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THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF
THE YOUNG OF HEART SERIES
1. Hero-Chums By Will Allen Dromgoole
2. The Pineboro Quartette By Willis Boyd Allen
3. One Thousand Men for a Christmas Present,
By Mary A. Sheldon
4. Daddy Darwin's Dovecote By Juliana H. Ewing
5. Rare Old Chums By Will Allen Dromgoole
6. The Drums of the Pore and Aft,
By Rudyard Kipling
7. The Strange Adventures of Billy Trill,
By Harriet A. Cheever
8. A Boy's Battle By Will Alien Dromgoole
9. The Man Without a Country,
By Edward Everett Hale
10. Editha's Burglar By Frances Hodgson Burnett
11. Jess By J. M. Barrie
12. Little Rosebud By Beatrice Harraden
13. His Majesty the King By Rudyard Kipling
14. The Boys' Browning By Robert Browning
15. Little Tong's Mission By Etheldred B. Barry
16. The Gold-Bug By Edgar Allen Poe
17. Harum-Scarum Joe By Will Allen Dromgoole
18. The Story Without an End,
From the German by Carove
Special Cover Design n each Volume
Each, Thin 12mo. Cloth. 50 Cents
DANA ESTES & CO., Publishers, Boston
BILLY TRILL AT HOME.
OF BILLY TRILL
HARRIET A. CHEEVER
"LITTLE MR. VAN VEIE OF
ETHELDRED B. BARRY
DANA ESTES & COMPANY
BY ESTES AND LAURIAT
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston. U. S. A.
I. WHERE I CAME FROM
II. IN THE BIRD STORE
III. IN THE BARBER'S SHOP
IV. AT THE GOLDCUPS'
V. A STRAY BIRD .
VI. AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE
VII. A STOLEN CANARY
VIII. HOME, SWEET HOME
S . 35
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
BILLY TRILL AT HOME Frontisj
"' HERE I WAS BORN" .
BILLY TRILL .
IN THE BARBER SHOP .
"'ONLY TWO PRESENTS!' SHE EXCLAIMED, 'AND
BOTH OF YOU HAVE THREE. ISN'TT FAIR .
" THE BOY FLEW AT HER, STRIKING OUT RIGHT AND
" How HE DID BARK I"
A HOMELESS BIRD
AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE
BILLY IS STOLEN
THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF
WHERE I CAME FROM.
SOME people call me Mr. Yellowcoat. Yet my coat
is not half as yellow as what is worn by most of
my family nowadays. I have pretty little cousins who
are yellow as gold from the crown of the head almost
to the tip of the wings, where they shade off nearly to
Ah! now you have found me out, haven't you?
"A bird," you say. Yes, a canary bird, and what
is more, I was brought into this country of America
from my far-off native soil.
Did you ever hear of the Canary Islands ? Oh, yes,
studied of them in that book with the long name that
I have seen little people bending over while trying to
fix the different places it tells of in what is called
' the mind." Look on your map, and in the Atlantic
Ocean, between North America and Africa, but much
nearer to the African coast, you will see the Canary
12 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Isles, and, only think! we are named for the land of
Come with me for a little while and see the island
called Grand Canary, one of the largest of the group.
This is where I first saw the light. A great many
people think canary" simply means yellow," be-
cause anything buff, or straw-coloured, or any such
shade, is called canary-coloured.
No ; you see, tiny creature that I am, there are bits
of ears tucked somewhere on my little head, and as I
have learned to listen hard to what is said in my
hearing, I have gathered up, oh, so many things!
So I know that, years and years ago, these were
called the "Fortunate Islands." And once I heard
that canary" came from a word meaning "' canine,"
anything belonging to a dog; and as there are many of
those barking creatures in my home, I suppose it may
have been from them that our beautiful islands got
Now open wide your eyes, because you will be de-
lighted, I know, at much that you will see. Perhaps it
may seem a little cold if the wind is northwest, but it
is more likely to be blowing from the southeast, right
over from the coast of Africa, and isn't it warm ? Of
course we are surrounded by water, as that is what
makes any land an island, but, would you think it?
we have no rivers, and sometimes water is dreadfully
scarce with us, -that is, such water as one wants to
The ground looks queer, doesn't it ? But ever and
WHERE I CAME FROM.
ever so long ago there used to come smoke, flame, and
hot stones out of the tops of these mountains all
around, so that the ground is uneven in places, and
looks as if it had been plowed. That was done by
hot lava from the burning volcanoes.
Let's fly into this high bush. You can make be-
lieve have wings and follow me for a little while.
Now here is a nest made of soft moss, all lined with
feathers or neatly matted
Over there is another nest,
with pretty little pale blue
eggs in it. Strange that
yellow birds should come
from pale blue eggs, isn't
What funny looking
people! you say. Yes, to
you they do look strange,
perhaps, but" the Canary
hair. Here I was born.
) _-_ ,:-~ -
.-ER I-*-- ORI.
SHERE I WAS BORN."
Islands belong to Spain, and the people are dark, like
the Spaniards; but see what pretty eyes and hair the
Was there ever a more charming garden of flowers ?
I have heard that there were nearly a thousand dif-
ferent kinds of plants ar d flowers in my sunny island
home. And how you little people would like to try
the fruits, which are of the sweetest and ripest to be
found anywhere! Did you ever suck sugar-cane ? Oh,
I have ever so many times, and iere is plenty of it
here in the Canary Islands.
14 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Then such bananas Why, you think that you have
eaten nice ones, but wait until you have eaten them
ripened and sweetened by our hot sun and dry air.
Then the dates and grapes We canaries know what
it is to eat dates that taste like honey and syrup
boiled down to a rich, thick jam; but, dear me it is
no use trying to describe them, or the grapes full of
There are many other kinds of food here, such as
people use: wheat, corn, sweet potatoes, olive oil,
canary grass, from which comes our canary bird seed,
and the plant called tobacco. I know what men do
with the tobacco leaf. They make round rolls of it,
then set it afire at one end, and hold the other end in
the mouth, and out comes a smoke that nearly chokes
a bird. I can't begin to understand what makes men
want to smoke up a little round roll of tobacco. But,
then, there are a great many things a canary can see
but not understand.
Just now, I told you how scarce good drinking-
water sometimes was with us, but there are times
when heavy storms sweep over our islands, and the
salt water rushes like a torrent through the streets;
you would think the whole place was one big river.
Then the water will run off, and the ground will be
perfectly dry, and remain so for a long time.
You mustn't think that because we are by ourselves
in the great ocean that we have no city advantages.
We have men high in office from Europe, called a
consul and vice-consul, and then, what seems a mighty
WHERE I CAME FROM.
thing to me, there are wires under the water by which
messages can be sent from our islands to either Eu-
rope on one hand or to Africa on the other.
Now, before I stop telling of this ocean island, my
own Grand Canary, I must let you know something
of the other birds that live here. The high trees
and thick shrubs and tall cliffs are filled with little
homes, and some of them are not so very little,
There, high midst the branches of a thick-leaved
tree, sits a queer fellow with a perfect mat of soft
feathers covering his tough body, and, dear me! it
always scares me just to peep at his eyes. He doesn't
see a thing as long as daylight lasts, but in the dark
those great, staring eyes see everything. That is an
Once in a while, in the dark, dark night, you will
hear a half whistle and a half moan: "Too whit!
too hoo! Too whit! too hoo!" and then you may
know that Mr. Owl is out looking for his dinner.
He swallows mice down whole, picks up a stray
chicken quicker than a wink, and if any little crea-
ture tries to run through the grass, he will snap it up
and whisk it down his throat or off to his nest like
Here is a strange-looking bird, large and homely.
His head and neck show the bare skin, and, ugh!
he isn't nice at all. He eats coarse, impure food
that a boy or a canary wouldn't look at. He is
called a vulture. We won't stop to make his ac-
16 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
quaintance. He looks greedy, and he is; besides, he
isn't half dressed. We don't want to know him, do
Now, here is a wonderful bird. And it may be
hard to believe me, because it really is a big story for
a mite like me to tell, but this is a falcon, and he is
so tremendously strong that he can fly nearly a hun-
dred and fifty miles in an hour! He perches, like
your eagle, on a high cliff, and cares neither for tem-
pest nor rain.
Look at that bird with. the bold, saucy stare. He
is full of mischief, and likes to get up a quarrel with
any bird that will squabble-with him. It is a magpie.
Sometimes he learns to say a few words such as
So much for the larger birds. We also have a
rich variety of smaller ones. Jennie Wren lives
here, a little bird you know well. There are many
fine feathers and exquisite wings in our islands.
Now I come to our own family, the canaries.
