not strive to. deserve ? Has
she ever yet uttered a complaint against you, though,
42 PECKSY'S INTERCESSION.
from the dejection of her countenance-which she has in
vain attempted to conceal-it is evident that she has
suffered your reproaches for some days past ? I positively
command you to treat her otherwise, for it is a mother's
duty to protect a persecuted nestling; and I will certainly
admit her next my heart, and banish you all from that
place you have hitherto possessed in it, if you suffer envy
and jealousy to occupy your bosoms, instead of that tender
love which she, as the kindest of sisters, has a right to
expect from you."
Robin, Dicky, and Flapsy were quite confounded
by their mother's reproof; and Pecksy, sorry that they
had incurred the displeasure of so tender a parent, kindly
endeavoured to soften her anger. It is true that
I have been unhappy, my dear mother," said she, "but
not so much as you suppose; and I am ready to believe
that my dear brothers and sister were not in earnest in
the severe things they said of me-perhaps they only
meant to try my affection. I now entreat them to believe
that I would willingly resign the greatest pleasure in life,
could I by that means increase their happiness; and, so
far from wishing for the nicest morsel, I would content
myself with the humblest fare, rather than any of them
should be disappointed." This tender speech had its
desired effect; it recalled those feelings 6f love which
envy and jealousy had for a time banished. All the nest-
THE FLEDGELINGS. 43
lings acknowledged their faults; their mother forgave
them, and a perfect reconciliation took place, to the great
joy of Pecksy, and indeed of all parties.
All the nestlings continued very good for several
days, and nothing happened worth relating. The little
family were soon covered with feathers, which their
mother taught them to dress, telling them that neatness
was a very essential thing both for health and also to
render them agreeable in the eye of the world. At the
same time that she recommended neatness of person, she
did not forget to caution them against vanity and conceit.
"These bad qualities are unbecoming," said she, "in all
of us, and never fail to bring contempt and mortification
on the silly bird that possesses them."
Robin was a very strong, robust bird, not remarkable
for his beauty; but there was a great briskness in his
manner, which covered many defects, and he was very
likely to attract notice. His father judged from the tone
of his chirpings that he would be a very good songster.
Dicky was a handsome bird, and had a remarkably fine
plumage for his age. Although his breast was not yet red
-as it would afterwards be-yet he was a pretty bird,
and his eyes sparkled like diamonds.
Flapsy was also very pretty, but more distinguished
for the elegance of her shape than for the variety and
lustre of her feathers.
44 THE ROBINS AT TABLE.
Pecksy had no outward charms to recommend her to
notice, but they were doubly supplied by the sweetness
of her disposition. Her temper was constantly serene;
she was ever attentive to the happiness of her parents,
and would not have grieved them for the world; and her
affection for her brothers and sister was so great, that she
constantly preferred their interest to her own, of which
we have lately given an instance.
The kind parents attended to them with unremitting
affection, and made their daily visit to Frederick and
Harriet Benson, who fed them very punctually every day.
The robin redbreasts, made familiar by repeated favours,
approached nearer and nearer to their little friends by
degrees, and at length ventured to enter the room and
feed upon the breakfast table. Harriet was delighted at
this circumstance, and Frederick was quite overjoyed. He
longed to catch the birds; but his mother told him that
would be the very means to drive them away. Harriet
entreated him not to frighten them on any account; and
he was prevailed on to forbear, but could not help ex-
pressing a wish that he had them in a cage, that he might
feed them all day long.
"And do you really think, Frederick," said Mrs.
Benson, "that these little delicate creatures are such
gluttons as to desire to be fed all day long? Could you
tempt them to do it, they would soon die; but they know
A LESSON FROM THE ROBINS. 45
better, and as soon as their appetites are satisfied always
leave off eating. Many a little boy may learn a lesson
from them. Do you not recollect one of your acquaint-
ance who, if a cake, or anything else that he calls nice, is
set before him, will eat till he makes himself sick?"
Frederick looked ashamed, being conscious that he was
too much inclined to indulge his love of delicacies.
" Well," said his mother, I see you understand whom I
mean, Frederick, so we will say no more on this subject;
only, when you meet that little gentleman, give my love
to him, and tell him I beg he will be as moderate as his
The cock-bird, having finished his breakfast, flew out
at the window, followed by his mate; and as soon as they
were out of sight Mrs. Benson continued her discourse.
"And would you really confine these sweet creatures in
a cage, Frederick, merely to have the pleasure of feeding
them ? Should you like to be always shut up in a little
room, and think it sufficient if you were supplied with
victuals and drink ? Is there no enjoyment in running
about, jumping, and going from place to place ? Do you
not like to keep company with little boys and girls ?
And is there no pleasure in breathing the fresh air ?
Though these little animals are inferior to you, there is
no doubt that they are capable of similar enjoyments;
and it must be a dreadful life for a poor bird to be shut
16 BIRDS AND CAGES.
up in a cage, where he cannot so much as make use of his
wings, where he is separated from his natural companions,
and where he cannot possibly receive that refreshment
which the air must afford to him when at liberty to fly
to such a height. But this is not all, for many a poor
bird is caught and taken away from its family after it has
been at the trouble of building a nest, has perhaps laid
its eggs, or even hatched its young ones, which are by
this means exposed to certain destruction. It is likely
that these very redbreasts may have young ones, for this
is the season of the year for their hatching; and I rather
think they have, from the circumstance of their always
coming together." If that is the case," said Miss Har-
riet, "it would be a pity indeed to confine them. But
why, mamma, if it is wrong to catch birds, did you at
one time keep canaries ? "
"The case is very different in respect to canary-birds,
my dear," said Mrs. Benson. "By keeping them in a
cage I did them a kindness. I considered them as little
foreigners who claimed my hospitality. This kind of bird
came originally from a warm climate; canaries are in
their nature very liable to catch cold, and would perish
in the open air in our winters; neither does the food
which they feed on grow plentifully in this country; and
as here they are always bred in cages, they do not know
how to procure the materials for their nests out of doors.
S, ',,' I .j
THE PERSECUTED CANARY.
A FRIEND IN NEED. 49
And there is another circumstance which would greatly
distress them were they to be turned loose-which is, the
persecution they would be exposed to from other birds.
