Citation
Dickey Downy

Material Information

Title:
Dickey Downy the autobiography of a bird
Creator:
Patterson, Virginia Sharpe, 1841-1913
Lacey, John F ( John Fletcher ), 1841-1913 ( Author of introduction )
Hallowell, Elizabeth M ( Elizabeth Moore ) ( Illustrator )
A. J. Rowland (Firm) ( Publisher )
American Baptist Publication Society
Place of Publication:
Philadelphia
Publisher:
A.F. Rowland
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
Phoenix ed.
Physical Description:
192, [12] p., [3] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 12 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children -- Behavior -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Animal welfare -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Farmers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Hunters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Cruelty -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Parrots -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Birds -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Kindness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Liberty -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Respect -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1899 ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1899 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
Children's literature ( fast )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note:
"Copyright 1899 by the American Baptist Publications Society", From the Society own Press"--t.p. verso.
General Note:
Pictorial front cover and spine.
General Note:
Includes prose and verse.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Virginia Sharpe Patterson ; with an introduction by John F. Lacey ; drawings by Elizabeth M. Hallowell.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026912417 ( ALEPH )
ALH6246 ( NOTIS )
00249629 ( OCLC )
99004288 ( LCCN )

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Full Text




The Baldwin Library





Kr

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| LUE /2
foe



Dickey Downy
The Hutobiograpby of a Bird

BY

VIRGINIA SHARPE PATTERSON
AUTHOR OF
“ The Girl of the Pertod,” ‘All on Account of a
Bonnet,’ ‘‘ The Wonderland Children,’ etc.

With Introduction by
HON. JOHN F. LACEY, M.C.

Drawings by
ELIZABETH M. HALLOWELL

PHILADELPHIA
A. F. Rowland—1420 Chestnut Street
1899



Copyright 1899 by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY

From the Society’s own [Press



To
my dear children
Laura, Virgie, and Robert George
this little Volume ts
Affectionately Inscribed



Last night Alicia wore a Tuscan bonnet

And many humming birds were fastened on tt.
Caught in a net of delicate creamy crepe

The dainty captives lay there dead together ;
No dart of slender bill, no fragile shape
Fluttering, no stir of radiant feather ;

Alicia looked so calm, I wondered whether
She cared if birds were killed to trim her bonnet.
Her hand fell lightly on my hana ;

And I fancied that a stain of death

Like that which doomed the Lady of Macbeth

Was on her hand.
—Elizabeth Cavazza



INTRODUCTION

THIS beautiful volume has been written
for a good purpose. I had the pleasure
of reading the proof-sheets of the book
while in the Yellowstone National Park,
where no gun may be lawfully fired at any
of God’s creatures. All animals there are
becoming tame, and the great bears come
out of the woods to feed on the garbage of
the hotels and camps, fearless of the tour-
ists, who look on with pleasure and wonder
at such a scene.

‘“*The child is father of the man,’’ and
this volume is addressed to the heart and
imagination of every childreader. If chil-
dren are taught to love and protect the
birds they will remember the lesson when

they grow old. When children learn to
5



Antroduction

prefer to take a ‘‘snap-shot’’ at a bird
with a camera, rather than with a gun,
they will protect these feathered friends
for their beauty, even if they do not regard
them for their usefulness.

Nature has supplied a system of balances
if left to itself. Some forms of insect life
are so prolific that but for the voracity and
industry of the birds the world would be-
come almost uninhabitable.

Bird life appeals to the eye for its beauty,
to the ear for its music, and to the interest
of man for its utility. Shooting-clubs have
foreseen the extermination that awaits
many of the finest of the game birds, and
are taking much pains to enforce the laws
enacted for game protection. A selfish
interest thus is called into activity, and one
class of birds is receiving protection through
the aid of its own enemies.

But the birds of beautiful plumage are

now threatened with extinction by the de-
6



Introduction

sire of womankind for personal decoration.
Against this destruction Audubon societies
are organizing a crusade, and Mrs. Patter-
son’s principal purpose in this book is to
direct attention to the wholesale slaughter
of the birds of plumage and song.

The Princess of Wales was requested to
write in an album her various peculiarities.
Among the inquiries was: ‘‘ What is your
greatest weakness?’’ She answered :
‘« Millinery.’”’

When Napoleon was banished to Elba
it is stated that the fallen monarch was fol-
lowed by Josephine’s old millinery bills.
How many of these bills were for the
plumage of slaughtered birds the historian
does not say. But the passion for the
beautiful is very strong in the tender hearts
of women, and an earnest appeal to the
natural gentleness of the sex must be made
to enlist them in the defense of the birds.

Mrs. Patterson enters upon this task
7



Introduction

with enthusiasm, and many a bird will live



to flutter through the trees or glisten in the
sunshine and gladden the earth with its
beauty that but for this little book would
have perched for a brief season upon the
headgear of some lovely woman.

Let the good work go on until the mum-
my of a dead bird will be recognized by
all persons as an unfitting decoration for
the head of womankind.

JOHN F. LACEY.

a



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
[Pe HIES@R GHAR TD iene tit smmma ent cnt ae II
I]. DICKEY DOWNY’S MEDITATIONS .. 21

Il.
IV.
V.
Vi.
Vil.
Vill.

XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.

THE RULER WITH THE IRON HAND . 27

DICKEYSS COUSINS ii: eee eee 43
‘STO Nahe d OHNNYike sien aoa ae ae 48
THE PARROT AT A PARTY. ..... 63
A WINTER IN THE SOUTH...... 82
(NE EMERISONe ses nes ne eae 103
MPH EME UNTERS sia ecunciiay eonty itis. 118
SBAGNEWOHOM ES as ace ceca lcontie meus 126
THE ILL-MANNERED CHILD .... . Iq!
TWO SLAVES OF FASHION. ..... I51
DIGKEYZSViIS llamo etn ueeacoer tee 157
THE COUNTRY SCHOOL. ...... 170
ROBEYZSSRARE WEL te. wage nicer l ais 189



COLORED PHOTOGRAPHS

The Indigo Bird

The Scarlet Tanager. . .
The ‘Baltimore Oriole . . .
The Bobolink. . . .

PAGE

10

64

144

. 160



CHAPTER I
THE ORCHARD

Bobolink, that in the meadow
Or beneath the orchard’s shadow
Keepest up a constant rattle,
Joyous as my children’s prattle,

Welcome to the North again.
—Thos. Hill.




Y native home
was in a pleas-
ant meadow
not far from a
deep wood, at

some distance from the high-

way. From this it was sep-
arated by plowed fields and

a winding country lane, carpeted with grass

and fringed with daisies.
Il



Dickey Downy



While it was yet dawn, long before the
glint of the sun found its way through the
foliage, the air was musical with the twit-
tering of our feathered colony.

It is true our noisy neighbors, the blue-
jays, sometimes disturbed my mother by
their hoarse chattering when she was weary
of wing and wanted a quiet hour to medi-
tate, but they disturbed us younger ones
very little. My mother did not think they
were ever still a minute. Constantly hop-
ping back and forth, first on one bough,
then on another, flirting down between times —
to pick up a cricket or a bug, they were
indeed, a most fidgetty set. Their rest-
lessness extended even to their handsome
top-knots, which they jerked up and down
like a questioning eyebrow. They were
beautiful to look at had they only possessed
a little of the dignity and composure of our
family. But as I said, we little ones did
not trouble ourselves about them.

The air was so pleasant, our nest so cozy,
and our parents provided us such a pienti-
ful diet of nice worms and bugs, that like
other thoughtless babies who have nothing

12



The Orchard



to do but eat, sleep, and grow, we had no
interest in things outside and did not dream
there was such a thing as vexation or sor-
row or crime in this beautiful world. When
our parents were off gathering our food,
we seldom felt lonely, for we nestled snugly
and kept each other company by telling
what we would do when we should be
strong enough to fly.

At this stage of our existence we were
as ungainly a lot of children as could well
beimagined. To look at our long, scrawny
necks and big heads so disproportioned to
the size of our bodies, which were scantily
covered with a fuzzy down that scarcely
concealed our nakedness, who would have
thought that in time we would develop into
such handsome birds as the bobolink family
is universally considered to be P

Our mother, who was both very proud
and very fond of us, was untiring in her
watchful care. No human mother bend-
ing over the nursery bed soothing her lit-
tle one to rest, showed more devotion than
did she, as she hovered near the tiny cradle
of coarse grass and leaves woven by her

13



Dickey Downy



own cunning skill—alert and sleepless
when danger was near and enfolding us
with her warm, soft wings. Thus tenderly
cared for we passed the early sunny days
of life.

After we could fly we often visited a
fragrant orchard that sent its odors across
the grain fields. From its green shade we
made short excursions to the rich, black
soil in search of some choice tid-bit of a
worm turned up by the plow expressly for
our dessert. We were indeed glad to be
of use to the farmer by devouring these
pests so destructive to his crops, but did
not limit our labors to these places; we also
made it our business to pick off the bugs
and slugs that infested the fruit trees, and
often extended our efforts to the tender
young grape leaves in the arbor and the
rose bushes and shrubs in the flower garden.

On a warm morning after a rain was
our favorite time for work, and it was
pleasant to hear the tap-tap-tapping of our
neighbor the woodpecker, as he located
with his busy little bill the bugs in the tree

limb. It was like the hammer of an indus-
14



The Orchard



trious blacksmith breaking on the still air.
His jaunty red cap and broad white
shoulder cape made of him a very pretty
object as he worked away blithely and
cheerily at his useful task. While the rest
of us did not make so much noise at our
work, we were equally diligent in picking
off the larve and borers that ruined the
trees, and on a full crop we enjoyed the
consciousness of having aided mankind.
On several occasions I had seen our
enemy, the cat, slinking stealthily on his
padded feet from the direction of the great
_ brick house which stood on the edge of the
orchard. Crouched in a furrow he would
gaze upward at us so steadily and for so
long a time without so much as a wink or
a blink of his green eyes, that it seemed
he must injure its muscles. Aside from
the many frights he gave us it is sad to re-
late that he succeeded before many days
in getting away with one of our number.
One morning he crept softly up to a young
robin which had flown down in the grass,
but had not sufficient power to rise quickly,
and before the unsuspecting little creature
15



Dickey Downy



realized its danger, the cat arched his back,
gave a spring, and seized it. A moment
later he softly trotted out of the orchard
with the poor bird in his mouth and doubt-
less made a dainty dinner in the barn off
our unfortunate comrade. This incident
cast a deep gloom over us, and our songs
for many days held a mournful note.

But while cats were unwelcome visitors
from the great brick house, we sometimes
had others whom we were always glad to
see. The two young ladies of the family,
together with their mother and little niece,
occasionally came out for a saunter under
the trees, and it was very delightful to lis-
ten to their merry chat. So affectionate
toward each other, so gentle and withal so
bright and lively, they seemed to bring a
streak of sunshine with them whenever
they came. Miss Dorothy, who was tall
and stately, seldom sat on the grassy tufts
which rosé like little footstools at the base
of each tree, but rambled about while talk-
ing. This was perhaps because she dis-
liked to rumple her beautifully starched

skirts. But Miss Katie—impetuous, dim-
16







THE INDIGO BIRD





The Orchard



ple-cheeked Katie, would fling herself down
anywhere regardless of edged ruffles or
floating sash ribbons.

‘¢ For it is clean dirt,’’ she laughingly
said, when Miss Dorothy playfully scolded
her for it. ‘‘ This kind of dirt is health-
ful, and it isn’t going to hurt me if a few
dusty twigs or a bit of dried grass or weeds
should cling to my gown. You must re-
member, Sister Dorothy, there are differ-
ent kinds of dirt. I haven’t any respect
for grease spots or for clothes soiled from
wearing them too long. I don’t like that
kind of dirt, but to get close to dear old
mother earth, and have a scent of her
fresh soil once in a while is what I enjoy.
It is delightful. I like nature too well to
stand on ceremony with her.’’

‘©You like butterflies too, don’t you,
aunty? ’’ asked little Marian.

‘“©To be sure I do, dear. I love all the
pretty things that fly.”’

“And the birdies too?’’ asked the
child.

‘© Yes, indeed; I love the birds the best

of all.”’
B 17

a”?



Dickey Downy



‘© And the old cat was awful naughty
when he caught the baby robin the other
day and ate it up. Wasn’t he, aunty?’”’

‘¢Ves. Tom is a cruel, bad, bad cat,’’
responded Miss Katie, as she squeezed
Marian’s little pink hand between her own
palms. ‘‘ That naughty puss gets plenty
to eat in the house and there are lots of
nice fat mice in the barn, and yet he slips
slyly out to the orchard and takes the life
of a poor, innocent little bird.’’

‘«‘*And it made the mamma-bird cry
because her little one was dead,’’ added
Miss Dorothy, who had drawn near.

Little Marian heaved a deep sigh and
her rosy lips trembled suspiciously. ‘‘ Poor
mamma-bird! It can never have its baby
bird any more,’’ she said, with a sob of
sympathy. ‘‘ Don’t you feel sorry for it,
Aunt Dorothy? ’”’

‘“« Yes, dear. I feel very sorry for it.’’

‘“‘And I expect the poor mamma-bird
cries and cries and weeps and grieves when
she comes home to supper and finds out
her little children are gone forever and

ever.’’ And with her bright eyes dimmed
18

’



The Orcbard





with tears of pity, Marian, clasping a hand
of each of the young ladies, walked slowly
to the house still bewailing the fate of the
robin.

My heart warmed toward these sweet
young girls for their tender sympathy. I
almost wished I were a carrier pigeon, that
I might devote myself hereafter to their
service by bearing loving messages from
them to their friends.

But, alas! I was to have a rude awaken-
ing from this pleasant thought. As we
flew that evening to our roosting-place, I
observed to my mother that if there were
no cats in the world what a delightful time
we birds might have.

‘*You have a greater enemy than the
cat,’’ she responded sadly. ‘‘It is true
the cat is cruel and tries to kill us, but it
knows no better.’’

‘‘Tf not the cat, what enemy is itP’’ I
asked in surprise. ‘‘I thought the cat was
the most bloodthirsty foe the birds had.’’

My mother dipped her wings more slowly
and poised her body gracefully a moment.
Then she said impressively, ‘‘ Our greatest

nO),



Dickey Downy

enemy is man. WNo,’’ suddenly correct-
ing herself, ‘‘not man, but women,
women and children.’’

‘*Women and dear little children our
enemies?’’ saidI, in astonishment. ‘‘The
pretty ladies who speak so sweet and kind!
The pretty ladies who gather roses in the
garden! Would they deprive us of lifeP’’

My mother nodded.

‘*Yes,’’ she answered, ‘‘the pretty
ladies, the wicked ladies.’’

20



CHAPTER II

DICKEY DOWNY’S MEDITATION

It hath the excuse of youth.
. —Shakespeare.




HAT night I pon-
dered long upon
what my mother had
told me. Ever since
pe, I left my shell I had

USS been taught to re-
spect my elders, and that it was a mark of
ill manners and bad breeding for children
to question the superior knowledge of those
much older than themselves. Notwith-
standing this, in my secret heart I could

not help thinking that my mother was mis-
2.





Dickey Downy
taken in her estimate of women when she
called them wicked. She had surely mis-
judged them. However, I took good care
not to mention these doubts to her.

I had heard from my grandmother, who
had traveled a great deal from the tropics
to the North and back again, that women
were the leaders in the churches and were
foremost in all Christian and philanthropic
work; that they provided beautiful homes
for orphan children, where they took care
of them and nursed them when they were
sick. She told me about the hospitals
where diseased and aged people were
kindly cared for by them. She said they
were active in the societies for the preven-
tion of cruelty to children and to animals.
They fed armies of tramps out of sheer
pity; even the debauched drunkard was
the object of their tenderest care and their
earnest prayers. They held out a friendly
hand to the prisoners in the jails and sent
them flowers and Bibles; they pitied and
cheered the outcast with kind words. They
offered themselves as missionaries for for-

eign lands to convert the heathen and bring
22



Dickey Downy’s Meditation



them to Christ. They soothed the sick and
made easy the last days of the dying.

On the battlefield, when blood was flow- ~
ing and cannon smoking, my grandmother
had seen the Red Cross women like angels
of mercy binding up the gaping wounds
and gently closing the glazed eyes of the
expiring soldier. In woman’s ear was
poured his last message to his loved ones
far away, and when death was near it was
woman who spoke the words of consola-
tion and her finger that pointed hopefully
to the stars.

Did not all this prove her to be sweet
and tender and loving and gentle and kind?
Yes—a thousand times yes.

My grandmother once had her nest near
a cemetery, and often related pathetic in-
cidents which had come under her obser-
vation at that time. One in particular I
now recalled. It was of a woman who
came every day to weep over the mound
where her babe was buried. She was
worn to a shadow from her long watching
through its illness, and when it was taken
from her, her grief was deep. The bright

23



Dickey Downy



world was no longer bright since she was
bereft of her darling, and her moans for
the lost loved one were heartrending.

This incident was only yet another in-
stance of the tenderness of woman’s na-
ture, and I could not reconcile it with what
my mother had told me.

‘“No, no,’’ I repeated as I cuddled my
head under my wing, ‘‘ never can I believe
that woman, tender-hearted woman, who is
all love and mercy, all gentleness and pity,
never can I believe she is our enemy.’’
And resolving to ask my mother to more
fully explain her unjust assertion I fell
asleep.

But a source of fresh anxiety arose
which for a time caused me to forget the
matter.

The lindens which fringed the wood
were now in full leafage, adorned with
their delicate ball-like tassels, and hosts of
birds flitted among them daily. Many of
them were of the kind frequently known as
indigo birds, smaller than the ordinary
bluebird. In color they were of the me-
tallic cast of blue which has a sheen dis-

24



Dickey Downy’s Meditation

tinct from the rich shade seen on the jay’s
wings or the brilliance of the bluebird.
Flashing in and out among the hanging
blossoms their beautiful blue coats made
them an easy target for the boys who at-
tended the neighborhood country school.

To bring down a sweet songster with a
shower of stones, panting and bleeding to
the ground, they thought was the best sport
in the world, and the woods rang and
echoed with their whoops and cheers as
each poor bird fell to the earth. A mere
glimpse of one of the blue beauties as he
hid among the leaves seemed to fire these
cruel children with a wish to kill it.

One half-grown boy, who went by the
name of Big Bill, was noticeable for his
brutality. He encouraged the others in
cruelties which they might not have thought
of, for such is the force of evil example and
companionship. A distinguishing mark
was a large scar on his cheek, probably
inflicted by some enraged animal while
being tortured by him. I always felt sure
Big Bill would come to some bad end.
My mother said that a cruel childhood was

25





Dickey Downy



often a training school for the gallows, and
the boy who killed defenseless birds and
bugs deadened his sensibilities and de-
stroyed his moral nature so that it was easy
to commit greater crimes.

So dreadful became the persecutions of
the schoolboys that the indigo birds finally
held a council and determined to leave that
part of the country and settle far from the
habitations of men, where they might live
unmolested and free from persecutions.



CHAPTER III
THE RULER WITH THE IRON HAND

But evil is wrought by want of thought
As well as want of heart.

—Hood.







Xe! “TA INEZ

y NE morning as
we flew across
the open
space which
lay between the wood
and the wheat fields,
we noticed two gen-
tlemen in the orchard
who were carefully
examining the trees,



peering curiously into the cracks of the
rough bark or unfolding the curled leaves.
27



Dickey Downy

As we came nearer we discovered that
one of them was the owner of the place,
the father of Miss Dorothy and Miss Katie.
The other was a thin gentleman in spec-
tacles, who held a magnifying glass through
which he intently looked at a twig which
he had broken off.

After a few minutes’ inspection he said:
‘*Colonel, your orchard is somewhat af-
fected. This is a specimen of the chzoz-
aspis furfurts.””

‘‘Is it anything like the scurfy-bark
louse P’’ inquired the colonel.

‘“The same thing exactly. It occurs
more commonly in the apple, but it in-
fects the pear and peach trees. You will
find it on the mountain ash, and sometimes
on the currant bushes,’’ he answered.

The colonel asked him if he would rec-
ommend spraying to get rid of the pests,
and was advised to begin immediately,
using tobacco water or whale-oil soap.

‘* By the way,’’ said the colonel, ‘‘ there
is a beetle attacking my shade trees. They
are ruining that fine row of elms in front of

the lawn.’”*
28



The Ruler witb the Aron jHand



‘‘It is undoubtedly the melolontha vul-
garis,’’ said the professor. I designate
him in this way because he used such large
words we did not understand. My mother
told us that she was positive he was pres-
ident of a college. ‘‘ The melolontha vul-
garts is the most destructive of beetles, but
the larvee are still more injurious. They do
incalculable damage to the farmer. For-
tunately enormous numbers of these grubs
are eaten by the birds.’’

‘¢ Unfortunately the birds are not so nu-
merous as they used to be. They are being
destroyed so rapidly, more’s the pity!
These grounds and woods yonder were
formerly alive with birds of all kinds.
Flocks of the purple grakle used to follow
the plow and eat up the worms at a great
rate. You are familiar with their habits ?
You know they are most devoted parents.
I have often watched them feeding their
young. The little ones have such aston-
ishingly good appetites that it keeps the
old folks busy to supply them with enough
to eat. They work like beavers as long as
daylight lasts, going to and from the fields

29



Dickey Downy



carrying on each return trip a fat grub or a
toothsome grasshopper.’’

‘*T am a great lover of birds,’’ returned
the professor enthusiastically, ‘‘ and I find
them very interesting subjects of study.
By the way, I was reading the other day a
little incident connected with one of Amer-
ica’s great men which impressed me
deeply. The story goes that he was one
day walking in company with some noted
statesmen, busily engaged in conversation.
But he was not too much occupied to notice
that a young bird had fallen from its nest
near the path where they were walking.
He stopped short and crossing over to
where the bird was lying, tenderly picked
it up and put it back into its nest. There
was a gentleman of a noble nature! No
wonder that man was a leader and a lib-

’

erator! ’’

‘« Who was he P’’

‘*The grand, the great Abraham Lin-
coln,’’ responded the professor impres-
sively.

‘‘ Well, he’d be the very one to do just
such a kind deed as that,’’ was the colonel’s

30



The Ruler witb the iron JAand



hearty response. ‘‘No man ever lived
who had a bigger, more merciful heart
than ‘ Honest Abe.’ ”’

For myself I did not know who Abra-
ham Lincoln was. I had never heard the
name before, but I was quite sure from the
proud tone of the professor’s voice that he
was a distinguished man, as I was equally
sure from the story of his pity for the help-
less bird, that he was a good man.

‘*You mentioned the industry of the
grakle a moment ago,’’ resumed the pro-
fessor. ‘‘Do you know that the redwing
is equally as useful, and besides he is a de-
lightful singer P

“*The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee.

Do you remember that line, colonel ?’’
and.the professor softly whistled a strain
in imitation of a bird’s note. ‘‘ The serv-
ices of our little brothers of the air are ex-
ceedingly valuable to the horticulturist.
And think of the damage done to arbori-
culture by the woodborers alone were it
not for the help given by the birds. Did
you ever notice those borers at work,
3r



Dickey Downy



colonel? Some writer has well described
them as animated gimlets. They just stick
their pointed heads into the bark and turn
their bodies around and around and out
pours a little stream of sawdust. The
birds would pick off such pests fast enough
if people would only give them a chance
and not scare them off with shotguns.’’

‘* Yes, the birds earn their way, there is
no denying it, and he is a very stupid
farmer who begrudges them the little corn
and wheat they take from the fields. The
account is more than balanced by the good
they do.’’ Then the conversation ceased,
for the colonel and his friend moved off to
inspect the quince bushes.

Pleased by the praises they had bestowed
on us for our efforts in cleaning the fruit
trees and cornfields of injurious insects, I
went to work with new vigor to get out
some bugs for my luncheon, and was thus
pleasantly employed when a sharp twitter
from my mother attracted my attention.

‘¢Look, children!’’ she exclaimed.
‘«Here come our young ladies with some
company from the city. Be careful to

32



The Ruler with the Tron THand



notice what they have on their heads and
then tell me what you think of our sweet,
pretty ladies.’’

One of my brothers was swaying lightly
on a little swing below me. I flew down
hastily and placed myself on the next
bough, where I could also get a good view
of the ladies as they strolled toward us.
They were in a very merry mood and each
one seemed striving to say something more
amusing than her companions. Miss Dor-
othy led the way, her arm linked in that
of one of the stranger guests. Then fol-
lowed the others with Miss Katie and Ma-
rian hand in hand in the rear. They were
all very handsomely dressed, and having
just returned from a drive had not yet re-
moved their hats.

As they came under the tree where we
were perched, which was a favorite spot
with Miss Katie, they halted for some time
and consequently I had an excellent op-
portunity to look, as my mother had bid-
den me.

And what did I see?

I saw six ladies’ hats trimmed with dead

Cc 33



Dickey Downy

birds. Fastened on sidewise, head down-
ward, on one was a magnificent scarlet
tanager, his body half concealed by folds
of tulle, his fixed eye staring into vacancy.
On another was the head and breast of
a beautiful yellow-hammer; it was sur-
mounted by the tall sweeping plumes of
the egret, which this bird produces only at
breeding time. Oh, how much joy and
beauty the world had lost by that cruel
deed! A third hat had two song sparrows
imprisoned in meshes of star-studded lace.
Their blithesome carol had been rudely si-
lenced, their cheer to the world cut short,
simply that they might be used for hat
trimming. Of the remaining ones some
were as yet unknown to me, but my mother,
who had an extensive acquaintance with
foreign birds, said that in that strange mur-
derous mixture of millinery, far-away Aus-
tralia had furnished the filmy feathers of the
lyre bird which swept upward from a knot
of ribbons, and that the forests of Germany
had contributed the pretty green linnet.
Dove’s wings and the rosy breast of the
grosbeak completed the barbarous display.
34



The Ruler witb the Tron Tano



How my heart sickened as I gazed at
these pleasant, refined, soft-voiced women
flaunting the trophies of their cruelty in the
beautiful sunlight.

Had they no compassion for the feath-
ered mother who had been robbed of her
young for the sake of a hat P

‘“«Qh, how can they do such dreadful,
such wicked things!’’ I moaned. My
mother heard my lament and signaled for
us to come up where she was perching.

‘* You see now who are our worst en-
emies,’’ said she. ‘‘ The cat preys on us
to satisfy his bodily hunger, but women
have no such excuse. We are not slaugh-
tered to sustain their lives but to minister
to their vanity. For years the women of
Christian lands have waged their unholy
war against us. We have been driven
from our old haunts and forced to seek
new places. We have been shot down by
thousands every season until now many
species are destroyed from the face of the
earth. There is no security for us in any
place.. The hunter with his gun penetrates
into the deepest forests, he perils his life

35



Dickey Downy



in scaling the most dangerous cliffs, he
wades through bog and marsh and mud
and tracks us to our feeding grounds to
surprise us with the deadly shot, and kills
the mother hovering over the nest of her
helpless offspring with as little compunc-
tion as if she were a poisonous reptile in-
stead of a melodious joy-giver. And all
this horrible slaughter is for women.’’

I grew feverish with excitement at this
terrible arraignment of the ‘‘ gentler sex.’’
‘*But why are they so cruel? Why do
they do this wicked thing P’’ I asked.

‘For the sake of Fashion,’’ said my
mother.

‘« Fashion, what is that P’’

My mother was very patient with me, so
when I asked questions she did not put me
off by telling me she didn’t know, or advise
me to fly away and play, or tell me she was
busy and couldn’t be bothered just then,
therefore she now took pains to make me
understand.

‘*You ask me what is Fashion,’’ she
began. ‘‘ Well, Fashion is an exacting
ruler, a great, tyrannical god who has

36



The Ruler with the fron jHand



many, many worshipers, and these he rules
with an iron hand. His followers cannot
be induced to do anything contrary to his
wishes. He sits on a high throne from
which he dictates to his slaves what they
must do. Often they do the most out-
rageous things, not because they like to,
but because he demands it. He is con-
stantly laying down new laws for their
guidance, and some of these laws are so
unreasonable and absurd that a part of
his followers frequently threaten to rebel.
They do not hold out against him long, for
he manages to make it quite unpleasant
for those who disobey him or refuse to
come under his yoke.’’

‘Has he any men slaves ?’’ asked my
brother.

‘* Yes, he has some slaves among men,
but the larger number of those who wear
his most galling fetters are women. If he
but crooks his little finger these bond-
women rush pell-mell in the direction he
points. They are thus keen to do his bid-
ding, because each woman who is the first
to carry out his rules in her own particular

37



Dickey Downy

town or neighborhood acquires great dis-
tinction in the eyes of the other wor-
shipers.”’

‘‘His slaves are nearly always rich
women, aren’t they P’’ asked my brother.

‘““By no means. Many of them are
poor working women who have to labor
hard for a living. But they will rob them-
selves of necessities and needed rest to get
the means to follow his demands. Often
it takes them a long time to do this, and
perhaps just as they have accomplished the
weary task he suddenly proclaims a new
law, and all this toiling and drudging and
stinting must begin over again. In this
way the unhappy creatures have never a
breathing spell. It is utterly impossible
for them to conform to the new law when
it is first proclaimed by the god, and so
they are always struggling to keep up.
Their chains are never lifted or lightened
a particle.’’

‘‘If the chain is so heavy why don’t
they break it ?’’ I asked impatiently.

‘* Because they are afraid,’’ she replied.

‘* Afraid of the god P’”’
38



The Ruler witb tbe Iron fAand



‘* No, no, child, they are afraid of each
other. They are afraid the richer slaves,
who are able to comply with the demands
will laugh at them and ridicule them, and
that is why they strain every nerve to fol-
low the god’s wishes. A slave, whether
she is rich or poor, grows more cringing
year by year, until at last she loses all her
individuality, and becomes a mere echo of
the god.”’

‘¢ What about the slaves who rebel at
first and afterward yield ?”’

‘Oh, they denounce the god very se-
verely when he lays down some new law
they don’t happen to like, but as all the
other slaves are obediently complying with
it they dislike to be set off by themselves
as different, and so they reluctantly give
in after a time. Sometimes they try to
compromise with the god by going half-
way.”’

I inquired what the other slaves thought
of that.