Don't smile at the word "family," for we are a
very large one, I can assure you. What do you think
of there being fifty varieties of canary birds ? Well,
there are. I have noticed that people are fond of
telling who they belong to, and what have been the
family names way back with parents and grand-
We belong to the finch family. Some of us have
been skilful in imitating the songs of other birds,
and my cousins, the bullfinches, can whistle tunes
WHERE I CAME FROM.
and airs such as people sing. Even the ordinary
canaries have been taught regular tunes.
We feed chiefly on canary bird seed and rape seed.
We dearly love chickweed, a hard-boiled egg, or a
lump of sugar. Yet we have to be careful, because
too many kinds of food will make us sick, and a sick
canary is a very piteous little object, very piteous
It is now nearly four hundred years since some of
the canary family were first taken from their native
islands, and put in cages to sing in places made of
wood, brick, or stone, and called "houses." But we
did not look the same then as we do now. Oh, no!
Our coats or feathers were of olive green, shading off
to yellow. Or often they were a greenish yellow,
tinged with brown. Again they were just yellow and
And the little men of our family, oh, what beauties
they were, and in their wild or natural state how they
would sing! Why, in the budding, flowering season
when they were choosing their mates, they would
whistle and trill in a perfect whirl of ecstasy and
delight, their notes going higher and higher, and
growing louder and louder, until once in awhile they
would actually burst the tender little vessels of the
throat, and then, alas for poor canary!
But this did not often happen. And although our
sisters and our little sweethearts were sweet, pleasant
singers, yet they did not have the strength of lung.or
throat that their brothers and lovers possessed.
18 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
The longer the canaries were domesticated, which
means were kept in cages and became inmates with
human families, the more their showy coats paled and
faded, until now far the greater part of us are dressed
all in yellow; yet we little morsels of boys often
sport dark spots on our wee bodies.
I am called a very handsome bird, yet I wish to
say it modestly, as not for anything would I be
thought vain. I once heard a little girl say to her
bird, "Tweeny, you are a very vain little fellow, very
vain indeed. You perk and preen and put on airs
I soon learned that vanity was a silly kind of pride.
And perhaps Tweeny was vain, for he certainly did
perk and preen and yes, I think he even put on
airs; but from whom do you think he learned them ?
Let me whisper: from no less a person than his little
IN THE BIRD STORE.
IN speaking of being a good-looking bird a moment
ago, my dress was not described, but there are rea-
sons why it seems better to say something about it now.
When we hear of friends we do not see, it is pleasant
to be able to imagine how they look. So you can
picture one with a little round head as yellow as gold,
eyes black and bright as beads, and dark brown spots
along my back and dotting my wings. Then the very
tips of my wings are almost black, while my breast is
so pale a yellow as to be almost white.
Please do not think me vain, but I have heard
people call my colours a very pretty combination,
which I know must mean a pretty mixture of shades.
While I was still very young, I found what a pleasure
it was to sing. And as it became easier and easier
to let the strains pour forth from my throat, other
birds would come to listen. Alas! I am afraid this
made me truly vain. It became my habit to perch
on a high, wide-spreading bush, give a long, sweet
trill, then to take secret delight in watching younger
birds, and older ones too, fly close at sound of the
song-burst, and listen intently to the clear, wild
20 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Did you know that such little creatures as birds
could show kindness to one another? Well, they
can. After I had made the whole air ring with a
lively carol, off would fly some of my mates that
had been listening, and in a few moments back they
would come, each with something in its bill. One
would drop a seed before me, another a morsel of
sugar-cane, another a scrap of sweet date, still another
would have a grape pulp, and
perhaps a bird with a strong
*,- beak would offer me a little
Sr piece of banana torn out from
S//between the thick skin.
One day I had been singing
at the top of my lungs, run-
ning up and down all kinds
of notes, trilling as long as
I could hold my breath, and
S doing my best to "show off,"
BILLY TRILL. because 1 noticed how rapt
two men people, I usually
call them seemed, at what one little bird could do.
They did not look like our islanders, but had white
faces, and wore finely fitting clothes.
Pretty soon I saw what I thought the very prettiest
little house there ever could be. It was of shining
wire, and had dear little cups at the sides, one hold-
ing canary seed, the other, clear, sparkling water.
As my long song had made me very thirsty, I
hopped at once into the pretty house and began to
IN THE BIRD STORE.
drink. Click! a little door had shut behind me; one
of the men took down the pretty house, -you know
all about it how it was a cage put on the bough to
catch me; and so off tramped the men, taking me
It isn't well to dwell long on this part of my story.
And after all, when I found myself on what was
called a "vessel," and a little captive, and knew I
was to be taken way off to another country, I did
not feel half as badly as many birds would have,
because I had no folks" of my own. I think, if the
truth were known, my father and mother had been
taken, soon after I learned to fly, to the consul's
house, for I never saw them after I left the nest one
morning, a very little bird. Brothers and sisters I
knew nothing of, so when I was put in a queer room
with only little port-holes to let in the light, and saw
that over a hundred other birds were being trans-
ported which means carried from one country to
another -with me, it all seemed great fun, and I was
prepared to enjoy it.
But you see there are two sides to anything of that
kind. In my wild, sweet woods all was gay and free
as the sunshine and the light, and I little knew
how I should miss spreading my brown and yellow
wings and flying here and there, hither and yon, just
as I pleased. Little canaries born in captivity, which
means born in a cage, know of no other life, and are
happy and contented from the outset, but there have
been times when I would have been glad and thank-
22 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
ful enough could I but have been free again. Yet
there has been very much to make me truly thankful,
as you will see.
I quite enjoyed sailing the seas." On bright days
we made a grand clatter on the old vessel; one high
trill from my yellow throat would set half a hundred
birds going until the captain and a sailor would rush
into the narrow place, and clap cloths over the cages,
which would stop our songs at once, as birds never
sing in the dark.
After awhile I certainly. expected to die of the
cold. We poor little creatures would huddle close to
each other, for the showy cage was only to catch us
in and we were now in long cages, with eight or ten
birds in each. Our songs grew fainter and fewer
until no cloths were needed to hush our merry notes.
But one day, after what seemed a very long time to
a canary, we went straining and jarring up to a
wharf, and some men came where we were, and
talked and talked and talked with the captain. Then
two cages full of birds were carried to one store in a
great city, and others went to other places. We
were all sold right off from the vessel.
Oh, I can't describe how strange it all appeared
to me at the bird store! So many interesting little
objects were gathered there "for sale." There were
birds from far-off Australia, from Brazil in South
America, some with most brilliant feathers; there
were parrots, mocking-birds, larks, poor, timid
little things frightened almost to death; then there
IN THE BIRD STORE.
were curious creatures I had never seen before, not
birds at all, but animals. Guinea-pigs with their
white coats of smooth fur, and little shining eyes;
monkeys running about in great homely cages, chat-
tering in a most impolite way; squirrels leaping over
twirling wheels in high cages; rabbits with pink eyes,
and white fur ears lined with pink, and cute little
white mice with pinkish ears and paws, scudding
swiftly about, but alas! like all the rest, their fleet
little toes bounded by the bars or wires of a cage.
People kept coming and going. Men would come
in, look sharply about, buy a bird or an animal, and
depart with a small cage under the arm. Then a
clear-skinned, finely dressed lady would appear, go
about, ask questions, and perhaps order something
"to be sent." I soon came to understand that when
anything was to be sent" it was to go to some fine
house, and I wished with all my heart that one of
those fine ladies would buy me.
Yet I really enjoyed the bird store. It was fun to
watch the monkeys race, chattering about, stopping
now and then to cuff each other; then some of the
birds disagreed, and, naughty as it was, I yet enjoyed
seeing them fight and fly at each other. One morn-
ing I saw a young mocking-bird seize another by the
back of the neck, hold it limp and helpless in its bill
and shake it until its poor little claws clattered and
crossed so drolly, that, could a canary have laughed, I
certainly should have laughed outright. You would
have thought that when at last the little mocker was
24 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
dropped it would have been stone dead; no, up it
hopped and went to fighting again harder than ever.
By and by I got tired of the bird store. The noise
confused my little head; it was none too warm there
either, for the weather was called November," and
the ladies, to my wonder, began wearing soft furs like
the coats of some animals. A great many people had
looked at me during the three weeks I had been in
the store, but no one seemed to wish to buy. I was
learning more and more of the language each day,
and all at once it popped into my little mind that if
I wanted to be bought I must show that I could sing.
No sooner had I thought of this than I remem-
bered how many times a man had stood before me
whistling softly or knocking an end of his jack-knife
against the edge of a cup, while I looked on in
silent wonder. Now I understood that he hoped by
the gentle whistle or clinking tinkle to make me sing.
Then I thought again how I had never sung a note
since reaching the bird store, and as soon as I began
to think of singing I wanted to try.
Now, had I only been a little older and a little
wiser, I should have known enough to have waited
until some beautiful lady was noticing my fine little
coat, and then poured forth one of my merry songs.