I remember once to have seen a poor hen canary-bird
which had been turned loose because it could not sing,
and surely no creature could be more miserable. It was
starving for want of food, suffering from thirst, shivering
with cold, and looked terrified to the greatest degree;
while a parcel of sparrows and chaffinches pursued it from
place to place, twittering and chirping, with every mark
of insult. I could not help fancying the little creature to
be like a foreigner just landed from some distant country,
followed by a rude rabble of boys, who were ridiculing him
because his dress and language were strange to them."
"And what became of the poor little creature, dear
mamma ? said Harriet. I was going to tell you, my
dear," replied Mrs. Benson. I ordered the servant to
bring me a cage, with seed and water in their usual
places. This I caused to be hung on a tree next to that in
which the little sufferer in vain endeavoured to hide her-
self among the leaves from her cruel pursuers. No sooner
did the servant retire than the poor little bird flew to it.
I immediately had the cage brought into the parlour,
where I experienced great pleasure in observing what
happiness the poor creature enjoyed on account of her
deliverance. I kept her some years; but not choosing to
50 MRS. BENSON'S EXPLANATION.
confine her in a little cage, I had a large one bought, and
procured a companion for her of her own species. I sup-
plied them with materials for building; and from them
proceeded a little colony, which grew so numerous, that
you know I gave them to Mr. Bruce to put into that
large enclosure of wire-work, which is called an aviary,
where he keeps them with others, and where you have
seen them enjoying themselves. So now I hope I have
fully accounted for having kept canary-birds in a cage."
"Thank you, dear mamma; you have indeed," said Har-
I have also," said Mrs. Benson, occasionally kept
larks. In severe winters, vast numbers of them come to
this country from a colder climate, and many perish.
Quantities of them are killed and sold for the table; and
the bird-catchers usually have a great many to sell, and
many an idle boy has some to dispose of. I frequently
buy them, as you know, Harriet; but as soon as the fine
weather returns I constantly set them at liberty. But
come, my dears, prepare for your morning walk, and
afterwards let me see you in my dressing-room."
I wonder," said Frederick, "whether our redbreasts
have got a nest ? I will watch to-morrow which way
they fly, for I should like to see the little ones." "And
what will you do should you find them out ?" said his
mother ; "not take the nest, I hope ?" "Why," replied
CRUELTY OF BIRD-NESTING. 51
Frederick, I should like to bring it home, and put it in
a tree near the house; and then I would scatter crumbs
for the old ones to feed them with."
"Your design is a kind one," said Mrs. Benson, "but
would greatly distress your little favourites. Many birds,
through fear, forsake their nests when they are removed;
therefore I desire you to let them alone, if you should
chance to find them." Harriet then remarked that she
thought it very cruel to take birds' nests. "Ah, my
dear," said Mrs. Benson, "those who commit such bar-
barous actions are quite insensible to the distress they
occasion. It is very true that we ought not to indulge so
great a degree of pity and tenderness for animals, as for
those who are more properly our fellow-creatures-I mean
men, women, and children; but, as every living creature
can feel, we should have a constant regard to those feel-
ings, and strive to give happiness rather than be the
cause of misery. But go, my dears, and take your walk."
Mrs. Benson then left them to attend to her usual morn-
ing employment; and the young lady and gentleman,
attended by their maid, passed an agreeable half-hour in
THE Nr TL!INi-i H.-.. -. r p.i -Hi-'i L iHH O.ru:LErfER.
IN t][e i0ini tiitiii th, e I:.n r ,:ll.rre;i-: t re-
ti.ur'i -Il t: t -,r iie'-t, %% ile ln- r nl;it'- took
Illi- fli l t i 'n sei ll i ,t' ... r \i.' thanily.
\\- Wl l tli- ii...ther ailpproachli.- tihe- nu-t, she
\\;a -urlrii--l at niit hearin2-, a, u.,ual. the
*i.i.-lnir' i, O' <:it' Iter .111ung.-: oIlt : aIi:1 \lwhat was
her astonishment at seeing them all crowded
"- together, trembling with fear What is
"the matter, my nestlings," said she, "that
I find you in this terror? "
"Oh, my dear mother cried Robin, who first ven-
A TERRIBLE INTRUDER. 53
tured to raise up his head, "is it you ?" Pecksy then
revived, and entreated her mother to come into the nest.
This she did without delay; and the little tremblers
crept under her wings, endeavouring to conceal them-
selves in this happy retreat.
"What has terrified you in this manner ? said she.
" Oh, I do not know," replied Dicky; "but we have seen
such a monster as I never beheld before "A mon-
ster my dear; pray describe it." I cannot," said.
Dicky; "it was too frightful to be described." Fright-
ful indeed," cried Robin; "but I had a full view of it,
and will give the best description I can.
We were all sitting peaceably in the nest, and very
happy together. Dicky and I were trying to sing, when
suddenly we heard a noise against the wall, and presently
a great, round, red face appeared before the nest, with a
pair of enormous staring eyes, a very large beak, and
64 WHAT CAN IT BE ?
below that a wide mouth, with two rows of bones that
looked as if they could grind us all to pieces in an in-
stant. About the top of this round face, and down the
sides, hung something black, but not like feathers.
When the two staring eyes had looked at us for some
time, the whole thing disappeared."
I cannot at all conceive from your description,
Robin, what this thing could be," said the mother; "but
perhaps it may come again." Oh, I hope not!" cried
Flapsy; I shall die with fear if it does." "Why so,
my love?" said her mother; "has it done you any
harm ?" I cannot say it has," replied Flapsy. Well,
then, you do very wrong, my dear, in giving way to such
fears. You must strive to get the better of this timid
disposition. When you go abroad in the world, you will
see many strange objects; and if you are terrified at
every appearance which you cannot account for, you will
live a most unhappy life. Endeavour to be good, and
then you need not fear anything. But here comes your
father; perhaps he may be able to explain the appear-
ance which has so much alarmed you to-day."
As soon as the father had given the worm to Robin,
he was preparing to depart for another; but, to his sur-
prise, all the rest of the nestlings begged him to stay,
declaring they would rather go without their meal, on
condition he would but remain at home and take care of
IN SEARCH OF INFORMATION. 55
them. '.' Stay at home and take care of you !" said he ;
"why is that more necessary now than usual ?" The
mother then related the strange occurrence that had oc-
casioned this request. "NonseAse!" said he: "a mon-
ster! great eyes! large mouth! long beak! I don't
understand such stuff. Besides, as it did them no harm,
why are they to be in such terror now it has gone ?"