‘«They mildly tolerate them,’’ said she.
«« Sometimes they look askance at them
when they meet, and try to show their su-

39

’



Dickey Downy



periority as being obedient, full-blooded,
genuine slaves, while the others are only
lukewarm servants of the monarch! ’’

I wondered how the slaves regarded the
woman who was independent and wouldn’t
worship the god.

My mother twittered softly at my ques-
tion, and I knew she was smiling to her-
self. ‘‘Why,’’ said she, ‘‘ they call that
kind of a woman a crank—whatever that
1S
It was very evident that this god Fashion
was a cruel tyrant, and it was clearly
through his influence that we were killed,
and I so told my mother. She looked
very sorrowful as she replied:

‘«Yes, the women do not hate us. They
do not dislike to hear our pretty songs;
they have no revenge to gratify; but the
god orders them to have us killed, and they
do it. He tells them that to wear our poor
mutilated dead bodies will add to their ap-
pearance, and so we are sacrificed on the
altar of their vanity and silly pride. As
members of humane societies women have
denounced the docking of horses’ tails as

40



The Ruler witb the flron Hand



cruel, but from what I know of woman’s
indifference to the sufferings of the inno-
cent birds, I venture to assert that were
Fashion to say that she should trim her
cloak with horse tails there would not be
left an undocked horse in the country.’’

I knew my mother was very excited or
she would never have been so vehement.

‘« Just hear how those birds twitter,’’
remarked one of the ladies, looking up
into our tree. ‘One would think they
were holding an indignation meeting over
something.’”’

‘‘Yes, the dear little things; I love to
hear them chirp,’’ commented Miss Katie,
turning a sweet glance toward us, and then
the party moved to go and we saw the six
hats loaded with their mournful freigh* file
off to the house. We followed the retreat-
ing hats with sad eyes till they were lost to
view.

My brother broke the silence by asking,
‘‘Are there any Christian women who
wear birds, and are among the god’s wor-
shipers ?’’

My mother’s manner grew very grave

41



Dickey Downy



and solemn. ‘‘ That is not for me to
say,’’ she replied. ‘‘ They know whether
they are guiltless of our wholesale slaugh-
ter, and they know too, how the gentle,
merciful Christ regarded us when he de-
clared that ‘ not a sparrow is forgotten be-
fore God.’’’

42



CHAPTER IV
DICKEY’S COUSINS

Another of my airy creatures breathes such sweet
music out of her little instrumental throat that it
might make mankind to think that miracles are not
ceased. We might well be lifted up above the earth

and say, Lord, what music hast

\ . thou provided for the saints in
WAX : heaven,
5 ne Se : > when thou
; a affordest
bad men
such music on
earth ?—/;aak Walton.










HE fine pasture
adjoining was a
popular resort for
some handsome
birds that often

visited it as a playground.

They were said to be relatives

of ours, but I do not think

they were closer than sev-
enth or eighth cousins, which
43





Dickey Downy



is so distant that it doesn’t count—espe-
cially if one doesn’t want it to.

All I know is that their family name was
the same as ours, /ceter7d@, and means
something or other, I forget what. It was
a good honorable name, however, and our
branch was as proud of our ancestry as
any Daughter of the American Revolution
could possibly be.

There were some tall weeds growing
along the margin of a little stream in the
pasture which. produced quantities of de-
licious seeds, and to these we often re-
paired when we wanted a choice breakfast,
as well as to watch the playful pastimes of
these queer bipeds.

What would you think of a bird taking
a bareback ride on a cow? They were
extremely fond of settling themselves on
the cattle which browsed in the field and
presented a truly comical picture as they
complacently gathered in little groups on
the backs of those huge animals. Moving
slowly along munching the dewy grass,
first on one side, then on the other, the
cows did not seem particularly to mind

44



Dickey’s Cousins



their saucy bareback riders. Occasionally
they would toss their heads backward,
when up all the birds would fly into the air
only to descend again as soon as the cattle
were quiet.

As I said, they were very handsome. At
a short distance they looked to be clothed in
black, but the breast and neck were really
avery rich brown, with the rest of the body
like jet and as lustrous as satin. They
were not general favorites with the other
birds on account of some’ dishonorable
tricks which they did on the sly. For in-
stance, they never troubled themselves to
make nests, but watched their chance to
sneak in and lay their eggs, only one in a
place, in the nests of other birds. For
some reason their eggs always hatch a
little sooner than the eggs rightfully be-
longing there, consequently the foster-pa-
rents, not knowing of the deception, are
quite delighted with the first little one that
comes out of the shell, and immediately fly
off to get food for it. This is very unfor-
tunate, for during their absence their own
eggs get cold and will not hatch. After a

45



Dickey Downy



time the old birds grow disgusted and
tumble the poor eggs all out of the nest
and bestow their whole attention to the
juvenile cowbird, entirely ignorant of the
fact that they are the victims of a ‘‘ put-up
job.”’

Once when we were dining in the pasture
we found out the cause of the booming
noise we had often heard sounding through
the woods. Two men, each carrying in
his hand a long club, shaped large at one
end, appeared in the meadow and began
looking among the long grasses which
sheltered the nests of some meadow larks.
A number of the larks were on the wing,
others sat on the rail fence rolling out ca-
denzas in concert in a gush of melody
from their downy throats. The men moved
cautiously nearer under cover of the weeds.
Raising their long clubs to their shoulders
they gazed along their narrow points a
moment. Without exactly knowing why,
we took alarm, and larks, bobolinks, and
cowbirds sped upward like the wind. At
the same instant something bright shim-
mered in the sunlight, and with it a horrid

46



Ea

Dickey’s Cousins

burst of noise and a puff of smoke. We
did not all get away, for some of the beau-
tiful larks fell to the ground pierced by the
sportsman’s deadly hail.

Again and again, all through that long,
sad day we heard the ominous booming
crash, and knew the savage work of killing
was going on.

Among our acquaintances was a lame
redbird who at one time had been trapped
and made a prisoner, confined behind the
bars of a wire cell for many weeks and
months. Luckily he made his escape one
day when his grated door was accidentally
opened, and he speedily made his way
back to his dearly loved forest.

During the period of his imprisonment
in the city he had picked up a great deal
of information regarding the bird trade,
and some of the facts recited by him of
the terrible cruelties perpetrated and the
carnage which had been going on for years,
almost caused our feathers to stand upright
in horror as we listened.



47



CHAPTER V

“DON’T, JOHNNY ’”’

Farewell happy fields, where joy forever dwells.
—Milton.




VERY pleasant, so-
ciable fellow was this
redbird, and often
when on hot after-
noons we were hiding in the treetops from
the rays of the sun he told us stories and
anecdotes about the people he had seen
while he lived in the city.

He and his brother had been caught in

a trap in the woods set by a farmer’s boy.
48



“Don't, Fobnny’’

One cold spring morning when the boy
came to look at his trap he was overjoyed
to find he had snared two redbirds, and
forthwith carried them to the village near-
by and sold them to the grocer for five
cents apiece, which sum he said he was
going to invest in a rubber ball.

As he put the dime into his coat pocket
he tcld the man that one of the birds was
named Admiral Dewey and the other
Napoleon Bonaparte. The groceryman
agreed that these names were good enough
names for anybody, but he thought he’d
change Bonaparte’s name to Teddy Roose-
velt, as being easier to pronounce, and the
two birds were accordingly given these
titles then and there. Not having any
cage at hand to put them in, the man
thought that for a few days the new-comers
could share the quarters of an old sparrow
he had in the rear end of the store until
an extra cage could be procured.

But alas for Teddy Roosevelt! The
very first night he was ignominiously
whipped by the spiteful occupant of the
cage, who resented having these country

D 49



Dickey Downy



visitors thrust into his house without his
leave. Poor Teddy died the next day.
Admiral Dewey stood the battle better
than his unfortunate friend, but he too was
pecked at in a way so threatening that the
groceryman concluded it would be wise to
get rid of him immediately. Because the
admiral had not defended himself better
from his pet’s attack, the grocer regarded
him with some disgust.

‘‘Being as there was two of you and
only one of the sparrow, ’pears as if you
hadn’t much grit,’’ he said. ‘I would
better take your high-soundin’ name away
from you and call you something else be-
sides Dewey, if you can’t fight.’’

For all the man’s censure, the redbird
knew that if Teddy Roosevelt had killed
the sparrow instead of being killed by it,
the grocer would have been much more
grieved at the loss, for he had heard him
say the sparrow was like one of his family.
The man forgot that the result might have
been different if the redbirds had been
older.

Having decided to dispose of the admi-

50



‘* Don’t, Fobnny ’”

ral, the grocer, who had an errand in the
city the next day, carried the bird with
him. He knew of a probable customer
for it in a gentleman named Morris, who
had been advertising in the papers for a
redbird. He soon found the street and
number where was located the gentleman’s
office, at which the advertisement was to
be answered, and displayed the admiral.

‘Your bird looks kind of ragged, as
though he hadn’t been treated well,’’ said
Mr. Morris, as he examined the scarlet
plumage. ‘‘ My boy wants a redbird, and
I promised him one if he would get the
highest grade in arithmetic in his class this
term and he did it, so of course I must
keep my word. What d’ye ask for this
bird P”’

‘«He’d be cheap at five dollars,’’ an-
swered the groceryman. ‘‘A nice redbird
is hard to get, and they’re powerful nice
singers, but bein’ as it’s for your boy that
has earned it by studying his lessons so
good—lI always like a boy that is fond of
his books—you can have it for two dollars
and a quarter.’’

51



Dickey Downy

As he had paid but five cents for it this
advance in price would be a fine business
speculation. After a little further talk,
Mr. Morris counted out the money, and
the man went back to his home doubtless
wishing he had a hundred more redbirds
to sell atthe same handsome profit. After
he had gone, Mr. Morris went to a box
hanging against the wall, and turning a
handle began talking to the box as if it
were a human being. Though it was just
a plain wooden box, the admiral said there
was something mysterious about it, for
Mr. Morris actually seemed to be carrying
on a conversation with it, though the bird
could not hear what the box answered, but
he felt sure it talked back.

Mr. Morris’ residence was a fine stone
house with wide porches and sunny bay
windows, over which were trained graceful
creeping vines. A boy of about eleven
years of age and a very pretty lady stood
arm in arm on the broad steps leading up
to the front entrance that evening when
Mr. Morris and the admiral arrived. They
were Johnny Morris and his mother, who

52



‘* Don’t, Fobnny’’



had already learned that Mr. Morris had
bought the bird and would bring it when
he came to dinner. The admiral discov-
ered the next day that Mrs. Morris owned
a box like the one at the office, into which
she talked, and that it was called a tele-
phone. He often mentioned this mysteri-
ous box as one of the most remarkable
things he saw during his stay among men.

Johnny Morris capered and danced and
jumped so hard in the exuberance of his
joy at receiving the redbird that all the way
to the sitting room his mother was coaxing
him to be quiet.

‘Don’t act so foolishly,’’ she begged;
but he only capered and kicked up his
heels still harder. When the cage was
placed on a stand in the bay window he
pranced around it, whistled and chirped,
threw the bottom of the cage floor full of
seed and splashed the water about so reck-
lessly in his attempts to be friendly as
nearly to frighten the poor admiral to
pieces.

‘*Now, Johnny, don’t,’’ pleaded his
mother.

>

53



Dickey Downy

‘¢ Johnny, don’t do that,’’ commanded
his father every few minutes.

It was a constant ‘‘ Don’t, Johnny, do
this’? and ‘‘ Don’t, Johnny, do that,’’ until,
the admiral said, the conversation was so
mixed up with ‘‘ Don’t-Johnny’s’’ as made
it almost unintelligible. Of course these
expostulations made not a bit of impression
on Johnny Morris. To be sure, he might
stop for the moment, but the next second
he was doing something else which brought
a fresh round of ‘‘ Don’t-Johnny’s’’ from
each parent.

He was such a generous, affectionate,
pretty boy, with his rosy cheeks and wavy
yellow hair, it was a great pity that he
should keep a whole household in a state
of constant commotion by his habit of not
promptly minding when he was spoken to.
His father and mother were very indulgent
to him, and the admiral believed he had
every kind of a toy known to the boy
world. He also had a machine to ride on,
which they called a ‘‘wheel.’’ On this
he went out occasionally, although Mrs.
Morris declared she never felt at ease a

54



** Don’t, Fobnny’’

minute while he was gone, because he
never came back at the hour he promised
he would. Besides this, he had a dear
little pony, named Jock, on whose back he
often cantered about the big park. Fre-
quently from the bay window the admiral
watched him as he mounted Jock and rode
away, while his mother stood on the house
step and called after him as long as he was
in sight: ‘* Don’t ride in that reckless way,
Johnny; you’ll tumble off,’’ or ‘‘ Don’t,
Johnny; the pony will throw you,’’ at
which Johnny would laugh and make the
pony go faster.

Among the boy’s other possessions was
a parrot, which the admiral asserted was
the smartest bird in the world. She wasa
highly educated parrot, and much time
had been spent on her training, and she
was usually very willing to show off to
company all her various accomplishments.
Occasionally she assumed an air of of-
fended dignity when asked to display her
talents, and no amount of threats or coax-
ing could change her purpose. At such
times she impatiently flapped her wings

55



Dickey Downy

and croaked ‘‘ No, no’’ in her harshest
tones.

Her favorite retreat when her temper
was ruffled was on the back of an arm-
chair, where she would sit with her bill in
the air and her head cocked disdainfully
on one side, pretending not to hear or see
any one. In her affable moods, however,
no one could be more complaisant and
entertaining than Bessie.

Her name was an uncommon one for a
parrot. Strangers usually accosted her as
Polly, at which mistake she was greatly
displeased.

“*No, no—not Polly; call me Bessie,’’
she would scream, so angrily that it al-
ways made people laugh, which angered
her still more.

Bessie could sing a verse of an old-time
song, at least she thought she could. The
admiral said nothing could have induced
him to sing for company if his voice had
been as harsh and cracked as hers, but he
said it was a fact that everybody seemed
to enjoy her noise more than his music;

that when she took up her position on top
56



“* Don’t, Fobnny’’

of the piano to sing, they crowded around
and called her ‘‘nice Bessie,’’ ‘‘ nice
lady,’’ and praised her, and gave her bits
of sugar, as if she were the finest singer
in the world. The admiral thought they
showed very poor taste, for her music was
simply horrid and couldn’t compare with
the warblings of the woods birds. It is
well, however, to make allowance for the
admiral’s opinion, for musicians are pro-
verbially jealous of each other.

The song the parrot sang was ‘‘ Listen
to the Mocking Bird,’’ to which Mrs. Mor-
ris played a little gliding accompaniment
on the piano. Great hand-clappings al-
ways followed the performance. These
Bessie accepted with an air of studied in-
difference. But if for the purpose of
teasing her they did not applaud her per-
formance, she shrilly screamed: ‘‘ Bessie’s
a good bird, a good bird I tell you,”’
raising her voice higher and higher at each
repetition.



Then she would wait a moment for some
one to assure her that she was indeed a
very good bird, quite the smartest bird

57



Dickey Downy



that ever breathed. But if these soothing
assurances were not quickly forthcoming,
she would retire to the back of her favorite
chair and, elevating her bill to show her
disdain, sulk in silence.

‘* Did she like you ?’’ I asked the admi-
ral one day when he was telling us about
her funny tricks.

‘« No, she was a little bit jealous of me;
yet she was not unfriendly, except when
Johnny or some other member of the
family paid me attention. She always
wanted to be the center of attraction her-
self, which showed she was a vain creature.
No matter how silent she had been or how
firmly she might have refused to talk only
the minute before, if Johnny came to my
cage and called, ‘ Hello, Admiral! you’re
a daisy,’ Bessie immediately struck up
such a chattering as would almost deafen
one.

‘‘*Johnny dear, open my cage. I
want to take a walk,’ she would say in her
most coaxing manner. If she happened
to be already out of her cage and walking

about the room, she endeavored to get him
58



“* Don’t, Fobnny’’

to leave me by saying: ‘Here, Johnny,
boy, put me on your finger. Kiss poor
Bessie—p-o-o-r Bessie.’

‘¢Mrs. Morris used to laugh at these
schemes of the parrot to attract notice,
and said Bessie reminded her of some
people she had met who always wanted to
monopolize the conversation.’’

‘‘Monopolize ?’’ said I. ‘*That’s a
large word. I don’t know the meaning of
iti

‘*Well, I think it means getting the
most of anything and crowding other
people out,’’ replied the admiral; ‘‘ and it
was true in Bessie’s case, for she always
wanted the most attention. A gentleman
friend of the Morrises had this habit too.
He had been a general in a war that took
place in the South a good many years ago,
and was often entertained at dinner at the
Morrises’. Though he was a well-informed,
genial man, he was almost rude in making
himself heard, so determined was he that
people should listen to his jokes and
stories, which were generally something
about himself. At a large tableful of

59



Dickey Downy

guests, General Peterson’s voice was al-
ways heard above that of every one else.
He seemed to compel the rest of the com-
pany to listen. His big voice drowned
the others out. Though Mr. and Mrs.
Morris liked him very much, when they
were alone they often ridiculed this dis-
agreeable habit.

‘«« Bessie and General Peterson are just
alike,’ Mrs. Morris used to say jokingly,
when the parrot pushed herself into notice
by her loud jabbering. ‘Neither of them
can endure to have any one else receive
attention when they are present.’

‘« Although Bessie had not a pony to ride
on as Johnny had, she took a great many
jaunts around the parlors on the cat’s
back. This cat was a great pet in the
house. A very striking-looking cat he
was too. He was jet black with a flat
face and long white whiskers. Johnny al-
ways said he resembled an old colored
man who used to be their coachman, and
he wondered if they were any relation to
each other.

‘«When Bessie was out of her cage the
60



** Don’t, Fobnny’’



cat did not often visit the parlor, because
he was afraid of her. He always ap-
peared to be much relieved when she did
not notice him. If she had decided to
take a ride, however, he never was quick
enough to get away from her. With a
shrill laugh of triumph she would fly upon
his back, and holding on by digging her
claws into his fur, around and around the
room they would go, the poor cat feeling
so completely disgraced that he dragged
his body lower and lower at every step,
until his legs could scarcely be seen at all.

‘« Bessie enjoyed it greatly. She seemed
to take a wicked satisfaction in making
poor Jett ridiculous, and laughed and
chuckled and scolded till the cat looked as
if he were ready to drop from very shame.
Urging him on with, ‘Get up, get up,
you lazy thing,’ she refused to be shaken
off till his body was actually dragging on
the floor, a sign of his complete humilia-
tion. As soon as he threw off his unwel-
come burden, Jett always ran away to hide.
With his tail slinking, his ears drooping,

and crawling rather than walking, he was
61



Dickey Downy

the most abject-looking, miserable cat in
existence. Bessie meanwhile flirted her-
self saucily and chuckled with the con-
scious air of having done a very smart
thing.’’

62



CHAPTER VI
THE PARROT AT A PARTY

A parrot there I saw, with gaudy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopped from side to side.

OW did you
happen to
get. away
from the
Morrises ? ’’
asked my
brother.

The red-
bird laughed
heartily, as if
the recollec-
tion were



exceedingly amusing.

‘“‘Well,’’ said he, ‘‘it all came about
through Johnny’s having a tea party. For
months he had been coaxing and begging

his mother to invite his schoolfellows to
63



Dickey Downy



the house and entertain them with games
and plays and music, ending with a fine
supper. Early in the spring when he be-
gan talking of it, it was too cold, his mother
said. Then after a while it was too rainy,
or too warm, or they were house-cleaning,
or something, and so she kept putting him
off from one time to another, hoping by
deferring it to make him forget it. The
Morrises always spent the month of August
at their seaside cottage, and the night be-
fore they left home, Johnny tried to get
Mrs. Morris to promise that he might have
the party the very first thing on their re-
turn.

*© swered.

««¢Whenever you say you’ll think about
it then I’m pretty sure not to get what I
want,’ sighed Johnny.

‘*His mother seemed to be much amused
at this statement. ‘Oh, no, my son, it
doesn’t always turn out that way; but you
know it wouldn’t do for me to promise to
have it just as soon as we get back,’ she

objected. ‘Iam always very busy just at
64





THE SCARLET TANAGER





The Parrot at a Party



our return. It might be very inconvenient
for me to prepare for a children’s evening
at that time; but when I am ready I shall
take pleasure in getting up a nice party for
you sometime in the autumn.’

‘¢ This sounded well, but it was not defi-
nite enough to suit Johnny. However he
said no more at that time. While the
family were gone Bessie and I had the
back porch to ourselves, and no one being
there except the housemaid to whom she
could display her superiority over me, she
grew to be quite agreeable. For some time
before the Morrises had bought her, which
was years and years before, long before
Johnny was born, she had lived in a taxi-
dermist’s shop. The owner of the shop:
was also a bird dealer in a small way. On
account of her accomplishments he had:
held her at a price that few were willing or:
able to pay, and so she had been forced to
stay with him a long time. She much pre-
ferred being owned by a refined family to
living in a dingy store, for she was a bird
of luxurious tastes, she said.

‘*T too had never ceased being glad
E 65



Dickey Downy



that the grocer had sold me to the Mor-
rises, for I was sure that life would not
have been so comfortable for me in the
back part of a country store, inhaling the
odors from fish barrels and molasses kegs,
and with the dreary outlook afforded by
shelves full of canned vegetables and
cracker boxes. The only point in favor
of a life at the grocery was that I would
have been nearer to the woods; but if I
could not be in the woods, of what avail
was that? The Morrises were people of
elegance and refinement, and their home
expressed their culture. I had made a
pleasant exchange, and I felt it was wise
to be as contented as possible.

** August slowly passed, and Johnny
«came back. The big house that had been
so quiet for four weeks was suddenly wak-
-ened as from asleep. His noisy, joyous
‘voice rang through the halls, and from cel-
lar to garret.

««« Bless the b’y! he’s that plazed to git
back, it does one’s sowl good to hear him,’
said the housemaid.

‘*Mrs, Morris was so busy for the first
66



The Parrot at 3 a 1 Barty

day or two that she saw ’ little of Toumnee
He was sent on several errands, and took
his own time in returning, but every one
had too much to do to inquire what kept
him so long.

‘¢¢Can’t I shine up Bessie’s and the ad-
miral’s cages P’ he asked his mother after
dinner the second day.

‘«Mrs. Morris was delighted with her
son’s thoughtfulness. ‘Why, Johnny,’ she
said, ‘I’ll be so glad to have you do it.’

“So master Johnny wiped and dusted
our cages till we felt very clean, although
I own I did not enjoy having him work
about me with his brush and dust cloth.
Just as he had finished and put us back in
our places the doorbell sounded, and pres-
ently we heard children’s voices in the hall
asking the maid if Johnny Morris was at
home.

«« Morris. But Johnny did not reply. He was
nowhere to be seen. At the first sound he
had quietly slipped out of the room and I
could now see him hiding behind the cur-

tains in the library. Soon Sarah came
67



Dickey Downy



ushering three or four little barefooted
children into the parlor.

‘«««They’ve come to Johnny’s party,
ma’am,’ she explained to Mrs. Morris,
who looked up from her work as the chil-
dren entered.

‘“*«How do you do, my dears?’ said
Mrs. Morris sweetly, though I could see
she was greatly surprised. ‘I believe I
don’t know your names, so you will have
to introduce yourselves.’

‘¢ The children looked bashful, and made
no reply.

‘**You are not Johnny Morris’ school-
mates, are you P’ she questioned.

“¢*No, ma’am,’ answered the tallest
girl, as she gazed about the handsome
room with wide-open eyes. I could see
that she was not accustomed to such beau-
tiful things.

‘«¢Where did you get acquainted with
him, then P’ went on Mrs. Morris kindly.

‘«¢We hain’t acquainted at all, ma’am;
but he seed us on the street this morning,
and said for us to come to his party to-day.

He thought as how maybe they’d be ice-
68



The Parrot at a Party

cream to eat, and he told us where he
lived, and so we are here.’

‘««Well, we must try to make you have
a pleasant time,’ she replied. ‘Sarah,
please call Johnny and tell him his guests
have arrived.’

‘*But Sarah had been answering a sec-
ond peal of the bell, and now appeared
with a very queer smile on her face at the
head of a line of three girls and a small
boy, whom she introduced by saying:

‘“©¢A few more children, ma’am, who
have come to take tea with master Johnny.’

“«*Why, really,’ exclaimed Mrs. Mor-
ris, in a sort of flutter, as she helped Sarah
to seat the new arrivals. ‘The house is
hardly in order for company.’

‘«The children appeared: quite embar-
rassed, and ranged themselves silently and
sedately on the chairs to which they had
been directed.

‘«* Dear me, Sarah, what a predicament
to be in! Where do you suppose Johnny
scraped up all these youngsters? I don’t
know what I ought to do to him for play-

ing me this trick.’ Mrs. Morris said this
69



Dickey Downy



to the maid as they came to my side of the
room. ‘Think of all the work to be done,
and which will have to be stopped for the
day—the house all upside down—no chance
for preparations for an extra supper for his
company. And that big girl bespoke ice-
cream as soon as she entered.’ And then
Mrs. Morris and Sarah turned into the re-
cess of the bay window and laughed softly.
Her vexation seemed to pass away in a
few minutes, for she added, ‘We must
make the best of it, since they are here,
and let everything else go. But there’s
the bell; I expect it’s another batch of
Johnny’s friends.’

‘“ acquaintances, eight or ten of his school-
mates. Little misses dressed in fine style,
in dainty ruffled frocks and necklaces and
bright hair-ribbons, tripped gracefully in
and advanced to meet Mrs. Morris, quite
like grown ladies in their manners. Be-
hind them came several: boys, spick and
span in fresh white linen waists and silk
neckties and well-fitting shoes. _

‘“«*Ah! here are Frances and Naomi

70



The Parrot at a Party



and Justice and Karl and Mary Ethel and
Philip and Jessica and all the rest,’ said
Mrs. Morris, giving them each a hand of
welcome as they gathered about her in a
pretty group. ‘Will you make yourselves
quite at home and help me to entertain
these other visitors till Johnny comes in?
I don’t know what keeps him so long. If
you’ll excuse me I’ll go and look for him.
There are the pictures in the portfolio that
you might like to show to these little girls.
And there’s the admiral, our redbird, and
Bessie, the parrot. Maybe they would like
to look at them.’

‘‘The two girls whom she had desig-
nated as Jessica and Frances looked at the
strange children a minute but made no
movement to carry out Mrs. Morris’ wishes.
Instead they drew a little apart and began
to talk to each other. Mary Ethel, a
round-faced girl who giggled a great deal
behind her fan, crossed over to where sat
the large girl who had mentioned the ice-
cream, and started a conversation by re-
marking that it was awarm day. The girl
made no audible answer, only nodded.

71



Dickey Downy



‘*«Do you like to go to school?’ in-
quired Mary Ethel.

‘*The girl again nodded. There was a
little pause. Mary Ethel, who was bent on
carrying out Mrs. Morris’ suggestion to
help her entertain them, began again on
the weather. I suppose she couldn’t think
of anything new to say, so she observed:

*««Tt’s a nice warm day for the first of
September, don’t you think ?’

‘« The girl’s head once more wagged up
and down in assent, but not a word did she
utter. At this a subdued titter came from
Frances and Jessica. Mary Ethel’s face
grew red and she frowned at them.

‘‘Just at this moment in ran Johnny.
He had put on his best suit. His yellow
hair was freshly brushed and his face was
wreathed in smiles. He reminded one of
a dancing sunbeam. It was wonderful to
see how quickly he set the social wheel
moving in the parlor. In three minutes he
had them all acquainted and talking to
each other. At one side I noticed Naomi
and Jessica who were trying to make the
parrot talk for the big girl. Mary Ethel

72



The Parrot at a Party



was turning the crank of a small music
box, around which were clustered a group
of the stranger children. On a sofa three
or four others had the portfolio of pictures
spread out. Others came to my cage coax-
ing me to whistle for them, while Johnny
capered hither and thither and joked and
had more funny things to say than anybody
in the room. When he let Bessie out of
her cage and put her on the piano to sing
the ‘ Mocking Bird,’ the joy of the visitors
knew no bounds.

‘¢¢Have you a parrot, Jeannette?’ he
asked one of the little barefooted girls,
whose dancing black eyes showed how
much she enjoyed Bessie’s performance.

‘««No, but I have two lovely cats.” She
made the announcement as if very proud
of their ownership.

“««T have a cat too. He dresses in
black and wears long white whiskers, and
looks just like a respectable old colored
man.’ This description amused the chil-
dren very much.

‘««What’s your cat’s nameP’ they
shouted.

73



Dickey Downy



«*¢ Jett. What do you call your cats,
Jeannette P’

«««The big one is Boule de Newe and
and the little one is Jaune Jaguette.’

««« What queer names! exclaimed Mary
Ethel. ‘How did you happen to select
such names for them P’

‘¢¢Oh, miss, because the names do suit
them so well.’

‘««They don’t sound like any cats’
names that ever I heard. I don’t under-
stand how they would suit.’ Mary Ethel
looked perplexed.

‘««Why, miss, on account of the color
of those cats, to be sure,’ said Jeannette in
surprise.

‘«*Pooh!’ explained Johnny, ‘that’s
easy. Boule de neige is the French for
snowball, and jaune means yellow, so
jaune jaquette means yellow jacket. I
learned that in our French reader. I expect
one of the cats is all white and the other
is a yellow one. Is that it, Jeannette P’

“¢¢ Ves, sir,’ said the French child, and
she tipped him a polite little bow that was
very pretty indeed.

74



the Battot at a Barty



as ‘ Boule de euge/ what a funny name.
I haven’t named our white kitten yet. I
believe I’ll call it Boule de Neige for a
change,’ said Karl.

‘*Then Jett was brought in and Bessie
pounced upon him for a ride, she chuc-
kling and singing and looking from side to
side with proud satisfaction, knowing she
was being observed by everybody. The
children almost screamed with delight at
this performance.

‘**Now, Bessie,’ said Johnny, as the
poor cat at last shook her off and slank
away. ‘You did that beautifully, and you
deserve something to eat. JI am going to
let you have some bread and milk right
here in the parlor, and the company can
see how nicely you can feed yourself with
a spoon.’