But not being either old or wise, the next time the
store was full of men, I suddenly took the floor."
Of course I had heard some one say that, or I
should never have known what it meant, but open
went my tiny bill, and, once I began, it became hard
IN THE BIRD STORE.
to stop. My little body fairly shook and trembled
with the strength with which the melody rushed and
poured in runs and trills, in loud echoing notes, and a
perfect rapture of sound until, with a grand outburst
of high staccato notes, long drawn and oft repeated,
I reluctantly stopped.
Perhaps it had stimulated, which means urged, me
on, that every man in the store gazed spellbound
while I sang. As I ceased, the bird man" looked
triumphantly around, and said: There! I told you
so." Then they flocked about my cage. One said
"five" something, another seven." But the bird
man only shook his head; No, not a cent less than
ten," he said.
Finally a man with a very smooth face and a long,
curling moustache, with a pin with a white stone in it
in his necktie, and a ring with another white stone in
it on his finger, sung out: All right! here goes an
X for little Billy Trill." And he laid a crisp new
bank-note on the counter. Only think, I had sold
for ten dollars!
But, oh, dear me! While I was wondering about
the elegant house to which I was longing and expect-
ing to go, I found that the man who had bought and
also named me was what was called a barber," and
I was to be taken to another shop.
IN THE BARBER'S SHOP.
A NOTHER funny place. Rows of mugs behind
glass cases made me think there must be no
end of water to drink in this new store. The brushes
sticking up in each mug taught me nothing. But
you scarcely need be told that I.soon found out what
men came there for. Once in awhile a little girl
slipped into a chair to have her hair cut, but no
ladies ever visited the place.
"Now," thought I, "here I shall have to stay all
the rest of my life." But I made up my mind to
be a good little Billy, and do the very best I could.
Let me whisper a word right here into the ears of
boys and girls, because what I want to say is one of
the things that I am very sure of, and we canaries
can't be sure of many things in this big, round world;
we are too little.
Listen, then: when any creature whatever, whether
a morsel of a bird, a little boy or girl, or a great tall
man, makes up his or her mind to do the best that
can be done, there is no more to worry about, it is
the very wisest plan that is, and it is almost always
the sure way to success and to better things.
So, when I saw two or three, or half a dozen, men
IN THE BARBER'S SHOP.
lying back all ready to be shaved, I would open my
mouth before the barbers had a chance to open theirs,
and about every man present after being groomed"
would come and talk to me.
Pretty soon I began taking pleasure in pleasing
others so well. The barber-in-chief, who owned me,
had brought me to the shop in a mite of a wooden
cage with thick close bars, just a little coop in which
I had hardly more than room enough to turn around,
but the next day he bought a cage which was much
like the one in which I was first caught. The sight
of it sent a pang into my tiny heart, for it carried me
back to my beautiful home, and for a moment I
drooped all over, because, when a memory came, it
seemed as though it was bigger than I, the whole of
me, and was more than I could bear.
But the barber called out kindly, Here, cheer up,
Billy What's the matter with you ? Ain't going to
drop down at sight of this brave new house, I hope!"
So much good a few kind, cheerful words can do! I
perked right up, thought of that new resolve to do the
best I could, and went skipping about the new cage
as merry as you please.
Then I soon began thinking I was not so badly off.
I was kindly cared for. The shop was generally
pretty warm. The seed-in my cup was never allowed
to run short. My bath-tub of white porcelain was filled
with fresh watel every day. Clean paper made a
nice carpet for my feet, and my drinking cup was
kept polished and well filled.
THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
One of the barbers on coming from his lunch one
day said, "Here, Billy, I've got something nice for
you, saved it from my saucer for your little bill," and
he stuck a lump of beautiful white sugar into a wire
of my cage. Do you think it stayed there very long ?
Because if you do you're mistaken. I pecked and
pecked, until down came what was left, to my little
floor. But my master said I must not be given too
much sugar, or it would make me sick.
Another day, a gentleman who had noticed me
every time he visited the shop came in just after his
lunch, and said: "I've brought something for Billy
Trill he will soon nibble up, I'm thinking." He
twisted a green and white leaf through the gilt bars
and watched to see me try it.
Oh, dear me! dear me! Was ever there anything
quite so good before ? They called it "lettuce."
Why, I never tasted anything else so good in all
my little life, never! not even sugar. It was cool,
crisp, and full of life, that is all the way I can tell
about it. And it didn't hurt me a mite, not a mite.
After that I watched with all my little eyes when-
ever the gentleman came in, and once in awhile he
would have a leaf of lettuce and sometimes he would
not. One day I wanted one so, that, when he came in
without it, I am ashamed to say I was so provoked
that- what do you think ? I plumped into the porce-
lain bath-tub and took a second ducking for the day,
and I found out something! It cooled me off won-
derfully. And I think that if little girls or boys,
IN THE BARBER SHOP.
IN THE BARBER'S SHOP.
I scarcely dare say men, too, although I think it just
the same, could only have a good ducking when they
get angry and out of sorts, it would soon bring them
to their senses, and do a sight of good.
I learned a good many things in that barber's shop.
I don't know whether men talked there more than
they do in other places, but they surely talked a great
deal. It was fun Saturday nights. And it was fun
on the night before what people call a "holiday."
Then the shop would be full way up to almost mid-
night. Men would sit around waiting their turn to
drop into one of the chairs, and be barbered. Mean-
time they talked.
I found out that what people call money was the
chief thing in the world; that a man who had plenty
of "money" was an entirely different person from
one who hadn't much; it made men say "sir" to
other men who had considerable of it; it was what
brought happiness, contentment, and respect.
Remember, this was how it looked to a young bird.
There is a great difference between a young bird and
an old bird.
It did not escape my notice that my master had a
great many chances to sell me. Very often men
would say: Come, now, what will you take for this
songster ?" But there was always one reply: "I
don't want to sell Billy Trill."
One day a gentleman came in who wore a splendid
coat with fine, soft fur on the collar and at the wrists.
A beautiful ring was on one finger that at first looked
32 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
like a plain, gold band, then, as the light struck it, my
sharp little eyes saw that it was filled in with precious
stones that people call diamonds." Everything this
man wore looked costly, although there was no show,
and now I know that real gentlemen do not wear
My master's clerks ran to wait on this man. One
took his coat and hung it up, another his hat, they
said sir" every time they spoke to him, and, soon as
possible, my master himself began serving him.
Now, Billy," I said to myself, why not do your
prettiest? You may not want to stay in a barber's
shop all your days. It is very lonesome here nights,
and how much nicer it would be to live in a handsome
house, where the street door wouldn't open every few
moments and let in the cold air, and where, perhaps, a
pretty lady would take care of you, and children love
to hear you sing!"
Well, I did do my prettiest, or, rather, I sang it.
All the time the gentleman was in the chair, I warbled
and sang and trilled. I tried a song the mocking-bird
used to sing in the bird store with so much sweetness
that every one would keep quiet as soon as he began
it, and, strange to say, I could sing like the mocker,
come to try. And so I kept on until the gentleman
arose from the chair. Then he came directly over to
Birds and animals can tell a great deal from the
looks of people's eyes. And I knew from the look in
the gentleman's eyes that he meant to buy me. It was
IN THE BARBER'S SHOP.
not done in a moment. My master wished to keep me,
the gentleman had determined to own me. While
they were talking I broke into what must have seemed
rather a sad little song, because I feared lest after all
the barber would refuse to let me go, and now I wanted
to go very much to the gentleman's house. He spoke
of children" and Christmas."
It was no longer November, but people called it
"December," and the weather had grown very cold,
oh, so cold, that when the outer door opened, and the
air rushed in, I knew that if I had to stay outside for
any length of time I should surely be frozen to death.
That sad little song did the work. The gentleman
said something about its being a dreadful price," but
he laid down two of those crisp bank-notes, and I
knew that I was sold again.
After that, my master scarcely looked at me while
I stayed in the shop, and seemed to feel quite downcast,
and the clerks watched me with eyes full of regret.
But the next day a man came to the shop with a cage
as white as snow, except that at the top was a gilt
ball, and over the little places that held the seed
and water cups were what looked like little gilt
Into this lovely new house I was invited to enter,
and I hopped in with such an air that my master said,
" Well done, sir." I felt grand and proud to think I
had got so far up in the world as to be called sir."
Towards night, I was covered, cage and all, with a
thick woollen rug, taken to a close carriage, and
34 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
whirled away. When I was uncovered, such a large,
beautiful room as I was in!
What I found out that night was this : the name of
the new people was Goldcup." I was to be a Christ-
mas present to Lizzie, the eldest little daughter. This
was Christmas eve. The next morning I was to have
a new mistress, Lizzie Goldcup. And I, Billy Trill,
canary, was in one of the finest houses in the great
city What happiness!
AT THE GOLDCUPS'.
