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dination, Dan recovered his usual self-possession, and selected two bullfinches, somewhat similar to those which he had given to the Old Sailor. They were young untrained birds, and Dan at once commenced their education. But Ellen remarked
with surprise that he was less tender in his manner towards them than towards the other birds. He spoke to them more sternly, and as if the business in which they were engaged was a serious business, with not a particle of nonsense in it.
'See, Ellen,' he said after some days had passed-see how clever they are! They draw up their own food and their own water; and directly I sound this whistle, they sing "God save the King.""
He blew through the tin whistle, and the birds sang the air through.
'Now you sound the whistle, Ellen.'
Ellen blew through the whistle, and the birds repeated the air.
'So you, see, Ellen, it doesn't matter who blows the whistle; the birds begin to sing directly they hear it. Here is another whistle-a wooden one, with a different note. Blow that softly.'
Ellen blew, and the bullfinches immediately
set to work hauling up water from the well.
That is good, isn't it?' said Dan.
will obey anybody.'
'But tell me, Dan, why you don't speak to them as kindly as you do to the others?'
'Ah, you have noticed it, miss, have you? I thought you did. Well, then, in the first place, I wanted to teach them by a new system. I wanted to teach them so that anybody can make them do what I do, if he gives the proper signal; and I have succeeded, as you see. If I had taught them by my voice, as I have taught the others, they wouldn't have been of use to any one but me. They are such cunning little things, and they have such delicate little ears! In the second place, Ellen, I did not want to grow fond of them.' 'Why, Dan dear ?'
'Because, if I had grown fond of them, it would almost break my heart to part with them. Who could help loving them, I wonder? They have been my world, you see, and they are such innocent little pets. I have grown to love them so, you can't tell. And we know each other's voices, and have made a language of our own, which no one else can understand.'
He chirruped to them, and called to them in endearing tones; and all the birds, with the ex
ception of the pair of bullfinches, fluttered to him, and perched about his shoulders and nestled in his breast. The two little bullfinches, standing alone in the centre of the table, looked more surprised than forlorn at the desertion.
Then Dan said: This is part of my scheme. I commence business to-day as a bird-merchant. I have trained these two bullfinches to sell. You are earning money already, Ellen dear, and you are a girl. I am not quite a man in years, although I think I am here'-touching his forehead
and I am not going to let you beat me at money-making.'
He pulled out a paper, on which was written, in Roman letters and neat round hand,
THIS PAIR OF BULLFINCHES
They draw up their own Food and Water; and they sing
'GOD SAVE THE KING,'
And other Tunes, to the Sound of a Whistle.
Inquire within of DAN TAYLOR.
'What I propose to do, Ellen, is to put the cage with the bullfinches in the parlour-window, with this announcement over the cage. Perhaps
it will attract the attention of some one or other, and he will be curious about it, and will come in and make inquiries.'
So the birds were exhibited in the parlourwindow, and above their cage was hung the announcement that they were for sale. The neighbours saw the birds, and there was not a woman for a quarter of a mile around who did not make a pilgrimage to the parlour-window of the Taylors. 'Dan is selling his birds,' they said, 'because of his brute of a father;' and they shook their heads sorrowfully, and admired Dan's writing, and said he was quite a scholar. Ellen, working in the parlour, would pause in the midst of her hemming, or stitching, or basting, as the shadow of a passerby darkened the window, and pray that he would come in and buy the birds.
The exhibition was a great boon to the dirty little boys and girls in the neighbourhood, who at first stood in open-mouthed admiration, and would have stood so for hours, neglectful of the gutters, if an occasional raid against their forces by anxious mothers had not scattered them now and then. Those of the children who could get near enough would flatten their noses and mouths against the window-panes in the fervour of their enthusiasm.
The bullfinches, looking down from their perch upon the queerly-distorted features, had the advantage of studying human nature from an entirely novel point of view, and were doubtless interested in the study. For the purpose of attracting the passers-by, Dan, at certain intervals during the day, caused the birds to draw up their water and food; and those exhibitions were the admiration of the entire neighbourhood.
'I wish some one would come in and ask the price of them,' sighed Ellen, wishing that she had a fairy wand to turn the sight-gazers into customers.
Dan only smiled, and bade Ellen have patience. In the mean time Mr. Taylor, becoming every day more devoted in his worship to his god, fell every day into a worse and worse condition. evening, Ellen, being tired, went to bed soon after tea, and on that evening Mr. Taylor happened to come home earlier than usual. There was a reason for it he had spent all his money, had quite exhausted his credit, and had been turned out of the public-houses. Being less drunk than usual, he was more ill-tempered than usual, and he stumbled into the parlour with the intention of venting his ill-humour upon Ellen. But Ellen was not