«¢¢ All right,’ croaked the parrot. Sarah
brought in a saucer in which was a little
bread moistened with milk, and two spoons
with it. A cloth was spread over one
corner of the table and Bessie crawled up
to the top of a chair which had been
placed with its back close to the table.

75



Dickey Downy

This brought the bird almost in line with
the saucer. Johnny took his seat beside
her and broke the bread into tiny pieces
with his spoon, shoving the particles into
the other spoon as fast as Bessie disposed
of them. She gravely clasped her spoon
with one claw and brought it to her mouth
quite dextrously and ate the contents with
evident relish, though it was plain that she
enjoyed being admired for being able to do
it really more than she enjoyed the bread.
Once in a while her grasp was uncertain
and the food was spilled on her breast
feathers or fell to the floor. At this she
scolded herself roundly and seemed quite
ashamed.

««¢One of these days, when I get time,
T am going to train her to use a napkin
when she eats,’ said Johnny.

««*She’ll be a perfectly accomplished
lady then,’ added Mary Ethel.

‘« By this time some of the stranger chil-
dren had left the table and had come over
to my cage to look at me.

‘««The admiral’s an awful purty feller,’

said one.
76



The Parrot at a Party



*¢¢Wouldn’t his tail be sweet on a Sun-
day hat?’ suggested another.

«¢¢Qh, I choose his wings for my hat,’
exclaimed a third.

«©*T choose his head and breast for
mine,’ said the first one who had spoken.
‘And Naomi chooses his whole body for
her hat, I expect,’ she added as: Naomi
joined them.

‘©*No,’ said Naomi, ‘we don’t wear
birds any more in our family. My sister
and I used to have our hats trimmed with
them, but we’ve quit. I had a lovely one
on my blue velvet hat last year. It was a
beautiful hat,’ and she smiled at the recol-
lection. ‘But we’ve quit now,’ she added
gravely.

«©¢Why ?’ asked the other girls in a
breath.

‘©¢Qh, because my mother thinks it is
wrong to wear them. Little boy, little boy,
pe careful or you’ll let the bird out,’ she
called hastily.

«But the warning was too late. While
the girls had been talking the small boy
who was with them had been entertaining

77



Dickey Downy

himself by slightly opening my cage door
and letting it spring back to its fasten-
ing. Suddenly he was seized with fright
at discovering that it had stuck while half-
way back, and refused to come together.

‘««Qh, dear!’ he called. <‘He’s out.’

‘**Mercy on us! Oh, dear!’ screamed
the girls as I made a dash through the
opening, and flew to the top of a picture
frame. ‘Johnny, Johnny, your redbird’s
out,’ they called.

‘* All was confusion in an instant. Boys
and girls ran hither and thither, tumbling
over each other, and over the chairs and
stools, and all talking and screaming at
once.

‘«« Bring a broom or a flagpole, Johnny,’
called Philip. ‘I’ll shoo him down for
you while you stand underneath and catch
him.’

‘¢¢Shoo, shoo!’ said Jeannette, catch-
ing her dress skirt with both hands and
waving it back and forth rapidly. In a
minute all the girls were waving their dress
skirts at me and saying ‘ shoo.’

‘«*Qh, my pretty Admiral Dewey, my

78





Tbe Parrot at a Party



dear old admiral,’ wailed Johnny, almost
in tears.

‘*T didn’t wait for the broom or the flag-
pole to help me from the picture frame. I
balanced myself steadily and then I flew
out of the open window and away into the
world, without saying good-bye to anybody.
I suppose they all crowded to the window
to look after me as I disappeared, for the
last thing I heard was Mrs. Morris’ voice
saying, ‘Don’t, Johnny; you'll fall out if
you lean over so far. Papa will get you
another bird. Don’t grieve so hard. Don’t,
Johnny.’ ’’

‘* Did you ever see Johnny afterward ?’’
we asked the redbird.

‘“ Yes, once I saw him cantering along
slowly on Jock. He could not go very
fast because he was holding a great bunch
of red and pink roses in one hand. His
cheeks were as pink as the flowers and his
yellow hair curled up under the edge of his
cap the same as it used to. I knew him
ina minute. A great many carriages were
on the street trimmed in flags and flowers.
Little flags were fastened to the horses’

79

4



Dickey Downy



harness. Jock had one on each side of his
head, which made him look very pretty.
Children were running about carrying
wreaths. Ona corner of the street where
a band was playing some men were hold-
ing banners. I heard some one say it was
Decoration Day, and that everybody
strewed flowers on the graves in the big
cemetery that day. I thought it was a
very beautiful custom. Through all the
buzz and confusion I kept an eye on
Johnny. He didn’t seem to be riding any-
where in particular, but was just looking
around for the fun of the thing. Presently
he drew up to the sidewalk where a little
ragged boy was leaning up against a tree.
He had a wistful look, as if he would like
to be taking part.

‘«*Hello!’ said Johnny, as he reined
Jock in. ‘Aren’t you going to help to
decorate P’

««¢Naw—ain’t got any posies, I tell
you.’ The boy said this in a sullen tone.

‘**Here, take these. I brought you a
big bunch so you could divide ’em with

some of your friends. There’s enough for
80
>



The Parrot at a Party



all of you boys to have a few flowers to
take to the cemetery.’ Johnny extended
the roses with a smile as he spoke.

‘« The boy grabbed them eagerly. ‘My!
You’re a jolly one, I’ll say that for you,’
he said heartily by way of thanks, then he
ran off with a whoop.

‘«T saw from this action that Johnny was
the same generous, kind-hearted boy he
used to be, and I felt proud to have had
the honor of his acquaintance.’’



CHAPTER VII

A WINTER IN THE SOUTH

I was wrong about the Pheebe bird ;
Two songs it has, and both of them I’ve heard;
I did not know those strains of joy and sorrow
Came from one throat.

S the sea-
son ad-
vanced
our May
songs be-
came less
melodious
until final-
ly our mu-
sic was

merely a metallic but pleasant, ‘‘chink,

chink,’’ and we knew we would soon be
putting on our new fall attire, as toward the
close of the summer our family exchange
their pretty black-and-white suits, so much

admired, for a becoming yellowish-brown
82





——— 8 LLU

A Winter in the Soutb



one. The different flocks were also now
arranging for their regular winter trip to the
sunny Southland, where their winters were
spent.

I was very glad to know that we bob-
olinks were to travel only in the daytime,
as that would afford us younger ones a
better opportunity to see the country. The
return trip to the North is always made by
night. A great many people have won-
dered why we do this, and those who are
interested in our habits have tried to find
out; but it is a secret the birds have never
yet divulged, and probably never will.

The blue jays were going to remain be-
hind, for the winters which we dreaded so

-much had no terrors for them. Sometimes

when we were preening our feathers under
the radiant skies near the Southern gulf, I
thought of our old neighbors the jays, and
fancied them in their bleak Northern home
flitting about in the tops of the leafless
trees, swayed by the icy winds from the
upper lakes, and with perhaps but little to
eat. I would not have exchanged places

with them for the world. But my older
83



Dickey Downy



comrades assured me the jays were not in
need of my sympathy or pity. They liked
the invigorating cold and chattered mer-
rily in the desolate boughs and enjoyed
many a nice meal from under the melt-
ing snow. The crimson dogwood berries,
standing out like rosettes of coral, at which
they liked to peck, also furnished them an
esthetic and sumptuous feast. Much more
to be dreaded than the winter’s cold was
the cruel sportsman, said my comrades.

The day of our departure came. The
concourse of birds setting out on their an-
nual journeys was immense, and oh, what
joy it was to soar aloft on buoyant pinion
high up in the blue sky, over housetops
and tops of trees, skimming along above
rushing waters or tranquil streams in quiet
meadows. Mere existence was a keen de-
light. The sense of freedom, of lightness,
of airiness, was gloriously exhilarating, a
delicious sensation known only to the
feathered tribes of all God’s creation.

Our trip took us across some densely
wooded mountains, where we rested for a
time. A thick undergrowth of young sap-

84



ea

A Winter in the Soutb



lings prevented any roads, and only occa-
sional narrow footpaths showed that people
sometimes passed that way.

The mountain was grand in its loneliness ;
but doubtless was a desolate spot to the
settlers, whose cabins were scattered at long
distances from each other in the depths of
the wood. I could imagine how cut off
from the whole world the women and chil-
dren in these cabins would feel, for it is
natural for human beings to love society.
The perpetual stillness must have been
hard to bear when months sometimes
passed away, especially in the winter sea-
son, without their getting a glimpse of
other human faces.

The mountains were full of wildcats too,
which made their situation worse, as these
fierce animals were frequently known to
attack men as savagely as wolves do.
One day while we were there two travelers
camped under the tree where our family
was roosting. They had evidently had a
hard time making their way through the
tangled undergrowth, for as one of the

men flung himself down on the ground and
85



Dickey Downy



stretched himself out at full length, he ex-
claimed peevishly :

‘¢ Well, I don’t want any more such ex-
periences. I’m dead tired; my face is all
scratched with the thorns and bushes; and
I haven’t seen a newspaper for a week. If
the railroad company needs any more work
of this kind done, they must get somebody
else.’’

‘« Fiddle-dee-dee! You mustn’t be so
easily discouraged,’’ answered the other
young man, who had already set to work
scraping up dry chips and pieces of bark
to make a fire. ‘‘ Think of these poor
mountaineers who stay here all their lives.
Your little tramp of a few days is nothing
to what they do all the time and never
think of complaining. The half of them
are too poor to own a mule. They eat
hog and hominy the year around, and are
thankful to get it. Their clothes are fear-
fully and wonderfully made, but for all
that they don’t give up and think life isn’t
worth living.’’

As the two young fellows talked on in

this strain I named them Growler and
86



A Winter in the Soutb



Cheery, because the one was so determined
to look on the dark side, while the other
took a cheerful view of everything. Growler
continued to lounge on the ground, looking
with careless interest at Cheery, who was
preparing dinner.

The dinner was in a small tin box which
he took from his coat pocket. Opening it
he disclosed some eatables very compactly
put in. He took out several articles and
set them on the ground in front of him.
In the box was a bottle stoutly corked con-
taining a dark liquid, some of which he
poured into a flat tin cup which formed a
part of the lid of the box. This he set
over the fire, which by this time was snap-
ping cheerily.

“‘Come,’’ he said. ‘‘ Here’s a lunch fit
for a king. Get up and have your share.
Maybe when your stomach is warmed up
with a few ham and mustard sandwiches,
some cheese and coffee, you’ll be in better
spirits. These crackers are good eating
too.’’

‘‘ Fit for a king, eh P Mighty poor kind

of a king, I should say,’’ growled Growler
87



Dickey Downy



sarcastically; but he rose and flicked the
leaves and twigs from his clothing before
he helped himself to the coffee which was
now hot.

‘«Qne cup for two people is just one too
few,’’ laughed Cheery when it came his
turn to take some. ‘‘My! but it tastes
good. There’s nothing like the open air
to give one an appetite.”’

‘“©T don’t like coffee without cream,’’
objected Growler, chewing moodily at his
cracker.

«¢ Well, we’ll get to Girard by to-night,
and then possibly we will get a good sup-
per.’’

While they were lunching I had observed
another traveler slowly approaching through
the underbrush. Over one shoulder was
slung a leather strap in which were a few
books. He carried a rifle, and from his
coat pocket bulged a small package. As
he drew nearer the sound of his footsteps
startled Growler who nervously upset his
coffee over his shirt front.

«« What d’ye suppose he is ?’’ he asked
of Cheery as the stranger approached.

88



A Winter in the Soutb

‘«T judge he’s a parson, from the cut of
his clothes,’’ observed Cheery. Then as
the new-comer advanced he called: ‘‘ Hello,
friend! Who’d’a thought of meeting com-
pany this far back in these mountains P’’

‘« This is only about eight miles from the
town where I live,’’ answered the gentle-
man, who now seated himself near them
with his back against a tree. ‘‘I knowthe
paths through here fairly well, for I come
this way several times through the summer.
But this will be my last trip for the season,
and I’m giving a little more time to it on
that account. I’ve taken it somewhat leis-
urely to-day.’’

He was a delicate-looking, middle-aged
man, with a mild voice and a kind face.

‘*You’re a drummer for a publishing
house, I take it? ’’ said Growler, nodding
toward the books in the strap. ‘‘I’ve
just been wondering where you’d find any
buyers in these infernal woods.’’

The gentleman laughed. ‘‘No,’’ said
he, ‘‘this is my regular route; but I’m
not a commercial traveler in any sense.

I’m a pastor at a town near here, and I go
89



Dickey Downy



out to these mountain families to hold serv-
ices every few weeks.”’

‘*You don’t mean you foot it through
these bushes and among these wildcats to
preach to the mountaineers! ’’ exclaimed
Growler in astonishment.

‘* Certainly I do. These poor people
would never hear the sound of the gospel
if some one did not take it to them. They
have souls to be saved, my friend. I feel
it is my duty to carry the word to them.
As for the wildcats,’’ he continued, smiling,
‘‘T have myrifle. Besides the government
offers a small bounty for every wildcat.’’

‘*Oh, yes, I see. You combine business
with pleasure and have your wildcat bounty
to pay expenses as you go along—or else
keep it for pin-money,’’ and Growler
laughed good-humoredly at his own fun.

‘*You’re the parson from St. Thomas,
I judge,’’ said Cheery.

The gentleman bowed, and said he was
the pastor of that little church.

«*T’ve heard of your mission work, and
I understand you’ve done a great deal of
good among the mountain whites.’’

go



A Winter in the Soutb



‘¢ How many churches have you in these
mountains ?’’ interrupted Growler.

««T have but the one church organization,
for outside through the mountains there are
no churches—no buildings, no organiza-
tions. People ten and fifteen miles apart
can’t very well have churches. I visit the
families. I have three on this mountain
side. I am well repaid for all the sacri-
fice of comfort I make, in knowing how
glad they are to have me come. To
many of them I am the connecting link
with the rest of mankind. Ah! the world
knows nothing of the privations and sor-
rows and ignorance of many of these poor
creatures! Through the winter I am obliged
to stop my visitations, but I generally leave
a few books and papers for those who can
read, and pictures for the children.”’

‘‘Well, parson, I didn’t know there was
enough goodness in any man in the United
States to make him willing to tramp right
into the wildest part of the Allegheny
Mountains to preach the gospel to half a
dozen poor people!’’ exclaimed Growler,
still more astonished.

gi



Dickey Downy



‘¢ My friend,’’ responded the gentleman
earnestly, ‘‘the world is full of Christian
men and women who are trying to help
others.’’

Just then my mother said to me, ‘‘ When
I hear the beautiful words that minister
speaks and see what he is doing, then in-
deed do I believe that human beings have
hearts.’’

As we resumed our journey I wondered
if Growler would profit by the sunshiny
example of Cheery and the devotion of the
parson of St. Thomas.

Later in our travels we came upon some
old acquaintances. Our stopping-place
was near an ancient house on a mountain
side. The outlook was the grandest I had
ever seen, and though I have traveled
much since then I have never found any-
thing to exceed it in beauty. A glistening
river wound its way in a big loop at the
foot of the mountain, and beyond it lay
stretched out a busy city.

A good many years before a battle had
been fought on these heights, which people
still remembered and talked about. I heard

g2



A Winter in the Soutb



them speak of it as the ‘‘ Battle above the
clouds.’’ There was still a part of a can-
non wagon in the yard which visitors came
to see and examined with much interest.
They also often requested the landlady to
let them look at the walls of an old stone
dairy adjoining the house, because the
soldiers had carved their names there.

To me it seemed strange that the guests
would sit for hours on the long gallery of
this hotel, and go over and over the inci-
dents of the battle, telling where this regi-
ment stood, or where that officer fell, as if
war and the taking of life were the most
pleasant rather than the most distressful
subjects in the world. In the distance
was a mammoth field of graves, miles of
graves, beautifully kept mounds under
which lay the dead heroes of that sad time.

The days up here were beautiful, but it
was at night that this was a scene of sur-
passing loveliness. Far below the lights
of the city glowed like spangles in the
darkness. Above us was the star-encrusted
sky. It was like being suspended between
a floor and a ceiling of glittering jewels.

93



Dickey Downy



On this plateau grew the biggest cherry
trees I ever saw, and they bore the biggest
and sweetest cherries, though I could not
taste any at that time, as the season was
past. I heard the landlady complaining
one day to some of her guests that the
rascally birds had hardly left her a cherry
to put up.

‘«The saucy little thieves! they must
have eaten bushels of the finest fruit,’’ she
said.

‘‘ And didn’t you get any P’’ inquired a
childish voice. There was something fa-
miliar in the voice and I flew to the porch
railing to see who it was. And who should
it be but dear little Marion. And there too
was her aunty, Miss Dorothy, and the pro-
fessor, and in the parlor I caught a glimpse
of Miss Katie and the colonel. They were
having a pleasant vacation together.

Marion looked inquiringly into the land-
lady’s face. No doubt she was thinking
the mountain birds were very greedy to eat
up all the cherries and not leave one for
the poor woman to can.

‘‘Qur birds always eat some of our

94



A Winter in the South



cherries too,’’ she said, ‘‘ but they always
leave us plenty.’’

‘¢ There were bushels left on our trees,’’
observed the landlady’s daughter. ‘‘ We
had all we wanted, mother. We couldn’t
possibly have used the rest if the birds had
not eaten them. We had a cellar full of
canned cherries left over from the year be-
fore, you remember, and that is the way it
is nearly every year.’’

‘Yes, yes, I know,’’ answered her
mother impatiently; ‘‘but for all that I
don’t believe in letting the birds have
everything.’’

‘«‘T never begrudge a bird what it eats,’’
commented the professor. ‘‘ Of course you
can discourage the birds, drive them off,
break up their nests, starve them out, and
have a crop of caterpillars instead of cher-
ries. But, beg pardon, madam, maybe
you don’t object to caterpillars,’’ and he
bowed low to the landlady.

The laugh was against her and I was
glad of it, for I didn’t consider it either
kind or polite to call us ‘‘ saucy little
thieves.’’

95



Full Text



The Baldwin Library


Kr

e
| LUE /2
foe
Dickey Downy
The Hutobiograpby of a Bird

BY

VIRGINIA SHARPE PATTERSON
AUTHOR OF
“ The Girl of the Pertod,” ‘All on Account of a
Bonnet,’ ‘‘ The Wonderland Children,’ etc.

With Introduction by
HON. JOHN F. LACEY, M.C.

Drawings by
ELIZABETH M. HALLOWELL

PHILADELPHIA
A. F. Rowland—1420 Chestnut Street
1899
Copyright 1899 by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY

From the Society’s own [Press
To
my dear children
Laura, Virgie, and Robert George
this little Volume ts
Affectionately Inscribed
Last night Alicia wore a Tuscan bonnet

And many humming birds were fastened on tt.
Caught in a net of delicate creamy crepe

The dainty captives lay there dead together ;
No dart of slender bill, no fragile shape
Fluttering, no stir of radiant feather ;

Alicia looked so calm, I wondered whether
She cared if birds were killed to trim her bonnet.
Her hand fell lightly on my hana ;

And I fancied that a stain of death

Like that which doomed the Lady of Macbeth

Was on her hand.
—Elizabeth Cavazza
INTRODUCTION

THIS beautiful volume has been written
for a good purpose. I had the pleasure
of reading the proof-sheets of the book
while in the Yellowstone National Park,
where no gun may be lawfully fired at any
of God’s creatures. All animals there are
becoming tame, and the great bears come
out of the woods to feed on the garbage of
the hotels and camps, fearless of the tour-
ists, who look on with pleasure and wonder
at such a scene.

‘“*The child is father of the man,’’ and
this volume is addressed to the heart and
imagination of every childreader. If chil-
dren are taught to love and protect the
birds they will remember the lesson when

they grow old. When children learn to
5
Antroduction

prefer to take a ‘‘snap-shot’’ at a bird
with a camera, rather than with a gun,
they will protect these feathered friends
for their beauty, even if they do not regard
them for their usefulness.

Nature has supplied a system of balances
if left to itself. Some forms of insect life
are so prolific that but for the voracity and
industry of the birds the world would be-
come almost uninhabitable.

Bird life appeals to the eye for its beauty,
to the ear for its music, and to the interest
of man for its utility. Shooting-clubs have
foreseen the extermination that awaits
many of the finest of the game birds, and
are taking much pains to enforce the laws
enacted for game protection. A selfish
interest thus is called into activity, and one
class of birds is receiving protection through
the aid of its own enemies.

But the birds of beautiful plumage are

now threatened with extinction by the de-
6
Introduction

sire of womankind for personal decoration.
Against this destruction Audubon societies
are organizing a crusade, and Mrs. Patter-
son’s principal purpose in this book is to
direct attention to the wholesale slaughter
of the birds of plumage and song.

The Princess of Wales was requested to
write in an album her various peculiarities.
Among the inquiries was: ‘‘ What is your
greatest weakness?’’ She answered :
‘« Millinery.’”’

When Napoleon was banished to Elba
it is stated that the fallen monarch was fol-
lowed by Josephine’s old millinery bills.
How many of these bills were for the
plumage of slaughtered birds the historian
does not say. But the passion for the
beautiful is very strong in the tender hearts
of women, and an earnest appeal to the
natural gentleness of the sex must be made
to enlist them in the defense of the birds.

Mrs. Patterson enters upon this task
7
Introduction

with enthusiasm, and many a bird will live



to flutter through the trees or glisten in the
sunshine and gladden the earth with its
beauty that but for this little book would
have perched for a brief season upon the
headgear of some lovely woman.

Let the good work go on until the mum-
my of a dead bird will be recognized by
all persons as an unfitting decoration for
the head of womankind.

JOHN F. LACEY.

a
CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
[Pe HIES@R GHAR TD iene tit smmma ent cnt ae II
I]. DICKEY DOWNY’S MEDITATIONS .. 21

Il.
IV.
V.
Vi.
Vil.
Vill.

XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.

THE RULER WITH THE IRON HAND . 27

DICKEYSS COUSINS ii: eee eee 43
‘STO Nahe d OHNNYike sien aoa ae ae 48
THE PARROT AT A PARTY. ..... 63
A WINTER IN THE SOUTH...... 82
(NE EMERISONe ses nes ne eae 103
MPH EME UNTERS sia ecunciiay eonty itis. 118
SBAGNEWOHOM ES as ace ceca lcontie meus 126
THE ILL-MANNERED CHILD .... . Iq!
TWO SLAVES OF FASHION. ..... I51
DIGKEYZSViIS llamo etn ueeacoer tee 157
THE COUNTRY SCHOOL. ...... 170
ROBEYZSSRARE WEL te. wage nicer l ais 189
COLORED PHOTOGRAPHS

The Indigo Bird

The Scarlet Tanager. . .
The ‘Baltimore Oriole . . .
The Bobolink. . . .

PAGE

10

64

144

. 160
CHAPTER I
THE ORCHARD

Bobolink, that in the meadow
Or beneath the orchard’s shadow
Keepest up a constant rattle,
Joyous as my children’s prattle,

Welcome to the North again.
—Thos. Hill.




Y native home
was in a pleas-
ant meadow
not far from a
deep wood, at

some distance from the high-

way. From this it was sep-
arated by plowed fields and

a winding country lane, carpeted with grass

and fringed with daisies.
Il
Dickey Downy



While it was yet dawn, long before the
glint of the sun found its way through the
foliage, the air was musical with the twit-
tering of our feathered colony.

It is true our noisy neighbors, the blue-
jays, sometimes disturbed my mother by
their hoarse chattering when she was weary
of wing and wanted a quiet hour to medi-
tate, but they disturbed us younger ones
very little. My mother did not think they
were ever still a minute. Constantly hop-
ping back and forth, first on one bough,
then on another, flirting down between times —
to pick up a cricket or a bug, they were
indeed, a most fidgetty set. Their rest-
lessness extended even to their handsome
top-knots, which they jerked up and down
like a questioning eyebrow. They were
beautiful to look at had they only possessed
a little of the dignity and composure of our
family. But as I said, we little ones did
not trouble ourselves about them.

The air was so pleasant, our nest so cozy,
and our parents provided us such a pienti-
ful diet of nice worms and bugs, that like
other thoughtless babies who have nothing

12
The Orchard



to do but eat, sleep, and grow, we had no
interest in things outside and did not dream
there was such a thing as vexation or sor-
row or crime in this beautiful world. When
our parents were off gathering our food,
we seldom felt lonely, for we nestled snugly
and kept each other company by telling
what we would do when we should be
strong enough to fly.

At this stage of our existence we were
as ungainly a lot of children as could well
beimagined. To look at our long, scrawny
necks and big heads so disproportioned to
the size of our bodies, which were scantily
covered with a fuzzy down that scarcely
concealed our nakedness, who would have
thought that in time we would develop into
such handsome birds as the bobolink family
is universally considered to be P

Our mother, who was both very proud
and very fond of us, was untiring in her
watchful care. No human mother bend-
ing over the nursery bed soothing her lit-
tle one to rest, showed more devotion than
did she, as she hovered near the tiny cradle
of coarse grass and leaves woven by her

13
Dickey Downy



own cunning skill—alert and sleepless
when danger was near and enfolding us
with her warm, soft wings. Thus tenderly
cared for we passed the early sunny days
of life.

After we could fly we often visited a
fragrant orchard that sent its odors across
the grain fields. From its green shade we
made short excursions to the rich, black
soil in search of some choice tid-bit of a
worm turned up by the plow expressly for
our dessert. We were indeed glad to be
of use to the farmer by devouring these
pests so destructive to his crops, but did
not limit our labors to these places; we also
made it our business to pick off the bugs
and slugs that infested the fruit trees, and
often extended our efforts to the tender
young grape leaves in the arbor and the
rose bushes and shrubs in the flower garden.

On a warm morning after a rain was
our favorite time for work, and it was
pleasant to hear the tap-tap-tapping of our
neighbor the woodpecker, as he located
with his busy little bill the bugs in the tree

limb. It was like the hammer of an indus-
14
The Orchard



trious blacksmith breaking on the still air.
His jaunty red cap and broad white
shoulder cape made of him a very pretty
object as he worked away blithely and
cheerily at his useful task. While the rest
of us did not make so much noise at our
work, we were equally diligent in picking
off the larve and borers that ruined the
trees, and on a full crop we enjoyed the
consciousness of having aided mankind.
On several occasions I had seen our
enemy, the cat, slinking stealthily on his
padded feet from the direction of the great
_ brick house which stood on the edge of the
orchard. Crouched in a furrow he would
gaze upward at us so steadily and for so
long a time without so much as a wink or
a blink of his green eyes, that it seemed
he must injure its muscles. Aside from
the many frights he gave us it is sad to re-
late that he succeeded before many days
in getting away with one of our number.
One morning he crept softly up to a young
robin which had flown down in the grass,
but had not sufficient power to rise quickly,
and before the unsuspecting little creature
15
Dickey Downy



realized its danger, the cat arched his back,
gave a spring, and seized it. A moment
later he softly trotted out of the orchard
with the poor bird in his mouth and doubt-
less made a dainty dinner in the barn off
our unfortunate comrade. This incident
cast a deep gloom over us, and our songs
for many days held a mournful note.

But while cats were unwelcome visitors
from the great brick house, we sometimes
had others whom we were always glad to
see. The two young ladies of the family,
together with their mother and little niece,
occasionally came out for a saunter under
the trees, and it was very delightful to lis-
ten to their merry chat. So affectionate
toward each other, so gentle and withal so
bright and lively, they seemed to bring a
streak of sunshine with them whenever
they came. Miss Dorothy, who was tall
and stately, seldom sat on the grassy tufts
which rosé like little footstools at the base
of each tree, but rambled about while talk-
ing. This was perhaps because she dis-
liked to rumple her beautifully starched

skirts. But Miss Katie—impetuous, dim-
16




THE INDIGO BIRD


The Orchard



ple-cheeked Katie, would fling herself down
anywhere regardless of edged ruffles or
floating sash ribbons.

‘¢ For it is clean dirt,’’ she laughingly
said, when Miss Dorothy playfully scolded
her for it. ‘‘ This kind of dirt is health-
ful, and it isn’t going to hurt me if a few
dusty twigs or a bit of dried grass or weeds
should cling to my gown. You must re-
member, Sister Dorothy, there are differ-
ent kinds of dirt. I haven’t any respect
for grease spots or for clothes soiled from
wearing them too long. I don’t like that
kind of dirt, but to get close to dear old
mother earth, and have a scent of her
fresh soil once in a while is what I enjoy.
It is delightful. I like nature too well to
stand on ceremony with her.’’

‘©You like butterflies too, don’t you,
aunty? ’’ asked little Marian.

‘“©To be sure I do, dear. I love all the
pretty things that fly.”’

“And the birdies too?’’ asked the
child.

‘© Yes, indeed; I love the birds the best

of all.”’
B 17

a”?
Dickey Downy



‘© And the old cat was awful naughty
when he caught the baby robin the other
day and ate it up. Wasn’t he, aunty?’”’

‘¢Ves. Tom is a cruel, bad, bad cat,’’
responded Miss Katie, as she squeezed
Marian’s little pink hand between her own
palms. ‘‘ That naughty puss gets plenty
to eat in the house and there are lots of
nice fat mice in the barn, and yet he slips
slyly out to the orchard and takes the life
of a poor, innocent little bird.’’

‘«‘*And it made the mamma-bird cry
because her little one was dead,’’ added
Miss Dorothy, who had drawn near.

Little Marian heaved a deep sigh and
her rosy lips trembled suspiciously. ‘‘ Poor
mamma-bird! It can never have its baby
bird any more,’’ she said, with a sob of
sympathy. ‘‘ Don’t you feel sorry for it,
Aunt Dorothy? ’”’

‘“« Yes, dear. I feel very sorry for it.’’

‘“‘And I expect the poor mamma-bird
cries and cries and weeps and grieves when
she comes home to supper and finds out
her little children are gone forever and

ever.’’ And with her bright eyes dimmed
18

’
The Orcbard





with tears of pity, Marian, clasping a hand
of each of the young ladies, walked slowly
to the house still bewailing the fate of the
robin.

My heart warmed toward these sweet
young girls for their tender sympathy. I
almost wished I were a carrier pigeon, that
I might devote myself hereafter to their
service by bearing loving messages from
them to their friends.