"Don't be angry, dear father," said Pecksy, "for it was
very frightful indeed." Well," said he, I will fly all
round the orchard, and perhaps I may meet this monster."
"Oh, it will eat you up-it will eat you up! said
Flapsy. "Never fear," said he : and away he flew.
The mother then again attempted to calm them, but
all in vain. Their fears were now redoubled for their
father's safety. However, to their great joy, he soon
returned. Well," said he, I have seen this monster."
The little ones then clung to their mother, fearing the
dreadful creature was near them. What, afraid again!"
cried he-" a parcel of stout hearts I have in my nest
truly Why, when you fly about in the world, you will
in all probability see hundreds of such monsters, as you
call them, unless you choose to confine yourselves to a
retired life-nay, even in woods and groves you will be
liable to meet some of them, and those of the most mis-
chievous kind." I begin to comprehend," said the
mother, "that these dear nestlings have seen the face of
56 THE MYSTERY SOLVED.
a man." Even so," replied her mate; "it is a man-
no other than our friend the gardener-that has so
A man cried Dicky; "was that frightful thing a
man ? Nothing more, I assure you," answered his
father; and a good man too, I have reason to believe;
for he is very careful rot to frighten your mother and
me when we are picking up worms, and has frequently
thrown crumbs to us when he was eating his breakfast."
"And does he live in this garden ?" said Flapsy.
"He works here very often," replied her father, "but is
frequently absent." "Oh, then," cried she, "pray take
us abroad when he is away, for indeed I cannot bear to
see him." "You are a little simpleton," said the father;
"and if you do not endeavour to get more resolution, I
will leave you in, the nest by yourself, when I am teach-
ing your brothers and sister to fly and peck. And what
will you do then ? for you must not expect we shall go
from them to bring you food." Flapsy, fearful that her
father would be quite angry, promised to follow his direc-
tions in every respect; and the rest, animated by his
discourse, began to recover their spirits.
- 1i ,C'HAPTEII 'I
i' --[ irl P.-.l r-:r-rFiFE:i.L THE P._.'.- _
Ili t i t,. .rill,.:- 't M11 .ri 1 ,
S l t..I i-t, tie I, :-l _-r- 1\ t MI'
I .1 ... tl t n h-,it .I,,, tl,
58 JOE'S DISCOVERY.
inquired for his young master and mistress, having, as he
justly supposed, some pleasing news to tell them. Both
the young gentleman and lady very readily attended,
thinking he had got some fruit or flowers for them.
" Well, Joe," said Harriet, "what have you to say to
us ? Have you got a peach or a nectarine ? or have you
brought me a root of sweet-william ? "
"No, Miss Harriet," said Joe; "but I have some-
thing to tell you that will please you as much." What's
that? what's that ? said Frederick. Why, Master
Frederick," said Joe, "a pair of robins have come very
often to one place in the orchard lately; so, thought I,
these birds have got a nest. So I watched and watched,
and at last I saw the old hen fly into a hole in the ivy
wall. I had a fancy to set my ladder and look in; but,
as master ordered me not to frighten the birds, I stayed
till the old one flew out again. And then I mounted, and
there I saw the little creatures full fledged. And if you
and Miss Harriet may go with me, I will show them to
you ; for the nest is but a little way from the ground, and
you may easily get up the step-ladder."
Frederick was in raptures, being confident that these
were the identical robins he was so attached to; and,
like a little thoughtless boy as he was, he would have
gone immediately with the gardener, had not his sister
reminded him that it was proper to ask leave first. She
CONJUGAL GOSSIP. 59
therefore told Joe she would let him know when she had
When the redbreasts had quieted the fears of their
young family, and fed them as usual, they retired to a
tree, desiring their little nestlings not to be terrified if the
monster should look in upon them again, as it was very
probable he would do. They promised to bear the sight
as well as they could.
When the old ones were seated in the tree-" It is
time," said the father, "to take our nestlings abroad.
You see, my love, how very timorous they are; and
if we do not use them a little to the world, they will
never be able to shift for themselves." "Very true,"
replied the mother; "they are now full fledged, and
therefore, if you please, we will take them out to-
morrow. But prepare them for it." "One of the
best preparatives," answered her mate, will be to
leave them by themselves a little; therefore we will
now take a flight together, and then go back." The
mother complied; but she longed to be with her dear
When they stopped a little to rest on a tree-" Last
year," said the hen redbreast, "it was my misfortune to
be deprived of my nestlings by some cruel boys, before
they were quite fledged; and it is that which makes me
60 A TALE OF WOE.
so timid now, that I do not feel comfortable when I am
away from them."
A calamity of the same kind befell me," replied the
father. I never shall forget it. I had been taking a
flight in the woods in order to procure some nice morsels
for one of my nestlings. The first circumstance that
alarmed me when I returned to the place in which I
had imprudently built, was a part of my nest scattered
on the ground, just at the entrance of my habitation.
I then saw a large opening in the wall, where before
there was only room for myself to pass. I stopped with
a beating heart, in hopes of hearing the chirpings of my
beloved family; but all was silence. I then resolved to
enter; but what was my horror and grief when I found
that the nest, which my dear mate and I had, with so
much labour, built, and the dear little ones, who were
the joy of our lives, were stolen away-nay, I do not
know but the tender mother was also taken. I rushed
out of the place, distracted with fear for the miseries they
might endure; lamenting my weakness, which rendered
me incapable of rescuing them. But recollecting that my
dear mate might in all probability have escaped, I re-
solved to go in search of her. As I was flying along,
I saw three boys, whose appearance was far from dis-
agreeable. One of them held in his hand my nest of
young ones, which he eyed with cruel delight, while his
A. C A .O .L .
A CHAT ABOUT OLD TIMES.': LBI~Ral
YOUNG BARBARIANS. 63
companions seemed to share his joy. The dear little
creatures, insensible of their fate (for they were newly
hatched), opened .their mouths, expecting to be fed by
me or their mother; but all in vain. To have at-
tempted feeding them at this time would have been
certain destruction to myself; but I resolved to follow
the barbarians, that I might at least see to what place my
darlings were taken. In a short time the party arrived
at a house, and he who before held the nest now com-
mitted it to the care of another, but soon returned with
a kind of food I was totally unacquainted with; and
with this my young ones, when they gaped for food,
were fed. Hunger induced them to swallow it; but soon
after, missing the warmth of their mother, they set up
a general cry, which pierced my very heart. Immedi-
ately after this the nest was carried away, and what
became of my nestlings afterwards I could never dis-
cover, though I frequently hovered about the fatal spot
of their imprisonment with the hope of seeing them."