ONCE and for all I found out the next morning
what takes place with people when Christmas
comes. It is a great time for presents. The children,
Lizzie, Susie, and Bertie, jabbered about what they had
found in stockings that had been pinned up against
the mantel the night I came.
A queer little man, called Santa Claus," was all
mixed up with the chimney, sleigh-bells, the stockings,
and what was in them. Really, I could not under-
stand; I was too small.
When the children came to the nursery, where
hung my cage, they found beautiful presents waiting
for them. Bertie, the little boy, had picture-books, a
Noah's ark, and a smart rocking-horse. Susie had
games, skates, and a sled. Lizzie, the eldest, had kid
mittens, with soft fur cuffs, and a beautiful muff of
dark, rich fur. She did not seem pleased or satisfied.
Only two presents !" she exclaimed, and both of
you have three. 'Tisn't fair!" and out went her
pretty lips in what people call a "pout."
Now I knew very well that this was my little mis-
36 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
tress, and I must say it made my bit of a heart rather
anxious, when I saw that pout. But she hadn't spied
me, and I thought the best thing I could do would be
to break into a bright, cheery song. So I began.
The children stood motionless from the moment of
my first note, and as I felt that a good deal might
depend on how well I pleased this new young mis-
tress, you will readily believe that I trilled, and whis-
tled, and carolled, until again my little body fairly
fluttered with the effort and I was all tired out.
Lizzie was perfectly delighted. She flew about the
room, clapping her hands, declaring I was the sweet-
est, the best, the most darling little canary that ever
It's mine! it's mine, I know it is !" she exclaimed,
and in a few moments her mother came in, a very
pretty, but tired-looking lady, whom Lizzie rushed up
to, kissed, and thanked for her dear, darling little
"That is a present from papa," Mrs. Goldcup said,
and pretty soon in came the gentleman who had
bought me. He looked finely in a short velvet house
coat, pretty slippers of gray and white fur, cut very
close, and a face all cleanly shaven. After Lizzie had
jumped about and thanked him for her sweet birdie
a good many times, he looked, I thought, a little
sober, and this is what he said:
"You must remember, my dear child, that little
Billy Trill is to be your especial charge, and will be de-
pendent on you for care. You must be sure to feed the
" ONLY TWO PRESENTS!' SHE EXCLAIMED, 'AND BOTH OF
YOU HAVE THREE. 'TISN'T FAIR I'
AT THE GOLDCUPS'.
little fellow every day, see that he has fresh water to
drink and for his bath, and that his cage is kept neat
and clean. You are twelve years old, now, and must
be my kind, thoughtful little daughter. Billy will
repay your care, I know, with many sweet songs.
To-morrow I will get him a cuttlefish bone, on which
to sharpen his little bill. A hard-boiled egg, now and
then, will answer for his turkey, and a leaf of lettuce,
at any time, would delight his little heart. Now don't
All this made me feel that I had come into a house
where everything was going to be very fine for a
canary. I felt convinced, from all my little eyes
could see, and all my little senses take in, that here
was plenty of money, and as that brought happi-
ness, contentment, and respect, I was in the best of
clover. Alas! before night I wished, with all my
bit of a heart, that I was back in the barber's
Soon after papa Goldcup went out of the room
that bright Christmas morning, a woman with a
tasty white cap on all trimmed with lace, and a clean
white apron on, came to the nursery, and told the
children that breakfast was ready. This was the
But, oh, dear! just back of her trailed a handsome
little Scotch terrier, his blue-gray crimpy hair parted
down the middle of his back, and his eyes half covered
with crinkly hair. At sight of me he acted as though
he had suddenly gone crazy. He barked furiously,
40 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
made leaps in the air, and said, as plainly as a dog
could say anything: Let me just get hold of you, Mr.
Canary, and see how I'd eat you, crown, claws, tail,
and all "
I trembled like a leaf at the little dog's frenzy, but
I trembled far more at what followed. In the most
unladylike way, Lizzie flew into a great passion.
She screamed at Tibby, the terrier, called him "a
good-for-nothing little wretch," and, opening the door,
told him to "clear out." And as the hairy little
fellow scrambled through the doorway, she gave him
a sharp kick that sent him yelping into the hall, and
I could hear his painful little "yip, yip," all the way
down the stairs.
Nurse said, "For shame, Miss Lizzie, you ought to
know better than to treat poor Tib so cruelly. You've
taught him to bark at strangers, and the poor doggy
didn't know Billy, and thought he was doing right to
bark at him." But Lizzie turned on Nurse, and told
her to "stop preaching." She did look a little
ashamed, but you can imagine how this all seemed to
me; I was not too young, nor too ignorant, to ask
myself how I was likely to fare at the hands of a
young girl who would treat a loving, obedient little
dog as Lizzie had treated Tibby.
I remembered how, one night, a boy had come into
the barber's shop having with him a lively fox terrier,
his trimmed ears erect, his short tail wagging with
eagerness. I was just finishing a song as he entered.
Like Tibby, he acted as though it would be joy un-
AT THE GOLDCUPS'.
told to eat me whole. He spun around as if trying
to catch his own loud bark.
But his young master called out, Be quiet, Foxy,
come here !" then, as the well-trained dog went nos-
ing up to the boy, his stumpy tail still wagging
fiercely, his master stooped down, soothed him by
passing a gentle hand up and down his sleek, spotted
back, and said, "Don't you know, Foxy, that some
other little objects have just as good a right to be
heard from in this wide, round world as your ridicu-
lous little lordship? If you bark like that when I
take you out for a walk, you will soon be invited to
stay at home. Now, go charge like a gentleman, and
don't let me hear another growl."
The pretty Foxy, without having his feelings hurt
in the least, had been shown it was a mistake to bark
at a singing bird, and sat so quietly on his plump
haunches watching me twitter about that I thought I
would sing him a little song, and when I looked
around to see how he liked it, what do you think!
he had run his pointed nose between his forepaws on
the floor and was fast asleep! I saw him often after-
wards, but he never barked at me again.
All this rushed through my mind almost before I
had heard Tibby's last faint yip, and I knew he had
gone to the dining-room, perhaps hoping for a com-
forting word from his master.
For a few days my care was all that could have been
asked. Lizzie put clean paper in the bottom of the
white cage every day, which was not necessary, and
42 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
had I eaten all the different things put into my pretty
house, I should certainly have fallen very ill. But I
knew too much for that.
One morning the nurse talked to Lizzie seriously
about tucking so many things into my cage. Don't
you know," she said, it would be enough to kill a
canary to cram so much all at once? It would be
much better and more sensible not to begin so fierce,
but to make up your mind to keep up steady care;
there's danger that all this attention will soon run out."
Alas! that was exactly what I feared. But I tried
to find comfort in thinking that, if Lizzie forgot me,
Nurse might be more thoughtful, and save me from
On Christmas morning the children had been much
taken up with their games, books, candy, and toys.
All the morning they chattered and played, and
although once or twice I was afraid they were not
going to agree, yet there were so many new things to
amuse them that they got along very well.
In the afternoon they went out to play, and I was
glad to be alone awhile in the warm, quiet nursery.
All at once Mrs. Goldcup came in, and the next
moment I heard the pattering of Tibby's little feet.
He flew into the same rage as before, and Mrs. Gold-
cup, instead of quieting him, and showing I was not
to be barked at and frightened, said, in an impatient
tone, Oh, you tiresome creature and, opening the
door, she ordered him out, and shut him into the hall.
She looked about a moment or two, went to the
AT THE GOLDCUPS'.
window, and gazed into the street a little while, but
she said never a word to the little stranger in the
cage, and she surely did not look happy. Why should
that be ? Here was a beautiful house, fine furniture,
soft carpets, people to do the work, pets to please and
cheer her, and, yes, there must be plenty of the magic
thing called money."
Ah, could it be that I had made a mistake in my
little bird mind? Was not mdney indeed the chief
thing in the world? Did it not always bring happi-
ness and content ?
The next day was stormy, and the three children
were obliged to remain in the house all day. Such
an unhappy, unhappy day as it was! No peace or
anything like it. At last Susie brushed by the spot
where Bertie had stood up the animals in his Noah's
ark, and her skirts tumbled them all down. The boy
flew at her, striking out right and left, and Susie, in
trying to push him off, fell up against Lizzie, who
was reading a book.
Well, I can't describe the scene at all; I don't
know how; only there was such a noise, such a
screaming, crying, and scolding, that Mrs. Goldcup
came running up to see what was the matter. Nurse
tried to explain, but could not make herself heard,
and when it grew a little quieter, Mrs. Goldcup told
the nurse that if she couldn't manage the children
better, she should have to find some one who could.
Poor Nurse! She needed the money earned looking
after the noisy children, and she fell to crying at the
44 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
unjust blame she had received. But Bertie had a
kind little heart, for all his quick temper, and he
climbed into Nursey's lap, begging her not to cry,
and promising to be a better boy. Nurse told him a
nice little story, and the room grew quieter.