But, alas! I was to have a rude awaken-
ing from this pleasant thought. As we
flew that evening to our roosting-place, I
observed to my mother that if there were
no cats in the world what a delightful time
we birds might have.

‘*You have a greater enemy than the
cat,’’ she responded sadly. ‘‘It is true
the cat is cruel and tries to kill us, but it
knows no better.’’

‘‘Tf not the cat, what enemy is itP’’ I
asked in surprise. ‘‘I thought the cat was
the most bloodthirsty foe the birds had.’’

My mother dipped her wings more slowly
and poised her body gracefully a moment.
Then she said impressively, ‘‘ Our greatest

nO),
Dickey Downy

enemy is man. WNo,’’ suddenly correct-
ing herself, ‘‘not man, but women,
women and children.’’

‘*Women and dear little children our
enemies?’’ saidI, in astonishment. ‘‘The
pretty ladies who speak so sweet and kind!
The pretty ladies who gather roses in the
garden! Would they deprive us of lifeP’’

My mother nodded.

‘*Yes,’’ she answered, ‘‘the pretty
ladies, the wicked ladies.’’

20
CHAPTER II

DICKEY DOWNY’S MEDITATION

It hath the excuse of youth.
. —Shakespeare.




HAT night I pon-
dered long upon
what my mother had
told me. Ever since
pe, I left my shell I had

USS been taught to re-
spect my elders, and that it was a mark of
ill manners and bad breeding for children
to question the superior knowledge of those
much older than themselves. Notwith-
standing this, in my secret heart I could

not help thinking that my mother was mis-
2.


Dickey Downy
taken in her estimate of women when she
called them wicked. She had surely mis-
judged them. However, I took good care
not to mention these doubts to her.

I had heard from my grandmother, who
had traveled a great deal from the tropics
to the North and back again, that women
were the leaders in the churches and were
foremost in all Christian and philanthropic
work; that they provided beautiful homes
for orphan children, where they took care
of them and nursed them when they were
sick. She told me about the hospitals
where diseased and aged people were
kindly cared for by them. She said they
were active in the societies for the preven-
tion of cruelty to children and to animals.
They fed armies of tramps out of sheer
pity; even the debauched drunkard was
the object of their tenderest care and their
earnest prayers. They held out a friendly
hand to the prisoners in the jails and sent
them flowers and Bibles; they pitied and
cheered the outcast with kind words. They
offered themselves as missionaries for for-

eign lands to convert the heathen and bring
22
Dickey Downy’s Meditation



them to Christ. They soothed the sick and
made easy the last days of the dying.

On the battlefield, when blood was flow- ~
ing and cannon smoking, my grandmother
had seen the Red Cross women like angels
of mercy binding up the gaping wounds
and gently closing the glazed eyes of the
expiring soldier. In woman’s ear was
poured his last message to his loved ones
far away, and when death was near it was
woman who spoke the words of consola-
tion and her finger that pointed hopefully
to the stars.

Did not all this prove her to be sweet
and tender and loving and gentle and kind?
Yes—a thousand times yes.

My grandmother once had her nest near
a cemetery, and often related pathetic in-
cidents which had come under her obser-
vation at that time. One in particular I
now recalled. It was of a woman who
came every day to weep over the mound
where her babe was buried. She was
worn to a shadow from her long watching
through its illness, and when it was taken
from her, her grief was deep. The bright

23
Dickey Downy



world was no longer bright since she was
bereft of her darling, and her moans for
the lost loved one were heartrending.

This incident was only yet another in-
stance of the tenderness of woman’s na-
ture, and I could not reconcile it with what
my mother had told me.

‘“No, no,’’ I repeated as I cuddled my
head under my wing, ‘‘ never can I believe
that woman, tender-hearted woman, who is
all love and mercy, all gentleness and pity,
never can I believe she is our enemy.’’
And resolving to ask my mother to more
fully explain her unjust assertion I fell
asleep.

But a source of fresh anxiety arose
which for a time caused me to forget the
matter.

The lindens which fringed the wood
were now in full leafage, adorned with
their delicate ball-like tassels, and hosts of
birds flitted among them daily. Many of
them were of the kind frequently known as
indigo birds, smaller than the ordinary
bluebird. In color they were of the me-
tallic cast of blue which has a sheen dis-

24
Dickey Downy’s Meditation

tinct from the rich shade seen on the jay’s
wings or the brilliance of the bluebird.
Flashing in and out among the hanging
blossoms their beautiful blue coats made
them an easy target for the boys who at-
tended the neighborhood country school.

To bring down a sweet songster with a
shower of stones, panting and bleeding to
the ground, they thought was the best sport
in the world, and the woods rang and
echoed with their whoops and cheers as
each poor bird fell to the earth. A mere
glimpse of one of the blue beauties as he
hid among the leaves seemed to fire these
cruel children with a wish to kill it.

One half-grown boy, who went by the
name of Big Bill, was noticeable for his
brutality. He encouraged the others in
cruelties which they might not have thought
of, for such is the force of evil example and
companionship. A distinguishing mark
was a large scar on his cheek, probably
inflicted by some enraged animal while
being tortured by him. I always felt sure
Big Bill would come to some bad end.
My mother said that a cruel childhood was

25


Dickey Downy



often a training school for the gallows, and
the boy who killed defenseless birds and
bugs deadened his sensibilities and de-
stroyed his moral nature so that it was easy
to commit greater crimes.

So dreadful became the persecutions of
the schoolboys that the indigo birds finally
held a council and determined to leave that
part of the country and settle far from the
habitations of men, where they might live
unmolested and free from persecutions.
CHAPTER III
THE RULER WITH THE IRON HAND

But evil is wrought by want of thought
As well as want of heart.

—Hood.







Xe! “TA INEZ

y NE morning as
we flew across
the open
space which
lay between the wood
and the wheat fields,
we noticed two gen-
tlemen in the orchard
who were carefully
examining the trees,



peering curiously into the cracks of the
rough bark or unfolding the curled leaves.
27
Dickey Downy

As we came nearer we discovered that
one of them was the owner of the place,
the father of Miss Dorothy and Miss Katie.
The other was a thin gentleman in spec-
tacles, who held a magnifying glass through
which he intently looked at a twig which
he had broken off.

After a few minutes’ inspection he said:
‘*Colonel, your orchard is somewhat af-
fected. This is a specimen of the chzoz-
aspis furfurts.””

‘‘Is it anything like the scurfy-bark
louse P’’ inquired the colonel.

‘“The same thing exactly. It occurs
more commonly in the apple, but it in-
fects the pear and peach trees. You will
find it on the mountain ash, and sometimes
on the currant bushes,’’ he answered.

The colonel asked him if he would rec-
ommend spraying to get rid of the pests,
and was advised to begin immediately,
using tobacco water or whale-oil soap.

‘* By the way,’’ said the colonel, ‘‘ there
is a beetle attacking my shade trees. They
are ruining that fine row of elms in front of

the lawn.’”*
28
The Ruler witb the Aron jHand



‘‘It is undoubtedly the melolontha vul-
garis,’’ said the professor. I designate
him in this way because he used such large
words we did not understand. My mother
told us that she was positive he was pres-
ident of a college. ‘‘ The melolontha vul-
garts is the most destructive of beetles, but
the larvee are still more injurious. They do
incalculable damage to the farmer. For-
tunately enormous numbers of these grubs
are eaten by the birds.’’

‘¢ Unfortunately the birds are not so nu-
merous as they used to be. They are being
destroyed so rapidly, more’s the pity!
These grounds and woods yonder were
formerly alive with birds of all kinds.
Flocks of the purple grakle used to follow
the plow and eat up the worms at a great
rate. You are familiar with their habits ?
You know they are most devoted parents.
I have often watched them feeding their
young. The little ones have such aston-
ishingly good appetites that it keeps the
old folks busy to supply them with enough
to eat. They work like beavers as long as
daylight lasts, going to and from the fields

29
Dickey Downy



carrying on each return trip a fat grub or a
toothsome grasshopper.’’

‘*T am a great lover of birds,’’ returned
the professor enthusiastically, ‘‘ and I find
them very interesting subjects of study.
By the way, I was reading the other day a
little incident connected with one of Amer-
ica’s great men which impressed me
deeply. The story goes that he was one
day walking in company with some noted
statesmen, busily engaged in conversation.
But he was not too much occupied to notice
that a young bird had fallen from its nest
near the path where they were walking.
He stopped short and crossing over to
where the bird was lying, tenderly picked
it up and put it back into its nest. There
was a gentleman of a noble nature! No
wonder that man was a leader and a lib-

’

erator! ’’

‘« Who was he P’’

‘*The grand, the great Abraham Lin-
coln,’’ responded the professor impres-
sively.

‘‘ Well, he’d be the very one to do just
such a kind deed as that,’’ was the colonel’s

30
The Ruler witb the iron JAand



hearty response. ‘‘No man ever lived
who had a bigger, more merciful heart
than ‘ Honest Abe.’ ”’

For myself I did not know who Abra-
ham Lincoln was. I had never heard the
name before, but I was quite sure from the
proud tone of the professor’s voice that he
was a distinguished man, as I was equally
sure from the story of his pity for the help-
less bird, that he was a good man.

‘*You mentioned the industry of the
grakle a moment ago,’’ resumed the pro-
fessor. ‘‘Do you know that the redwing
is equally as useful, and besides he is a de-
lightful singer P

“*The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee.

Do you remember that line, colonel ?’’
and.the professor softly whistled a strain
in imitation of a bird’s note. ‘‘ The serv-
ices of our little brothers of the air are ex-
ceedingly valuable to the horticulturist.
And think of the damage done to arbori-
culture by the woodborers alone were it
not for the help given by the birds. Did
you ever notice those borers at work,
3r
Dickey Downy



colonel? Some writer has well described
them as animated gimlets. They just stick
their pointed heads into the bark and turn
their bodies around and around and out
pours a little stream of sawdust. The
birds would pick off such pests fast enough
if people would only give them a chance
and not scare them off with shotguns.’’

‘* Yes, the birds earn their way, there is
no denying it, and he is a very stupid
farmer who begrudges them the little corn
and wheat they take from the fields. The
account is more than balanced by the good
they do.’’ Then the conversation ceased,
for the colonel and his friend moved off to
inspect the quince bushes.

Pleased by the praises they had bestowed
on us for our efforts in cleaning the fruit
trees and cornfields of injurious insects, I
went to work with new vigor to get out
some bugs for my luncheon, and was thus
pleasantly employed when a sharp twitter
from my mother attracted my attention.

‘¢Look, children!’’ she exclaimed.
‘«Here come our young ladies with some
company from the city. Be careful to

32
The Ruler with the Tron THand



notice what they have on their heads and
then tell me what you think of our sweet,
pretty ladies.’’

One of my brothers was swaying lightly
on a little swing below me. I flew down
hastily and placed myself on the next
bough, where I could also get a good view
of the ladies as they strolled toward us.
They were in a very merry mood and each
one seemed striving to say something more
amusing than her companions. Miss Dor-
othy led the way, her arm linked in that
of one of the stranger guests. Then fol-
lowed the others with Miss Katie and Ma-
rian hand in hand in the rear. They were
all very handsomely dressed, and having
just returned from a drive had not yet re-
moved their hats.

As they came under the tree where we
were perched, which was a favorite spot
with Miss Katie, they halted for some time
and consequently I had an excellent op-
portunity to look, as my mother had bid-
den me.

And what did I see?

I saw six ladies’ hats trimmed with dead

Cc 33
Dickey Downy

birds. Fastened on sidewise, head down-
ward, on one was a magnificent scarlet
tanager, his body half concealed by folds
of tulle, his fixed eye staring into vacancy.
On another was the head and breast of
a beautiful yellow-hammer; it was sur-
mounted by the tall sweeping plumes of
the egret, which this bird produces only at
breeding time. Oh, how much joy and
beauty the world had lost by that cruel
deed! A third hat had two song sparrows
imprisoned in meshes of star-studded lace.
Their blithesome carol had been rudely si-
lenced, their cheer to the world cut short,
simply that they might be used for hat
trimming. Of the remaining ones some
were as yet unknown to me, but my mother,
who had an extensive acquaintance with
foreign birds, said that in that strange mur-
derous mixture of millinery, far-away Aus-
tralia had furnished the filmy feathers of the
lyre bird which swept upward from a knot
of ribbons, and that the forests of Germany
had contributed the pretty green linnet.
Dove’s wings and the rosy breast of the
grosbeak completed the barbarous display.
34
The Ruler witb the Tron Tano



How my heart sickened as I gazed at
these pleasant, refined, soft-voiced women
flaunting the trophies of their cruelty in the
beautiful sunlight.

Had they no compassion for the feath-
ered mother who had been robbed of her
young for the sake of a hat P

‘“«Qh, how can they do such dreadful,
such wicked things!’’ I moaned. My
mother heard my lament and signaled for
us to come up where she was perching.

‘* You see now who are our worst en-
emies,’’ said she. ‘‘ The cat preys on us
to satisfy his bodily hunger, but women
have no such excuse. We are not slaugh-
tered to sustain their lives but to minister
to their vanity. For years the women of
Christian lands have waged their unholy
war against us. We have been driven
from our old haunts and forced to seek
new places. We have been shot down by
thousands every season until now many
species are destroyed from the face of the
earth. There is no security for us in any
place.. The hunter with his gun penetrates
into the deepest forests, he perils his life

35
Dickey Downy



in scaling the most dangerous cliffs, he
wades through bog and marsh and mud
and tracks us to our feeding grounds to
surprise us with the deadly shot, and kills
the mother hovering over the nest of her
helpless offspring with as little compunc-
tion as if she were a poisonous reptile in-
stead of a melodious joy-giver. And all
this horrible slaughter is for women.’’

I grew feverish with excitement at this
terrible arraignment of the ‘‘ gentler sex.’’
‘*But why are they so cruel? Why do
they do this wicked thing P’’ I asked.

‘For the sake of Fashion,’’ said my
mother.

‘« Fashion, what is that P’’

My mother was very patient with me, so
when I asked questions she did not put me
off by telling me she didn’t know, or advise
me to fly away and play, or tell me she was
busy and couldn’t be bothered just then,
therefore she now took pains to make me
understand.

‘*You ask me what is Fashion,’’ she
began. ‘‘ Well, Fashion is an exacting
ruler, a great, tyrannical god who has

36
The Ruler with the fron jHand



many, many worshipers, and these he rules
with an iron hand. His followers cannot
be induced to do anything contrary to his
wishes. He sits on a high throne from
which he dictates to his slaves what they
must do. Often they do the most out-
rageous things, not because they like to,
but because he demands it. He is con-
stantly laying down new laws for their
guidance, and some of these laws are so
unreasonable and absurd that a part of
his followers frequently threaten to rebel.
They do not hold out against him long, for
he manages to make it quite unpleasant
for those who disobey him or refuse to
come under his yoke.’’

‘Has he any men slaves ?’’ asked my
brother.

‘* Yes, he has some slaves among men,
but the larger number of those who wear
his most galling fetters are women. If he
but crooks his little finger these bond-
women rush pell-mell in the direction he
points. They are thus keen to do his bid-
ding, because each woman who is the first
to carry out his rules in her own particular

37
Dickey Downy

town or neighborhood acquires great dis-
tinction in the eyes of the other wor-
shipers.”’

‘‘His slaves are nearly always rich
women, aren’t they P’’ asked my brother.

‘““By no means. Many of them are
poor working women who have to labor
hard for a living. But they will rob them-
selves of necessities and needed rest to get
the means to follow his demands. Often
it takes them a long time to do this, and
perhaps just as they have accomplished the
weary task he suddenly proclaims a new
law, and all this toiling and drudging and
stinting must begin over again. In this
way the unhappy creatures have never a
breathing spell. It is utterly impossible
for them to conform to the new law when
it is first proclaimed by the god, and so
they are always struggling to keep up.
Their chains are never lifted or lightened
a particle.’’

‘‘If the chain is so heavy why don’t
they break it ?’’ I asked impatiently.

‘* Because they are afraid,’’ she replied.

‘* Afraid of the god P’”’
38
The Ruler witb tbe Iron fAand



‘* No, no, child, they are afraid of each
other. They are afraid the richer slaves,
who are able to comply with the demands
will laugh at them and ridicule them, and
that is why they strain every nerve to fol-
low the god’s wishes. A slave, whether
she is rich or poor, grows more cringing
year by year, until at last she loses all her
individuality, and becomes a mere echo of
the god.”’

‘¢ What about the slaves who rebel at
first and afterward yield ?”’

‘Oh, they denounce the god very se-
verely when he lays down some new law
they don’t happen to like, but as all the
other slaves are obediently complying with
it they dislike to be set off by themselves
as different, and so they reluctantly give
in after a time. Sometimes they try to
compromise with the god by going half-
way.”’

I inquired what the other slaves thought
of that.

‘«They mildly tolerate them,’’ said she.
«« Sometimes they look askance at them
when they meet, and try to show their su-

39

’
Dickey Downy



periority as being obedient, full-blooded,
genuine slaves, while the others are only
lukewarm servants of the monarch! ’’

I wondered how the slaves regarded the
woman who was independent and wouldn’t
worship the god.

My mother twittered softly at my ques-
tion, and I knew she was smiling to her-
self. ‘‘Why,’’ said she, ‘‘ they call that
kind of a woman a crank—whatever that
1S
It was very evident that this god Fashion
was a cruel tyrant, and it was clearly
through his influence that we were killed,
and I so told my mother. She looked
very sorrowful as she replied:

‘«Yes, the women do not hate us. They
do not dislike to hear our pretty songs;
they have no revenge to gratify; but the
god orders them to have us killed, and they
do it. He tells them that to wear our poor
mutilated dead bodies will add to their ap-
pearance, and so we are sacrificed on the
altar of their vanity and silly pride. As
members of humane societies women have
denounced the docking of horses’ tails as

40
The Ruler witb the flron Hand



cruel, but from what I know of woman’s
indifference to the sufferings of the inno-
cent birds, I venture to assert that were
Fashion to say that she should trim her
cloak with horse tails there would not be
left an undocked horse in the country.’’

I knew my mother was very excited or
she would never have been so vehement.

‘« Just hear how those birds twitter,’’
remarked one of the ladies, looking up
into our tree. ‘One would think they
were holding an indignation meeting over
something.’”’

‘‘Yes, the dear little things; I love to
hear them chirp,’’ commented Miss Katie,
turning a sweet glance toward us, and then
the party moved to go and we saw the six
hats loaded with their mournful freigh* file
off to the house. We followed the retreat-
ing hats with sad eyes till they were lost to
view.

My brother broke the silence by asking,
‘‘Are there any Christian women who
wear birds, and are among the god’s wor-
shipers ?’’

My mother’s manner grew very grave

41
Dickey Downy



and solemn. ‘‘ That is not for me to
say,’’ she replied. ‘‘ They know whether
they are guiltless of our wholesale slaugh-
ter, and they know too, how the gentle,
merciful Christ regarded us when he de-
clared that ‘ not a sparrow is forgotten be-
fore God.’’’

42
CHAPTER IV
DICKEY’S COUSINS

Another of my airy creatures breathes such sweet
music out of her little instrumental throat that it
might make mankind to think that miracles are not
ceased. We might well be lifted up above the earth

and say, Lord, what music hast

\ . thou provided for the saints in
WAX : heaven,
5 ne Se : > when thou
; a affordest
bad men
such music on
earth ?—/;aak Walton.










HE fine pasture
adjoining was a
popular resort for
some handsome
birds that often

visited it as a playground.

They were said to be relatives

of ours, but I do not think

they were closer than sev-
enth or eighth cousins, which
43


Dickey Downy



is so distant that it doesn’t count—espe-
cially if one doesn’t want it to.

All I know is that their family name was
the same as ours, /ceter7d@, and means
something or other, I forget what. It was
a good honorable name, however, and our
branch was as proud of our ancestry as
any Daughter of the American Revolution
could possibly be.

There were some tall weeds growing
along the margin of a little stream in the
pasture which. produced quantities of de-
licious seeds, and to these we often re-
paired when we wanted a choice breakfast,
as well as to watch the playful pastimes of
these queer bipeds.

What would you think of a bird taking
a bareback ride on a cow? They were
extremely fond of settling themselves on
the cattle which browsed in the field and
presented a truly comical picture as they
complacently gathered in little groups on
the backs of those huge animals. Moving
slowly along munching the dewy grass,
first on one side, then on the other, the
cows did not seem particularly to mind

44
Dickey’s Cousins



their saucy bareback riders. Occasionally
they would toss their heads backward,
when up all the birds would fly into the air
only to descend again as soon as the cattle
were quiet.

As I said, they were very handsome. At
a short distance they looked to be clothed in
black, but the breast and neck were really
avery rich brown, with the rest of the body
like jet and as lustrous as satin. They
were not general favorites with the other
birds on account of some’ dishonorable
tricks which they did on the sly. For in-
stance, they never troubled themselves to
make nests, but watched their chance to
sneak in and lay their eggs, only one in a
place, in the nests of other birds. For
some reason their eggs always hatch a
little sooner than the eggs rightfully be-
longing there, consequently the foster-pa-
rents, not knowing of the deception, are
quite delighted with the first little one that
comes out of the shell, and immediately fly
off to get food for it. This is very unfor-
tunate, for during their absence their own
eggs get cold and will not hatch. After a

45
Dickey Downy



time the old birds grow disgusted and
tumble the poor eggs all out of the nest
and bestow their whole attention to the
juvenile cowbird, entirely ignorant of the
fact that they are the victims of a ‘‘ put-up
job.”’

Once when we were dining in the pasture
we found out the cause of the booming
noise we had often heard sounding through
the woods. Two men, each carrying in
his hand a long club, shaped large at one
end, appeared in the meadow and began
looking among the long grasses which
sheltered the nests of some meadow larks.
A number of the larks were on the wing,
others sat on the rail fence rolling out ca-
denzas in concert in a gush of melody
from their downy throats. The men moved
cautiously nearer under cover of the weeds.
Raising their long clubs to their shoulders
they gazed along their narrow points a
moment. Without exactly knowing why,
we took alarm, and larks, bobolinks, and
cowbirds sped upward like the wind. At
the same instant something bright shim-
mered in the sunlight, and with it a horrid

46
Ea

Dickey’s Cousins

burst of noise and a puff of smoke. We
did not all get away, for some of the beau-
tiful larks fell to the ground pierced by the
sportsman’s deadly hail.

Again and again, all through that long,
sad day we heard the ominous booming
crash, and knew the savage work of killing
was going on.

Among our acquaintances was a lame
redbird who at one time had been trapped
and made a prisoner, confined behind the
bars of a wire cell for many weeks and
months. Luckily he made his escape one
day when his grated door was accidentally
opened, and he speedily made his way
back to his dearly loved forest.

During the period of his imprisonment
in the city he had picked up a great deal
of information regarding the bird trade,
and some of the facts recited by him of
the terrible cruelties perpetrated and the
carnage which had been going on for years,
almost caused our feathers to stand upright
in horror as we listened.



47
CHAPTER V

“DON’T, JOHNNY ’”’

Farewell happy fields, where joy forever dwells.
—Milton.




VERY pleasant, so-
ciable fellow was this
redbird, and often
when on hot after-
noons we were hiding in the treetops from
the rays of the sun he told us stories and
anecdotes about the people he had seen
while he lived in the city.

He and his brother had been caught in

a trap in the woods set by a farmer’s boy.
48
“Don't, Fobnny’’

One cold spring morning when the boy
came to look at his trap he was overjoyed
to find he had snared two redbirds, and
forthwith carried them to the village near-
by and sold them to the grocer for five
cents apiece, which sum he said he was
going to invest in a rubber ball.

As he put the dime into his coat pocket
he tcld the man that one of the birds was
named Admiral Dewey and the other
Napoleon Bonaparte. The groceryman
agreed that these names were good enough
names for anybody, but he thought he’d
change Bonaparte’s name to Teddy Roose-
velt, as being easier to pronounce, and the
two birds were accordingly given these
titles then and there. Not having any
cage at hand to put them in, the man
thought that for a few days the new-comers
could share the quarters of an old sparrow
he had in the rear end of the store until
an extra cage could be procured.

But alas for Teddy Roosevelt! The
very first night he was ignominiously
whipped by the spiteful occupant of the
cage, who resented having these country

D 49
Dickey Downy



visitors thrust into his house without his
leave. Poor Teddy died the next day.
Admiral Dewey stood the battle better
than his unfortunate friend, but he too was
pecked at in a way so threatening that the
groceryman concluded it would be wise to
get rid of him immediately. Because the
admiral had not defended himself better
from his pet’s attack, the grocer regarded
him with some disgust.

‘‘Being as there was two of you and
only one of the sparrow, ’pears as if you
hadn’t much grit,’’ he said. ‘I would
better take your high-soundin’ name away
from you and call you something else be-
sides Dewey, if you can’t fight.’’

For all the man’s censure, the redbird
knew that if Teddy Roosevelt had killed
the sparrow instead of being killed by it,
the grocer would have been much more
grieved at the loss, for he had heard him
say the sparrow was like one of his family.
The man forgot that the result might have
been different if the redbirds had been
older.

Having decided to dispose of the admi-

50
‘* Don’t, Fobnny ’”

ral, the grocer, who had an errand in the
city the next day, carried the bird with
him. He knew of a probable customer
for it in a gentleman named Morris, who
had been advertising in the papers for a
redbird. He soon found the street and
number where was located the gentleman’s
office, at which the advertisement was to
be answered, and displayed the admiral.

‘Your bird looks kind of ragged, as
though he hadn’t been treated well,’’ said
Mr. Morris, as he examined the scarlet
plumage. ‘‘ My boy wants a redbird, and
I promised him one if he would get the
highest grade in arithmetic in his class this
term and he did it, so of course I must
keep my word. What d’ye ask for this
bird P”’

‘«He’d be cheap at five dollars,’’ an-
swered the groceryman. ‘‘A nice redbird
is hard to get, and they’re powerful nice
singers, but bein’ as it’s for your boy that
has earned it by studying his lessons so
good—lI always like a boy that is fond of
his books—you can have it for two dollars
and a quarter.’’

51
Dickey Downy

As he had paid but five cents for it this
advance in price would be a fine business
speculation. After a little further talk,
Mr. Morris counted out the money, and
the man went back to his home doubtless
wishing he had a hundred more redbirds
to sell atthe same handsome profit. After
he had gone, Mr. Morris went to a box
hanging against the wall, and turning a
handle began talking to the box as if it
were a human being. Though it was just
a plain wooden box, the admiral said there
was something mysterious about it, for
Mr. Morris actually seemed to be carrying
on a conversation with it, though the bird
could not hear what the box answered, but
he felt sure it talked back.

Mr. Morris’ residence was a fine stone
house with wide porches and sunny bay
windows, over which were trained graceful
creeping vines. A boy of about eleven
years of age and a very pretty lady stood
arm in arm on the broad steps leading up
to the front entrance that evening when
Mr. Morris and the admiral arrived. They
were Johnny Morris and his mother, who

52
‘* Don’t, Fobnny’’



had already learned that Mr. Morris had
bought the bird and would bring it when
he came to dinner. The admiral discov-
ered the next day that Mrs. Morris owned
a box like the one at the office, into which
she talked, and that it was called a tele-
phone. He often mentioned this mysteri-
ous box as one of the most remarkable
things he saw during his stay among men.

Johnny Morris capered and danced and
jumped so hard in the exuberance of his
joy at receiving the redbird that all the way
to the sitting room his mother was coaxing
him to be quiet.

‘Don’t act so foolishly,’’ she begged;
but he only capered and kicked up his
heels still harder. When the cage was
placed on a stand in the bay window he
pranced around it, whistled and chirped,
threw the bottom of the cage floor full of
seed and splashed the water about so reck-
lessly in his attempts to be friendly as
nearly to frighten the poor admiral to
pieces.

‘*Now, Johnny, don’t,’’ pleaded his
mother.

>

53
Dickey Downy

‘¢ Johnny, don’t do that,’’ commanded
his father every few minutes.

It was a constant ‘‘ Don’t, Johnny, do
this’? and ‘‘ Don’t, Johnny, do that,’’ until,
the admiral said, the conversation was so
mixed up with ‘‘ Don’t-Johnny’s’’ as made
it almost unintelligible. Of course these
expostulations made not a bit of impression
on Johnny Morris. To be sure, he might
stop for the moment, but the next second
he was doing something else which brought
a fresh round of ‘‘ Don’t-Johnny’s’’ from
each parent.

He was such a generous, affectionate,
pretty boy, with his rosy cheeks and wavy
yellow hair, it was a great pity that he
should keep a whole household in a state
of constant commotion by his habit of not
promptly minding when he was spoken to.
His father and mother were very indulgent
to him, and the admiral believed he had
every kind of a toy known to the boy
world. He also had a machine to ride on,
which they called a ‘‘wheel.’’ On this
he went out occasionally, although Mrs.
Morris declared she never felt at ease a

54
** Don’t, Fobnny’’

minute while he was gone, because he
never came back at the hour he promised
he would. Besides this, he had a dear
little pony, named Jock, on whose back he
often cantered about the big park. Fre-
quently from the bay window the admiral
watched him as he mounted Jock and rode
away, while his mother stood on the house
step and called after him as long as he was
in sight: ‘* Don’t ride in that reckless way,
Johnny; you’ll tumble off,’’ or ‘‘ Don’t,
Johnny; the pony will throw you,’’ at
which Johnny would laugh and make the
pony go faster.

Among the boy’s other possessions was
a parrot, which the admiral asserted was
the smartest bird in the world. She wasa
highly educated parrot, and much time
had been spent on her training, and she
was usually very willing to show off to
company all her various accomplishments.
Occasionally she assumed an air of of-
fended dignity when asked to display her
talents, and no amount of threats or coax-
ing could change her purpose. At such
times she impatiently flapped her wings

55
Dickey Downy

and croaked ‘‘ No, no’’ in her harshest
tones.

Her favorite retreat when her temper
was ruffled was on the back of an arm-
chair, where she would sit with her bill in
the air and her head cocked disdainfully
on one side, pretending not to hear or see
any one. In her affable moods, however,
no one could be more complaisant and
entertaining than Bessie.

Her name was an uncommon one for a
parrot. Strangers usually accosted her as
Polly, at which mistake she was greatly
displeased.