"Pray," said the hen redbreast, "what became of
your mate ?"
"Why, my dear," said he, "when I found there was
no chance of assisting my little ones, I pursued my
course, and sought her in every place of our usual resort;
but to no purpose. At length I returned to the bush,
where I beheld an afflicting sight indeed-my beloved
64 DEATH OF ROBIN'S MATE.
companion lying on the ground just expiring! I flew
to her instantly, and endeavoured to recall her to life.
At. the sound of my voice, she lifted up her languid eye-
lids, and said, 'And are you then safe, my love ? What
is become of our little ones ?' In hopes of comforting
her, I told her I hoped they were alive and well. But
she replied,--' Your consolations come too late. The
blow is struck; I feel my death approaching. The
horror which seized me when I missed my nestlings,
and supposed myself robbed at once of my mate and
little ones, was too powerful for my weak frame to sus-
tain. Oh, why will boys be so wantonly cruel?' The
agonies of death now came on, and after a few convul-
sive pangs, she breathed her last, and left me an un-
happy widower. I passed the remainder of the summer,
and a dreary winter that succeeded it, in a very uncom-
fortable manner; though the natural cheerfulness of my
disposition did not leave me long a prey to unavailing
sorrow. I resolved the following spring to seek another
mate, and had the good fortune to meet with you, whose
amiable disposition has renewed my happiness. And
now, my dear," said he, "let me ask you what became
of your former companion ? "
"Why," replied the hen redbreast, "soon after the
loss of our nest, as he was endeavouring to discover what
was become of it, a cruel hawk caught him up, and
GOOD NEWS. 65
devoured him in an instant. I need not say that I felt
the bitterest pain for his loss. It is sufficient to inform
you that I led a solitary life till I met with you, whose
endearing behaviour has made society again agreeable
As soon as Mrs. Benson returned to her children,
Frederick ran up to her, saying, "Good news! good
news, mamma Joe has found the robins' nest." Has
he indeed ? said Mrs. Benson. "Yes, mamma," said
Harriet; "and, if agreeable to you, we shall be glad to
go along with Joe to see it." But how are you to get
at it ?" said the lady; for I suppose it is some height
from the ground." Oh, I can climb a ladder very
well," cried Frederick. "You climb a ladder! You
are a clever gentleman at climbing, I know; but do you
purpose to mount too, Harriet? Joe tells me that the
nest is but a very little way from the ground, mamma,"
answered Harriet; "but if I find it otherwise, you may
depend on my not going up." On this condition I will
permit you to go," said Mrs. Benson. But pray, Fred-
erick, let me remind you not to frighten your little fa-
vourites." "Not for all the world," said Frederick. So
away he skipped, and ran to Joe, before his sister.
"We may go we may go, Joe !" cried he. "Stay for
me, Joe, I beg," said Harriet, who presently joined him.
,', _" :-' .r ,
YI 1 H A ,i'K VII
i; ; T E .' .. L' . Ti -- i
HL ." .-.,, H F "E B'"- TE .*I E'
V r, ,-,- J.l,.. t,:,iIII.d tl,;,t ti..a v.II.1Ii .'Iti try,
"a. h I :>.i1._.1 thin ha. l rl.ti.tai led perm i-i,.n to
S accompany him, he took Frederick by the
S hand, and said, "Come along, my young
S master." Frederick's impatience was so great
that he could scarcely be restrained from run-
ning all the way, but his sister entreated him not to make
himself too hot.
VISITING THE NEST. 67
At length they arrived at the desired spot. Joe
placed the ladder, and his young master, with a little
assistance, mounted it very nimbly; but who can describe
his raptures when he beheld the nestlings ? Oh, the
sweet creatures," cried he; "there are four of them, I
declare I have never seen such a pretty nest before
I wish I might carry you all home That you must
not do, Frederick," said his sister; and I beg you will
come away, for you will either terrify the little creatures
or alarm the old birds, which perhaps are now waiting
somewhere near to feed them." "Well, I will come
away directly," said Frederick. "And so good-bye,
robins! I hope you will come soon, along with your
father and mother, to be fed in the parlour." He then
descended, under the conduct of his friend Joe.
Joe next addressed Harriet: "Now, my young mis-
tress," said he, will you go up ?" As the steps of the
ladder were broad, and the nest was not high, Miss Benson
ventured to go up, and was equally delighted with her
brother; but so fearful of terrifying the little birds, and
alarming the old ones, that she would only indulge her-
self with a peep at the nest. Frederick inquired how she
liked the young robins. "They are sweet creatures,"
said she, and I hope they will soon join our party of
birds, for they appear to me ready to fly. But let us
return home, for you know we promised to stay but a
.68 RETURN OF THE REDBREASTS.
little while; besides, we hinder Joe from his work."
"Never mind that," said the honest fellow; "master
won't be angry, I am certain; and if I thought he
would, I would work an hour later to make up lost
time." "Thank you, Joe," replied Harriet; "but I am
sure my father would not ask you to do so."
At this instant Frederick saw the two redbreasts, that
were returning from their excursion, and called to his
sister to observe them. He was very desirous to watch
whether they would go back to their nest; but she would
on no account consent to stay, lest her mother should be
displeased, and lest the birds should be frightened.
Frederick, therefore, followed her with reluctance, and
Joe attended them to the house.
As soon as they were out of sight, the hen-bird pro-
posed to return to the nest. She had observed the party,
and though she did not see them looking into her habita-
tion, she supposed, from their being so near, that they
had been taking a peep at it, and told her suspicions to
her mate. He agreed with her, and said he now expected
to hear a fine story from the nestlings. "Let us return,
however," said the mother, "for perhaps they have been
terrified again." Well," said he, I will go with you;
but let me caution you, my dear, not to indulge their
timid dispositions, because such indulgence will certainly
,, i i ,. ,
H I VIS'T T TH N-'EST
,, -, i r, .*
I -- -
,' .-. : : 1 .( i ,
,, ,T'balil T'.