"THE BOY FLEW AT IER, STRIKING OUT RIGHT
But the children did quarrel dreadfully. With
everything about them to enjoy, they really enjoyed
but very little. Nurse said the trouble was, they
had altogether too much. I know now she told
the truth. Poor Nursey! She had a hard time of
it, and with all my heart I pitied her.
A STRAY BIRD.
JUST now I was pitying Nurse. It was not long
before I pitied myself. If it went to my heart
when Nurse advised Lizzie not to be so fierce in her
attentions at first, but to be sure and keep them up,
it went still more sharply to my poor little stomach
when she began neglecting me.
At first, she fell off about the paper which was my
carpet. Instead of having a fresh one every morning,
I was glad to get one at the end of a week or ten
days. In this time, she would not even shake it out,
but would only give me seed and water.
Now, no one who does not stop to think can imag-
ine how very trying this is for a poor bird. We have
acute little senses, small as they are, and the odour of
seed-pods, old water, and broken bits of cuttlefish
bone is not very pleasant for one thing, and then
for another, where seed, sand, and other bits are
allowed to stay too long in a cage, our little claws get
all balled up, which is far from comfortable.
But all this, I can assure you, seemed like nothing,
beside the dreadful suffering of great hunger. For
yes, the days came when, from morning to night,
46 THE ADVENT UBES OF BILLY TRILL.
Lizzie would go flying about, thinking nothing of the
brown and yellow mite, who could not sing a note for
very starvation. And as it was Lizzie's work to look
out for me, no one else seemed to give poor Billy a
Perhaps, after not having had either seed or water
for two whole days, she would all at once say, Oh,
dear me, I almost forgot you, Billy! And I would
think that, could I only speak in the language of
people, I would cry out, indignantly, "Almost!"
If you can believe it, I went twice for three days
without a morsel either to eat or to drink, and then
it was Nursey who remembered me, and fed me.
Had I known of some great king or queen upon
whom I could have called to have pity, how with all
my feeble strength I would have called! And then,
to make it all the more hard, when at last she did
remember me in time to save my life, Lizzie would
say, "Oh, Billy, what a little bother you are! I
wished with all my little might and main I could fly
away, and stop bothering her.
Tibby never learned to like me. How could he?
No one ever taught him the least show of manners
towards a little creature smaller than himself. Two
or three times when Nurse and the children were
away, he scared me nearly out of my senses, barking,
flying around, and making the most fearful rumpus.
What happened one day I shall never forget, never!
not if I live to be gray with age.
Every one was out of the house except Tibby and
A STRAY BIRD.
myself. I heard, through the half-open door, his
quick jumps over the stairs. The next moment, he
was in the room. He must have made up his little
doggy mind that this was the day when I had better
be made way with, once for all. How he did bark!
He worked himself into a perfect rage and roar, and
his eyes looked as though sparks of fire came out of
A tall .chair, with a sharp, pointed back and stuffed
arms, stood near the window. Up he sprang to the
arm of the chair, and from that to the window-sill.
Then he made a mighty spring, and almost caught a
paw in the lower part of the cage; but he missed it,
and fell heavily, right on the pointed carving at the
back of the chair. He struck with so much force I
wondered if a bone snapped, but all my fright turned
to pity at the difference in the noise Tib made after
he struck that chair. He fairly howled with pain, and
I wished, as hard as I could wish, that some one
would come and take care of him.
The poor fellow had grown weak with crying and
pain when Nurse came running over the stairs. As
she picked Tibby up, one slender leg hung limp and
useless. Oh, yes," Nurse said, I see. You made
a great jump in hopes to catch poor Billy Trill, and
you must have banged against the chair 'and broken
The next time I saw Tibby he was going on three
legs, and very slowly at that. The fourth little limb
was a mass of bandages. If he chanced to hit it
THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
against anything, he would yelp piteously. Much as
I pitied him, he seemed only to hate me the more
since the accident. Once I heard some one say that
people usually disliked any one whom they had in-
jured. Poor Tibby had only tried to injure me, but
he still hated me, and never turned his wicked little
eyes towards my cage without growling.
Another day, I began to discover something. Nurse
and the children were down-stairs, when Mr. Gold-
cup came into the nursery to look at a window that
needed fixing in some way. Then Mrs. Goldcup
came in, and asked, in a complaining tone, Can't
you make inquiries among some of your friends, and
see if you can't hear of a good nurse for the children ?
I'm all tired out hearing Nurse say she can't control
Lizzie and Susie."
No, I do not think that is a duty that belongs to
me," Mr. Goldcup said; ladies find nurses, not men.
And I can't help saying, I do not think Nurse is to
blame at all for the way that our little girls behave.
I do not think they should be allowed to act as they
do. No nurse could manage children who are not
I think I felt what respect" meant for the first
time, as Mr. Goldcup spoke, and I respected him for
speaking so plainly, and with so much justice. But
why, pray, did not he, who was so fine a gentleman,
train his children himself? Ah, his next remark
showed why. It did not show him to have much
courage, I thought, yet-men love peace.
" "I iI!
"CC0W HE DID BARIKI,,
A STRAY BIRD.
There is so much trouble," he said, if ever I try
to straighten things out for poor Nurse, that I have
given up trying in despair; so when she goes away, -
as she means to, next week, for she told me so, you
will have to do what you can to get some one in her
place. I only hope you will find another as good a
Then Mrs. Goldcup began to cry, and said no one
else in the world had so hard a life as hers. No pity
from any one, especially from her husband, who ought
to be always ready to help her. Everything, she said,
went wrong. The world was a hard place to live in,
and there was very little happiness in it, very little
And, yet, here was plenty of money, that I had
thought bought every possible good. But surely Mrs.
Goldcup was neither happy nor contented, and even
I, a little canary, could feel but small respect for a
parent who allowed children to behave so badly that
a willing, faithful nurse would not stay with them.
I soon found that Mrs. Goldcup had not really
wanted Nurse to go away. She called her to the
nursery, after the children had gone to bed, said she
was a good girl, and tried to make her believe that it
would be a great mistake to leave so fine a situation.
Then she offered her considerable more money to
But Nurse said, slowly and soberly, No, money -
is not -- everything," and nothing that Mrs. Gold-
cup could say made her change her mind.
52 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Now this was very bad for me. The winter was
slipping away, but it was very, very cold outside. I
knew it by the way the wheels crunched along over
the hard ground. Not a green leaf was to be seen
outside of the windows, and Susie still took her
skates and went to the frozen pond. And if Nurse
went away what would become of me ? I should not
have been alive then, had it not been that she had
filled my little cups several times. Lizzie was so
heedless, so selfish, so little fond of any one but
herself, that it made me heartsick to think of having
Nurse go, for although some one else would probably
come, yet she might never think of the hungry little
object in the white cage.
Well, Nurse went the next week, as she had said,
but it was not at all easy finding the right one to
take her place. Miss Lizzie and Miss Susie had to
look out for themselves. Bertie was always the best
of the three. And now came the very hardest days
I have ever seen in all my little life. The morning
before Nursey went away, she put clean paper in my
cage, washed my cups and the little bath-tub, filled
both seed and water cups full, and scattered seed on
the floor of the cage. I knew what that meant.
I made both seed and water last as long as I could.
Then, after two days spent without food or drink,
Mr. Goldcup, who was by far the kindest one of all
the family, saw my condition and fed me. He also
talked to Lizzie about the cruelty of forgetfulness
where a living creature was concerned. She fed me
A STRAY BIRD.
a few times after that; then it was so hard, so very
hard for me, that I made up my little mind I could
not live long, but still I was determined to do the
best I could, and when I was hungriest, I would sing
and sing, in hopes the longing song would remind
Lizzie of her duty. Alas! it did not.
I was growing nearly discouraged, when, one mild,
sunshiny day, Mrs. Goldcup came into the nursery,
and opened a window at the top to air the room. As
she went out again, I noticed that the door of my
cage was pushed slightly aside. Could I open it
wide enough to squeeze my little body through? A
wild desire to escape from the cage, from the house,
seized me. My heart went pit-a-pat, fairly knocking
against my tender sides at the thought. The air
swept in at the window, full of wintry chill. Would
I freeze in a few moments? Would I find food?
Oh, food, food! I was nearly crazy for it!
At that, down I hopped. With my strong little
bill I did push back the cage door far enough to get
out, and, without stopping to think any longer, out
I flew into the open air. It was not so dreadfully
cold. Perhaps I could find the barber's again. But,
oh, dear Once I was actually away from the house
I could not possibly have found my way there again.
Well, I didn't want to, and whatever came I was
going to be brave.