“*No, no—not Polly; call me Bessie,’’
she would scream, so angrily that it al-
ways made people laugh, which angered
her still more.

Bessie could sing a verse of an old-time
song, at least she thought she could. The
admiral said nothing could have induced
him to sing for company if his voice had
been as harsh and cracked as hers, but he
said it was a fact that everybody seemed
to enjoy her noise more than his music;

that when she took up her position on top
56
“* Don’t, Fobnny’’

of the piano to sing, they crowded around
and called her ‘‘nice Bessie,’’ ‘‘ nice
lady,’’ and praised her, and gave her bits
of sugar, as if she were the finest singer
in the world. The admiral thought they
showed very poor taste, for her music was
simply horrid and couldn’t compare with
the warblings of the woods birds. It is
well, however, to make allowance for the
admiral’s opinion, for musicians are pro-
verbially jealous of each other.

The song the parrot sang was ‘‘ Listen
to the Mocking Bird,’’ to which Mrs. Mor-
ris played a little gliding accompaniment
on the piano. Great hand-clappings al-
ways followed the performance. These
Bessie accepted with an air of studied in-
difference. But if for the purpose of
teasing her they did not applaud her per-
formance, she shrilly screamed: ‘‘ Bessie’s
a good bird, a good bird I tell you,”’
raising her voice higher and higher at each
repetition.



Then she would wait a moment for some
one to assure her that she was indeed a
very good bird, quite the smartest bird

57
Dickey Downy



that ever breathed. But if these soothing
assurances were not quickly forthcoming,
she would retire to the back of her favorite
chair and, elevating her bill to show her
disdain, sulk in silence.

‘* Did she like you ?’’ I asked the admi-
ral one day when he was telling us about
her funny tricks.

‘« No, she was a little bit jealous of me;
yet she was not unfriendly, except when
Johnny or some other member of the
family paid me attention. She always
wanted to be the center of attraction her-
self, which showed she was a vain creature.
No matter how silent she had been or how
firmly she might have refused to talk only
the minute before, if Johnny came to my
cage and called, ‘ Hello, Admiral! you’re
a daisy,’ Bessie immediately struck up
such a chattering as would almost deafen
one.

‘‘*Johnny dear, open my cage. I
want to take a walk,’ she would say in her
most coaxing manner. If she happened
to be already out of her cage and walking

about the room, she endeavored to get him
58
“* Don’t, Fobnny’’

to leave me by saying: ‘Here, Johnny,
boy, put me on your finger. Kiss poor
Bessie—p-o-o-r Bessie.’

‘¢Mrs. Morris used to laugh at these
schemes of the parrot to attract notice,
and said Bessie reminded her of some
people she had met who always wanted to
monopolize the conversation.’’

‘‘Monopolize ?’’ said I. ‘*That’s a
large word. I don’t know the meaning of
iti

‘*Well, I think it means getting the
most of anything and crowding other
people out,’’ replied the admiral; ‘‘ and it
was true in Bessie’s case, for she always
wanted the most attention. A gentleman
friend of the Morrises had this habit too.
He had been a general in a war that took
place in the South a good many years ago,
and was often entertained at dinner at the
Morrises’. Though he was a well-informed,
genial man, he was almost rude in making
himself heard, so determined was he that
people should listen to his jokes and
stories, which were generally something
about himself. At a large tableful of

59
Dickey Downy

guests, General Peterson’s voice was al-
ways heard above that of every one else.
He seemed to compel the rest of the com-
pany to listen. His big voice drowned
the others out. Though Mr. and Mrs.
Morris liked him very much, when they
were alone they often ridiculed this dis-
agreeable habit.

‘«« Bessie and General Peterson are just
alike,’ Mrs. Morris used to say jokingly,
when the parrot pushed herself into notice
by her loud jabbering. ‘Neither of them
can endure to have any one else receive
attention when they are present.’

‘« Although Bessie had not a pony to ride
on as Johnny had, she took a great many
jaunts around the parlors on the cat’s
back. This cat was a great pet in the
house. A very striking-looking cat he
was too. He was jet black with a flat
face and long white whiskers. Johnny al-
ways said he resembled an old colored
man who used to be their coachman, and
he wondered if they were any relation to
each other.

‘«When Bessie was out of her cage the
60
** Don’t, Fobnny’’



cat did not often visit the parlor, because
he was afraid of her. He always ap-
peared to be much relieved when she did
not notice him. If she had decided to
take a ride, however, he never was quick
enough to get away from her. With a
shrill laugh of triumph she would fly upon
his back, and holding on by digging her
claws into his fur, around and around the
room they would go, the poor cat feeling
so completely disgraced that he dragged
his body lower and lower at every step,
until his legs could scarcely be seen at all.

‘« Bessie enjoyed it greatly. She seemed
to take a wicked satisfaction in making
poor Jett ridiculous, and laughed and
chuckled and scolded till the cat looked as
if he were ready to drop from very shame.
Urging him on with, ‘Get up, get up,
you lazy thing,’ she refused to be shaken
off till his body was actually dragging on
the floor, a sign of his complete humilia-
tion. As soon as he threw off his unwel-
come burden, Jett always ran away to hide.
With his tail slinking, his ears drooping,

and crawling rather than walking, he was
61
Dickey Downy

the most abject-looking, miserable cat in
existence. Bessie meanwhile flirted her-
self saucily and chuckled with the con-
scious air of having done a very smart
thing.’’

62
CHAPTER VI
THE PARROT AT A PARTY

A parrot there I saw, with gaudy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopped from side to side.

OW did you
happen to
get. away
from the
Morrises ? ’’
asked my
brother.

The red-
bird laughed
heartily, as if
the recollec-
tion were



exceedingly amusing.

‘“‘Well,’’ said he, ‘‘it all came about
through Johnny’s having a tea party. For
months he had been coaxing and begging

his mother to invite his schoolfellows to
63
Dickey Downy



the house and entertain them with games
and plays and music, ending with a fine
supper. Early in the spring when he be-
gan talking of it, it was too cold, his mother
said. Then after a while it was too rainy,
or too warm, or they were house-cleaning,
or something, and so she kept putting him
off from one time to another, hoping by
deferring it to make him forget it. The
Morrises always spent the month of August
at their seaside cottage, and the night be-
fore they left home, Johnny tried to get
Mrs. Morris to promise that he might have
the party the very first thing on their re-
turn.

*© swered.

««¢Whenever you say you’ll think about
it then I’m pretty sure not to get what I
want,’ sighed Johnny.

‘*His mother seemed to be much amused
at this statement. ‘Oh, no, my son, it
doesn’t always turn out that way; but you
know it wouldn’t do for me to promise to
have it just as soon as we get back,’ she

objected. ‘Iam always very busy just at
64


THE SCARLET TANAGER


The Parrot at a Party



our return. It might be very inconvenient
for me to prepare for a children’s evening
at that time; but when I am ready I shall
take pleasure in getting up a nice party for
you sometime in the autumn.’

‘¢ This sounded well, but it was not defi-
nite enough to suit Johnny. However he
said no more at that time. While the
family were gone Bessie and I had the
back porch to ourselves, and no one being
there except the housemaid to whom she
could display her superiority over me, she
grew to be quite agreeable. For some time
before the Morrises had bought her, which
was years and years before, long before
Johnny was born, she had lived in a taxi-
dermist’s shop. The owner of the shop:
was also a bird dealer in a small way. On
account of her accomplishments he had:
held her at a price that few were willing or:
able to pay, and so she had been forced to
stay with him a long time. She much pre-
ferred being owned by a refined family to
living in a dingy store, for she was a bird
of luxurious tastes, she said.

‘*T too had never ceased being glad
E 65
Dickey Downy



that the grocer had sold me to the Mor-
rises, for I was sure that life would not
have been so comfortable for me in the
back part of a country store, inhaling the
odors from fish barrels and molasses kegs,
and with the dreary outlook afforded by
shelves full of canned vegetables and
cracker boxes. The only point in favor
of a life at the grocery was that I would
have been nearer to the woods; but if I
could not be in the woods, of what avail
was that? The Morrises were people of
elegance and refinement, and their home
expressed their culture. I had made a
pleasant exchange, and I felt it was wise
to be as contented as possible.

** August slowly passed, and Johnny
«came back. The big house that had been
so quiet for four weeks was suddenly wak-
-ened as from asleep. His noisy, joyous
‘voice rang through the halls, and from cel-
lar to garret.

««« Bless the b’y! he’s that plazed to git
back, it does one’s sowl good to hear him,’
said the housemaid.

‘*Mrs, Morris was so busy for the first
66
The Parrot at 3 a 1 Barty

day or two that she saw ’ little of Toumnee
He was sent on several errands, and took
his own time in returning, but every one
had too much to do to inquire what kept
him so long.

‘¢¢Can’t I shine up Bessie’s and the ad-
miral’s cages P’ he asked his mother after
dinner the second day.

‘«Mrs. Morris was delighted with her
son’s thoughtfulness. ‘Why, Johnny,’ she
said, ‘I’ll be so glad to have you do it.’

“So master Johnny wiped and dusted
our cages till we felt very clean, although
I own I did not enjoy having him work
about me with his brush and dust cloth.
Just as he had finished and put us back in
our places the doorbell sounded, and pres-
ently we heard children’s voices in the hall
asking the maid if Johnny Morris was at
home.

«« Morris. But Johnny did not reply. He was
nowhere to be seen. At the first sound he
had quietly slipped out of the room and I
could now see him hiding behind the cur-

tains in the library. Soon Sarah came
67
Dickey Downy



ushering three or four little barefooted
children into the parlor.

‘«««They’ve come to Johnny’s party,
ma’am,’ she explained to Mrs. Morris,
who looked up from her work as the chil-
dren entered.

‘“*«How do you do, my dears?’ said
Mrs. Morris sweetly, though I could see
she was greatly surprised. ‘I believe I
don’t know your names, so you will have
to introduce yourselves.’

‘¢ The children looked bashful, and made
no reply.

‘**You are not Johnny Morris’ school-
mates, are you P’ she questioned.

“¢*No, ma’am,’ answered the tallest
girl, as she gazed about the handsome
room with wide-open eyes. I could see
that she was not accustomed to such beau-
tiful things.

‘«¢Where did you get acquainted with
him, then P’ went on Mrs. Morris kindly.

‘«¢We hain’t acquainted at all, ma’am;
but he seed us on the street this morning,
and said for us to come to his party to-day.

He thought as how maybe they’d be ice-
68
The Parrot at a Party

cream to eat, and he told us where he
lived, and so we are here.’

‘««Well, we must try to make you have
a pleasant time,’ she replied. ‘Sarah,
please call Johnny and tell him his guests
have arrived.’

‘*But Sarah had been answering a sec-
ond peal of the bell, and now appeared
with a very queer smile on her face at the
head of a line of three girls and a small
boy, whom she introduced by saying:

‘“©¢A few more children, ma’am, who
have come to take tea with master Johnny.’

“«*Why, really,’ exclaimed Mrs. Mor-
ris, in a sort of flutter, as she helped Sarah
to seat the new arrivals. ‘The house is
hardly in order for company.’

‘«The children appeared: quite embar-
rassed, and ranged themselves silently and
sedately on the chairs to which they had
been directed.

‘«* Dear me, Sarah, what a predicament
to be in! Where do you suppose Johnny
scraped up all these youngsters? I don’t
know what I ought to do to him for play-

ing me this trick.’ Mrs. Morris said this
69
Dickey Downy



to the maid as they came to my side of the
room. ‘Think of all the work to be done,
and which will have to be stopped for the
day—the house all upside down—no chance
for preparations for an extra supper for his
company. And that big girl bespoke ice-
cream as soon as she entered.’ And then
Mrs. Morris and Sarah turned into the re-
cess of the bay window and laughed softly.
Her vexation seemed to pass away in a
few minutes, for she added, ‘We must
make the best of it, since they are here,
and let everything else go. But there’s
the bell; I expect it’s another batch of
Johnny’s friends.’

‘“ acquaintances, eight or ten of his school-
mates. Little misses dressed in fine style,
in dainty ruffled frocks and necklaces and
bright hair-ribbons, tripped gracefully in
and advanced to meet Mrs. Morris, quite
like grown ladies in their manners. Be-
hind them came several: boys, spick and
span in fresh white linen waists and silk
neckties and well-fitting shoes. _

‘“«*Ah! here are Frances and Naomi

70
The Parrot at a Party



and Justice and Karl and Mary Ethel and
Philip and Jessica and all the rest,’ said
Mrs. Morris, giving them each a hand of
welcome as they gathered about her in a
pretty group. ‘Will you make yourselves
quite at home and help me to entertain
these other visitors till Johnny comes in?
I don’t know what keeps him so long. If
you’ll excuse me I’ll go and look for him.
There are the pictures in the portfolio that
you might like to show to these little girls.
And there’s the admiral, our redbird, and
Bessie, the parrot. Maybe they would like
to look at them.’

‘‘The two girls whom she had desig-
nated as Jessica and Frances looked at the
strange children a minute but made no
movement to carry out Mrs. Morris’ wishes.
Instead they drew a little apart and began
to talk to each other. Mary Ethel, a
round-faced girl who giggled a great deal
behind her fan, crossed over to where sat
the large girl who had mentioned the ice-
cream, and started a conversation by re-
marking that it was awarm day. The girl
made no audible answer, only nodded.

71
Dickey Downy



‘*«Do you like to go to school?’ in-
quired Mary Ethel.

‘*The girl again nodded. There was a
little pause. Mary Ethel, who was bent on
carrying out Mrs. Morris’ suggestion to
help her entertain them, began again on
the weather. I suppose she couldn’t think
of anything new to say, so she observed:

*««Tt’s a nice warm day for the first of
September, don’t you think ?’

‘« The girl’s head once more wagged up
and down in assent, but not a word did she
utter. At this a subdued titter came from
Frances and Jessica. Mary Ethel’s face
grew red and she frowned at them.

‘‘Just at this moment in ran Johnny.
He had put on his best suit. His yellow
hair was freshly brushed and his face was
wreathed in smiles. He reminded one of
a dancing sunbeam. It was wonderful to
see how quickly he set the social wheel
moving in the parlor. In three minutes he
had them all acquainted and talking to
each other. At one side I noticed Naomi
and Jessica who were trying to make the
parrot talk for the big girl. Mary Ethel

72
The Parrot at a Party



was turning the crank of a small music
box, around which were clustered a group
of the stranger children. On a sofa three
or four others had the portfolio of pictures
spread out. Others came to my cage coax-
ing me to whistle for them, while Johnny
capered hither and thither and joked and
had more funny things to say than anybody
in the room. When he let Bessie out of
her cage and put her on the piano to sing
the ‘ Mocking Bird,’ the joy of the visitors
knew no bounds.

‘¢¢Have you a parrot, Jeannette?’ he
asked one of the little barefooted girls,
whose dancing black eyes showed how
much she enjoyed Bessie’s performance.

‘««No, but I have two lovely cats.” She
made the announcement as if very proud
of their ownership.

“««T have a cat too. He dresses in
black and wears long white whiskers, and
looks just like a respectable old colored
man.’ This description amused the chil-
dren very much.

‘««What’s your cat’s nameP’ they
shouted.

73
Dickey Downy



«*¢ Jett. What do you call your cats,
Jeannette P’

«««The big one is Boule de Newe and
and the little one is Jaune Jaguette.’

««« What queer names! exclaimed Mary
Ethel. ‘How did you happen to select
such names for them P’

‘¢¢Oh, miss, because the names do suit
them so well.’

‘««They don’t sound like any cats’
names that ever I heard. I don’t under-
stand how they would suit.’ Mary Ethel
looked perplexed.

‘««Why, miss, on account of the color
of those cats, to be sure,’ said Jeannette in
surprise.

‘«*Pooh!’ explained Johnny, ‘that’s
easy. Boule de neige is the French for
snowball, and jaune means yellow, so
jaune jaquette means yellow jacket. I
learned that in our French reader. I expect
one of the cats is all white and the other
is a yellow one. Is that it, Jeannette P’

“¢¢ Ves, sir,’ said the French child, and
she tipped him a polite little bow that was
very pretty indeed.

74
the Battot at a Barty



as ‘ Boule de euge/ what a funny name.
I haven’t named our white kitten yet. I
believe I’ll call it Boule de Neige for a
change,’ said Karl.

‘*Then Jett was brought in and Bessie
pounced upon him for a ride, she chuc-
kling and singing and looking from side to
side with proud satisfaction, knowing she
was being observed by everybody. The
children almost screamed with delight at
this performance.

‘**Now, Bessie,’ said Johnny, as the
poor cat at last shook her off and slank
away. ‘You did that beautifully, and you
deserve something to eat. JI am going to
let you have some bread and milk right
here in the parlor, and the company can
see how nicely you can feed yourself with
a spoon.’

«¢¢ All right,’ croaked the parrot. Sarah
brought in a saucer in which was a little
bread moistened with milk, and two spoons
with it. A cloth was spread over one
corner of the table and Bessie crawled up
to the top of a chair which had been
placed with its back close to the table.

75
Dickey Downy

This brought the bird almost in line with
the saucer. Johnny took his seat beside
her and broke the bread into tiny pieces
with his spoon, shoving the particles into
the other spoon as fast as Bessie disposed
of them. She gravely clasped her spoon
with one claw and brought it to her mouth
quite dextrously and ate the contents with
evident relish, though it was plain that she
enjoyed being admired for being able to do
it really more than she enjoyed the bread.
Once in a while her grasp was uncertain
and the food was spilled on her breast
feathers or fell to the floor. At this she
scolded herself roundly and seemed quite
ashamed.

««¢One of these days, when I get time,
T am going to train her to use a napkin
when she eats,’ said Johnny.

««*She’ll be a perfectly accomplished
lady then,’ added Mary Ethel.

‘« By this time some of the stranger chil-
dren had left the table and had come over
to my cage to look at me.

‘««The admiral’s an awful purty feller,’

said one.
76
The Parrot at a Party



*¢¢Wouldn’t his tail be sweet on a Sun-
day hat?’ suggested another.

«¢¢Qh, I choose his wings for my hat,’
exclaimed a third.

«©*T choose his head and breast for
mine,’ said the first one who had spoken.
‘And Naomi chooses his whole body for
her hat, I expect,’ she added as: Naomi
joined them.

‘©*No,’ said Naomi, ‘we don’t wear
birds any more in our family. My sister
and I used to have our hats trimmed with
them, but we’ve quit. I had a lovely one
on my blue velvet hat last year. It was a
beautiful hat,’ and she smiled at the recol-
lection. ‘But we’ve quit now,’ she added
gravely.

«©¢Why ?’ asked the other girls in a
breath.

‘©¢Qh, because my mother thinks it is
wrong to wear them. Little boy, little boy,
pe careful or you’ll let the bird out,’ she
called hastily.

«But the warning was too late. While
the girls had been talking the small boy
who was with them had been entertaining

77
Dickey Downy

himself by slightly opening my cage door
and letting it spring back to its fasten-
ing. Suddenly he was seized with fright
at discovering that it had stuck while half-
way back, and refused to come together.

‘««Qh, dear!’ he called. <‘He’s out.’

‘**Mercy on us! Oh, dear!’ screamed
the girls as I made a dash through the
opening, and flew to the top of a picture
frame. ‘Johnny, Johnny, your redbird’s
out,’ they called.

‘* All was confusion in an instant. Boys
and girls ran hither and thither, tumbling
over each other, and over the chairs and
stools, and all talking and screaming at
once.

‘«« Bring a broom or a flagpole, Johnny,’
called Philip. ‘I’ll shoo him down for
you while you stand underneath and catch
him.’

‘¢¢Shoo, shoo!’ said Jeannette, catch-
ing her dress skirt with both hands and
waving it back and forth rapidly. In a
minute all the girls were waving their dress
skirts at me and saying ‘ shoo.’

‘«*Qh, my pretty Admiral Dewey, my

78


Tbe Parrot at a Party



dear old admiral,’ wailed Johnny, almost
in tears.

‘*T didn’t wait for the broom or the flag-
pole to help me from the picture frame. I
balanced myself steadily and then I flew
out of the open window and away into the
world, without saying good-bye to anybody.
I suppose they all crowded to the window
to look after me as I disappeared, for the
last thing I heard was Mrs. Morris’ voice
saying, ‘Don’t, Johnny; you'll fall out if
you lean over so far. Papa will get you
another bird. Don’t grieve so hard. Don’t,
Johnny.’ ’’

‘* Did you ever see Johnny afterward ?’’
we asked the redbird.

‘“ Yes, once I saw him cantering along
slowly on Jock. He could not go very
fast because he was holding a great bunch
of red and pink roses in one hand. His
cheeks were as pink as the flowers and his
yellow hair curled up under the edge of his
cap the same as it used to. I knew him
ina minute. A great many carriages were
on the street trimmed in flags and flowers.
Little flags were fastened to the horses’

79

4
Dickey Downy



harness. Jock had one on each side of his
head, which made him look very pretty.
Children were running about carrying
wreaths. Ona corner of the street where
a band was playing some men were hold-
ing banners. I heard some one say it was
Decoration Day, and that everybody
strewed flowers on the graves in the big
cemetery that day. I thought it was a
very beautiful custom. Through all the
buzz and confusion I kept an eye on
Johnny. He didn’t seem to be riding any-
where in particular, but was just looking
around for the fun of the thing. Presently
he drew up to the sidewalk where a little
ragged boy was leaning up against a tree.
He had a wistful look, as if he would like
to be taking part.

‘«*Hello!’ said Johnny, as he reined
Jock in. ‘Aren’t you going to help to
decorate P’

««¢Naw—ain’t got any posies, I tell
you.’ The boy said this in a sullen tone.

‘**Here, take these. I brought you a
big bunch so you could divide ’em with

some of your friends. There’s enough for
80
>
The Parrot at a Party



all of you boys to have a few flowers to
take to the cemetery.’ Johnny extended
the roses with a smile as he spoke.

‘« The boy grabbed them eagerly. ‘My!
You’re a jolly one, I’ll say that for you,’
he said heartily by way of thanks, then he
ran off with a whoop.

‘«T saw from this action that Johnny was
the same generous, kind-hearted boy he
used to be, and I felt proud to have had
the honor of his acquaintance.’’
CHAPTER VII

A WINTER IN THE SOUTH

I was wrong about the Pheebe bird ;
Two songs it has, and both of them I’ve heard;
I did not know those strains of joy and sorrow
Came from one throat.

S the sea-
son ad-
vanced
our May
songs be-
came less
melodious
until final-
ly our mu-
sic was

merely a metallic but pleasant, ‘‘chink,

chink,’’ and we knew we would soon be
putting on our new fall attire, as toward the
close of the summer our family exchange
their pretty black-and-white suits, so much

admired, for a becoming yellowish-brown
82


——— 8 LLU

A Winter in the Soutb



one. The different flocks were also now
arranging for their regular winter trip to the
sunny Southland, where their winters were
spent.

I was very glad to know that we bob-
olinks were to travel only in the daytime,
as that would afford us younger ones a
better opportunity to see the country. The
return trip to the North is always made by
night. A great many people have won-
dered why we do this, and those who are
interested in our habits have tried to find
out; but it is a secret the birds have never
yet divulged, and probably never will.

The blue jays were going to remain be-
hind, for the winters which we dreaded so

-much had no terrors for them. Sometimes

when we were preening our feathers under
the radiant skies near the Southern gulf, I
thought of our old neighbors the jays, and
fancied them in their bleak Northern home
flitting about in the tops of the leafless
trees, swayed by the icy winds from the
upper lakes, and with perhaps but little to
eat. I would not have exchanged places

with them for the world. But my older
83
Dickey Downy



comrades assured me the jays were not in
need of my sympathy or pity. They liked
the invigorating cold and chattered mer-
rily in the desolate boughs and enjoyed
many a nice meal from under the melt-
ing snow. The crimson dogwood berries,
standing out like rosettes of coral, at which
they liked to peck, also furnished them an
esthetic and sumptuous feast. Much more
to be dreaded than the winter’s cold was
the cruel sportsman, said my comrades.

The day of our departure came. The
concourse of birds setting out on their an-
nual journeys was immense, and oh, what
joy it was to soar aloft on buoyant pinion
high up in the blue sky, over housetops
and tops of trees, skimming along above
rushing waters or tranquil streams in quiet
meadows. Mere existence was a keen de-
light. The sense of freedom, of lightness,
of airiness, was gloriously exhilarating, a
delicious sensation known only to the
feathered tribes of all God’s creation.

Our trip took us across some densely
wooded mountains, where we rested for a
time. A thick undergrowth of young sap-

84
ea

A Winter in the Soutb



lings prevented any roads, and only occa-
sional narrow footpaths showed that people
sometimes passed that way.

The mountain was grand in its loneliness ;
but doubtless was a desolate spot to the
settlers, whose cabins were scattered at long
distances from each other in the depths of
the wood. I could imagine how cut off
from the whole world the women and chil-
dren in these cabins would feel, for it is
natural for human beings to love society.
The perpetual stillness must have been
hard to bear when months sometimes
passed away, especially in the winter sea-
son, without their getting a glimpse of
other human faces.

The mountains were full of wildcats too,
which made their situation worse, as these
fierce animals were frequently known to
attack men as savagely as wolves do.
One day while we were there two travelers
camped under the tree where our family
was roosting. They had evidently had a
hard time making their way through the
tangled undergrowth, for as one of the

men flung himself down on the ground and
85
Dickey Downy



stretched himself out at full length, he ex-
claimed peevishly :

‘¢ Well, I don’t want any more such ex-
periences. I’m dead tired; my face is all
scratched with the thorns and bushes; and
I haven’t seen a newspaper for a week. If
the railroad company needs any more work
of this kind done, they must get somebody
else.’’

‘« Fiddle-dee-dee! You mustn’t be so
easily discouraged,’’ answered the other
young man, who had already set to work
scraping up dry chips and pieces of bark
to make a fire. ‘‘ Think of these poor
mountaineers who stay here all their lives.
Your little tramp of a few days is nothing
to what they do all the time and never
think of complaining. The half of them
are too poor to own a mule. They eat
hog and hominy the year around, and are
thankful to get it. Their clothes are fear-
fully and wonderfully made, but for all
that they don’t give up and think life isn’t
worth living.’’

As the two young fellows talked on in

this strain I named them Growler and
86
A Winter in the Soutb



Cheery, because the one was so determined
to look on the dark side, while the other
took a cheerful view of everything. Growler
continued to lounge on the ground, looking
with careless interest at Cheery, who was
preparing dinner.

The dinner was in a small tin box which
he took from his coat pocket. Opening it
he disclosed some eatables very compactly
put in. He took out several articles and
set them on the ground in front of him.
In the box was a bottle stoutly corked con-
taining a dark liquid, some of which he
poured into a flat tin cup which formed a
part of the lid of the box. This he set
over the fire, which by this time was snap-
ping cheerily.

“‘Come,’’ he said. ‘‘ Here’s a lunch fit
for a king. Get up and have your share.
Maybe when your stomach is warmed up
with a few ham and mustard sandwiches,
some cheese and coffee, you’ll be in better
spirits. These crackers are good eating
too.’’

‘‘ Fit for a king, eh P Mighty poor kind

of a king, I should say,’’ growled Growler
87
Dickey Downy



sarcastically; but he rose and flicked the
leaves and twigs from his clothing before
he helped himself to the coffee which was
now hot.

‘«Qne cup for two people is just one too
few,’’ laughed Cheery when it came his
turn to take some. ‘‘My! but it tastes
good. There’s nothing like the open air
to give one an appetite.”’

‘“©T don’t like coffee without cream,’’
objected Growler, chewing moodily at his
cracker.

«¢ Well, we’ll get to Girard by to-night,
and then possibly we will get a good sup-
per.’’

While they were lunching I had observed
another traveler slowly approaching through
the underbrush. Over one shoulder was
slung a leather strap in which were a few
books. He carried a rifle, and from his
coat pocket bulged a small package. As
he drew nearer the sound of his footsteps
startled Growler who nervously upset his
coffee over his shirt front.

«« What d’ye suppose he is ?’’ he asked
of Cheery as the stranger approached.

88
A Winter in the Soutb

‘«T judge he’s a parson, from the cut of
his clothes,’’ observed Cheery. Then as
the new-comer advanced he called: ‘‘ Hello,
friend! Who’d’a thought of meeting com-
pany this far back in these mountains P’’

‘« This is only about eight miles from the
town where I live,’’ answered the gentle-
man, who now seated himself near them
with his back against a tree. ‘‘I knowthe
paths through here fairly well, for I come
this way several times through the summer.
But this will be my last trip for the season,
and I’m giving a little more time to it on
that account. I’ve taken it somewhat leis-
urely to-day.’’

He was a delicate-looking, middle-aged
man, with a mild voice and a kind face.

‘*You’re a drummer for a publishing
house, I take it? ’’ said Growler, nodding
toward the books in the strap. ‘‘I’ve
just been wondering where you’d find any
buyers in these infernal woods.’’

The gentleman laughed. ‘‘No,’’ said
he, ‘‘this is my regular route; but I’m
not a commercial traveler in any sense.

I’m a pastor at a town near here, and I go
89
Dickey Downy



out to these mountain families to hold serv-
ices every few weeks.”’

‘*You don’t mean you foot it through
these bushes and among these wildcats to
preach to the mountaineers! ’’ exclaimed
Growler in astonishment.

‘* Certainly I do. These poor people
would never hear the sound of the gospel
if some one did not take it to them. They
have souls to be saved, my friend. I feel
it is my duty to carry the word to them.
As for the wildcats,’’ he continued, smiling,
‘‘T have myrifle. Besides the government
offers a small bounty for every wildcat.’’

‘*Oh, yes, I see. You combine business
with pleasure and have your wildcat bounty
to pay expenses as you go along—or else
keep it for pin-money,’’ and Growler
laughed good-humoredly at his own fun.

‘*You’re the parson from St. Thomas,
I judge,’’ said Cheery.

The gentleman bowed, and said he was
the pastor of that little church.

«*T’ve heard of your mission work, and
I understand you’ve done a great deal of
good among the mountain whites.’’

go
A Winter in the Soutb



‘¢ How many churches have you in these
mountains ?’’ interrupted Growler.