,, _: I. -
,, RR IET' VISIT:' TO "
':~ ~ ~ ~ i '--: .. ,
HARRET'SVIST TOTHE EST
FLAPSY CONQUERS HER FEAR. 71
prove hurtful to them." I will do the best I can,"
replied she, and then flew to the nest, followed by her
She alighted upon the ivy, and peeping into the nest,
inquired how they all did. Very well, dear mother,"
said Robin. "What," cried the father, who now alighted,
"all safe ? Not one eaten up by the monster ?" No,
father," replied Dicky, "we are not devoured; and yet,
I assure you, the monster we saw before has been here
again, and brought two others with him." "Two others !
what, like himself?" said the father. "I thought,
Flapsy, you were to die of fear if you saw him again ?"
"And so I believe I should have done, had not you, my
good father, taught me to conquer my fear," replied
Flapsy. "When I saw the top of him, my heart began to
flutter to such a degree that I was ready to die, and
every feather of me shook; but when I found he stayed
but a very little while, I recovered, and was in hopes he
was quite gone. My brothers and sister, I believe, felt
as I did; but we comforted one another that the danger
was over for this day, and all agreed to make ourselves
happy, and not fear this monster, since you had assured
us he was very harmless. However, before we were
perfectly come to ourselves, we heard very uncommon
noises, sometimes a hoarse sound, disagreeable to our ears
as the croaking of a raven, and sometimes a shriller noise,
72 FLAPSY DESCRIBES THE VISITORS.
quite unlike the note of any bird that we know of; and
immediately after something presented itself to our view
which bore a little resemblance to the monster, but was
by no means so large and frightful.
"Instead of being all over red, it had on each side
two reddish spots of a more beautiful hue than papa's
breast; the rest of it was of a more delicate white, ex-
cepting two streaks of a deep red, like the cherry you
brought us the other day; and between these two streaks
were rows of white bones, but by no means dreadful to
behold, like those of the great monster; its eyes were
blue and white; and round this agreeable face was some-
thing which I cannot describe, very pretty, and as glossy
as the feathers of a goldfinch. There was so cheerful and
pleasing a look in this creature altogether, that notwith-
standing I own I was rather afraid, yet I had pleasure in
looking at it; but it stayed a very little time, and then
disappeared. While we were puzzling ourselves with
guesses about it, another creature, larger than it, ap-
peared before us, equally beautiful, and looking so mild
and gentle, that we were all charmed with it; but, as if
fearful of alarming us by its stay, it immediately retired;
and we have been longing for your and my mother's
return, in hopes you would be able to tell us what we
I am happy, my dears," said their mother, to find
NEVER JUDGE BY APPEARANCES. 73
you more composed than 1 expected; for as your father
and I were flying together, in order to come back to you,
we observed the monster, and the two pretty creatures
Flapsy has described. The former is, as your father before
informed you, our friend the gardener; and the others are
our young benefactors, by whose bounty we are every day
fed, and who, I will venture to say, will do you no harm.
You cannot think how kindly they treat us; and though
there are a number of other birds who share their good-
ness, your father and I are favoured with their particular
Oh," said Pecksy, "are these sweet creatures your
friends? I long to go abroad that I may see them
again." "Well," cried Flapsy, "I perceive that if we
judge from appearances we may often be mistaken; who
would have thought that such an ugly monster as that
gardener could have had a tender heart ?" "Very true,"
replied the mother; "you must make it a rule, Flapsy,
to judge of mankind by their actions, and not by their
looks. I have known some of them whose appearance was
as engaging as that of our young benefactors, who were,
notwithstanding, barbarous enough to take eggs out of a
nest and spoil them; nay, even to carry away nest and all
before the young ones were fledged, without knowing
how to feed them, or having any regard to. the sorrows of
the tender parents."
74 THE HAPPY BIRDS.
"Oh, what dangers there are in the world !" cried
Pecksy; I shall be afraid to leave the nest." "Why so,
my love ?" said the mother; "every bird does not meet
with hawks and cruel children. You have already, as
you sat on the nest, seen thousands of the feathered race,
of one kind or other, making their airy excursions full of
mirth and gaiety. This orchard constantly resounds with
the melody of those who chant forth their songs of joy;
and I believe there are no beings in the world happier
than birds, for we are naturally formed for cheerfulness;
and I trust that a prudent precaution, and following the
rules we shall from our experience be able to give you,
will preserve you from the dangers to which the feath-
ered race are exposed."
"Instead of indulging your fears, Flapsy," said the
father, "summon up all your courage, for to-morrow you
shall, with your brothers and sister, begin to see the
world." Dicky expressed great delight at this declara-
tion; and Lobin boasted that he had not the least remains
of fear. Flapsy, though still afraid of monsters, yet longed
to see the gaieties of life; and Pecksy wished to comply
with every desire of her dear parents. The approach of
evening now reminded them that it was time to take
repose, and turning its head under its wing, each bird
soon resigned itself to the gentle powers of sleep.
-E r IPI i T F4 II i .
A vILI Fr>.-iIri,:k n1 l[.'rrii.:t had been
:rattilin,.. \ith thc -. dlt lf thile robinl-
t t S I,-ttu 1' t.Ii, ht e Ii,- .e
c',-iun 't id 1.i- thI eir frti,: l JO:.:, whIe: tilt-.
l \vi':- II t iI til ,- ,.'.i ,l h i I, tl ',ir ii.itl :t .
,;:*-,<-,,,, bi,-,:l I:y [i-,s Lu.-y J-inkins atnd
r I E, I r,. Th'. ...riner %\a,
a fihne ''i al_,rut tn -I, t-'r.-s ,11 the
Sl:,tt,. n r,,,u.,t, 1.1.1c., ,:,\. ,,"
76 MISS AND MASTER JENKINS.
eleven. "We were coming to seek you, my dears," said
Mrs. Benson to her children, "for I was afraid that the
business you went upon would make you forget your
I cannot answer for Frederick," replied Harriet;
" but, indeed, I would not, on any account, have slighted
my friends. How do you do, my dear Miss Jenkins ? "
said she; "I am happy to see you. Will you go with
me into the play-room? I have got some very pretty
new books. Frederick, have you nothing to show Master
Jenkins? "Oh yes," said Frederick, I have got
several little books, which my uncle gave me for being
attentive to my lessons, and they have a great many
pretty pictures in them; but I had rather go back and
show him the robins."
