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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. One 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
there. Dan was the only occupant of the room, and he was reading. He raised his eyes, and seeing his father half-drunk, he lowered them to his book again. He was ashamed and grieved.
• Where is Ellen ?' demanded Mr. Taylor.
•Why isn't she here to get my supper ? asked the Gin-worshipper irritably. Dan made no reply; but although he appeared to be continuing his reading, a quivering of his lips denoted that his attention was not wholly given to his book. "Do you hear me ?' continued Mr. Taylor after a pause, thumping his fist upon the table. Why isn't she here to get my supper? What business has she to go to bed without getting my supper ?
'She was up at five this morning to do the washing, and has been working all day.'
Dan spoke very quietly, and did not look at his father.
'Her mother wouldn't have done it,' whimpered Mr. Taylor. 'Here am I without twopence in my pocket, and my very children rebel against me. Is there anything in the house for supper ?—tell me that.' 'I don't know. I don't think there is.'
. You don't know! You don't think there is ! "
sneered Mr. Taylor. "You've had yours, I
• No, sir, I have not had any."
• What do you mean by“ sir”? cried Mr. Taylor furiously. 'How dare you call your father “ sir"? Is that what
you learnt from your friend Joshua ?'
Dan clasped his hands nervously together; he was agitated and indignant, and he did not dare to give expression to his thoughts.
Why don't you speak ?' demanded Mr. Taylor with unreasoning anger. What do you mean by sitting there mocking your father ?'
"I am not mocking you,' said Dan. And as
' for speaking, I am too much ashamed to say what I think; so I had better remain silent.'
How dare you speak to me in that way! Haven't I kept you for years in idleness and luxury? Haven't I provided for you? And now when I am in bad luck, and haven't sixpence to get a quartern loaf'—he meant a quartern of gin, but the loaf was the more dignified way of putting it -'my children turn against me.'
'It isn't my fault that you have had to keep me,' Dan said quietly. 'If I had been like other boys, I should have been glad to work and earn
money; but I am crippled, and never felt that I was unfortunate until now. I don't think mother would have thrown my misfortune in my teeth as you have done.'
Mr. Taylor was too much steeped in gin to feel the reproachful words. He continued to bemoan his hard fate and the ingratitude of his children. In the midst of his bemoaning he caught sight of an empty cage. An inspiration fell upon him. That bird-cage could probably be exchanged for a pint of gin. Present bliss was before him, and the prospect of it made him cunning. He ordered Dan to bed, and Dan, who could crawl with the aid of his crutches, went, thankful to escape from so painful an interview. When Dan came down the next morning he discovered his loss. He was much grieved; not so much at the loss of the bird-cage, but at the thought that his other cages and the birds might be appropriated in like manner. He said nothing of what had occurred, but that night when he went to bed he had all his birds and cages removed to his bedroom, and he locked his door.
It was midnight when Mr. Taylor came home. Although he was drunk, he crept like a thief into the house. The proceeds of the cage had supplied