««T have but the one church organization,
for outside through the mountains there are
no churches—no buildings, no organiza-
tions. People ten and fifteen miles apart
can’t very well have churches. I visit the
families. I have three on this mountain
side. I am well repaid for all the sacri-
fice of comfort I make, in knowing how
glad they are to have me come. To
many of them I am the connecting link
with the rest of mankind. Ah! the world
knows nothing of the privations and sor-
rows and ignorance of many of these poor
creatures! Through the winter I am obliged
to stop my visitations, but I generally leave
a few books and papers for those who can
read, and pictures for the children.”’

‘‘Well, parson, I didn’t know there was
enough goodness in any man in the United
States to make him willing to tramp right
into the wildest part of the Allegheny
Mountains to preach the gospel to half a
dozen poor people!’’ exclaimed Growler,
still more astonished.

gi
Dickey Downy



‘¢ My friend,’’ responded the gentleman
earnestly, ‘‘the world is full of Christian
men and women who are trying to help
others.’’

Just then my mother said to me, ‘‘ When
I hear the beautiful words that minister
speaks and see what he is doing, then in-
deed do I believe that human beings have
hearts.’’

As we resumed our journey I wondered
if Growler would profit by the sunshiny
example of Cheery and the devotion of the
parson of St. Thomas.

Later in our travels we came upon some
old acquaintances. Our stopping-place
was near an ancient house on a mountain
side. The outlook was the grandest I had
ever seen, and though I have traveled
much since then I have never found any-
thing to exceed it in beauty. A glistening
river wound its way in a big loop at the
foot of the mountain, and beyond it lay
stretched out a busy city.

A good many years before a battle had
been fought on these heights, which people
still remembered and talked about. I heard

g2
A Winter in the Soutb



them speak of it as the ‘‘ Battle above the
clouds.’’ There was still a part of a can-
non wagon in the yard which visitors came
to see and examined with much interest.
They also often requested the landlady to
let them look at the walls of an old stone
dairy adjoining the house, because the
soldiers had carved their names there.

To me it seemed strange that the guests
would sit for hours on the long gallery of
this hotel, and go over and over the inci-
dents of the battle, telling where this regi-
ment stood, or where that officer fell, as if
war and the taking of life were the most
pleasant rather than the most distressful
subjects in the world. In the distance
was a mammoth field of graves, miles of
graves, beautifully kept mounds under
which lay the dead heroes of that sad time.

The days up here were beautiful, but it
was at night that this was a scene of sur-
passing loveliness. Far below the lights
of the city glowed like spangles in the
darkness. Above us was the star-encrusted
sky. It was like being suspended between
a floor and a ceiling of glittering jewels.

93
Dickey Downy



On this plateau grew the biggest cherry
trees I ever saw, and they bore the biggest
and sweetest cherries, though I could not
taste any at that time, as the season was
past. I heard the landlady complaining
one day to some of her guests that the
rascally birds had hardly left her a cherry
to put up.

‘«The saucy little thieves! they must
have eaten bushels of the finest fruit,’’ she
said.

‘‘ And didn’t you get any P’’ inquired a
childish voice. There was something fa-
miliar in the voice and I flew to the porch
railing to see who it was. And who should
it be but dear little Marion. And there too
was her aunty, Miss Dorothy, and the pro-
fessor, and in the parlor I caught a glimpse
of Miss Katie and the colonel. They were
having a pleasant vacation together.

Marion looked inquiringly into the land-
lady’s face. No doubt she was thinking
the mountain birds were very greedy to eat
up all the cherries and not leave one for
the poor woman to can.

‘‘Qur birds always eat some of our

94
A Winter in the South



cherries too,’’ she said, ‘‘ but they always
leave us plenty.’’

‘¢ There were bushels left on our trees,’’
observed the landlady’s daughter. ‘‘ We
had all we wanted, mother. We couldn’t
possibly have used the rest if the birds had
not eaten them. We had a cellar full of
canned cherries left over from the year be-
fore, you remember, and that is the way it
is nearly every year.’’

‘Yes, yes, I know,’’ answered her
mother impatiently; ‘‘but for all that I
don’t believe in letting the birds have
everything.’’

‘«‘T never begrudge a bird what it eats,’’
commented the professor. ‘‘ Of course you
can discourage the birds, drive them off,
break up their nests, starve them out, and
have a crop of caterpillars instead of cher-
ries. But, beg pardon, madam, maybe
you don’t object to caterpillars,’’ and he
bowed low to the landlady.

The laugh was against her and I was
glad of it, for I didn’t consider it either
kind or polite to call us ‘‘ saucy little
thieves.’’

95
Dickey Downy



We were amused one morning when, fly-
ing over a piece of pretty country, we saw
a lady moving rapidly along on the red
sandy path below. She seemed to be
neither exactly riding nor walking, as she
was not on foot nor had she a horse. On
closer inspection it was seen that she was
propelling a strange-looking vehicle. Two
of her carriage wheels were gone, and be-
tween the remaining two the lady was
perched. At sight of it I was immediately
reminded of the queer thing that Johnny
Morris rode which the admiral had de-
scribed to us and called a ‘‘wheel.’’ I
felt sure that this was the same kind of a
machine. The lady looked neither to the
right nor to the left, but her glance was
fixed intently on the road before her.

Farther along another lady leaned against
the fence awaiting her approach. As she
bowled along the friend asked enthusias-
tically: ‘Is it not splendid ?”’

The rider called back to her: ‘It is
grand! It is almost as if I were flying.
I know now how a bird feels.’’

Think of comparing the sensation pro-
96
A Winter in the South

duced by moving that a iron machine,
with the rider but three feet from the
ground, to the exhilaration felt by a bird
spurning the earth and soaring on delicate
wing through the fields of heaven! It was
truly laughable!

Our amusement was cut short, however,
when we noticed that the lady’s hat was
decorated with a dead dove.

‘«Can we never get away from this mil-
linery exhibition of death P’’ I exclaimed
in horror.

‘“No,’’ said my mother sorrowfully.
‘¢The god, Fashion, I told you of has his
slaves all over the land. We will find them
wherever we go, north, south, east, and
west. No town is too small, no neighbor-
hood too remote, but there will be found
women ready to carry out his cruel laws.’’

Had we not been haunted by this vision
of death which we were constantly meeting
wherever women were congregated, we
might have been happy in the fair land of
rose blossoms and magnolias where we now
sojourned. The air was soft and balmy,
and the atmosphere filled us with a serene,

G 97
Dickey Downy



restful languor quite new to those who had
been accustomed to the brisker habits of a
colder clime. Besides the birds there were
many human visitors from the North spend-
ing the winter months here. Some sought
this warmer climate for their health, others
for pleasure, and these also soon fell into
the easy-going, happy-go-lucky ways in-
duced by the sluggish climate.

Among the birds the waxwings most
readily acquired this delightful Southern
habit of taking life easy. In fact the
waxwings are inclined to be lazy, except
when they are nesting; they are the most
deliberate creatures one can find, but very
foppish and neat in their dress. Never
will you find a particle of dust on their
silky plumage, and the pretty red dots on
their wings and tails look always as bright
as if kept in a bandbox. They have, in-
deed, just reason to be proud of them-
selves, for they are very beautiful.

Hunters by scores were after them with
bag and gun mercilessly killing them for
the New York millinery houses. The

slaughter was terrible, and made more
98
A Winter in the South

easy for the hunters by reason of the poor
birds flocking together so closely in such
large numbers when they alighted in circles
as is their habit. As they came down in
dense droves to get their food, the red
dots on their wing tips almost overlapping
those of their fellows, dozens were slain by
a single shot. They were very fond of the
berries of the cedar trees, and after the
other foods were gone they hovered there
in great numbers. ‘Here too, the hunters
followed them and made awful havoc in
their ranks. One man made the cruel
boast that the winter previous he had
killed one thousand cedar-birds for hat
trimmings.

Many of our family had located for a
time near the coast, but here too, on these
sunny plains, the death messengers followed
us and slew us by the thousands.

We learned that one bird man handled
thirty thousand bird skins that season.
Another firm shipped seventy thousand to
the city, and still the market called for
mvure and yet more. The appetite of the
god could not be appeased.

99
Dickey Downy

I am sure this account of the loss of
bird life must have seemed appalling to
my mother, for I heard her moan sadly
when it was talked about.

It was during my stay in the Southern
islands that I first saw the white egret,
whose beautiful sweeping plumes, like the
silken train of a court lady, have so long
been the spoils of woman, that the bird
is almost extinct. As these magnificent
feathers appear upon the bird only through
the mating and nesting season, the cruelty
of the act is still more dastardly. The at-
tachment of the parent birds for their
young is very beautiful to witness, yet this
devotion, which should be their safeguard,
is seized upon for their destruction, for so
great is the instinct of protecting love they
refuse to leave their young when danger is
near, and are absolutely indifferent to their
own safety.

Never shall I forget one sad incident
which occurred while I was there. Over-
hanging the water was an ancestral nest
belonging to a family of egrets which had

occupied it for some seasons. Unlike the
100
aA Minter in the South



eerie human species, in whom local
attachment is not largely developed, and
who take a new house every moving day,
the egret repairs and fixes over the old
house year after year, putting in a new
brace there, adding another stick here, to
make it firm enough to bear the weight of
the mother and the three young birds which
always comprise the brood.

The three pale-blue eggs in this nest
had been duly hatched, and the fond
mother was now brooding over her dar-
lings with every demonstration of maternal
affection. She was a beautiful creature
with her graceful movement, her train of
plumes, and her long neck gracefully
curved.

The quick sharp boom, boom of the
guns had been echoing through the swamp
for some time, and the men were now
coming nearer. The efforts of the poor
mother to shield her babies were piteous,
but the hunters did not want them. Their
scant plumage is worthless for millinery
purposes. Possibly the mother might have

escaped had she been willing to leave her
Idi
Dickey Downy



dear ones; but she would not desert them,
and was shot in the breast as the reward
of her devotion. The nestlings were left
to starve.

Would you think the woman who wore
that bunch of feathers on her bonnet could
take much pleasure in it P

IO2
CHAPTER VIII

THE PRISON

Like a long-caged bird
Thou beat’st thy bars with broken wing
And flutterest, feebly echoing

The far-off music thou hast heard.
—Arthur Eaton.










HIS was my last day
of liberty for many,
many months. The
very next evening I
was stunned by a

stone thrown by a small boy who accom-
panied a hunter. Picking me up he ran
toward his father, who was coming back
from the neighboring swamp with his
loaded gamebag.

103
Dickey Downy

‘«This bird isn’t dead,’’ said the boy,
holding me up to view, ‘‘and I’m going to
put it in a cage and train it to talk.’’

‘« Crows are the kind that talk. That’s
no crow nor no starling neither,’’ answered
the man. ‘‘ Better give it to me to kill.
I’ll pay you a penny for it.’’

‘Naw, you don’t,’’ and the boy drew
back, at the same time closing his hand
over me so tightly that I feared I would be
crushed. ‘‘I’m going to keep him, I tell
ye. He’s mine to do what I please with,
and I ain’t agoing to sell him for a penny,
neither.’’

So saying he ran along in front of his
father till we reached the mule cart. Into
this clumsy vehicle they climbed and soon
we were jogging over the sandy road to
their home. As we drove along the man
computed, partly to himself, partly aloud,
how much money the contents of his game-
bag would bring him. The result must
have been satisfactory, for presently he ob-
served :

‘« Purty fair day’s wages, but I believe I

could make more killing terns and gulls
104


The Prigon

than these birds. Bill Jones and the hunt-
ers up on Cobb’s Island last year got ten
cents apiece for all the gulls they killed.
Forty thousand were killed right there.
Oh, it’s bound to be a mighty good bus'-
ness for us fellows as long as the wimme:x.
are in the notion, that is, if the birds ain’t
all killed off.’’

‘« Air they getting scarce P’’ questioned
the boy. The man ejected a mouthful of
dark, offensive juice from between his griz-
zled whiskers before replying.

‘Yes, purty tol’ble scarce. So much
demand for ’em is bound to clean the birds
out. There used to be heaps of orioles an’
robins an’ larks an’ blackbirds an’ wax-
wings through the country, but they’re get-
ting played out too, since the wimmen tuk
to wearin’ ’em on their bunnets.’’

‘* Well, no woman sha’n’t have my bird
for her bunnet,’’ and the boy gave me an-
other friendly pinch that nearly broke my
bones. ‘‘I’m a going to put it in that old
cage that’s out in the shed and give it to
Betty, if she wants it.’’

‘“«Humph! she won’t keer for it. You’d
105
Dickey Downy



better kill it. Betty won’t be bothered
with it.’’

«« She may give it away, or let it loose, or
do what she pleases with it, then,’’ was the
boy’s reply.

I learned from their further conversation
that the hunter sold his game to another
man who cured the skins for shipment to
the city. To this dealer the bag which
held my dead companions was taken and
I saw them no more. Arriving at the
hunter’s home I was put under a bucket
that I might not escape, while my captor
prepared my prison for me. It was an
almost needless precaution for I had been
so cramped between his fingers that I
feared I could never again use my legs or
wings. Just before putting me in my rude
prison house he brought’ a pair of shears
and bade Betty clip my wings.

‘«Oh, I’m afraid it will hurt it!’’ she ex-
claimed, pushing away the extended scis-
sors.

‘*Nonsense, you ninny! What if it
does hurt itP’’ and he roughly knocked
my bill with his hand.

106
Tbe Prison

“* Now that’s real mean, Joe. You’rea
scaring it to pieces. Here, Dickey Downy,
I’m going to give you a pretty name if you
belong to me; let me hold you. Why, its
little heart is a thumping as if ’twould burst
through its body.’’

Joe was reluctant to loosen his grasp,
and between being pulled first one way and
then the other by the two children, I was
badly bruised. Finally I was permitted by
my young captor to enter the cage, where
I sank, trembling and exhausted, to the
floor, and remained there all night, being
too sore to ascend the perch.

As may be imagined I was very sor-
rowful and unhappy. The separation from
my mother and my dear companions,
coupled with the fear that I might never
again wing my blithesome flight through
the bright blue sky, but spend the balance
of my life in this miserable cell, filled me
with despair. Frantic but useless were
my efforts to escape. In vain I beat my
head against the hard steel bars; in vain I
endeavored to crowd my body between

them. My prison was too secure.
107
Dickey Downy
At length I found that fluttering back
and forth buffeting my wings against the
sides of my cell only injured me and
availed nothing. Then it was I wisely
made the resolution to endure my im-
prisonment as cheerfully as possible. I
soon began to regain my strength and
spirits and, save that I was deprived of
my liberty, I had no special fault to find
for some days with my treatment from
Betty, who was now regarded as my owner
and keeper.

I was always glad when Joe was absent
from home, for he was vicious as well as
rough. One of his favorite tricks was to
dash my cage hard against the wall, laugh-
ing boisterously as he did so to see how it
frightened me. The concussion was fre-
quently so great that my claws could not
hold to the perch, and I would be tossed
helplessly from side to side with my feathers
ruffled and broken. ‘There was but one
thing Joe liked better than this cruel sport,
and that was gingerbread; and my tortures
were often stopped by Betty’s producing a

slice of this delicacy which she had saved
108
The Prison



from her own luncheon for this particular
purpose. When I discovered that Joe could
be bought off with gingerbread it can be
imagined that I was always glad on the
days when the pungent odors of cinnamon,
ginger, and molasses issued from the cook-
stove. It was a surety of peace, of a
cessation of hostilities as long as the cake
lasted.

All went fairly well for a little while, but
as the novelty of possession gradually wore
off, my little jailer grew negligent and left
me much of the time without water or food.
Frequently my throat was so parched from
thirst that I could not utter a protesting
chirp. I knew no other way to attract at-
tention to my wants than to flutter to the
bars and thrust out my head; unfortunately
this action was attributed to wildness and a
desire to escape, and I was allowed to
suffer on.

‘‘ That bird is the most annoying, rest-
less thing I ever saw,’’ complained Betty’s
mother one evening when I was thus try-
ing to tell them my cup was empty. ‘‘It

spends all its time poking its head through
10g
Dickey Downy

the wires or thrashing around in the cage,
instead of getting up on its perch and
behaving itself quietly as a decent bird
should.’’ .

‘*Do you reckon it’s sick ?’’ suggested
Betty, and she came to my cage and looked
at me attentively.

‘‘Reckon it’s hungry, you mean,’’
growled her father, who was in one corner
of the kitchen cleaning his gun.

‘« She never feeds it any more,’’ com-
mented the mother. ‘‘ What’s the use of
keeping itP I’d wring its neck and be
done with it. Betty don’t keer a straw
for it.’’

«*Yes, I do,’’ cried the little girl. «*I’ll
get it something to eat this very minute.’”’

These spasms of attention only lasted a
day or two, however, when my young
keeper would lapse into carelessness, and
again I would be allowed to go with an
empty crop and a dry throat. My beauti-
ful plumage grew rusty from this irregu-
larity and continual neglect, and although
I am not a vain bird, my dingy appearance

was a source of daily grief and mortifica-
IIo
The Prison



tion to me. When Betty was not too busy
playing she sometimes hung my cage out-
side the door of the cottage, but often for
days together through the pleasant summer
I was left hanging in the kitchen, some-
times half-choked with smoke or dampened
with steam. No wonder I drooped and
ceased my cheerful song.

The days when I was put out of doors
were indeed gala days to me. Many fam-
ilies of young chickens lived in the back
yard, and the pipings of the little ones and
the scoldings of the mothers when their
children ran too far away from them, were
always amusing to listen to and gave me
something to think about which kept my
mind off my own troubles.

I liked to watch the hens with their
fuzzy broods tumbling about them, or with
the older chicks when they scratched the
ground and ceaselessly clucked for them
to come to get their share of what was
turned up in the soil; meanwhile they kept
a sharp lookout with their bright eyes to
see that no outsider shared in the feast.
And how angrily did they drive it away

II!
Dickey Downy

should a chick Pon another brood heed:
lessly rush in among them to get a taste.
One old hen in particular interested me
very much. I noticed her first because of
her pretty bluish color and the dark mark-
ings around her neck, but I soon came to
pity her, for she made herself quite un-
happy and seemed to take no comfort in
anything. She was usually tied to a tree
by the leg, and although her string was
long it seemed always just a little too short
to reach the thing she wanted. To make
matters worse she had a bad fashion of
rushing wildly around the tree and getting
her string wound up shorter and shorter
until at last she could not stir a step, but
‘would hang by one foot foolishly pulling
as hard as she could. It always seemed
to me that her chickens were more disobe-
dient than the rest, because they knew she
could not get to them nor follow them.
Joe sometimes slyly threw pebbles at
this blue hen to scare her and make her
jump and pull at the string, when he
thought his mother was not looking. As

pay for his sport he often got his ears
I1l2
The Prison



cuffed, for though his mother did not
seem to notice how cruelly he teased me,
she would not allow him to frighten her
fowls.

‘*Don’t you know that a hen that’s all
the time skeered won’t lay?’’ was the
lesson she tried to impress on him as she
punished him.

But the thing I liked best of all was to
see Betty’s seven white ducks crowd up to
the kitchen door every time any one ap-
peared with a pan of scraps. Such gab-
bling and quacking, such pushing and such
stepping on each other and on the chickens,
in their eagerness to get there first, was
almost laughable. In fact, the pink-toed
pigeons that walked up and down the ridge
of the barn roof, did make fun of them
openly. Had I not known the ducks were
well fed and so fat they could scarcely
waddle, I might have thought they were
really hungry, but I soon discovered that
they were simply greedy.

Standing on tiptoe and stretching up
their long necks they often seized the food

before it had a chance to fall to the ground.
H 113
Dickey Downy



By this good management they usually got
more than the chickens. Joe accused Betty
of being partial to the ducks.

‘© You allus give ’em the best of every-
thing, and twice as much as you do the
chickens,’’ he complained.

««They get the most because they’ve got
the most confidence in me,’’ said Betty,
putting on avery wise look. ‘‘They come
close up to me, while a chicken shies off
and misses the goodies coz she’s silly
enough to be afraid. Besides, the ducks
are mine. I raised ’em. I paid twenty
cents a setting for the eggs out of my own
money, and when you raise a thing you
generally like it the best. Ducks are a
heap smarter’n chickens, anyway,’’ she
asserted. ‘‘I never can get one of the
chickens to feed out of a spoon, and the
ducks like it the best kind.’’ To convince
him she held toward them a large baking
spoon of soured milk. This milk was
thickened into a paste or ball by being put
on the stove and separated from the whey,
or watery part, by the action of the heat.
It was a favorite dish with the fowls, and

114
The Prison



they all smacked their lips when they saw
it coming.

As fast as Betty could fill the spoon it
was emptied by the ducks, who stuck their
big yellow bills into it and devoured the con-
tents, letting the chickens below scramble
and push and pick each other for any stray
bits that fell to the ground.

‘«Didn’t I tell you?’’ said Betty trium-
phantly. ‘‘Them chickens had just as
good a chance as the ducks, but they
wouldn’t take it.’’

‘Huh! ’’ answered Joe. ‘‘Their necks
ain’t long enough, is what’s the matter.’’

There were several trees in the yard,
and often when the fowls were fed, birds
flew down from their leafy recesses to pick
up the crumbs left lying about. How I
-used to wish they would come near enough
to my cage that I might converse with
them, but it always happened that just at
the time when one of them would settle
close to the house, either Joe’s little dog,
Colly, would run across the yard, or
Betty or her mother would appear at the
door and frighten my feathered friend

115
Dickey Downy



away. Only once did I exchange a word
with any of these birds, and that for but a
few short minutes. 7

The bird did not belong to our family,
nor had I ever met any of his relatives be-
fore, but that made but little difference.
He was a bird, and that was enough. We
did not wait for any formal introduction;
but as he balanced himself on the edge of
my cage he hurriedly told me news of the
woods, and how he wished I might get
free and come to live there. He told of
the lovely dragon flies, with purple, bur-
nished wings that floated in the forest,
mingling their drowsy hum with the chirp-
ing of the birds. He told of the great
mossy carpet spread under the trees; how
at set of day the owls came out, and the
moles rustled in the fallen leaves, and the
frogs raised their evening hymn to the
sinking sun.

I could have listened for hours to the
sweet familiar tale my feathered brother
told of life in the happy woodland, but
Betty’s mother suddenly hurrying out to the

pump to fill her bucket, cut short the story,
116
Tbe Prison

and away my bird friend skimmed out of
sight without so much as saying ‘‘ good-
bye.’’ Though I saw him several times
after that, he never came so close again.

‘“*Oh, what heaps and heaps of fire-
flies! ’’ exclaimed Betty, as she unhooked
my cage to move me into the house that
evening. ‘‘It looks as if our door-yard
was full of moving lanterns.’’

‘‘Nothin’ but lightnen bugs!’’ said Joe
contemptuously. ‘Here, see me catch
’em,’’ and in a few minutes he showed
her a handful which he had killed by
crushing between his hands.

‘* Hold on, I want to catch some too
and hustling me into the kitchen, Betty ran
along with him and was soon engaged in
catching and killing the beautiful fireflies.

| ia

117
CHAPTER IX
THE HUNTERS

Song birds, plumage birds, water fowl, and many
innocent birds of prey, are hunted from the ever-
glades to the Arctic Circles for the barbaric purpose
of decorating women’s hats. The extent of this

traffic is simply appalling.
—G. O. Shields.




HEN Joe
and his fa-
ther came
back from
their gun-
ning expe-
ditions,
the accounts they gave
of the day’s slaughter
made me very home-
sick and miserable, and
wore sadly on my spir-
its in my captivity.

The heartless indif-
118
The FAunters



ference with which the woman would ask
her husband if it had been ‘‘a good day
for killings,’’ almost made me wail aloud.

‘« Best kind of luck; I bagged nearly a
hundred this trip,’’ he replied exultingly,
one night when she put the usual question.
‘«The birds were as thick as blackberries
in the high weeds along the creek, and
were havin’ a mighty good time stuffing
themselves with seeds. Joe fired the old
gun to start ’em and, great Jerushy! in a
minute the sky was dark with ’em; I just
blazed away and they dropped thick all
around us, and it kept us tol’ble busy for
a while a pickin’ ’em up.’’

‘* Pop, tell ’em about the old water bird
down in the swamp,’’ said Joe with a
wicked laugh.

‘Yes, tell us; what was it, popP’’
urged Betty.

‘* Oh, nothin’ partickler, I reckon; just
an old bird that hadn’t the grit to get away
from me,’’ and the man gave a low chuckle
at the remembrance.

‘«My, oh! the way them old birds hung
around and wouldn’t scare worth a cent

119
Dickey Downy

when we was right up close to ’em was
funny, I tell ye,’’ and Joe leaned back in
his chair and slapped his knees in a fresh
burst of merriment.

‘‘There was eggs in the nest was the
cause,’’ said the man; ‘‘them birds are
always as tame as kittens then. You can
go right up to ’em and they won’t leave
the nest. Them birds has two broods in a
season, and then’s the chance to get a
good whack at ’em.’’

Joe rubbed his hands together in delight
as he turned to his sister, «* You’d ought
to have seen ’em, Betty. There was pop
in his rubber boots a creepin’ along—a
c-r-e-e-p-i-n’ along as sly as a mouse to-
ward ’em, and there they stayed. The
male bird he fluttered and squawked, and
the female she stuck to the nest till pop he
got right up and he didn’t even have to
shoot her. He just clubbed her over the
back and down she went ker-splash as
dead as you please. Them there eggs
won’t hardly hatch out this year, I don’t
reckon,’’ and at the prospect Joe broke

into a malicious guffaw.
I20
The WAunters

‘‘T think to club it was meaner’n to
shoot the poor thing,’’ said Betty indig-
nantly. ‘‘ And, anyway, I wouldn’t a-killed
it on the nest. It’s mean to treat an ’fec-
tionate bird so.”’

‘“*Pshaw, you’d do big things! ’’ was
Joe’s scornful reply.

‘“‘Well, I wouldn’t be so tremenjus
cruel,’’ persisted Betty; ‘‘I don’t believe
in killing a pretty bird.’’

‘* But what would the wimmen do with-
out bunnet trimmen’ if we didn’t kill ’em,
hey?’’ and Joe finished his question with
a taunting whistle.

As the shadows of each evening gath-
ered around the cottage, the shadow over
my life seemed to deepen and grow more
gloomy. Outside the door I could hear
the hum of the bees as they flew home-
ward, the wind-harp played in the yellow
pines its softest, sweetest music, and I
scented the odor of honeysuckles and roses
far away. ‘The rushing of the waters over
the stones in the creek tinkled dreamily,
but in the midst of all earth’s loveliness I

was desolate, because I was not free.
121
Dickey Downy



And thus the summer days draeeed
wearily along, and the autumn came. It
is not surprising then that I was overjoyed
when later on I learned that I was to be
given as a present to a young relative of
Betty’s, who lived to the northward in a
distant State. My present existence had
grown almost intolerable, and I felt that
any change could scarcely make my con-
dition worse, and there was a chance of its
being better. The prospect put new life
into me.

Preening my feathers became a pleasant
task once more. I whetted my bill till it
glistened, and my long-neglected toilet
again became my daily care.

‘“‘T shall be mighty glad to get rid of
the mopy creature,’’ Betty’s mother had
said when they talked of my departure.
‘*T wouldn’t give the thing house-room for
my part.’’

“*Cousin Polly will like it, though,’’
Betty answered her mother. ‘‘ Polly was
always fond of pets, and she’ll be power-
ful pleased to get it as a present from her

Southern kinfolks.’’
122
The TAunters

‘« We'll have to go to the cost of a new
cage, I reckon, and I don’t feel like spend-
ing the money, neither,’’ mused the mother.
‘*Polly might like a bresspin better. I
don’t know as it will pay to send her the
bird after all.’’

How my heart sank at this announce-
ment! so fearful was I that I might have
to remain at the cottage; but Betty’s an-
swer gave me new hope.

‘“*Oh, certain it will pay!’’ she ex-
claimed eagerly. ‘‘ You know how many
nice things Cousin Dunbar’s sent us off-
and-on, and only last Christmas Polly sent
me my string of beads. As for giving
her a bresspin for a keepsake, she can get
a heap nicer one out of their own store
than any we could send her, and I’m cer-
tain she’d like the bird best of all; it’s
such a good chance to send it by Uncle
Dan when he is going to their town and
can hand it right over to Polly.’’

“I reckon you’re right. Well, it will
be only the cost of the cage,’’ said her
mother, and so the matter was settled,

much to my satisfaction.
123
Dickey Downy

My new cage was very pretty, if any-
thing can be said in praise of a prison,
and was much lighter and pleasanter than
the old, heavy, home-made structure in
which I had been shut up so long. Its
rim was painted a cheerful green, and the
wires were burnished like gold. Orna-
mental sconces held the glass cups for my
food and there were decorated hoops to
swing in. Altogether it was a very hand-
some house, yet I could not forget it was
a prison house.

Betty busied herself in fixing it comfort-
ably for me, and was full of kind atten-
tions. She begged me many times not to
get frightened when the cover would be
put on mycage. The hood was necessary
when I was traveling, but Uncle Dan would
be sitting right near me all the time and
would be very good to me. She further
assured me that I would find the motion of
the cars delightful, and that all I would
have to do was to sit on my perch and
munch my seed and have a good time.
How jolly it would be to go whizzing past
fences and over bridges and through tun-

124
Tbe Tunters



nels and towns and never know it, she
said. She also charged me particularly
not to be scared when I would hear an
occasional horrible shriek and a rumbling
like thunder, as if the day of judgment
was at hand. I must remember it was
only the locomotive, and it was obliged to
do those disagreeable things to make the
cars go faster’n, faster’n, faster’n

How much faster I did not have time to
find out, for Uncle Dan just then called to
get me. A light cover with a hole in the |
top was slipped over my cage, and I
started on my journey. Of my trip, of
course, I knew nothing. Part of the way
we rode in a wagon through the country
to the station where we took the train, but
as Uncle Dan did not remove my cover in
the railway car the time spent on the jour-
ney was almost a blank to me.

Right glad was I, after what seemed a
.ong, long time of jarring and jolting, to
find the cage once more swinging from his
hand and to hear the click of his boot
heels on the pavements as we went through

the streets of the town where Polly lived.
125


CHAPTER X

A NEW HOME

Should it happen that the last egret is shot and
the last bird of paradise is snared to adorn a lady’s
dress, then—then I would not like to be a woman
for all that earth could hold.