What I wanted to see was an open window. It
darted through my mind that I could sing, that I was
called a beautiful singer, and that I must be a valu-
54 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
able bird. And almost any place would be better
than the Goldcups', where food was the scarcest
thing I knew of. And, oh, joy! There was an open
window, and in such a big, big house!
In I flew, and all I could think of was how beau-
tiful it felt to be where it was warm again. The
wind had chilled me through and through, although
I had not flown far. But where was I? No signs
of food were to be seen. I was in the largest
room I had ever dreamed of, and as a great door
stood open at one end, I knew there must be other
I flew out to a large hall, then down some stairs.
In a queer, plain room was a common wooden table,
and on it were crumbs. Lots of crumbs! How I
did eat! Nothing I had ever tasted before, neither
seed, sugar, boiled egg, nor even my favourite lettuce,
ever seemed half as delightful as those simple crumbs.
Sometime there must have been a supper there, for
the crumbs were still sweet, although rather hard,
but, oh, they were so welcome!
When I had stuffed myself until I think I must
have swelled, and I really ached with food, I flew
back to the great room. It was filling with people.
I hid in a groove high up in a wooden arch and -
what do you think After the long seats were filled
with people, I heard wonderful music from a great
object that was all pipes as far as I could see. But
stranger still, a man got up on a high, raised place at
one end of the great room, and told about a great
A STRAY BIRD. 55
Being who made the world, made men, and every-
thing, and yet cared for the birds!
That must have been why I hadn't starved. It
isn't a king or a queen I needed to call on when I
was so hungry, it was this kind Being. Two things
I have never forgotten since that time: one, that
there is a great, kind, wonderful Being, who cares
for birds; another, that the hardest days I ever saw
were in the house of a rich man, and in a beautiful
cage of white and gold.
AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE.
AFTER the people went out of the great room, a
man went about closing up everything. He
made it so gloomy I felt like drooping with loneliness.
Then when he went out, I flew down again to the
queer, plain room. Only crumbs enough remained
for my dinner and supper.
I passed a lonely afternoon. In the evening some
people came to a large room down-stairs, and talked
and sang, but I was tired out, and fell asleep on a
soft cushion in one of the long seats.
The next morning the crumbs were all gone; no
one came to the great building, except a man who
entered one of the lower doors, which he left open
after him. I could not stay in so lonely a place, and
where all signs of food had vanished. So fluffing out
my feathers to make them thick and warm as pos-
sible, away I flew again, a poor, homeless little
canary. B:t let me whisper, -I wasn't frightened
a bit, not one bit!
I perched for a few moments on a tall tree, to look
around, but boo! how the wind went through my
AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE.
little yellow sides It seemed to me my little bones
must have turned blue. It wouldn't do to stay
perched, that was certain. So off I started, and
although the wind cut me as I sped, yet the unusual
exertion of flying gave a slight glow to my sensitive
On, on I went, but not an open window did I see,
and I was going over broad, busy streets, where the
buildings were high and grand, and did not look as
though people lived in
them, but merely used
them to carry on busi- C x. .,
ness in. So I turned
into some side streets,
and pretty soon I came .
to a low, stumpy little
house, set in the middle
of a tiny garden. The
house was very small,
but at once gave me a
A HOMELESS BIRD.
thought of home. It
was what people call "homelike." And there was
a window open two or three inches at the top.
Thankful for almost any shelter, in I flew, and
perched on the upper edge of a hanging bookcase.
The room was very quiet. In a great armchair sat
an old woman with a funny cap on. It had a wide
ruffle all around it, and I thought it made her sweet
old face look all the sweeter. She was fast asleep.
Very soon a door opened, and in limped a little girl
58 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
not more than ten years old. Her hair hung in two
braids down her back, and was almost as yellow as
my coat. She was very lame, but such a good face
as she had She shut the window softly. How cosey
it all was !
Then the old woman opened her eyes, and a soft
voice said: "Aweel, my goot Gretchie, you've got
t'place all cleared up while grandam slep', haven't
you ? Vot a spry little vooman you are "
The child hopped about with a queer limp and
spring, so used had she got to her lameness. Yes,
grandam," she replied, we're all in order now, and
I'm ready to work with you awhile." But- I was
Now," I thought, I ought to let them know I am
here, then I know they will give me something to eat."
And so I began, softly at first, but singing gradually
higher, and with many musical trills, in hopes to
please the simple people I already liked so much, and
with whom I wanted to stay.
In thinking it over now, I almost know any one
would have laughed at the scene in the humble home,
as my song rolled forth. The old grandmother's
eyes grew large, and her mouth opened in surprise as
she looked up, and up to the top of the bookcase.
" Gretchie" stood stock-still in the middle of the
room, her hands clasped tightly before her, like those
of a child I once saw in a picture, and that some one
said was praying.
When I stopped no one spoke for a moment, then
b.T SUN K COTTAGE
AT SUN1LICK COTTAGE.
AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE.
the old grandma said, Ah! t'goot Got sent t'little
birdie to cheer us, He did so!"
Oh, grandam !" said Gretchie, "it's a canary, a
dear little canary, but I'm afraid it's a little run-
away, too. Perhaps it won't be right to keep the
little darling," and she looked very sober at the
Aweel, aweel," answered the grandma, as if
that idea was unwelcome, go now, and get t'dicky-
bird's cage, and when Fritzy come, we'll tell him
about t'birdie's coming, and see what he say. But
get t'cage, t'poor starling might be hungry and
Off went Gretchie with her hop and limp, and she
soon returned. "I never expected to have another
bird, when Dicky died," she said, in a voice that trem-
bled, "but if we can only keep this little dear, how
happy I shall be "
She disappeared with the cage, and was gone what
seemed to me a long time; then back she came with
the cage neatly cleaned, brown paper on its floor, the
plain little water-cup full, and the seed-cup filled with
soft, delicious crumbs. A little sauce-dish held water
for my bath.
Come, sweety-tweet," she chirped, we haven't a
bit of bird-seed for you to-day, but to-morrow you
shall have some, and if you'll only stay with us, such
care as you shall have." Then she stood off a little,
and watched me.
In an instant I was inside the cage, pecking eagerly
62 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
at the welcome food. "Look t'are, now," said the
grandma, t' little honey-pot was almost starve. Oh,
t'poor mite of a starling, t'are no knowing how far
t'little wings have fly. I hope t'little t'ing won't fill
his little pipes so full he burst."
Perhaps there was danger of it. So I took a long,
sweet drink, and then, plump went my body into the
clear, shining water of the bath.
Such a lovely home as I had found! And yet there
were no riches there. Far from that. Gretchie did
most of the work, her grandma sometimes directing
her, and Fritzy helping, what little he had time for.
The grandma was old and infirm, and seldom left her
deep armchair, except to go at night to her bedroom,
close by. She knitted all day long on coarse woollen
mufflers and mittens sent her from the great store
where Fritzy worked. Any spare time that she had
Gretchie also spent in knitting.
When the darkness began creeping on, at close of
the day, Fritzy came home, only a boy! A bright-
haired, rosy-cheeked lad of fifteen years. How happy
and cheerful they were! My story was told over
and over, but Fritzy looked grave as he said, "Oh,
yes, I must tell about the birdie, and see can we
hear of an owner."
But, to my great joy, after a peaceful week had
rolled by, Fritzy said he could hear of no one who
had lost a canary, and Gretchie said, gleefully, that I
belonged at Sunfleck Cottage.
Days of sweet content followed. I learned by
AT SUNFLECK COTTAGE.
heart the useful lesson, that money is not the chief
thing in the world, and it is not great luxury that
makes the home. Rosy-cheeked Fritzy worked hard
from early morning until evening. Gretchie never
was idle, and never for a day was I forgotten, or my
cage allowed to go uncleaned.
People who knew and loved my simple friends came
often to see them, and seldom without bringing some-
thing nice for the old granddame- she was an old
German dame, well known and respected by many
I was treated to the best they had. Bits of date,
the inside of a rich fig, a grape pulp, or even a pep
permit, gladdened my atom of a palate very often.
What was all the grandeur of the Goldcup house,
where I nearly starved, to the cosey quiet, the constant
treats, the care, and the calm content of this humble
When the sun shone into the bright sitting-room, it
came through the boughs of a tall tree outside, and
fell in spots or flecks along the floor; from this they
named the little home Sunfleck Cottage." I sang
to these kind friends my choicest songs. I think
my voice sweetened with the dainties to which I was
almost daily treated. I had lost my name of Billy
Trill in coming to them, but what of that? I had
gained love and a home. By and by I will tell you
.how I got my name back again.
I could have stayed at the cottage for ever, would
have been glad to then, but this was not to be. My
64 THE AD VENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
fine voice was to lure me to a different home. Could
a canary have shed tears, I should have ruined my
little eyes with weeping, when, after three lovely
months, I was rudely borne away from dear, peaceful
A STOLEN CANARY.