"The robins!" said Master Jenkins; "what rob-
"Why, our robins that have built in the ivy wall.
You have never seen anything so pretty in your life as
the little ones."
Oh, I can see birds enough at home," said Master
Jenkins. "But why did you not take the nest ? It would
have been nice diversion to you to toss the young birds
about. I have had a great many nests this year, and I
do believe I have a hundred eggs."
"A hundred eggs and how do you propose to hatch
A JUVENILE ARGUMENT. 77
them ?" said Harriet, who turned back on hearing him
talk in this manner.
Hatch them !" said he; "who ever thinks of hatch-
ing birds' eggs ?"
"Oh, then, you eat them," said Frederick; "or per-
haps let your cook make puddings of them ?"
"No, indeed," replied Edward Jenkins. I blow out
the inside, and then run a thread through them, and give
them to Lucy to hang up amongst her curiosities; and
very pretty they look, I assure you."
"And so," said Harriet, "you had rather see a string
of empty egg-shells, than hear a sweet concert of birds
singing in the trees? I admire your taste, truly!"
"Why, is there any harm in taking' birds' eggs?"
said Miss Jenkins; "I have never before heard that
"My dear mother," replied Harriet, "has taught me
to think there is harm in every action that gives un-
necessary pain to any living creature ; and I own I have
a very particular affection for birds."
"Well," said Miss Jenkins, "for my part, I have no
notion of such affections. Sometimes, indeed, I try to
rear those which Edward brings home; but they are
teasing, troublesome things, and I seldom succeed. To tell
the truth, I do not concern myself much about them: if
they live, they live; and if they die, they die. He has
78 THE THREE NESTS.
brought me three nests this day to plague me. I thought
to have fed the birds before I came out, but being in a
hurry to come to see you, I quite forgot it. Did you
feed them, Edward ?" "Not I," said he; "I thought
you would do it. It is enough for me to find the
"And have you actually left three nests of young
birds at home without food ?" cried Harriet.
I did not think of them, but will feed them when I
return," said Miss Jenkins.
"Oh," cried Miss Benson, "I cannot bear the thoughts
of what the poor little creatures must suffer."
"Well," said Edward Jenkins, "since you feel so
much for them, I think, Miss Harriet, you will make the
best nurse. What say you, Lucy; will you give the nests
to Miss Benson ?" "With all my heart," replied his
sister; "and pray do not plague me with any more of
I do not know that my mother will let me accept
them," said Harriet; "but if she will, I shall be glad to
Frederick inquired what birds they were; and Master
Jenkins informed him there was a nest of linnets, a
nest of sparrows, and another of blackbirds. Frederick
was all impatience to see them; and Harriet longed to
have the little creatures in her possession, that she might
HARRIET'S REQUEST. 79
rescue them from their dreadful condition, and lessen the
evils of captivity, which they now suffered.
Her mother had left her with her young companions,
that they might indulge themselves in innocent amuse-
ments without restraint; but the tender-hearted Harriet
could not engage in any diversion till she had made inter-
cession on behalf of the poor birds. She therefore begged
Miss Jenkins would accompany her to the house, in order
to ask permission to have the birds' nests. She accord-
ingly went, and made her request known to Mrs. Benson,
who readily consented, observing, that though she had a
very great objection to her children having birds' nests,
yet she could not deny her daughter on the present occa-
sion. Harriet, from an unwillingness to expose her friend,
had said but little on the subject; but Mrs. Benson
having great discernment, concluded that she made the
request from a merciful motive; and knowing that Lucy
Jenkins had no kind mother to give her instruction, she
thus addressed her :
I perceive, my young friend, that Harriet is afraid
that the birds will not meet with the same kind treatment
from you which she is disposed to give them. I cannot
think you have any cruelty in your nature; but perhaps
you have accustomed yourself to consider birds only as
playthings, without sense or feeling. To me, who am a
great admirer of the beautiful little creatures, they appear
80 MRS. BENSON'S REPROOF.
in a very different light; and I have been an attentive
observer of them, I assure you. Though they have not
the gift of speech, like us, all kinds of birds have parti-
cular notes which answer in some measure the purpose of
words among them, by means of which they can call to
their young ones, express'their love for them, their fears
for their safety, their anger towards those that would hurt
them, &c.; from which we may be sure that it is cruel to
rob lirds of their young, deprive them of their liberty, or
exclude them from the blessings suited to their natures,
without which nothing we can do for them will make
Besides, these creatures, insignificant as they appear
in your estimation, were, like you, made by God. Have
you not read in the New Testament, my dear, that our
Saviour said, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall
obtain mercy'? How, then, can you expect that God
will send his blessing upon you, if, instead of endeavour-
ing to imitate him in being merciful to the utmost of
your power, you are wantonly cruel to innocent creatures,
which he designed for happiness ?"
This reproof from Mrs. Benson, which Lucy Jenkins
did not expect, made her look very serious, and brought
tears into her eyes; on which the good lady took her by
the hand, and said kindly, I do not wish to distress you,
my dear, but merely to awaken the natural feelings of
A CRUEL DESIGN. 81
your heart. Reflectat your leisure on what I have said
to you, and I am sure you will think me your friend. I
knew your dear mother, and can assure you she was
remarkable for the tenderness of her disposition. But do
not let me detain you from your amusements. Go to your
own apartment, Harriet, and use your best endeavours to
make your visitors happy. You cannot fetch the birds
this evening, because, when your young friend goes, it will
be too, late for you to take so long a walk, as you must
come back afterwards; but I make no doubt that to
oblige you she will feed them to-night."
Harriet and Lucy now returned to their brothers, and
found Frederick looking at the pictures in the "History
of Prince Lee Boo;" but Edward Jenkins had laid hold
of Harriet's dog, and was searching his own pocket for a
piece of string that he might tie him and the cat to-
gether, to see, as he said, how nicely they would fight;
and so fully was he bent on this cruel purpose, that it was
with difficulty he could be persuaded not to do it.