—Herbert D. Ward.

gy) HEN at last
my cover-
ing was re-
moved I found
myself in a
large, long
Ny room, which I
Ht ty, ht ng afterward learned was

. a millinery store. In
fact the store was the
front part of the family residence, the liv-
ing rooms being behind and upstairs over
it. My cage was hung near the wide door-
way at the end of the apartment and my

new mistress at once ran to fill my cup
126




A ew iHome



with fresh water and bring me a supply of
clean millet. After I had refreshed myself
I began to look about me and study my
strange surroundings.

My new home was so unlike the little
log house in the South from which I had
come that it was many days before I could
accustom myself to the clatter of voices
which buzzed monotonously all day through
the store. From ten o’clock in the morn-
ing, if the day were fine, till three in the
afternoon, the din at times was almost
deafening; for it was the busy season and
customers were constantly coming and go-
ing, not all of them to buy, merely to look
over the ribbons and tumble up the goods,
as I heard the tired clerks say complain-
ingly more than once.

Numerous glass cases were placed near
the walls, and running cross-wise were a
counter and shelves much frequented by
ladies who stood eagerly examining the
array of bright gauzes, the glittering
buckles, the flowers and plumes displayed
there. And what a chattering they kept
up! What a stir and a hubbub they

127
Dickey Downy



made! So many ‘‘Oh-h’s’’ and ‘‘Ah-
h’s,’’ so many ‘‘ How lovely’s,’’ and other
ecstatic exclamations, were mingled with
their conversation as was quite bewilder-
ing. In time, however, I became accus-
tomed to this and discovered it was simply
a way ladies have of expressing their ap-
proval of things in general. Around the
glass cases which held the trimmed hats
the women buzzed like a swarm of flies,
their volubility assuming a more emphatic
character as they gazed within at the fash-
ionable headgear placed on long steel
wires. Almost every hat held one, or a
part of one, of my slaughtered race. Fre-
quently there were parts of two or three.
varieties on one hat—a tail of one kind, a
wing of another, or a head of a different
species. The ends of the world had been
searched to make this patchwork of blood.
The women raved over the cruel display ;
they gloated over our beauty; but they
cared nothing for the pathetic story the
hats told of rifled nests and motherless
young.

My new owner was a soft-voiced, gentle

128
A ew Tome



child, from whom I soon found I had
nothing to fear. She was most careful
to keep my cage in order and never neg-
lected to feed me. Unlike her little
friend Betty, she never allowed her sports
or pleasures to interfere with this duty.
Often her playmates came for a romp in
the garden behind the store, but she did
not join them till she had first attended to
my wants. I was fond of having her talk
to me, for her voice was sweet and kind,
and the little terms of endearment she often
used were very pleasing and made me feel
she was my true friend. She once tried
to pet me by stroking my feathers, but I
did not like it. Although I knew she did
not mean to hurt me, the motion of her
hand made me nervous. Instead of per-
sisting, she only said reproachfully, as she
put me back on my perch:

‘*Dear Dickey Downy, why are you
afraid of meP Your own little Polly
wouldn’t hurt you for the world. I wanted
to softly stroke your pretty plumage just
out of pure love and, you dear little cow-

ard, you won’t let me.”’
I 129
Dickey Downy



In her affection for me, Polly did not
forget the wild birds outside, which flew
about in the big evergreen trees near the
garden gate. She showed her thoughtful-
ness for the little creatures by strewing
bread crumbs for them on the window sills
on snowy days. She often gathered up
the tablecloth after the housemaid had re-
moved the breakfast dishes and, running
out under the trees, would shake it vigor-
ously that her wild pets might get all the
little pieces of food that fell. Not a bird
came down as long as she remained in the
yard, but as soon as she had tripped back
to the house and the door closed upon her
brown curls, I could see a drove of hungry
snowbirds swoop from the trees, and in a
minute every crumb would be picked up.
I am sure they must have loved dear little
Polly, for many a choice bit did they get
through her kindness.

While the majority of the customers at
the store were well-dressed women, there
were many who came to buy hats who
looked poor and pinched. A few looked

slatternly.
130
A ihew Home



A sudden swing of their dress skirts
would disclose a badly frayed petticoat or
a tattered stocking showing above the
shabby shoe. ‘Their gloveless hands were
red and cold and coarse, and the milliner
told the clerk that she dreaded to have
them handle her filmy laces or glistening
satins, because their rough fingers stuck to
the delicate fabrics and injured them.

These poor women worked hard, early
and late. Beyond the barest necessities
they had little to spare, and yet not a
woman among them would have bought an
unfashionable or out-of-date hat could she
have had it at one quarter the price. Feath-
ers were fashionable, and feathers she
must have. Might not one ‘‘as well be
out of the world as out of the fashion’’?

All this dreadful traffic in my murdered
comrades, and their display in the glass
cases as well as on the heads of the cus-
tomers, naturally made me very sad, and
I now looked with aversion at every woman
who entered the store. But that all were
not heartless fiends who were robed in
feminine garb I found out another day

131
Dickey Downy



when a daintily dressed lady came in to
purchase a winter hat. The contents of
the glass cases were looked over critically
for some time before she selected one
which she tried on before the long mirror.
The milliner, who deftly adjusted it for
her, tipping it first forward a little, then
setting it back a trifle, stood off now to
view the effect, at the same time assuring
her how beautiful it was, and how vastly
becoming to her.

‘*T like this hat very much,’’ said the
lady; ‘‘or at least I shall like it when the
bird is taken off.’’

‘¢ You think the oriole too gay? Orange
is quite the vogue,’’ answered the milliner,
who seemed reluctant to make any change,
and yet was anxious to please her custo-
mer. ‘Perhaps you’d prefer some wings ;
or stay, here is a sweet little gull that will
go all right with the rest of the trimming.
We will take off the oriole if you wish.”’

‘Thank you, but I have decided not to
wear birds any more,’’ said the customer.

‘¢ But the effect would be quite spoiled

without a wing, or an aigrette, or some-
132
Hl Rew jHome
thing there,’’ exclaimed the milliner. ‘‘ You
wouldn’t like it. I wouldn’t think of tak-
ing off the bird, if I were you.’’

“Yes, I shall like it much better with
the bird off,’’ returned the lady quietly.
‘«T have sufficient sins to answer for with-
out any longer adding the crime of bird
slaughter to the list.’’

The milliner bestowed on her a pitying
smile, but evidently was too politic to get
into a discussion of an unpleasant subject.
Having given her final order for the hat,
the lady crossed over to the other side of
the room and shook hands with a friend
whom she addressed as Mrs. Brown, who
had just come in and was making a pur-
chase at the lace counter.

‘‘T have been putting my new resolution
into effect,’’ she remarked after the first
greetings; ‘‘I have just ordered my new
hat, and it is not to have a bird or a wing
or a tail on it.’’

‘“‘Oh, I’m glad to hear of one con-
vert to the gospel of mercy,’’ said Mrs.
Brown heartily. ‘‘The apathy of our
women on this subject is heart-sickening.

133
Dickey Downy

Men are denouncing us; the newspapers
are full of our cruelty; the pulpit makes
our heartlessness its theme; and yet we
keep on with our barbarous work with an in-
difference that must make the angels weep.’’

Her face glowed with righteous indigna-
tion. It was easy to see that any cause to
which she might commit herself was sure
of an ardent and untiring champion.

‘« But they tell me that chicken feathers
and those of other domestic fowls are be-
ing largely used now instead of birds,’’
said the other lady.

‘‘Oh, yes; they tell us so because they .
want to prevent us from getting alarmed,
since so much has been said against the
destruction of the birds. It is true that
chicken feathers always have been used to
some extent, the straight quills for instance.
I know it is frequently broadly asserted
that the most of the birds used are made
birds, but the manufactured creatures are
poor deceptions; they are mixed with bird
feathers, and are sold only to the less
fastidious customers. The demand for
genuine birds is as great as ever.’’

134
A Mew Home

‘*But do you think as many are used
now as formerly?’’ questioned her com-
panion.

‘¢ Yes, indeed! Just think of the feather
capes and muffs and collarettes made of
birds. The market for them is increas-
ing all the time. It takes from eighteen
to twenty-five skins for each collar, and I
don’t know how many for the muffs. Oh,
I tell you, women are heaping up judg-
ment on themselves.’’

The other lady looked grave. ‘‘I un-
derstand,’’ said she, ‘‘ that in many places
down on the New Jersey coast the boatmen
have given up fishing, as they can make so
much more money killing terns and gulls
for women’s use. They earn fifty dollars
a week at it, at ten cents apiece for the
birds. Isn’t that a horrible record for
women?P’’

“*T don’t doubt they earn that much,
and perhaps more,’’ answered Mrs. Brown;
‘« for one season there were thirty thousand
terns killed in one locality alone. And at
‘Cape Cod, and up along the shore near
where I lived, they are slain by thousands

135
Dickey Downy

every season and shipped to New York.
Oh, I can’t tell you how distressing it used
to be to hear the report of the guns day
after day and know that every piercing
sound was the sign that more innocent
lives were being taken. I used to cover
up my ears and try not to hear them. It
made me shiver to know that those poor
gulls were being shot down for nothing.
Their only crime consisted in being beau-
tiful.’’

Both women turned at that moment at-
tracted by the sight of a young lady who
was standing on the pavement outside in
an animated talk with another girl.

‘‘There’s Miss Van Dyke, with her new
feather collar on,’’ observed Mrs. Brown,
in a low voice.

The young lady in question was a dash-
ing, radiant creature, bright with smiles
and a face like a picture. On her shapely
shoulders was a magnificent cape, lustrous
as satin, of silvery white, into which pale
dark lines softly blended at regular inter-
vals. Twenty-two innocent lives had been

taken to make that little garment. Twenty-
136


A Mew Wome



two beautiful grebes slain that their glossy
breasts might lend splendor to a lady’s
wardrobe.

The two friends looked at Miss Van
Dyke in silence for a moment, then sighed
as she passed along out of their view.

‘*When I see such perversion of wom-
an’s nature I wonder that the very stones
do not cry out against us,’’ exclaimed
Mrs. Brown. ‘‘And mark my words, the
slaughter will go on; the unholy traffic will
not long be confined to grebe’s breasts for
muffs and cape trimmings. Other birds
will be used. The gentle creatures are
not all put on hats.’’

“Oh! I must not forget to tell you
that the new preacher over at the Second
Church has begun a course of lectures on
the work of mercy that women might do.
He says that as mothers in the homes, and
as teachers in the public schools and the
Sabbath-schools, we have a grand oppor-
tunity.’’

‘“*«So we have; but what avails our op-
portunity if our eyes are blinded so that
we do not see it?’’ assented Mrs. Brown.

137
Dickey Downy





‘‘ Last night,’’ resumed the lady, ‘‘ he
spoke particularly of the crime of wearing
birds; and he accuses us of being more
cruel than men.”’

‘“*He does?’’ questioned Mrs. Brown,
in great surprise. ‘‘Why, we all know
that woman’s part in this wickedness
comes from her desire to look pretty; at
least she thinks that wearing birds adds to
her beauty. Her wickedness does not
come from actual love of butchery. But
men and boys have shot innocent creatures
since the world began for the mere brutal
pleasure of killing something. It seems
as though they were born with a blood-
thirsty instinct, a wanting to destroy life,
to hunt it and shoot it down. They beg
to go gunning almost before they are out
of dresses and into trousers. Every mother
knows there is a savage streak in her boy’s
nature. No,’’ continued Mrs. Brown, with
a decisive nod of her head, ‘‘I say let
the man who is without sin among them
be the first to cast stones now. Perhaps
this very preacher spent all his Saturdays

robbing birds’ nests and clubbing birds
138


A Mew Home

when he was a little boy, and kept it up
until he was big enough to kill them with
a gun. Of course there are some who do
not; not all boys are cruel. But this
cruelty does not excuse ours. Man’s
wickedness does not make us the less
guilty. We will be held responsible all
the same.”’

The other woman. looked thoughtful.
‘«Well,’’ she said at last, ‘‘I haven’t quite
lost all faith in womanly mercy. Women
don’t mean to be cruel; the trouble is they
don’t think.’’

‘*Don’t think!’’ echoed Mrs. Brown
scornfully. ‘‘ Don’t think! That is an
excuse entirely too babyish for women to
offer in this age of the world. Do they
want to be regarded as irresponsible chil-
dren forever? Don’t you know that child-
ish thoughtlessness on a subject as impor-
tant as the needless taking of life argues
tremendously against usP Here we are
at the twentieth century, and with all our
boasted advancement we are as cruel and
savage as Fiji Islanders. Oh, don’t talk
to me about women!’’ and she made an

139
Dickey Downy
outward motion of her hand as if pushing
away an imaginary drove of them that was
coming too near. ‘‘I haven’t a particle
of patience with them. If they’re not in
the habit of thinking, let them begin it
right off. Let them begin it before the
birds are all destroyed. If they have the
least spark of tenderness left in their
hearts i

The rest of the sentence was lost in the
louder tones of a pert little miss, who in
company with her mother was rummaging
over a box of trimmings on the counter
nearest my cage.




CHAPTER XI
THE ILL-MANNERED CHILD

O wad some power the giftie gie us

To see oursel’s as ithers see us.
—Burns.

There lived of yore a saintly dame,
Whose wont it was with sweet accord
To do the bidding of her Lord

In quaintly fashioned bonnet

With simplest ribbons on it.

WON’T have ribbon
loops, I tell you,’’ ex-
claimed the child. ‘ want an owl’s head
and I’m going to have
titan

‘‘Why, my dear,
the ribbon is ever so
much prettier,’ urged
the mother soothing-
ly. ‘*An owl’s head
is too old a trimming

I4I


Dickey Downy

for your hat, dear. It wouldn’t do at all.
Here, select some of this nice ribbon.’’

‘‘Didn’t I say I wouldn’t have it?’’
answered ‘‘dear’’ pettishly, as she reached
into another box containing an assortment
of wings, quails, tails, and parts of various
birds jumbled up together. Picking out a
pair of blackbird’s wings she placed them
jauntily against the rim of an untrimmed
hat which her mother held.

‘«There, that looks nice,’’ was her com-
ment. ‘‘If I can’t have an owl’s head
I’m going to have these wings.’’

Her mother mildly assured her that the
ribbon was more suitable only to be met
with the reply: ‘‘ You can wear it yourself
then, for I sha’n’t wear it.’’

This shocking disrespect caused two old
ladies who were pricing hat pins to turn
quickly and view the offender.

‘“*Goodness gracious!’’ ejaculated one
of them, drawing a deep breath. ‘‘If that
youngster belonged to me for about twenty
minutes, wouldn’t I give her something
wholesome that she’d remember? I’d take
the tantrums out of her in short order.’’

142
The Ulemannered Child



’

‘¢She deserves it, sure,’’ said her com-
panion. ‘‘ But the mother is more to blame
than the child for letting it grow up with
such abominable manners. I dare say the
woman at first thought it was cute and
smart in the little thing, and now she can’t
help herself. La, sakes! just listen to
that.’’ She re-adjusted her spectacles and
gazed with added interest at the pair in
altercation.

With the hat poised on her finger the
milliner was bending smilingly toward the
little girl who was giving her order in a
very peremptory tone.

‘«T want those wings put on myhat. I
won’t wear it if you trim it only in ribbon.’’

The mother seemed a little embarrassed
as she told the milliner that she supposed
the hat would have to be trimmed in the
way Elsie wanted it.

‘«Humph! I knew the child would get
what she wanted,’’ observed the old lady
who had first spoken. ‘‘I felt all the
time that the mother would have to give in.
What on earth did she let her take those
big black wings forP Two of those little

143
Dickey Downy



yellow sugar birds would have been better
for a child’s hat. The idea of letting a
youngster rule you that way! My!’’ and
then she took another deep breath. ‘‘ She
‘needs a trouncing, if ever a child did,’’ and
with that she and her friend resumed their
shopping.

The cloud had vanished from Elsie’s
face, and all was serene again. Her
mother seemed somewhat ashamed of her
little girl’s bad manners, as was shown by
her apologetic air when she observed to
the trimmer that Elsie was as queer a child
as ever lived. When she set her mind on
a thing, it was so hard for her to give it
up.

They waited for the new hat to be
trimmed, and on its completion Elsie
seized it and put it on her head, much
against her mother’s wishes, who preferred
not to have it displayed until the next day
at Sunday-school; but the insistence of the
child was so vehement that again the
mother thought it wise to yield, and Elsie
tripped off in triumph to the other end of
the store with the black wings showing

144




THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE
The Al=emannered Child



out stiffly on each side of her head. The
mother remarked, with forced playfulness,
as she watched her, ‘‘ Elsie’s a g-r-e-a-t
girl, I tell you. You can’t fool her.’’

As the trimmer returned the boxes to
the shelves, I overheard her mutter, ‘‘ Oh,
yes, Elsie is a g-r-e-a-t girl, a perfect little
jewel, so well-behaved. Her polite man-
ners show her careful home training; quite
a reflection on her dear mamma.’’ But
from the peculiar laugh she gave I didn’t
believe she really meant it as praise.

When the nights grew longer and the
store was closed for the evening, the mil-
liner and her husband usually spent an
hour or two in the back room looking over
the newspaper which came every day from
the city. The man always turned at once
to the wheat reports, and the price of wool,
which he read aloud to his wife, though I
could see she did not care very much to hear
about them; but she hunted first for the
fashion notes and the bargains in millinery
before she read the other news. One
night while thus engaged she suddenly ex-
claimed:

K 145
Dickey Downy



‘*Here’s something that is bound to
hurt trade.’’

By trade she meant the millinery busi-
ness.

‘«What is it?’’ her husband inquired,
looking over the top of the page he held.

‘«Why, here’s a lot of women who have
been meeting in a convention in Chicago
and getting excited and losing their heads,
and passing some ridiculous resolutions.’’

‘*What kind of resolutions?’’ he in-
quired.

‘¢Oh, they’ve been denouncing the fash-
ion of wearing birds. They belong to a
society called—called—something or other,
I forget what. Let me see,’’ and she ran
her eye down the column. ‘‘Oh, yes,
here it is. They are members of the
O’Dobbin society, and they got so wrought
up on the subject they took the feathers
out of their hats right there in the meeting
and vowed never to wear bird trimming
again. Well, if such outlandish notions
spread, you’ll soon see how it will injure
the millinery trade.’’

‘“«Pshaw! you needn’t worry. The pro-

146
The Mlemannered Child



tests of a handful of fanatical women can’t
do your business any harm,’’ he answered
carelessly, and turned to his paper again.

She shook her head. ‘‘I’m not so sure
of that. I think there are some women
in this very town just cranky enough to en-
dorse such foolishness. There’s Mrs.
Judge Jenkins for one. I’ve never yet
been able to sell her a real stylish hat.
She won’t wear birds, because she thinks
it’s wicked. I hope to goodness she won’t
consider it her duty to start an O’Dobbin
society here.’’

From the depths of my heart I blessed
those kind women who had shown their
disapproval of the nefarious traffic in bird
life, and had pledged themselves to our
protection. True, they were but a handful
compared with the millions whom the god
Fashion still held in bondage, only a hand-
ful who were fighting the good fight; but
would not the influence of their noble ex-
ample and their pledge of mercy be spread
abroad till all the women in Christian lands
would join in the crusade against the
wrong?

147
Dickey Downy



In my joy at the thought I chirped so
loudly that the lady looked up from her
reading. She seemed suddenly to recall a
thought as she glanced at my cage, for she
said, ‘‘I must not forget to ask Katharine
if she can take the bird home with her next
week and keep it while Polly is gone to the
country. I'll be sure to forget to feed it.
Anyway, I haven’t time to bother with it.’’

The day before Polly left for the coun-
try I heard her inquiring for the ‘‘ Daily,’’
which I remembered was the name they
called the newspaper containing the ac-
count of the noble city ladies who had
pledged themselves not to wear us any

-more.

‘«Tuesday’s paper?’’ her mother asked ;
she was busy at the time fastening a poor,
little, mute swallow on a rich hat. ‘‘ Per-
haps it was thrown behind the counter.
Did you want it for any special purpose?’’

Polly replied that she wanted to read
something in it.

‘‘Well, it is probably torn up by this
time,’’ said her mother. ‘‘If it isn’t on

the table in the back room, or on the shelf
148 S
Tbe Wl=mannered Child



by the window, or behind the counter, I’m
sure I don’t know where it is.’’

The young clerk who was arranging the
goods on the counter had heard Polly’s.
inquiry, and she now asked if it was the
newspaper that told about the women who
thought it wrong to wear birds. It seemed
to me that Polly hesitated a little as she re-
plied that that was the very paper she
wanted.

‘““Goodness, child, is that the piece
you want to read?’’ Her mother’s voice
sounded rather sharp, as if she were vexed.
‘‘T hope that subject hasn’t turned your
head too,’’ but she said no more, for just
then a customer coming in, she laid down
her work and went forward to greet her.

Polly looked troubled, but she confided
to Miss Katharine that she wanted very
much to read the account.

‘« Fortunately I cut the piece out to give
to my sister. I knew she’d be interested
in it, but I have always forgotten to give
it to her,’’ said the clerk. She seemed to
be very much in earnest as she continued,
‘*I do wish something could be done to

I49
Dickey Downy



save the birds. If women must have feath-
ers, why can’t they content themselves
with wearing ostrich tips and plumes?
There is nothing cruel or wicked in the
way they are procured.’’

She opened the little satchel hanging at
her belt, and from it took a folded slip of
paper which she handed to Polly, telling
her she might have it to read, and when
she had finished it to please bring it back
to her. Polly thanked her, and ran away
to a quiet corner of the back room, where
I saw her slowly reading the clipping as
she rocked herself in her pretty birch chair.
When she had read it through, she sat for
some time looking very thoughtful. At
last she rose and carried the paper back to
Miss Katharine, halting a moment as she
passed my cage, to whisper softly:

‘«Dickey Downy, you dear little fellow,
I’m going upstairs right this very minute
to take the feathers off my best Sunday
hat and I’m never, never going to wear
birds any more.”’

150
CHAPTER XII

TWO SLAVES OF FASHION

I do not like the fashion of your garments.
—Shakespeare.

I’m sure thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody.
2 —Shakespeare.





WO young
ladies, fash-
sionably
dressed,
met each
other that
afternoon
just in front
of our side
J window, which had been raised to
let in the air. From the warmth of
their greeting I saw that they were on terms
of friendly intimacy.

One of the girls stood a little out of the
range of my vision, therefore I could not

I51
Dickey Downy



hear her voice when she talked, if, in-
deed, she had a chance to say anything,
but the vivacious monologue carried on by
her friend was amply sufficient to show the
theme which interested them.

How glibly that pretty creature chat-
tered! How fast the words flew! How
she arched her eyebrows and shrugged her
shoulders and winked her eyes and wrin-
kled her forehead and pursed her rosy lips
and tilted her nose and gesticulated with
her slender hand and tapped the pavement
with her umbrella point, passing from each
phase of expression to the next with a
rapidity truly wonderful. Occasionally
she went through with these strange | gri-
maces allat once. She was indeed a whirl-
wind of language, an avalanche of emo-
tion.

Her voice was high pitched and shrill, so
that every one on the street must have
heard her as she exclaimed:

‘“*Oh, Nell, how perfectly lovely your
new hat is! Turn around so that I can
see the other side. Oh-h, ah-h, that dar-
ling little bird with its glossy plumage

152
Two Slaves of Fashion



among the velvet is too sweet for any-
thing! If anything it is prettier than
Kate Smith’s hat with the thrush’s head
and wings, although I7’ll admit hers is
awfully stylish. You ought to see my new
hat. Ah, I tell you it’s a beauty; soft
crown of silvery stuff, and on one side a
tall aigrette and a dear little cedar-bird, and
toward the back is the cutest, cunningest
humming-bird with its tiny green body and
long bill. It looks as if it were ready to
fly or to sing. I selected the trimming for
sister May’s new hat too. It is brown
velvet and has an oriole on it; you know
they are so showy and bright it makes you
almost think you are in the woods. At
Madame Oiseau Mort’s, where I get my
millinery, there was another hat I had a
notiontotake. It was built up with robins’
wings and part of a tern was on it too, I be-
lieve—just lovely! but afterward I was
glad I didn’t buy it, for that decoration is
More common. I counted nine hats in
church last Sunday trimmed with gulls. Of
course they were pretty, for a handsome
bird makes any hat pretty.
153
Dickey Downy



‘“*By the way, Nell, I must tell you
something perfectly ridiculous! Do you
know papa pretends it’s wicked for women
to wear birds on their hats or trim their
‘gowns with feather trimming ? Did you
ever? I told him we’d be a mighty sorry-
looking set going around like a lot of
female Dunkards or Salvation Army
women, without a bit of style, and he said
those women hadn’t the sin on their souls
of wearing birds that had been killed on
purpose to minister to their vanity; that
he’d rather be a peaceful-faced Dunkard
woman or Salvationist with her plain bon-
net and her gentle heart than a gay society
butterfly with her empty eal loaded down
with dead birds.

‘«Tsn’t it perfectly horrid for him to talk
like that? He is such an old fogy in his
ideas he actually makes me tired. Then
he went on to say that never again could
he believe that women are the tender-
hearted creatures they have always been
supposed to be, when they show them-
selves so eager to be decked with the inno-
cent songsters whose lives are sacrificed

154
Two Slaves of Fashion

by the million on the altar of fashion;
the men have always been taught that
woman’s nature was morally superior to
theirs, but we’d have to give up this crim-
inal fad which we have persisted in at such
a fearful price of bird life before we could
be regarded as other than monstrously
cruel and bloody. However, he proph-
esied that the fashion can’t continue much
longer anyway, because there soon won’t
be any birds left, and then, he says, we’ll
have a world without its sweetest music.
It will be hushed by the folly of woman.

“Oh, Nell, don’t you dislike to have
anybody lecture you like that? It makes
one feel so uncomfortable. I don’t sup-
pose it’s so very wrong to wear bird trim-
ming or our minister’s wife wouldn’t do it.
You know her black velvet hat with that
big bird on it with the red points on the
wings, is one of the most striking hats
that come to church. And_ her feather
muff is so elegant, awfully expensive too.
And what would her hat look like without
that bird on it, I’d like to know? So if
it isn’t wicked for her it isn’t wicked for

155
Dickey Downy



us, Nell, and I’m not going to give up
looking nice just to please papa. He’d
like to have me dress as antiquated as old
Mrs. Noah when she came out of the ark,
but I’m not going to encourage him in his
old-fashioned notions. And here, Nell,
just listen to this! Don’t you think, he
says the Episcopal Prayer Book ought to be
revised for the women worshipers and omit
that part of the litany where it says, ‘From
pride, vain-glory, and hypocrisy, good
Lord, deliver us.’ What fol-de-rol!’’
And being out of breath she stopped talx-
ing and they walked away down the street
together.
CHAPTER XIII
DICKEY’S VISIT

Kind hearts are more than coronets.



—Tennyson.
j LAINLY
rf PEA furnish-
Peo emedmand

small was the
house to which
I was taken by
Miss Katharine
to stay during
Polly’s absence
at her grand-
mother’s in the
country. But though it was destitute of -
fine furnishings, it was the abode of peace
and love, and its lowly roof sheltered
noble and kindly hearts. The two sisters
lived there alone, supported mainly by
Katharine’s earnings in the millinery store,
157
Dickey Downy

though occasionally the sister, who was
lame, added something to their little in-
come by making paper flowers and other
articles of bright tissues. It was her busi-
ness to keep the house while Miss Katha-
rine was at the shop, and very long and
lonely the hours must have seemed to her
while her sister was away.

The first day I was there a boy whom
she addressed as John Charles came to the
house. Apparently he had been carefully
trained, for he raised his cap when the
lame girl opened the door to his knock.
His manners were fine, for he remained
standing after he entered until she had first
seated herself, as if to say, ‘‘A gentle-
man will not sit while a lady stands.”’

He had come to inquire if she wished to
buy some cooking apples. °

‘‘They are very nice,’’ said John
Charles briskly, quite as if he were an old
salesman. ‘‘No mashed or decayed ones

among them.’’
‘‘I have been wanting some apples,”’
said Eliza. ‘‘If I knew what yours were

like I might buy some.’’
158
Dickey’s Visit



‘© T have a few here to show,’’ and John
Charles drew from a small paper sack one |
or two bright rosy apples. ‘‘ There, try

one,’ he said. ‘‘ You will find them nice
and juicy and sour enough to cook
quickly.’’

Eliza bit into one and expressed her ap-
proval of the fruit. ‘‘They will make de-
licious apple-sauce, I’m sure,’’ she said.
After inquiring the price she told the
young merchant he might carry in a peck.

With a business-like flourish John Charles
took a small note-book and pencil from
his pocket and wrote something at the top
of the leaf.

‘‘I’m not delivering now,’’ he said as
he returned the note-book to his pocket.
“I’m only taking orders; but I’ll have
your apples here in an hour.”’

Eliza bit her lip to keep back a smile.
A boy in knee pants transacting business
like a grown man, appeared quite amus-
ing to her.

«©Oh, I see,’’ she said. ‘‘You take
orders for your goods. You don’t sell
from door to door.’’

159
Dickey Downy



‘* No, indeed! ’’ answered John Charles
with a lofty air. ‘*That’s too much like
peddling. I won’t peddle. I prefer to
get regular customers and take orders and
fill them.’’

While he had been talking he had been
glancing toward me where I hung in the
window, and he now politely asked if he
might come to look at me. Eliza gave a
surprised consent, but watched the boy
closely as he stood near and chirped to me
calling me, ‘‘ Po-o-o-r Dickey Downy,”’
as soon as he found out my name. I saw
from the way Eliza kept her eyes on his
movements that she was expecting he
would do something to hurt me, but in this
she was pleasantly disappointed, for he
never once touched my cage and cooed as
softly when he spoke to me as Polly her-
self might have done.

I was quite afraid of him at first, for
ever since my experience with the wicked
schoolboys who clubbed us in the linden
trees, and my later experience with Joe. I
disliked boys very much.