THE winter passed, and spring came. Spring,
with its buds and blossoms, its leaves and flow-
ers. On pleasant days, my little mistress would hang
my cage on a hook outside of the house. This was a
great delight, as the outer air, now that the sting of
cold had gone, was like fresh life to me, and then it
was great pleasure to see people passing, and to hear
the songs of other birds. I was out of the reach of
dogs and pussies, and in the gladness of my little
heart such a thing as fear never entered it. And so
good and pure was my little mistress, that thoughts
of harm or danger for me I know never occurred
But one warm, sunshiny day, Gretchie, after plac-
ing my cage outside, started out on an errand, going
slowly along, as she always did in the street. She
turned, waved her dear- little hand to me, and soon
was out of sight. Alas! I was to see her no more
for many days.
I peeped in at the window, and saw the old grand-
dame asleep over her soft wools. She always had
that morning nap. Then I broke into a merry song.
66 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Suddenly something startled me. Two boys, poorly
dressed; and with unclean faces, were creeping towards
me from a thick shrub. Had I been less frightened
and had my wits about me, I might have broken into
an angry twittering, and perhaps have scared them
BILLY IS STOLEN.
away. But their movements were so sly and spry
that, before I had time to think of anything, one had
mounted to the shoulders of another, and caught down
Then- back to the shrubbery they rushed, and one
boy opened my cage and cautiously caught me in his
A STOLEN CANARY.
hand. I was clapped into a little wooden cage, like
the one I had been put into when the barber bought
me, my plain but roomy cage was left in the shrub-
bery, and the guilty young thieves started away with
me in their hands.
The boldness of them! They made no attempt to
hide me as they tramped along. Then a strange
thing happened. I all at once saw my old master,
the barber, approaching. Oh, would not he know me,
and rescue me ? No; yet as he passed he gave me a
sharp look and said, Ha! you look like Billy Trill! "
One of the boys laughed coarsely and said, "No; I
guess not! But as the barber went on he turned
to his comrade and remarked, "That isn't a bad
name for a bird, is it?"
Then they tramped on and on. I wondered what
dreadful place they would take me to, and if I
shouldn't soon starve again. I was still quite a
young bird, you see.
The boys soon entered an electric car, rode a long
distance, then got out in what looked like another
city. I was relieved when they turned into a wide,
quiet, beautiful street. Pretty soon they stopped
before an elegant house, handsomer even than the
Goldcups'. They talked together a moment, then
went up the marble steps. As the bell rang, a
coloured man opened the door, but soon closed it
again, saying if they had anything to sell they must
go to the basement.
But just then a fine carriage stopped before the
68 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
house, and a lady, prettily yet simply dressed, got
out. The moment I looked into her eyes, I loved
her, and wished that she would buy me. She had
kind eyes, full of gentleness and goodness.
I have always felt sorry for those boys, but I think
perhaps they did not have good parents to teach them
what was right. They told a wrong story, all about
being so poor they must sell a pet canary. But they
spoke softly, and looked sad. I think the lady be-
"What is his name ?" she asked. Billy Trill,"
at once answered the boy who held me.
I know it would please poor little Davy, espe-
cially if he is such a singer as you say," the lady
murmured, looking very sober.
I do not know how much she paid for me, but the
boys looked greatly delighted, and she took me in her
gentle hands, and carried me herself into the grand
house, over a wide staircase, and into a large, sunny,
elegantly furnished sitting-room on the second floor.
See here," she said, in a most cheerful voice,
holding up the mean little cage as she spoke.
A pale little fellow, with yellow hair, the bluest of
eyes, and, I am sorry to say, not a very happy
countenance, looked up as she spoke.
Ho!" he said, "Another canary. It'll be just
like Trippit, that never sings a note. But it's a pretty
little cove," he added, at sight of my mixed coat.
" He looks as if he must be some relation to Mammy
A STOLEN CANARY.
The next moment I thought I should have died of
fright. The boy was seated in a tufted chair so wide
and deep it looked almost like a bed. He straight-
ened himself to take me, and there beside him was
an enormous cat. And, now that it is easy to speak
of her calmly, I must confess she was the very hand-
somest creature I had ever seen in all the animal
kingdom. She was yellow, black, and white. Where
her coat was yellow it was bright and clear as gold;
where white, it was pure and clean as new snow;
where black, it was deep and shining.
They called her a "tortoise-shell cat," and this
because her glossy colours were like those of a
tortoise, a kind of turtle from whose case of shell
are made exquisite combs, the handles of fans, and
many other things. The colours are different shades
of yellow, brown, and black.
Puss looked at me with gentle eyes, and with no
signs of wanting to devour me, like Tibby Goldcup.
Yet a cat is to a bird what a tiger would be to a
little boy, and I flew wildly to the side of my cage,
and peeped loudly at finding myself so close to
Oh, ho! said Davy. I wish this silly little bird
could know that Mammy Moll wouldn't touch him,
not even if he were hopping about on the floor."
But even at these comforting words I was thankful
when the kind lady said, Well, we won't let the
poor little thing suffer from fear, and what do you
think his name is ? "
70 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
Davy's face broke into a smile at the sound of
" Billy Trill." "I like it," he said.
I heard the promise of a fine new cage, and was
given canary bird seed, water, and oh, delight !-
a leaf of lettuce. See him gobble the lettuce,
mamma," Davy said, with another smile, and his
white little face was beautiful, when it lighted up so.
Now, Billy," I said to myself, some Being has
brought you into another lovely home, and you must
show how thankful you are by singing one of your
best songs." So, after clearing my throat with a
drink of water, I began. At first my song was
gentle and low, just a soft little tune; then it ran
higher, clearer, broke into trills and ecstatic runs,-
a kind of wild, unmeasured carol. Davy's great blue
eyes never left me a moment, and intoxicated, I
think, with my own melody and the boy's attention,
I went on and on, until, breaking into a gay, trilling
roundelay, I twisted and twisted with the strong
fervour of my song.
What was my surprise, as I finished with a loud
swelling of triumphant cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep,
cheeps! to see Davy throw back his little golden
head, and burst into a perfect passion of tears. His
mother could not keep the tears out of her own eyes,
as she tried to calm and quiet him.
"Oh, mamma, mamma! he sobbed, "I shall love
him better than Mammy Moll, or Trippit, or Daddy
Rex. Let me'hold him, please; you may take Mammy
Moll away if you will."
A STOLfEN CANAII.
He soon grew calm as his mother stirred up the
great cat, and gently pushed her to the floor. Then
as she put the cage in his hands, she said, "Now,
Davy, I'm going down-stairs awhile, and as Nurse is
dusting the library, why don't you amuse pretty Billy
by pretending to tell him your story, and something
about your home ? It would be great sport, I think."
Mammy Moll had gone over by the fireplace, and
looked mild and sleepy, yet I was immensely relieved
when she got up and followed Davy's mother from
the room. I eyed my little master in silent hopes to
hear the story his mother had proposed. How little
he imagined I could catch and understand every word
as he began:
"So you're little Billy Trill, are you? Well, I'm
just goin' to love you awfully, name and all. I think
Billy Trill's just right for you, and you sha'n't be
anybody else's little bird, never! My name's Davy
Graham. I can't run about like most peeps o' my
age, 'cause once, when I was a baby boy, my nurse let
me fall out my baby carriage, and my back ain't been
right ever since. But doctor says one these days I'm
goin' to walk well's anybody, if I just keep patient
and don't try to step for 'bout a year more.
"I'm seven years old, and sometimes I'm good and
patient, and sometimes I ain't. Papa says I'm all his
little sons and daughters, so I ought to behave well as
ten children would."
Davy stopped to giggle at this, and I felt like
laughing, too, at such a funny idea. Then he went on:
72 TIYE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
"They do lots to please me, papa and mamma do,
and Nursey Jess is nice, too, only she won't give me
things sometimes that I'm bound to have. I don't
try making papa or mamma give me things now, after
they've once said 'no.' 'Tisn't any use. Papa says
he loves me too well to spoil me, even if I am his
poor little Davy, with a weak back. And mamma,
she always ups and does just as papa does. They're
a jolly papa and mamma, though I sometimes wish I
could manage them a little more. I can't; they're
bound to manage me, so I have to let 'em.
A STOLEN CANARY.
"Papa's a lawyer, and I guess he's got some
money, but he says money is to spend, and to enjoy,
and to do good with, and not to think too much of.
But he says he wants me to get strong and well, so
he can make a little 'legal man' of me one of these
days. Nursey says that means a little lawyer.
Down-stairs, we've got Daddy Rex, a great rolling
St. Bernard,- a big, big dog. But he never hurts
anybody, or anything that belongs to the house. He's
older'n I am, ever so many years.