"Dear me," said he, "if ever I came into such a
house in my life There is no fun here. What would
you say to Harry Pritchard and me, when we hunt cats
and set dogs to fight ?"
"For shame, you cruel boy!" exclaimed Harriet; I
cannot listen to your horrid stories; nor would I commit
one of those barbarities which you boast of for the world.
82 A LITTLE MONSTER.
Poor innocent creatures! what have they done to you to
deserve such usage ?"
I beg, Edward," said his sister, "that you will find
some other way to entertain us, or I shall really tell Mrs.
Benson of you."
"What, are you growing tender-hearted all at once ?"
1 will tell you what I think when I go home,"
replied Lucy. As for poor Frederick, he could not
restrain his tears; and Harriet's flowed also at the bare
idea of the sufferings of the poor animals; but Master
Jenkins was so accustomed to be guilty of those things
without reflection, that there was no making any im-
pression of tenderness upon his mind, and he only laughed
at their distress, and wanted to tell about his other cruel
sports; but Harriet and his sister stopped their ears.
At last little Frederick went crying to his mother,
and the young ladies retired to another room; so that
this little monster was left by himself, and obliged to pass
the rest of the day neglected and disliked by everybody.
Mrs. Benson had some visitors, which prevented her
talking to this cruel boy, as she otherwise would have
done, on hearing Frederick's account of him; -but she
determined to tell his father, which she accordingly did
some time after, when he returned home.
When the servant came in the evening to fetch him
GOOD WORDS COST LITTLE." 83
and his sister, Harriet earnestly entreated her friend
Lucy to feed the birds properly, till she should be allowed
to fetch them. Lucy promised to do so, for she was
greatly affected with Mrs. Benson's discourse, and had
already resolved never to be guilty again of such want of
t'H.lA PTER IX
hliavi-1' o,(1 t.liir1it,- l _.: l-,i.tlitlr'-l pl iriissiin. went
S to thli,: drawivi i -r,,t* i t. li-,t.n ti the ir it,-re,,ting
ci\--.r ti.: ii tl at \i-, *'i i.-n. M r-. BenlIson
,l:,i.:.-rv dl thli:t 'lih l:iil I. r- in tear,..'4 %t ich
Frederick had before explained the cause. I
do not wonder, my love," said she, "that you
should have been so affected with the relation
of such horrid acts of cruelty, which that thoughtless boy
has, by degrees, brought himself to practise by way of
A CHANGE OF OPINION. 85
amusement. However, do not suffer your mind to dwell
on them, as the creatures on which he inflicted them are
no longer objects of pity. It is wrong to grieve for the
death of animals as we do for the loss of our friends,
because they certainly are not of so much consequence to
our happiness; and we are taught to think their suffer-
ings end with their lives, as they have no souls; and
therefore the killing them, even in the most barbarous
manner, is not like murdering a human creature, who is,
perhaps, unprepared to appear before God."
I have been," said a lady who was present, for a
long time accustomed to consider the lower animals as
mere machines, taught by the unerring hand of Provi-
dence to do those things which are necessary for the pre-
servation of themselves and their offspring; but the sight
of the Learned Pig, which has lately been shown in Lon-
don, has altered these ideas, and I know not what to
This led to a conversation on the instinct of animals.
As soon as the company had gone, Pray, mamma,"
said Harriet, what did the Learned Pig do ? I had a
great mind to ask Mrs. Franks, who said she saw it; but
I was afraid she would think me impertinent."
I commend your modesty, my dear," replied Mrs.
Benson, but would. not have it lead you into such a
degree of restraint as to prevent you satisfying that natu-
86 A WONDERFUL PIG.
ral curiosity, without which young persons must remain
ignorant of many things which they ought to know. Mrs.
Franks would, I am sure, have been far from thinking
you inipertinent. Those inquiries only are troublesome
by which children interrupt conversation, and endeavour
to attract attention to their insignificant prattle; but all
people of good sense and good nature delight in giving
them useful information. In respect to the Learned
Pig, I have heard things which are quite astonishing in
a species of animal generally regarded as very stupid.
The creature was shown for a sight in a room provided
for the purpose, where a number of people assembled to
view his performances. Two alphabets of large letters
on card-paper were placed on the floor; one of the com-
pany was then desired to propose a word which he wished
the pig to spell; this the keeper repeated to the pig,
which picked out every letter successively with his snout,
and collected them together till the word was completed.
He was then desired to tell the hour of the day, and one
of the company held a watch to him; this he seemed
with his little cunning eye to examine very attentively,
and having done so, he picked out figures for the hour
and minute of the day. He exhibited a number of other
tricks of the same nature, to the great diversion of the
spectators. For my own part, though I was in London
at the time he was shown, and heard continually of this
THE INTELLIGENCE OF ANIMALS. 87
wonderful pig from persons of my acquaintance, I never
went to see him; for I felt sure that great cruelty must
have been used in teaching him things so foreign to his
nature, and therefore I would not give any encourage-
ment to such an exhibition."
"And do you think," said Harriet, "that the pig
knew the letters, and could really spell words ?"
I think it possible, my dear, that the pig might be
taught to know the letters at sight, one from the other,
and that his keeper had some private sign by which he
directed him to each that was wanted; but that he had
an idea of spelling, I can never believe; nor are animals
capable of attaining human sciences, because for these
human faculties are requisite; and no art of man can
change the nature of anything, though he may be able
to improve that nature to a certain degree, or at least to
call forth powers which would otherwise be hidden from
us. As far as this can be done consistently with our
higher obligations, it may be an agreeable amusement,
but will never answer any important purpose to mankind;
and I would advise you, Harriet, never to give counte-
nance to those people who show what they call learned
animals, as you may assure yourself that they practise
great barbarities upon them, of which starving them
almost to death is most- likely among the number. You
may with the money such a sight would cost you procure
for yourself a rational amusement, or even relieve some
wretched creature from extreme distress. But, my dear,
it is now time for you to retire to rest. I will therefore
bid you good-night."
A 2 ," ~~ ~
-- T''. '- --- 7--
,.' :.)I -
1 .rLY 111 t rP Ii' "Illl t11h. 11 en re l. reask ,
:.i wak ::.l lr l...iit r.:,,:,,. -: ('li e, my
', little ,,n.- ail -i e, 1:? .k_ .1. t your
S :l,' 1 i i... : rein:-li.-l,_ thi-, i- tL. day
I .ti*1-'1 .,
S fixedl t.,r y-.,iir :ltit iira ce iiu t, t,- \\,.,'rld. I
|Ip.' F desire that each of you will dress your
S feathers before you go out; for a slovenly
bird is my aversion, and- neatness is a great advantage to
the appearance of every one."