When John Charles had bidden Eliza
160 ;


THE BOBOLINK
Dickey’s Visit

‘* good-morning’’ and tipped his hat again
and the door closed after him, she said to
me: ‘*Why, Dickey, that was a new kind
of a boy! He never once tried to hurt
you or to scare you. It shows that all
boys are not rough, and I shall always like
John Charles, for he is a little gentleman.’’

To this sentiment I fully agreed, and I
thought, ‘‘ Alas! why are not all boys as
gentle as John Charles P’’

In a few hours I felt as much at home
with Eliza as if I had always lived there,
and I was much pleased when I heard her
tell Katharine at the supper table the next
evening how much she had enjoyed hav-
ing me with her.

‘‘A bird is ever so much better com-
pany than a clock,’’ she said; ‘‘though
when I’m here by myself I always like to
hear the clock tick. It seems as if I were
not so entirely alone. Buta bird is better.
I talked to Dickey to-day and he twittered
back. He has such a cute way of perk-
ing his little head to one side just as know-
ing as you please, and he acts exactly as

if he were considering whether he should
L 161


Dickey Downy



answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to what I say, and
then it is such fun to watch him smooth
down his feathers. He washes and irons
them so nicely and works away as indus-
triously as if he were afraid he’d lose his
‘job.’ ’’

Miss Katharine rose from the table and
stuck a lump of sugar for me to taste be-
tween the wires of my cage.

‘Tam surrounded by poor dead birds
in the store all day,’’ she observed, ‘‘and
spend so much of my time sewing their
wings and heads and tails on hats and sort-
ing boxfuls of them for customers to look
at, that even a living bird saddens me.”’

“‘Yes, it must be very depressing.
What a shame to kill them; they are so
cute and pretty and such happy little crea-
tures! See how cunning he looks nib-
bling at that sugar,’’ and the sister joined
Miss Katharine in watching me.

‘*But do you know, Kathy, I don’t be-
lieve that women would continue wearing
bird trimmings if they stopped a minute to
think about it. It doesn’t seem wrong to

them because they never considered the
162
Dickey’s Visit

question. They simply haven’t thought
about it at all.’’

‘«Somebody set the fashion and they
all followed like a flock of sheep,’’ an-
swered the other with a sneering laugh.

‘‘Yes, that’s just the way. They go
along without thinking. They only know
it is the style, and they don’t stop to in-
quire whether it can be indulged in inno-
cently or hurtfully. Now I believe that if
their attention was particularly called to it,
the most of them would quit it.’’

Miss Katharine brightened into a smile
and half unclasped her little satchel.

“Tf a bird could talk,’’ pursued the
lame girl, ‘‘what a revelation it could
make. What lovely things it could tell us
of that upper kingdom of the air where it
floats and the distant land it sees! What
sweet secrets of nature it knows that man
with all his wisdom can never find out.
And then its giftof song! Why, if thou-
sands and thousands of dollars were spent
in training the finest voice in the world it
could never equal the notes of a bird. A

woman who could perfectly imitate a lark’s
' 163
Dickey Downy



carol would make her fortune in a month.
The world would go wild over her.’’

‘*But as she can’t do that she has the
lark killed to stick on her hat, and then
she goes wild over it,’’ interrupted Miss
Kathy.

Her sister smiled at this outburst and
continued: ‘‘ While I was working at that
morning-glory wreath to-day I couldn’t
help but watch this bird of Polly’s with its
innocent little antics, and it made me see
more than ever how wrong it is to cage and
kill them. I just felt as though I ought to
do something to help save the birds and,
Kathy, I wonder if we were to invite some
of our friends here some evening and call
their attention to the subject, ard explain
the wrong to them, if we couldn’t do some
good that way? Maybe they’d decide not
te wear birds on their hats.’’

‘‘We might try, sister, I would be per-
fectly willing to try; but I’m afraid it
wouldn’t do much good, for we have but
little influence. As long as fashionable
and wealthy ladies will do it, the poorer
classes will not give it up very readily.’’

164
Dickey’s Visit



‘« But they have hearts which can be ap-
pealed to. They have feelings which can
be roused,’’ answered the lame girl eagerly.
‘‘Being alone so much I have more time
to think over these things than the shop
girls who are hurried and busy all day,
and perhaps nobody has ever tried to show
them how wrong it is; but I really believe
some of them could be influenced, if once
they would seriously think of the wrong
they are doing. That is the reason,
Kathy, I suggested to get a lot of them
together to talk about saving the birds.’’

The gentle cripple had never even heard
of the great Audubon. She did not know
that societies existed in many States called
by the name of the distinguished natural-
ist, engaged in the same merciful work.

Miss Katharine drew from the satchel
the paper clipping and handed it to her
sister, saying: ‘‘This is a coincidence
surely; I cut this out of the daily paper at
the store some time ago, intending to give
it to you, but I always forgot it. It is an
account of the proceedings of a conven-

tion in one of the big cities. You will see
105
Dickey Downy



by reading it that somebody else has been
thinking your identical thoughts.’’

‘* How lovely that is!’’ exclaimed Eliza
when she had carefully read the notice.
‘‘ How I should have enjoyed being at that
meeting. We will help those people all
we can, Kathy, by stirring up our acquaint-
ances here. You invite the girls for to-
morrow night and I’ll have the house ready
for them.”’

That I had been an inspiration to this
gentle girl in her work of mercy was a
great joy to me, and all the next day I was
constantly bursting into a round of cheer-
ful twitters and I swung myself in my
hoop as fast as I could make it go.

The best room was swept and dusted
with the greatest care, and a few extra
chairs moved in from other parts of the
house. My cage was transferred from its
usual hook to the parlor, and about eight
o’clock the guests thronged in and soon
every seat was filled. They were princi-
pally girls who were clerks in stores, or
worked in shops and offices, and many of

them were very smartly dressed. A few,
166
Dickey’s Wisit



like Miss Katharine and her sister, were
more plainly attired; but all were lively
and full of. girlish fun and seemed to en-
joy being together. My cage hung in
view of every one, and I was proud to be
selected as an object-lesson by the lame
hostess in her introductory appeal to her
guests to help save the birds. She so pre-
sented the facts that before the evening
was over she had roused an enthusiasm in
some of them almost equal to her own,
and several pledges were given not to wear
birds again.

‘« There is something new in the way of
womanly cruelty which isn’t so well known
as the destruction of the birds,’’ remarked
one of the company. ‘‘The humane so-
ciety ought to get after the women who
wear baby lamb trimming.’’

‘« The way sealskins are procured is also
very cruel,’’ said another girl.

‘‘T have never read much about it,’’ an-
swered Eliza, ‘‘but it surely cannot be so
wicked as killing song birds, because the
sealskin is an article of clothing which

serves to keep the body warm, while a
167
Dickey Downy



dead bird sewed on your hat is merely for
show and doesn’t keep you warm or cool
or anything else.’’

‘‘It is not the use that is made of the
sealskin that is wrong, but the cruelty of
the hunters in getting it,’’ replied the
young lady who had first spoken. ‘‘ They
say when the parent seal is captured the
young one cries for it exactly as a human
baby cries after its mother. It is most pit-
iful to hear it wail. The branding of the
poor creatures is a most brutal thing.’’

‘‘Why are they branded?’’ asked
Kathy.

‘* Well, you know, for some years there
has been a great strife between the United
States and Canada, principally over the
seal fisheries. Each was afraid the other
would get more than its share. To puta
stop to the seals being entirely killed off,
as was likely to be the case since so many
poachers were in the business, one of our
government agents suggested that the seals
should be branded. They drive them into
pens and burn them with red-hot irons.’’

“It isn’t likely that any of us will be
168
Dickey’s Wisit



called upon to deny ourselves the wearing
of baby lamb, as it is quite expensive, but
we can condemn it by word if not by ex-
ample,’’ observed Kathy.

The good-nights were said and the com-
pany dispersed, not so jolly and noisy as
they came, but with thoughtfulness arising
from awakened consciences. The humble
lame girl had sowed the good seed.

Polly was to come back from her grand-
mother’s the next week and, though I
looked forward with pleasure to being with
her again, I felt sorry to leave this peace-
ful home. The worthy lives and beautiful
aims of these obscure girls of whom the
world knew nothing was a sweet remem-
brance to carry with me.

«« Thank Polly forme for Dickey Downy’s
visit and tell her whenever she wants to go
away anywhere I’ll be glad to take care of
him for her,’’ Eliza said when the time
came for me to go.

She gave the cage into Miss Kathy’s
hand. I chirped a farewell to her and she
whistled back to me and we parted to see

each other no more.
169
CHAPTER XIV

THE COUNTRY SCHOOL

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy
—Bible.




OLLY’S wel-
come to me
was most cor-
dial. She was

bright as a
cricket and full of chat about her visit.

With her usual care she examined my cage

closely to see that everything was in order

and petted and praised me for a little while
to my full content, then ran to Miss Kathy
to tell her of the new story book which had

been presented to her while away.
170
The Country School



‘“‘And I am going to read you the sto-
ries some day,’’ she added.

Her young playmates flocked in to see
her and as I listened to their glad voices
my heart yearned more than ever for my
comrades of the woods, for a thought of
spring was in the air.

As the days went by there were indeed
signs all around that spring was on the
way. The wind no longer bellowed
hoarsely in the treetops, but had a mellow,
musical sound and the raindrops that
struck the window pane trickled softly as
if glad to come out of the clouds.

Just after school one bright afternoon
Polly came to the door on the side porch
and called in to Miss Katharine:

«‘T’ll be playing out in the yard awhile.
Louise and Nancy have come to stay till
half-past five o’clock, so if mother needs
me you’ll know where to find me.”’

‘‘All right’’ said Miss Kathy. ‘‘ Go
on and have a jolly time.’’

And a jolly time they had, judging from
the merry shouts that came in through the

open door.
171
Dickey Downy

‘“‘T’ve got your tag! I’ve got your
tag!’’ I could hear Polly say, and then
there was a great scampering of feet and
roars of laughter as they chased each
other up and down the walks. This was
kept up for some minutes, then a voice be-
gan:

“‘Intery-mintery, cutery-corn,
Apple-seed and briar-thorn,
Wire, briar, limber-lock,
Three geese in one flock ;
One flew east and one flew west
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

‘“*QOh, Louise, you’re out! It’s your
turn first.’’

‘«T wonder if we are the geese? ”’ said
Nancy. Then they all giggled as if what
she had said was very funny.

‘*Louise, Louise, look, look! You’re
going to have good luck,’’ presently
shouted two voices. ‘‘A ladybird has
lighted on your shoulder.’’

‘“*Oh, goody!’’ said Louise. ‘‘I won-
der what my good luck is going to be? ’”’

‘«Shake it off, Louise, let it light on
me,’’ said Nancy. ‘‘I want good luck to

come to me too.’’
172
he Country School

“It is just the color of my new crimson
dress,’’ declared Polly.

‘«QOnly your red dress hasn’t spots on
it,’’ corrected Louise.

‘“*No, but the red is about the same
shade as my dress. Oh, girls, wouldn’t
a row of ladybirds for buttons be pretty
on my waist? ’’

At this quaint conceit the three girls all
giggled again.

‘‘T do think they are the cutest little
bugs. I never get tired of looking at
them,’’ observed Polly.

‘«BugsP You wouldn’t call them bugs,
would you?’’ inquired Louise. ‘‘I think
they are little beetles.”

‘‘BeetlesP No, no,’’ said Polly and
Nancy both in one breath. ‘‘A beetle is
a big black thing that flies around only
at dusk.’”’

‘‘Do you suppose your father would
know?’’ asked Louise of Polly. ‘‘ Let’s
take it in the house and ask him, and so
settle whether it is bug or beetle.’’

And they came running into the sitting
room behind the store to show the lady-
173


Dickey Downy



bird to Polly’s father, who was there look-
ing over his paper.

‘Is it a bug or a beetle?’ they asked.

He laid down the paper and looked at
the pretty little insect a moment.

‘‘ It is a ladybird.’’

‘Yes, of course, we know that, papa;
but Nancy and I say it is a bug, and Lou-
ise says it’s a beetle,’’ explained Polly.

‘« Louise is right,’’ was his reply. ‘‘ It
is classed as a beetle. It is one of the
best friends the farmer has, and the fruit
grower too.”’

‘“‘How is it useful to him?’’ asked
Nancy.

‘* Why, it eats the lice that spoil certain
plants and leaves and grain. I notice that
the Australian government is—Do you
girls know where Australia isP’’ he asked,
interrupting himself.

‘Of course we do,’’ they all shouted
with much laughing, as if it were a great
joke to ask them such a question.

‘Well, I was going to tell you that the
Australian government is taking steps to
encourage the ladybird on purpose to help

174
The Country School



the fruit farmers of that country. Per-
haps they have heard that it brings good
luck,’’ he added with a smile.

‘«Let’s show it to Dickey Downy and
then put it out of the door and let it go
home,’’ said Polly.

‘* Dickey Downy wouldn’t know a lady-
bird from a grasshopper,’’ answered Nancy
teasingly.

Polly retorted, ‘‘ Don’t be too sure!
Dickey is a very intelligent bird, a very
extraordinary bird.’’

She contented herself with paying me
complimeuts, for instead of bringing the -
crimson beetle into the store she opened
the window and let him fly away.

‘‘ Well, I’m glad I have learned some-
thing new about ladybirds,’’ remarked
Louise, as she tied her hat strings ready
to go home.

‘*And I too,’’ chimed in Nancy. ‘‘I
am glad the Australians prize the pretty
little creatures. It’s nice to be useful and
handsome too.’’

Then both girls said good-bye and ran
home.

175
Dickey Downy



A few days later Polly announced to
Miss Kathy that she was ready to read the
long promised tale.

‘*Mother says you will be in the back
room sewing this afternoon, so I will bring
my little rocker and sit here and read to
you. My book is full of beautiful stories
about children and birds and bees.”’

I too anticipated a pleasant afternoon,
for my cage still hung within the doorway
where I could hear and see all that took
place in both apartments. Soon after din-
ner Miss Kathy appeared in the back
room with her thimble and scissors and
seated herself at the work-table. Polly
drew up her chair beside her. The book
she held was a pretty little affair bound in
red with a silver inscription on the covers,
and after being duly admired by both,
Polly opened it and selected the following
story, which she read aloud:

THE MOUNT AIRY SCHOOL.
The breath of blossoms was in the air and
spicy scents from the woods that lined the

lane on each side came floating to the de-
176
The Country School



lighted senses of a little girl who drove
slowly along the road leading to Mount
Airy School.

Young horses frisked in the pastures or
came whinnying to the fence as she passed.
Lazy cows cropped the grass at the sides
of the road, pushing their heads into the
zigzag corners of the rail fence in pursuit
of the tender clover that had crept through
from the thrifty meadows.

The school was a little brick structure
standing back a short distance from the
road, with a playground on each side as
enchantingly beautiful as it was novel to
Alice Glenn, the little girl who had come
from town by invitation of the teacher to
visit the school. Accustomed to the se-
verer discipline of the graded school of
which she was a member, the unconven-
tional ways of these children amused the
young visitor greatly. But who could
study on a morning like this, with the de-
licious warbling of the birds sounding in
one’s ears P

Who could be expected to take an in-
terest in nouns and adverbs while his heart

M 177
Dickey Downy



was out in the woods with the bugs and
bees or with the sheep over in yonder field,
whose ba-a, ba-a, was borne in distinctly
through the open door P

«‘T’m sure I would never have my les-
sons if I went to school here in the sum-
mer time,’’ thought Alice as she glanced
over the room. ‘‘The country is too
lovely to be spoiled by school books.
Why, that boy has a wounded bird in his
desk! I wonder if Miss Harper knows? ’’
And a moment after, Alice met the bold,
defiant look of the boy himself, which
seemed to say, ‘‘ Well, what are you going
to do about it? That bird belongs to me.’’

The history class being called at this
moment the big boy got up, shoved the
little creature to the farthest corner of his
desk and giving Alice a parting scowl,
went forward to recite his lesson. Not-
withstanding her desire to befriend the
feathered captive she soon became inter-
ested in the class and could scarcely re-
frain from laughing outright at the answer
to the teacher’s question, ‘‘What hap-

pened at Bunker Hill? ’’
178
The Country School

‘* Old Bunker died.’’

This was bawled out by a freckled-
faced boy, who reminded her of a rabbit,
owing to a fashion he had of twitching his
nose and keeping it in motion in some
mysterious way. Even the teacher wanted
to laugh, but assuming her sternest man-
ner she speedily restored order.

It was during the arithmetic lesson that
Alice’s heart went out in pity for the youth-
ful instructor. The majority of the pupils
were bright; but an unruly fraction, one
child, refused to comprehend.

‘«Tf a family consume a barrel of flour
in nine weeks, what part of a barrel will
they use in one week, Matilda? ’’

Matilda rolled her blue eyes up to the
ceiling as if to find the answer there, then
studied a board in the floor for several min-
utes, then slowly shook her head and sat
down. A dozen hands were raised, and
the teacher nodded permission to a small
boy who analyzed it successfully.

“« Now, Matilda, you try it.”’

But Matilda shook her head and fidgeted
with her apron string.

179


Dickey Downy



“«Try it, and we will help you,’’ per-
sisted the teacher.

Thus urged, Matilda cleared her throat,
folded her arms and began: ‘‘If nine
persons use a barrel of flour in nine weeks,
in one week they would use nine times
nine, which is eighty-one.”’

«« What! eighty-one barrels? But, Ma-
tilda, it makes no difference about the
number of persons. It may be one hun-
dred or it may be twenty. Suppose it
were a bushel of potatoes they consumed
in nine weeks. How many would they
use in one week? ’’

The girl again shook her head and re-
sumed her upward gaze.

‘‘Would they not use one-ninth of a
bushel? Or, we’ll take a peach for in-
stance.’’

Matilda’s face brightened perceptibly
and almost lost its look of dejection. The
teacher noted the change and smiled en-
couragingly as she said:

‘¢ We'll suppose a peach will last you
nine days. What part of it will you eat

in one day?’’
180
Tbe Country School



The expectant look faded out of the
poor girl’s face. One peach to last nine
days! No wonder the question seemed
impossible of solution.

‘‘ Well, then,’’ said Miss Harper quite
in despair and almost. perspiring in her ef-
fort to make it plain to the child, ‘‘ we’ll
let the peach go. Suppose instead, it were
a watermelon. If you ate a carload of
watermelons in nine days, what part of a
carload would you eat in one day? ’”’

At the mention of her favorite fruit,
Matilda’s eyes glistened, her features re-
laxed into a broader smile, and almost be-
fore the teacher had finished she had her
answer ready and gave a correct analysis.
Watermelons had won.

At last the little clock that ticked away
the hours on the teacher’s table pointed to
the time for the noon intermission, and
with a whoop and halloo almost deafening,
the pupils rushed out with dinner pails and
baskets to eat their luncheon in the shady
woods.

Miss Harper led Alice away to her

boarding-place across the fields. Scarcely
181
Dickey Downy



jams, jellies, grape-butter, and other
sauces set out by the hostess in special
honor of the young visitor, Alice hastily
dispatched her dinner and was soon back
at the playground, where she found a bevy
of girls seated on a big grapevine which
one of the larger girls was swinging back-
ward and forward amid shouts of glee.
Nearby two gingham sunbonnets bobbed
up and down as their owners bent their
heads to watch a speckled lady-bug crawl
up a twig.

‘* Lady-bug, lady-bug, fly away home,
Your house is on fire, your children will roam,”

repeated Esther in a low monotone.

‘See, it’s going now. I wonder
whether it really understands us ?”’

‘*Of course it does,’’ replied her com-
panion positively. ‘‘ Daddy-long-legs are
real smart too. I caught one last night
and I said over three times, ‘Tell me
which way our cow goes or I will kill
you,’ and it pointed in the direction of our

pasture lot every time.’’
182
The Country School



‘© You wouldn’t really have killed the
poor thing, though,’’ exclaimed Alice, who
had drawn near to look at the crimson
lady-bug. ‘‘ A daddy-long-legs is such a
harmless creature. It has a right to live
as well as we have.’”’

‘¢QOh, Caleb, did you catch it P’’ inter-
rupted Matilda. ‘‘Bring it here!’’ and
she beckoned to a small boy who was busy
near a large beech tree some distance
away. ‘‘He’s been after a tree-frog,’’
she explained. ‘‘There’s one up in that
tree that sings the cutest every evening and
morning. I hear him when I am gathering
bluebells.’’

‘*It’s pretty near dead,’’ said the boy
bringing his trophy. ‘‘I guess I squeezed
it too hard. We might as well kill it.’’

‘“*No, no! that would be cruel; the
poor little thing will soon be all right if
you put it back on its tree. We’ll go
with you and help you put it up,’’ replied
Alice. ‘*Come on, girls.’’

‘«Tt ain’t hardly worth the trouble,’’ and
the boy looked at the frog disdainfully.

‘*«Tt’s uglier than a toad, if anything. But
183
Dickey Downy



I never kill toads; I know better’n to do
that.’’

‘‘T am glad tohear it,’’ said the visitor
from town as they turned toward the elm
tree. ‘* Toads enjoy life and it’s wicked to
molest ’em.’’

‘Oh, I don’t know about their enjoyin’
life. The reason I let ’em alone is, coz if
you kill a toad, your cow’ll give bad milk.”’

Alice did not dispute this wise state-
ment. She could not help wishing that
the same law of retaliation protected all
birds, beasts, and insects.

After seeing the frog deposited in safety
in a hole in one of the big boughs, she
with Matilda and Esther scampered back
to the swing expecting to find the others
there. To their surprise the big grapevine
was unoccupied, and the shouts and
screams issuing from the schoolhouse led
them too, to hurry on to see what was the
matter.

‘* Maybe Jim Stubbs has got a mus’rat,
or somethin’ in there a-scarin’ the chil-
dren,’’ suggested Esther, as they entered

the door.
184
Tbe Country School

A crowd had gathered in front of the
teacher’s desk on which was placed the
large dictionary, and seated on the book
was the boy who winked with his nose.

‘« Stand back! ’’ he called, ‘‘ I’m going
to let it out, and then you’ll see fun.”’

With that he jumped down, removed
the dictionary, raised the lid of the desk,
and out popped a red squirrel. Round
and round over the floor flew the frightened
animal, dodging here and there and wildly
darting into corners to evade the books
and other missiles that were thrown at it.
Not only the boys took a part in the cruel
sport, but some of the girls helped with
sticks, sunbonnets, and whatever they could
lay their hands on. Two or three times
the little creature was struck. At last,
helpless, it stood panting while one of its
tormentors dealt it a blow that killed it.

A cry of protest broke from Alice’s lips,
but her voice was lost in the roar of ap-
plause that followed the big boy’s action,
as he tossed the lifeless squirrel across the
room into the face of another boy, who in

turn pitched the animal at his neighbor.
185
Dickey Downy



‘©The poor little creature! How could
they abuse it and take its life?’’ cried
Alice, turning to those nearest her. The
other girls shrank back abashed at her re-
proachful tones, which were noticed by
Jim Stubbs, and that hero felt called upon
to make a speech.

‘‘Bah! boys, that girl is getting ready
to cry over a dead squirrel. What d’ye
think of thatP’’ And a heartless chorus
echoed his laughter.

‘*No, I’m too indignant to cry,’’ re-
plied Alice with spirit. ‘*I never knew
boys could be so awfully wicked, yes, and
girls too. I should think you would love
these dear little creatures, and pet and
protect them. They are what make
country life pleasant. I wouldn’t give a
fig for your pretty woods if there were no
living things to be seen there.’’

This was an aspect of the situation the
boys had never before considered. They
did not realize that to a lover of nature the
humblest form of animal life is interesting.
Did other people really prize squirrels and
frogs and lightning bugs and such things P

186
The Country School

Just at this moment the teacher entered,
and the crestfallen pupils busied themselves
in gathering up the scattered books and
other articles used in storming the squirrel.

‘* My young visitor is quite shocked by
such an exhibition of cruelty,’’ said Miss
Harper, when she had learned how matters
stood. ‘‘ Think what the woods would be
without the song of birds and the chirp
and hum of insects. Your playground
teems with happy beings that love the
warmth and sunlight as well as you do.
Would not the forests be robbed of half
their beauty and interest if the squirrels
and chipmunks and birds and butterflies
were killed off? ’’

‘*Wimmen folks are nice ones to talk
about cruelty to birds,’’ sneered the big
boy to his neighbor, ‘‘ when they stick
wings and tails and whole birds on their
hats and bonnets whenever they can raise
a cent to buy ’em with. Oh, yes, wimmen
are awful consistent! They are, for a
fact.’’

Had his words reached Miss Harper’s

ears she might have replied that sensible
187


Dickey Downy



and humane ‘‘wimmen folks’’ regarded
the fearful slaughter of birds as little less
than a crime; but unfortunately she did not
hear this and resumed:

‘*Yet you hunt out these harmless and
beautiful creatures and wantonly destroy
them. Nearly every boy gives way to this
Savage, brutal impulse to kill something.
He couldn’t tell why if you were to ask
him. Children, do you know there is a
society whose members pledge themselves
to protect the birds? I wish we might
organize one here to-day. Iam sure, from
a spirit of kindness, you would like to unite
in a promise not to willfully harm any of
these wonderful creatures that God has
placed around us.’’

When Alice Glenn drove home that eve-
ning she carried with her a glad heart, for
in her pocket was a copy of the rules and
by-laws of the ‘‘ Anti-Cruelty Society, of
Mount Airy School,’’ which Miss Harper
had organized that afternoon. And it was
signed not only by the girls and all the
smaller boys, but by big Jim Stubbs and

the boy who winked with his nose.
188
CHAPTER XV
POLLY’S FAREWELL

Happy little maiden,

Give, oh, give to me

The highness of your courage,
The sweetness of your grace,

To speak a large word in a little place.
—E. S. Phelps-Ward.




LOSING the
volume, Pol-
ly laid it in
her lap.

«« That was
agood story,”’
Rd Miss Kathy, as the child paused.

The little girl did not immediately reply,
but leaned forward and looked wistfully in

her companion’s face for a moment.
189
Dickey Downy



‘Do you think it is so very wicked to
keep—that is, to—to deprive a bird of its
liberty? ’’ she asked timidly.

‘©Oh, I don’t know that it could be
called wicked. A canary bird, born in a
cage, that never knew any other home,
would be apt to die if it were turned loose
to shift for itself and get its own living.
It possibly could not stand the exposure
to the weather,’’ replied Miss Katharine.

‘‘ But supposing it wasn’t a canary,”’
said Polly hesitatingly; ‘‘supposing it
might be a redbird, or a wren, or—or

‘‘Orabobolink P’’ Miss Kathy smiled
as she supplied the word.

‘* Well—yes, a bobolink, for instance.’’
And Polly glanced toward me.

‘*Any captured bird certainly feels very
bad to be shut up ina cage all its life,
though I have seen robins in captivity that
grew to be as tame as canaries. My aunt
had one that lived twelve years in a cage.
It would peck her cheek, and pretend to
kiss her, and do all sorts of sweet little

tricks. His cage door stood open, and he
Igo
Polly’s Farewell



went in and out as it suited him, but he
never thought of flying away. However,
it is only natural to suppose that hopping
about in a narrow space would be dread-
ful to a bird accustomed to spreading its
wings and soaring up through the sky
whenever and wherever it pleased.’’

Miss Kathy looked at the clock. She
saw it was time for her to go back into the
store, then gathered up her work and went
into the front room. When Polly was left
to herself I could see she was thinking
very hard. The rocking-chair kept moving
faster, and her forehead was drawn into a
little pucker between her eyes. She sighed
too, occasionally, as if she were sad.

I noticed that Miss Katharine from her
post behind the counter looked in at the
child from time to time, and I heard her
say half-aloud: ‘‘ If the fashionable women
of the land had hearts as merciful and con-
sciences as tender as that dear little Polly’s,
the slaughter of the birds would soon come
to an end.”’

The birch chair finally ceased to rock.
The deep-drawn wrinkle passed away from

1g!
Dickey Downy



Polly’s forehead. She laid down her book
and came to my cage, then she stood for
a moment looking at me tenderly. Then
she took the cage down from its hook and
carried it to the door leading to the gar-
den. The air was pleasant, and a sunbeam
slanted across the porch making a yellow
gleam on the lattice. How beautiful it
looked to my weary eyes!

‘*Dearest Dickey Downy, good-bye,’’
she said to me, and her voice had a little
tremor in it. ‘‘ You had a right to be
happy and live out of doors among the
trees, and I kept you a prisoner. Please
forgive me for it, and forgive me for wear-
ing birds’ wings on my Sunday hat. I
shall never do such cruel things again. It’s
coming spring now, Dickey, so be happy
and fly away to the beautiful clouds.’’

She set the little wire door wide open.
A warm zephyr swept by, laden with the
scent of wild flowers and all sweet growing
things. My heart fluttered with joy. I
heard the far cry of the hills as I floated
out and upward, higher and higher, on
joyous wing. I was free, free!

Ig2
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xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:UF0008756300001datestamp 2008-11-05setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title Dickey Downydc:creator Patterson, Virginia Sharpe, 1841-1913Lacey, John F ( John Fletcher ), 1841-1913 ( Author of introduction )Hallowell, Elizabeth M ( Elizabeth Moore ) ( Illustrator )American Baptist Publication Societydc:subject Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fictionChildren -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fictionConduct of life -- Juvenile fictionChildren -- Behavior -- Juvenile fictionAnimal welfare -- Juvenile fictionFarmers -- Juvenile fictionHunters -- Juvenile fictionCruelty -- Juvenile fictionParrots -- Juvenile fictionBirds -- Juvenile literatureKindness -- Juvenile fictionLiberty -- Juvenile fictionNatural history -- Juvenile fictionRespect -- Juvenile fictionPublishers' catalogues -- 1899Juvenile literature -- 1899dc:description by Virginia Sharpe Patterson ; with an introduction by John F. Lacey ; drawings by Elizabeth M. Hallowell.Publisher's catalogue follows text."Copyright 1899 by the American Baptist Publications Society", From the Society own Press"--t.p. verso.Pictorial front cover and spine.Includes prose and verse.dc:publisher A.F. Rowlanddc:date 1899dc:type Bookdc:format 192, 12 p., 3 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 12 cm.dc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00087563&v=00001002235783 (ALEPH)00249629 (OCLC)ALH6246 (NOTIS)99004288 (LCCN)dc:source University of Floridadc:language English