Mammy Moll has had five hundred kittens,-"
Davy giggled again, and I think I must have looked
pleased, she never fights the least grain, unless
some one pesters her little cats; then she claws, and
spits, and hunches up her back like a hoop. I don't
know what becomes of her kits; Jess says some of
them don't live.' I bet Thomas, our butler, knows
what they die of,- Jess says she doesn't.
"But I forgot. Papa says I mustn't say I bet,'
'tisn't gent'manly. In the dining-room is Trippit, our
other canary. She is all yellow as gold, but doesn't
sing. She only chirps. We like her, though, 'cause
we've had her five years.
"Now, that's 'bout all I know. Norah, the cook,
weighs 'bout a ton, I guess. She shakes the house
when she walks. Once in awhile I go out to ride,-
oh, and I'll tell you what! When I go to get your
cage, Billy, I'll take you with me I "
HOME, SWEET HOME.
SO I had the family history as far as I cared to
know it. And highly delighted I was, I can
assure you, to find into what a lovely home I had
come to stay. Yes, here my wanderings were to
cease, and I was to become one of the most beautiful
You will easily believe that I longed to go down-
stairs, and make the acquaintance of Trippit, the
other canary. But this was not to be just yet.
When I saw Mr. Graham I liked him, oh, very much!
I suppose he is my master-in-chief, although I am
always spoken of as Davy's Billy."
It was quite funny, and they all laughed about my
new cage, for I never got it for three months. This
was how it happened: Davy's mamma had promised
him that when the cage was bought he should help
select it. They were all very much amused, papa,
mamma, and Jess, when he told of having promised
me that I should go with him to get the cage. And
one thing. I will say for my little master, -he was
quite conscientious about a promise he made any
one. His parents never disappointed him, if it could
HOME, SWEET HOME.
be helped, and they always tried to assist him in
keeping a promise.
But one thing and another prevented getting the
cage, although Davy had been to drive a few times
when it was not thought best to take him from the
carriage. Then one soft, sweet day in September, I
was taken in my little master's hands to the carriage
to visit the store where cages were sold. Then a
most remarkable thing happened, one for which I
have always been much happier.
Thomas carried Davy still holding me from
the carriage to the store, placing him in an armchair
while he was shown the different cages. All at once
a little girl limped in. In an instant I saw that it
was Gretchie. So glad I was to see her that I
chirped loudly. She turned, and looked at me. Oh,"
she exclaimed, that looks exactly like my dear little
birdie that was stolen away last summer! "
Mrs. Graham heard what she said, and asked if
her birdie's name was Billy Trill. Gretchen shook
her fair head. "No, I never called him that," she
said. You will remember that Gretchie had never
heard the name. But all she said made Mrs. Graham
feel that I really had been her bird, and that those
boys had stolen me. And although I should have
felt very badly then to have left the Grahams, even
for pleasant Sunfleck Cottage, I could not help acting
as though I knew the little girl who had been so very
kind to me.
So what was my great joy when Mrs. Graham said
76 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
that Davy had become so fond of me that it would
break his heart to give me up, but she should insist
on giving Gretchie another bird, and a pretty new
cage, also! The man where we were had a few choice
canaries for sale, and Mrs. Graham bought a fine
singer, which was put into a shining cage and ordered
to be sent to Gretchie's home. Then she asked
Gretchie if she should feel perfectly satisfied.
"Oh, more than satisfied!" she replied, clasping
her hands before her, as she always did when much
pleased. "I was always afraid Billy might belong to
some one else, but this new birdie shall be another
Dicky for me, and I shall know he is my very own."
So she bade me good-bye, with a happy face, and
limped off with a half hop, forgetting, in her joy, to go
slowly when away from home.
There was just one elegant cage in the store with
white and gilt "trimmings," and here and there a
little shading of brown. Davy said it just matched
me, and so it was bought. This cage has been my
home for seven years. Once in that time, it was sent
away for a few days, then came back all freshly
gilded and tinted.
I had not been Davy's little bird very long, when
my cage was hung on the piazza one day, and beside
it was another beautiful cage, with a pretty yellow
bird inside. This was Trippit, the other canary.
You can imagine how happy I was to find myself in
the company of one of my own family. We became
acquainted at once. And a dear, sweet little creature
HOME, SWEET HOME.
I found Trippit to be. She was not very strong,
however, and did not sing. But it set her going a
little to hear me, and once in awhile we sing a little
duet. Davy keeps as still as a mouse when we do,
and says it is the sweetest of music to his ears.
Daddy Rex is the most perfect gentleman of a dog
I ever saw. The first time I appeared on the piazza
he eyed me a bit jealously, as if he considered me a
stranger, and so he growled in a way to make my
little canary heart flutter. 'But his master who, by
the way, has dark, fine eyes, that even a bird can see
mean character back of them -said, soberly: "Now,
now! None of that, Rex, old boy! Little Billy
Trill is one of us now, and if you worry him I shall
be very apt to make you dance canary.'"
I almost laughed, that sounded so funny. But I
found that one of the wisest of people that ever lived
and wrote, a man called Shakespeare, says somewhere,
" And make you dance canary, with sprightly fire and
motion," so I think perhaps a lively dance was once
named for us sprightly little fellows.
One day Trippit was so sick that our kind mistress
sprinkled some yellowish powder into warm water,
which she called "mustard water." Into this she
put Trippit's little claws and legs. Trippit told me
afterwards I wouldn't have believed how good it felt,
although it burned a little. Then she gave her two
drops of smooth medicine, called castor oil."
Trippit had seemed so sick, and huddled so close to
a corner of her cage thlt dny, that I dreaded to see
80 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
her the next morning. But -would you believe it?
- she was so much better that we sang a short duet,
to Davy's delight.
We are such a peaceful family that life seems to
me like a pleasant dream. Trippit says it seems so
to her. I think she grows stronger all the time. I
love little Trippit very dearly.
I am no longer a very young bird. I have learned
a good deal in my life thus far, and as canaries are
said to live fifteen or sixteen years, or even longer, I
may live long enough to become a very wise-bird.
1 do not stay in my cage all the time. Very often
I fly all about the room, stopping sometimes to nibble
at a lump of sugar on Davy's shoulder, and,--can
you believe me ?- with Mammy Moll lying on the
floor, her sleepy eyes half open, I am not in the least
afraid to perch on the arm of a chair, within reach
of a quick spring. I know in my little heart that
Mammy would not harm me. And Daddy Rex is
never happier than when his great, shaggy lordship
is lolling on the beautiful hearth-rug in the up-stairs
sitting-room. He and Mammy Moll often go to sleep
side by side.
In cold weather there is a lovely fire in the great
open fireplace, and I have seen Daddy Rex fast asleep
on the rug many a time, with two or three of Mammy
Moll's kittens racing and frisking about all over him.
The nearest approach I have ever seen-here to any-
thing like a quarrel, I must tell you about. Davy
screamed with laughter, and I felt my little round
HOME, SWEET HOME.
sides puff out with what, I think, were kind of inside
giggles., A canary can't laugh out, you know.
One cold day, Jess, the nurse, brought three pretty
kittens, only a few weeks old, and very cunning, to the
sitting-room, for Davy to play with. Mammy Moll
was purring before the fire, and, after the little kits
had frolicked in Davy's chair until they were tired,
down they scrambled and over to the rug, where they
went to sleep on one corner. Pretty soon in strode
Daddy Rex. The kittens were in a droll little heap
on the shaded border of the rug, which matched the
colour of their coats,. and, for once, great, splendid
Daddy did not see them. What happened the next
moment, I am sure he could not imagine.
Mammy Moll, with her back pointed up just like a
camel's in Davy's Noah's ark, and with her tail for all
the world exactly like the round brush they clean the
lamp chimneys with, flew at Daddy in the most un-
ladylike manner, and first spit in his face, then clawed
him sharply, at the same time giving the most piercing
"me-ouw! Meantime, a little squally chorus of
squeaks and squeals from under him made poor
Daddy bound to the floor, his tail held out straight,
his ears cocked high, and giving a long, low growl,
that sent Mammy Moll's babies rushing to her in
It was all over in a moment, but Daddy Rex's visit
up-stairs was spoiled for that day, and with a most
dignified, injured air he turned and left the room.
Now, in the midst of great plenty, great content-
82 THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY TRILL.
ment, and the best of care, I think that little Billy
Trill will have to say Good-bye." I hope and
expect to end my days in this best of places, my own
"home, sweet home."
Davy has long since become like other boys, and
while he loves me still, and I think always will love
me, I rejoice with all my little heart that he can come
and go, spending his schoolboy days more happily
than most lads who have never known what it is not
to be able to run about freely, and as they pleased.
Let the little people remember that resolving to do
the best I could proved a great blessing to me. That
love and kindness are the best things there are in the
world. And that there is a great and good Being,
who cares for the birds, and wants them always to be
treated with thoughtfulness and kindly care.
s- -ais ~ .i
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