00 THE CHILDREN SET OUT.
The father-bird was upon the wing betimes, that he
might give each of his young ones a breakfast before
they attempted to leave the nest. When he had fed
them, he desired his mate to accompany him as usual to
Mr. Benson's, where he found the parlour window open,
and his young friends sitting with their mother. Crumbs
had been, according to custom, strewed before the win-
dow, which the other birds had nearly devoured: but the
redbreasts took their usual post on the tea-table, and the
father-bird sang his morning lay; after which they re-
turned with all possible speed to the nest, for, having so
important an affair to manage, they could not be long
absent. Neither could their young benefactors pay so
much attention to them as usual, for they were impatient
to fetch the birds from Miss Jenkins'; therefore, as soon
as breakfast was finished, they set out upon their expe-
dition. Harriet carried a basket large enough to hold
two nests, and Frederick a smaller one for the other.
Thus equipped, with a servant attending them, they
Mr. Jenkins' house was about a mile from Mr. Ben-
son's. It was delightfully situated. There was a beautiful
lawn and canal before it, and a charming garden behind;
on one side were corn-fields, and on the other a wood.
In such a retreat as this, it was natural to expect to find
a great many birds; but, to Harriet's surprise, they saw
LUCY'S NARRATIVE. 91
only a few straggling ones here and there, which flew
away the moment she and her brother appeared. On
this Harriet observed -to Frederick, that she supposed
Edward Jenkins' practice of taking birds' iests had made
all the birds so timid. She said a great deal to him
about the cruelties that naughty boy had boasted of the
evening before, which Frederick promised to remember.
As soon as they arrived at the house, Lucy Jenkins
ran out to receive them; but her brother had gone to
school. We are come, my dear Lucy," said Harriet,
"to fetch the birds you promised us."
Oh, I know not what to say to you, my dear," said
Lucy Jenkins. I have very bad news to tell you,
and I fear you will blame me exceedingly, though not
more than I blame myself. I heartily wish I had re-
turned home immediately after the lecture your kind
mother favoured me with yesterday, which showed me
the cruelty of my behaviour, though I was then ashamed
to own it.
I walked as fast as I could all the way from your
house, and determined to give each of the little creatures
a good supper; for which purpose I had an egg boiled,
and nicely chopped. I mixed up some bread and water
very smooth, and put a little seed with the chopped egg
amongst it, and then carried it to the room where I left
the nests. But I was very sorry when I found that
92 A SAD CATASTROPHE.
my care was too late for most of them; every sparrow
lay dead and covered with blood; they seemed to have
killed each other.
In the nest of linnets, which were very young, I
found one dead, two just expiring, and the other almost
exhausted, but still able to swallow. To him, therefore,
I immediately gave some of the food I had prepared,
which greatly revived him; and as I thought he would
suffer from cold in the nest by himself, I covered him
over with wool, and had this morning the pleasure of
finding him quite recovered."
What! all the sparrows and three linnets dead?"
said Frederick, whose little eyes were filled with tears at
the melancholy tale; "and pray, have you starved all
the blackbirds too ?"
Not all, my little friend," answered Lucy Jenkins;
" but I confess that some of them have fallen victims to
my neglect. However, there are two fine ones alive,
which I shall, with the surviving linnet, cheerfully give
to the care of my dear Harriet, whose tenderness will,
I hope, be rewarded with the pleasure of hearing them
sing when they are old enough. But I hope you will
stay and rest yourselves after your walk."
Let me see the birds first," said Frederick.
"That you shall," answered Lucy; and taking him
by the hand, she conducted him to the room in which
THE BIRDS AND THE CHILDREN. 93
she kept them, accompanied by Harriet. Lucy then fed
the birds, and gave particular instructions for making
their food, and declared that she would never be a receiver
of birds' nests any more; but expressed lier fear that it
would be difficult to wean Edward from his propensity
for taking them.
She then took her young friends into the parlour to
her governess (for her mother was dead), who received
them very kindly, and gave each of them a piece of cake
and some fruit; after which Lucy led them again into
the room where the birds were, and very carefully put
the nest with the poor solitary linnet into one basket,
and that with the two blackbirds into the other. Fred-
erick was very anxious to carry the latter, which his sister
consented to; and then bidding adieu to their friend,
they set off on their way home, attended by the maid as
Let us now return to the redbreasts, which we left
on the wing flying back to the ivy wall, in order to take
their young ones out of the nest into the orchard.
( 4(i-IiA I I' ET, N I
F' F:thl terl Y r br e net. F e rue.1 out E
D: 1 all rfal. v Yert -e plied.
c the l ii.l et u. tIe .- ii the
in an instant; but! Li L .'L
Picky and Flapsy,
being timorous, ;
were not so expeditious.
The hearts of the parents felt great delight at the view
The hearts of t~he parents felt; great delight at; the view
LEARNING TO FLY. 95
they now had of their young family, which appeared to
be strong, vigorous, and lively, and, in a word, endued
with every gift of nature requisite to their success in the
"Now," said the father, "stretch your wings, Robin,
and flutter them a little, in this manner" (showing him
the way) ; "and be sure to observe my directions exactly.
Very well," said he; do not attempt to fly yet, for here
is neither air nor space enough for that purpose. Walk
gently after me to the wall; then follow me to the tree
that stands close to it, and hop on from branch to branch,
as you will see me do; then rest yourself; and as soon as
you see me fly away, spread your wings, and exert all the
strength you have to follow me."
Robin acquitted himself to admiration, and alighted
very safely on the ground.
"Now stand still," said the father, "till the rest join
us." Then, going back, he called upon Dicky to do the
same as his brother had done. But Dicky was very fear-
ful of fluttering his wings, for he was a little coward, and
expressed many fears that he should not reach the ground
without falling, as they were such a great height from it.
His father, who was a very courageous bird, was quite
angry with him.
Why, you foolish little thing," said he, ." do you mean
to stay in the'nest by yourself and starve ? I shall leave